Sex Sells

Over the past five weeks this course has enabled me to compare fact from fiction in the media and determine my own judgement towards the stories that influence our culture. Several of the stories I have encountered did confirm my beliefs, but I was unaware of the boundaries that have been pushed within certain platforms, such as, sexual advertising.

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Sex sells! As Marina and the Diamond Song states “Nothing is provocative anymore even for kids, No room for imagining, ‘Cause everyone’s seen everything” and that’s exactly right. Take the music industry for example, when it comes to music videos artists do not shy away from sexual connotations; I mean “Blurred Lines”, come on people that was practically a porno, but throw some music into it and its “creative thinking”. But I must admit there isn’t much difference between “art” and “pornography”.

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Take Édouard Manet’s, 1863 painting, Olympia, for example. The young woman depicted in the painting resembles a 16 to 17 year old, but the painting wasn’t known as “provocative” because it depicted a young woman naked. It was the painting style that caused controversy, not the subject matter.

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Today, when it comes to the media two words that clash are “children” and “sexualisation”. Joanna Faulkner states, “The suggested danger is that sexual or proto-sexual imagery and signification viewed by children can lead to their ‘premature sexualisation”. From a young age, girls especially are becoming bombarded with images that depict the “perfect” female, take Barbie, for example, her unrealistic slim shape, large breasts, long flowing blonde hair and a face covered in make-up doesn’t really scream “acceptance” or “individualism” instead creating a false depiction of women within society. But BCM110 has shown me that our society is influenced by such control and manipulation.

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Unfortunately our world revolves around sexualisation. We cannot prevent children’s exposure to sexual images, but we can stop them from being the sexualised image.

Through BCM110 I can now understand the objective of the media and their control of censored items which has made me re-evaluate the way I consume media platforms, and look beyond the screen.

 

Reference:
Faulkner, J, 2010, ‘The Commodification and Sexualisation of Children in the Media and Popular Culture, The Innocence Festish, no. 135, pp. 106-117.

 

 

 

 

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The public sphere enables individuals to express their concerns and beliefs on issues that are relevant in today’s society. It is evident that our media is a vocal point for the general public on issues that are paramount in today’s world. The media has gone beyond the point of purely being information and entertainment, making it a leading force towards individuals having their thoughts and experiences recognised.

A prominent topic amongst today’s society is gay marriage and the implications it entails. As a civilisation we cannot seem to make an educated decision on the matter, and the media is taking advantage of our concerns, thus “Modern Family”. The comedy based sit-com revolves around three completely different families that blur the lines between classic and contemporary. The particular family that has caused outrage is Mitchell and Cameron, two loving gays who adopted a young Vietnamese girl. For some this is far from average. Bryan Fischer declares the show as “Poison” due to its portrayal of a gay home being a loving and stable environment. Fischer states it is “designed to make you think that same-sex households are wonderful” , reiterating this preconceived notion. Although Modern Family is a successful show, we as a society are still unable to accept gay marriage.

 

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Only three months ago two gay, black fathers posted a picture on Instagram which caused a global outrage. The two fathers (depicted below) posted an image brushing their daughters’ hair with a small caption which stated their typical day. The photo is harmless, but it did inflict on individuals generalised beliefs. The problem is we are uneducated and cannot comprehend the modern society unfolding. This is reiterated in MusedMag which states “Are we that sheltered from black gay couples that the general public doesn’t think they exist? But, can you blame them? There is hardly an image of “gay” love that features people of colour.”

 

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If we as individuals are going to overcome our preconceptions of gay marriage the public sphere needs to create more awareness amongst our current society.

Protection or Deception?

 

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The term “media” has been revolutionised in the past decade. Although it is intangible, it is a powerful source that unfortunately needs to be governed; however there is a fine line between protection and deception. The media easily manipulates its audience to favour or sympathise with certain points of view. It goes beyond a credible point and often those who govern it turn a blind eye.

There is speculation that Rupert Murdoch was a corrupt regulator.  The phone hacking of major corporations, celebrities and ordinary people across the United Kingdom made society question the power and control the media is able to gain. Actor, Hugh Grant, who uncovered the hacking, stated that the tabloids “have for various reasons lived largely above the law, and unregulated for way too long…We’re talking about pretty nasty people”. These incidents are the reasons why the media needs to be regulated under a certain body. Rupert Murdoch not only lost his credibility but also seriously damaged his Newspaper “The Sun” and “News Corp”.


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Rupert Murdoch owns “The Daily Telegraph” plus a large majority of the print distributors within the country apart from Fairfax, leaving the mogul to easily mislead the audience with prejudicial information such as the 2013 Federal Election, displaying Labor in a negative light.

