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Expression of personal truths – My ramblings for today (3rd of September)

I am pissed off, and this is not an overstatement. I have been silent on a numerous amount of issues, and this for me is a singular mechanism of getting things off my chest.

Each day I remain silent, my viewpoint is overshadowed by those less informed, educated and one in which I don’t have a voice.

I can unequivocally state that there are many parts of celebrity culture that I do not like. In this male dominant, money driven society it is up to me to get off my ass to inspire others and speak my truths, and those which are important to me.

I have a few motto’s in life, but the one I stand most sternly by is one in which if you are not for something, then you are actively against something. I call myself a centralist, one who reads both sides of each story, who sources various news articles and journal articles to seek the ideal truth. Through this I garner an opinion on things, and some of these I will state below.

When looking at equality and humanity I understand that this is an issue where there is a divide, and by not speaking out for it actively works against it.

I am very much pro-humanity, and in turn believe that its citizens, as a majority, should have fundamental rights that are equal to those who stand next to them. If you are in the streets, and the multi-cultural surroundings that you are in, you should feel as a man, woman, any part of the LGBTI community, anyone who is deemed minority, or anyone who has seeks out a life within your country should hold the same rights as you. And these rights should not be impugned. This is why I am strongly for gay-marriage, equality of rights for minorities and that women should have the same opportunity to find happiness and succeed as any other individual in society.

My opinions and beliefs of portrayal of minorities, women and those who hold different sexual orientations within a media dominated westernized society is abhorrent (for example, TV shows, portrayal in games, music, film, and many other outlets) – subjugated to inferior roles to appease the masses of now, and not for those who strive to better humanity. Through these outlets, these are regularly portrayed as stereotypical and often ‘backward’ in the forward moving society we are endeavoring to have. There will naturally be those that are more or less successful in life, but the opportunity to harness that success should remain equal. And its not a ‘oh this a nice idea to have’ – it has shown that these negative portrayals of a male-dominated and minority absent society does not help to better it. In fact, we see regularly condescension, negativity and inaccuracy in the ability to portray the truth.

The media has further been subjugated to scrutiny (unfairly) throughout the past year, with reporting of what is newsworthy and what is hearsay and falsehoods being blurred. Nobody is immune to scrutiny, and some voices (even those high in power) should not be given the time of day that they require. If you empower those who are changing the world for the better and give the entrepreneurs, those who are doing good in the world, fighting for equality and fighting to keep society progressing in a way that is not solely funded by revenue and political and entertainment sway, we will see a culture which is much more vibrant.

We give too much power and voice to those who seek to be heard but at points should remain silent. Should we give a pacifier to a idiotic screaming adult? Should we push for greater role models in the community through people promoting change? If we give a voice to those who should be heard, not just those who WANT to be heard, will our world become more of what we are looking for?

Across the world I hear similar opinions, that ‘it doesn’t matter anyway, so why would I vote against it (or try and lobby those who may be endangering our lives and freedoms that we deserve).

I believe in humanity as a whole, however the more we are engulfed by crap people with uneducated (or swayed opinion by corporations and political leanings) the harder people will need to push back. If we just look to ourselves as individuals and endeavor greatness on personal levels to better the lives of those around us and our communities, hopefully we can move towards something better (and not on the brink of nuclear war due to stubbornness and machismo-ness [not a word, but you get the point]). To be strong is not to be loud, it is to be eloquent and having beliefs that people are indeed inherently good in nature.

What I believe is best for the world is one where people are for other people and for their equality, and the more individualized people are (or scared of progression), the more resistance will be shown toward progression.

How hard is it!?

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The News for Yous

Co-written by: Ardian Putra, Dustin Kochen, Harley Ennis, and Brendan Williams.

Security - Dictionary
Security – Dictionary by American Advisors Group (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Throughout the course of the last unit we have looked at digital surveillance in varied forms, from military drones, to fitness trackers, to our obsession with whatever-it-is-celebrities-are-getting-up-to-at-any-given-time. This multiplicity of forms, which is seemingly set to expand and evolve in ways that we are not yet aware of, is food for thought in its own right, placing us in the eye of a surveillance storm populated by competing technologies and interests (not least of which is our own). One theme however, seems to loom large over this maelstrom, seeking to unite the different threads and datasets and that is of course, government surveillance.

The sheer volume and breadth of personal data collected through various corporate and private endeavours, is a treasure trove that has proven irresistible to governments and surveillance agencies who ‘have always used their authority to piggyback on corporate surveillance’ (Schneier, B 3013). When exposed to public scrutiny, these activities are often framed as a necessary safeguard, one where we trade our privacy in exchange for safety.

The commonly used phrase ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ seems to be the foundation for many of the justifications of bulk surveillance, however it presumes that for those being watched life will proceed as normal. And indeed it does seem to ‘proceed as normal’. Since the Snowden revelations peoples’ online behaviour has changed little (PREIBUSCH, S 2015), and many of the products we purchase are increasingly invasive. It would be fair to argue that many, if not most of us are at the very least unsettled by the idea of constant surveillance, yet paradoxically we are also instrumental in its execution.

