Let’s reflect.

Lana Del RayOver the past few weeks we have been asked to blog about the media and the role it plays in shaping our views, thoughts and ideals, also, how media ownership can sway our views one way or another, because if one or a very small group of individuals owns a large percentage of the media, we get a very one-sided view of the world and what occurs in it, purely due to what the media allows us access to. This course has taught me to be much more active in my consumption of the media. I have learned to think critically when about what we are fed by newspapers, magazines and news programs, and also to consider whether the bias of those owning the media effects what we deem acceptable in society, the media and in entertainment, and to acknowledge those who try to challenge the status quo. The act of writing these blogs week to week has taught me so much more about my own writing style, and how to write and think critically. Reading and critiquing the work of my fellow BCM110 students has also showed me so many interesting ideas and perspectives I may not have previously considered.

Most recently, we have discussed the idea of ‘moral panic’, largely surrounding the sexualisation of children and young women. Now, this moral panic, in my eyes, is, in some aspects, warranted, here is why.

As a culture, we are exposing some children to very graphic material very early on, and it can have extremely damaging effects, to different ways to different children and genders. The over sexualisation we see in the media is largely of women, it is of men sometimes but, lets all be honest here, it’s mainly women. By over sexualising women in the media, we give this idea to young girls that their purpose, and only way to be successful in the media, is to be ‘sexy’, and to young boys, that it is perfectly alright to view women’s value on the amount of sexual gratification she can offer. An example of this is Lana Del Rey’s GQ cover for ‘Woman of the Year’, which is shown as the titular image of this post. In her cover shoot, she is completely naked, except for several items of lavish jewellery. In contrast, her male counterparts, winners of GQ’s ‘Men of the Year’, are fully clothed in suits, the only flesh showing being their faces and hands. By having Lana Del Rey pose naked, whereas the men posing clothed, it gives off an idea that Del Rey’s value was placed less in her talent, but more the sexual gratification she provides to her audience, and could provide to the readers of GQ.

Now imagine being a small child, you walk past the magazine stand see the rows of magazines. The women on the covers are posed provocatively and scantily clad, whereas the men are in suits, standing tall, and looking powerful. Imagine what thoughts that could put through a young child’s head. Saving a child’s innocence, and making sure they dress age appropriately and only watch ‘G rated’ films are one thing, but what we put in the media, and in public, that they have access to is another. There is nothing wrong with a consenting adult being sexual. But putting out the image that the only way for a person to be successful is to exploit their sexuality, is one of the most damaging things you could tell to a child, even if not intentionally.

For now, this is me done and dusted, signing off my last post for the last time.

Sam x.

p.s. Comment, like and tweet at me @mssamiejohnson

 

 

 

 

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An ode to Lena Dunham

 

lena dunham

We have been asked to post about an example of popular media that contributes to discussion in the public sphere. I have chosen the TV show Girls, created by Lena Dunham.

The show has now recently completed its third season and since its pilot episode it has raised a rather large amount of both praise, criticism and controversy. The show tackles idea of feminism, homosexuality, body image, mental illness, drug use, human sexuality and basically clashes against many other shows that depict young people who have all their shit sorted. In reality, young people, early twenties and younger, haven’t got their shit together, we aren’t all cover girl pretty, super model thin and perfectly air brushed to eat breakfast. Girls shows real (ish, I mean Jemima Kirke is fucking flawless) looking women (and men), doing real shit, fucking it all up and occasionally succeeding, being very self involved, as us young people are, being completely unrealistically optimistic what life in a big city will be like. Also, they have lots of weird and non Hollywood sex. Which, as many will know, is much more real that those Hollywood sex scenes where two perfectly attractive people with no tummy rolls magically orgasm at the same time. Anyone who has watched Girls will be both cringing, and cheering as Hannah, the lead character, portrayed by Dunham, navigates her way around awkward and somewhat effed up dirty talk, tummy rolls and weird positions with her equally bizarre boyfriend, Adam. But enough about weird sex.

On the flip side of Girls, it has received a lot of negativity for a lot of the reasons I, and many others love it. The characters are self obsessed, people who ‘shouldn’t be naked’ were naked, and weirdly, that the show wasn’t diverse enough. Mainly due to the lack of ‘people of colour’ in the show. Dunham has responded to this accusation of a lack of diversity, she stated that she was writing what she knew, as being ‘half Jewish, half WASP’, she wrote two Jews and two WASP’s. She also wanted to avoid token casting. We have all seen it, the classic black sidekick friend who is there to say a quippy line or cover the main character’s ass. For this I actually commend Dunham, she writes what she knows and can relate to, as opposed to having token characters, and possibly writing characters that are offensive to particular ethnicities.

