Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beauty Pressure

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Advertising and Male Violence

The media has a major influence on male violence and many of us may not know it, but it's not just movies and video games that affect them. Believe it or not, advertising is also responsible when it comes to projecting images of violence that influences males.

The percentage of violent crime committed by males is a high 90%. Though this figure is unexpectedly high, it does not surprise me. When we look at statistics for victims of these violent crimes, you would expect the majority to be women. However, nearly 70% of the victims of violent crime are male. This is surprising because most of the violent crimes that we hear about on the news are towards women, which is odd because they are focusing on the minority. The reason that there aren`t more violent crimes committed by females is because traditionally, society hasn`t condoned or reinforced female violent behaviour in the same manner as it has for males.

Then comes the famous saying `Boys Will Be Boys`. When you look deeper into the meaning of this expression, the results are actually unfortunate. This phrase basically states that it is okay for males to act in violent ways to show that they are strong, agressive and powerful. It encourages them to do whatever they want, whenever they feel like it and be able to get away with it just because of their gender status and the reputation that comes with it. This happens all the time with young children. For example if little boys are caught misbehaving, or causing trouble... often violent trouble at that, a lot of times parents just state `oh well, boys will be boys`, totally overlooking the fact that these boys did something wrong, and need discipline. This then puts the idea in child`s mind that it is okay for them to act in those violent ways. This is also a great example of gener inequality, as you`d never see that happen to a young girl. She would get scolded and wind up in trouble for not acting `classy` or like a `proper lady`. To make matters worse, this `boys will be boys` attitude is also heavily reinforced in the media.

There are five main themes or archetypes that encourage male violence in the media:

1. Attitude is Everything- Basically states that attitude equals intelligence, and boys have the power to do whatever they feel like. It states that if boys are able to get around the rules, they have a smart attitude. It shows boys that you need to barrell over people in life to be strong.

2. The Cave Man Mentality-

Supports the notion that man is a historical and agressive creature, and goes with the classic "caveman" and "pirate" character, which shows boys that the behaviour of these overexaggerated statuses is what men have been, and should always be.

3. The New Warriors-

This advertising method uses sports figures to sell products. It makes consumers associate danger and violence with the products being sold, and basically asks men the question "are you tough enough?"

4. Muscles and the Ideal Man-

States that to be a "real man" you need to have a strong, muscular body, and tells men that they are only desirable if they have tonnes of muscles.

5. Heroic Masculinity-

This advertising method is involved with Hollywood, as most of the
lead characters in the top blockbusters have a violent image. These heroes usually carry weapons, look muscular, and there is always bold lettering in the advertisement, showing men that if they want to be like this, they need to act agressive.

I am not fond of these five advertising methods at all, because the media has overlooked the fact that not all men are the same. Some have more emotional perssonalities, and some do not choose to act in a violent manner, yet the media creates this image that puts unnecessary pressure on these men, because they want to be more likeable. This often results in many guys participating in violent acts, which causes harm towards themselves, their identity, and others.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Much On Demand Trip

On Friday November 20th, our media class went to Toronto to attend a taping of Much on Demand. We got to participate in the show and experience all that revolves around media, while getting to see behind the scenes.

Since the show was live there was a bit of preparation involved by the crew, the VJs and ultimately, the producer to make the most of the live taping. It was the producer’s job to not only get the VJs prepared for the show, but to tell us what we should expect. We were instructed when to clap and cheer, and what not to do on live TV, so that the viewers could experience an entertaining and flawless show. After all, the main purpose of MOD is to give teenagers the “ultimate live experience”, while informing them of the most current information on the latest music, fashion, trends, celebrity gossip, and more.

Having a live show with such diverse opinions and topics like MOD is a huge advantage for the TV station, CITY TV, because it draws people in. The fans are the biggest contender on MOD, as the show is made for them. There is a lot of audience interaction that goes on during the show, as teens can come down to the studio and attending the taping for free. While inside, they are able to have conversations with the VJs and get up close and personal with any celebrity guest that attends. The viewers at home also play a big part in the show, as they can send requests, comments, questions, and opinions from home through twitter, email, text messaging, or even webcam. Essentially, each show is programmed by the viewers.

Ultimately, the people making the money from this show are CITY TV, as it is the source of many Canadian programs and channels, including Much Music. It’s CITY TV who provides money to Much Music, which then has budgets for each show, plus money set aside to pay the crew and VJs.

As for the content of the show, there are a number of messages communicated to the audience, healthy and unhealthy. The good thing about the show is that opinions about life and important issues in today’s entertainment and society are voiced and welcome on the show. The show reaches such a wide range of teenagers, as it does not single out any particular group. Some communication that could be considered as negative would be the topics, images, videos and actual content of the show. Sometimes inappropriate topics or music videos are shown, which may offend some teenagers, but I am sure that the producers gather the components of the program based on the majority of interests of today’s youth.

Going to Much Music was an excellent experience that I will not be able to forget. I learned the in's and out's of live TV, and I was able to see behind the scenes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Documentary Assignment

When first given the documentary assignment, my group members and I had a general idea of what were going to do. We had to create a video that described the music, art, fashion, entertainment, technology, fads, sports, and architecture of a past decade. After a bit of discussion on which decade we should pick, we decided that the 60's would be our best bet.

