Week 3 Rape Culture and Bollywood Cinema

Uncategorized, Zainab Mogul

Bollywood cinema a contributor to rape culture?

I remember the day when I switched on the new to see that havoc had the streets of New Delhi, a young girl named Jyoti Singh Pandey was the victim of a heinous crime when she was Gang raped and thrown off a moving bus on the streets of New Delhi. Since this had occurred many people are targeting one of India’s most influential (considered soft power) industries as one of the leading roles of rape culture today. Bollywood is being scrutinized all over the world with some saying that although “Bollywood does not condone or glorify rape… it does condone a culture of misogyny and sexual harassment that contextualizes and allows rape” (Yan, 2014) indeed it would be wrong to presume that Bollywood is the root cause of such acts but it is important to outline the factors which have surfaced to reach the point of such accusations.

One of the main reasons why Bollywood has been targeted is the famous ‘item number’ a sensual and sexualised dance which in fact can create somewhat of a moral panic, it’s in the name itself ‘item’ the term object springs to mind and Laura Mulvey’s idea suggests that “film offers visual pleasure by objectifying the woman in the narrative for the active male protagonist” (Dolan, 2012) thus creating the “hegemonic ideology within society” (christimothy12, 2013). Baby Doll one of India’s newest releases had one of the raciest and most sexualised opening mottos which can be seen as pushing all boundaries ‘come play with me’ and with lyrics from other item songs such as “It kills the boys’ (good) intentions… why do you just see with your eyes, do what you want with your hands…” it is evident as to why this would be considered a moral panic for a conservative city. Bollywood actress ‘Deepika Pudukone’ doesn’t seem to agree with this idea as she believes Bollywood and the favoured item song is a way to “improve the image of women in India” (Raja, 2014) she goes onto say that it’s all about “empowered woman dancing and expressing herself” (Raja, 2014) within a society where women can be seen as subordinate to men Guy debord emphasis that celebrity culture is a “the spectacular representation of a living human being” (Plant, 1992)… “the opposite of the individual” (Plant, 1992) although Deepika Pudukone argues that the idea of the item song is to empower women, men are often in the background of these films harassing the women in the film Khambakth Ishq Akshay Kumar is seen with a mob of men harassing actress Kareena Kapoor the song ‘lakh lakh nakreh” consists of the lyrics “leave your tantrums they aren’t going to work” (basically even if you say no im still going to come after you) what debord suggests that the lifestyle which is projected to us within film will be the lifestyle that the “opposite individual” will want to achieve they portray it in such a way where even harassing a girl becomes a glamorous act.

It isn’t news to anybody that Indian cinema is known for portraying its social norms and conventions to society through the idea daughter in law and devoted wife, however contemporary Bollywood films are not subjecting to these regressive female roles possibly in a way to inform their society that women are more than they typical ‘stay at home mum’ women are out their getting careers and becoming leading ladies although film can influence a society often cinema changes with this society Michael Foucault suggest that “Where there is power, there is resistance.” (Mills, 2003) (Foucault, 1990) So is it right to say that Indian cinema is resisting the idea of portraying women in their subordinate to men roles this can be seen by actress Vidiya Balan in her award winning role for Kahaani and No one killed Jessica alongside Rani Mukherjee

On the bases of looking at both arguments I believe it is unclear to see which is right and which is wrong they both have well informed ideas on the contribution or lack of to rape culture. However in my opinions I do believe that Rape culture is something more than your typical Bollywood film I believe it is a problem not only in India but everywhere and needs to be targeted through its main cause not what the cause could be.

Bibliography

christimothy12. (2013, september 20). Laura Mulvey the Male gaze . Retrieved from slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/christimothy12/laura-mulvey-the-male-gaze-26381318

Dolan, J. (2012). The Feminist Spectator as Critic. In J. Dolan, The Feminist Spectator as Critic (p. 48). The University of Michigan Press; 2nd Revised edition edition .

Foucault, M. (1990). The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction. Vintage; Reissue edition .

Mills, S. (2003). Michel Foucault . In S. Mills, Michel Foucault (p. 40). Routledge.

