Souls Suffer in Silence

In the above image (Flikie 2015) people have the ability to capture photographs of people suffering but is it ethical?

In the above image (Flikie 2015) people have the ability to capture photographs of people suffering but is it ethical?

 

The media is overflowing with photographs of people suffering from famine, diseases, war and exploitation. Photography can be controversial when it depicts vulnerable people in situations which are out of there control. When confronted with these photographs, the ethics of looking at people in pain and suffering is debatable.

“Does photography provide an ideal means of appealing to conscience and provoking compassion or empathy? Or is the circulation of images of people in their moments of need and pain insensitive and exploitative? Does the surfeit of images of atrocity simply numb the viewer, causing what has commonly come to be called “compassion fatigue”? Is it wrong to make art out of other people’s misfortune?” (Szorenyi 2009, p. 93)

The above questions continues to fuel the fire to the ongoing debate about the ethics of photographed suffering. This consumption of photographed suffering can be confronting and complicating to understand. A photograph can affect us emotionally, as a result the victim’s pain in the photograph can be overshadowed by the pain the viewer is feeling. The images below show a four-month-old baby boy being rescued from the rubble of the Nepal earthquake after being buried under a building for 22 hours. The images published by Kathmandu Today, showed the innocent boy covered in dust in the safe arms of a member of the armed forces.

In the above image (The Guardian 2015) a baby boy who became trapped under rubble is given a second chance at life.

In the above image (The Guardian 2015) a baby boy who became trapped under rubble is given a second chance at life.

In the above image (The Guardian 2015) a  baby boy is in the safe arms of man from the armed forces.

In the above image (The Guardian 2015) a baby boy is in the safe arms of man from the armed forces.

As a viewer of the image, you are overwhelmed with happiness as it’s a miracle the boy survived. But, it’s at the expense and suffering of a young baby who is injured and exhausted. The 2015 Nepal earthquake has killed more than 8,000 people and 2.8 million Nepalese have been displaced (Mullen & Pokharel, 2015). The photograph of the boy suffering shines a light of hope that out of this disaster there is an amazing story of survival.

Sontag argues that photographs have the capacity to move us momentarily but the visual representation of suffering has become clichéd (Butler, 2007). Over the years we have become bombarded by sensationalised photography, as a result the shock factor of a photograph has diminished. Due to the distant proximity to suffering of the natural disaster zone in Nepal, we may feel a sense of hopelessness to help.

The same thing can said about the below video of a buried baby pulled from the rubble of the war torn country of Syria. The video was unethical because once the baby was dug out by the group of men it was paraded and held up like a trophy. For a moment the suffering experienced by the baby became their enjoyment.

The debate around the ethics of photographing people suffering is questionable. However, it’s the photographer’s obligation to act ethically and have the best interest of the person being photographed.

 

 

References

Butler, J 2007, ‘Torture and the ethics of photography,’ Environmental and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 25, no.6, pp. 951-966. <http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1195064.files/16.%20Butler%20Torture%20and%20the%20Ethics%20of%20Photography.pdf>

Flikie, 2015, Taking a Photograph, image, Flikie, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://services.flikie.com/view/v3/android/wallpapers/33576876>

Kathmandu Today, 2015, Baby boy rescued from Nepal earthquake rubble, image, The Guardian, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/baby-boy-rescued-from-nepal-earthquake-rubble>

Mullen, J & Pokharel, S 2015, Nepal’s latest earthquake: Dozens killed; fears over remote areas, CNN, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/13/asia/nepal-earthquake/>

Szorenyi, A 2009, ‘Distanced suffering: photographed suffering and the construction of white in/vulnerability,’ Social Semiotics, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 93-109. <https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/58877>

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM310

Girls! We Run the World

In the above image (Mirkinson 2014) the legendary journalist Barbara Walters paved the way for female journalists.

In the above image (Mirkinson 2014) the legendary journalist Barbara Walters paved the way for female journalists working in a male dominated industry.

In newsrooms across the world, females remain under-represented with males dominating all levels of a news organisation. “The exclusion of most women meant journalism and politics were male-centered domains, largely promulgating masculine behaviours and norms,” (Meeks 2013). This perspective supports the notion that the public is persuaded to read bias, male dominated material due to the lack of diversity and female presence in the newsroom. For example, in 2012, woman were 38% of the daily newsroom workforce in the U.S and no woman owned a metropolitan newspaper or national news outlet (Meeks 2013).

Due to this unequal representation of women in the profession, females have been stereotyped as only being capable of reporting feminine topics “soft news” and to leave the masculine topics “hard news” to males. In order to close the gender inequality gap in the newsroom we need to break this so called “feminine news cult” to allow woman the opportunity  to report on various topics.

