Islam Women, Westerners Views and Representations of the Burqa

“Many who oppose the burqa see it as an oppressive item of clothing which symbolises and reinforces the inferior social status of women.” (Rowe, 2010) Under the Western eyes, they believe that the burqa is a sign of assault, unfairness and oppression towards Islam women. They also see it as a sexual limitation towards women, as the reason why the burqa is worn is to avoid sexual intensions and interest towards women. Hence why, the burqa is a “veil covering the women’s hair with a scarf leaving only the eyes to be seen, all the body is seen to be covered with a loose long dress with dark colors” (Odeh, 1993).

Many countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, there is a law whereby it is a MUST for women to wear the burqa. But many debates have arised ever since the revolution after the 9/11 attacks. “The invasion, occupation, and “regime change” were in part justified to the U.S. (and world) public as rescuing Afghan women from oppression, vividly represented in their all-enveloping cover, the chadri, or
burqa. Many observers were consequently surprised and disappointed that the downfall of the Taliban did not lead to Afghan women’s mass abandonment of the burqa.” (Hosseini, 2011) The question is, do these Islam women think of it as an opression against women, or they are just following the laws of Islam?

The Westerners have debated about banning the burqa in countries such as Australia, as it has caused many troubles of crimes. For example, in Sydney a man was robbed by a burqa wearing bandit who further disguised his (or her) identity by wearing sunglasses. The bandit was described by police as being of “Middle Eastern appearance”. (Bernardi, 2010). As for the British people, they feel that the burqa is “intimidating to others – they prevent friendliness, sociability, pleasant chit-chat.” (Richard & Judy, 2010). However, there are some Westerners that support and feel that the Burqa being banned “draws on increasing reservoirs of religious prejudice! It would be naive to think otherwise. And naive to expect otherwise from Europeans fearful that their culture is under attack, according to Lincoln from Liberty Magazine” (Lincoln, 2011) Many countries have called to bann the burqa for the safety of the country especially in banks and airports whereby people (muslim and non-muslims) can wear the burqa and their identity can’t be seen from under.

When the Australia government Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, banned the burqa in Australia it sparked a huge commotion outside the courtrooms. He stated that “It is un-Australian – and it’s symbolic barrier is far greater than the measure of cloth it is created from. For safety and for society, the burqa needs to be banned.” (news.com, 2010) Muslims felt offended with the banning of the burqa as they claimed that Australia is a free country, hence they are allowed the freedom of religion and rights.

The media however, has represented many of these “veil” wearing Islam women’s by discriminating them to be antisocial, unable to be mixed with and has also created Islamphobic society’s after the 9/11 attacks, causing many Western countries especially America to discriminate and become anti-muslim’s with “print media was highly image-oriented with collages of television images repeatedly played, and with major newspapers and magazines splashing dramatic pictures on its covers.” (Kelner, 2007) Just as the Times cover titled “Lifting the Veil” is an example of American media trying to change oppression against women with stories like “What is revealed “behind the veil”? An assault of evidence is then presented, testifying to the oppressive and backward nature of Islam, especially when it comes to women. Story after story chronicles Muslim women dying in “honor killings”; facing female genital mutilation; being beaten on the streets of Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia for violating the dress code; sentenced to death for adultery and being buried alive in the ground or stoned to death; beaten for disobeying their husbands; raped by male family members; and being unable to get a divorce or child custody rights.” (Assultany, 2013) It maybe seen as a positive way of sharing and fighting against the opression for women, but it is also a discrimination against Muslim’s by the title itself justifying people’s discrimination of Muslims as hiding something behind the veil, terrorism, something to hide, secretive and more.”

Before the taliban came to power, Saliha, photographed in Kabul on Nov. 22, was a journalist for an Afghan women's magazine.

In conclusion, people make racist statements and judgements everyday, but it provokes and justifies an unworthy statement in the media, as the media plays a powerful role in shaping people’s behavior and believe which might lead to negative judgement and religion / race stereotypes.

References:

1. Timothy Rowe 2010, To Ban or Not to Ban? The Burqa, Religious Identity, and Politics, Butterflies and Wheels Article, Accessed 3/6/14, online at: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2010/to-ban-or-not-to-ban-the-burqa-religious-identity-and-politics/

2. Lama Abu Odeh 1993, Post- Colonial Feminism and The Veil: Thinking the Difference, Feminist Review No 43, Accessed 3/6/14, Online at: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1395067uid=3738672&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103832553721

3. Ziba Mir‐Hosseini 2011, Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism, Accessed 3/6/14, Online at: http://www.centenary.edu/religion/dotto/rel280/feminism.pdf

