The Glass May Be Thick, But Our Hammers Are Strong

Each time women break through a glass ceiling they seem to be met by another one. This is relevant in the media with women more than often coming up short to their male counterparts. Gender inequality is evident in job opportunities, wages, and even physical appearances. Nevertheless there are many groups working towards closing these gaps.

Blog post, Women Directors: The Coming Tsunami’, by Rob Lowman discusses how and why women are suffering the in film industry. Lowman points out that even though women make up for almost half of the American work force, only a minute group of females work in Hollywood. Men significantly dominate the industry and whilst gender discrimination laws are in place, gender inequality is a continuing issue. This post features on Women Directors in Hollywood, a blog run by men and women who are passionate about achieving gender equality in the film industry. The sites blog posts discuss the issue from every angle and offer a space to praise the work of women in the industry. Education is key to understanding and solving issues. Blogs provide a simple way to reach masses, also allowing reader engagement to create discussion on relevant issues such as gender inequality.

‘Lights, Camera, Taking Action’ is a three part series for The New York Tomes which explores the movement of various women in media and entertainment industries fighting for gender equality. While the article makes it clear that primarily men rule the film industry, it discusses groups such as Gamechanger Films, the Sundance Institute, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, and Women in Film, who are effectively working towards removing the barrier that is stopping women from succeeding. Author, Dargis, discusses the work of Dr. Smith, a researcher at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, at the University of Southern California who primarily works at collating data on the patterns of women working in the film industry. He also explores how these women’s activists groups; particularly Women in Film and the Sundance Institute have joined with Dr. Smith to further explore female directors and establish specific areas where improvements in gender equality need to be made.

The issue of gender inequality remains relevant however the works of these groups encourages a sense of hope for change. It will be a long and hard battle but women aren’t known to give up. The video below made by Buzzfeed presents a scenario where a woman effort at work equals exactly what she’s paid…only 78% of what her male colleague earns. Maybe the real solution is for all women to band together and work out 78%, and see how long the males last?

Resources:

Dargis, M 2015, ‘Lights, Camera, Taking Action’, The New York Times, 21 January, viewed 9 April 2015, <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/movies/on-many-fronts-women-are-fighting-for-better-opportunity-in-hollywood.html?_r=0&gt;.

Lowman, R 2015, Women Directors: The Coming Tsunami, Women Directors in Hollywood, weblog post, 5 March, viewed 9 April 2015, <http://www.womendirectorsinhollywood.com/women-directors-expect-fireworks/&gt;.

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Australians want Game of Thrones episodes BEFORE winter comes

The average person consumes approximately 15 hours of media each day. We are consumed by it; it is how we receive news, communicate, and are entertained, as well as many other things. But what if there was someone controlling what we see, and when we see it? This is known as media regulation and it is causing quite a stir.

Media regulation is defined, as is the control of mass media by governments and other bodies. It serves as a modern debate topic for the entire world, as it affects the majority of us. Strengths and weaknesses of media regulation can be argued, however it is very difficult to determine who is right.

Like many others I am a Game of Thrones fan, however I only joined the phenomena last year. I caught up on the first three seasons very quickly as a friend of mine had bought the box sets. I was extremely disappointed when I found out that she didn’t have the fourth season, as I wasn’t being released on DVD for another several months. I definitely couldn’t wait that long, so I asked around and eventually got my hands on a copy *cough* “off a…umm…friend?” *cough*. The same friend that lent me the DVDs has never watched an episode that has been downloaded online. I would like to say that it’s because she’s against the illegal act and likes to stick by the law, but truthfully she doesn’t know where to find the episodes and feels that working with a disc is a lot easier. So even though she’s been a fan a lot longer than me, I’m up to date before her; this doesn’t really seem fair.