Dunham is, I believe, using a line from Girls, ‘The voice of our generation’. She writes truth, maybe a slightly exaggerated version, but hey, that’s showbiz! She writes things that every young person has experienced or will experience, she challenges what is supposed to be seen on television, and makes the rest of us out there with tummy rolls who don’t have it all together feel just a little bit more normal.

Sam x.

p.s. tweet at me @mssamiejohnson

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Why does it matter who ‘controls’ the media?

Today I write to you on a very serious topic with a largely uninspired title, I apologise, apparently I’m not quippy today. Now, this very serious topic is about media ownership.The issue in Australia is that the majority of our popular media is controlled by very few people, and the majority of that majority is owned by one man. Rupert Murdoch. Anyone unfamiliar with Rupert Murdoch, to put it simply, he is a rich, relatively conservative (with the exception of his stint of allegiance with British Labor PM, Tony Blair) old, white guy who owns a shit tonne of the western world’s media, notably many newspapers, including The Australian and The Telegraph, another fun fact, he is the 91st richest person in the world and his real first name is Keith.

Ok, so the main issue with the media being owned largely by one person is that anything portrayed to us in the media is largely one-sided or biased, and often can be false and only shown to us in order to make a profit, gain a political agenda or simply to reinforce that views and acts by that person are inherently right. Which in the case of good ol’ Keith, in Australian media is relatively true. He is a conservative, and thus has portrayed a largely popular view on Liberal PM, Tony Abbot, as well as Gina Rinehart, who as many of us know, provides funding to the Liberal party, which in turn passes bills which allow for her to profit more from mining. a change from Labor’s mining tax which stinted mining company’s profits, Liberal’s are happily tearing up Australia for a profit (I’m a little biased here), and why? Gina wants them to, and Gina gives them money. Let me also add that as of 2012, Rinehart has owned 18.7% of Fairfax Media Group. Clearly her ownership of that large portion of the media is beneficial to her.

Now to conclude this (hopefully factual and informative) political rant, (yay free media) I shall say this: If the ownership of the media, this beautiful and vast spectrum that we have access to, is owned by very few, with very specific and personal agenda for their own gains, then the media as a resource becomes significantly less helpful and meaningful to the vast majority of media consumers. The media should be created and owned by a large variety of people, and we should educate ourselves to consume media with a conscious mind, because if we don’t, we ultimately are all living in a cycle of ignorance, and putting money into the pockets of old white guys named Keith.

 

Sam x.

p.s. Tweet at me: @mssamiejohnson

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The face of a murderer?

Cowen (left), Manson (right).

Cowen (left), Manson (right).

Most of you are familiar with the story of Daniel Morcombe, in 2003 he was kidnapped and murdered by Brett Cowan. It was a case that put a shudder through every Australian parent, how can anyone’s child be safe now? Fast forward over ten years and serial killer and child molester Brett Cowan is convicted. But outwardly, he isn’t your typical ‘creepy, rapey, murdering guy.’ He just looks like your average bloke. At the time of his trial he was apparently a reformed man, clean-shaven and having ‘found god’. Not the face of a murderer or psychopath. Now, before I continue, I in no way believe that physical appearance contributes to a person’s likelihood of being a child molester, abductor or murderer, but by years of conditioning by the media, the news and crime shows, we are given an idea of what a criminal looks like, so let’s go with it shall we? So what did journalists do to further bring about the idea that Cowan was guilty? To convince us simple-minded folk that this man was in no way innocent? They dug up a creepy ass photo of him from years past. And doesn’t it work! His scraggly, unkempt appearance connotes, in a way to Charles Manson, the infamous leader of the ‘Manson Family’, a cult-like group that arose in the late 1960’s, famed for both having connections with celebrities, drug culture, sexual violence and also, as an added bonus, brutally murdering people. And thusly, dear friends, we have engrained in our minds, this man is a murderous psychopath, and he is, but now he looks the part. And this image, as shown on several news websites, notably Courier Mail isn’t one that is easily lost out of memory, the chilling stare and unkempt appearance of Cowan only becomes more unforgettable and unforgiving when you read the article that follows the image, which describes also the previous crimes of Cowan to children, mainly boys as young as six, another article by The Australian describes his last offence on a child, it was said: “He’d molested his last child victim so brutally that police suspected the six-year-old had been hit by a car”. This article by The Australian also uses the previously referred to picture of Cowan.