4. Cory Benardi 2010, For Australia’s sake, we need to ban the burqa, The Sydney Morning Herald Federal Politics, Accessed 3/6/2014, Online at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/for-australias-sake-we-need-to-ban-the-burqa-20100506-ubun.html

5. Richard, Judy 2013, The burqa is a sign of degradation and has no place on our streets, Home of the Daily and Sunday Express, Accessed 4/8/14, Online at: http://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/richard-and-judy/431069/The-burka-is-a-sign-of-degradation-and-has-no-place-on-our-streets

6. Lincoln E. Steed 2011, Are Burqa bans oppressive to religious freedom or a defense of the rights and dignity of women? Liberty Magazine of Religious Freedom, Accessed 4/6/14, Online at: http://www.libertymagazine.org/contributor/a-draft-law-with-future-implications

7. news.com.au 2010, Burqa banned is un-Australian says Muslims, National news.com.au, Accessed 4/6/14, Online at: http://www.news.com.au/national/burqua-ban-is-un-australian-say-muslims/story-e6frfkvr-1225863357698

8. Abdirizakxiireey, Ban the burqa protest offends Sydneysiders, n.d, video, viewed 5/6/14, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7hjLWBSc68&gt;

9. Douglas Kellner 2007, The Media In and After 9/11, International Journal of Communication 1 (2007), Book Review 123-142, Accessed 6/6/14,  Online at 197-709-1-PB.pdf.

10. Evelyn Asultany 2013, Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era, Project MUSE American Studies Volume 55, Number 1, Accessed 7/6/2014, Online at: http://muse.jhu.edu.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/journals/american_quarterly/v065/65.1.alsultany.html

 

 

 

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Bend It Like Beckham; A Diasphoric Media and A Whole New Look Towards Representations

Every country in the world have citizens that are from various race, ethnicity and culture. Malaysia can be seen as a multicultural country with many cultures and races living together as one. However, all these different races all are brought about together through migration or relocations. Just as what we have learnt in class, for “the poor they’re called ‘migration’; if they involve corporate executives, ‘homes in the sun’ etc., they are called ‘relocations.” This can also be known as whereby diasporic groups come together and form a community on their own in each country they are relocated or migrated to. “Diasporic groups as these represent some of the most significant – numerically, culturally and politically – minorities in European nation-states and across the European continent. (Georgiou, 2014) Sadly, minorities in a country is often represented in medias, sometimes in good ways or bad. But, with the existence of digital media today, these minorities are able to speak up and debate about their own culture, telling the world that “Hey I’m Asian, and I’m not actually what you think you know I am.” This often leads to raical-stereotypes and prejudices due to the treatment these diaporic groups are portrayed as in the media. “Films about diasporic Indo –Canadians, –British, and –Americans address our imagined and material boundaries between cultures, the very places where cultural differences can be seen most vividly, and where conflict has historically arisen.” (Ausman, 2012)

Film’s like Bend It Like Beckham is a form of diasporic media that represents two different cultures which are British vs Indian cultures. Nevertheless, it was a good movie as it portrayed and in a way stereotyped the Indian culture, but it showed audiences that two people from different cultures is unbridgeable from creating good friendship as well as bending the rules in order to achieve dreams, which makes the movie seem unique and different from the typical stereotypes of culture in movies. Bend It Like Beckham is a film that focuses on soccer. The storyline revolves around an Indian girl named Jesminder, in short Jess, that has a huge passion of playing soccer. She then is invited by a British girl named Juliette, which has been watching her play good soccer to join the girls soccer team, which could make her dreams come true. However, Jesminder being an Indian girl from a traditional family, had many expectations to fulfill being an Indian as the culture requires many rules and regulations to follow. For example, learning to cook is a must to be learned by a girl which is making aloo paratha, and also an Indian girl must be married to a person of a same culture or else she would be depicted as going against her heritage or culture. Jess’s mother, was seen to be a very traditional person whereby she expects her daughters to be good at cooking, as a way to ensure a good future in terms of finding a good husband. In the movie she says, “What family will want a daughter-in-law who can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapattis?” (Rees, 2012)  Soccer was never to be seen in the traditional list, hence why Jesminder was not supported at all by her family to play soccer and go far in life. But as for the younger generation like Jesminder, she was determined to change their traditional heritage and bend the rules to acheive her dreams rather than thinking about boys and getting married, she then fights back claiming, “Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi, when you can bend a ball like Beckham?” “The second-generation British Asian nucleus within the film epitomizes ‘the hybrid nature of contemporary British national identity, delighting in the incongruences and complexities of multiculturalism” (jsculturalzeitgeist, 2012) Jesminder’s mum completely banned her from playing soccer, but she decided to go against her family’s will and did all that she can just to play for the girls soccer team. Jess had to go through a huge struggle between fulfilling her Indian diaspora in a British country.

