Slut is a four letter word.

Three weeks ago, Kim Kardashian West posted the featured image on to her personal instagram account with the caption; “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL”. It garnered 1.6 million likes and sent the whole world into a social media meltdown, causing many people, including those of a high profile to jump behind their keyboards and criticise the reality star/entrepreneur to no end. Kim later released an essay on international women’s day, hitting back at the critics and speaking out on the issue of ‘slut-shaming’, using herself and the backlash she has received over the past 13 years as a leading example of the problem.

I found the debate and discussion which occurred in the aftermath of Ms Kardashian-West’s selfie interesting as it seemed to demonstrate the hugely varying stances people held in regards to this topic and so, I felt it would be only natural to base my research project around the prominent issue of ‘Slut-shaming.’ My only problem being, which exact angle or approach to take.

What are the social impacts of slut-shaming upon females in Australia.

The hardest part about discovering the right approach to take in regards to this project was figuring out what was more important for me to investigate. Questions such as; ‘How prevalent is slut-shaming in today’s society’, and ‘How does slut-shaming impact on female empowerment’, sat with me for a while but these thoughts didn’t seem to capture specifically what I wished to unearth in terms of the research I would conduct. I didn’t want my leading question to unethically induce biased results or skew my research in any way and so I have chosen to lead with a broad question which will hopefully allow for me to explore the concept in further detail through my research methods; (survey questions, case studies etc.) I feel that my target question will allow me to delve into all of the aspects of the problem. I will be able to ask questions concerning the sexual double standard in regards to male sexuality vs. female sexuality; The idea that slut-shaming promotes sexual violence, The notion that it is women, who in fact perpetrate much of the ‘slut-shaming’, questions about the exact words and terms which are used to degrade women as well as a whole array of other pressing issues regarding the topic at hand.

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Tina Fey in the movie ‘Mean Girls’.

In terms of secondary sources which I have looked over in preparation for this task, I have found that this particular issue seems to be one of hot debate. Recently, there have been countless investigations carried out by universities as well as independent social justice movements such as; the ‘UnSlut Project‘ and Amber Rose‘s ‘Slutwalk‘, revolving around this topic.  A piece of Research conducted by the University of Kingsville, Texas; published in the Higher Education Journal  during May 2015, outlines findings concerning the ‘College students’ perceptions of slut-shaming discourse on campus’. An article posted on a Gender Society blog in 2014, titled ‘The link between Slut-shaming, Bullying and Femininity’, which was endorsed by the University of Massachusetts, identifies the different impacts slut-shaming connotations can have upon women of different economical calibres. An interview published by Complex Magazine with American Rapper ‘A$AP Rocky‘, titled “Jewels from A$AP Rocky” involves him speaking about the sexual double standard that applies to women which men seem to be immune to. This interview is quite interesting as it perfectly sums up a lot of the elements which make up and fuel the culture of slut shaming. These are just some of the dozens of sources I consulted when deciding on a worthwhile research topic.

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An image taken from Amber Rose’s SlutWalk campaign.

In regards to my Research Methodology, I intend to conduct an online survey which will feature a number of questions concerning many aspects of the slut-shaming issue, in order to gain a fuller understanding as to What are the social impacts of slut-shaming upon females in Australia. The survey will be distributed through social media platforms such as facebook and tumblr, making sure that I take care to ensure that the subjects fit the demographic (i.e Australian). I also plan to conduct interviews with a randomly selected few people in order to delve further into personal experiences concerning the topic. I will endeavour to ensure that my work will remain ethical at all times, by disclosing to all subjects the exact nature of my research and gaining their full permission to use any information obtained in my final project.

In conclusion, by conducting my own primary investigation into the social impacts of slut-shaming in Australia, I hope to shed some light on to the many elements which contribute to this largely contemporary issue.

