Women in the Media

Historically, women have been marginalised and even to this day, women still fight this battle. One area where this is particularly evident is in the media, in the way that women are represented.

Take the film industry for example, women are depicted a number of ways in films, these can include but are not limited to: the girlfriend, best friend, loving wife, victim wife, mother, mother-in-law, the bitch, feminist, princess and slave. Each character is a reflection of a particular female stereotype and the women are usually represented derogatorily.

The negative representation of women is everywhere in the media. Instilling damaging stereotypes and unrealistic portrayals of women in our minds from a young age is the classic example: Disney. The Disney princesses have totally perfect, unrealistic bodies, complexions, hair and the list goes on. These characters have absolutely no ambitions and apparently crave nothing more than a life as a domestic goddess… But who wouldn’t? We see these kind of idealistic characteristics constantly in female personalities, which is why it comes as no surprise that these negative representations translate to reality.

Until these representations of women change and we break through bogus depictions, I think we will be fighting the equality battle for quite some time. Furthermore, it does not help when the media romanticises abuse and sexual assault in the way that Eminem and Rhianna do in Love The Way You Lie, or the film clip to Robin Thicke’s song Get Her Back. Romanticising issues like sexual assault and abuse suggests that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and desirable. It is not, and it is truly unacceptable that women know what precautions to take to avoid being raped. If you’re not familiar, Cat Del Buono’s youtube clip observes one woman’s attempt to follow the many rules all women should follow to avoid getting raped. Because that’s the issue, women aren’t following the rules, so what else should we expect to happen? *Hints of sarcasm*

It doesn’t stop at a ridiculous, long list of rules; todays market offers anti-rape underwear, date rape prevention nail polish, several personal safety apps, and pocket alarms. It’s really reassuring knowing that there are so many handy tips and gadgets to ensure the safety of women… I’m sure you’ll sleep a lot better tonight with that knowledge!

Now, I’m just going to leave this here because Anna does a pretty good job of summing everything up.

Advertisements

Suffering

Suffering is a difficult topic for most people to talk or think about. Let alone enduring it, or even watching someone, or something suffer

Suffering, and the way we deal with it, exposes our vulnerabilities and our greatest attributes. And this is possibly why it is so accepted in today’s society.

All throughout history, suffering has been recorded, and often in these accounts, its victims are a spectacle used to entertain a crowd of cheering and chanting onlookers. Today, we look at pictures, illustrations and read about these events with horror and disbelief. However, I would argue that we haven’t evolved as much as we would like to think we have. We still observe people suffering, all over the world, each and every day. The only difference in how we view suffering, is the way that it is framed. Rather than viewing it publicly – standing around, encouraging violent and dangerous behaviour/activities – we watch it as a newscast, or read about it in newspapers and it is framed as being informative.

Although, when we do watch suffering for enjoyment, it’s framed as sport or entertainment. There are so many platforms – games, music, movies, TV shows, internet etc. – that dramatise and romanticise both the physical and emotional aspects of suffering. With so many devices that enable immediate access to anything we want, we are often surrounded and consumed by the misery, pain and torment that is suffering.

How is it that we condone video games such as Call of Duty where the player is both the killer and the victim, yet we cringe at news stories reporting on the tragedy and fatalities of war? Is it because it isn’t real? Being so frequently exposed to this kind of thing, gradually desensitises us from the real deal.

So the real question to ask, is this all ok?

I think it is ok. We all experience suffering on some level, it is inevitable and it begs us to think and feel. I think the real issue lies with the intentions of those who choose to record and/or view suffering. It is important to ensure that the memory of someone is preserved – to pay respect – and to create a dignified recollection of suffering, not to humiliate.