In this diasporic movie, I can hereby say it is learnt that:

(1) Two different cultures with total different rules and expectations, but comes together due to the interest and passion for soccer, hence creating a good friendship. Also can be seen, two mother’s from different cultures, share the same interest of unhappiness about their daughters playing soccer, and cared a lot about the women gender role of finding boys for a better future

(2) With a huge passion for soccer, the two girls Jess, and Jules decided to bend and go against the gender roles of their family expectations, in order to fulfill their dreams of playing soccer in America

These examples of belonging to two cultures are relevant and important situations for media to portray in a mainstream and global limelight, as it plays a role in promoting “transnational citizenship” (Karim 1998, p.2). In the end of the movie, both cultures accepted their daughters passion for football and decided to support their dreams by allowing them to play soccer professionally in America. We can see that, this movie clearly promotes multicultural definitions of a young American British girl and the diaspora which is the minority of Indians in Europe, coping with both worlds of going against their own heritage/ culture to fulfill their dreams, and adapting and influenced by the Western culture as they have grown and lived within that environment from birth. This movie helps build a whole new tradition and portrayal of hybrid groups as well as democracy among races whether it is from a diasporic group or a local.

Jess and Jules from two different cultures share the same joy in the winning of their soccer team

References:

1. Karim, K 1998, From Ethnic Media to Global Media: Transnational Communication Networks Among Diasporic Communities, International Comparative Research Group Canada, Accessed 25/5/14, Online at: http://www.transcomm.ox.ac.uk/working%20papers/karim.pdf

2. jsculturalzeitgeist 2012, Issue 1: Diasporic Film Production in Great Britain: Bend It Like Beckham (Chada, 2002), Accessed 25/5/14, Online at: http://culturalzeitgeist.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/issue-one-diasporic-film-production-in-great-britain-bend-it-like-beckham-chadha-2002/

3. Myria Georgiou 2014, Diaspora in the Digital Era: Minorities and Media Representation, Accessed 26/5/14, Online at: http://www.ecmi.de/fileadmin/downloads/publications/JEMIE/2013/Georgiou.pdf

4. Jamie Rees 2012, Bend it Like Beckham and “Bending the Rules, Accessed 27/5/14, Online at: http://artifactsjournal.missouri.edu/2012/09/bend-it-like-beckham-and-bending-the-rules/

5. Tasha Ausman 2012, Indian Diasporic Films as Quantum (Third) Spaces: A Curriculum of Cultural Translation, Accessed 28/5/14, Online at: https://www.ruor.uottawa.ca/en/bitstream/handle/10393/22928/Ausman_Tasha_2012_thesis.pdf?sequence=1

6. Kim Prendergast, Bend it like beckham, n.d, 2006, video, July 24, viewed 29/5/14, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bwVgfhilM8&gt;

 

Globalization; Bad News?

Its no longer an argument that reality shows have played a huge role and has made a huge success in the media entertainment industry. Reality shows such as American Idol, America’s Next Top Model, Fear Factor and etc has made it across a widespread of countries throughout the years. Back in the days, the television was the only form of media that people relied on for entertainment. But, back in the 90’s, television was known to be  conceived as a national, protected industry, the global trade of programming ran into regulatory stonewalls. (Waisboard, 2008). However today in the 21st century,”privatization, liberalization, and deregulation of the

airwaves removed such limitations and opened television systems to flows of capital and programming” ( Waisboard, 2008) causing private ownerships that air international movies to earn a huge profit. Media audiences today could rely on other mediums as well such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and more for the latest TV show updates, reality shows and even images of their favorite celebrities but the TV remains to be the first choice of medium consumption. However with globalization today, it has impacted cultures as different cultures has its own set of rules and believes that might not be adapted or accepted easily when it comes to advertising, TV shows or even reality shows. The top media companies that have dominated the world internationally would be: 

Figure 1: List of top companies that has dominated the media (Matei. org, n.d) 

  • Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion),
  • Disney ($22 billion),
  • Bertelsmann ($15 billion),
  • Viacom ($13 billion)
  • Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation ($11 billion)

Firstly, what is globalization? According to Waters (1995), it is “A social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements recede and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding.” In other words, people across the globe no longer have borders that stop them from viewing what another country is viewing on TV. (Waters,1995) Hence, local TV shows and reality shows are adapted and changed into a local TV show, and produce based on what the consumers and media audiences want to see. For the reality shows, that are unable to be produced locally, TV stations buy these channels and air the shows on local screens. Take for example, our field trip to Astro last two weeks, many channels are aired on Astro from the western countries, therefore Astro subscribers can watch what is being shown across the globe. Also, this brings into question the ability and impact towards culture when it comes to TV shows being aired. In Malaysia, there are various cultures living together with different cultural values, hence, the programmes are given a 2 minute edit before airing it on our local TV channels. There are issues that might affect globalization in the media across certain countries such as, according to Stetka, 2010, “most of the public (and media) attention is
usually devoted to issues of nudity, sex, and bad language” which is probably the disadvantage of globalization. (Stetka, 2010)

