It’s not you, it’s me.

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gif source

So, this is really the end; I am officially breaking up with my professional ranter alter ego. It’s been a full-on, time consuming, yet fun and interesting experience and I actually feel like I’ve come out the other side of the blogosphere as a more sophisticated writer that considers an issue from multiple perspectives and is seriously skilled at cutting down to fit under a word limit.
BCM110 you have officially transformed me into one of those people that overanalyses and questions absolutely everything. “omg that is a really great ad, although, if I was a builder I’d be totally offended”, “wow that is a powerful image, look at the way they’ve used juxtaposition!” … yep, I’m one of them. But, the ultimate question that these past 6 weeks have forced me to consider is: ‘are we being brainwashed by the media?’.

When I consider the news in particular, it becomes apparent to me that we are, in fact, to some extent, being ‘brainwashed’ by what we read or watch in the media. In regards to media ownership, the very small group of incredibly powerful media moguls in Australia ultimately spread their agenda and ideologies across all platforms through the media puppets that they own. This uniform, bias media, seen everywhere, acts as a sign for the connotations and denotations that the media owners are trying to portray. This, in turn, sparks moral panic and huge debate within the mediated public sphere which leads to people glued to social media through media effects, debating their view point and creating further interest and exposure for the content creators. Whatever way you look at it, the media does to some extent have an effect of every person, unless you literally live under a rock. We are lead to either believe or disagree with everything that we read or watch in the media, and both cause our minds to be affected by the news that we hear. However, I don’t believe we are brainwashed by the media per say, but instead, by the powerful people who are behind the creation of media content. Media is just the means in which this ‘brainwashing’ information is being spread.

So, that is what blogging for the past 6 weeks has done to me. I have an opinion on everything and through reading other fellow bloggers’ posts I have learnt that every other person also has a valid opinion that is, most of the time, very different to mine, which has made for interesting and thought-provoking reads every week. I am now comfortable in voicing my own opinion whilst disregarding the fear of being judged or disagreed with.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog over the last few weeks, at least a little bit.
For now, myself and blogger Ashleigh have decided to go our separate ways, but we’ll stay friends.

Logging out. ash xx

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Glee gif – source

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Reference:

Field, A. 2014, About Ashleigh, WordPress, viewed March 17 – April 14,
<https://aboutashleigh.wordpress.com>.

Turnbull, S. 2014, ‘Making Connections Week 6′, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 8 April March 2014.

Sealed Sections Unsealing Childhood Innocence

There is widespread debate about the appropriateness of teenage magazines and whether or not these magazines are responsible for the sexualisation of children through subjecting teens to information that is not age appropriate. Looking specifically at Girlfriend magazine, there are several positives and negatives to the magazines’ ‘sealed section’ which has led to debate in the mediated public sphere that is the internet.

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Macushla Burke 2011

The intended target age of Girlfriend is said to be 14-17 year old girls (Pacific Magazines 2014), however around 20% of Girlfriend’s readers are between the ages of 11 and 12. Now, I’m obviously not a mother of an 11 year old girl but I am certain that I would not want my young child to be reading about whether she can “perform oral sex if I have braces”. But, sadly, many 11 year old girls are being subjected to this information at those tender ages, they “can learn the latest sex lingo in an eight-page ‘Sexapedia’ sealed section … and delve into the sexual antics of their peers” (Dirty Laundry 2009). This information is all easily accessible, found comfortably next to the Spongebob Squarepants and Total Girl magazines in every supermarket with no restricted access, classification guidelines or content warnings. The front cover of Girlfriend magazine screams out to teen girls with topless pictures of Justin Bieber and photos of their favourite celebrity with perfect hair and flawless skin. These magazines are exploiting young girls’ desire to grow up quickly by throwing information at them that they should not be interested in until they are 15 at the very least.

