Media Brainwashing “Everything is Matter…Except Energy, Of Course”

After the BCM110 Lecture plenty of questions popped up for me to consider on this blog’s topic. Who ‘controls’ the media? Why does it matter? Who owns the media I use? What difference does it make? Why should I care? My lecturer, Sue Turnbull talked about ideas of media ownership, various influential figures in Australian media and control serving to their own interests, ‘The Frankfurt School’ and media regulation informatively yet I still came out as puzzled and confused. So in response to that, I decided to tackle the issue on a level that I could relate to and how I can care about who ‘controls’ the media.

Let’s get a little anecdotal. My uncle is a Caucasian wealthy 70+ gentleman, and while I adore him, he does tend to say things like climate change and global warming doesn’t exist, my figure is a little too curvy and if lost weight, I might be pretty. I asked him once why he would think this way, and his reply was ‘Well, I heard it on the radio so I’m leaving my lights on’ and ‘I just want you to find a boyfriend already’. To me, a teenager girl exposed to plenty of body positive content for magazines like Girlfriend and social media blog, Tumblr, I’m not too worried about it and I don’t give in to absurd theories or ideals. However, the fragility of the self esteem and the compelling influence of the media is a real problem our society faces.

Much too often today everyday people see advertisements and their project level on ideals and standards, and as consumers, we subconsciously or not believe them to be true or not. It matters who controls the media, when they are setting such propaganda for their set ideals for beauty perfection and disregarding the limitation and standards of health and the human body. What is all this effort for? Well, beauty standards have been set for the goal of making profit. Corporations thrive on the low self esteem of their consumers and a delusioned need to fit that unattainable idea of perfection. Women never shaven normal body hairs until razors where introduced by magazines like Harper Bazaar and advertisements on summer dresses, early 20th century.

Spot the Difference (Mirror, 2014)

Miranda Kerr as recently set this example of distorted self image in this photoshopped picture. Previously posting the image on the right in November 2012, has edited her photo to show a slimmer waist and uploaded the image on the left to Twitter on 9th April 2014. She has since apologized but her fans, ranging to impressionable young girls may have accepted her ideal to be theirs too.

Reference:

Mirror. 2014. Spot the difference. [image online] Available at: http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article3400774.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Miranda-Kerr-3400774.jpg [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

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When Will My Reflection Show, Who I am Inside?!

In the last few weeks, I found myself incredibly fascinated but cripplingly prone to procrastination. A terrible infection to my education but I’m writing like a madman, to get things done. I’ve learn many interesting things about the media, myself and lessons for life.

In Week 2, Students immediately dived into the nitty-gritty by considering the faults in the media effects model and concepts and theories in communication. I particularly liked this week, because I had to use a bit of psychology to understand the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ idea and the study of violence in children was educational and informative.


In Week 3, our lesson was about the exploration of possibilities of semiotics in reading complex signs and representation. While the confusing definitions of words and try to remember which is which was a challenge, I found that I understood the idea and found it good to learn about because it got rid of my assumptions of one reading of a text and made me a more openminded about the meanings of complex signs.
The topic of week 4, on media ownership, control and regulation and the knowledge of leading media moguls editing information to their own interest, had me puzzling and I found it hard to follow. I understand it now but in writing my blog I got a bit lost. I wasn’t sure about the content I was meant to be writing about and tried to bend the question to fit my issue and case study.
I also really enjoyed Week 6 and learning about the role of media and the notion of a mediated public sphere. I was something I found that I could really relate to and find relevance in my personal life as a content creator on the internet as well.

From my journey through the first year of university, learning in BCM 110 and BCM 112, undertaking a double degree course in Communication and Media with International Studies, I can now look at myself and see some red flags. I realised in week 3 that perhaps this is not my passion and the right course for me even though I genuinely loved this subject, the entertaining and informative lectures by Sue Turnbull, and the lovely easy-to-understand tutorials by Susan Efira. It might not be an accurate analogy but why be an astronomer, when I can be the astronaut. What I’m saying is that, I want to create media content, not study the effects and outcome of media on the audience and how it’s being distributed. I will pursue my passion of film making by transferring to Digital Media. However information I learn here has not gone to waste because now I’ve learnt to be more aware of the effects of the content I create, to consider the multitude of perspectives in the media and the detrimental effects of accumulating work. In the end, I enjoyed myself and know that what I’ve learnt so far might prove to be useful.

Whovians in the Mediated Public Sphere

The popular British science fiction, Doctor Who follows the adventures throughout space and time led by timelord, The Doctor and the companions he invite on the TARDIS. Internationally cultivating worldwide appreciation,  multitude of fans have actively expressed their love for the show by creating content and generating debate in a mediated public sphere.

The 2005 revival held onto its charming storytelling and became a hit, gathering fans, new and old who call themselves ‘Whovians’. With the incoming wider range of representation, the broadcast has incorporated different notions of gender, sexual expression and orientation and races. Some of the modern characters and themes shown has made the Whovians exhibit great gratitude for highlighting these diverse qualities. Some audience identify well with recurring characters like pansexual time agent, Captain Jack Harkness as portrayed by openly homosexual John Barrowman and the African-English aspiring doctor and strong female symbol, Martha Jones played by Freema Agyeman.