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The Deteriorating Relevance of Silos in the Technological Age

Already, convergence is eroding the boundaries between newspapers and broadcasters. Online, each have begun to mimic the other, challenging Australia’s sensitive media control limits, cross-media ownership laws, and increasingly, Australian content requirements.”  – Greg Hoy 

Technological convergence is a phenomenon which has taken the globe by storm and forever changed the way in which we, as consumers, interact with media.

Silo media, (broadcast television, radio and print) which were once the standard and most popular forms of media communication have now become outdated and irrelevant as the process of converging technology and media platforms becomes more and more prevalent in today’s society. Newspaper corporations have been forced to merge into an online environment in order to cultivate a broader audience and keep a steady interest in their brand.

Furthermore, Broadcast Television has been faced with a brand new and ever evolving challenge in the form of ‘Smart TV‘s’. Smart TV’s are a prime example of technological convergence and are a major contributor to the brutal murder or good old fashioned free-to-air. A Smart TV can not only function as a television (with the addition of ‘on-demand’ functionalities allowing the user to pause, rewind and select when they wish to view any particular program – including live sport coverage) but it can also feature; internet streaming services such as Netflix , quickflix and Presto; applications such as youtube, facebook and twitter; and the ability to surf the net just as you would on a laptop or desktop computer.

So, when it comes down to explaining the depth of technological convergence, Smart TV’s pretty much set in concrete the fact that the future is now!

 

No Copyright Infringement Intended…

I got the idea for the case study for this week’s blog post when I decided it was about time I got my act together and downloaded Kanye West‘s latest album ‘The Life of Pablo‘, only to find that the only way I could even listen to it was if I subscribed to the music streaming app TIDAL. I had already used up my one month free trial ages ago and really didn’t want to give up my credit card details all for the sake of one album. I was so frustrated, why can’t I just buy the damn thing Kanye!?

Anyway, I did some research and found that he and his lawyers had actually launched a campaign against Pirate Bay for breach of copyright laws. So far no actual legal action has been taken and there is serious doubt as to if it ever will but it still adds to the constant buzz that surrounds well-known artists and the ways in which they try to combat copyright infringements. I made a Prezi (ironically riddled with copyright breaches) in order to further illustrate the case.

(Sidenote: HOW THE HELL DO YOU EMBED A PREZI!?)
https://prezi.com/embed/0-2b7fxtpikp/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&landing_data=bHVZZmNaNDBIWnNjdEVENDRhZDFNZGNIUE43MHdLNWpsdFJLb2ZHanI5a2pMUElJYVB0VVgrRVFzMEVHM2gvOUJ3PT0&landing_sign=BJUKtQXAbOXD-ea1h1pLDz5tlh-AzWTsNijcABtUxIw

Audio used in Prezi: Power by Kanye West ,

Marshall McLuhan, Messing with our Minds since 1964.

When first being introduced to McLuhan’s famous communication philosophy ‘The Medium is the Message’, the thought process goes a little something like this: “I think I get it… I think i’ve got it… IT MAKES SENSE, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THIS…. nope, I don’t get it, I will never get it.” Or at least, that’s how my brain deals.

To say that ‘The Medium is the Message’ is to say that the platform, through which information is distributed, has a greater impact on the individual than the content itself. And that’s all well and good but the hardest part about trying to grasp this concept is that there are so many elements that go into the meaning.

The Medium can become the message when it delivers content that we would otherwise be unable to access.For example; before innovative communication technologies existed in our world, such things as conversations with other people in different towns, regions or countries, were simply not possible. Today, however, with the existence of electricity, the internet and a myriad of communication devices which allow instant messaging and phone calls; we have become accustomed to the idea that we are able to contact anybody in any part of the world in an instant. This is because we, as tool users, view technology (our tools) as an extension of ourselves. (McLuhan, 1964)

This is the interpretation that makes the most sense to me and even still, I confused myself to no end trying to construct a response.

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“Curiouser & Curiouser!”, Cried Alice.