The editor of Girlfriend magazine claims that it is “a service” to make sure sex is in every magazine, as teenagers are always going to be curious. This statement is somewhat true; teenagers are forever going to want information about sex and what people of their age are participating in. This is where the debate about ‘sealed sections’ surfaces; are these magazines, full of confronting information, helping teenage girls? One issue of Girlfriend noted that 50% of readers are worried about getting an STI, so, clearly the information within this magazine is helping young people who are choosing to be sexually active by offering knowledge of safe sex and medical advice from a qualified doctor.  There is also a lot of information about cyberstalking, building self-esteem, body issues and mental health problems such as depression. These sealed sections provide answers to questions that readers may be embarrassed to consult their parents about.

It is therefore the responsibility of the parent or guardian to make decisions regarding what is appropriate for their child and to provide adequate supervision over what their child is reading about. Whilst these magazines do provide useful information, I endorse the opinion that these magazines should feature age restrictions or carry warnings in order to ensure that children are not exposed or sexualised at an age that is too young.

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Reference: 

Burke, M. 2011, Sealed Section, image, BlogSpot, viewed 5 April 2014,
<http://macushlaburkethemodel.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/sealed-section.html>.

Dirty Laundry 2009, Sexualising kids: our social shame, Brisbane Times, viewed 5 April 2014,
<http://blogs.brisbanetimes.com.au/lifestyle/dirtylaundry/2009/04/27/sexualisingkid.html>.

Legislative Council 2010, classification (publications, films and computer games) (parental guidance) amendment bill, Hansard Parliament, viewed 5 April 2014,
<http://hansard.parliament.sa.gov.au/pages/loaddoc.aspx?i=158701>.

No Author 2008, SENATE Inquiry: Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee, Parliament of Australia, viewed 5 April 2014,
<http://www.aph.gov.au/binaries/senate/committee/eca_ctte/sexualisation_of_children/qon/classification_qon.pdf>.

Pacific Magazines 2014, Girlfriend, Pacific Magazines, viewed 5 April 2014, <http://pacificmagazines.com.au/Pages/Magazines/Magazine.aspx?mid=fe16ab41-1358-4925-b418-96d5d593388a>.

Turnbull, S. 2014, ‘Media Mythbusting: Big Brother is Watching You Week 5′, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 1 April March 2014.

Winch T. 2008, Let’s stop trying to turn girls into probationary sexpots, The Age, viewed 5 April 2014,<http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/lets-stop-trying-to-turn-girls-into-probationary-sexpots-20080622-2ux2.html>.

YWCA 2009, Sexualisation of Children, YWCA the Power of Women, viewed 5 April 2014,
<http://www.ywca.com.au/campaigns/past/images/SexualisationofChildren_ABZ_020310.pdf>.

Media Mind Control

I want to start with the daily routine of many. Think about it — you wake up, eat breakfast whilst possibly reading the paper or watching the morning news. You then jump in the car and listen to the radio where the news is broadcasted every hour. You get to work or school and you talk about what’s happening in the world. Then, after a long day, you go home, kick back and once again get news thrown at you by the TV or internet. Every day, media corporations open fire and bombard you with controlled messages. But does it matter who is in control of this media? I sure think so.

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INKCINCT 2007

Within Australia, media ownership is dominated by a handful of very powerful people; our media ownership diversity is so poor, that we are ranked 26th in the world according to the 2014 Press Freedom Index. Fairfax Media and News Corp are the two most dominant media moguls in Australia and therefore hold a huge amount of influence over the information we receive. Our societies ideology of the media is that we are seeing all sides of a story. However, with news organisations owning and controlling multiple channels of communication, diversity is extremely diminished. One corporation’s view on a story is pushed across all news sources that the corporation owns. A story that may be told on one channel is likely to be told over multiple channels. This pushes the agenda and ideologies of the owners of that corporation and as the audience, we are subjected to bias, both on purpose and accidentally. For example, if Gina Rinehart, Fairfax’s largest shareholder, was to receive her request of 3 board seats and a say in editorial decisions, it would destroy the last major newspapers that have a slightly different perspective to the Murdoch Press (News Corp) by offering reduced, limited information with narrow boundaries, all based around Rinehart’s opinions which will further her business interests. This is why I think media ownership is so important, we need a wider range of corporations to offer differing opinions and views on current events and not just a singular view held by a handful of corporations.