Digital Research Project

This digital research project focuses on children’s access to, and consumption of digital devices and media, specifically social networking sites. I decided to approach week eights topic (Regulating audiences: what makes this spatial?) after revisiting, and familiarizing myself with each topic. I was curious to know how much time children and adolescents were spending online/on social media and how much of this activity was supervised – if at all- by parents. I questioned whether parents wanted to monitor their children’s activity online and keep track of their location, or if they’d feel – even in today’s tech-savvy world – that this is an extreme measure.

I identified app creators as being a potential stakeholder organisation interested in this kind of research topic. Given applications (apps) are a key feature of today’s digital devices, and the nature of the research (device & media use/access), I believed app creators to be an appropriate target. There are already a number of apps that currently exist, enabling parents to track their child’s location, media usage and conversations across a variety of digital platforms (Tan 2012). However, this research will provide genuine insight and the information required to customize an application that is different to those that currently exist. An app that requires both parties to consent, encouraging open and honest communication between parents and their children.

I began investigating the topic, searching for published opinions to establish some base knowledge that I could build on. I then conducted my own primary research, creating two surveys; one for children and adolescents, and one for adults. Based on the research results, I aimed to develop an understanding of the habits, behaviours and genuine concerns and attitudes regarding children’s access to, and consumption of, media and digital devices. I continued my secondary research, focusing on previously conducted studies and government data/statistics relevant to the topic.

It became apparent that people were less concerned with the media platform or the time spent using it, but rather the actual content children were being exposed to. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (2008) states that ‘content is what determines whether the impact is positive or negative’ and suggest a number of ways to ensure children’s use of media is a positive experience.

The research conducted and design of this project was intended to interest the potential stakeholders and stimulate meaningful discussions and change amongst a large audience. I have attempted to capture the audience’s attention in the first three slides using simple, thought provoking text, complimented by slow emotive music. Slide four suddenly cuts through the music and text with white noise; illustrating how quickly something unexpected can pop up with the click of a button. The remaining slides are mostly informational as they present facts and figures uncovered by the two surveys. Slides five to seven include the findings from the children and adolescent survey: ‘Youth Media Consumption 2014’. Slides eight, nine, fifteen and sixteen reveal the attitudes of parents and other adults from the second survey: ‘Youth Media Consumption 2014: Attitudes and Concerns’.

Although I am pleased with my final project and I feel that it has been successful, I know that it can be improved. Creating digital media isn’t my strong suit, so I struggled finding an appropriate platform that I could use to a certain level of efficiency. Even after coming to my decision, I did face challenges when I was trying to put everything together. I had so much information that I struggled to include all of my findings. This required a very selective process that saw a lot of content being cut out and left behind. In hindsight, I believe a different platform would have been more appropriate, however poor time management and health issues placed time restrictions on the completion of the project, not allowing enough time to make this change.

Upon completing this task, I’ve found I have gained a great deal of knowledge regarding children and adolescents use of media, and how their parents and other adults feel about it. I’ve discovered how time consuming and tricky audience research can be and have developed a newfound respect for anyone who works in this field and that of digital media or graphic design.

Although I think my project could be improved, I do believe I’ve done well to create a cohesive project that ensures a good fit between the idea, presentation and stakeholder.

Please click here to view the presentation.

Reference List:

Tan, K 2012, Top 5 Mobile Apps To Keep Your Kids Safe, hongkiat.com, viewed 26th October 2014, <http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/kid-safety-mobile-apps/&gt;.

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 2008, ‘Children and Electronic Media’, The Furture of Children, vol. 18,no. 1, pp. 1-2 viewed 28th November 2014, <http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/18_01_ExecSummary.pdf&gt;

Digital Project Reference List:

Australian Institute of Criminology 2011, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014 < http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/0/B/6/%7B0B619F44-B18B-47B4-9B59-F87BA643CBAA%7Dfacts11.pdf&gt;.

Australian Institute of Criminology 2012, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014 <http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2012/facts12.pdf&gt;.

Australian Institute of Criminology 2013, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014, <http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2013/facts13.pdf&gt;.

