MEDIA & COMMUNICATION

Posts tagged ‘BCM110’

Final words to BCM110 Blogging!

It has been a 7 week full of challenging adventure, for me while studying BCM110 with my lecturer Faizal, who have been very friendly and helpful throughout this time. I knew from the very first lecture that I would enjoy this subject, also made me so excited and willing to attend for the lecture every Monday, wondering what interesting topic Faizal have in store for us for the week. What mainly caught my interest in BCM110 is the involvement of discussions in relation to social media (facebook, twitter), internet (YouTube my favorite) and all sorts of talks about media in everyday life throughout our study in understanding media and communication practices.

I have learnt many concepts and theories about understanding the operations of media in society during this time. The various thoughts about media issues from different perspectives and discussing topics from media myth busting, semiotics, image cannot lie, to watching Miley Cyrus transformation videos: this subject has helped me enhance my knowledge in media. Furthermore to say, the weekly blogging has built up my media presence as a confident writer.

The most interesting concept that I came across during my study of BCM110 is the moral panic: children and the media. People say Media is a way which makes parents aware on how to raise their children and educates in how to overcome child behavior problems and protect them. However, does it happen to anyone to realize that the media is actually the medium by which children are being represented and exposed by trying to “create awareness”? The movie 17 Again highlights good moral values like:

  • the importance of appreciating what you have and making the most of it
  • true love and family, and the sacrifices
  • standing up for yourself, for others and for what you believe
  • self respect and confidence, being yourself and being proud of who you are.

While it also illustrates a lot of inappropriate behavior that parents would not likely want kids to imitate, like:

  • bullying
  • underage drinking and use of drugs
  • teenage sex and partying
  • peer pressure.

Having the chance to share my writings with colleagues and others through the blogging has given me more strength and confidence with my voice and opinions. Furthermore, having the opportunity to read and comment on other blogs; this subject has made us generate our own “meditated sphere”, providing support and feedback to each other. I’ll say good bye now – of course not forever, only just for blogging. I am still on my journey, eager to explore other various exciting adventures of BCM110 ahead in line. However, I will always look back to my blog and be proud of what I have created.

Moral Panic – Children and Media

In today’s generation, high school teens with a cell phone in their hand, a tablet in their bags or a laptop in their room aren’t much of a shocking issue. Parents allowing teens’ engagement in social media and other network technologies can cause deep impact on their behavior and their understanding of what is morally right or wrong. The representation of children in the media and how it changes their lives are one of the top extreme debates discussed in the mediated public sphere today.

The youngsters often try to imitate the behaviors of adults, modeling them as their idols. As mentioned in the book It’s Complicated, by Danah Boyd, the teens continue to occupy an awkward position between childhood and adulthood, dependence and independence. Although kids watch their parents as models while growing up, they tend to follow celebrities like Kim Kardesian, Lady Gaga or Justin Beiber, to imagine the freedom of fame.

To begin, take Miley Cyrus for example, a teenage Disney star turned whatever you’d prefer to call her now. Miley may have lost a lot in the way of respect and dignity, yet it hasn’t lowered the teen’s audience for her music, namely the music video for her most recent single, Wrecking Ball. The fact of removing The Grand Valley State University’s wrecking ball sculpture also is a proven example of the effects on teens of this music video.

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photo credits to Johnny Micheletto

The case study I focused as a moral panic for children and the power of media is the comedy movie, 17 Again, starring Zac Efron, who have captured all teens heart in his famous HSM1-3. Kids and teens will definitely be asking to see Zac Efron after watching his first movie HSM targeted to children. The movie is about a man, whose life didn’t turn out as he hoped and wishes he could go back to high school and change it. He wakes up one day and is seventeen again and gets the chance to change his life. The movie focuses on how he struggled to reunite his separated family through a miracle second chance of coming over as a teen in the present.

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photo credits to chiaraaaa4

Although the movie has Zac’s familiar signature moves in HSM, his role in 17 Again has proven that he is moving on and grown up. 17 Again marked as PG-13 is more towards adults, tackling adult issues and showing teens in a not so healthy path.

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photo credits to WarnerBros

Despite the general messages this movie gives highlighting the importance of the present life, self-respect and confidence and not taking family for granted; it also shows a lot of inappropriate behavior that parents would not likely want kids to imitate. Zac punching out a school bully and lecturing the class on self-denial as condoms are being handed out by the teacher during his class. Kids in the movie bully each other, party, and make out. The girls in the movie wear sexy clothing and are extremely forward with the boys (one girl hits on a boy promising, “You don’t even have to remember my name”). Do you think after watching this movie, children may question about acts like sex before marriage, getting pregnant, condoms, bullying, partying?

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I believe that the media should take this issue seriously because children’s over-exposure to certain subjects can have a huge impact on them. Although it may not be every teen who watches this type of movie turns out to be ethically bad, the chances of a teen following these acts after watching these films are more than before watching them.

