#BCM332 Case Study Part 3: Racial Discrimination in modeling industry; Catalyst of Change

My previous two posts have focused heavily on the issue of racial discrimination in the modeling industry and each one of them touched on a different stage of the problem and action that has been taken in order to prevent the situation from further making serious changes in our society. My first post addressed the issue and defined it in terms of social implications that are being dragged along with it, while the second post focused more on how models use social media features to fight back and regain their rightful status in the world of beauty and fashion.

And it is not a coincidence that the previously ignored or discarded models of color have found an immense amount of support on social media, part of which resulted in successful careers and more positive, uplifting and rewarding experience in the fashion industry. When asked about her return success story, Senegal-born supermodel Khoudia Diop claimed that agents and fashion designers alike, as well as the agency she now works for – The Colored Girl, have all reached out to her through social media.


” The co-founders, Victory and Tori, first contacted me via social media and asked me to participate in their new campaign “Rebirth.”
I was familiar with their previous work, and their entire portfolio is dedicated to celebrating diversity.

We share a joint goal: to inspire, empower, and uplift women of color worldwide, and I was excited when they asked me to be a part of something so positive. “

(Diop, 2016)

It is not a surprise that after witnessing how social media can fuel change and bring awareness about the importance of diversity in any industry, people would have more positive reactions to such campaigns and would be more likely to join in on it, even if social media often tends to portray certain movements as ‘trends’ rather than a societal crisis. In this particular way, social media definitely functions as the medium of change in what we perceive as trendy, popular and beautiful and we can already see the momentum of that change which reflects on our contemporary perception of beauty.

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Instagram is getting more and more of posts celebrating the beauty of melanin where women, men, girls, and boys are encouraged to embrace it and appreciate it instead of accepting the general margins that previous fashion and beauty industry malpractices have set for them.
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Khoudia Diop, both online and offline known as ‘The Melanin Goddess’ has received an outpouring support from men and women of all colors thanks to her brave stand against discriminatory practices in the modeling world.

 

 

 

 

Things seem to be turning for the better for models of color, but the final destination hasn’t been reached yet. It is vital that black models receive the same respect as one would give to an Asian model or a Caucasian model for the same reasons – and because society often celebrates Asian beauty trademarks such as cat-like eyes, delicate noses and lips and white models’ gentle frame, milky skin and flushed cheeks, wouldn’t it be generally unfair to deny black women the same right?

It is often argued that black beauties often don’t receive the right recognition for their stunning features. In the same way, society may choose to celebrate beauty features of a black model, as it is truly hard to argue against the genuine beauty of a tall frame, voluptuous curves, gorgeous naturally curly hair and chocolate-like skin. Social media has taught many that these features, aren’t something to look away from and give yet another fashion brand a single reason to deny any black model their professional cooperation.

And while it’s still undeniable that as a society, we have a long way to go in terms of achieving a diverse environment in terms of job opportunities, social media is helping this fight gain a huge momentum which is bound to educate and encourage further, making sure there is little to no room left for prejudice and discrimination.


” Brands like Fenty Beauty and Christian Siriano are dishing out more opportunities for black models to appear in campaigns and on runways, while OG supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Beverly Johnson continue to speak up for inclusion. Thanks to this work, it looks like the melanin moment will turn into a permanent movement. We still have a long way to go before these industries can be considered truly inclusive, but the progress that’s being made makes the future so exciting! “

(Battle, 2018)

Some may argue that people in the fashion industry are free to hold preferences over which models they hire and while that may be true, we cannot deny the negative message this sends to our youth as well as the businesses globally. Instead of encouraging exclusiveness and racially rather homogeneous work environment, we should stand for inclusiveness and fair treatment that guarantee a positive change, even if it may be gradual and take greater effort.

” The containment of black beauty, in all of its variation, has historical roots. In 1786, New Orleans was a melting pot of beauty. Free black women were able to do as they pleased, but the anxiety of white women over this perceived “danger” informed a series of restrictive laws that made up the Edict For Good Government. ” (Jackson, 2017)

Jackson reports on a growing Instagram movement where former Instagram or fashion models are building their careers solid, despite the fashion world’s apparent obsession with ‘white beauty’. She also points out that these models are still very much aware of the racial barriers in the industry but are also very determined to break them by celebrating their skin tone while disregarding all the discriminative and clearly racially-based criticism. During her encounter with ‘The Clermont Twins’, she recalls the girls being very free in expressing themselves through social media, claiming it has given them the ability to boost their careers while also changing how people perceive the concept of black beauty. One of the sisters claimed that they’re not naive about the racial barriers set before them and that it is unfortunately very apparent women of color do not get the same amount of exposure as non-ethnic women do.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Battle, M. (2018). 17 young Black models on the road to supermodel status. Revelist. Retrieved from: http://www.revelist.com/beauty-news-/black-models/12095