 

Surveillance Camera Sign
Surveillance Camera Sign by Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

In considering what could be an entirely plausible situation, ‘The News for Yous’ is questioning this idea of ‘life proceeding as normal’. Our current government has done such an appalling job trying to justify the likes of meta data retention, or identified census data (not to mention the dangerous precedents that our allies and partners have set) that we would be crazy not to be suspicious. By looking at how the privacy we trade for security is being used, we need to consider these trade-offs, not simply from a desire for life as usual, but with consideration for the society we wish to build.

Such a society that we may be building it one more inclined towards George Orwell’s 1984. Although a work of fiction and a dystopian exaggeration of surveillance society, in recent years the parallels between the novel and our current reality have become increasingly more noticeable. Besides the aforementioned revelations by Snowden, attention should be addressed to the hacking capabilities of the FBI, but also the phone-hacking of theIndonesian Government on the part of the Australian Government. Even Snowden himself stated that ‘George Orwell warned us of the danger of this information…that the conversation today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it (UPI, 2013).’

That observation has been intentionally translated into our work, outlining not only the increasingly unethical actions of the government for the sake of ‘national security’ but also the conversation of the public – and the subsequent actions taken in outcry of these questionable acts of surveillance. Although other options were taken under consideration in order to discuss surveillance and privacy, the final decision rested with the scenario in which the government themselves was put under scrutiny in switching of roles. This is once again both a nod to the actions of Snowden as well as the thought-provoking considerations that George Orwell’s 1984 reminds us of.

As much as a trade-off is required and not have a standardized response for gross invasions of privacy for Australian Citizens, there needs to be a fair and equitable trade-off for the citizens for privacy protection, and the government to patrol potentially dangerous data manipulation. A recent example of this can be through the hacking of the Australian Census website. This hacking caused the website to crash and most importantly potentially compromised sensitive information that the government was required to protect. Furthermore, the government has come under attack for not protecting private and personal information, and in some cases, taking advantage of it and using it to their own benefit, and not protecting their own software and data.

Bennett (2015) discusses that in Australia, this tradeoff for privacy vs security is at the very least ‘patchy’, as per the High court case of Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd v Australian Broadcasting Corp keeping open the recognition and possibility of more general laws and rights to privacy, however did not confirm it. This can be seen in many similar cases throughout various national and state cases (Giller v Procopets, Kalaba v Commonwealth of Australia etc.), however although some of these cases yield some level of surveillance and security risks, none of these comprehensively have denied or given rise to increases in individual violation and rights of Australian citizens.

Data breaches can and have occurred through Australia through data hacking and breaches of data. Privacy breaches occur when data affects an individual’s privacy without their consent, whether or not it was intentional. Whilst other countries have mandatory legislation in place to notify when this has occurred, Australia is slow do adopt this, and in turn makes recommendations of voluntary awareness. This has been given to the Australian Law Reform Commission to rectify, however Australia is yet to impose any sort of safety blanket to secure private data from being released (Williams, P H & Hossack, E 2013).

 

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Stop Watching Us by Elvert Barnes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There is a dire need for a statutory privacy tort to be enacted throughout the Commonwealth, and especially within Australia, with these acts are required to be broken down into two separate sections: ‘intrusion upon seclusion’ and ‘misuse of private information’. These acts would allow for the safety and security of all Australian citizens. Similar acts have been enforced or enacted in England, Canada and New Zealand, and would allow for the ‘onus’ to remain on the plaintiff to satisfy the court that the public interest in privacy prevails over government, without express permission (Bennett, T 2015).

In conclusion, there will always be debates surrounding the competition between the two. As much as the public interest is in protecting themselves and their ‘mirrored selves’ within the surveilled platforms, the government – on the other hand – has their own reasoning to conduct surveillance acts under the label of security measurement. Apart from the real-world surveillance (CCTV, etc.), the expanding realm of cyberspace becomes an unregulated world if not watched carefully. Though its implementation is indeed becoming controversial in an age where the ideology of freedom and liberty becomes the main driver of the society. As what has been outlined in the previous paragraphs, there should be a law in managing the relationship between privacy and any kind of surveillance acts. Even though the ever-developing surveillance technology makes it hard for the lawmaker to create a clear boundaries and limitation within the process of conducting surveillance, Australia and other sovereign states need to prioritize its citizens in terms of protecting their rights under law. All in all, it may be the case of ‘the more suspicious you are towards someone, the more recalcitrant that person becomes’.

 

References:

Bennett, TC 2014 ‘Privacy, Free Speech and Ruthlessness: The Australian Law Reform Commissions Report Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era’, Journal of Media Law, 6,2, pp. 193-205

PREIBUSCH, S 2015, ‘Privacy Behaviors After Snowden’, Communications of the ACM, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 48-55.