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John Ditchburn 2006

Just for a bit of novelty – one interpretation of Australian media (warning, very course language). Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3FXPVQY4HM

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Reference:

Ditchburn, J. 2006, Future Media Ownership Remote, image, INKCINCT cartoons, viewed 28 March 2014
<http://www.inkcinct.com.au/web-pages/australian/economic-business-ir/2006-economic-business-ir.htm>.

Fraser, M. 2012, Malcolm Fraser: Does it matter who owns our papers? Yes it does, The Conversation, viewed 28 March 2014,
<https://theconversation.com/malcolm-fraser-does-it-matter-who-owns-our-papers-yes-it-does-7738>.

INKCINCT 2007, Media Diversity Will Not Suffer, image, INKCINCT cartoons, viewed 28 March 2014
<http://www.inkcinct.com.au/web-pages/australian/political/2007–political.htm>.

Leboucher P. and Ratovo D. 2014, World Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders, viewed 28 March 2014
<https://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php>.

Turnbull, S. 2014, Media Mythbusting: Information Just Wants to Be Free Week 4′, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 25 March 2014.

YOURVIEW, 2012, Gina Rinehart’s takeover of Fairfax is a good thing, YourView, viewed 28 March 2014,
<https://yourview.org.au/issues/12-Gina-Rinehart-s-takeover-of-Fairfax-is-a-good-thing/>.

They did what ?!

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Benetton, 2011

I think it’s safe to say that Benetton’s 2011 ‘Unhate’ campaign is about as controversial as the media can get. The campaign, which featured images of world leaders in passionate kisses with some of their biggest adversaries, received mixed reactions from the public. Whilst the campaign undoubtedly had the widespread effect of absolute astonishment, this shock was also met with responses of both disgust and admiration. Steve Jones, partly responsible for the campaign winning at the Cannes Ad Festival, states in appreciation, “It doesn’t obey the rules. You can like it, you can dislike it, you can’t ignore it.” 

Benetton, an Italian based global fashion brand, launched their ‘Unhate’ campaign with the aim of fostering tolerance and ‘global love’. Benetton claims it is inviting “the leaders and citizens of the world to combat the culture of hatred”. The images operate as a sign of reconciliation, with constructive provocation used as the basis of the power these images hold. The digitally altered images, on first glance, simply feature people kissing with the denotation of love and acceptance. Without suitable context, the viewer may not be able to recognise the leaders in the photos and hence the full impact of the campaign would not be forced onto the viewer. But, the use of a variety of world leaders throughout the campaign branches a relatable point to people all over the world and thus the meaning is not lost on any viewer. Through this context and the featured ideologies within the images, further connotations are noticed in the images. The juxtaposition between the well-known opposing leaders as well as the emphasis created by featuring the people in the centre of the frame with an out-of-focus background, draws the eye straight to the locking of lips and has an immediate impact on the viewer… shock. 

Benetton argued for the campaign, “the images are very strong, but we have to send a strong message. We are not wanting to be disrespectful of the leaders… (we are) making a statement of brotherhood with a kiss.” Nevertheless, the campaign did offend a lot of people. The image of president Barack Obama kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was met with distaste as spokesman Eric Schultz explained, “the White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.” The image of the pope in a passionate embrace with a senior Egyptian imam was also met with hostility, with Vatican spokesman slamming the image as “entirely unacceptable” and portraying a “serious lack of respect for the pope”. After the controversy these images surfaced, the image of the pope was withdrawn from every publication.

Regardless of the controversy the Benetton campaign provoked, the images undoubtedly still act as a powerful sign that has an effect on every viewer. The images’ shocking denotation and connotation are what makes the campaign so very forceful and compelling. Comment below your first reaction to the images seen in this campaign!

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Reference:

Benetton, 2011, Unhate, image, Unhate campaign, viewed 23 March 2014
<http://unhate.benetton.com/unhate-campaign-2011/>.

Burgoyne P. 2011, Benetton wants the world to UNHATE, Creative Review, viewed 23 March 2014
<http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2011/november/benetton-unhate>. 

MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE 2011, Benetton withdraws ad campaign image of Pope kissing Egyptian imam after Vatican complains it is disrespectful, Daily Mail, viewed 23 March 2014
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2062423/Benetton-Unhate-advert-Pope-kissing-imam-withdrawn-Vatican-calls-disrespectful.html>.

Turnbull, S. 2014, ‘Media Mythbusting: The Image Cannot Lie Week 3’, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 18 March 2014. 

Wong, C.M. 2012, Benetton ‘Unhate’ Campaign, Featuring World Leaders Kissing, Wins Cannes Ad Festival Award, Huffington post, viewed 23 March 2014
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/benetton-unhate-campaign-cannes-ad-festival-award_n_1613757.html#slide=1123016>.

 

 

Social or Antisocial Media?

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein

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ACR Online 2013

It is a widespread belief that the media has forced teenagers to lose their social skills. But who’s responsible? Have texting, Facebook and the endless amount of other media platforms available today hypnotised our youth?
Whilst social media has undoubtedly had a huge impact on us young people, the conclusion that the media is to blame for antisocial behaviour is not justified.

In 2012-13, almost every household with children under 15 had access to the internet at home (96%). Internet activity was greatest amongst younger people with 15-17 year olds having the highest proportion of internet use (97%) and social networking was most preferred by 18-24 year olds (92%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014). These statistics are confirmation of how our younger generations are excessively dependent on and involved with the media.

But is this technology (that our seniors invented) the reason for us teens spending most of our time indoors and turning us into ‘zombies’? Or, is the lack of face-to-face socialising a result of strict parenting? Danah boyd (2014, p. 80) in her book It’s complicated – the social lives of networking teens, says that “teens aren’t addicted to social media … they’re addicted to each other.” She continues with, “they’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.” The onslaught of stories about child-abduction and sexual predators as well as increased competition to be successful has forced parents to schedule their child’s after-school life, leaving us teens with neither the time or freedom to hang out. The shift to social media is our way to reach out and connect without having to meet in person.

Long before the technology was available to do so, people were just as passionate about documenting their lives – take any piece of ancient writing for example, it was a method of self-expression and informing, much like social media is used today.
Social media is expanding teen’s connections to the world and the opportunities we are exposed to. So, the proposal that social media is in fact, antisocial media, is not justified. Yes, teens these days are spending a lot more time using technology, but this has not turned us into antisocial robots, it has instead allowed us to socialise with more people than ever thought possible.

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Simon 2009,

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Reference:

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, ABS, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2B4C241B1D0D7691CA257C89000E3F61?opendocument>.

boyd, d. 2014, it’s complicated: the social lives of networked teens, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, viewed 17 March 2014,
<http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf>.

 Cahill, J. 2013, Constantly being in touch is so anti-social, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/comment/constantly-being-in-touch-is-so-antisocial-20130530-2neoa.html>.

McKay, T. 2012, Anti-social kids in a social networking world, She Knows, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/954925/anti-social-kids-in-a-social-networking-world>.

News Staff 2012, The Anti-Social Network?, Science 2.0, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.science20.com/news_articles/antisocial_network_facebook_making_young_people_feel_down_about_life-91318>.

Simon 2009, Anti-Social Media: What digital intimacy means for consumers and brands, image, WeFirst, viewed 17 March 2014,
<http://simonmainwaring.com/brands/anti-social-media-what-digital-intimacy-means-for-consumers-and-brands/>.

Stanley, T. 2013, Is the Facebook generation anti-social?, The Telegraph, viewed 17 March 2014, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/10084186/Is-the-Facebook-generation-anti-social.html>.

The Australian Church Record, 2013, Social Media Watch, image, The Australian Church Record, viewed 17 March 2014,<http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/category/social-media-watch/>.

Thompson, C. 2013, Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault, Wired, viewed 17 March 2014,
<http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/12/ap_thompson-2/>.

Turnbull, S. 2014, ‘Media Mythbusting: Television Makes You Fat Week 2′, lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, delivered 11 March 2014.