Primary Research (surveys):

Survey Monkey:
‘Youth Media Consumption 2014’
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WSJ5TD5

Survey Monkey:
‘Youth Media Consumption 2014: Attitudes and Concerns’
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S89G7V5

Music:

Dax Johnson – Merciful Dwelling

Sia – Breathe Me (Instrumental)

Time to Reflect

Nine weeks of blogging for BCM240 about media, audience and place, has come to an end. At the end of each blogging task it’s required that we comment and reflect on our work thus far, in some way, shape or form; so that is what I’ll be doing. I hope you agree with me!

At the conclusion of this semester I will have spent about two years blogging on and off for various university subjects. If it weren’t for uni, I don’t think I ever would have engaged with an online blogging platform like wordpress, which requires me to write for an audience and share my thoughts, opinions and findings on a variety of media topics.

So with that in mind, you might understand that I’m still kind of getting my head around the whole blogging situation. I think I’ve come a long way since I started in my first year and semester of uni, but I think there are still areas I need to improve; don’t worry, I’m workin’ on it.
Now I know design is important and I’m sure most people would agree with me when I say that time – hours – can fly by when in search for the right theme, layout, colour & font combination. Presenting my work in a way that is clear, simple and easy to navigate is important to me and I’ve tried to reflect this in my blog design. I don’t particularly like really dark colours or busy patterns so I’ve tried to keep it light and easy to interact with me by linking my twitter account and organizing blog posts by category and using #tagsss. Thus far, I’m pretty happy with my blog design, I’m sure a far more experienced blogger could improve the design, but for my level of experience and involvement, I’d give myself a pat on the back.

However, I probably will never be totally satisfied with my blog name. I’ve always been pretty terrible at thinking of titles for short stories, creative projects and group or trivia names… and my blog title and the title of my posts, are no exception. That kind of thing just isn’t really my forte, so when it comes to giving each of my blog posts a title, the struggle is real. I try to go with one of the first names that come to mind, to avoid overthinking the situation. Overall I think my efforts this session have improved on my attempts in previous subjects. On the topic of names – I’ve noticed many people have interesting blog titles whereas mine is quite simply my name. When creating a blog title I thought this was appropriate, after all it is a compilation of my thoughts and findings but I do wonder if my blog would benefit from having a quirkier name – probably, yes.

In terms of content, blogs require critical thought and analysis. I have attempted to engage with the audience by finding resources that are not only relevant but also interesting. I have made an effort to link articles that I believe add value to my argument, and include photos and videos as a visual aid to illustrate key ideas and support my opinion(s). I have been conscientious when analyzing texts and topics, ensuring my posts consist of original thought and included personal experiences and opinions in an attempt to connect with readers.

It has been brought to my attention that in some of my earlier posts, I failed to reference articles and it was suggested that I use more academic articles. In order to improve my blog and assist readers trying to access resources on topics of interest, I’ve ensured all that all the sources I’ve accessed and mentioned in my blog have been referenced correctly. Furthermore I’ve accessed academic blogs and articles in order to strengthen my arguments and provide an insight into the knowledge of professionals.

One thing I’ve particularly enjoyed about blogging for BCM240, is the weekly topics. Each of the topics relating to media, audience and space have been interesting and relevant to me, not only as a student and researcher of media, but as an ordinary 20-year-old female. I’ve often found myself discussing weekly topics with friends, telling them what I’ve discovered and interested to hear their opinions. If not for this subject, I wouldn’t be talking about these topics in the way that I do now and I wouldn’t be interested in learning more.

I particularly enjoyed writing and researching for my week two blog post, ‘TV? Ah, That Old Thing..’ as I was forced to interview someone close to me about their memories of TV growing up. Although my dad’s memory was a bit sketchy, I found the qualitative research really interesting and would never have made the discoveries I did, if it weren’t for this subject.

