Reflecting on the media

Time flies when you’re having fun, an appropriate phrase, for a subject such as this. I must say that BCM110 has been by far my most favoured subject; it kept me interested and craving for more. Through this journey I have deepened my understanding of media and its effects on society and myself, although I had a brief understanding on the topic I wasn’t truly aware of the effect of the media’s coverage control has over us, my new-found knowledge of the concentration of the media ownership has made me more critical when reading articles or watching news. As for blogging, I have always considered it but never thought I would actually be able to, this helped me find my voice and force it into printed words bare and naked for the world to see. Through the weeks I have realised that media has especially built it focus on the portrayal of children in the media and the influence they have on their impressionable minds and the general viewers.

10-year-old Thylane Loubry Blondeau appearance in French Vogue magazine in 2011 triggered a great debate amongst the general public and government regarding the sexualisation of children in the media. The main argument constantly being thrown around being, ‘children are growing up to fast’. It was constantly being said that magazines were equalising children and portraying them in and making you look at them in a very adult way, Loubry’s mother fought back by saying” my daughter is not even naked, lets not exaggerate”.  In saying this give anyone an image and tell them to look at it a certain way and they will. Paul Miller, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University in Phoenix says that “research clearly shows that the fashion industry affects girls and women’s images of themselves and their self-esteem if they do not meet the industry ‘image’ that is currently in vogue,” this can also be said about celebrities especially those transitioning from child start into adult such as Miley Cyrus.

The once Disney star Miley Cyrus is constantly being shown in the new for one reason or another. People (especially parents) are constantly throwing accusations at her saying that she is being a bad role model. To this Miley states that she never claimed to be a role model and she represents the rare group of girls who simply don’t care what others thinks and view that as something she is proud of and will stand by’. Although her actions may have gained a lot of negative feedback she is definitely no longer seen as a child! Mission accomplished! In my opinion although media may be impressionable in some ways I disagree that we should wholly blame it for our actions. No one is being forced into being a certain way. In the end it comes down to the parenting and morals that have been instilled into us.



Moisse, K 2011, 10-Year-Old Model’s Grown-Up Look: High Fashion or High Risk?, viewed 13th april



The Gruen Sphere


Since the 18th century the public sphere has been a place in which citizens come together to discuss and debate common interests, ideas and opinions unrestricted and without influence from the media or government where as the mediated public sphere is where the media (TV shows, film, magazines, etc.) plays a role in hosting the topics in which the publics opinions bounce off.Cultural theorist Jürgen Habermas (1964, p. 289) defines the public sphere as “a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed”

One such example of where the mediated public sphere is displayed is The Gruen Planet. This is a spinoff series on ABC (from The Gruen Transfer) that focuses on advertising, corporations, governments, global media strategies and their public relations. This show is filmed in front of a live audience and though they are not asked on their opinions or to present questions they do participate where they are provoked into thinking about what is being advertised, why and how effective it is.

The show creates intense discussions about the promotional efforts of a vast array of organisations, products, signifiers, signified and issues in society linking to them. This in return generates debates amongst the public sphere both in the live audience and at home.

It is often argued that the public sphere is “too fragmented, and it has caused citizens to become too apathetic about important public issues” (McKee, 2005) although this may be the case in some circumstances Wil Anderson the host of The Gruen Planet bypasses this by talking about important issues through comedy relief displayed throughout the series, thus connecting with the audience and allowing them to let their guard down in order to accept and discuss the information however controversial the topic may be.

Each week The Gruen Planet focuses on a specific topic or issue regarding advertising efforts. This one in particular concentrated on advertisements regarding the up coming voting of gay marriage rights at the time. They discuss their effectiveness and the issues in the public, with marketing such a campaign. This at the time had prompted debated with the fan base of the TV show, discussing not only the advertisements themselves but their thoughts and opinions on the topic of allowing equal marriage rights. I myself remember taking part of such a discussion at the time of the episodes release.

Though The Gruen Planet is mostly based on dissecting advertisement it is still able to create a buzz amongst its public sphere when regarding topics from upcoming laws and legislations to brand and pricing wars. This is possible because the audience affiliated with the program, are the ones being effected by such ads and are able to link and discuss them with more important issues.