Reference:

It’s Complicated, Danah Bloyd, The Social Lives of Networked Teens, pp17-18

The Ellen DeGeneres Show – A Popular Mediated Public Sphere

What is a public sphere? It is a term that used to describe the virtual space where people interact with conversations and ideas. It is said by Habermas, a place where people exchange ideas and discuss issues, in order to reach agreement about ‘matters of general interest’. However, it is impossible for a million of people to sit in one place and exchange discussions.

“When the public is large this kind of communication requires certain means of dissemination and influence: today, newspapers and periodicals, radio and television are the media of the public sphere.” (Habermas, 1997:105)

Media is the most powerful tool for the formation of Public opinion and views in modern times. It is the Television, the press, the radio and the Internet that has brought an enormous effect and therefore impact on various parts of private and public life. It has become an important type of leisurely activity and entertainment in our lives. We talk about super heroes, TV presenters, singers, etc all the time and we try to be and act more like them every day making them our new best friends.

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[Source]

An example of a ‘popular’ media that has caused debates in this mediated public sphere is The Ellen DeGeneres Show often known as Ellen, An American television daytime talk show. Hosted by a comedian/ actress, Ellen DeGeneres , the show is the daytime destination for laughter and fun. Ellen has been making audiences laugh all over the world with her unique brand of humor and her powerful message of kindness, making the audience forget their troubles and enjoy the conversation. She allows the guests to engage in entertaining and thoughtful discussions on topical issues of the day.

The show features various mixtures of celebrity interviews, musical performers, audience participation, and also focuses everyday people with extraordinary stories and talents. Ellen relates hilariously awkward stories of her first meetings with celebrities she admires and other embarrassing situations when Hollywood’s superstars and Ellen get together. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” continues to be a destination for biggest stars of television, music and film industry. Guests have included, Justin Timberlake, Steve Carell, Lady Gaga, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bill Clinton just to name a few.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has attracted a massive audience, drawing 3.5 million viewers daily and has won several awards throughout its 11 years (The show has won 36 Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2013), it has been classified as a popular media with characters mentioned by McKee on a public sphere:
-too trivialized
-too commercialized
-relies too much on spectacle
-too fragmented
-it causes citizens to apathetic

Being a popular mediated public sphere, I believe the show is quite feminized and spectacular. It talks more about trivial stuffs like ‘The cupcake kid gets his cupcake’, just to bring laughter to the audience, rather than talk about serious rational issues. (But what television show doesn’t!) Nevertheless, it also has audience participation games where prizes are awarded. This catches more of the shows audience having more women for the show than men (although the number of men isn’t less here even).

Since the show has become so popular, it is really hard for a person to get a chance to be inside the studio after waiting for so long in the queue. Moreover, the audience who gets the chance to be in the studio, are just for taping and they get to see the episode off-stage. Even then, the audience never gets any lesser. Why? Why are people so caught up in these shows? Does it have important information that they need? Is it helping them in their daily life?

Cos people are “more interested in unimportant news about celebrities, diets, and sex tips than about really important, serious political issues” (McKee: 2005)

 

References:

McKee, A, 2005, ‘Introduction: the public sphere: an introduction’ in Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-31.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_sphere

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ellen_DeGeneres_Show

Black or White, Racist?

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Photo credits to Trent Bigelow

 

A billboard advert of Sony that features a stern white model clutching a black by the chin might not be the best way to convince consumers to buy an ‘all-white PlayStation Portable’ instead of the original black model. Due to the global values on racism, the representation of the white woman threateningly grasping the black woman by jaw makes the advert more controversial. It unbolts massive avenues of interpretation, creating more emotional connotations of powerful racial perception.

“You (the black) have no room”, “I (the white) am more powerful” or “White, shoving black out of existence” are some of the things people would think when gazing to the advert. Looking to the signifiers used in this controversial image, it mainly uses black and white colors as a whole. The posture of two women models, one in white and one in black are used as a major target, filling most space in the advert, forces eyes to be fixed to them at first glimpse. The white woman demonstrates a more modern and stylish character, wearing only a blazer on top with a low-bottom pant, revealing some of her bare body, whereas the dark woman wears a fully covered black jacket, illustrating a less fashionable character. The use of white in her clothes and hair also accentuates the color white for the woman and also same for the black model.

The slogan: “PlayStation Portable White is coming”, appearing at top left corner along with a small picture of a white PSP at the bottom, only gives the idea then where the advert is all about a playstation. By investigating the connotations derived from these signifiers, it can be proven that this is a highly controversial material. The advertiser tries to convey the audience about their new version of PSP model coming soon, with a complete change of its original color.

The signifiers, despite that the ad imply as a harmless personification of the handheld console’s two available colors, and that it had no other message or purpose beyond their remit of promoting the ceramic white PSP, people all around have already deemed the advert racist – no matter what way it has been looked and no matter how unintentional it was. The Game Industry International has stated that Sony had withdrawn the campaign relenting under pressure.

“Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP, we recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign” Sony’s statement.