Schneier, B 3013, The Trajectories of Government and Corporate Surveillance, Schneier on Security, retrieved 31 august 2016, https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/10/the_trajectorie.html

UPI 2013,‘Snowden: Orwell’s ‘1984’ ‘nothing’ compared to NSA spying’, UPI Top News, retrived 3 October 2016, http://www.upi.com/Snowden-Orwells-1984-nothing-compared-to-NSA-spying/26571387949400/

Williams, P & Hossack, E 2013, ‘It will never happen to us: the likelihood and impact of privacy breaches on health data in Australia’, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 188, pp. 155-161

 

 

Surveillance, security and testing in women’s sports

With each Olympics, a new set of issues and problems arise, as well as the same old ugly ‘two headed monster’ bears its head, without much of a change (such as the Russia fiasco and doping).

There are numerous criticisms of larger sporting events (such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup etc.), however issues of gender and sexuality have largely been mute from these large events. The division seen in sports is largely due to the assumption that females cannot compete at the same level and are less competitive than their male counterparts, and in turn, are less competitive athletes (Blithe and Hanchey 2015, P486-487).

This year, Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui caused an international uproar at the Rio 2016 Olympics with her unique interviewing styles and her ability to shed light on ‘taboo’ issues such as menstruation, as well as showing the Chinese Female Olympian having fun, which apparently is also a big ‘no-no’ in Chinese culture.

2008 Summer Olympics - Opening Ceremony - Beijing, China 同一个世界 同一个梦想 - U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program - FMWRC

Olympic Opening Ceremony celebrates ‘One World, One Dream’ by U.S. Army, CC by 2.0

This seemingly innocuous issue sheds light just how many issues that men (as well as many women) in society have with natural female body issues. Issues of gender and sexuality have been traditionally largely invisible from surveillance studies, and the same can be said of sports.

Athletes bodies are subject to different forms of surveillance, and many sports agencies test female athletes for androgen levels, which is considered a primary tool for ‘fair play’ in sports. However it can be seen as a reproducing tool for gender order through the process of inclusion and elimination (Jakubowska 2014, p. 454).

Not Resident Evil 5

‘Not Resident Evil 5’ by Kevin Lau, CC by 2.0

This competitive assumption that women are inferior to men creates a virtual ‘glass ceiling’ for female athletic performance and in turn sporting organisations do not require male athletes to undergo the same regimental testing that the female athletes are subjected to (Blithe and Hanchey 2015, p. 487).

Run faster, Jump higher

Run Faster, Jump Higher‘ by Helgi Halldórsson, CC by 2.0

Blithe and Hanchey continue to bring up the fall out of this testing, not limited to complex problems, controversy, invasion of privacy, body shaming complexes, nationality, sexuality and ability, just to name a few. Sailors et. al (2012, p23) discuss how the complexities that arise regarding the invasion of human privacy and rights by gender testing, and that by questioning a female athletes femininity and identity demeans the gender. Sports often celebrates homogeneous masculine norms in competition, and in turn exclude females in the norm, labelling female athletes as in a ‘pathological’ condition if they do not adhere to the societal social, athletic and physical norms. By not adhering to these norms they are perceived to be less feminine, and in turn are labelled as less authentic. This in itself is the crux of the underlying basis in the discussion of sex verification.

No athlete was more criticised and scrutinised these last Olympics than Caster Samenya, a South African middle distance runner, who was heavily scrutinised and subjected to a myriad of tests to determine her gender, and had a blanket ban put on her until it was resolved (Walhert et. Al 2012, p. 486). This was a punishment for being too fast and too masculine by Western society, due to an elevated level of testosterone in her body. The Swiss High Court for International Sport found last year that it was unable to conclude that hydroandrogenic female athletes may benefit from such a significant performance advantage that is necessary to exclude them from competing in the female category (Wonkam et. Al 2010, p. 545)

And this is a win for all women, as hopefully in the future all women can be athletically judged based solely on performance, diet, coaching, training facilities and nutrition, instead of genetic and biological variations.

References:

Blithe, S, & Hanchey, J 2015, ‘The Discursive Emergence of Gendered Physiological Discrimination in Sex Verification Testing’, Women’s Studies In Communication, 38, 4, pp. 486-506, Humanities Source.

Jakubowska, H 2014, ‘Gender verification in sport as a surveillance practice: An inside and outside perception’, Surveillance and Society, 11, 4, pp. 454-465.

Sailors, P, Teetzel, S, & Weaving, C 2012, ‘The Complexities of Sport, Gender, and Drug Testing’, American Journal Of Bioethics, 12, 7, pp. 23-25.

Wahlert, L, & Fiester, A 2012, ‘Gender Transports: Privileging the “Natural” in Gender Testing Debates for Intersex and Transgender Athletes’, American Journal Of Bioethics, 12, 7, pp. 19-21.

Wonkam, A, Fieggen, K, & Ramesar, R 2010, ‘Beyond the Caster Semenya Controversy: The Case of the Use of Genetics for Gender Testing in Sport’, Journal Of Genetic Counseling, 19, 6, pp. 545-548.