When it was time to research, we found a lot of great information, pictures, and nostalgia on the 60's. We split up the sections and each compiled information into paragraph form for the documentary. Then we all looked for pictures to put into our video that represented that section. When it was time to actually film for our documentary, I dressed up as a hippie and we filmed some clips in front of the school where "1965" was written, to show that that was when our school was built. We filmed all of the footage for the "fads" section that day, and later in the week we finished filming all of the other video clips, including any narration and audio files that we needed. I would have to say that the filming was our most successful part, because not only were we able to get excellent audio and video quality, but it seemed that the project really came together that day.

All that was left was the editing of the video. This is where some problems started to occur. Since Jon edited it on a different, more professional program called Sony Vegas, the video needed to convert into a certain format. However, the program kept on acting up and it was unable to render, and we ended up completing it a day late. There was panic that our video wouldn't be playable at all, so Jessi and I had to create a whole new video on Movie Maker in one night, in case the other video didn't end up working. Thankfully, it did, and it turned out great. It was an extremely stressfull situation, but in the end we survived and successfully pulled it off.

I was thoroughly impressed with the videos done by my other classmates. I thought that they all covered the information on their decades very well, and I was kept entertained. I noticed that the audio and video quality in some of the videos wasn't the greatest, and therefore hard to watch/hear, but that isn't always the fault of the group. Every video had some weaker parts to them, as it is always a challenge to acheive perfection when given an assignment like this. Each documentary had their strong points too, but there were a couple of groups that stuck out in my mind. Some of the videos that I was particularily fond of were...

Alexis, Brittany, and Jesse: Their group did the 90's and I really liked the idea of how they dressed up as the characters from Saved by the Bell. I thought it was original and creative. I also liked how they used many movie/tv clips in their documentary, because it was a great visual to keep the class interested.

Thorsten, Raveena, and Keertan: Their group also did the 90's, and they made their video into a short movie with a script and characters. I really enjoyed watching them act as teens from the 90's. I thought that their idea was brilliant and extremely unique as no other group had thought to do a documentary of that style. It was humourous and very entertaining.

If you wish to view my group's final video, click the link:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Song Showdown: Girlfriend vs. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Is superstar Avril Lavigne really a big time plagiarizer?

In case you do not know what I am talking about, I will give you a brief synopsis on the scandal with Avril Lavigne's song that was apparently stolen from another band. In 2007, Avril released her single “Girlfriend” and it became an instant hit. However, a band called The Rubinoos weren’t too pleased as they sued Avril for a copyright violation. They claimed that Girlfriend was stolen from their song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”. However, Avril’s response was that she had “never heard that song in her life” and that “all songs share similar lyrics and emotions”.

I analyzed these two songs, and I will explain the differences and similarities between them. With each song’s lyrics, the general theme of the song is very similar, as it is about the artists wanting someone of their own, and making sure that they get them as their boyfriend/ girlfriend. As for the actual verses, there aren’t many similarities. However, the choruses stand out as close to identical.

The Rubinoos:

Hey, hey, you, you, I wanna be your boyfriend
Trying to say I wanna be your number one
Hey, hey, you, you, I wanna be your boyfriend
Gonna make you love me before I’m done

Avril Lavigne:

Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend
No way, no way, I think you need a new one
Hey, hey, you, you, I could be your girlfriend

As for the rhythm and melody of each song, they are completely different. Avril Lavigne has her punk, hard hitting voice with the strong pop/rocker beat. The Rubinoos’ song sounds much different as it is happy go lucky, feel good and acoustic, more like an 80’s song. The only part of Avril’s song that sounds the same is when she says “hey, hey, you, you”, as you can distinctly catch the likeness from the other song. One could argue that some of the drum beats in the two songs sound the same, but that would be as far as anyone could nitpick.

There is also a difference with the speed/tempo of the two songs. Girlfriend is faster than I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. The beat sounds like it could be the same, but just sped up. With the vocals, Avril’s singing is quick while the Rubinoos take their time with the words and sound much slower.

Hear for yourself:


The Rubinoos:

It is hard to say if Avril Lavigne plagiarized or not. There isn’t much evidence to prove this, as the two songs aren’t identical. However, Avril has been accused of stealing songs before, and I would not be surprised if that was the case with Girlfriend. She clearly tried everything to get out of this mess and she could have easily lied about never hearing of the Rubinoos.

Personally, the songs are not identical enough to convince me of plagiarism, but I agree that it still breaks copyright violations. Even if Avril did steal the song, this would not affect her career in the least. People listen to her songs because they sound good and are catchy, not because of who wrote them. She may lose a little disrespect from her fans, but not enough for them to stop supporting her by listening and buying her music.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

“Art is the imagination expressed through the senses”

The topic that I am going to focus on is something that has been brought up many times before, and has once again become one of Canada’s recent issues. There are so many people that are talented in the arts who will not be able to get the full experience and education they need because of the lack of funding in this field. I disagree with people who say that it is impossible to have a prosperous future in the arts, because if you are passionate and driven you will be able to succeed at anything you set your mind to.