I targeted my dad again for my blog post on broadband and the NBN – ‘Broadband has already changed my home. Bring on the NBN’ – and I found his opinions regarding the two, interesting and insightful. This topic also sparked an interest that I had forgotten all about. It had me searching the availability of the NBN in my area, friend’s areas, and considering how the change could affect my lifestyle.

Later weeks post’s touched on issues such as cinema attendance (‘Cinema’s Future’), multi-tasking (‘Multitasking: is it madness?’), and how we manage our time and devices in public spaces (‘Would you be my subject?’). I found each of these topics particularly relatable as I am a culprit of many of the poor habits/behaviours discussed in our weekly lectures and tutorials. These discussions caused me to consider my decisions, behaviours and how I interact with media and devices in both public and private spaces, and question whether they are acceptable. Often I’ve concluded that I am comfortable with the way I currently act, however it has made me more conscious and class discussions and individual research will cause me to make informed decisions about my use of media and devices both in public and private places.

Media Regulation and Children: How much is too much?

As the youngest of five children, I don’t recall a great deal of regulation surrounding my use of media and devices. I don’t think I was ever allowed to watch TV in the mornings before primary school, but that’s mainly because my brother and I would mess around for too long and there wouldn’t be enough time. The Simpsons was fairly off limits, but not because of the content, simply because my mum thought it was a stupid show and didn’t want to have to watch it. Dad on the other hand loved the Simpsons, so if we were home with dad and mum wasn’t around to watch TV, there was no stopping us. Our afternoons were generally spent playing but we would often watch TV as well, as I don’t recall our TV hours being restricted.

At school, games and certain websites were blocked, so our access was fairly restricted. As I got older, I began using the Internet at home; by the age of 10 I was using MSN to chat with friends who I’d just spent all day with at school. I suppose my time on the internet was regulated as our computer was in a communal area of the home and shared between three, so my hours were restricted. When I was in year eight, I got my own laptop which lived in my bedroom so I think it’s fair to say from this point onwards – there was no regulating my online activity.

I suppose it varies from family to family and depends on the setting – home, school, friend’s place – as to how our media consumption and use of devices is regulated. Today with the strong presence of technology and numerous devices making access to media so much easier, it is even more difficult to regulate children’s access to, and use of, media and devices. The age at which children are getting their first mobile phone and access social media sites, seems to be getting younger and younger. My 10 year old niece for example, has her own Facebook account, Instagram and mobile phone – who knows what else! I do know however, that when she first created a Facebook account, she wasn’t allowed to use it, unless under the watchful eye of mum. I assume now that she has her own mobile, things have changed but I say her time on the computer and access to applications would be regulated to a certain extent.

I believe it is important to regulate children’s access to social media and other online platforms as the Internet can be a dangerous place for young, vulnerable people. Furthermore, I think it is important for children to have mobile phones for emergencies and safety reasons, however I think while still in primary school, mobile phone use should be regulated. With over 12million Australians now owning a smartphone (ACMA 2014), children with these phones have the potential to access anything at anytime. When I was in primary school, my brother and I would share a mobile, however there were regulations surrounding its use; it was only for emergencies.

Whilst I strongly believe in regulating children’s use of devices and media access, I also think they deserve some privacy and it is important to know the boundaries. A new app available on android and iPhone, TeenSafe, enables parents to monitor their child’s text messages (even those that have been deleted), Facebook and Instagram activity, without their child even knowing! Although How Life Works (2014) talks up the new app, claiming ‘TeenSafe could be your way to safely and anonymously observe them [your child] without being a helicopter parent. Gee, because I’d much rather my parents sneaking around behind my back and stalking my activity as opposed to actually talking to me about my decision.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.38.07 pm

In my opinion, these kinds of measures are taking regulation of children’s access and use of media and devices too far. It makes me uncomfortable, its an invasion of privacy and I just think it’s wrong. Let me know what you think. Do you think parents and guardians need more applications and tools to monitor and help regulate their children’s access and use of the media and their personal devices?