 

 

What’s in a name…iCloud hacking and security

It is easy to look at the world from a dystopian point of view. We see terrorism quite often, uprisings around the world, the constant bickering between countries during times of solidarity. Across the board we see a sweeping invasion of privacy, corruption, embezzling and other blatant invasions of privacy.

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labrynthine circuit board lines‘ by quapan, CC by 2.0

Recently, we have seen even the most notorious of people worrying about surveillance, with Mark Zuckerburg covering his microphone and webcam with tape to avoid people that may hack into his computer to be able to see or hear what he has to say. It is the scope of this image that has shown us laypeople that even the most prominent people fear for their own security.

There has been many cases of celebrity and high-profile hacking attempts, such as ‘the Fappening’ was where celebrities iCloud accounts were hacked, and many naked or scandalous photos were leaked of female celebrities. Another high profile hacking was the email hacking of Sony after the release of the motion picture ‘The Interview’, as well as the Ashley Madison hacking and releasing of sensitive data. These were all gross invasions of privacy, and some of even basic human rights.

 

These seemingly ‘random’ attacks on celebrities and laypeople are those which have scarred people and ruined their reputation. Attacks happen on just a small scale, with personal webcams or computers being hacked remotely, which in itself is scary.

I believe what is quite frightening is when trusted information that is provided to a service (such as iCloud) can be hacked, and the potential ramifications for your information to be leaked by an anonymous source can yield potentially devastating consequences.

In 2015, Tivey et. Al. analyses how safe the cloud really is, with the initial expansion from personal data backing up to companies moving entire data bases to the ‘virtual’ cloud. This means the cloud is a form of outsourcing as the IT environment is ‘rented’. Some benefits of the cloud include increased flexibility, availability of software, reduced infrastructure costs, and reduced internal IT staff costs.

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DSC_4149_pp‘ by Walter. CC by 2.0

This transformation however can lead to high-profile data breaches, with hacks occurring much more frequently than those in other services such as online banking. The difference is phishing scams and spear-phishing scams (where users are tricked into giving up their passwords), where people are more cautious to give up their unique banking passwords accidentally.
Due to these cloud hacks, improvements across the board to protect the consumer has emerged, with new laws (Data Protection Act, 1998), as well as user agreements and contractual provisions, and governing law and jurisdiction. This allows for greater piece of mind for consumer, as well as an ability to prosecute criminals who infiltrate secure networks and violate new governing laws and jurisdictions. These protections are enforced by companies who engage stakeholders with questionnaires, as well as through social media feedback and through privacy security settings, as well as if there are small and large scale hacks into their systems, as a means of finding holes and flaws in their security (Zhang 2014, p.1)

This increased security provides piece of mind, and the greater our security is ‘breached’, the better the security to block, catch and prosecute those attempting to infiltrate our data will be. The higher profile attacks on companies and data, the greater the legislation and security tracking will be to protect and support its users will become.

And isn’t that just an overall win for everyone?

References:

Tivey, J, & Pearson, F 2015, ‘Feature: Protecting yourself from cloud-based risks’, Computer Fraud & Security, 2015, pp. 18-20, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 August 2016.

Zhiyong Zhang, Z 2015, ‘Security, Trust and Risk in Multimedia Social Networks’, Computer Journal, 58, 4, pp. 515-517, Applied Science & Technology Source, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 August 2016.

Images:

quapan 2008, labyrinthine circuit board lines, photograph, retrieved 16 October 2016, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/hinkelstone/2435823037>, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Walter 2014, DSC_4149_pp, photograph, retrieved 15 October 2016, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/walterpro/15373174944>, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

 

 

Who watches the WNBA anyway…? Surveillance, women and sports

This heading is a bit misleading, because if you were to ask many males if they would consider watching a televised broadcast of women’s basketball when men’s basketball is on, the answer would probably most often be “… uh, no!?” This response may then be followed by maybe a chuckle or some laughter.

Fear not, male counterparts, this isn’t abnormal…

I will touch on some issues being faced by many women throughout this Olympic season (and with sports in general).

As it’s the season for the Summer Olympic Games (a sporting cavalcade of various sports where athletes of both male/female fight for national pride), it is common place for people to pretend to love both men’s AND women’s summer sports, with some answering ‘Of course, I love watching women’s gymnastics’ or ‘women’s volleyball is great’.

In the Summer Olympics, there should theoretical be an ‘even playing field’ of equal representation of men and women in sports. But its not just your subconscious that undermines women and women’s sports, especially in comparison to their male counterparts.

Do you know who else doesn’t like women and sports? The media.

Women are overtly objectified and not put in the same positive athletic scope that their male counterparts are, and in turn are surveyed for their femininity or sexual prowess, and this can diminish their athletic accomplishments as a whole. Delrome (2014) conducted a longitudinal study which concluded that female athletes would be systematically underrepresented in sports media coverage, especially pronounced for the traditional ‘male’ sports. Further, journalistic coverage of international sporting events is somewhat biased, with the media following their sexist national culture (all of them are sexist, not one particular country) by airing and glorifying more popular male athletes over female athletes. As a fall out, many female sports become under promoted and in turn their successes diminished, which brings rise to decreased security measures and safety protocols for female athletic events through the games.