Plant, S. (1992). The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age. In S. Plant, The Most Radical Gesture (p. 66). Routledge .

Raja, P. (2014, september 23). Deepika Padukone to appear in more item numbers to showcase her dancing skills. Retrieved from Faking News: http://my.fakingnews.firstpost.com/2014/09/23/deepika-padukone-to-appear-in-more-item-numbers-to-showcase-her-dancing-skills/

Yan, S. (2014, May 8). Does Bollywood Contribute to Rape Culture in India? Retrieved from borgenmagazine: http://www.borgenmagazine.com/bollywood-contribute-rape-culture-india/

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Interview With Gemma Commane – Zainab Mogul

Uncategorized, Zainab Mogul

For my 381MC week two task I interviews Coventry University’s very own Gemma Commane a lecturer in the Media and Communications department, with a undergraduate degree in Media, Communication and Culture, Gemma Commane then went onto completing her PHD at the University of Kent specialising in the field of subcultures and the representation of femininity. The topic of my interview was Female representation through Bollywood item songs this is a topic which I find particularly interesting coming from an Indian/ Pakistani background myself the way women are presented within these films has left me wondering if I am concerned by this representation it would be enlightening to know what someone who wasn’t from my cultural background would perceive this.

Hello my lovely Bloggers,

As we all know I have a wonderful mother who let’s just say enjoys her daily dose or doses should I say of the Bollywood entertainment industry, don’t take it lightly to the fact I can pretty much reference every sharukh khan memorable quote but that’s for another day what I wanted to talk about today was a topic which only hit me the other day when my 6 year old cousin was dancing to the song ‘hip hip hurrah’ doesn’t sound bad right? I laughed at first then was horrified when I carefully heard the lyrics   “my top is tight I will turn you on” “you’ll do some loathsome acts” at this point you would presume that I did what any older cousin would do I grabbed the remote and turned it to a more appropriate channel of course my cousin wasn’t happy with it but I guess she has to deal with the perks of having an older cousin. All day the idea of what my younger cousin was dancing to was disrupting my day, she doesn’t even know what it means? Are all girls her age dancing to what is a very provocative and erotica based songs? And if they are should they be played on the likes of a Bollywood music channel. I felt it important to address the question I got in touch with well-known lecturer in my building and asked if I could ask her a few questions based on this topic and to my luck she agreed. Now before the interview I knew that Gemma would most likely be unaware of the meanings behind Bollywood songs or new very little about Bollywood itself but I because Gemma specialises in Female representations I thought it was a great idea to go and ask her a few questions based on this.

When I asked Gemma what first came to mind when I asked her what comes to mind when thinking about Bollywood films? She replied as I would of imagined she had “it’s a very kind of joyous, in films it’s very much a normative love story between a man and woman” she then went onto suggest that India often uses the notion of taboo love within their films. Which I would have to agree with this whole idea of secretly dating and falling in love with someone you’re not meant to sparks a sort of thrill and urgency I would imagine so in anyone. Its “love conquers all”. That idea that when you finally have something that you weren’t allowed, she goes onto state the most universal idea about Bollywood film there are very “normative discourses when it comes to both men and women” Now it’s this comment which makes me wonder about Indian films are these normative discourses still around? All the Indian films which I have seen recently are about dancing and partying with friends I guess a brilliant representation of youth today

My next question was, Bollywood Cinema has gone through a tremendous change from conveying the ideal social conventions of what a typical Indian family should look like to adding masses of erotica to their big screen what is your take on this change? Gemma suggest that “when we are looking at any sort of media text” she explains that it is important to look at the representation so if we are looking at Indian Cinema, particularly at social norms it can convey that “if you’re a young man or a young woman there are certain prerequisites about what you need to achieve i.e. getting married, get a good job have children and continue that family line and there are a very set characteristics in terms of that” Gemma then goes onto to state that Indian Cinema can very much link to what “Frank Mort and Jeffery weeks” say about “gender discourses” within family, She looks slightly confused by the adding of the term erotica possibly because Indian cinema are not widely known for this in the western world as much as they are in India or Pakistan and other likened countries and communities “if young women are dancing quite provocatively it could be a sign of how culture itself is opening up to a lot of pleasure and leisure activities where woman are paid to dance or it could be a way of young women to express themselves in a socially acceptable way because young women can dance erotically or they are perceived to be dancing erotically but in actual fact they are dancing the way they want to dance. This comment guys enlightened me a lot I can often be a very judgemental person when it comes to things like this (I know I shouldn’t be) but the idea that maybe it’s their own choice and maybe there lifestyle is similar

