Gender Roles in the Media

Here is a transcript for the video as the sound was really crappy!

Intro

Our issue is the way gender roles are reinforced in various forms of media and the way moral panic is induced when women – and men – stray from their traditional gender roles. Continue reading

Are You There, Moon? It’s Me, Alice.

It’s due for a reflection post about what I’ve learnt, kind of like the end of all the episodes in kids TV shows, like Bear in the Big Blue House where he talked to the moon about what they’d learnt that day, only this is about what I’ve learnt in the past two months of blogging.

I really enjoy blogging for BCM110 because it lets me blog about things I’m passionate about. I mean, I blogged about a lingerie company and my favourite TV shows! My last blog post is about superheroes. Apart from the fun of blogging about the stuff that makes me happy, I’ve blogged about the more series issues like the media not being very honest with us. I learnt to be more wary and cautious of what the media tells us all and I’ve learnt to research deeper.

I’ve also become far more aware of the important issues concerning the media, such as last week when we talked about the public sphere and how it wasn’t so much ‘public’ as it was ‘rich, white guys’. As well as that, I delved into the topic of censorship and what could have happened in some idiots passed a bill that let the government have a lot of control over the media. Not pleasant, let me tell ya.

In short, BCM110 has really opened up my eyes to what is really going on and what is being hidden or twisted by the media. I’ve also just had fun along the way and enjoyed the freedom that I got with my blogging, as I really hate being given a topic to write about. Thank you Sue, this really made BCM110 fantastic. 🙂

Sharing is Caring!

Since we talked about the ‘public sphere’ in our lecture and were asked to share a popular media text and talk about it, I thought I’d do just that. The ‘public sphere’ is a ‘place’ where people can talk about stuff. It’s been likened to an ’18th century coffee-house’. So, since I’m a lovely person, I thought I’d share and talk about something I really, really love: superheroes. Mainly the comics because the movies don’t feature my favourite character, which is The Flash from DC Comics. Wally West, in particular, but you all must realise that because my Twitter handle is “Mrs Wally West”.

I wouldn’t call myself a huge comic nerd – I mean, if some person went up to me and said “tell me what happened in Flashpoint/The Blackest Night/etc”, I would be all “Sorry mate, no clue.” I WILL have a clue about Flashpoint soon because DC is coming out with an animated movie – yay! Finally a Flash-centric movie. Though I have heard that Flashpoint isn’t the best story arc to use.

Anyways, what I want to talk about is why I like comics and why you should like them too. What I love about the comics is how old they are, which means there’s plenty of reading material. The plots are usually pretty cool, though DC’s really screwing up their New 52 reboot by erasing some characters (*cough* MY HUBBY WALLY *cough*) out of existence. When I ordered a couple of vintage Flash comics off eBay and was excited to get them, my parents thought I was CRAZY. Comics aren’t just for tweens. I mean, some of these comics get really dark. They killed the current Robin, Damian Wayne, last month, bringing about a huge debate on killing children.

My point is that the comics deal with a lot of things that make them interesting to an adult audience. In the ’80s, I think, there was a Green Arrow and Green Lantern crossover where Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy was a drug addict. The art for some comics is also pretty fantastic. Francis Manapul draws the Flash comics and I think Flash fans got so lucky! His art is amazing, much better than New 52 Green Arrow’s in my opinion.

Guys, just LOOK at how gorgeous Manapul’s work is!!

So yep, those are some of the reasons why you guys should try and check DC comics out! Comixology have awesome apps for your iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle and Windows 8, which makes the comics really accessible! Here in Australia comics are pretty expensive and the latest issues are really hard to track down sometimes, so this app is a blessing. Because I don’t read any Marvel comics, I just downloaded the DC Comics app and use that, which I also recommend. If you login on the Comixology app with your iTunes account (I use my iPad), it will sync your comics, so I can read my Flash comics on both DC and Comixology. Super easy!

Controlling Relationships Kind of Suck

Why does it matter who controls the media?

We learnt about who the major players are in our media, as in who owns what shares of Facebook and Twitter, who owns which news companies in Australia and all that. It wasn’t surprising to learn that a lot of our media is controlled by only a handful of people. All major newspapers in Australia are owned by either News Corp or Fairfax Media. Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, recently bought shares in Fairfax because she needed to sway opinions about mining – the industry where most of her money comes from. She holds just under 20% of the shares. In the troubled times of newspapers, her money has benefited Fairfax but people are worried about what will go into the news from now on. (Don’t worry, Gina’s been refused to take part in the editorial process, so has no say – at least from what I’ve read.)

The fact that most of our media is owned by a few handfuls of people is worrying because we have no way of knowing what’s true and what’s not. Take for example the recent attempt to introduce new media policies in Australia. It would restrict a LOT of the things journos are able to write about and was ridiculous. It was described as an “aggressive attempt to silence our media” and rightly so. The bill was probably laughed at in parliament and then shelved it. If you take the time to read about the bill, you’ll be appalled at how much control it would take from the media publishers and writers.