Among the popular reality shows that has “attracted” globalization in the media and caused a controversy would be Big Brother, which has been produced in fourteen different locations, namely the United States, Argentina,Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany,Poland, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland. It has also one of the highest rate of viewers  attracted television audiences of up to 10 million viewers. Its associated Web site recorded over 200 million page impressions, while
over 20 million phone votes were made. But, it has triggered the Arab world and was suspended due to liberation and unethical scenes which were not accepted by the Muslim and Arab culture according to BBC news. It is said that “The Arab version of Big Brother, which has been renamed Al-Ra’is (The Boss) in Arabic, put 12 housemates – six men and six women – from around the Arab world in a purpose-built house on Amwaj Island in Bahrain.” (BBC News, 2004) The tv show was banned in Arab due to their strong cultural values of segregating men and women that cannot be put together which is seen to be going against the Islam law, hence 1000 people protested against this. 

In my opinion, I think globalization is an advantage, but it may be a disadvantage if cultural controversy takes place and might cause producers and private media owners to lose a huge gross profit if the TV show is suspended. In conclusion, the western countries have depicted most life stories and has influenced the media entertainment today by causing many media audiences to adapt and behave and even dress according to the western culture, as they are seen to be the dominant culture that predicts and sets the culture / trends today but it is seen to be causing an impact on many cultures based on different aspects such as cultural values, ways of life, and even politics. 

A video on globalization for better understanding: 

So what do you think? 

References: 

1. Matei.org (n.d) The impact of secondary television circuits on the global community, Accessed 17/5/14, Online at: http://www.matei.org/research/globaltv/world.html

2. BBC News (2004) Arab Big Brother show suspended, Accessed 19/5/14, Online at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3522897.stm

3. SagePub Journals (n.d) Chapter 2: Media Globalization, Accessed 11/05/14, Online at: http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/9446_010773Ch2.pdf

4. Vaclev Stetka (2010), Globalization, Reality TV and Cultural Inclusion: the Case of the 2005 Czech Search for a Superstar, Accessed 17/5/14, Online at: http://eastbound.eu/site_media/pdf/EB2010_Stetka.pdf

5. Silvio Waisboard (2004), McTV Understanding the Global Popularity of Television Formats, Accessed 12/5/14, Online at: http://www.sagepub.com/mcdonaldizationstudy5/articles/Globalization_Articles%20PDFs/Waisbord.pdf

6. Jordan Trinidad (2013) How Reality Television Impacts Globalization, Accessed 19/5/14, Online at: http://prezi.com/ertogcqww6z1/how-reality-television-impacts-globalization/

7. Malcolm Waters, Globalization, London 1995, 2nd.ed.2001, Accessed 19/5/14, Online at : https://www.uni-muenster.de/Politikwissenschaft/Doppeldiplom/docs/Glob.pdf

8. Scott Messina Media, Culture and Globalization Final, n.d, 2013, video, 24 April, viewed 20 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXkk4uJ_uak&gt;

 

 

 

Mr. President, my name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist!

Humanity has evolved and exposed to the diversity of various cultures as many countries have different cultures leaving together forming a country as a whole. America is known to be a country with various natives and cultures worldwide, and it does not matter which culture that is born in America, they are considered to be an American citizen. However, when the word American is said, our minds have already involuntarily imagine a White looking person in our minds. Although a country as open minded and accepting as America towards all cultures, people with ethnocentrism do exist. What is ethnocentrism?  It is the “thinking one’s own group’s ways are superior to others” or “judging other groups as inferior to one’s own” which has lead to prejudices, stereotypes, racism etc. The main focus of this topic would be the American media attitudes toward Muslim Americans that have grown to become more negative and unappealing. The best word describing the issue would be Islamphobia, which is known to be “a threat that is generally related to Islam and Muslims. It is not limited to the past and could be observed in its various forms such as racial or cultural prejudice and hatred and their depiction as a threat to world peace.” (Aaesha Siddiqua, 2011)

Many representations are made against American Muslims ever since the tragedy of 9/11, and there were also racial tensions and disputes that have led to deaths and violent abusive treatments towards the Muslims. The most typical stereotype used against them always involved “terrorism”. We all know why this word is used against them as the 9/11 incident happened to be hijacked by Muslim’s then crashing into America’s World Trade Centre. It has also affected other Western countries such as Britain, according to Bodissey, “Since 11 September 2001, the epithet ‘Islamophobia’ has increasingly become in vogue in Britain “ (Bodissey, 2011) She also claims that ‘Islamophobia’, a term which is widely used by NGOs and frequently appears in the media, tends to denote fear, hatred or prejudice against Islam and Muslims. Islamophobia is also manifested through intolerance, discrimination, unequal treatment, prejudice, stereotyping, hostility, and adverse public discourse.” (Bodissey, 2013).