Never occurred to me. It could be quite possible that they feel empowered by what they do and everyone feel empowerment in a different way. It could also simply be that Indian women are sick of being told to cover up their bodies you’re not ‘sex’ symbols and going against cultural norms.

Well guys at this point I knew it was time to enlighten Gemma in the world of Bollywood so for the next part I showed Gemma a video called “Baby Doll” this has become one of the newest item songs for Bollywood staring actress Sunny Leone who is a former Porn star I explained to Gemma that this had sparked a lot of controversy bringing a porn star into Indian Cinema she has been banned from various talk show appearances and even cities within Indian because of her background. As she watches the video she didn’t seem shocked or showed any sign of an emotion (unlike my mother who yell at me turn it off and tuts in a disapproving manner) at this point I most definitely anticipated her answer “its very kind of erotic” she said “I mean if we are looking at the pussycat dolls if were looking at a range of celebrity young musicians and how people across the world can access their music it does have an impact on how young women in other contexts are constructed and in terms of traditional Indian culture I can understand why this can be seen as a moral panic. Pussycat dolls I thought, the video was similar to those of English artists in the sense of it being racy and erotic then I questioned myself why is it such a big deal when we are watching our own ‘culture’ perform like this but now when we see other cultures? What is the difference? Or infact why were the western and Indian music videos so similar. I then asked Gemma a question which I hadn’t prepared but if I didn’t ask would just simply annoy me as much as my 6 year old cousins dancing

Due to online sources and globalization do you believe that woman from other cultures aspire to them and that’s why industries have to change even if there social conventions are very diverse

“I think in terms of demand in terms of producers or directors wanting to appeal to a certain audience they’ve got to pick out trends, trends are now not just in one location the internet can be accessed in such a global way and because of celebrity it does bring all these of ideas and all these types of felinities and identities to a greater number of people. She states that Ariel Levy and Natasha Walters who say when we are looking at celebrity culture now and feminity” as seen in the video which was shown that “this is the only sort of role model they have to look up to “if one wants to be successful and this is portrayed by “showing your body or assets and they problematize This issue by saying that there a limited role models” and also “limited way in which women can express their femininity” and that these types of videos can show feminity as being very singular “only one type of thing” as Gemma expresses in the interview and this can be a problem as it can be seen as right for women to be “objectified” therefore “ irrespective of the cultural context the issues surrounding women’s body their inability to have access to it in terms of money and success is all mediated through male desire or objectification. However it is also important to look at the fact that these women in these videos have made a choice to do this “that women there who’s a pornstar perhaps likes the fact that she’s a pornstar it’s a career it’s her choice” she highlights the point of radical feminists by suggesting that feminists such as Andria Dork would find this “highly problematic and is something that their forced into” possibly to even build their career in Bollywood and whatever way she “asserts her feminity it will always be questioned” with this being said its either please the people who say liberate yourself and be seen to others as objectifying yourself vice versa.

The term a ‘woman’s body is her temple’ is taken very literally in India but then why do you think Bollywood are conveying eroticism to its audience keeping in mind that Bollywood cinema has a lot of impact on society within India, “ I think when we are looking at traditional culture or traditional ways of thinking you even get it in the British kind of context or even the catholic kind of sense that body is a temple and how traditional values and norms are built in society they structure the ways in which we relate to our gender” but she goes onto say that “society develops and there have been more opportunities forwarded to women, more opportunities for them to express themselves, assert their sexuality in different ways” which goes for both “men and women” and “sex itself doesn’t have to be within the context of matrimony people are more sexually promiscuous so what the cinema might be

depicting is a reflection of what is happening in culture” and society and that it is not just “traditional views that are going on” and that even if a woman has many different “sexual partners it doesn’t necessarily mean that her body isn’t a temple to her” however Gemma expresses that this may be something which can be “difficult when aligning to cultural norms because in culture there is often “one way of seeing”

