Reflection

When I found out that maintaining a blog was required for this course I cried a little inside. I’m more of a listener than a speaker and this is because I generally am not strongly opinionated; especially when it comes to intellectual issues. Due to the fact that I am on the fence 9/10 times, I don’t deem anything I say to be that valuable or provide much input so I find discussing them difficult and especially in a public environment where anyone can respond back and judge what I have to say. To this day I still heavily dislike blogging and voicing my opinion purely because of this but I do understand the merit and reasoning behind this task; for people to voice and discuss their learnings and opinions in the mediated public sphere that is WordPress.

The media and especially the internet, magazines and newspapers are a very large component in my world and now having learnt of the intricacies of media effects and the influence it has over audiences, the science semiotics and its relationship with connotations and denotations, ownership and control, the discussion held in the public sphere and media theories such as moral panic, I no longer just mindlessly accept what I am fed. I find myself subconsciously analysing advertisements and articles, questioning what my news sources are and critically thinking about how everyday behaviour is influenced by the media.

None of the issues raised over the past six weeks has been ‘new’ to me as perse due to the fact that I already had a foundational understanding but without being provoked by this course to think deeper about certain things in particular ways, I wouldn’t have the depth and breadth of knowledge about the topics as I do now.

Advertisements

Miley: Too sexy for your kids

The minds of children are very malleable and from a young age they are taught the concept of gender and that boys are supposed to be strong and tough and girls beautiful and delicate. Social views are heavily instilled through the media and the imposition of adult models of sexual behaviour on to children at inappropriate stages of development leads to their early sexualisation. Scientific and psychological evidence support that premature exposure to adult sexual themes have a negative impact on the mental growth of children, especially self-esteem, body image and the understanding of sexuality and relationships. Cordelia Anderson, Founder of Sensibilities Prevention Services says “Little
girls
are
being
groomed
into
passively
accepting
their
place
as
objects
in
our
pornified
culture, and
boys
are
being
taught
exploitive
and
abusive
sexual
scripts.”

Sexualisation is also a matter of personal ethics and morals e.g. beauty pageants and toddlers and tiaras. Some parents think this is fine and allow their child to engage in such activities whilst other find it disgusting a toddler should even engage in such a mature event where the ‘talent’ is objective. Another example is Miley Cyrus whom growing up in the spotlight as Hannah Montana, had girls idolising her. As Miley grew, her image changed and her crazy antics became more and more sexualised which appalled some parents saying that she is an unfit role model and in sexualising herself and her image she is leading her fans to do so too. I understand their thoughts and I agree that the early sexualisation of children is quite anti-productive and bad in terms of child-rearing but I disagree when it comes to Miley who is 21, a fully-fledged adult in the US. At this age she has every right to express herself in whatever manner she pleases and she has also made it very clear that she no longer wants to be associated with the persona Hannah Montana and wants her music to take a different direction. Whilst her methods of change are questionable, parents can easily turn her into an example of negative sexual behaviour to their children as opposed to letting them idolise her.

http://www.mycelebrityfashion.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/amanda-bynes-disney-child-stars-curse-nickelodeon-then-now-before-after-2013-meltdown-britney-spears-shaved-head-lindsay-lohan-justin-timberlake-mickey-mouse-club-christina-aguilera-ryan-gosling-zac-efron-miley-cyrus.jpg

Manocha, R, The impact on children of sexualisation in the media, Generation Next, Published April 27 2010, Accessed April 13 2014

The impact on children of sexualisation in the media

 

The
Normalization
of
Sexual
Harm
and
the
Sexualization
of
Children, Minnesota Department of Health, Published June 2011, Accessed April 13 2014

http://www.health.state.mn.us/injury/docs/Normalization_of_Sexual_Harm_Fact_Sheet.pdf

I know you want it…

Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines. You most definitely already know what I’m talking about because in March 2013 when it was released, every media outlet went into frenzy due to not only the highly controversial message the lyrics hold but also the heavily sexualised video clip. With lyrics such as “I know you want it, but you’re a good girl”, many view the song as derogatory to women and labelled it ‘rapey.’ Feminists went into overdrive in response to the seemingly aggressive song claiming that it was promoting rape, women were being objectified and calling Robin Thicke a misogynist.