Reference List:

ACMA Editor 2014, m-Commerce: Mobile transactions in Australia, Research Snapshots, blog post, 24th June, viewed 8th September 2014, <http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/engage-blogs/engage-blogs/Research-snapshots/m-Commerce-Mobile-transactions-in-Australia&gt&gt;.

How Life Works 2014, How to Spy on Your Kid’s iPhone or Android Text Messages, How Life Works, viewed 28th September 2014, <http://www.howlifeworks.com/technology/How_to_Monitor_Teens_Online_and_Texting_Activity_to_Keep_Them_Safe_701?ag_id=1236&wid=F14D5522-75BB-43C6-BA84-97B07EAB380D&did=132&cid=1005&si_id=4569&pubs_source=mpt&pubs_campaign=20140430-1236&gt;.

Multitasking: is it madness?

multitasking-©-Creativa-Fotolia

Multitasking is something we all believe we do quite well. I personally consider myself an expert; I’m almost as good at multitasking as I am at procrastinating. The difference between the two, is that procrastination is a ‘universal state of being for humans’, and those who can manage delay are ‘more successful and happier’, according to Frank Partnoy in an interview with Smithsonian. Whereas only about 5% of people can multitask effectively, as for the other 95% of people, there have been several studies that prove the ‘negative effects of multitasking in learning environments’. As a student, who believes I can multitask – this is very bad news.

A study involving 62 students was conducted to test the effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. All students were to attend the same lecture; half were to turn their phones off while the other half were allowed to text during the lecture, and all students were to complete the same test at the conclusion of the lecture. Ellis, Daniels & Jauregui (2010) found that performance of student’s texting during the lecture was significantly worse than that of the students who were not.

This is actually terrible news for me as a student who takes both a laptop and mobile phone into lectures. Although I’m not disappointed in my performance, I now know that I am not achieving my full potential due to my ignorance… great.

Anyway – carrying on – the study extended the analysis to gender. We all know the old saying that claims men can’t multitask whereas women can, right? Yeah, well it turns out that’s totally wrong; the results showed, and I quote, ‘that there is no significant difference between the quiz scores of males versus females’ (Ellis et. al. 2010). I know, again, this is horrible news for me and I’m sure I’m not the only one to be surprised by this information. If you don’t believe me, just see for yourself.

After learning this new information, I couldn’t help but stick to my beliefs of women (generally) being the superior gender when it comes to multitasking. Considering this study relates specifically to students learning capacity, I decided to look a little further. I came across a study conducted by Timo Mäntylä whereby participants ability to multitask was assessed using a computerized task comprising four component tasks. The study basically found that gender differences reflect spatial ability and that ‘participants with efficient updating functions were better multitaskers than participants with less-efficient control functions’ (Mäntylä 2013). These people were generally males as results suggest that men outperformed women on three counter tasks. And again, this has been very difficult to comprehend. I went in search of evidence to support my cause and found the results proved the total opposite to what I desired. I give up.

So as I sit here, eating my breakfast, reading articles, responding to text messages, refreshing my Facebook feed and writing this blog… I raise my first, shaking it in the air and say, ‘you don’t know me, science!’ Because really, as Ellen highlights in this clip below, there are plenty of ways that we can multitask, and I don’t think it always has the capacity to negatively impact productivity or the outcomes of a task. Anyway, I think I’ll stick to this belief, even if it means I’m living my life in denial from now on, just pretending that I’m one of minority who can multitask effectively, just to justify my decisions.

Reference List:

Ellis, Y., Daniels, W. and Jauregui, A. (2010), ‘The effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students’, Research in Higher Education Journal, no. 8, viewed 9th September 2014, <http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/10498.pdf&gt;

Gambino, M 2012, Why Procrastination is Good for you, Smithsonian, viewed 8th September 2014, <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-procrastination-is-good-for-you-2102008/?no-ist=&amp=&onsite_medium=internallink&page=2&gt;.

