Reflection- where it all started

From the beginning of the BCM110 subject, it was clear I was somewhat bewildered by the fact that our assignments were going to be based around blogging. However, six weeks on, I think I have finally grasped the concept and allowed myself to delve further and further into the research of this multidimensional ongoing process that is the media.

Being bombarded with new ideas, theories and concepts from the weekly lectures that have served as the basis for our blog posts, I have been able to gain a greater awareness of the media and its underlying impact.

It was the first week that I was introduced to the ‘media effects model,’ which is what my first post stemmed from. By getting myself familiar with the model, I was able to develop a basic understanding of the media, and its impact on society. With this, I was able to come to my own conclusions about the media’s impact on individuals, and its accountability on human behavior.

The second week saw the introduction of new key concepts, including the study of semiotics and the underlying denotations, connotations and ideologies.Personally, this was the most interesting for me, as we were allowed total freedom to pick any controversial text/image. I was able to fully immerse myself into research, finding that every image connotes something, whether that be subconscious or intended.

The lecture about media ownership proved to be the most perplexing. While it never occurred to me, who actually controls the media, the video that was shown discussing the interrelated players in the Australian media landscape, was quite complex. I always knew there were key stakeholders, like the Murdoch and Fairfax’s families that had a substantial input in our media saturation, but I never actually realised their ideologies were also being forced into the public sphere.

Ah, the public sphere. My final blog post related to the mediated public sphere.Once I had gotten my head around the control of the media and public sphere. I was able to better understand what actually defines the ‘public sphere.’ (Habermas helped me achieve this.)

The final topic, ‘children and the media’ recapitulated the role media plays in society and the repercussions it has left on the younger generation. The lecture raised discussion about the media’s frequent play on the sexualisation of children, as we discussed the evolutionary representation of Miley Cyrus.

I was yet again introduced to another intriguing concept known as ‘moral panic,’ which has been applied to the growing debate about the media’s damaging influence on individuals, and the media ultimately promoting casualties in society. Conclusively this lecture helped relate everything I have learnt in bcm110.

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Too Modern For Some…

 

ModFamwrapup

(source: google images)

The public sphere is defined by Habermas as “a domain of our social life where such a thing as public opinion can be formed (where) citizens… deal with the matters of general interest without being subject to coercion… (to) express and publicize their views. (Mckee, 2005)

 The emergence of the American sitcom Modern Family is just one example of a media text that has led to significant debate within the mediated public sphere. The 2009 premiere on ABC saw 12.6 million viewers tune into the program, and it has since gone on to receive critical acclaim. But the acclaim to which the television show has seized is undeniably because of the way in which the show deviates from the norm, challenging society’s perceptions of what the term ‘family’ really means. The show follows the story of three interrelated families in a mockumentary like manner. There is the somewhat stereotypical traditional family, consisting of a mother, father and their three children. There is another family consisting of a sixty-year-old man and his youthful hispanic trophy wife and her son. And the third family, being the most taboo for prime time television, comprising of two homosexual men raising their adopted daughter. The controversy that has arised is undoubtedly because the show connotes today’s dysfunctionalities in families, rather than painting a perfect picture.

 The show accentuates issues that are relevant in today’s multidimensional families, which has in turn led to debate within the public sphere. Modern family embraces issues such as gay marriage and adoption, it emphasizes the changing patterns of family and the deterioration of the once ‘typical’ nuclear structured family. Co-creator of modern family, Steve Levitan believes, “audiences are definitely more open to a gay couple in a sitcom than they were 10 years ago,” (Raphael, 2010) however the blossoming relationship between these gay men still seems as if it’s just too much for some viewers.

 While it was always the shows intention to express the complexities of family, “preserving the ideal of the family as conflicted, but functioning,” (Feiler, 2011) it is completely up to the viewer how they perceive the television show, controversial or not. However, as the show continues to play on “simmering topics of sexuality, technology and dysfunction,” (Feiler, 2011) it will only continue to cause a stir for some within the mediated public sphere.

And I will leave you with this, despite what constitutes a family, whether that be a nuclear structured family, blended family, or gay couple, don’t the core values remain the same regardless of family structure. So why the debate??