 

There were many attacks caused against the Muslim’s reported by the CNN Belief Blog, “Anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States has not only manifested itself through mosque arsons, assaults, murders and invariably hostile rhetoric from society’s extreme fringes. It has also become a permanent fixture of the very institutions that should provide safeguards against those things. (Lean, 2013)  Not only Muslim’s were attacked, but minorities in America were mistaken as Muslim’s and killed innocently. Representations based on physical looks and skin colors were made such as “Arabs with “their sharply hooked noses” and “evil moustached leers”. To have dark skin and a beard invites a racist assumption of faith and a baseless fear.” (Rose, 2013) Among cases that involved other minorities were Balbir Singh Sodhi, that was shot dead because he was mistakenly thought of as a Muslim, 3 days after the 9/11 attacks. He was shot several times by an American named Frank Rogue as reported on Al-Jazeera news. (Elizondo, 2011)

 Figure 1: The sikh that was mistakenly killed due to Islamphobia after 9/11 attacks

“Mr. President, my name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist!” – My Name is Khan

A short trailer that explains the movie:

 

A movie that could relate to Islamphobia and the feeling of oppression against Muslim’s ever since the 9/11 attacks. This movie is played by the lead character Shah Rukh Khan, a Bollywood Muslim that lives in America after moving there from India. He was on a mission to meet the US president to let him know that he is not a terrorist. He is known to be autistic, he does not speak or think well, but he is intelligent and is able to feel emotions such as love, sadness, hate, anger and etc which are abnormal for an autistic person. He falls in love with a girl that comes from a Hindu background, and is disowned by his brother for marrying a girl from a different race and religion. The girl that Khan was married to had a ten year old son that was later on named after his step-fathers name “Khan” as they got along very well together and he accepted him as his own father. Coincidentally the 9/11 attacks happen years after they got married, and during that time, Americans had a lot of hatred against Muslim’s. Khan’s step-son had an American close friend that has a father whom works for the US military and had to leave to Afghanistan after the terror attack, he was then killed. The best friend then expressed silent treatment towards Khan’s step-son causing him to question him every day, until one day till he broke down screaming that his people (Muslim) were to be blamed for the death of his father. The other boys from school saw the argument between the two of them, and they then beat up the son because of his surname “Khan” which claims that he was Muslim; he then suffered a fatal death due to the abuse. The wife of Khan then blamed herself for marrying a Muslim, and told Khan that she would only take him back if he could tell the president and the whole of Georgia that he is not a terrorist. Khan then travels all around America to meet the president, and throughout the journey he meets different people with different problems, he then helped them and became popular on the national news for helping the victims of a bad hurricane, and for being caught and accused of being a terrorist. The movie then ends with a happy ending, however leaves audiences thinking, how Islamphobia in America after the 9/11 tragedy has affected not only Muslims but also minorities that are mistaken as Muslim’s. In my opinion, it was a really good movie that sent out a message to many people about stereotypes and prejudices and unfairness against races and religion.

 References: 

1. Aaesha Siddiqua, 2011, Islam, Islamphobia and Muslims: A Multidimensional Construction by Aasia Yusuf, Accessed 12/5/15, Online at: http://encompassingcrescent.com/2011/07/islam-islamphobia-and-muslims-a-multidimensional-construction-by-aasia-yusuf/

2. Baron Bodissey, 2011, What does Islamphobia mean?. Accessed 17/5/14, Online at: http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/10/what-does-islamophobia-mean/

3. Nathan Lean, 2013, Since 9/11, U.S. policy enforces Islamophobia, Accessed 13/5/14, Online at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/11/since-911-islamophobia-legislated-and-enforced/ 

4. SteveRose, 2013, Since 9/11 Racism and Islamphobia Remain Intertwined, Accessed 14/5/14, Online at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/steve-rose/911-racism-islamophobia_b_3908411.html

5. Gabriel Elizondo, 2011, Minorities Targeted in 9/11 ‘revenge attacks’, Accessed 15/5/14, Online at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/gabrielelizondoacrossamerica/2011/09/201195223014982323.html

6. My Name is Khan International Trailer HD 1080p – n.d 2010, video, 25 January, viewed 10 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOTXj2FyRus&gt;

 

 

 

 

Gender Roles

This week’s lecture, we learnt about gender roles and representations in the media. Many media messages are sent out indirectly, may it be in movies, TV shows or even cartoons. Audiences that are not involved in any media studies or no background of communications and media, will never be able to notice or tell the difference. However, in today’s media there are more and more gender representations especially the female gender roles that are represented in a bias and incorrect way.  The generation from the 90’s such as us, we have seen and grown up along with Disney cartoons, and we have never understood why exactly we, (girls, especially) always wanted to be a princess, always wanted to look pretty, and etc till today. Do parents know what they are displaying to their kids? Do they know that their kids are being shaped and taught to behave in a certain way? NO.