By using an image that sparks an instant emotional reaction, in this case, that Cowan is undoubtedly a psychopath, it helps to sway public opinion, which is exactly what the journalists using this image want, and in a rare journalistic moment, the image they’re using to portray a certain archetype or personality fits the intended perpetrator. I believe they truly captured the evil within.

 

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Well would you look at that? My TV has made me obese.

The media is blamed for pretty much every downfall in our western society.

It’s all too easy to blame our problems on the media, and in some cases the blame is justified, the media is certainly responsible for a lot of issues faced by society. But it cannot be the only culprit, surely?

I believe it isn’t. It’s really very easy to use the media, whatever form in comes in as a scapegoat to avoid facing responsibility for the issues, we as humans have created for ourselves. A common argument is that letting kids watch TV will cause them to become fat. WRONG. I’m sorry but there is no person alive who has sat in front of their TV and miraculously ballooned. When a person is ‘fat’ (I really detest calling people this), many factors come into play, for example, diet, exercise or lack thereof, genetics, medical conditions, hormones, medication, etc. The only effect the media can really have on somebody’s body is their perception of what they should look like. The media has one major fault. This fault is the continued pushing of the idea of a ‘perfect’ appearance. Thusly, we have this obsession with our bodyweight, appearance, and the bodyweight and appearance of others.

From this obsession, comes a very unhealthy outlook on what it acceptable to judge people by. Shows such as The Biggest Loser reinforce the idea that being ‘fat’ = being bad, undesirable, ugly and is a trait that is punishable. This idea that the media peddles can result in terrible self-esteem for anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal mould of beauty/attractiveness/thinness, and is a major cause of bullying and harassment in schools and online. Now in my observations and personal experience, when a person is harassed for being ‘fat’, their self-esteem can be irreversibly effected. If not it can take years to be repaired and the person will ultimately suffer from it. There are three very common negative outcomes that can result from this kind of harassment.

1. If the harassed person already had an unhealthy relationship with food, food can become a comfort, and thus the problem gets worse.

2. Eating disorders can develop due to issues with self-esteem such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. These can cause irreversible health problems.

and…

3. The harassed person can develop social anxiety, body dis-morphia, terrible self-esteem and in extreme cases, depression.

In conclusion, the media is not making us fat. It is however destroying our minds to believe that anyone that is, is ultimately a bad person. We need to be conscious when consuming the media, don’t the a slave to the media, and don’t let it effect how you see people. Now that’s much worse than being fat, really.

First post…AHHHH!

Well hello blogosphere, Sam here, a first year Communication and Media Studies student at UOW. No, I am not doing Arts, although sometimes I wish I was because when people ask what degree you’re doing, “A Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, majoring in Journalism and Professional Writing” is a bit of a mouthful.

This is the blog we in BCM110 were all asked to create in our very first lecture. And to be completely honest I’m quite excited that I’m being asked to blog, because in every other blog attempt of mine its turned into a largely ineloquent rant, usually about feminism. Although, that was when I was around the ages 14-16 and I can only hope my grasp on feminism as well as writing has improved somewhat since then.

Well I suppose I should do a bit more introducing of myself…Right, so I am from the majestic, Berry on the South Coast, I am 18, and before coming to UOW I’d only been to one school in my entire life…crazy huh. I am also one of those bizarre people who have an equal love for both coffee and tea, and I find that red velvet cake is seriously under valued. My first pet was an absolutely fucking (sorry for the language) majestic, ginger cat named George. We got him when I was just under a year old and still have him now, he’s a legend. he was followed by Toby the wonder dog, a cute as a button Jack Russell Terrier who had a fine skill of being able to sit on his backside like a human, his favourite food was also apple pie. Unfortunately poor old Toby got run over when I was eleven. I cried, Mum cried, it was awful. Living on a farm is hazardous.

Now we also have Fluffy, the giant red Poodle, he’s the most ridiculous dog I’ve ever met, Tom, named after Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten’, a very fat and even more ridiculous cat. I do love him though, and my dear old grey pony Teddy, and Mum’s horse Ginger. Although the horses don’t live with us at the present because we had to move into suburbia.

So now you know about all the pets I’ve owned. Now about me more…fuck, well I’m at a loss, I live with my Mum, brother (Will) and sister (Hannah), my dad lives in Macau, which is just off mainland China and near Hong Kong. I went there last year instead of schoolies #schoolieswithdad #yolo #didnotgetdrunk

Well I think thats enough nattering about myself, hopefully the next post will be more eloquent.

Byeeeeee…

Sam 😀

P.S. tweet at me @mssamiejohnson

P.P.S. instagram at me @gowiththefro

P.P.P.S. Love you all long time!