(Weheartit, 2014)

We have many different methods of contributing discussion in a mediated public sphere.  By providing this variety of representation that the audiences can identify with, makes them want to also make their own forms of content. We have Sydney pop culture conventions like Smash, as a gathering of fandoms to buy merchandise, dress up in cosplay and if we’re lucky, talk to cast. On an online aspect, Whovians have taken to media platforms such as Tumblr to vocalise their passion by means of fanart, fanfiction and online discussion.

(Tumblr, 2014)

(Youtube, 2014)

Much controversy came with the anticipation of a new doctor to be announced for the 8th series. Many Whovians wanted to see a variety for the doctor rather than cast ‘white males’. Some Whovians wanted a more diverse image of their community to challenge the conventions of the character such as creating a person of colour or woman doctor. However expectations were not met with the reveal of the talented Peter Capaldi. Amongst disappointed and negative responses. Ageist views on the recent casting were brought up as some Whovians commanded a younger doctor for the means of sex appeal, rather than the fresh portrayal of character Capaldi could provide. Capaldi also contributed in a mediated public sphere by submitting fanart and articles to May 1976 issue of the Doctor Who International Fan Club Magazine in his youth. (Veritas, 2014)

(Capaldi, 2014)

Reference:

Capaldi, P. 2014. Dr Who Titles. Doctor Who International Fan Club Magazine.

Tumblr. 2014. Jack, meet the 12th Doctor, (re)meet Jack. [image online] Available at: http://halorvic.tumblr.com/post/81722664355 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Veritas, U. 2014. Oh, nothin’, just some Doctor Who fan art… by Peter Capaldi!?. [online] 1/18/14. Available at: http://observationdeck.io9.com/oh-nothin-just-some-doctor-who-fan-art-by-peter-c-1504177150 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Weheartit. 2014. Captain Jack Harkness. [image online] Available at: weheartit.com/entry/97594512 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Weheartit. 2014. Captain Jack Harkness. [image online] Available at: weheartit.com/entry/97594512 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Youtube. 2014. *SPOILERS* Peter Capaldi is introduced to the world as the next Doctor! – Doctor Who – BBC One. [image online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zim8zL3Q5k [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Venez comme vous êtes to Maccas

When you watch this short clip  (Giannoli, 2014) what do you see? On the surface of the video, we see the interaction between a father and son in France. The boy looks longingly at his class photo and receive a phone call, exclaiming that he misses the one on the other line. The father returns with their meals and reminisces about his youth and the ease in which he seduce the ladies. He says the line “Too bad your class is all boys, you could get all the girls” and his son responds with a sly peaceful smile.

Its pretty easy to decipher the message, Mcdonald’s is trying to portray. A boy is missing his boyfriend, possibly after graduation, and is comfortably in the closet while his father assumes his sexual orientation to be straight and brags about his ability of seduction. Though this is not as certain, we can even imagine different scenarios like perhaps the mother is absent in their lives and a single father is doing his bring his son up, so the son is hiding his homosexuality for now and we can even go so far as to say perhaps, the boy is coming clean and coming out to his father in the restaurant, playing on the words of the title.

Directed by Xavier Giannoli, The commercial is part of the French Mcdonalds’ campaign named as “Venez comme vous êtes”, or in English, “Come as you are” invites their diners to eat in peace and in embrace of their unique individuality. It was a statement of the accepting nature of the Mcdonalds franchise, their establishment’s atmosphere of being a comfortable environment and the understanding of the diverse variety in their French customers.

A variety of reactions came to light to express the different responses to the viral advert. According to Campaign’s web article,  (Banham, 2014) the man of poor journalism and controversial standards of news telling, Billy O’Reilly, known as Fox News anchor, compared the commercial to Mcdonalds encouraging terrorism by asking “Do you think they have an ad for Al Qaeda?”. ABC News (Gomstyn, 2014) has also wrote an article explaining some accusation of hypocrisy by LGBT advocates. Activist, Justin Nelson, the president and co-founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce “They were looking to portray themselves as an advocate of the LGBT community or an ally … when it was completely counter to what their actions here in the U.S. were.”. Another voice asked how a ‘closeted boy’ can assist the LGBT community.

Reference:

Banham, M. 2014. French gay McDonald’s ad causes controversy. [online] 07 June 2010. Available at: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1008289/french-gay-mcdonalds-ad-causes-controversy/ [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Giannoli, X. 2014. venez comme vous etes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SBuKuA9nHsw [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Gomstyn, A. 2014. Gay Group: Don’t Trust McDonald’s Commercial. [online] June 22, 2010. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/mcdonalds-commercial-france-prompts-charges-hypocrisy-us-gay/story?id=10975302 [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].

