Is Australian Cultural content a higher priority than Australian jobs?

women-film-infographic.ashx_Image Source

The Australian Film industry has strict conditions for films that receive taxpayer support. They currently require fifty percent of the lead roles to be played by Australian actors, with support roles sitting at seventy five percent required to be Australian (Middlemost 2016). This is an excellent criteria to ensure that Australian jobs are protected within the local film industry. However, this doesn’t mean that we are seeing a large amount of Australians with continuous employment within the industry.

It is apparent that Australian jobs are important to Screen Australia, though it is also apparent that the portrayal of Australian culture is a high priority. For taxpayer support to be granted for a film project it firstly needs to demonstrate that it displays significant Australian content that will be beneficial to Australia as a nation. Though it is clear that Australian audiences are not interested in viewing typical Australian films. Films such as Babe that do not depict the country it is set in are often more successful. Therefore, before we have even considered the percentages of Australians working on projects, Australian film projects numbers have the potential to have been cut in half.

In regards to television series what was remarkable is that after a series has aired sixty five episodes they are no longer eligible for funding (Middlemost 2016), they are also only entitled to twenty percent funding compared to a film receiving forty percent. This has led to shows only being able to continue through sponsorships; for example Masterchef had to rely on sponsorship from Coles (O’Regan and Potter 2013 p.149). Whilst shows like The Voice generated revenue from Itunes downloads and the Underbelly television series gained profits from its DVD sales (O’Regan and Potter 2013 p.149). Instead of continuing to fund projects or granting projects with potential, regardless of their Australian cultural impact, their funding subjectiveness may result in the decline of Australian jobs.

Similarly shown through Screen Australia’s lack of support for women in the industry. In 2006-2011 only eighteen to thirty four percent of key creative roles were filled by women (French 2014 p.189). Furthermore only fifteen percent of Screen Australia’s investments in productions had a female director (French 2014 p.189). Whilst many other companies have implemented programs to see more women joining careers and having equal opportunity, Screen Australia does not have a gender based programme or targets to increase female involvement (French 2014 p.190). Gender issues have also not been reported in Screen Australia’s annual report (French 2014 p.190), therefore, women in this industry are still underrepresented.

It is clear that the Australian film industry considers Australian culture more important than jobs. Their selective funding schemes only consider projects with significant Australian content rather than focusing on maintaining a strong Australian presence and ensuring jobs on quality productions. They are merely focusing on cultural identity. Similar with their lack of programmes to try and increase the number of female creatives within the industry. Australian jobs are a key priority, as whether the content they create is visually Australian or not it is still created by an Australian. It is clear that Screen Australia needs to take a greater stance to ensure jobs within the Australian film industry.

References:

French, L 2014, ‘Gender then, gender now: surveying women’s participation in Australian film and television industries’, Continuum: Journal Of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 188-200.

Middlemost, R 2016, ‘Cross national casting, transnational co productions, location incentives and runaway productions’, lecture notes, BCM339, University of Wollongong, 12th January.

O’ Regan, T & Potter, A 2013, “Globalisation from within? The De-Nationalisation of Australian film and television production”, Media International Australia, No.149, p.5-14.

Transitioning a video game into a board game

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I attempted my hand at Board game design again this week under the instruction to develop a University based game. I developed a board game modelled on the structure of Monopoly called: Fee Escape. The basic goal of the game is to pay off your student loans before anyone else can pay theirs.

I employed a turn base structure, this allows for the players to engage in social conversation through-out the game as-well as shifting the centre of attention from player to player (Xu, Barba, Radu et al. 2011 p.9). The rules are based on the Monopoly rules, where you must pass ‘Centrelink’ to collect your $300 each round. You can also rent houses on the board but these have leases, when someone lands on your rented property that player11072722_10153058005825129_255690405_n will then pay a Couch Surfing fee to the person who is currently renting the property.  Through-out the game the player has a chance to land on Jobs awarding them with extra money, Fee Reform squares where the individual’s student fees have risen by a set percentage; as well as landing on Living Expense Cards, Fee-Help Cards and the Tech Fail square (replacing Monopoly’s Jail square). The Living Expenses Cards and Fee-Help Cards provide monetary prizes to the players, force players to pay out money to the bank or allow them to take actions on other players.

Board games have merged into a computer gaming sphere, modern games are portable and allow a player to engage in a game any time of the day. Whilst my game is asking players to commit perhaps a few hours within the ‘magic circle’ if played correctly. The magic circle is the ‘suspension of normal rules of meaning and behaviour’ (Moore 2011 p.373).  As Moore (2011 p.375) states; a game will rely on the players being able to suspend their reality and ‘enter the system of the game’ (Moore 2011 p.375), to ensure full entertainment value can be achieved.

To ensure my game does not require  a player to be within the ‘magic circle’ for an extended period, a rule has been implemented that after one loan from the bank of $1000 if the player becomes broke they are removed from the University and thus they are removed from the game.

This game is obviously a prototype, and I am looking forward to taking my ideas further.