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When I think of the term ‘Curiosity’ I automatically think of this quote from Lewis Carroll’s, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. I was never overly fascinated by the book, or, more importantly, the movie. (To be completely honest they gave me nightmares and made me cry), but the sound of Alice murmuring that particular phrase has weirdly always stuck with me…

Some people will say ‘oh, curiosity killed the cat’; meaning that having an active interest in something or wanting to find out more about a certain thing, will, in most cases, lead you into trouble. However, Todd Kashdan states that curiosity is one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilled life, and I believe he’s right. Intrigue creates wonder and delight when experiencing discovery and gaining knowledge and these are the components that contribute to an enjoyable and happy life.

As stated in my ‘About’ page, I love to indulge (obsess over)  my fair amount of pop culture, trashy TV and entertainment news aka. gossip. So that begs the question –

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Well, I believe it may have something to do with this…

One of my first memorable experiences with curiosity was when I was 10 years old and brought my first album. It was ‘Infinity On High’ by Fall Out Boy and listening to it for the first time was honestly such a defining moment in my life. People always talk about how a piece of music changed their life; and writing about it now, it feels so cliche, but i vividly remember being so entranced listening to the lyrics and music flow from my stereo. It triggered an embarrassingly aggressive obsession with that band and their music which spanned for about two years. I would get home from (primary) school and talk to ‘randoms’ on bebo and myspace about our shared passion for the music, I would give my parent’s computer more viruses than i could count by downloading FOB’s entire discography from ‘Limewire’ and I would spend hours cutting out pictures from ‘Smash Hits’ magazine to cover my school books in.

The point of revisiting this embarrassing but nevertheless nostalgic part of my life is to demonstrate how, in my case, curiosity doesn’t necessarily lead itself into trouble or danger, rather it induces satisfaction by gaining information and definitely makes life a lot more interesting.

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10 Y/O me would be heartbroken to learn that I don’t even listen to Fall Out Boy anymore and haven’t in years!

I was so curious about every aspect of the band and if you asked me now WHY that was the case I would not be able to give you an answer because I genuinely do not know. But honest to God, when I think about 2007, all I can picture is that god damn sheep on the CD cover…

 

 

 

 

 

Globalisation: Cultural Appreciation VS. Cultural Appropriation…

The ‘Small World’ ride at Disneyland.

It’s a small world after all…”

Global corporations such as; Disney, McDonalds, Apple, Cadbury and Levi’s are worldwide recognised brands and are distributed in almost every country on the planet, expanding their market way past their own national borders in order to culminate a massive profit.

It can be argued that globalisation started through the colonisation by European nations of new worlds such as America and Australia; and the opening of international trade routes through places such as China and Africa, which eliminated the restriction of resources to a nation by its borders.The concept of globalisation refers to the international community which has evolved as a result of advancements to communication technologies throughout history. The world has become a much more interconnected place since the time pre-dating the invention of the telephone in 1849.

Appadurai breaks globalisation down into five different ‘scapes‘, which include the: ethnoscape, technoscape, mediascape, ideoscape and finanscape.

Popular culture is a very important example of how globalisation has affected media and clearly shows how interdependent each of the five scapes is on each other in regards to the the causality of issues in the global community. This is demonstrated by the influence of important individuals within the industries surrounding music, fashion, film and art. As a result of the world becoming a more multicultural and integrated society through the growth of ethnoscapes, different cultures have risen up to a ‘trendy’ status. Indian, Japanese, African and Native American cultures have all been subject to appropriation by influential pop culture icons in recent years in order to accumulate ‘aesthetic‘.


Iggy Azalea
‘s music video to her single ‘Bounce’, has been criticised widely for the cultural appropriation which is evident in the overall theme of the production. Azalea, herself, is very problematic when it comes to appropriation of different cultures but the video in question is one of her biggest blunders. The video begins in Mumbai with Azalea straddling an Indian Elephant and then transitions into scenes of her clad in traditional Indian dress including a Sari and Bindi, with Indian women dancing in the background acting as nothing but props. Meanwhile the track itself has no relation to the culture which is being exploited and includes Azalea adopting a false southern African American accent which in itself is a problem.