For the past decade, Disney cartoons have been portraying the male and female gender role of the prince and princess but the princess was more focused on, “Images of Gender, Race, Age, and Sexual Orientation in Disney Feature-Length Animated Films,” the authors grant these four common characteristics to female Disney characters: “(a) A woman’s appearance is valued more than her intellect, (b) Women are helpless and in need of protection, (c) Women are domestic and are likely to marry, and (d) Overweight women are ugly, unpleasant, and unmarried (14).” (filmandmedia12, 2014). The prince was always the charming one, strong, always the hero in saving the princess, handsome, had a castle and a horse, rich and wanted by many girls whereas the princess were always portrayed as the weak, incompetent, unable to achieve success without marrying a rich prince, soft, insecure and always needed a man in their lives to protect or save them. Many young girls especially look up to these heroines as their role model. Have they been learning the wrong thing all these while?

Due to these gender stereotypes that has been debated the past years, Disney decided to change their princess roles such as The Little Mermaid, whereby Ariel is strong, rebellious and goes for her dreams although she marries her true love. Then came Mulan and Pocahontas, where they “have found a new independence where relying on a “male rescuer” is not as essential as before.” “It is said best when she is described as braver, more independent, and less focused on finding a husband than other female Disney characters” (Yerby,  Baron,  Lee, nd)  The most recent one would be Frozen, a story of Princess Elsa trying to fight and control her powers to save the one she love, which is her sister, Anna, hence the two sisters were distant apart from each other. The movie is not at all focused on men. Elsa is seen to be the confident, strong, in control,  independent, brave and is able to protect herself even when she had to leave in the cold winter to the mountain sides, she built a house on her own and took care of everything by herself. She even protected her sister Anna, by avoiding her and sacrificing everything to keep her safe.  Anna on the other hand, was seen to be brave enough to travel to the mountains alone to save her sister even after knowing that her sister might be evil and dangerous after what the people had claimed, yet she never gave up, and she still went looking for her. There were parts where romance did appear on screen such as the beginning where Anna meets a young prince charming and agrees to marry him because he is her true love, and also along the way where she meets Kristoff.

If we were to notice, there are many strong quotes that highlighted such as “Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” In this case, most people would obviously think that it is about a prince saving his true love, but in Frozen, any act of true love, such as sisterly love and not only just a relationship of two people in love can heal a frozen heart. Which in my opinion, already clearly says that it’s not only about men being a princesses true love, it could be a sister or brother or a friend, even like Olaf the snowman. Disney has done a great job with Frozen being fairly feminist this time. “I must say that Frozen is a breath of fresh air, and an intelligent shift in the portrayal of women.” (Hensatri, 2014) 

However, the main focus I would like to initiate would be the effects of these gender stereotypes to kids. An average american kid, watches 5000 times of TV before their first grade. What would these kids become?

(1) They would believe that everything they see in cartoons paints a picture of reality

(2) Children tend to view beautiful people as good (Ariel) , and ugly people as bad (Ursula)

(3) 78% of kids in America prefer having attractive friends

(4) Disney films create an unrealistic perception of  love and gender in fairy tales

 

(5) Attractive people are able to achieve a better and successful life by just using their looks

(6) They learn that the definition of beauty is having big eyes, pale skin, slim body, nice flow of hair, no flaws but purely perfection

A video that explains in detail the effects of gender role stereotypes:

 

In conclusion, I think Disney has done a great job in improving the gender roles and stereotypes and has been more fair compared to the past. “In the Disney’s early age animations, female characters with minor or even inferior roles didn’t really give a good message to young girls today, in the 21st century. However, as gender roles have changed, the female characters in Disney animations have also changed with gaining more importance in their roles.” (Yerby,  Baron,  Lee, nd)

References:

1. filmandmedia12, 2014, Gender Roles in Disney Films, Accessed 10/5/14, Online  at:  http://filmandmedia12.wikispaces.com/Gender+Roles+and+Stereotypes+Found+in+Disney+Films

2. Amanda Yerby, Samantha Baron, Youjin Lee, n.d, Gender roles in Disney Animation, Accessed 5/5/14, Online at: http://www.american.edu/soc/film/upload/gender-roles-in-disney.pdf