2. Jackson, K. (2017). The Black Barbies Of Instagram. The Fader. Retrieved from: http://www.thefader.com/2017/03/02/black-barbies-of-instagram

3. Jamshed, Z. (2016). The ‘Melaniin Goddess’: Meet the model whose skin tone made her a social media sensation. CNN. Retrieved from: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/khoudia-diop-model-social-media/index.html

 

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#BCM240 Blog design and strategies

It is difficult to come to terms with the fact it has been almost a year since this blog’s creation and the first ever post an introduction, where, I very briefly touched on how the concepts of time and space have changed due to Internet’s powerful impact. However, we all came a long way since then and we covered way more ground than when we first started – discussing things from different points of view and stepping out of our comfort zones to explore perhaps a bit more sensitive topics we wouldn’t initially choose as our primary focus.

Seeing as I previously studied for Associate of Arts in English for Professional Communication (AAEPC), I haven’t had the richest experience with design and tech aspect that would certainly be of great benefit later on. The biggest initial challenge for me was to pick a blog layout that would best represent my style and the overall ‘tone’ of my character, as well as my style of writing.

Overall Blog Design

As far as blog design iterations go, I have gone through quite a few blog designs before finally settling down with ‘Snaps’ theme, that, despite being recommended for aspiring photographers and designers, (of which I am neither) shown a lot of potential in terms of what I looked for. Considering my previous academic background, I am more eager to write than express myself in other ways; so this theme has been my choice ever since.
The color palette with which the blog theme came were already quite dark with a dark header image and crisp white font for the main title and still, I wanted to tweak it additionally to my liking.

Not being a fan of colors in general, I stuck to black, white, and gray as my go-tos with some minor changes in the header image. This specific photo I chose is of a famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, known for her intricate costumes, passionate style, and vibrant ballet performances. Perhaps without thinking, I chose her as I consider my writing tone to be somehow intricate and passionate provided that I write about what interests me.

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Theme predominantly used by photographers and bloggers I ended up using because of it minimalistic and crisp features

 

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The photo I feel best represents my personal style might have been ‘subconsciously’ picked to represent my blog

It was important for me to stick to the black & white theme due to my own style somehow resembling this layout, but also because the tone of my writing isn’t very conversational and ‘laid-back’ as much as I would like it to be. Searching is quite difficult on this particular blog as posts are simply chronologically divided instead of being sorted in appropriate categories and there is an undeniable lack of personal touch overall, which I attribute to my lack of knowledge on integrating my own design aesthetic within a blog that needs to maintain an academic tone.

Tone of Photography

Other than the photo of Anna Pavlova I used in my header, I haven’t felt the need to add anything more to it seeing that this is, after all, an academic blog. And while I only have respect and appreciation for our University’s encouragement of our individuality through our blog style, I honestly couldn’t think of any additional imagery that would better express my style and introduce the tone of my writing.

The only other convenient location for my photos can be found in my posts where I used photography to simply extend the message I was trying to convey. For instance, in my post describing my aunt’s TV memories, I used corresponding photography that captures the written content well enough or acts as a small amplifier for the overall ‘tone’ of my post. It is my understanding that appropriately chosen photography can only be an asset to a well-written post.

Typography

While I am aware that I lack detailed knowledge of a graphic designer, I am also very prone to endorsing simplicity of the design and therefore tend to leave most things as they are unless I feel that it doesn’t match my ideal blog aesthetic. Original title font seemed a little too bulky for my taste so I changed it to a more subtle, ‘Oswald’ font while main text remained ‘Alegreya’.

I felt this to be the ideal combination of fonts, as Serif and Sans Serif normally look quite appealing if they are coordinated well enough. Normally when adding in-text citations, I would use ‘Oswald’ font yet again, because of its bold and elegant design. Considering the tone of my blog is more academic, and therefore serious and may come across as dry to an audience that expects more exciting content, I felt that these two fonts perfectly complement my style of writing.

Obstacles in the process

I found it very difficult, if not almost slightly frustrating, to choose between serious, academic tone and relaxed and more personal tone of writing. Had this been my personal blog, with no strings attaching it to my academic experience, the overall tone and appearance would have been much more detailed.