The fact that Azalea has demonstrated no understanding of the history and traditions behind the culture which she is representing in her video is what makes it so disrespectful. When asked about her choice of aesthetic she explained the concept of Indian culture as ‘fantasy’ which is nothing but impudent.

Azalea is not alone in the appropriation of Indian culture. Selena Gomez did it with her video to ‘Come and Get it‘, and more recently, Major Lazer came close with ‘Lean On’. Other celebrities such as Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and Kylie Jenner are all culprits of appropriation of Japanese, Egyptian and African cultures all in the name of aesthetic, and have received a significant amount of backlash for their actions.

This current trend of appropriating different cultures while showing a lack of understanding towards the meaning of the practices by such prominent figures is a product of globalisation in the media. The fact that the objects and traditions of certain cultures are seen as exotic, edgy and fashionable but the people of these societies are not recognised is where this concept becomes an issue. The way to combat this issue is to switch appropriation with appreciation and show an understanding of the culture rather than adopting certain aspects to create an aesthetic.

References:

http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-16_u-185_t-493_c-1812/nsw/geography/global-change/globalisation/the-process-of-globalisation

http://mediadiversified.org/2013/08/26/iggy-azalea-the-vmas2013-and-a-culture-of-appropriation/

https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/cultural-appreciation-or-cultural-appropriation/

Media Ownership: ‘No one man should have all that power.’

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Rupert Murdoch

Australia has one of the highest levels of consolidated media ownership in the world. The lack of diversity in terms of where we are able to source our news is an issue that compromises the ideology that Australians live in a democratic country where freedom of information is a given. Media outlets have a duty to remain impartial in order to convey the truths of the world without the influence of ‘the great man‘.

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The limited amount of perspectives that are represented within the Australian media poses a problem to audiences who need to form an opinion on contemporary subjects such as  Australian Politics for example.

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This is a famous representation of control in the media. News Corp, owned by the notorious Rupert Murdoch, published this issue of the Daily Telegraph in relation to the September federal elections back in 2013. This kind of one-sided representation sways audiences in an obvious direction, and the means by which this is done is not subtle. For those who do not realise that their news sources are not being regulated and do not pick up on the fact that these privately owned media corporations are heavily interfering with what is being distributed to the public, the problem becomes real. The brainwashing of readers becomes all to easy as the fact that these representations are biased does not get exposed. Australia, in regards to media ownership, is becoming a state of deception. The above image can certainly be classed as political propaganda.

“Mr Murdoch is entitled to his own view… he owns 70% of the newspapers in this country.” said Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in a press conference on 6th August, 2013. 

Rupert Murdoch represents, for many, the abuse of media power that is so greatly feared within society, But does this only apply to somewhat primitive means of media and communication? I mean, Newspapers and News programs are mediums which are usually only accessed by older generations. The diversity, although it may not be in the ownership of the media, lies in the different and expanding social media platforms. Independently owned and run blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages as well as other web pages have the potential to report on issues that are currently in the news without presenting bias or capitalist influence. Awareness of concentrated media ownership becomes spread through these mediums and promotes investigation into sources as well as teaches audiences to be weary of what it is that they are reading and to be mindful of where their information is coming from.

I personally source my news from radio updates on the government owned radio station Triple J, as well as through facebook posts by news outlets and more recently, blog posts on tumblr. I always try to question the credibility of sources as it’s important to know where our news is coming from and to remain knowledgeable of what is going on in the world.

I’ll leave this post with a very politically incorrect, but still chuckle-worthy video by Australian comedian Neel Kolhatkar displaying his interpretations of the Australian Media.