After 50 years in television as a broadcast journalist, Barbara Walters has paved the way for female journalist. Walters’ became the first female co-anchor of the “ABC Evening News” with Harry Reasoner, who was not impressed that he had to host the show with a female. The below video reveals Reasoner as a sexist who disrespected Walters and saw woman as incapable of reporting the news.

The media industry would not be where it is today without Walters’ determination and hard work. She broke the glass ceiling and will continue to inspire women to rise up the rungs of the corporate ladder.

“And, most importantly, women are taken seriously on TV because people like her battled their way through a deeply sexist world. Walters was the first, and, because she triumphed, there will never be another like her” (Mirkinson, 2014).

All around the world there are strong independent woman who fight for equality, such as Beyoncé who embraces the feminist label. In a male dominated music industry, Beyoncé is an advocate for women’s power. On tour, she has an all-woman 10-piece backing band (The Sugar Mamas), women back-up singers and 120 women dancers from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds (Hobson 2015).

In the above image (Lipstick Alley 2014) Queen B supports women in her hit song

In the above image (Lipstick Alley 2014) Queen B supports women in her hit song “Run the World (Girls)”.

In her song, “Flawless”, she samples a powerful speech by Nigerian feminist and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TED Talk. The speech which can be seen below, supports the idea that a feminist believes in equality of the sexes and empowers women to be ambitious.

In the above image (Lily On Fillmore 2014) the feminist speech features in Beyoncé

In the above image (Lily On Fillmore 2015) the feminist speech features in Beyoncé “Flawless” song.

In order to achieve gender equality throughout the journalism industry, we must strive to employ women at all levels of an organisation and encourage all genders in the newsrooms to operate in a positive collaborative environment. Thus, power and dominance will be equally shared.

References

Henson, 2014, Confessions of a Feminist Beyoncé Fan, image, Lipstick Alley, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://www.lipstickalley.com/showthread.php/719480-Confessions-Of-A-Feminist-Beyonce-Fan>

Hobson, J 2015, Beyoncé’s Fierce Feminism, Ms. Magazine Blog, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/03/07/beyonces-fierce-feminism/>

Meeks, L 2013, ‘He Wrote, She Wrote: Journalist Gender, Political Office, and Campaign News,’ Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 90, No. 1, pp. 58-74. <http://jmq.sagepub.com/content/90/1/58.abstract>

Mirkinson, J 2014, ‘How Barbara Walters Changed Everything,’ Huffington Post, viewed 14 May, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/barbara-walters-retirement-career-legacy_n_5312103.html>

Mirkinson, J 2014, Barbara Walters, image, Huffington Post, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/barbara-walters-retirement-career-legacy_n_5312103.html>

Lily On Fillmore, 2014, Flawless: we should all be feminists, image, Lily On Fillmore, viewed 14 May 2015, <http://lilyonfillmore.com/flawless-we-should-all-be-feminists/>

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM310

Power to the Princess

In the above image (Flickr 2015) the Walt Disney company aims to provide a fair representation of race and ethnicity in its movies.

In the above image (Flickr 2015) the Walt Disney company aims to provide a fair representation of race and ethnicity in its movies.

The Hollywood film industry has played a significant role in the mass dissemination of popular culture, raising concerns of racial and gender inequality in representation of Hollywood films. Several studies reveal Hollywood as predominantly White and male dominated, with women and racial minorities being highly underrepresented with proportions well below their share of the US population (Erigha 2015, p. 78). The Hollywood and television media industry needs to open their doors to embrace these minority groups. As a result, there will be a greater diversity of cultures onscreen and stereotypical roles will be diminished.

However, Hollywood is slow to adopt these changes as the domination of the popular culture continues to present complex issues. In acting for film and television, a Screen Actor’s Guild report showed that White actors dominated 75 percent of all roles, African Americans occupied 14 percent, Latinos 5 percent, and Asian Americans less than 3 percent of roles (Erigha 2015, p. 81). These results contradict the Screen Actor’s Guide and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists mission statement,

It is a core value of SAG-AFTRA that our strength is in our diversity. We are committed to the broadest employment and involvement of our members, regardless of race, national origin, ancestry, color, creed, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status, gender identity or expression, age or disability. (SAG-AFTRA, 2015)

In the quest for these neglected minority groups to gain a platform and fair representation in popular culture, Walt Disney has taken on the role of the fairy godmother. Over the years, Walt Disney has transformed their iconic White Princess, sharing a powerful message that they are accepting of every race and ethnicity. In 1992, Princess Jasmine and Prince Aladdin were the first non-white royal couple, followed by the first Native American Princess in Pocahontas (1995), and first Asian princess in Mulan (1998).

In the above image (Wonders of Disney 2015) Disney's Princesses represent different races and ethnicity.