It has been said that “ordinary people do not care about the arts” and there have been cuts made to the funding that has been given to artists… about $45 million to be exact. Today’s entertainment industry is following the trend of giving fame to adolescents that have zero talent, just so people can make fun of them. If people think that art isn’t good enough then they should not reward bad artists for their failure. If there was funding of the arts, I believe that this will stop and people who actually have genuine talent will get their chance to shine.

Just a few weeks ago, there were some more major cuts made to the arts funding in British Columbia. On September 9th, members and supporters of the arts met on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery to protest. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who feels that the arts should be pushed aside, but I am upset that the government had to once again cause this uprising.

I am a student who is heavily involved in the arts. I took dance lessons for seven years, I am highly interested in visual art and photography, I have acted in short plays in front of hundreds of people, and I sing and play two instruments. As you can see, the arts are a very important part of my life and it is something that I am serious about. People with interests and talents in these categories will only be able to apply themselves so far until the government cuts get in the way of their future as artists. Having the ability to excel in any form of the arts is a great accomplishment and privilege for anyone. By taking away money to help support the arts the government is also taking away the opportunity for teenagers to express themselves, and celebrate that art can bring out the best in people. Believe it or not, music, dance, drama, and art can bring people together. When a group of people with a common interest join forces and discover one another’s talents, great things can happen. It is horrible to have the knowledge that the government is preventing all of this.

I believe that providing money to support these teenagers’ gifts is completely worth it, as it comes with many advantages. Many students that have gone to art schools have said that it was the best experience of their lives, and that their grades were not only high in their art courses, but in their regular academics as well. Being involved in extra curricular activities such as the arts helps get teenagers off the street causing trouble and into the studio to develop their talents. The funding of the arts also will help broaden our Canadian popular culture, as there are many talented young artists out there that are ready to represent our country well. There would be so many great opportunities for potential artists to expand their knowledge and get involved in programs that can help them further their talent, if only there was more money put towards the arts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From Instant Stardom, to Insant Stalking

It's 7:00 am Monday morning. I'm tired, I don't want to move, and I have hit the snooze button three times already. My alarm clock begins go off again and I'm shocked at what I hear blasting through the radio speaker. The song that I wrote last year has hit number one on the charts! My energy kicks in, as I jump out of bed and get ready. That was last week.

This past summer I released my debut album, and have been traveling all over playing small shows and promoting it. My hard work paid off because not even a week ago, my first single blew up all over the media, and has somehow hit number one in Canada! This has to be about the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. I finally have the chance share my music with the world!

However, I wasn't sure what to expect during the first week of school, since I know have thousands of fans. I never thought I would have fame in my school since the kids are used to me. That all changed once people started to find out where I lived. By people I mean the media, better known as the paparazzi.

People have started to not only want to know who I am, but have decided to follow my every move. I first noticed I was being followed when I was walking to school one morning, and I heard a camera shutter go off. I turned around to see a man hiding behind a bush, dressed in dark colours, and holding up a huge camera. Behold the paparazzi. At first I couldn't understand why this was happening to me because I am just a normal girl. As I approached the front doors about five cars came out of no where, blocking parent's from dropping off their children. Suddenly the paparazzi ran up and surrounded me, blocking my entrance from the school. After a few minutes I managed to push my way into the school, annoyed and confused, only to have them follow me in there as well. They took pictures of me going into my locker, SPEEDING down the hallway, and darting into my first period class which I was almost late to. I had computer class, and I was shocked when I opened the internet and there was a picture they JUST of me on the home page of MSN entertainment. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and it almost seemed surreal to me.

The paparazzi followed my friends and I everywhere we went. We simply could not escape from them. They found out where we buy our lunch, and they now know our favourite hang out spots. It was amazing to see the patience of my friends, but I knew that sooner or later they will get tired of being followed. At least they can escape from it. The paparazzi would not leave me for a second, and they were waiting for me when I got home. It seemed like they should be getting tired of taking pictures of me by now. As soon as I got inside my house I locked all of the doors and made sure that they could not see into my house through any windows. I then stayed inside the whole night despite having to run errands for my mother because I did not want to face them again. By night time, I went on the internet only to find pictures of my day ALL over different websites.

Unfortunately this hasn't died down, but I have changed a few things in my daily schedule to make sure I avoid the paps as much as possible. I take a car with all tinted windows to school, enter through a secret back entrance, and the blinds in my classes are always down. Outsiders aren't allowed to go in my school because it's against the law, so I eat lunch in the cafeteria. I then take the same car back home and make sure that if I need to leave the house, I wear sunglasses and a hat to cover my face from them.

Although these methods of avoiding the paparazzi are helping a little, I can't help but wonder if this is how it always has to be. The pictures in the magazines, newspaper, and on the internet have still been constant. I just do not see how my life is so interesting that I need to be followed 24/7. I'm just a musician who got lucky, and I didn't sign up for this. I'm okay with having pictures taken of me when I'm out promoting, but I deserve to have my privacy.