Do you think that Bollywood is conveying a negative image for both women and men across India, for “women first of all it may paint a picture that she’s a slag or this image because she’s dancing in this way because she’s given herself to someone does that give other people rights to do it and also men conversely it could be this negative image that all men are out for having sex with a woman or all men are there to attract a woman well what about men who are gay or men who want to respect women or perhaps want to secure her purity and protect and that again is reflecting gender normativity”

Do you believe that these new concepts and ideas about how women should be treated and gender discrimination are a result in violent acts which are happening to women all around India Gemma goes onto say that “when looking at any sort of media text it uses that same language and discourse that shape how we understand the world and when we are looking at gender normativity’s and rape culture it can be perpetuated by a range of texts and I think the ways in which people are depicted in the media could encourage people to blame or harass people” however this can be seen differently as Gemma explains that rape culture can be seen as a problem of “wider gender issues within culture” but it can still be seen how film in India can prolong the idea of misogyny

So my Bloggers that is all from me tonight but I have to say that this interview has given me a wider insight on the ideas of feminity and how it isn’t just a singular ‘form’ there are many types of feminine however ‘sex sells’ and although I believe the use of vulgar item songs are not needed to make a good song and in any case do not empower women it’s a marketing sell and it’s something we can only make a stand against.

Week 5, Echo (Rumbi Mupindu)

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When looking up the word Feminist, the best definition we come across is “people who believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” but society has rejected them to those who are trying to bring a moral panic. I believe that sexualisation should be served as an interpretive theory of contradictory society’s expectations of “The Woman”. I found this extract and others from feminist help evade liberal objections about free choice and gender equality.
“The best way to take control over people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time” Adolf Hitler.

Gender roles alternately are giving power and control to the male. When we look at the woman and man it is evident there are double standards.  As a female we are called to play roles in society, which essentially put us behind the male, this patriarchal system has created a glass ceiling, which is taking a long time to break, which, in my opinion, is due to the attitude of society.
This is my chosen audio because I believe men and women were not made biologically the same in terms of hormones and strength however in terms of intellect and creativity we are equal. Our brain capacity is the same so we are capable of doing the same things. About 52% of the world are women but most of the positions of power are occupied by men, which is very interesting topic when we analyse attitudes to female leaders in the world.
I am aware of the changes that have come to pass over the years towards gender and power equality, however we must work to change the attitude of society. We have evolved as humans but “gender roles” have not adapted with us. It is up to us not to change these preconceptions of the woman for the next generation, to empower young girls with potential to avoid the “safe” route when choosing a career and choose a challenging route that will develop their skills in controlling situations without feeling like they are coming across bossy because they are doing exactly what their male counterpart would do in that situation.

Why not teach girls to elevate their minds so they can be more successful than the man? Surely one’s life belongs to themselves and themselves alone. We must empower young girls to aim high allow them access to all routes.

 

Week 4, Alternative History (Rumbi Mupindu)

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Script 

 I am aware the pictures I have used for the video are not the greated, but I found it extremely hard to find content of a place which I currently can not get to and no longer have family there nor is it the town in a place where pictures or videos are easy to locate.

Chegutu is located in the central Zimbabwe, about 75 miles from Harare the capital city of Zimbabwe. Before 1982 Chegutu was known as Hartley , named after Henry Hartley an early hunter and explorer. White settlers flocked to the area looking for gold and chrome. In 1982 after independence the towns name was officially changed to Chegutu. From 1981-1985 the first black Mayor was elected Bizek Mapuranga, my grandfather, my mothers father. Chegutu was once the service centre for a large farming district including maize, tobacco, castor beans , cattle . Making it Zimbabwe’s largest textile weaving mill for cotton is located there and extensive limestone deposits are nearby.