In the above image (Wonders of Disney 2015) Disney’s Princesses represent different races and ethnicity.

In recent times, Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (2009) was the first African-American princess to grace the big screen. “Through Tiana, Disney confirms that women can be strong in their own right and that princesses come in many colours: white, black or even green” (Hebert-Leiter 2014, p. 969). In 2016, Disney’s newest Latina princess, Elena of Avalor will make her debut on Disney Junior’s animated show “Sofia the First”. Every young girl can now identify themselves with a Princess without feeling marginalised.

In the above image (E! Entertainment Television 2015) you get the first look at Disney's Latina Princess.

In the above image (E! Entertainment Television 2015) you get the first look at Disney’s Latina Princess.

In order to achieve transparency, the Hollywood movie industry needs to provide a fair representation of race and ethnicity in all of its movies. No matter what gender, age, colour, race and ethnicity you are we all deserve to be treated as equal.

References

Erigha, M 2015, ‘Race, Gender, Hollywood: Representation in Cultural Production and Digital Media’s Potential for Change,’ Sociology Compass, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 78-89. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1111/soc4.12237/abstract

Hebert-Leiter, M 2014, ‘Disney’s Cajun Firefly: Shedding Light on Disney and Americanization’, The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 47, no. 5, pp. 968-977. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1111/jpcu.12182/full

SAG-AFTRA 2015, History, Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, viewed 13 May 2015, <http://www.sagaftra.org/history>

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM310

Strike a Pose!

In the above image (Digital Information World 2013) you can see the selfie phenomenon begins with a snap of smartphone.

In the above image (Digital Information World 2013) you can see the selfie phenomenon begins with the snap of smartphone camera.

Since Oxford English Dictionary awarded the word “Selfie” 2013’s Word of the Year, the selfie phenomenon has spiraled out of control. In 2014, there was a selfie explosion with more than 93 million selfies taken per day (Brandt 2014). We’re all selfie-obsessed!

Fueling this selfie culture is social media, it’s our choice whether we want our selfie upload to be a real representation of who we are or what we want others to see us as. Ultimately “Add in a dash of narcissism and a sprinkle of identity crisis, and you’ve got yourself a new and powerful trend,” (Hill 2014).

Is taking a selfie harmless fun or a dangerous sign of an increasing narcissistic society? The selfie craze has captured the hearts of everyone, especially the selfie queen Kim Kardashian. Her ultra-sexy glam selfie uploads are known for breaking the internet. Obviously, one selfie upload per day isn’t satisfying enough for the curvaceous beauty, in April she will be releasing a 352-page selfie book featuring 1,200 selfies called “Selfish”. A couple of harmless selfies can turn into an unhealthy self-obsession. Where does it end?

In the above image (The Huffington Post 2014) Kim Kardashian strikes a sultry selfie pose.

In the above image (The Huffington Post 2014) Kim Kardashian strikes a sultry selfie pose.

According to Ziegler (2014), “Selfies are not a fad but actually part of our future… In fact, they’re going to morph and change as part of a rich and dynamic media.”

Picture selfies were so 2014, the second generation of selfies has begun. Introducing the video selfie, a dream come true for a self-indulgent person. Can’t decide whether to pout or smile for your selfie, don’t worry in a video selfie you have enough time to show all of your 21 different facial expressions.

Beats by Dre has reinvented the selfie taking it to a whole new level to promote their new Solo2 headphones. The #SoloSelfie campaign is “a new movement of self-expression” inviting people to take a selfie video of them wearing the colorful headphones and then upload it to a social media platform with the hashtag #SoloSelfie.

The campaign video below shows a mash up of celebrity Solo Selfies and has 17 million views on YouTube.

We should focus on the positives of uploading photo selfies and video selfies as a way of self-expression. Most importantly, a selfie reflects our own self-acceptance. Be proud of who you are and what you look like in your selfie upload. We are who we are and we should not alter our selfie for anyone.

References

Hill, M 2014, ‘Me, My Selfie, and I’, University Wire, 12 May, viewed 12 March 2015, <http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1523396781?pq-origsite=summon>

Ziegler, M 2014, ‘The Mind-Blowing Way Selfies Will Change Our Futre. Yes, Selfies’, Forbes, 14 July, viewed 12 March 2015, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/maseenaziegler/2014/07/14/the-mind-blowing-way-selfies-will-change-our-future-yes-selfies-2/>

Brandt, R 2014, ‘Google divulges numbers at I/O: 20 billion texts, 93 million selfies and more,” Silicon Valley Business Journal, 25 June, viewed 12 March 2015, <http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2014/06/25/google-divulges-numbers-at-i-o-20-billion-texts-93.html>

By Bianca Tasevski Posted in BCM310