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Having my Twitter feed on my blog would make for a great versatility in social media

From my perspective, another obstacle I encountered could be due to each theme’s unique disposition in terms of functional elements. That means that adding sections, changing certain parts of the color palette, as well as adding widgets and integrating social media within the blog, certainly doesn’t work the same on all blog themes that are offered – or at least not in my experience so far. Social media icons appear to be functional but only to an extent where they lead to a homepage rather than my own profile on those pages.

I attempted integrating my Twitter feed, obviously with no success yet and whether it is due to an internal technical error or my own lack of familiarity with WordPress mechanics, I fully intend to change that eventually – if not for the sake of my academic writing, then for my future written content. The same issue occurred when I attempted adding different sections to my homepage, where visitors could browse my posts by visiting the section where posts belong to, i.e. post for the course DIGC202 being in the #DIGC202 category.

Overall experience with this blog remains highly educational, however, which I believe will only benefit me in my future attempts with creating any form of written or illustrated product on WordPress and I remain optimistic even in a situation where it is clear there is lots of room for improvement.

#BCM310 Research Proposal; How does the social media portray #metoo movement?

ABSTRACT

In the more recent years we have seen a more positive impact that freedom to communicate and express oneself has brought to societies globally, allowing people to make a stand against oppressive practices in general or more specific restrictions that are affecting only certain groups of the global population i.e. women, disabled, members of LGBT community and such.

The content of my research will be focusing on social media’s vital role and its portrayal of a more recent, #metoo movement that, since it started on Twitter in 2017, helped millions of women voice out their experiences with sexual misconduct; thus raising public awareness of the problem that has been plaguing our society far too long. As noble of an attempt as it seems to be portrayed as #metoo movement isn’t without a flaw and this particular aspect of it has peaked my interest and enticed me to explore it further; as I will explain further down my research process.

According to Mumford’s (2018) article focusing on Michael Haneke’s thoughts on the subject, this lack of ability to distinguish between true and false on social media could have many more detrimental repercussions. I expressed general disinterest in exploring other media fields seeing as this research would simply require an ample amount of time should I choose to explore the ways TV and film industry, as well as news and magazines, portray #metoo movement from their own perspective.



BACKGROUND

When it went viral in October 2017, the #metoo movement was originally aiming to uproot the issue of increased rates of sexual harassment and through social media, give voices to those who have been quietly suffering and ensure that those responsible are apprehended and appropriately punished. The fact #metoo originated on social media almost guarantees the ability to increase its effects and reach followers exponentially. Social media, being an excellent and efficient outlet for just about anyone with an internet connection, has shown over the years that it also lacks on the matter of quality rather than quantity and not every piece of content is absolutely genuine.

According to North’s (2018) article from earlier in 2018, despite being the protagonists of this movement, women globally have shown growing concerns about the movement as it is beginning to manifest rather negative side effects. Author also claims that, while it certainly helped point out the harassment problems that have gone ‘noticed but untreated’, #metoo movement has caused fear among men and their growing reluctance to share professional environments with women out of constant fear of prosecution.

For instance, one of the more negative perspectives on this movement has been elaborated by Kelly (2018), who states that the early beginnings of #metoo have exposed many harassment related problems in Hollywood and everyday lives of women all over the world, but this noble intention has created, what she refers to as a disgusting cultural movement that feeds hatred towards men and above all, ignores the need for objective standards on what rape and sexual assault are. Of course, this in no way invalidates the fact sexual assaults do happen whether we refer to those happening among Hollywood stars or everyday women, but it is vital to maintain standards of objectivity.

Historian and a woman herself, Mary Beard has stated that society is now too obsessed with ‘isolated’ examples of bad behaviour by men, and there is a tendency to take incidents out of context and often overreact in terms of measures that can be taken to prevent these incidents from happening. Seeing as #metoo movement is still going strong a year later and gains new followers on social media, it is important to recognize how this affects our society as a whole and whether it could have a massively adverse effect on the way we view sexual assault, as well as the way the two genders co-exist in both professional and everyday life.


RATIONALE

Being a woman myself, I found myself in a predicament related to this topic and expressed initial hesitation about even picking it for this project but I was also curious whether this movement could one day be responsible for the increased levels of animosity and volatility between men and women in our society.