With the poor management of resources and funds after Zimbabwe independence most of the mines and industries are now closed. In regards to the White civilisation, controlling a country using democracy and order looked to be more efficient and effective in terms of progression and stability of the country than under the rule of Mugabe, which saw the country spiral into unemployment, and a decline of progression. This spiral of unemployment and decline took affect to not Chegutu alone but multiple other cities, adding to the migration numbers in the UK. Like many other families my mum came to England to escape what was going towards poverty. Immigration in the UK is something that has shaped the country to what it is today. ‘when there are other pressures, people like to live in a comfort zone which is defined by racial sameness’ (Ahmed, 2007: 122) Zimbabwean migrating to this country is still within its first generation, by that I mean anyone born before the year 2000 would have been born in Zimbabwe but eventually the development in globalisation will leave Zimbabweans being transformed away from their nationality and into Britain’s. Something Mugabe has seen and being a dictator he has now made it harder for Zimbabweans to leave the country in search for a better life, which is devastating because is places like Chegutu there is no water flow in taps anymore. ‘Chegutu have gone for over five years without running tap water owing to the town’s obsolete reticulation system’ (Newsday, 2014)

References:

Ahmed, S. (2007) ‘Multiculturalism and the Promise of Happiness’, New Formations 63: 121–37

Newsday.co.zw. (2014) ‘ Chegutu water woes happiness. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.newsday.co.zw/2014/11/17/chegutu-water-woes-persist/ [Accessed 24 Nov 2014]

 

 

 

Week 3, Debate (Rumbi Mupindu)

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What place does Ebola have outside third world countries?

The latest campaign from Unicef for Ebola featured the Scottish player saying

“I want to beat England” followed by Wayne Rooney stating

“ I want to beat Scotland” then they both say

“And together we want to beat Ebola”.

The controversy that has caused the Ebola virus to become a world spectacle is not one of unity and world peace. Ebola has become a spectacle because of the politics of whiteness, power and fear. I mean what place does Ebola have outside third world countries? Entering first world countries, now it must be stopped.

There are more diseases in the world that kill more people in comparison to Ebola everyday, and unbeknown to a lot of people plus how the media is putting it across it seems as if Ebola is a new Virus when it was actually first detected in 1976 near the Ebola River in Congo. The media is trying to project fear into the audience, everyone should be scared, because everyone is going to die! ‘A spectacle is something you watch, it impresses us, overpowering and gives us the illusions of participation” We have to take inconsideration how Racial imagery and racial representation are fundamental to the body of the modern-day world but, while there are many studies of images of Asian and black people, whiteness is an invisible racial position.

To the naked eye it seems as if the spectacle is revolving around trying to figure out a solution to stop Ebola, when in actual fact it’s not about the disease at all. But rather, lets protect our country from the dirty place that is Africa. . Laura Mulvey coined the term “male gaze” in her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” she was saying how the gaze of movies reflects the point of views of white middle aged heterosexual males being that only 9% of Hollywood films were directed by women. “They dominate the upper echelons of our society, imposing, unconsciously their values…they make up overwhelming majority in government, in boardrooms, and also in the media”(Perry,2010). Africa’s representation within the media is a tarnished one of which has nothing other than starving babies, raped mothers, famine, dirty water and constant wars. All 54 countries, all represented in the same light. Other countries fail to see Africa as a continent but rather a country. Ebola has affected maybe 1/10 of the countries in which the continent holds and is now being seen as an African epidemic. If the virus was found in France, Spain and Germany would it be seen as a European epidemic?

“The spectacle appears at once as society itself, as a part of society and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is that sector where all attention, all consciousness, converges, Being isolated – and precisely for that reason this sector is the locus of illusion and false consciousness; the unity it imposes is merely the official language of generalized separation”. Both UK and America have gone through the phase of shutting down their boarders, shutting out the disease therefore shutting out Africa. These two nations both a few of the most powerful countries in the world and both ideologies of “whiteness” and the position of those who have been identified as well and racialized as white. By “whiteness” I mean cultural, social practices, historical also the ideas and codes which virtually and indirectly structure the power and privilege of those racialized as white, in this case the countries. ” Thus it is said (even in liberal text books) that there are inevitable associations of white with light and therefore safety, and black with dark and therefore danger,” (Dyer,1997)

White doesn’t know poverty the way Africa knows poverty, and this is what happens when the material and symbolic privileges provided by whiteness are threatened they go the extra mile to ensure all barriers of defence are up. It’s almost as if Ebola is WW3 and when they show the third world countries that have been affected by the virus on the media we see all this high-tech futuristic almost animated extensive scenery in comparison to the visuals we are shown of west Africa where there is no sign of extensive protective gear, which I would have thought there would be when supposedly the nations are trying to stand together to beat Ebola.