References:

Harvey, A and Fisher, S 2013, ‘Making a Name in Games: Immaterial Labour, indie game design and gendered social network markets’, Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.362-380.

You can’t marry a man you just met

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Image source: empirestatetribune

Over the past century westernised countries have witnessed the feminist movement, equity in the workforce and the right to vote, however, media representations of women are still often misogynistic.

The Newsroom is a modern example of portraying a poor representation of women within the show. Maureen & Lacob (2012) state that the shows foundations are; women helping men commit acts of journalism and any attractive woman will find one of the male leads attractive enough to date therefore, a poor representation of women within the workforce. This nevertheless leads me on a tangent to analyse Disney films.

Disney is renowned for promoting the perfect female princess that undertakes domestic duties, falls instantly in love with the prince and will change herself to suit the male leads lifestyle. I will argue that films such as Snow White were simply a product of their era and when this film was first produced the feminist movement had not taken force to the extent they had today, thus, can be argued this film was merely mirroring current social conventions. Though it can be seen within the last decade Disney has progressed with producing; BraveTangled and Frozen with Frozen being the most successful progression of gender roles (Grammer 2014).

Frozen demonstrates that there is a stronger love than just a romantic love and also condemns the female lead marrying a Prince she has only just met. Compare this to Little Mermaid and Snow White whom barely know the Prince they have fought hard to marry. This is a significant progression which we also view in Brave where the female lead makes the statement that a woman does not have to aspire to marriage (Grammer 2014).

Disney may have forgone the storyline of women having to aspire to have a husband but has society? The example of Julia Gillard comes to mind, Australia’s first female Prime Minister who was constantly condemned within the media regarding her physical appearance, lack of children and living in a de-facto relationship. If Disney can now produce content that can produce the message that women do not need to be married and should take the time to get to know their potential husband first, then why can’t the Australian media undertake the same ideal instead of criticising Gillard for her not being married? Instead they should have focused on her role as a politician. Whether Gillard was married or not would not affect her position as Prime Minister.

Therefore, it is clear media is progressing with the hope of Disney but still holds a large misogynistic element within its content.

References:

Lacob, J & Ryan, M 2012, ‘”The Newsroom”: Women Problems Around in AaronSorkin’s HBO Series’,  The Huffington Post, viewed 29th May 2014, < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/the-newsroom-women-aaron-sorkin-hbo_b_1641982.html >

Grammer, S 2014, ‘”Frozen” movie breaks the ice for Disney’s gender stereotypes, University Wire, viewed 1st April, < http://ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1492368465?accountid=15112 >

Social media giving women a voice

Social media has been a brilliant tool for activism because of its ability to reach global audiences within seconds of posting their content, thus providing a quick and vast reach of campaigns to individuals from all over the globe. Social media also provides those whom don’t have a voice within their own nation to hold a voice globally; and provides a space where traditional governing societal rules can be set aside (Lengel & Newsom 2012).

Social media activism is prominent within the Arabian countries where women are very restricted with free speech in a public context. Some are not provided an education while Saudi women are not even allowed to drive a car. Both of these issues have seen social media campaigns globally, but why? The simple answer is if women have access to these technologies they are able to freely voice their opinions and appeals on social media, thus campaigning to a global audience. This platform gives them a voice that their own nation denies them, which also leads to global pressure regarding these campaigns.

How are these messages perceived globally? Lengel & Newsom (2012) believe that these messages contain empowerment within their initial localized social media spaces but will lose power as they become translated into the global sphere. I believe Malala is a great example against this statement in regards to her online diary (blog) for the BBC. Her blog was fighting for the rights of young girls everywhere to receive an education, which resulted in Malala not only being wanted by the Taliban for the global recognition her content received (Synvitz 2012); but Malala is now globally recognised as an international icon for girls’ rights(Synvitz 2012). Clearly her media campaign was translated without losing power as shown through the thousands that have signed her online petition to stand with Malala and dedicated support through the use of the hashtag  #IamMalala.

Wolfsfeld, Segey & Sheafer (2013), however, take a different stance and believe that social media revolutions are not revolutions within themselves but follow these campaigns. That the real revolution still occurs on the streets through protests and that the ‘key to protests are not technology but how technology resinated with various local contexts’ (Wolfsfeld,Segey & Sheafer 2013 p118).

It is clear through any context that technology plays a part within social media activism but depends on what the campaign is. It is clear with women social media perhaps provides a singular outlet where they can freely voice their opinions.

References:

Gadi Wolfsfeld, Elad Segev and Tamir Sheafer 2013,  “Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First.” International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 18, No.2, pp. 115-37.

Lengel, L and Newsom, V 2012, “Arab Women, Social Media, and the Arab Spring: Applying the Framework of Digital Reflexivity to Analyze Gender and Online Activism.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, Vol. 13, No.4, pp. 31-45.