3. Hensatri, 2014, Frozen: A feminist Tilt in the Disney Tale, , Accessed 3/5/14, Online at: http://pointofcontention.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/frozen-a-feminist-tilt-in-the-disney-tale/

4. Effects of Disney’s Gender Stereotyping – America 2012, video, 25 May, viewed 11 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcwkedn31hs&gt;

 

 

 

 

Mainstream vs Citizen Journalism in Malaysia

 

News has been the biggest source of information to the public for many years. However, there are many variety’s when it comes to news reporting such as politics, economics, crime & war, social and citizen journalism. Journalism has emerged into a whole new era, whereby news are not only reported by mainstream medias but also through citizen journalism around the world. Journalism in Malaysia, works by a code of ethics that is empowered by the Malaysian Press Institute Code of Ethics under Proposed Malaysia Media Council. With codes of ethics such as the “primary responsibility of the media is to report correctly and to respect the public right to fair, accurate, truthful and timely news.” How often do we know if the mainstream media is reporting accurate news? As we all know, in Malaysia, it has become a main topic whereby freedom of speech is limited to citizens and even journalists. With the existence of laws such as the Printing Press Publications Act (PPPA) and the Sedition Act or even the Official Secrets Act (OSA), many people have succumbed into being arrested under this laws, hence causing many stories to be untold due to the fear of these laws. The Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) requires all publishers and printing firms to obtain an annual permit to operate which can be withdrawn without judicial review. With limited freedom of speech, many stories have created biasness, especially with the government in control of the media, articles and stories are edited before sending out to be printed in order for people to follow the agenda set for them to see and believe its true. This theory is known to be used by most medias such as the agenda setting theory, the media’s agenda set’s the public agenda. These agendas could be composed of any set of elements. (Reese, 2001)

These theory can be seen clearly especially when it comes to political news in mainstream newspapers and daily news. Just as stated in Routledge’s journal, The Freedom House also noticed that the businessmen and companies close to the ruling coalition own most major newspapers and political news coverage and editorials strongly support the government line. Foreign publications are subjected to censorship, and issues containing critical articles are frequently delayed. State run Radio Television Malaysia and the two private television stations, TV3 AND NTV7, offer flattering coverage of the government and rarely air opposition news. (Mohd Sani, 2005) From these journals, we can obviously see that most mainstream medias are obviously censoring many details and stories and have been bias towards opposition parties by only publishing images of the ruling coalition.

Due to the fear that is instilled and laws that are stopping journalists from publishing, citizen journalism became a huge source of information for people today. Many people have started reading news online and turned off the news to watch videos shared on socail medias. With the existence of the internet and the new face of citizen journalism today, news have been spread widely and conveniently around the world, and has played an active role, whereby people are starting to debate about everyone being able to be a journalist. According to the lessons that we have learned in class, citizen journalism is known to be an alternative and activist form of news gathering and reporting that functions outside mainstream media institutions, often as a repose to shortcoming in the professional journalistic field, that uses similar journalistic practices but is driven by different objectives and ideals and relies on alternative sources of legitimacy than traditional or mainstream journalism. Citizen journalism might be able to share as much information with most of us, but they were driven by different objectives and ideals and relies on alternative sources of legitimacy than traditional or mainstream journalism as they are free to write about anything without any professional guidance or rules, which might be a non credible source. Many people today are misusing the power of freedom of speech through the internet creating false and misleading news, especially during the crisis of MH370, there were many alternative news shared which were false news, such as the plane being found when it was still missing causing the public to misunderstand which also made the investigation go wrong. The main citizen journalism online newspaper in Malaysia would be MalaysiaKini, and Al-Jazeera which publishes news that are not being published in mainstream medias. These mediums are seen to be under pressured by the government with the laws that are being used against them.

In my opinion, I think freedom of speech is important to a society that is open-minded and are willing to accept change, mistakes and opinions from others. But right at this moment, I think Malaysians are almost there, but it takes time for us Malaysians to accept change, as we have already grown to be thinking and behaving in a certain way according to our various cultures. Also because there are many cultures, races, religions living under one roof, hence it might create misunderstandings and conflicts among one another, which is why most news are not published in order to avoid conflicts.