References:

Art.ucsb.edu 2014. The society of the spectacle [ONLINE] Available at http://www.arts.ucsb.edu/faculty/budgett/classes/art19/spectacle.pdf [Accessed: 14 Nov 2014].

Cumoodle.co.uk 2014. Spectacle [ONLINE]] Available at https://cumoodle.coventry.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/628955/mod_resource/content/0/Spectacle%201.pdf [Accessed: 13 Nov 2014].

Unicef.org.co.uk 2014. For every child in danger [ONLINE] Available at http://beatebola.unicef.org.uk/why-the-match-matters.html [Accessed: 13 Nov 2014].

Newreplublic.com 2014. Straight white middle class default man needs to be dethroned. [ONLINE] Available at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119799/straight-white-middle-class-default-man-needs-be-dethroned [Accessed:13 Nov 2014].

Who.int 2014. Ebola Virus [ONLINE] Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ [Accessed: 15 Nov 2014].

WordPress.com 2013. White [ONLINE] Available at http://livinginadigitalworld280.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/dyer-white.pdf [Accessed: 13 Nov 2014].

 

 

 

 

Week 2, Specialist Interview (Rumbi Mupindu)

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I conducted this interview on the 11th of November; the interview was with Senior Lecturer John Keenan at Coventry University in Media and Communications and Culture. This Interview was conducted through email due to work commitments never the less I would like to thank John Keenan for participating. I thought John’s views and opinions would be beneficial and towards my dissertation, as he specialises in advertisements and my work will be looking into how digital media platforms and advertisements help shape representations and ultimately the world as we know it. As you are well aware on this blog my aims are to ask questions revolving around what shapes the media world, as we know it. In it’s many different forms. This week what I planned to find out is about sexuality, advertisements and online identity.

 INSIDE DIGITAL MEDIA! JOHN KEENAN’S VIEW.

 

 

What is your definition of digital media?

John: If you want my definition of it, it is one of annoyance at the tautology of the term. All media is digital now. Even newspapers which come in what might be termed an analogue form are digitally produced. It is a term used to signify it is no TV, newspapers, magazines etc but it is a nonsense term as they are all online as well. Might be better using the term ‘new media’ but even then, the ‘old’ is in the new

Digital Media has forced marketers to evolve in the way they reach their audiences as we have almost tripled how much time we spend online whether that be on social networks, blogs, YouTube etc. Letters have been replaced by emails, Pictures are now being used in place of decryption, and links have become explanations. Do you believe we can sustain this increase in media consumption or will there be another shift? 

John: A better question. If it is one about media use. I am more interested in the move back to analogue – LPs, world record days, Polaroid cameras. The backlash tells us about the need to keep media human. Yes, there are human desire for more, for ease but there is also for an emotional aspect and a pleasure in recognising the faults in the system. Humans are humans and we will still interact and find pleasures offline as much as, if not more than on it. I, for example, rarely use social media and want to see someone to talk with them as I need to see their faces, read their body language, value the time spent by them for me. This is all metalanguage and it is what the internet is no good at. More communication happens in this way than through the words and images that can come at us on a screen.

Digital media has changed the way we consume media. Recently I’ve noticed through observing comments, tweets, and trends, hash tags, things that have made me question whether this has caused our society’s values to change. This generation does not play outside; football games in the park have been replaced by fantasy online games. By Consumers prioritising their time towards digital media surely we lose sight of reality and manufacture an online present which in fact is not the real us? 