McKee, A 2005, The Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Published in the USA by Cambridge University Press, New York,

Calhoun,C 1993, Habermas and the Public Sphere, Massachusetts Institute of Technology press, USA

Week 5 Lecture notes

Owning your thoughts


Who controls the media? What difference does it make? Why does it matter? And why is this of any concern of ours? Not many think of these questions, but perhaps we should. Why? Simple, do you like being told what to think, what’s right, what’s wrong and what opinions you should have? No? Then why let those who control the media do just that?

As technology continues to move forward and improve we become more and more dependent on the media in order to be informed about current events both internationally and locally via newspapers, TV, magazines and the Internet, to be able to communicate with one another through social networking such as Facebook, twitter, and Skype and to be able to function in our day-to-day lives. Have you ever lost power during a storm and been left with no TV, no reception and no Internet, what is pretty much todays version of being reverted back to the Stone Age? This is when we understand just how dependent we truly are on the media.

So in saying this, Australia’s media ownership is amongst the most concentrated in the world with only a handful of people pulling the strings. For example Rupert Murdock’s News Corporation (formerly News Limited) is one of the worlds largest media groups owning companies in a wide range of media channels such as:

  • News papers
  • Magazines
  • Film
  • TV
  • Advertising



In having News Corp. owning such a large percentage of our media, its coverage and influence is immense 14.7 million Australians. We must ask how much of the information we are given is unbiased, is there another side to this story, has any additional important information been left out to suit their views, and is this propaganda?


Media provides us with information on the causes and scope of social, cultural and political problems and so shapes the public views.With one company in charge of so many media outlets we lack the diversity of views, opinions and information needed in order for us to draw our own conclusions. When we are repeatedly being fed the same idea from every direction which in the end all context lead back to the same origin, we tend to conform to the greater opinion shared by the majority.

In saying this with everyone agreeing on the same thing since we are all being fed the same information it makes it difficult for us to gain an interest and be engaged in what’s happening in the world around us. We speak of freedom and independence but how can we be if we are not given the opportunity to think for ourselves, provide our own opinion and thoughts when there is such a concentration of media ownership.


Donovan, D 2011, Concentrated media ownership: a crisis for democracy, viewed 6 april 2014,3259

Goncalves, R 2012, Factbox: Who owns what in the Australian media, viewed 6 april 2014

Week 4 Lecture Slides/Readings:

Sexualised, Glorified, Glamourised…Horrified.

Fashion and beauty ads have always been there to present us with glamour, sex appeal and art, but it can only be considered that up to a point until its meaning is lost. In most cases I can see the art within the image and the message they aim to convey although the images present did anything but that. Upon my first viewing of these images I understood immediately why there was such large controversy revolving around the campaign. Bulgarian fashion magazine 12 published these ‘disturbing’ and ‘horrific’ images entitled ‘Victims of Beauty’ showing six models that look as if they have been attacked, beaten, burnt and scarred. Their original aim was to sell the makeup and clothing although the objective and product is overshadowed by the image itself.

Victim-of-Beauty-02 Victim-of-Beauty-06

When I first saw these images my initial thought was ‘what the hell are they trying to sell exactly?’ were they trying to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse? Was there a product placement I have missed? Although the stark contrast between the empty black backdrop and the dark-haired, fair-skinned models standing alone only enhances the harshness of the image and the message they could posses, the cover photo is what really stood apart. The image of the beaten model, with perfect hair, perfect makeup and an aristocratic look coupled with the title ‘victims of beauty’ only enhanced the glamorization of domestic violence, to me the connotation of this image was ‘beauty was the cause’ as if it had a price. As the models stare directly into the camera, in spite of their straightforward gaze, there’s a submissive look about them. They look hurt and weak. It seems to provoke the ideology that a ‘damsel in distress ‘ is beautiful. When this argument was brought up Huben Hubenov, the editor in chief of 12 argued that ‘the models looked dignified and in control’. With young girls buying magazines and idolizing the models and images within them they are at risk of unintentionally being provoked into thinking that being the damsel and seemingly weak is considered beautiful. Alison Meldrum, from anti-domestic violence charity Standing Together, said ‘Given that violence is already skyrocketing in teen relationships, this kind of perversity masquerading as “art” is very troubling. In response to these ongoing debate the editors of 12 said

‘ We believe that images such as ours can be seen from various angles, and we think that exactly that is what is beautiful about fashion and photography in general – that anybody can understand it their own way, and fill it with their own meaning.’