The original film clip was banned from YouTube as it was the same as the edited version but only the three models were completely topless. The models dance around with vacant expressions and the three fully-clothed men touch and gawk at them in whichever way they choose, without any reaction from the women. A feminist reading of this is that the women seem more like sex dolls for the amusement of the men than actual women. The women are not celebrated for their wit, their intelligence, their creativity, or even their individual beauties. They are celebrated as sexual objects. Not only are the models stripped of their clothing, they are stripped of their voices, stripped of their individualities, stripped of everything

The video clip was conceived and directed by Diane Martel who hit back at the negative comments by saying, “It forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators. I directed the girls to look into the camera. This is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position. I don’t think the video is sexist. The lyrics are ridiculous; the guys are silly as fuck.” Thicke himself also retaliated by saying he wrote the song about his wife, she was his ‘good girl’ and he knows she ‘wants it’ because they’ve been together for 20 years.

Whichever side you wish to take, you can’t deny that it was extremely scandalous with a writer for The Guardian newspaper even going as far as calling it “the most controversial song of the decade.”

 

Lynksey, D, Blurred Lines: the most controversial song of the decade, The Guarding, Published November 14 2013, Accessed April 5 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/13/blurred-lines-most-controversial-song-decade

Hiklen, C, ‘I wrote it about my wife’: Robin Thicke defends derogatory son Blurred Lines by claiming it was composed for Paula Patton, Daily Mail UK, Published October 14 2013, Accessed April 5 2014

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2458425/Robin-Thicke-defends-derogatory-song-Blurred-Lines-claiming-composed-Paula-Patton.html

Hughes, M, Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ Get the Feminist Response it Deserves, PolicyMic, Published July 27 2013, Accessed April 5 2014

http://www.policymic.com/articles/56585/robin-thicke-s-blurred-lines-gets-the-feminist-response-it-deserves

Do you care who owns your news source?

Murdoch, Rinehart, Stokes, the big players in the extremely concentrated media ownership battle. Although there is an upsurge of media users and producers, the diversity of media ownership is declining. Rupert Murdoch is the main stakeholder in News Corp Australia whose newspaper titles account for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers with sales of 17.3 million papers a week and this makes it Australia’s most influential newspaper publisher. Australia’s other large publishing company is Fairfax Media and it publishes newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review. In 2012 the mining billionaire Gina Rinehart increased her stake in the company to 14% and made her the media group’s biggest shareholder.

In response to Rinehart’s move, Joe Hockey said in an interview with ABC radio that he was comfortable with her increasing her stake in Fairfax and that “It comes down to the quality of the paper, the quality of the editorial…it arguable does not matter who owns the media company.” His argument was counteracted by media analyst Peter Cox who says that Rinehart is increasing her stake to boost her influence in national affairs and commented, “What is the point of spending that money on it if you’re not going to have an influence?”

Greg Hywood (Fairfax Media chief executive) has called on the government to improve cross-media ownership rules put in place by the Keating government in 1987 to allow media companies to own television, radio and newspaper assets in the same city and for the new set of regulations to factor in the migration of audiences and advertisers to digital platforms. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is reviewing the “two-out-of-three rule”, which prevents a single entity owning more than two of a newspaper, TV ­station and radio licence in the same market. This was imposed in a pre-internet era and when there was a very different view of what diversity of voice meant.

Both sides raise very valid points and I am still sitting on the fence about the issue. I see the benefits of various different types of ‘ownership’ e.g. a concentrated group of people owning the media and what it publishes vs. a free market where anyone can be a citizen journalist and have a say. A controlled ownership provides more funding to produce quality pieces and educated individuals who specialise in journalism but also fewer perspectives, interactions and discussions between audiences. A negative with few owning the media, they more of a saying power in what is publish and there some sides may not be published and therefore create bias but there is also the negative of citizen journalists having little factual evidence to support their claims.

 

Flew, T, FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia?, Published August 8 2013, Accessed  March 27 2014

https://theconversation.com/factcheck-does-murdoch-own-70-of-newspapers-in-australia-16812

 

AAP, Doesn’t matter who owns Fairfax – Hockey, Published February 1 2012, Accessed March 27 2014

http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/doesnt-matter-who-owns-fairfax-hockey/story-e6frfkur-1226259094406

 

White, D, Scrap cross-media ownership rules: Fairfax, Published February 24 2014, Accessed March 27 2014

http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/scrap-crossmedia-ownership-rules-fairfax-20140224-33chq.html

Art or Domestic Violence campaign?

The media is very heavily filled with controversy; whether it is news dramatised to create bold headlines by the media itself or genuine real life spectacles. Due to the confronting nature of controversial issues and the easily ready avenue it is presented to us in, it is a part of everyday life and it is what leads to both conflict but also change.

