It’s Anchorman, Not Anchorlady!

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Anchorman is a crude comedy that is set in the 1970’s and involves a variety of social issues including that of gender inequality. In short, Ron Burgundy is a semi-famous anchor in San Diego, and along with his news team, portray a stereotypical view of the ‘alpha male’ of this time. The 4 men in the news team are arrogant, confident and aggressive in their behaviour, whereas women are portrayed, simply, as a means for a mans enjoyment.

At first glance, this film can be seen as projecting this issue of gender inequality in a positive light, as it shows an independent and strong woman breaking through the stereotypes to strive towards, and succeed in her career goals. However, upon further investigation this is not the case.

One of the first scenes of the film that shows a woman that is not dressed in skimpy clothing nor is a woman gawking at the men, is that of when Veronica Corningstone enters the news building. Before her appearance, there are conversations around diversity, and one of the 4 members of the news team says ‘what in the hell’s diversity?’. This comment in itself exhibits the utterly ill-informed views of a woman’s right to equality in this time. Throughout the film similar comments are discussed that further undermine women, but in particular, Veronica Corningstone.

Here are just a few…

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Not only does Corningstone have to deal with being seen as nothing more than a ‘piece of meat’, her credibility to report of hard-hitting news stories is not taken seriously. Corningstone is repeatedly given the ‘fluff pieces’, whereas Burgundy is given the harder-hitting news stories. The key issue Veronica faced within the film is that of the ‘glass ceiling’ notion. Corningstone aspires to be an anchor, however, is hindered by this ‘glass ceiling’ of stereotypical judgements of women’s capabilities, that serves as an invisible barrier to her success as a journalist.

The film also appears to take the concept of a ‘traditional love story’ head on with its plot twists. At first glance, Corningstone is again portrayed as an unconventional female character as she disregards the men’s advances towards her time and time again, however, after a short while, the conventional ‘love story’ plot takes place and Corningstone is captivated by Burgundy’s charm. Corningstone’s character then quickly changes to becoming the traditional ’emotional’ female love interest, despite her previous powerful and strong characteristics. This portrays yet another stereotype, that being, women losing all independency when they fall for a man.

I have not seen the sequel of Anchorman, however, have discovered through conducting research that this film captures a refreshing look at feminism, and promotes gender equality much greater than the first. If anyone has seen the film, please feel free to give me an insight into the films take on gender equality.

I understand that the stereotypes in this film are over exaggerated for our enjoyment, however, the key issues discussed are still evident it todays society. Women, to this day, are underrepresented in the news room, and are excessively given ‘softer news’ stories, and are generally not referred to as credible sources of hard-hitting news stories. It is awful to think that in such a rapidly advancing society, women are still portrayed as being lesser to men.

Overall, despite the attempt to bring light to the serious issues of feminism faced at the time, Anchorman hinders, rather than helps these issues with its extensive amount of stereotypical jokes and crude humour.

Advertising 2.0

Being born in a digital age, with fast-moving consumer goods and rapidly advancing technology, it was only appropriate to base my research question around a topic that is very closely linked with Generation Y and how they interact in social situations. Therefore, I chose to base my research question around social media, in particular, Facebook. I wanted to use my major of Marketing and Advertising in developing my research question, and in trying to find the connection, discovered that social media advertising is one of the newest ways to reach Generation Y with advertising.

To dig deeper into this new concept of advertising, I wanted to discover whether Facebook advertising had any influence over consumers in Generation Y’s buying decisions, and or whether they just found in generally annoying as it flooded their newsfeed.

Therefore, I had two questions I would base my foundation of research on:

1. Are you aware of Facebook advertising?

2. Have you ever responded to a Facebook ad? For example, clicked through or liked a page.

Upon asking my interviewee the first question, and discussing the topic of Facebook advertising, it became clear that we were both not completely sure of when something in the newsfeed was classified as an advertisement of not. There are a variety of ways that Facebook users are exposed to different ‘pages’, including: when a friend likes a particular page, or when a page pops up in your ‘suggested posts’. So this question was particularly hard to get a response from, as Facebook advertising is very hard to distinguish from general activity in the newsfeed. This prompted us to instantly open up Facebook, and try to figure out what was going on, and what we found shocked us…

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The picture on the left is a ‘suggested post’ found on my Facebook newsfeed, the picture on the right is Facebook’s reasoning behind the advertisement popping up in my newsfeed. Facebook has disclosed the information I have posted and liked, and sourced organisations that have paid to advertise on Facebook, and linked the two together.