Also in the Olympics, there are very different testing for man and women. Jakubowska (2014) discusses how gender verification and testing is a female phenomenon, and how rarely males are tested for increased levels in oestrogen, whereas women are tested to check for inter-sexual athletes in elite sports, which first began in the 1966 Olympics, with the International Olympic Committee not agreeing that sex testing violates an athlete’s human rights. This violation is a breach in human rights, personal security and shows a bias from the International Olympic Committee officials toward women.

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Tennis Superstar Anna Kournikova

However, the key issue which women face through the Olympics, as well as sport in general, is the hyper-sexualisation of elite female athletes in advertising. For example, Anna Kounrnakova was the most searched for woman in 2008 on the internet, and that wasn’t just due to her amazing tennis prowess. As athletes are common in advertising as they are seen as role models, athletes have been used as spokespeople for many years. There are copious amounts of research about the sexualisation of female athletes, however limited research into the sexualisation of male athletes. This can lead to greater objectification of women, and in turn diminishing their capabilities when that individual is perceived primarily as a sexual object rather than a person (Nezlek et. al, 2015).

So I ask, how do we change this perception?

What can we do to allow for a greater playing field in this Olympic season, and moving forward in a sporting environment?

The key issue is, there is a societal shift which needs to occur. Some may argue ‘where is the money?’ – and to that, I present this article. (which I am happy to go into more depth upon, if people are interested in the topic…)

Women’s sport has the capacity to be equally as watchable and exciting as male dominated sports. There are a series of changes which need to occur from the ground up, and the first and most important is an entire societal overhaul.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

It starts with you…

References:

‘Anna Kournikova’ by Kalumba2009 available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalumba_joel_ego/3576896132/in/photolist-56ocL5-7oDDPa-6gRLMm-6s5wAY-7nP2w9-4BXPXg-5mzCdD-7oHuY7-9pbnFd-8ewMMo-6ANcgF-6ASn8d-6ASn5f-6ARpZ7-7nPwRQ-7nKzag-7nKzAt-7nPwVf-7nK8Pe-7nKzsv-6ANcpt-7oHxLm-7nQ6zy-7nLdCt-7nLcTa-7nP2yC-7nP2u9-7nK8Hx-7nP2DL-7nQ5ss-7nQ6ow-7nQ7jS-7nLcHk-7nQ75L-7nK8L2-7nPxah-7nPwYL-7nKD3M-7nKCKD-7nPtib-7nPwGd under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0.

Delorme, N 2014, ‘Were Women Really Underrepresented in Media Coverage of Summer Olympic Games (1984–2008)? An Invitation to Open a Methodological Discussion Regarding Sex Equity in Sports Media’, Mass Communication & Society, 17, 1, pp. 121-147

Jakubowska, H 2014, ‘Gender verification in sport as a surveillance practice: An inside and outside perception’, Surveillance & Society, 11, 4, pp. 454-465

Nezlek, J, Krohn, W, Wilson, D, & Maruskin, L 2015, ‘Gender Differences in Reactions to the Sexualization of Athletes’, Journal Of Social Psychology, 155, 1, pp. 1-11.

Continue reading Who watches the WNBA anyway…? Surveillance, women and sports

Does privacy exist for celebrities? Surveillance and negative media stereotypes #WhoAreYouWearing

I will preface this with the header that I don’t understand much about celebrity culture.

It is foreign to me, and it does not make sense to me the constant barraging of celebrities. As one works hard to  excel in an area (and therefore are sprung into the public limelight), I don’t believe that this makes them  ‘fair game’ to attack throughout their day to day life. It seems that female celebrities are constantly barraged by photographers and negative media stories over their male counterparts, and in turn I will be focusing on them.

Throughout the past week, Jennifer Aniston (celebrity extraordinaire, media and tabloid maven) came out in defence of not being pregnant, and her belief that societal expectations are not ones which she feels to be obliged by.

Also this week, there has been the unearthing of the infamous Taylor Swift / Kanye West (feat. Kim Kardashian … whoever that is…), which shows a conversation with Kanye telling Taylor that in one of his songs it would be great to say that they had intercourse, or at least that he helped in her rise to fame. She was hesitant and also flattered, however apparently this misogynistic play on words and conversation which had previously caused controversy, had in fact been recorded illegally and in turn was a breach of California Law. How is this acceptable?

This media uproar brings light further to unethical surveillance methods which occur from within the entertainment business, as well as those trying to gain ‘exclusive’ rights and access to celebrity gossip and scoops. This affects just a small portion of society – the celebrities. Female celebrities more than their male counterparts have traditionally been targeted in greater numbers by the media, negatively appropriating gender stereotypes and sexism (Pol, 2015).

There are numerous examples of celebrities of have thwarted their talents and shunned the limelight, as well as women becoming exploited in all facets of the limelight, and throughout the next few blogs I will delve deeper into various aspects and attempt to decipher how the media and media surveillance have affected affluent people within society…

Watch this space.