When you live in Australia, you’re not only far away from the rest of the world but you’re behind in a lot of media. If you have pay TV you will eventually get the latest episode of Game of Thrones, nonetheless after the US. For those who only have access to free to air TV, there is no way to watch the series until it is released on DVD, usually 6 months after the TV finale. Media analyst Steve Allen believes that piracy in Australia is likely to continue as 25 to 27 per cent, (2014). With Australia holding the highest capita of downloading the season 3 Game of Thrones finale, ahead of the US and UK, it is no wonder Australia has taken the lead in online piracy.

Australia has just recently been the latest receivers of Netflix. The American based company is an online data base of films and television series. Users pay a monthly fee of $9.99 for unlimited access via internet connection. Netflix has been in America for almost 20 years so it is not surprising Australia’s Netflix content pales in comparison. While we have access to hit shows such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards,  Game of Thrones is not on the list.

According to a study by the Australian Federal Against Copyright Theft, online piracy costs the Australian economy $1.37 billion in lost revenue in a year (Freri, 2011). In an attempt to control and fight online piracy, the Australian Government has recently put forward a discussion paper for public comments on the proposal of legislation, forcing Internet providers to block downloading website. According to the Governments plan, Pirate downloaders could receive warning letters followed later by access restrictions or fines” (2014). While this policy is generally opposed by Internet service providers and consumers groups, copyright holders would have the right to force ISPSs to block downloading sites under court order (Taylor, 2014).

While the Government is definitely trying, these are only plans and ideas. The problem is only getting bigger and more out of control; there seems no immediate solution. While I can see why online piracy is damaging and problematic, it feels as though we are left with no other choice, other than to remain constantly behind. An option many are not okay with. So as long as Australia remains at the back of the line, it seems we will continue to do (almost) anything to jump ahead.

NOTE: While the comic below takes place in the US it represents the struggle of Game of Thrones fane very well.

Sources

Freri, Marina 2011, ‘Piracy costs Australia $1.37 billion a year, claims AFACT’, Delimiter, viewed 13 May 2015, <http://delimiter.com.au/2011/02/17/piracy-costs-australia-1-37-billion-a-year-claims-afact/>.

Reynolds, Megan 2014, ‘Piracy: Australians lead the world for illegal downloads of Game of Thrones’, Mumbrella, viewed 13 May 2015, <http://mumbrella.com.au/australia-leads-way-illegal-downloads-game-thrones-219249>.

Shingles, Marlon 2013, ‘Internet Piracy: Why Australia Leads the Pack’, The Artifice, viewed 13 May 2015, <http://the-artifice.com/internet-piracy-australia/>.

Taylor, Rob 2014, ‘Australia Steps Up Fight Against Online Piracy’, The Wall Street Journal, viewed 13 May 2015, <http://online.wsj.com/articles/australia-steps-up-fight-against-online-piracy-1406800646>.

Don’t Be So Quick To Judge the ‘Selfie’

Todays generation is considered a bunch of narcissists that are so obsessed with themselves they have no concern for social or global issues. Take the ‘selfie’. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is to take a picture of oneSELF. The growth of technology and social media has provided people with the tools to capture their lives and share them with the world. There are valid arguments that the ‘selfie’ is a dangerous phenomenon that encourages the idea that self worth is equal to the approval of others. While these issues may be true it seems only the negative aspects of the ‘selfie’ are highlighted when its positives are just as significant.

On Friday, March 6, 2015 Black Out Day was launched. Using hashtags such as #Blackoutday and #Blackout, the idea was to provide a day of black love all over the Internet by people posting photos, gifs, videos, vines and tweets featuring only people of colour (POC). Beginning as a small idea from a few Tumblr users, the movement gained mass attention with more and more people sharing and reblogging #Blackoutday. Now, this celebration of Black pride, beauty and personal achievements is a monthly 24-hour online event, held the first Friday of every month.

Scrolling through the hashtag on various social media sites it is clear the movement is not about highlighting how pretty someone is, rather about appreciating a group of people that are wrongly judged and mistreated for the colour of their skin. Many contributors to the hastag such as eldiabloszone and slimbit have shared their stories of growing up as a POC. #Blackoutday has reminded them, that their lives matter just as much as anyone else’s.