Upon discovering this information, the next question was much easier to respond to for the interviewee. She stated that she had previously liked pages that were in the ‘suggested posts’ section of her newsfeed, however, she had never purchased something through this link as she generally uses her phone for social media, and purchasing products on her phone seemed much more of a challenge than if she were on a computer or tablet.

The response given by the interviewee was a critical point that I hadn’t considered when conducting secondary research. The device with which you are using social media on, can have a direct correlation to whether social media advertisements are effective in persuading you to purchase a product.

Therefore, it is clearly evident that in undertaking primary research, in particular, interviews, you can uncover critical information regarding your research question, that you may never had thought of, if you were conducting secondary research alone. In conducting primary research, I came across two very critical components of social media advertising that I hadn’t discovered before, that being, the difficulty required to decipher between what is advertising on social media, and what isn’t, and that the device used for social media can depend on whether an advertisement is effective or not.

These key points will be implied in the modification of my questions for the second stage of responses, so that I can retain more detailed information, and hopefully discover the answer to my research question.

Same Love, Different Opinions

‘Same Love’, released in 2012, produced by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert is a song that touches on the subjects of, not only marriage inequality, but the way in which the words ‘gay’ and ‘faggot’ are used in the hip-hop and rap industry in a negative context (2013). In an interview with Matheson, Macklemore states that “Ryan and I would say ‘that’s gay’ because it’s so embedded in our culture” (Matheson 2013).

Macklemore, with writing and releasing the song, wanted put an end to with the way in which these derogative terms are used in the hip-hop industry. Lambert also contributed to the lyrics, with writing the chorus. Lambert discusses the lengths to which she wrote the chorus, and the meaning behind the lyrics, as she states that “she grew up aware that she was gay, and feeling sorrowful for her inability to change” (Zollo 2014).

Macklemore has the social status within society to have a great influence on the way in which citizens view particularly controversial topics, as he is a well known hip-hop artist. Matheson states that, Macklemore is also seen as, in many eyes, including those of Ellen Degeneres, the only hip-hop artist to shine light on the issues of marriage inequality and homosexuality (2013). The social status of Macklemore, combined with Lamberts’ personal experience of growing up in a society where her sexual orientation was shunned, provides a degree of qualification to discuss such a controversial topic in the public sphere.

This song is directed at all members of society, in particular those who are against marriage inequality, and those that believe homosexuality is a ‘choice’ and attempts to persuade these audiences to become accepting of those that have a different sexual orientation to their own. This song is also directed at those within the hip-hop and rap industry, and attempts to persuade these audiences to stop using words, such as, ‘gay’, in a derogative way. Being such a controversial topic, the song is likely to remain controversial within the public sphere, however, it is expected that the lyrics will be assessed by members of the public sphere, and hopefully persuade them to think in a positive light and change their views on the issues discussed.

The opinion of the song is very clear, as Macklemore and Lambert are both pro-marriage equality, and attempt to eliminate using the terms ‘gay’ and ‘faggot’ in a derogative way, and “make people second guess their language” (Matheson 2013). The opposing position on the controversial topic of homosexuality is also discussed in the lyrics of the song, and is shifted to be seen in a negative light, for example “the right wing conservatives think it’s a decision, and you can be cured with some treatment and religion”.

The style and context of the song itself is also highly controversial and shocking to the audience, as generally these types of issues are not discussed positively in the hip-hop or rap industry. The use of rap in discussing serious issues, such as marriage inequality, can be used as a different approach to tackle the issue, and shine a new perspective on the topic.

Overall, the song itself is a positive form of expression, used in a controversial way to tackle the very serious issues of marriage inequality and the way in which terms such as ‘gay’ and ‘faggot’ are used in the hip-hop and rap industry in a negative context. Macklemore and Lambert attempt, and hopefully succeeded in creating a new way of discussing these issues, and in changing the perspective of their audience.

References

Matheson, J 2013, Macklemore: Why I wrote Same Love, SameSame.com.au, viewed 17 April 2015, <http://www.samesame.com.au/features/9365/Macklemore-Why-I-wrote-Same-Love&gt;.

Zollo, P 2014, Mary Lambert On Writing “Same Love” With Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, American Songwriter, viewed 17 April 2015, <http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/01/songwriter-u-mary-lambert-on-writing-same-love-with-macklemore-ryan-lewis/&gt;.