 

Reference:

Pol, J. (2015). A Locker Room of Her Own: Celebrity Sexuality and Female Athletes. Journal Of Popular Culture, (1), 216.

 

Don’t Trust the Teacher!: Advice for/by Students

Getting active early, keeping your social media platforms up to date and giving yourself the best platform for success is key in engaging online

Adam Brown

Creepy Self-portrait by Adam Brown, 22 January 2016. Creepy.

I wrote in an earlier blog called ‘Who’s Learning From Whom?‘ about my dismay over the years that the views and ideas of students are often not given the weight they deserve by their peers. That post shared a video with Catherine Shelley, a recent Deakin University graduate now working as an Event Producer, which signified the next stage of my quest to emphasise the importance of student contributions to unit content. I’ve included students in segments of my teaching videos in some form or another since I began making them in 2013, although this gets increasingly difficult when I teach fewer seminars directly and I can’t build enough of a rapport to get many students confidently standing in front of my camcorder. However, the ‘trust issue’ alluded to in the title of this blog takes on a different…

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Museums: Interact and Engage

 

Museums and Interactivity

When it came to creating the video on museums and interactivity, I first wanted to work out the issues that museums were having. With the various (and often ambiguous) types of museums which exist in the world from memorial museums to science to art museums, each of them have their own battles which they face for interactivity and many approach it differently. There were many articles about how museums are moving to a 2.0 (digital) design over the traditional design, and I had spent a long time trying to understand and reading about how engagement happens today, and what processes are being used.

After a few weeks of reading, I figured I would go back to the well and work out which museums and experiences I had found the most engaging, and from this, which benefits and exciting aspects were used to engage me.

I have no issue with talking in front of others, but one of my biggest hates is seeing and hearing myself on camera. I also had many journal articles which I had read through which all brought on a different approach, and in turn I needed to work out which of the ones were the most relevant. These scholarly sources came down to a solid six sources, and from there it was much easier to implement and write a script.

Before filming, I had realised that there was a potential to make my video grander with videos of various levels of interactivity from the numerous museums which i had attended to. I managed to find a lot of myself and my friend who would volunteer to engage, and with his permission was able to gather footage which brought another level to this video. Once this was found and collated, I then wrote out a script to match the articles as well as touch on the points which I felt best suited the video, which I found difficult but not more challenging than any other assignment.

My strategy for this was to ensure that the articles which i used were the most informative and linked the best to what i was hoping to engage with museums and interactivity. As there are many types of museums, and one which I am volunteering for, I felt that it would be easier to show museums which I had attended and found to be more interactive, and so I did not use that of cultural heritage, art-specific or purely historical museums. I settled on the college football hall of fame, which was the most interactive and interesting experience I have ever been a part of. You can find more information about it here.

My challenges came down to a few factors:

  • My fear of seeing myself on camera

This is not a large fear for me, but it still makes me quite anxious and uncomfortable to film myself in front of a camera, and then playing it back. For a long time as well I did not like how I sounded on camera, but through practice I had managed to get over that hurdle.

  • Finding creatively licenced materials

I found this difficult as although I went through the creative commons website and engaged online to utilize either sound or video with sound, with the style and theme I was looking for it ended up taking me quite a while to find a sound which suited my video and also was not too overpowering, but at the end, I found one which i think was really interesting and different

  • Filming

One of the hardest parts was finding a space which had correct lighting, sound, and ambiance without being too distracting. After spending almost half a day setting up my camera around my house, I managed to find a small spot, but it was indeed challenging even then to maintain consistency in lighting. I also managed to forget that there is post production in videos and many times would become frustrated with myself when I said ‘um’ or ‘ah’ on camera. But all a part of the magic!

  • Video editing!!!!

I have never had to use video editing software, and when I did it was for no more than a quick thirty seconds. I tried out various film editing software which I had either purchased or downloaded, and I had spent a little bit of time engaging in other programs before I finally settled on Adobe Premiere Pro. A wonderful, supremely intricate program which I hear you can do almost everything from there, lead me to pounding on my desk in tears at time when things did not work properly, and there were a myriad of issues in terms of layering and using the program to its full capacity. Despite these frustrations, I feel much more accomplished that I managed to complete this assignment and perhaps even in the future I can make another one!

Outside of the struggles, I quite enjoyed this experience of research and finding how museums find ways to engage their audiences, as well as struggles with keeping the soul and message which they are attempting to portray. Some of these are more serious than others, but with all of them having an engaging and interactive experience allows for visitors to become immersed better than if it was not interactive.

 

Highlighting my broader online engagement

Since the first assignment I have found myself to be more engaged than prior to it. I have been active online in our #ALC203 hashtag, and as well have written some blog posts, and engaged more effectively on social media. The short twitter access has allowed for me to post articles and topics which are engaging online, as well as voice my opinions on various topics.

