Your Rights to People and Places

I would’ve gone if my local cinema looked like this! Source

Our task was to go to the movies this week, and observe human interactions and movements. For this assignment, we were to use Torsten Hagerstrand’s “Time Geography” theory as the basis of our observations and research for the excursion – or if we weren’t able to go to the movies, we were to deduce what stopped us. To break it down, Hagerstrand created three constraints to human movement.

  1. Capability – limitations to what individuals are and aren’t capable of doing
  2. Coupling – limitations to when, where, and for how long an individual can join with others to interact
  3. Authority  – limitations to the level of authority and/or permission individuals have to be in a certain place at a certain time

With these three constraints in mind, I deduced that I had capability limitations, in that I had neither the time nor inner will to go see a movie. Also, there just weren’t any good movies on at the time that I could justify spending $15 on (because this is how expensive movies are getting and I just do not like it). Continue reading

Technology Through Time & Space

Dad wishes! Source

I asked my dad about his most vivid TV memory and he immediately answered that it was the day he bought a surround sound system for the TV. He recalls being amazed at the new technology available, especially for the home. My dad is nuts about technology and seems to literally thrive on the advancements. Our home is filled with computers, tablets, telescopes (he is an avid astronomer as well, and owns a telescope that rivals me in height), multiple laptops, and an enormous TV that only he actually watches. Honestly, I’ve forgotten how to even switch the channel on the TV. Continue reading

Representation and the Media

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Well, when I was nine years old, Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.

Whoopi Goldberg

One of the most important issues affecting feminism in developed worlds today is that men outnumber women in high-ranking positions in most fields of the workforce, especially where the diversity of opinions and perspectives is important. The media is such an industry. Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said, “We’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story.” Because the media is so relevant in people’s lives, it’s important that all views are represented, so all the angles are covered and all points-of-view considered equally significant.

There are worries that this trend of inequality will continue with the millennial generation as it grows older, so one of the ways to challenge and reduce that fear is to make sure millennials aren’t negatively influenced by pre-conceived gender roles and stereotypes, and that they grow up believing that men and women are equal and that when asked what a boss looks like, they won’t immediately think of a white male but rather picture a woman or a person of colour as equally likely to be a boss. The measures taken have to be conscious, efforts made to be more inclusive.

One way that representation is being delivered in through children’s media. The recent releases of Big Hero 6, Home, and The Book of Life have breathed new life into the lack of racial ethnicity in feature films. These three animated movies feature Asian-American, African-American and Latina/Latino heroes and have created new characters for children of colour to enjoy and empathise with. Live-action movie Annie features the talented Quvenzhané Wallis (who is the youngest ever nominee for an Academy Award) as the African-American Annie. Other media such as comics are now striving to do the same. Marvel released its new series Ms. Marvel (which features a Pakistani-American lead) last year and the comic so far has been hugely popular. DC Comics’s Gotham Academy is becoming more popular – it features multiple dark-skinned leads as well as Japanese-Americans. Television shows like Steven Universe and The Legend of Korra, which feature a wide variety of characters ethnically and physically, are positively affecting the audiences that consume them. These two shows also do their best to represent LGBT values.

The fact that so many creators of children’s media are doing their best to include diversity means that the younger generation may grow up knowing that no matter their skin colour or body shape or sexuality, they are just as important as the next person.

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But What Happened Next?

Martin Place, Sydney. Source

The realities of the fast-paced world we live in is that our attention spans are short – a story goes big on the news and it makes headlines for a week or two and then the public has moved on to bigger and better things. One of the quirks in the Western world is that most of us live lives so hugely different to those of the people who are portrayed in the media’s “current” disaster. Very rarely do bad things happen in our own cities or neighbourhoods – so it’s hard to relate to those people whose suffering is greater than our own, and so our attention wanders after a while.

Studying the controversial TIME magazine cover of a mutilated Afghan woman named Aisha, the talk turned from the controversy of ethics in the media to the ending of Aisha’s story. None of us in the group knew what happened and after a quick Google search we found out that Aisha was taken to California, got re-constructive surgery and now lives in the U.S. as she’s been adopted by a Afghan-American couple.

Discussing any number of big news stories, it was hard to find anyone who’d followed up after the initial fifteen minutes of fame and attention awarded to the events. Thus came the realisation that we Westerners have a difficult time keeping our attention on one thing.  The Internet means we have an unlimited amount of information at our fingertips, but rarely do I use theis vastness to explore past the bare facts presented to me in a news article a friend linked on Facebook. Only in the past week did I Google the endings to some big news stories – something I’d never bothered to do out of laziness.