References:

Stephen D. Reese, Oscar H. Gandy, Jr., August E. Grant, J Rion McKissick, August E Grant 2001, Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of The Social World, pp61, accessed, 27/4/14, Google Books

Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani 2005, Media Freedom in Malaysia, Journal of Contemporary Asia, pp341-367, accessed, 15/4/14, Academia.edu

 

Imaginations Running Wild

For as long as we have lived, many people have been interested in art, fashion, theatre, and festivals. It has been more of a hobby for some people or a talent to pursue in, or it could even be an occupation. Back in the days, people used art / theatre as a form of “representation.” It could be a representation for religion purposes, or it could even be a representation of a person. However, most of these representations are used in churches. According to Alfredo Camerrotti, it is used in “order to maintain position a stable social hierarchy (largely dominated by churches).” Art can mean many things to different people, so is fashion and hence, it creates a public imagination in people’s minds. With all these form of art, journalism has worked its way in creating a world of imagination that represents the various lifestyles of social hierarchies. Art and literature has placed a sense of standards that classifies people from the upper class, that could afford spending their time in coffee shops, parks, and buying paintings. It portrays a form of identification and representation of a person. (Camerotti, 2009) This has brought into picture the Aesthetic Journalism of what involves artistic practices in the form of investigation of social, cultural or political circumstances. Its research outcomes take shape in the art context, rather than through media channels. (Camerotti, 2009) When it comes to Art,“geographical imagination,” for example, Stephen Daniels (2011) argues that, in western thought, imagination is granted a “mercurial presence” and is associated with creativity and inventiveness on the one hand while it is also marginalized as the site of illusion on the other. (Donnell, 2003) The place and status of imagination is shaped by the position and pressure of an array of contrapuntal concepts such as reason, experience, reality, objectivity, morality and materiality; the imagination has conventionally taken up a location somewhere between the domains of the factual and fictional, the subjective and objective, the real and representational. (Donnell, 2003) In other words, art, theatre, fashion, festivals are all portrayed by the media to represent a certain culture, which can be mythical or fictional, hence giving out information to the public through the producers own imagination causing us to believe their eyes and what they see. In my opinion, art is a form of imagination or creativity whereby the artist, reveals his/her trueself in a form of drawing, movies, videos, and etc. Art is not a form of beauty, or having to look beautiful, but in my idea it is to make us feel something just by looking at it. Same goes to fashion, a fashion designer could design a set of clothings based on his own creativity, then it is produced and sold to the public, and in his imagination for example, probably hipsters dress in this certain fashion, therefore he creates this trend, and the public starts to follow the trend based on their own interest in fashion to perhaps, dress that way and be classified as a hipster. Even Hollywood has taken over the media by creating movies based on their imaginations,  producers have been using their editing skills to produce movies such as Marvel comics transformed into movies, which has build quite a huge fan-based around the world. Producers are using their talent and empowering the world through creative technologies and media building good relationships with partners around the world. Marvel comics are a form of art as it is comic-based but it is now transformed using high-technology sources into movies. It is just a myth whereby its imaginary, however it has influenced many fans around the world.

                         Figure 1: Example of Marvel Comics

                   Figure 2:  Marvel Characters after being transformed into movies

I could highly link these issues with politics and media as well, with the new media evolving into something huge, it has caused a phenemona of shifting peoples attention from one news to another. One’s imagination, becomes another’s belief. Just like Obama campaign in 2008, they blended old and new forms of political engagement. The campaign adapted well-established tactics to influence professional journalist, such as strategically releasing information, cultivating relationships with reporters, deploying annonymous sources and granting journalists exclusives. (Kreiss, 2010) From here we can see that, new media also helps create a sense of persuasion and satisfaction for its audiences and followers. Among the examples of creating a public sphere imagination would be, obama’s inspiring speeches that has led many people to believe in him and his ability to run the country. This can also can be related back to public sphere and new media as back in the days there were no new medias used in running campaigns hence many people were not able to communicate and gain information conveniently and fast just like today. I personally think that the form of “new media” that they had was more towards the portrayal through verbatim theatres, festivals, art and fashion or maybe even politics. It is a form of information gain for them as they see and believe what is being portrayed through that forms. But, even today the older generation  has relied mostly on the traditional way, especially when it comes to movies and politics. They believe instantly what they see that is given to them by the media or through word of mouth. To conclude this, I would say that I agree with Donnell, that “The spheres of public imagination are sites where the raw material of news and of other media and artistic productions work together to produce “images of self, community and nation”. Public Imagination is clearly to shape and influenced people’s minds and perceptions into believing what the world we live in should be like.

References: Daniel Kriess 2010, Acting in The Public Sphere: The 2008 Obama Campaigns Strategic Use of New Media To Shape Narratives Of the Presidential Race, Accessed 18/4/2014, Online at http://danielkreiss.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/kreiss_actinginpublic1.pdf

Marcus Donnell 2003, Sphere of Public Imagination, Accessed 18/4/2014, Online at http://marcusodonnell.com/research-projects/keyword-sphere-of-public-imagination/

Alfredo Cramerotti 2009, Aesthetic Journalism- How To Inform Without Informing, Accessed 7/04/2014, Online at https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/206996/mod_resource/content/0/AestheticJournalism.pdf