The fact that some people legitimately thought that this proposed bill was reasonable and necessary is ridiculous. We as the public have a right to read and know the truth and not some sugar-coated lie. Who controls of the media matters because they will have the power to publish almost anything they want, or at least sway the general direction of the media, such as promoting right-wing politics.

It matters because we deserve the right to know.

Ads and the Big Scandals Most Aim to Cause

So we all know that some advertisements can cause huge dramas and end up getting pretty much FREE exposure because of the scandal? Think of that one TIME issue with the woman breastfeeding her kid.

Now, the advertisement that I want to talk about hasn’t really ‘blown up’ apart from in its own niche market. Rosea Posey, a Tumblr user, recently uploaded an image that got really popular. It features a young woman holding up her skirt and little markers running down her legs which indicate the lengths which her skirt can be, and depending on the length, the markers say “matronly”, “flirty”, “proper”, etc. It’s appropriately titled ‘Judgements’ because it shows that a woman’s clothing leaves her open to assumptions about her character.

Now, the advertisement then done by a lingerie brand called Curvy Kate posted the following image on their Facebook page without acknowledging the ‘inspiration’ behind it as well as trivialising quite a serious photograph and message. The image was taken down shortly after and CK posted an apology, but of course such a mistake is not easily forgiven. Many felt – myself included – that CK was completely in the wrong and immediately started posting abuse on their Facebook wall. Personally, I’m a big fan of Curvy Kate and so will admit that whilst what they did was wrong and a really bad move from their marketing team, we are all human and make mistakes.

I’m going to talk about the denotation and connotation of the Curvy Kate ad because that’s what we’re currently learning in my BCM110 class.

denotation – a literal meaning of the word (or image)

connotation – an association (emotional or otherwise) which the word (or image) evokes

The denotation of this advertisement is clear: it’s a cheeky ad that the lingerie company came out with to – firstly promote themselves, obviously –  brighten their customer’s day (their Facebook page is really lovely and very body positive and they always post lovely things there as well as on their Twitter). When I saw it, I thought it was quite cute and it made me smile.

The connotation is a bit trickier. CK makes me think of rainbows and sunshine (yes really, I just LOVE them) so it obviously made me smile and laugh, but the resulting consequences were a bit darker than my first reaction. They wanted us to probably think about our skirt lengths and say “Oh, I’m flirty, woo!” and then go on about our day. Many people didn’t do that, so their marketing was a bit of a fail on that one.Whoops. It’s clear that they erased the more nasty titles, such as “slut” and “asking for it”.

In the end, CK did apologise for this ad and people DID calm their farms and moved on. This event was like a 2 on the Richter scale of Advertising Scandals, but it did affect me because I did lose some respect for CK and it made me think deeper about advertising, audiences and the reactions the ads can cause.

This Isn’t an Interrogation, Son, But I’ve Got a Few Questions For You

My BCM110 class is an introduction to the course and we talk about a lot of interesting things there, mainly about media. Last week (here is where I insert my apology for the lateness to both my lecturer and tutor) we talked about media and its role in today’s society.

For instance, TV. Man, I love it to bits. For those of you who also love Supernatural, Arrow, Hart of Dixie, Suits, White Collar, Young Justice, Green Lantern, Teen Wolf, Justice League, Suits, Doctor Who, Sherlock and True Blood, I high-five you. I’ll give you another high-five if you happen to love them ALL. (If so, we should be friends.) The role the media has had on me is turning me into an obsessed fan girl and I know a huge number of people who are just like me.

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Why? We do we invest so much of ourselves into people and plots that don’t exist? What is so special about two guys hunting demons? Or a bunch of teens with super powers? Why do I, along with thousands of other people, tune in every week with excitement and anticipation about the upcoming episode? This question was something I was thinking about this week as over the weekend my favourite show had its series finale (it wasn’t renewed, which sucks) and my favourite character was killed off and I spent most of the weekend crying about it. (Young Justice is the show, for anyone curious enough to ask.)

I have two answers to the questions. The long one is these TV shows pull us in because the characters are fantastic (we all have that one character who we want to hug and never let go – and more…), the plot keeps us all on our toes (Sherlock’s last episode? WHOA) and we fall more in love with them as we see each episode. A great TV show will get its audience emotionally invested in it, so entirely that we’ll feel like an emotional train wreck at the end of a particularly dramatic episode. I’m sure Supernatural fans are used to crying their eyes out after every episode in most of its eight seasons! Currently I’m addicted to Arrow, a live-action adaptation of Green Arrow from DC comics. I love it, it’s my favourite show currently and I can’t get enough. The reason? (Apart from the insanely hot Stephen Amell, of course!) DC universe. I have a love of DC comics and anything DC pulls me right in. Also, Arrow’s plot right now is really great, they have one of my very favourite characters appearing and he’s together with Ollie’s sister and ARGH. Can the new ep please come out!?

The short answer, for people who are too lazy to read the above paragraph: these shows are awesome. So just take my advice and start watching a few.