ETHICAL MINEFIELD

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The question of ethics, in general, is highly problematic. What is morally right and wrong, and the question of whether morality even plays an important role in the mind of media moguls is quite a dividing and controversial topic. When I think of ethics in media research, the first case that comes to mind is the phone hacking scandal of the Milly Dowler case in the UK. Davies & Hill (2011) suggest that Milly Dowler, a missing schoolgirl, was targeted by the News of the World, to gain illegal insight into the details of the case. Milly Dowler’s voicemail messages were “intercepted – and deleted (by the journalists)… in order to free up space for more messages. As a result, friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive” (Davies & Hill 2011).

The following video is an excerpt of from media personality, and actor, Hugh Grant, in an interview on the controversial topic of phone hacking, as Grant is also a victim of phone hacking, along with many other media personalities, and the response of British Journalist, Paul McMullan.

This raises the question of whether it was ethical for News of the World journalists to intercept vital evidence of a serious missing persons case, in order to research for their next big scoop. In my eyes, it was disgraceful that these journalists would potentially put a missing girls life at risk, just for their story. This unethical behaviour caused emotional harm to the friends and relatives involved in the Milly Dowler case, and potential physical harm to Milly Dowler if there was crucial information in those voicemails.

This case raised few of many ethical dilemmas including “protection of privacy, and data analysis and reporting of findings” (McCutcheon 2015). Milly Dowler’s privacy was neglected, and vital data was tampered with by the journalists in the midst of the case. There are a variety of other ethical dilemmas in regards to media research including “voluntary participation, concealment and deception and publication issues” (McCutcheon 2015). All of which must be highly considered when undertaking media research.

In the case of media research, it is vital to take in to consideration all aspects of ethical behaviour as, in it’s simplest form, unethical behaviour can cause harm.

References

Davies, N & Hill, A 2011, ‘Missing Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked by News of the World’, The Guardian, 6 July, viewed 1 April, <http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/04/milly-dowler-voicemail-hacked-news-of-world&gt;.

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘Research Ethics’, lecture slides, BCM210, University of Wollongong, viewed 1 April 2015.

Bigger Fish to Fry!

The-Collective-Steph-Adams-2-1050x700The Renegade Collective magazine is a favourite of mine as it encompasses information of global social trends, innovative ideas, and articles with individuals making a difference to better society. Issue 17 of the Collective magazine was one of my favourites, and encompassed more articles that I could analyse than I could count on one hand. Therefore, I have chosen to analyse the article about Fry’s Family Foods, and their outlook on veganism and the new concept of “‘flexitarians’ – people who eat meat but are prepared to give meat reduction a go” (Webster 2014).

Within the article, Fry’s Family Foods marketing director, Tammy Fry Kelly, attempts to bring awareness to her family run business, and tries to convince readers to become ‘flexitarians’, and in doing so, undertaking in the organisations marketing campaign, ‘Meat Free Mondays’. Meat Free Monday’s attempts to influence consumers to not eat meat on Mondays, in attempts to maintain an environmental sustainable world. This article is not aimed at vegetarians or vegans, as they have already made the conscious decision to give up meat to help the environment, however, it is directed at those that do not want to give up meat entirely, but want to do their part in helping the environment. These consumers can eat the Fry’s Family Foods products, that are vegetarian and vegan approved, rather than meat products.

The opinion of the author is unclear, however, the opinion of Kelly, the interviewee is very clear as she wants readers to hop onboard the flexitarian train. Kelly not only provides her opinion, but quantitative evidence of the effects ‘Meat Free Monday’s’ will have on the environment if effective in it’s course. It is stated that “measuring their return on investment is not only in terms of dollars and cents, but the number of farm animals saved by virtue of Fry’s customers eating their products” (Webster 2014). There is also statistical evidence of the positive effects vegetarianism has on the environment, as a result of the business’ meat-free products. Kelly states not only the health benefit of opting for vegan or vegetarian options, but also the environmental benefits and increase in animal welfare of choosing to eat the Fry’s Family Foods products.

The main discussion of the article, however, is not about the organisation itself, but the campaign they have endeavoured upon. The article, therefore, results in free, positive publicity for the brand and helps raise awareness of the campaign. There are bold statements, including, “if every person in the world committed to just one day a week eating meat-free, we could mitigate climate change” (Webster 2014), and statistical evidence swaying towards the benefits of eating meat-free, even just for one day. There is no opposing views to the discussion at hand, with a heavy objective of persuasion.

The style of writing is written similar to the remainder of the magazine, it is informal and conversational. The article is written in such a sense to minimise the reader’s awareness that it is, in fact advertising the brand and their new marketing campaign.