 

Such is an example of a platform which I had engaged in further, as well as writing blogs fortnightly (or close to). I have found this unit to really bring me out of my shell on many levels both online and offline (as an effect of becoming more comfortable in posting my opinions) and as the other participants in the unit was so engaging (as well as the teachers); this has become the best subject I have ever been a part of!

 

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NASA MUSEUM

 

 

Music  

Celluloid by whatfunk

Used under creative commons licence

 

References

Music  

Celluloid by whatfunk
Used under creative commons licence

Ballofet, P., Courvoisier, F. H. & & Laiger, J., 2014. ‘From Museum to Amusement Park: The Opportunities and Risks of Edutainment’. International Journal of Arts Management, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 4-17.

Bearman, D. & Trant, J., 1999. ‘Interactivity comes of age: museums and the World Wide Web’. Museum International, vol. 51, no. 4. pp 20-24

Capriotti, P., Carreton, C. & Castillo, A., 2016. ‘Testing the level of interactivity of institutional websites: From museums 1.0 to museums 2.0’. International Journal of Information Management, vol. 36, no.1, pp. 97-104.

Gul, S. N. &. Akmehmet. K. T., 2015. ‘Interactive Spaces in Art Museums: A Landscape of Exhibiton Strategies’. Solsko Polje, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 141-155.

Reading, A., 2003. ‘Digital Interactivity in Public Memory Institutions: the Uses of New Technologies in Holocaust Museums’. Media, Culture and Society, vol. 25, no.1, pp. 67-85.

Wazlawick, R. S. et. al., 2001. ‘Providing More Interactivity to Virtual Museums: A Proposal for a VR Authoring Tool’. Presence, vol. 10, no.16, pp. 647-656

Cotterall, S & Cohen, R 2003, ‘Scaffolding for second language writers: producing an academic essay’, ELT Journal, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 158–66.

Note: All images / videos used in the video were taken by Dustin Kochen – Consent has been granted for all other participants for all videos/photos,

 

 

The curse of positivity

I’m never quite sure what to write in this, but sometimes you just need to take the plunge.

This one is not as succinct as the others.

Now I would like to premise this with the thought process that my beliefs on this are always somewhat contradictory. At times I am highly emotional and feel that it should not be projected, and at other times it’s all about the ‘life is beautiful’, or ‘life is great’ or ‘love yourself’ style motto.

See…like that!

That’s all wonderful, but life is not always beautiful or great. You do, however, just need to love yourself. The last one rings true, forever and always.

I believe we live in a society where there is an undying necessity for everything to be okay, to work out, for things to be great…no matter the struggles and issues that life throws your way. Regardless of the situation, there is always that nagging feeling of ‘ah i can’t be sad, I can’t be struggling, don’t worry, you’re gonna do great’.

You know what, I believe it though… I am gonna do great! Things will get better!

But self-affirmation is not necessary. You can get through things without self-affirmation.

2013

The power of self-affirmation is a great thing, but I believe that over doing it can be dangerous.

For those that know me, I have been around the world and seen many places, lived many different types of lives, and had my fair share of struggles throughout (and good times, but stick with me here). Throughout these struggles there was always that nagging
self-affirmation of ‘ah you’ll crush it, you’ll be great’- which at the time was great, but over a long period of time, became quite dangerous.

Finally, toward the end of my Canada trip, it all came to an end-pass. One day I was in downtown Vancouver, having committed to join a new house whilst being recently without a house … at a price I couldn’t afford. This was feeling closer to desperation, and ultimately was not the best approach – I had accepted too early and put myself under pressure.

‘It’s okay’ I told myself, ‘you got this’.

I repeated this to myself, almost like a mantra, knowing that I could ill afford to live there, and had committed to a place which was way outside my price range. But this is what I had always done, and it had always…kind of…worked. right? This time, I was unable to ‘get this’ – and i started to hyperventilate. All the thoughts running through my head, until it went to a hot, white flush…

Then and there, I had my first panic attack, in the middle of the street, in a city where i was somewhat foreign, on my own, at 11:30 pm. A momentous moment in my life, despite not being a great one (or pleasant for me).

I ended up calling the lovely couple, once i had calmed down, and explained that although I like the place, it just ‘wasn’t for me’ but appreciated the option to see it.

I realised through that situation (and others) that there is a true life lesson which over time has rung more and more true.

There is a better thought process that I say now, more and more often, the more I become more comfortable with myself.

‘It’s okay’

It is okay.

It’s okay to feel the emotion of the time. To be sad, to be angry, to be annoyed. To embrace these emotions, and have the ability to move forward.

The difference between the perpetual self-affirmations and understanding the emotion that you are feeling at the time, and have the ability to embrace it is important. By quashing the emotion that you’re feeling by giving yourself self-affirmations is not doing any good at all.

I was taught from a young age to be positive, so this is a maturing process and always takes time for it to be realistic.

Be yourself, it’s okay.

It is so important to love yourself, to understand the good things that you have going for you, to truly be in touch with yourself. But it is okay to be human, to feel emotion and to move on from whatever you’re feeling.

You got this!

Over and out,

DK

 

Are you really an #activist?