Synvitz, R 2012, ‘Malala Yousafzai, the Girl shot by the Taliban, Becomes a Global Icon’, The Atlantic,12th October, viewed 12th October 2013, <http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/malala-yousafzai-the-girl-shot-by-the-taliban-becomes-a-global-icon/263527/>

Social media aim for universal education rights condemned by the Taliban

article-0-1891315D00000578-146_634x530Malala Yousafzai, who received a Pride of Britain Award from David Beckham
Image source: Dailymail

Social networking platforms have led way to a new form of activism. No longer are activist’s confined to merely demonstrating plights in their local areas, with social media tools they are now able to demonstrate such plights on a global scale. Social media is now used to co-ordinate, mobilize and disseminate protests around the globe in order to bring a large amount of individuals together from all corners of the globe.

When I think about how social media has changed activism, I think about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a young girl from Pakistan who since the age of eleven has written an online diary (blog) for the BBC fighting for the right of young girls to be allowed to get an education (Synvitz 2012). This was directly protesting against the Taliban who are stopping young women getting an education in her village by destroying their schools. Sadly Malala was shot in the head at point blank range by the Taliban who wanted to put a stop to her message as it has been receiving global attention.  Malala survived this attack against all odds and now lives in Birmingham (UK) and her campaign has never been stronger. She is now an international icon for girls’ rights and is globally know by “Malala” (Synvitz 2012).

Her blog and brave acts have led to global support for the education of women, many have signed the online petition to stand with Malala and fight for education for children all over the world who do not currently have any kind of access to it. She also has a dedicated hashtag on twitter for her cause #IamMalala here an aggregation of tweets can be viewed from all over the world of individuals campaigning for better education for young girls and children in general, another clear example of activism through social media.

Malala started simply as an online blog protesting for the rights of girls’ to receive an education this sadly led to her being shot but post this event she has received global support and was even rumored for the Noble Peace Prize award. She has continued on with her success and gave a speech to the UN about her cause and has persuaded the UN to recommit to Millennium Development Goal two (Dias 2013), which states; “by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” (Dias 2013).  Social media; including blogging was the key for Malala to be an activist for educational rights especially within a country such as hers. With another example of the Arab Spring it is clear that social media activism is an important tool for activists in countries such as these where Governments or rebel forces will attempt to suppress campaigns. Online activism allows these individuals to share their campaigns on a global scale.

-Amy

References: 

Dias, C  2013, ’10 ways Malala Yousafzai Has Changed the World’, policymic, 14th July, viewed 12th October 2013, <http://www.policymic.com/articles/55333/10-ways-malala-yousafzai-has-changed-the-world>

Synvitz, R 2012, ‘Malala Yousafzai, the Girl shot by the Taliban, Becomes a Global Icon’, The Atlantic, 12th October, viewed 12th October 2013, <http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/malala-yousafzai-the-girl-shot-by-the-taliban-becomes-a-global-icon/263527/>

 

Blogging only like a woman can

“The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”

Woman have always been fighting for equality though women’s equality has changed. Woman were under represented in computer science training and the computer network was seen to be very much a macho culture.

However this has changed, in 2012 a woman has the same access to computers and an online network as a man does. Yet again my blog is an example of this, I am a young female yet I have a right and the ability to access and write this blog for anyone of any gender to read.
In the past decade woman have had access to computer classes which they once before may not have had access to or felt that society would not approve of them undertaking a computer course.

I myself was able to take a computer course in year 9 and 10. However woman now have to face  online  misogyny.  Many female celebrities, bloggers, YouTube video makers  and others have been subjected to death threats especially if they a line them self with the feminist movement which results in hate mail from men. This lead to the hashtag campaign on twitter, #mencallmethings .

The internet has allowed these kind of insults to occur due to your comments are being hidden by a username. This allows individuals to never have to face consequences of their online trolling and flaming.

Not only women face this abuse with many male bloggers, YouTube video makers and other being subjected to the same treatment as the woman, threats and hate mail, due to their also alignment with feminism and supporting women in their campaign.

Though woman are often victims of trolling and flaming regarding their looks, it seems to be an idea in society that unless you are of a certain weight and are seen to be attractive your opinion does not hold any importance to it. If you were to read many comments which are flaming women online you will note a lot will be regarding there looks and have no relevance to the topic she is relating to.

The internet has allowed individuals to attack other individuals for their beliefs, characteristics, gender, sexuality and the list goes on. Individuals hide behind a user name to attack other individuals, especially woman regarding the  feminist movement.

I place here and now that I am a feminist however I am not afraid for you to read this as I am not embarrassed by this fact that I believe in equality for all, and no I will not return to the kitchen.  No woman should have to fear proclaiming their feminism views on the internet, however sadly until people will not troll or instigate flaming this will not be the case. Many seem hold the idea that feminism is women believing that they are superior to men. Really feminism is equality, for a woman to be seen equal to a man, no higher no lower.

Until next time

That’s all folks

Amy

References:

Dreher, T 2012, #mencallmethings Identity and difference online, lecture, BCM112, Convergent Media Practices, University of Wollongong, delivered 7th April.

All others have been hyperlinked throughout