The article, overall, touches on a very important global issue of animal welfare, and environmental damage due to the consumption of meat. It is effective in its persuasion, and makes the reader second guess their choice of food consumption. The article is written well, and structured in a conversational way, to engage the readers attention, and hide the fact that it is simply advertising a brand and their new campaign.

Us vs Them

A Bloody Business‘ was aired on Four Corners in 2011 and endeavoured to expose the cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle exported to the slaughterhouses of Indonesia. As disturbing as the video was, and how unfathomable it is that this treatment of animals is taking place with Australian livestock, the worst was yet to come.

Throughout the broadcast, the interviewees, including members from the Consolidated Pastoral Company and LiveCorp, and representatives of the cattle farmers of Australia were not taking any responsibility for their actions. This disgusted me much further than the video footage had. There was a very clear ‘us vs them’ mentality when discussing the issue of animal welfare in the abattoirs in Indonesia. Ken Warriner, a “guru in the industry“, when discussing this matter used language such as “we are very disappointed in what we saw, the way they handled the cattle, the way they knocked them down, how they did their halal kill”. Warriner was clearly trying to justify his actions, by using the Indonesian way of slaughtering the cattle as a repository for racism. Warriner was stating that the way Indonesians kill their cattle is in no way interchangeable with that of Australia. It is completely ironic and ridiculous that Warriner believes there is a better and more justifiable way to kill cattle. Whether the animal is stunned or not, the way in which the stunning takes place does not take into account the best interests of the cattle, including their fear and suffering.

We, as human beings, have a tendency to block out these horrible things we know that happen to justify our actions, similar to Warriner. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else, I refuse to let myself become exposed to this information as it would make me continually sick to my stomach that animals had to endure this type of torture just so I can have this piece of meat on my plate. We even give different names to the meat that we eat, so we can subconsciously think that this beef we are eating is not cow, or this bacon isn’t from a pig.

I definitely don’t have the solution to this question, nor can I say with absolute certainty that I don’t condone animal suffering as I am a meat eater. By all means, let me know your point of view on this highly controversial subject, and possibly shed some light on any of the matters at hand.

Procrasti…

Throughout my studies, I have become a master of procrastination, as are many of you, I would assume. As the master of procrastination, I wouldn’t expect any less of myself than to have at least 4 tabs open, including that of, Facebook, Twitter and two hotel comparison websites fighting over my cheapskate ass.

However, I’d come to realise this is all research, and I have subconsciously endeavoured into the 7 steps of the research process:

1. Observation: Browsing 5 star hotels with private suites in the Maldives that I know I can’t afford.

2. Initial Data Gathering: I get that you can see fish through the glass of the floor, but is that really worth $1500 a night?! Not in my books…

3. Theory Formulation: I obviously can’t afford the Maldives, how about the Greek Islands?

4. Hypothesis Formulation: Ah-ha! Like a third of the price and way more partying! My kind of holiday.

5. Further Data Gathering: Shopping, drinking, relaxing and so many activities! What more could you want.

6. Data Analysis: I now have to search every single hotel website to get the best deal, being the cheapskate that I am.

7. Deduction: Booked a holiday I can totally afford now! Almost…

Undertaking research is part of our everyday living, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. “Most of us do what could be called ‘research’ all the time – even though we may not think of what we are doing as research” (Berger 2014, p. 15). So when you read your favourite magazine to expose yourself to the latest trends, or even search for the cheapest price to buy those pair of shoes you really want, you’re conducting research. Chester states that we, as Australians, spend a whopping 10 hours and 19 minutes on average per day on our devices (2013), of that, how much do you think is researching? Quite a lot, I’d say.

Scholarly research, however, (the stuff you do at uni) is far more advanced. Berger (2014, p.15) states that “scholarly research is, generally speaking, more systematic, more objective, more careful, and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness”. Conflicting the general stereotype of people not liking research, I quite enjoy it, possibly because I was always good at maths, or even because I am very anal and organised. Hence why I chose to pursue a career in marketing, it involves two components I very much enjoy, research and creativity.

References

Berger, A 2014, ‘What is research?’, in (3rd ed.) Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32

Chester, R 2013, Aussies use electronic gadgets for 10 hours a day , report reveals, News.com.au, viewed 18 March 2015, <http://www.news.com.au/technology/aussies-use-electronic-gadgets-for-10-hours-a-day-report-reveals/story-e6frfro0-122669542305&gt;.