In May 2012 the Bulgarian fashion magazine, 12 magazine, published an editorial called ‘Victim of Beauty’ and it was about women being just that, but the part that sparked public outrage was the images that were included. The six graphic photographs shot by Vasil Germanov depicted women to be “victims of beauty” by featuring close-up shots of perfectly made-up models sporting ghastly wounds and injuries such as a black eye, acid burns and even a slit throat. The photos and editors were quick to receive backlash as the initial reception by many critics deemed the photographs to be ‘glamourising and condoning domestic abuse’. Alison Meldrum, from anti-domestic violence charity Standing Together, said: ‘Given that violence is already skyrocketing in teen relationships, this kind of perversity masquerading as “art” is very troubling.’

Huben Hubenov (editor-in-chief) responded by contesting that the spread didn’t anything to promote domestic violence as “this shoot was left without an introductory text, thus allowing everybody to translate it the way they want” in an email sent to NY Daily News. He then continues in his email and urges audiences to take a closer look at the photographs as opposed to “leaping to conclusions,” and by doing so, “they would’ve seen girls who look at us strongly, who look confident, who are above the wounds, above everything. They are independent.”

Others also question the conclusion made by some with a comment by Lindsey Schuyler on an article by fashionista.com on the subject, who says ‘Why do you automatically jump to domestic violence? Why assume women can’t get injured on their own?’ I agree completely, why is it domestic violence? Maybe it’s about self-harm and depression and self-esteem issues which arise from the portrayal of women in the media? Maybe it’s something completely different and actually about workplace safety. I just find it anti-progressive when people assume women are the victim of men when in fact they are perfectly capable of being victim to themselves.

http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/
http://12mag.net/en/beauty/victim-beauty/

 

Murray, R, Magazine explains controversial fashion shoot, says photos aren’t intended to glamourize violence, New York Daily News, Published June 19 2012, Accessed March 20 2014
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/magazine-explains-controversial-fashion-shoot-photos-aren-intended-glamorize-violence-article-1.1098313

Reynolds, E, Should violent images of women EVER be portrayed as chic? Campaigners condemn grotesque ‘beauty victim’ photoshoot as ‘perverse’, Daily Mail UK, Published June 12 2012, Accessed March 20 2014
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2158249/Campaigners-condemn-Vasil-Germanovs-grotesque-beauty-victim-photoshoot-perverse.html

Leung, B, Commentary on 12 Magazine’s Controversial Spread, Published June 20 2012, Accessed March 20 2014
http://www.phreshly-squeezed.net/2012/06/commentary-12-magazines-controversial-spread/

Wishhover, C, Editors at 12 Magazine Defend Their ‘Beauty’ Editorial Featuring Brutally Injured Women, Published June 13 2012, Accessed March 20 2014
http://fashionista.com/2012/06/editors-at-12-magazine-defend-their-beauty-editorial-featuring-brutally-injured-women/

The Media Effects

The media is heavily influential and this leads to it being the first card drawn when the blame game is played. The ‘effects model’ believes that the media brings about its own criticisms as it preys on the weak to feed the strong and it is highly biased and selective in what is portrays; especially in the field of violence. Industries have learnt that the highly malleable minds of youth are drawn to the energy which is extremely visible in violent scenes and David Gauntlett supports this by writing that violence featured in fictional productions is largely censored in the news and in serious factual programs. People don’t want to face the reality of physical pain and would rather escape to the romanticised world of perfectly choreographed fight scenes and the comical motions of video games. This form of entertainment has surfaced the ‘cultivation theory’ which examines the long term effects of television and states that the longer people ‘live’ in the television world, the higher the chances that they begin to believe the reality portrayed on television.

This is the backbone behind Albert Bandura’s ‘Bobo Doll Experiment’ in which he demonstrates a way in which children learn aggression. To me, this experiment tells of how children learn in general. They copy what they see and they only copied the violence towards the doll as that is the only way they know how to use it, they saw an adult (a person of higher authority)  using it in such a manner that they thought it must be the correct way to treat the doll. This DOES prove that children learn through imitation and if taught violence then an aggressive outcome is inevitable BUT there is also the choice by parents to not show/provide violent situations.

Image
http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2012/02/17/daily-picdump-396/if-videogames-make-you-violent-does-monopoly-make-you-a-millionaire-philosoraptor/

1) Gauntlett, D. Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’  (1998)
http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

2) Cherry, K. Bobo Doll Experiment: Bandura’s Famous Experiment on Aggression
http://psychology.about.com/od/classicpsychologystudies/a/bobo-doll-experiment.htm