Conceal, Don’t Feel, Don’t Let Them Know You’re Gay

world-without-books-gifs-imagination

Spongebob demostrating Swanson’s imagination

This past century, the rise of the various forms of media has be accused of the downfall of western society. These many issues all seem to be derived from the entertainment of our modern culture. An good example of this wrongful disapproval is the concept that queer representation of LGBTQA individuals and themes exposed in the media has been taking the blame for the idea of homosexual conversion in youth of today. Some audience members believe that these concepts in media content such as The Fosters, Skins and Spongebob Squarepants are influencing children to have homosexual tendencies and misconceptions of their own identities and sexualities.

tumblr_inline_mzb8ghhrQO1regqev

Elsa unleashing her powers of homosexuality

As demonstrated in David Gaunlett’s 10 Things Wrong with the Media ‘Effects’ Model (1998), Some of the issues for which the media are held responsible are merely based on biased research and flawed assumptions. Statistics are adjusted and amplified to suit the personal opinions of the opposition. This is particularly evident in the The Hollywood Reporter article titled ‘‘Frozen’: Pastor Claims Disney Film Indoctrinates Homosexuality, Bestiality‘. Pastor Kevin Swanson declared “Friends, this is evil, just evil” and accused the hit film of marketing a ‘progressive’ pro-gay, pro-bestiality agenda. Swanson interpreted “Let it Go as a coming out anthem and for her lack of male attraction and romantic relationship, ‘logically’ she must be lesbian. Also Kristoff’s friendship with reindeer, Sven is unnaturally  intimate. Despite his religious and conservative extremist rant, THR reports confirmed he has not seen the film.

The media doesn’t convert youth and endorse homosexual allegiance but in actuality assist in their inner realisation and provides the opportunity to have the suitable role models. According to The HP Alliance article, There’s five important factors of why accurate media representation is important.

  1. The appropriate audience is presented with a stepping stone in the search for their affirmation of identity
  2. It gives youth role models to look up to and relate with,
  3. It expands the community’s assumption of their capabilities in a positive light as opposed to their constant negative media portrayal,
  4. Provides a realistic view of the world’s diversity
  5. Challenges the notion that straight/white/male is ‘normal’ while everything else is ‘other’.

Gauntlett, D. 1998, ‘Ten things wrong with the Media Effects Model’, Approaches to Audiences – A reader, viewed 8 March 2014, http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

Fierro, E, 2013, ‘Media Representation: What It Means & Why It’s Important’, The HP Alliance, viewed 27 March 2014, http://thehpalliance.org/2013/08/media-representation-what-it-means-why-its-important/.

THR Staff. 2014. ‘Frozen’: Pastor Claims Disney Film Indoctrinates Homosexuality, Bestiality, The Hollywood Reporter, viewed 27 March 2014,http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/audio-disney-frozen-pastor-kevin-swanson-homosexuality-bestiality-687939

MSC College Social Staff, 2014, Imagination, Animated Image, College Social, viewed 27 March 2014, http://college-social.com/maroon/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2014/02/world-without-books-gifs-imagination.gif

Swanson: “Frozen” Is Gay, Satanic Propaganda, 2014, radio clip, 12 March, Right Wing Watch, viewed 27 March 2014, https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/138885433

karyn-filmfanatic, 2014, Animated Image, Tumblr, viewed 27 March 2014, https://31.media.tumblr.com/e4ec8e75b88e513aa78e6946da04ddd2/tumblr_inline_mzb8ghhrQO1regqev.gif

prologue.

After agonising over waking up at 6am and dragging myself onto the train in hysterical fatigue, I attended my first day at UOW this Tuesday. It’s always either ‘Sleep is for the weak’ or ‘Sleep is for a week’. Of course, being the night owl that I am, I sacrificed breakfast for sleep and did my makeup on the ride from Sutherland. I’m just classy like that. After enduring my JAPA 243 lecture, I quickly learnt that one does not simply walk into a class with an empty stomach . The combination of silence, sitting in the middle of a room, and a roaring tummy isn’t exactly ideal. Turns out I also didn’t realise that we had to attend ARTS 100 in the first week. How very clever of me.

Now that I’ve established that I’m a dork, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Tiffany Lao. I’m eighteen and it’s my first year at UOW. I’m studying Communication and Media (major in Digital Media) and International Studies (minor in Japanese & International Communication). In 2013, I graduated at Kirrawee High School and went to Enmore Design Centre to do a Screen and Media course. In 2011, I was in Sapporo, Japan as an AFS exchange student for a semester. My interests include YouTube, indie music, all day breakfast, and MBTI psychology. My pet is called Batman. Guess in the comments what he is. Or not, I’m not the boss.

I’m a tad bit concerned about using Twitter. Only used it to stalk Patrick Stump and KickthePJ and various other celebrities occasionally so far. What’s with this whole hashtag thing? Odd confession, It reminds me of burnt hash browns. #waitwhat #idonteven Click here to view my Twitter.

Why am I studying whatever it is that I’m studying? God knows. To not overwhelm myself by concerns of the future and growing up, I tend to distract myself with naps and tv. For now, I just hope I don’t finish work in the last minute and excessively start sentences with ‘I’. My brain is a procrastination station. Try to keep in mind that 99% is hard, but 100% is easy. My one true goal is to become:

I’ve always pictured my life up into this point to be the figurative prologue, the bland foundations of who I am today. Perhaps starting university and these new experiences and lifestyle will mark the beginning of chapter one.