 

 

References:

Feiler, B, 2011, What ‘Modern Family’ Says About Modern Families, NY times, viewed 6 April 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/fashion/23THISLIFE.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1396869649-A326CWVAWnuuwqOwgPLUlA

Mckee, A 2005, An Introduction to the Public Sphere, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-31

Raphael, A, 2010, Modern Family: the dysfunctional domestic sitcom that’s officially funnier than 30 Rock and Glee, The guardian, viewed 6 April 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2010/oct/02/modern-family-30-rock-glee

“There is so much freedom – there are no boundaries”

At the single touch of a button, we have the ability to contribute and interact with the public world. Today, as users of social media, we are not just consumers, absorbing the continual transmission of information. We have become producers of media content, contributing to the discourse that’s dispersed into the public sphere by a number of user-generated media platforms. Instagram is just one social media site that has helped initiate the transition from monologic to dialogic media. This shift towards dialogic media has ultimately helped facilitate conversations, rather than just producing the production of information (Moore, 2014).

The success of instagram comes down to its ability to encourage user participation through ‘posting’, ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on photos. With this growth in user-generated platforms, there has been an overall increase in consumption, with Instagram just recently hitting 200 million users. Nowadays users can quite simply upload a photo instantaneously, without having to go through any sort of regulations or censoring, which has in turn led to the decline in the process of gatekeeping.

Instagram and other social media platforms have essentially served as a voice to the public, by helping promote citizen journalism. It has allowed users to become engaged in media saturation, using these platforms as outlets of self-expression. Besides the app being used for personal purposes, it also serves as a powerful marketing and advertising tool. The ability to take “pictures and short films that transmit rapidly” (Gordon, 2007) has undeniably heightened consumer access.

It is this ubiquitous connectivity from social media platforms that allows users to constantly stay in touch with the wider world. Media and technology is both a never-ending cycle of progression. Users will continue to use instagram and many other social media sites to contribute to the production and flow of content. It is new technologies like Instagram that are ultimately challenging the once conventional paradigms of information.

References:

Gordon, J, 2007, The Mobile phone and the Public Sphere, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, Vol 13, pp.307-319

Instagram, 2014, Press News, viewed 2April 2014, http://instagram.com/press/

Moore, C 2014, Tuesday BCM112 Week. 5 Lecture 5 “Audiences: Power, Access and Participation”, 1 April 2014.

Whoever controls the media controls the mind…

Within the Australian Media landscape, there are a few key stakeholders that hold total control of what is dispersed to the general public. This control of media content has ultimately contributed to the censoring of factual information, which has in turn led to the debate of the media’s incompetency to publish honestly and objectively. The media industry, in my opinion has become a fabricated industry, with the controlling powers dictating what the public should and shouldn’t be exposed to, in light of their own motives.

Media moguls, such as Rupert Murdoch, are exploiting their power in media to disseminate their ideologies into the public realm. The Murdoch Media Empire is the largest Media Company in the Australian market, with News Corp having shares of 70% in Australian newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and the Australian. With Rupert Murdoch’s ascendancy not stopping here, but extending internationally. Murdoch also has control of one third of the media market in Britain, holding ownership of three of the largest daily newspapers.

MurdochAbbottPuppet

Source: (Horton, 2013)

Why does this matter?

With Murdoch’s voice dominant in almost all of Australia’s media, the Australian public are only being exposed to a distorted perspective, much like propaganda, or “the gospel according to Rupert” (Horton, 2013).An example of this can be seen from a political stance,“the Murdoch’s 70% media holdings can be turned into 100% control of political discourse” (Horton, 2013).Murdoch not only has a significant impact on elections, but also has the ability to make or break British politicians, unless they conform to his standards.Conclusively, everyday people are being exposed to this “neo-conservatism ideology and his absolute determination to destroy left-of-centre-parties – Labor and the Greens” (Horton, 2013).

Like Murdoch, other media stakeholders have also used their power to exploit what is published, which has generated an almost always skewed and biased view. It is these powerful individuals like Murdoch, that understand that regardless if their information presented is accurate or not, once the message gains authority, media outlets undeniably feed off each other, and it will subsequently become breaking news.

In this media driven society, there has been a loss of integrity, not just from our media sources and those that control it, but also from the greater public, who don’t seek the facts anymore. Society has become more credulous, rather accepting what is being broadcasted without considering the validity or looking for justification.