Another problem is the abundance of pop culture websites – they report the bare minimum and often in a jaunty, witty manner that catches and keeps the attention of the reader for the next five paragraphs. It’s so hard to find un-biased information about important topics as a lot of authors on pop-culture websites let their opinions colour their articles. Because of the relatability of the pop-culture websites (which – let’s admit it – are much easier reading than most other news sites) most people will only read the biased, glibly-written articles and won’t seek any further information.

But, what happens when an event occurs in our own neighbourhoods? I remember the exact moment I found out about the Sydney Seige last year. I remember where I was, who told me and my reaction to it. It just shows how self-centred I am: I haven’t Googled the fate of the Nigerian schoolgirls taken by Boko Haram (“Bring Back Our Girls”) but the Sydney siege has been seared into my memory – and I wasn’t even in the country during the attack.

UNC’s Ten Best Memories

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Spoiler: this is not one of them

This blog is the closest to a journal/diary of exchange that I’ve kept, and I just need to share my most cherished memories of UNC and exchange because I can’t stand to forget them. I feel like I’ve written about quite a lot of my experiences but there are still some that I haven’t put down in words or some that I hadn’t even realised were important to me until I browsed through photos and amazing memories were brought back. Continue reading

When It’s Time to Go

da endOn the eve of my journey home to Australia, I’m feeling relieved and overwhelmed. The past fortnight I’ve been ridiculously homesick and just wishing to be back on my homeland and hear the familiar and comforting Aussie accents. It’s not that my time in America has been awful, but it’s time for me to make my way home because I’ve realised that no matter how many grouches I have with Australia, it’ll always be my home and I’ll always want to return.

The past five months have been incredible for me and I have so many memories I want to cherish and never let go of. I’ve tried to preserve some of them within this blog, but there are so many things that this blog can’t be privy to and I’ll have to attempt to sear every second of my exchange trip into my head. Even the bad bits!

I have one thing to say to everyone that I’ve met on my travels and every single new and precious friend I’ve made: thank you so much for making this trip the best thing I ever did. Thank you all so much for befriending the girl with the constant resting bitch face and thank you so much for being so hospitable and hilarious and generous. 😍😚😌💋

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Representing UOW felt awesome, my love for my uni has only grown.
Some statistics:

  • 4: number of times I cried
  • 50+: new friends I made
  • maybe 5: arguments I had with my roommate
  • 7: amazing strangers that I now know as my suitemates that made my life so much better
  • 8: US states I’ve been to
  • 100+: phonecalls made to my family
  • 7: flights I’ve been on
  • 12: suitcases I’ll need to bring all my stuff home (jks)
  • 1: major travel bug that’s bitten me
  • 0: regrets

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Australian vs American Culture, Young Adult Edition

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Despite having watched and read a millions books and movie set in the US, some of the habits and goings-on here shock me. Others I love. Some I wish would burn in hell. Sometimes I want to go back home to my fellow Aussies and embrace the Tim Tams and familiar accents. Below is a list of cultural differences that I’ve noticed.

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30 Days and 30 Nights

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Oh UOW, how you call to me!

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary that I’ve been here at UNC and I can say that I’ve finally settled into a routine. Some things that aren’t yet a routine:

  • cleaning my dishes on time
  • homework (hello, realisation at 1am that I’ve got Russian HW due)
  • reading for Classical Mythology (so, so much, in the poetry form that I loathe)

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There Are Just Some Things…

IMG_4681As I’m typing this, we’re very close to a storm and it’s been sprinkling on and off here at Chapel Hill. The weather so far has been so hot and humid (above 30C every day for the past 3 weeks, no lie) with very little rain, so I’m super keen for it to rain as the place can be a bit refreshed. I love this heat and super glad that I didn’t miss it (two summers this year, wooo) but man I need a break! Continue reading

The Fortnightly Tales

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Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would

I wish I could say that I miss my family and that there are times I regret coming to Carolina since it means I won’t see them and all my friends for five months, but I can’t lie. Homesickness hasn’t hit me yet and I hope it stays away until the day I leave for Australia!

My fortnight in the US has been so hectic and full-on that I’ve barely had time to get away and have a few hours to myself. Of course, I spend time in my room but that involves studying and watching TV and chatting with my parents and sister on FaceTime (oh Apple, my sweet love). It’s still so unreal that I’m here after years of dreaming and hoping and then eight months of waiting and paperwork. Continue reading