 

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Although the media’s goal is to entertain and inform, many distributors lack ethical and social responsibility. In the U.S.A company’s like FOX are able to distribute and distort their work to a wider market because they own various media platforms.
The quote “truth is stranger than fiction” by Mark Twain reiterates this. We grew up with the media; we learn from the media, our identity is formed through its influences, but yet the most powerful source of knowledge is able get away with so much, that is why it is essential the media is controlled by ethical and responsible regulators. We do not want to reach a point in our lives where entertainment becomes more credible than ethics.

In the end it’s only ice cream

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Society is surrounded by images. Each day we are bombarded with controversial, persuasive and opinionated photos that allegedly influence our lifestyle. These signs and symbols create emotions, connections and triggers that affect our attitude towards events. Marketers continually incorporate media platforms to compete in this competitive marketplace, creating advertisements that are designed to leave an imprint within your mind. But what happens when the imprint left is offensive?

Antonio Federici is a long standing gelato company located in the Italian Riviera. The company offers gelato made with the finest ingredients, and uses a variety of medium’s in promoting to their customers. However, in 2010 they ran a series of controversial, religious advertisements that had several sexual connotations, including two priests preparing to kiss, highlighted in the image above. These images caused outrage amongst the Roman, catholic society and were requested to be band. The company stated it “implied forbidden Italian temptations” and that “only a tiny proportion of those who have seen the ads have made complaints. They seem to be upholding the views of a bigoted minority over the majority.”

Although the company was unethical in their marketing ploy they were acknowledging the elephant in the room through visual qualities. Homosexuality is a topic that still struggles to be accepted within society and can often make people feel uncomfortable, pairing it with religious regalia aids to this uncertainty. Antonio Federici clearly wanted to shock viewers, but the image does state an underlying fact within our society, fear. Images that go beyond the boundaries do so deliberately as they want the audience to recognize and hopefully overcome their prejudice. Controversial advertising isn’t so much about causing offence intentionally but gaining reaction, whether it’s positive or negative, it is going to remain in your thoughts and conscience. In the end there is at least one person who views an advertisement adversely, we cannot please everyone but we can draw a line with semiotic imagery, and this is where Antonio Federici failed to do so.

 

It is your decision, not the media’s!

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Due to technological advancements the media can easily be sourced through a variety devices and locations. The accessibility of media has become a fundamental part of our lifestyle, and with this accessibility comes controversy. Although the media can play an influence towards our opinions and values, it only portrays a small aspect of the individual. I don’t believe it is justifiable to say the media is the cause of physical and psychological impairments. For example, it is our choice to partake in eating unhealthy meals; I mean, Ronald McDonald isn’t blatantly stuffing cheese burgers down our throat, so how is it acceptable to say the media is the cause of obesity.  There is no doubt they play a major advertising role but in the end it is the consumers choice, not the media’s.

Furthermore this idea carries onto violence, whether real or fictional. It is stereotypical to believe that violence itself causes people to behave irrationally, however there are many studies stating that cultural, economic and environmental issues are factors that plague violent behaviour, in fact those who have committed violent crimes in their youth are normally under privileged and are not exposed to such media platforms. This is reinforced in Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’ By David Gauntlett the young offenders watched less television and video than their counterparts, had less access to the technology in the first place”. The main purpose of the media is to entertain and inform. Their objective isn’t to create first degree serial killers or destroy the innocence of today’s youth, but to merely create interest.

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If we take “The Simpsons”, for example, the long running cartoon hasn’t shied away from controversial topics. Violence is a prominent theme in The Simpsons, whether it’s Homer strangling Bart or Mr Burns eagerly letting the dogs out on his employees, but in the end it is only a cartoon, not a representation of society. It is up to the individual to make the differentiation between reality and fiction.

 

A snippet of what’s to come

My name is Amelia. I’ve decided to study BCM because I have a fascination towards the power social media and consumer perspective have over society. Marketing is a key tool in persuading individuals’ thoughts, emotions and beliefs. By coinciding marketing with social media a larger impact and persuasion can be formed, therefore by studying BCM I will hopefully understand the reasoning behind this.
Now that I’ve stated my purpose I’ll let you in on a treat! A fun fact about myself, I cannot walk in heels. It’s a catastrophe to say the least. Imagine you are walking on a high beam; your body is swaying from side to side as you anxiously take each step. An uncertainty washes over you, will I, or will I not reach the other side. This is how I feel when I wear those heinous, pointed shoes.