 

References:

Beder, S, 2003, The media owner influence, viewed 30 March 2014, http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/STS218/media/ownership/influence.html

Goncalves, R, 2013, Factbox: Who owns what in The Australian Media, viewed 30March 2014, http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2012/06/22/factbox-who-owns-what-australian-media

Horton, D, 2013, Rupert Murdoch’s journalistic cancer, viewed 30 March 2014, http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/rupert-murdochs-journalistic-cancer,5346

 

“More of a Lolita than Lola”

Designer, Marc Jacobs is one known for pushing the boundaries or at the very least calling on his daring and provocative nature to make a name for himself and be long remembered in the fashion industry.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 11.17.02 AM

Source: (Jones, 2011)

The release of the Oh Lola Campaign, featuring 17-year-old actress Dakota Fanning caused a stir when it went to print in early 2011.  The publication reveals Fanning posing in a pink polka-dot dress, while resting a bottle of Oh lola perfume on her lap. For some, this image simply looks as it seems, a young girl in a pretty pink dress, promoting a product. However, interpretations vary, and some may be aware of the connotations that the image suggests. One can argue that the image displays fanning, as a sexual object and connotes the wrong message to girls in society. The sexual imagery and provocative manner in which Fanning is represented is simply far too sensual for some and denotes the media’s frequent play on the sexualisation of young girls, as mentioned in the “Lolita effect.” 

So what makes this image so controversial that caused it’s cut. Is it the positioning of her body, the short dress, the immaturity, or the phallic placement of the perfume bottle? Or does it just overall degrade women.

After being published in numerous highly renowned magazines, Britain had banned the ad in November 2011. The Advertising Standards Authority declared the publication was “sexually provocative” (Jones, 2011) because of the positioning of the bottle and stated that fanning “looked under the age of 16” (Jones, 2011) and thus was irresponsible for insinuating the sexualisation of a child. However, Coty, the makers behind Lola stated that the image should not have been deemed inappropriate because it did not show her body in a sexual manner, yet they did express that the image was somewhat “provoking, but not indecent.” (Bergin, 2011)

Regardless what the intention was behind the innocent portrait that suggests something sexually alluring, we all know that the same message can be interpreted in different ways. This undeniably leaves the connotations completely up to viewer. However, there is no doubt that Marc Jacobs thought about the controversy that would arouse and used this to his advantage. After all, he knows what sells……

 

References:

Athon, A, 2012, Rhetorical Analysis of ‘Oh, Lola!’ by Marc Jacobs, viewed 22nd March 2014, http://eng2070-taylorcarpenter.bgsu.wikispaces.net/file/view/Rhetorical+Analysis+Marc+Jacobs.pdf

Bergin, O, 2011, Dakota Fanning’s Oh, Lola! advert for Marc Jacobs is banned, Telegraph Uk, viewed 22nd March 2014, http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/columns/olivia-bergin/TMG8876913/Dakota-Fannings-Oh-Lola-advert-for-Marc-Jacobs-is-banned.html

Jones, N, 2011, Marc Jacobs’ Oh Lola ad banned in UK, viewed 22nd March 2014,   http://www.wwd.com/beauty-industry-news/fragrance/marc-jacobs-oh-lola-ad-banned-5358741

The role of Media on Human behaviour

Media in all its forms has always been under scrutiny for its ability to indoctrinate society’s perceptions.  The excessive consumption and immense power in which the media showcases, has in turn led to people accusing the media and more specifically content such as violence as a major societal issue. The growing anxieties about broadcasting violence has led to the debate of media ultimately influencing human behaviour.

Albert Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment is just one study that has proven that individuals do, in fact, mirror behavior. The study demonstrates that children learn through observing adult behavior after witnessing the interaction with an inflatable doll. The imitation of behaviour revealed that children attacked the doll in an identical manner to adults.  This again generates another idea. Can the media be held accountable for inducing what some children may think is acceptable? When in actual fact it is not. Or does it come down to the media’s impact on the child and their own circumstances.

Despite the fundamental flaws evident in “The media effects model”, it does tackle some intriguing points. The Media cannot merely be held accountable for some peoples actions, as human behaviour involves a number of ‘biological, developmental and environmental factors, which have contributed to levels of aggression’, and thus leaving the media incapable of being the sole reason for influencing behaviour.

George Gerbner so too explores media as a liable cause for increased violence, ‘we are awash in a tide of violent representations unlike any the world has ever seen before…. Drenching every home with graphic scenes of expertly choreographed brutality.’ And while this may be true, I believe it’s more accurate to point out the fact that living in the 21st century has brought about media saturation, with society immersing itself into all things technological. And as a consequence, has left society in a contention to somewhat accept this constant discloser of violent content.

While their will always be a negative stigma associated with the media’s portrayal of violence, it is unfit to presume that media alone is what shapes public thought.

Gauntlett, D. 1998, ‘Ten Things Wrong with the ‘effects model,’ accessed 16th March 2014, http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

McLeod, S .2011, Bobo Doll Experiment, accessed 16th March 2014, http://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html