John: A good point. I am not part of the younger generation so I may be unusual but I talk to those who are and there seems to be a switch-off happening. If you want my guess (and all futurology is a guess) then this generation will be typified by its electronic media and future ones will be less inclined to use it. What you are writing about sounds like a moral panic – no-one’s exercising and everyone’s looking at their screens. This was the cry since television first came about. I think people are playing sports and going to gyms and going to the pub because it is so much better than being on your own inside. However, the addiction to the screen is something to be aware of. It is getting better but still some people cannot go out without checking their phones. I would not be around them for long if they did this and I think others will make these decisions as well. We will evolve…

One thing I have noticed that managed to sustain continuity is how woman are being sexualised in advertisements and marketing campaigns and all other media platforms in fact. Going back to my observations, after watching a rape scene on Eastenders I headed to Twitter and saw a tweet which said “she couldn’t handle the D, she didn’t even arch her back” I found this disturbing And it has left me with a question which I would love to know your opinion on. Do you believe the way women have been portrayed and sex symbols in media has now affected how they are seen in situations such as rape? 

Yes, women are seen as sex symbols in adverts. Men are too but women for far longer. It is not the advert that we should look to but the culture in which it is made. Adverts will reflect hegemonic thought. So, if women are the display gender in a culture – and I believe it could just as easily be men – then this is what will be seen. It does not mean women lose power. Young attractctive women are given enormous power from these images as they are elevated. Less attractive and older ones are not given this and so self-esteem issues come up. This is in the culture, not the advert but the adverts shows the culture. Adverts, films etc are manifestation of unspoken rules. We may not like the manifestation but look to the rule first. As for rape, yes the culture of objectifying women’s bodies for male pleasure will increase rape I am sure. Women need to be asserted as equal and males as much as women as sexual objects of desire. It is not adverts that can do this, though. A male as a sex object is often ridiculed. A male doing housework is the same. The culture needs to change. Cultures always do and it is from movements such as feminism that the balance shifts. Work on making a noise in society. Spray offending images, stop your friends saying sexist things out loud. Be a strong independent woman. Change will come and is coming and has come.

My generation is the last generation that would have been brought up without having technology at the tip of our hands. The following generations will rely heavily on computers phones etc. When all these platforms are being created they are being made to benefit us, to make our lives easier. do you believe digital media is benefiting our lives or rather dehumanising us and turning into online robots living on planet digital? 

John: You have been the first native generation so you should know. People are people and goodness is timeless in my view. We will not become robots because the human brain is a billion times more sophisticated than any machine. We feel, we believe, we are irrational. we create. Art galleries abound yet there is no need for them. Churches and mosques are full yet they do not follow any logic being based, as they are on belief (and sometimes culture). People still self-destruct and end up addicted, drugged, alcoholics etc. Some people want to lose. Machines at the moment cannot do this. Can they be programmed to? Possibly. Humans will not become robots but robots may become human. Imagine, though, a robot inventing or enjoying Christmas. It’s unlikely.

Do you worry at all that as great of a platform as digital media is, do you worry about what kind of tool it is being used for. The representations that are being formed and the power, which is be given? 

I don’t worry about anyone else except what I am doing as I cannot control anything else. There are people being killed at the moment in parts of the world over land, power, jealousy. There is torture, cruelty regardless of digital forms. If anything, I am more optimistic when the power of the media is outside of the control of the few. The democratisation of the media is a good thing and Tim Berners-Lee should be given every award under the sun for starting and keeping the interne free form control. We should fight censorship in my view as it often leads to the powerful from gaining economic and sometimes information control. Let it go. Power is in society and there are many power-bases. Let a thousand flowers bloom, as the Chinese say.

 

 

 

Week One, Mash Up ( Rumbi Mupindu)

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This mash up is a parody of Simone de Beauvoir’s theory that ‘one is not born a woman but rather becomes one’ playing on recent song lyrics. Simone explains how gender is shaped by the environment you are in and is more of a performance rather than a biological factor, i.e you can be born a girl but that does not make you a woman. its a choice if you want to act like a boy you can, which is why i have incorporated clips of a woman dressed like a man and also if you pay attention to the lyrics she states the “masculine” acts she could portrayed to come across as a boy.