Mäntylä, T 2013, ‘Gender Differences in Multitasking Reflect Spatial Ability’, Psychological Science, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 514-520

Weimer, M 2012, Students Think They Can Multitask. Here’s Proof They Can’t, The Teaching Professor Blog, blog post, 26th September, viewed 8th September 2014, <http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/multitasking-confronting-students-with-the-facts/ >.

Would you be my subject?

According to ACMA, in May 2014, 12.07 million Australians owned a smartphone. So, it isn’t surprising that the majority of people I see alone, and sometimes in groups, at train stations, cafes, and other public places, are passing time plugged into their phones. I know I’m guilty of this anti-social behaviour, so I’m not one to judge, but it does make me wonder why and what are we’re all doing?

So many people in my generation have entered their lives as independent people with the comfort of a mobile phone, be it smart or ordinary. It has acted as a safety net for many – call if you’re in trouble or play on it if you’re feeling awkward/uncomfortable – I suppose this explains why many of us find it difficult to part with it when we’re alone or in an unfamiliar place. We feel vulnerable, so we turn to our little smartphone friend for comfort. It could be to avoid awkward conversations with strangers, small talk with people we don’t know all that well or just because we’re used to it and don’t really know how else to escape the silence or fill the time… or you know, you’re just really busy and sitting at a train station is the only time you have to respond to emails and messages.

I often sit in public spaces (if I’m having lunch by myself at the mall, for example) and look around, observe people, their behaviours and wonder what they’re doing. I know this sounds a little creepy, but it really can be fascinating. Something I always notice is the amount of people holding their phones and using their phones. I wonder if people feel obliged to use their phones in public because it’s just what everyone does now, and if you aren’t on your phone, then what are you doing? But that’s exactly what I’m curious about… What are you people doing on your phones? And all of you sly guys just holding it tightly in your little fists… why?

I’m concerned that thewelcome-to-public-transportation-ill-be-your-guidese people are likeminded and that they’re doing exactly the same thing as me. You see if I am using my phone in public, generally I’m simultaneously on patrol for any unusual or humorous behaviour, interesting wardrobe choices, or just anything I deem comedic value. If I’m not using my phone, you can bet that it’s close by to ensure I don’t miss any quality video or photo opportunities. I’m sure that all the people I see just holding their phones when they’re sitting or walking around in public, are also preparing for the inevitable slip up.

I’ve never had much of an issue photographing or filming something I find funny in public. I suppose I feel like a bit of a creep at times and depending on the situation, sometimes mean, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought ‘I should ask this person’s permission’. If anything I’m thinking, ‘oh god, I hope this person can’t tell I’m taking a photo right now’, or wondering if I’ve forgotten to turn my flash and sound off to avoid being caught out. I think you can guess that when I challenged myself to confront my subjects and ask for their permission, I just couldn’t.

I’ve thought about positions being reversed, and how I would feel if I were the subject of some ones hilarious photo from a day out in public. I don’t think I would mind all that much, sure it’s embarrassing but if someone has taken my photo for the same reason I take photos of people – then I probably deserve it and wouldn’t mind seeing the photo myself.

I think the context is extremely important when photographing or commenting on things seen in the public sphere. When I consider my actions in pubic places, I actually think it is acceptable, because I would be comfortable with the roles being reversed. However, the fact that I don’t feel comfortable confronting people and asking their permission suggest that I know it is unethical and shouldn’t be doing it.

With all this in mind, I’m still going to continue my usual habits in public, guilt free. Tell me what you think about taking photos of people in public unknowingly. Do you think it is acceptable and how far is too far?

Reference List:

ACMA Editor 2014, m-Commerce: Mobile transactions in Australia, Research Snapshots, blog post, 24th June, viewed 8th September 2014, <http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/engage-blogs/engage-blogs/Research-snapshots/m-Commerce-Mobile-transactions-in-Australia&gt;.