Aren’t you perpetually annoyed with people hawking their beliefs and religions and political agendas in your face?

If so, get off social media!

Carty defines social movements as a “sustained collective articulation of resistance to elite opponents by a plurality of actors with a common purpose”. I, like the next person, am somewhat frustrated with social media at time, with people having opposing views to my own, or alternate opinions without the ability to back it up. But these people are not those that you should focus on. The plurality of actors with a common purpose can engage in online political campaigns, when done successfully can warrant applause. From the Arab Spring to #Kony2012 to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (and all of its spin offs), social media is supremely useful. There is however, much scrutiny from those which aren’t as engaged or people who are skeptical of social media. To those people, I say, engage yourself a bit more onto social media, and learn about the history behind it all.

Currently in Vietnam and China, there is mass water pollution happening in their seas and rivers, which is causing millions of deaths of fish each and every year. As the governments have been typically slow at responding, the use of social media has allowed these countries to take action and at least probe into the issues, one fish (or bird) at a time  #AFlockalypse #ApocaFish

Despite the humourous hashtags which may or may not have been trending at these particular times, it does not take away the seriousness of the issues at hand.

(Click here for more information about the fish deaths in Vietnam and China)

There are a myriad of social and political changes which can be made through social activism. The most effective version to date was the Arab Spring, which allowed for a wider people to engage in a societal and political changes throughout the Middle East. For more information on this, please see the videos below from Al Jazeera America and TedTalks, on attitudes and social activism:

 

 

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Ted Talks on Arab Spring

 

 

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Al Jazeera America on Arab Spring

 

 

With the rise of social media and the ever prominence of Social Activism, websites such as change.org have allowed for people to have a real influence and give rise to social issues which governments may or may not be aware of. Such an example is the stopping of a Legal Rape advocate to discuss in Sydney, which after many many petitions on Change.Org stopped the entry of Roosh V and the issues which could arise from his entry.

 

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Stop supporters of legal rape advocate Roosh V – Petition on Change.org

 

On some lighter notes, I am involved in a petition which I am a strong advocate, which is adding The Simpsons to the Australian dollar, as seen below. This is not complete but has a strong petition for it. Go Dollarydoos, Go!

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Changing Aussie Dollars on Change.Org

Crikey!

Many traditional activist are skeptical of modern methods in activist and criticise those who initiate social change more passively as being #Slacktivists: that is, posting from behind a keyboard, clicking a like, buying a pair of shoes which gives another pair of shoes to the needy, buying water which helps give money to the homeless, and many other prominent issues which people are engaging in as its something that they may believe in without actively marching/endorsing/directly engaging in the issue.

Despite the multitude of campaigns and social action, the notion of doing SOMETHING is  usually better than doing nothing. Social activism is not always ideal, but it definitely has significant changes and engagement within society, especially if its through prominence. Perhaps the most influential and prominent social awareness issue which has arisen has been the Occupy Wall Street (OWS), as well as the racial marches and movements such as #BlackLivesMatter. Both of these types of movements had dramatic effects on the way it was portrayed in the media; or lack thereof.

Sculio (2012) discusses race and the occupy wall street movement,  whereby the notion of race and Occupy Wall Street is one of the least explored facets of the Occupy movements, which since it is so seldom mentioned may be a larger reflection on the undertones of racism that is prominent throughout America, and indeed the globe. The blatant omission of race is problematic in reporting the issues which are vital to the OWS movement; and especially when critiquing capitalism and its central tenets. Sculio argues that ‘racism and capitalism are intimately tied together and mutually reinforcing’…with ‘a new movement that ignores one or the other is worth a closer look’. Sculio also focuses on the Occupy Atlanta movement, which has a higher concentration of African Americans than in many other cities, and in turn has experienced a significant amount of racism more so than other US cities, in which the privileged class and its many advantages severely had undermined the ever-increasing poorer society, which includes many African American areas, and tends to critique capitalism’s excesses and much of America’s turning of a blind eye toward its African American or foreign decent residents. Specifically in the Occupy Atlanta movement, struggled with racial integration, as well as a misrepresentation of African American speakers (and those which specialise in civil rights, such as John Lewis, who is deservedly counted alongside people like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abemathy. Sculio believes that ‘the failure to include Representative Lewis among speakers reeks of a loss of history and the continuation of a racially discriminatory past’.

People see not being a direct activist as gathering a group of people together. Does marching or gaining social influence via direct means down the main street of your city and being a so called ‘activist’ garner more traction than direct activism? Does this online worldwide virtual process of garnering attention to issues which you (and other individuals) are passionate about online create less awareness into the issue than direct methods?? That is the real question.

 

References:

 

Carty, V. 2011, Wired and mobilizing : social movements, new technology, and electoral politics, New York : Routledge, 2011.

 

Sciullo, N. J. 2012, ‘SOCIAL JUSTICE IN TURBULENT TIMES: CRITICAL RACE THEORY & OCCUPY WALL STREET’, National Lawyers Guild Review, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 225-238.