Sure the women in these images look beautiful, alluring and even sexy with their perfect make up and clothing and I even commend special-effects make-up artist Daniela Avramova on his skill, but this doesn’t avert from the fact that they look beaten and as if they have already given up.

03 Victim-of-Beauty-05
Reynolds, E 2012, Should violent images of women EVER be portrayed as chic? Campaigners condemn grotesque ‘beauty victim’ photo shoot as ‘perverse’, viewed 31st march 2014
VoiceofRussiaUK, 2012 Sexualized violence in fashion advertising, june 28, YouTube, viewed 31st march 2014 <>
Anderson, K 2012, “Victim of Beauty”: Glamour of Violence (Once Again), viewed 31st march 2014
All images from

recommended reading:

The Blame Game


The argument of violence being provoked by gaming has always been an interest of mine as a ‘gamer’ myself, for if this notion was true…am I at risk of losing my grip on reality, am I doomed to one day descend into madness? Are we all just ticking time bombs?

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reasons that children learn by observing, mimicking, and adopting behaviours — a basic principle of the social learning theory. Although in saying this while research conducted in controlled environments has found links between playing violent games and short-term increases in ‘aggression’, ‘hostility’, or ‘anti-social behaviour’ there has been no evidence confirming video games as being the ‘trigger’ to acts of violence.

Chris Ferguson has stated that ‘many studies on the issue of media violence rely on measures to asses aggression that don’t correlate with real-world violence…many are observational approaches that don’t prove cause and effect’.

It seems that whenever violent crimes are committed (mainly gun related) are being blamed on video games. Though it appears whenever you read an article about one of these incidences with gaming ruled as the main ‘culprit’ little is said about other factors such as:

  • Family dysfunctions
  • Mental instability
  • Neglect
  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Alcoholism

In 2013, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis opened fire in the US Navy Yard, leaving 13 dead and once again gaming was blamed. It was reported that he spent countless hours playing military type games such as ‘call of duty’. This caused an onslaught of articles sporting headlines such as Washington DC Navy Yard shooter ‘obsessed with violent video games’. Although through further investigation it was found that he had:

  • Anger management issues
  • PTSD
  • Struggling with mental health, hearing voices
  • Past history involving gun related incidences

So if these facts have been uncovered why do we continue to focus on blaming video games? Shouldn’t we ask why he was cleared to buy a gun? How he obtained access to the navy yard? And why was he not receiving treatment?

Below is the data for video game spending per capita and gun-related homicides in the world’s 10 largest video game markets and what it should look like if there was a link.

Though gaming may be a minor factor, no mentally stable person would walk out their door after playing GTA and decide ‘today is the day I kill.

It’s comic books, it’s TV, it’s rock and roll, and it’s video games. All have taken their turn to play the villain, although perhaps its time we stop the shooting in the dark looking for excuses and start looking for the true issues and source of the problem.



Fisher, M 2012, Ten-country comparison suggests there’s little or no link between video games and gun murders, the washington post, viewed 22 march 2013

Violent video games and young people, 2010, Violent video games and young people, Harvard Mental Health Letter, viewed 22 march 2014

FoxNews, 2013, DC gunman obsessed with violent video games, reports say, viewed 22 march 2014
Parco,N 2013, Video Games Are Not to Blame for Mass Shootings, Huffington post, viewed 22 march 2014
<>Allan,N 2013,’ Aaron Alexis: Washington navy yard gunman ‘obsessed with violent video games’, Telegraph, viewed 22 march 2014

Ferguson, C.J 2013, Don’t Blame Video Games for Real-World Violence, Chronicle of higher education, viewed 22 march 2014
recommended reading