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slimbi

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eldiabloszone

Similarly charities are using the ‘selfie’ to encourage donations. According to the journal article, ‘Vision charity’s ‘Selfie’ success’ by Optometry Today, Vision Aid Overseas (VOA) raised more than £2,000 in May 2014, by launching Vision Week. Independent opticians, Eyesite, pledged to donate £1 for every ‘seflie’ of someone wearing spectacles, that was posted online with #VisionWeek. A number of celebrities supported the campaign by posting images of themselves in eyewear, with the charity confirming that the initiative received more than 18 million views across all channels.

While there are negative and positive aspects of most things, I think the ‘selfie’ gets an exaggerated bad wrap. It may seem people love themselves more than ever before and are not ashamed to share it with the world in the form of a ‘selfie’, but is it really such a bad thing? The fact that they are aiding charities and creating a movement that helps people feel appreciated and accepted seems pretty amazing to me.

Resources:

Hixson, B 2015, Tumblr’s #Blackout is the most beautiful movement of 2015, Baewatch, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 8 April 2015, <http://baewatch.net/2015/03/07/tumblrs-blackout-is-the-most-beautiful-movement-of-2015/&gt;.

#TheBlackout Team 2015, Official #BlackOutDay Masterpost, #TheBlackOut –Home of #BlackOutDay, Tumblr post, 29 March, viewed 8 April 2015, <http://tumblr.theblackout.org/post/114966275331/official-blackoutday-masterpost-created-march&gt;.

‘Vision charity’s ‘Selfie’ Success’ 2014, Optometry Today, vol. 54, no. 10, p. 6.

Doing the Right Thing The Wrong Way

If you don’t care about animals, you are considered a monster. Cruelty towards animals is fast becoming one of the worlds biggest issues with many fighting for the cause, however, animal activist group PETA have a very unique way of displaying their beliefs. Their ideas and tactics are often considered extreme to the point where many believe they are not doing much good at all.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights NGO in the world. It works through animal rescue, legislation, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns to protect all animals from harm. In July 2010, long time supporter of animal rights, Pamela Anderson released her newest PETA advertisement, encouraging vegetarianism.

The image portrays the nearly naked blonde, posing seductively in a bikini. Her body is marked mimicking a butcher’s diagram with words such as “breast”, “rump”, and “round”. “ALL ANIMALS HAVE THE SAME PARTS – HAVE A HEART GO VEGETARIAN” is the caption for the advertisement.

Nudity isn’t a new territory for Anderson who is well known for her days as a Playboy Bunny. Nor is this a crazy step for PETA, known for pushing the boundaries in advertisement and repeatedly using nudity, to encourage the idea of being ‘natural’. The advertisement is banned in Canada for being “sexist” and treating the actress “like meat”. Standing out is one thing, but being controversial is another. Companies like PETA often blur the two ideas, creating images that question morals and as a result do more damage than help to their initial cause.

In 2013, Renata Bongiorno from the University of Queensland conducted a study to determine whether sexualised images of women reduce support for ethical campaigns. A group of Australian male undergraduates, and a community sample of men and women in the US were showed some of PETAs advertisements. The groups saw either sexualised or non-sexualised PETA ads: ones where women were fully clothed and ones where the women were either in lingerie or in the buff. The results showed that both men and women felt as though the sexualised women were dehumanised and seemed animal-like, and agreed that they were less likely to support PETA’s cause.

While PETAs purpose is to be praised, I think they need to take a step back and ask themselves, if we can’t treat human beings properly, how do we even begin saving animals? While PETA encourages the fact that “All Animals Have the Same Parts” do they believe we ALL have the same rights?

References:

2015, About PETA, PETA, viewed 30 March 2015, <http://www.peta.org/about/default.aspx>.

Price, J 2013, ‘Peeling back the layers, sexist ads don’t work’, Canberra Times, 20 December, viewed 30 March 2015, <http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/peeling-back-the-layers-sexist-ads-dont-work-20131219-2zo02.html>.