Having no way of telling whether all of those online accusations are true or not, I want to examine how social media creates and maintains the ‘bandwagon’ effect and what could be the further implications of it. Recent rise in false accusations has made me consider the other side of the coin, despite being a woman and despite having first-hand experience growing up in, although regionally restricted, predominantly matriarchal society where females were encouraged to be tough and objective in their pursuit of justice.

 


METHODOLOGY

Regardless of this movement being a rather new social phenomenon, I plan on using bibliography as my secondary data – that does not necessarily only focus on issues of sexual harassment, but also consequences that follow false accusations and its adverse effects on lives of those who have been unfairly affected by it. Regarding the interview, I wish to include four male and female classmates as I believe that, should they share their honest opinions, my research will contain richer perspective, and it will greatly contribute to my ability to reach an objective and fair conclusion.

 


EXPECTATIONS

Considering the overall severity and sensitive nature of this topic, I am aware my research may raise questions on why a woman chose to pursue such delicate matter and am I, by doing so, doing a disservice to female population globally. And before I continue my research I feel the responsibility to confirm that it is not my intention to invalidate or disregard the problem of rape and sexual assault in our society.

I will proceed with collecting primary data through interviews with my classmates after which I will begin analyzing their answers and assembling more refined data. I will focus on secondary data analysis once I have gathered necessary information through interviews and will ensure all of it is carefully composed into a final form of my digital artifact.

 


PLATFORM AND STAKEHOLDERS

Because of this topic’s delicate nature, I chose my blog as a platform through which I will express my findings and conclusion, and eventually finalize my digital artifact in a form of a blog. Aware that my writing skills are far superior to my video editing skills or even design, I am confident my blog will be an insightful read for all who are interested in this topic and wish to think further on how this may reflect on our real-world experience.

My future career aim is yet another reason I chose my blog as a form of expression – having a strong sense of justice and wanting to do the right thing above all, I would expect to join the ranks of journalists one day and continue my dedicated search for truth. In my honest opinion, passionate and dedicated blogs with a healthy sense for justice are most likely to stand up for problems in society, and I would be more than happy to join an organization or a foundation that fights to solve those problems.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

1.Kelly, J. (2018). Three problems with the #Metoo movement. Medium. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@jasonkelly_96466/three-problems-with-the-metoo-movement-64f948f0dc16

2. Lambert, L. (2018). Mary Beard says #MeToo movement is too obsessed with isolated incidents and will not solve sexual harassment of women. Daily Mail UK. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5410857/Mary-Beard-MeToo-hashtag-does-not-solve-problem.html

3. Mumford, G. (2018). Michael Haneke: #MeToo has led to a witch hunt ‘coloured by a hatred of men’. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/12/michael-haneke-metoo-witch-hunt-coloured-hatred-men

4.
North, A. (2018). Why women are worried about #MeToo. Vox. Retrieved from: https://www.vox.com/2018/4/5/17157240/me-too-movement-sexual-harassment-aziz-ansari-accusation

#BCM240 Research proposal; exploring how sitcom ‘Fresh off the boat’ portrays Asian culture as seen from both oriental and western perspective

Background

Over the course of last four years I had the pleasure of experiencing Hong Kong as a temporary student-resident and through my interaction with the city’s rich culture, vibrant people and their intriguing social norms, I developed a general interest in wanting to know how members of both oriental and western society could perceive a sitcom that is one of the first to portray an all-Asian family and whether this sitcom could act as a viable testing ground in my curious pursuit of  an answer to this question.

” Some critics could not get past the title, a term often used pejoratively about immigrants, while others think this adaptation of celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir about his childhood – which follows his Taiwanese- immigrant family as they try to fit into a mostly white Florida suburb – simply reinforces certain stereotypes about Asians.” (De Souza, 2016).

Taking all this into account, I thought carefully of what media portrayal I could use for this purpose – seeing as in 2018 many new films, tv-shows, books, blogs, YouTube videos and even tweets can quickly stir up the pot that is social justice should they fail to pass its ‘filters’ and be quickly removed from circulating through the vast space of mass media.
It occurred to me that a fresh, and rather underrepresented American sitcom Fresh Off the Boat (first aired on ABC in 2015) may just offer the perfect example of a standard media portrayal of an Asian immigrant family trying their very best to successfully assimilate into American culture.

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Rather than focusing on stereotypes alone, this show explores  a wide array of obstacles any immigrant family went through at some point during their assimilation period. And rather than just showing a standard Hollywood ‘out of the mold’ combination of lead male Caucasian role with an Asian female companion, this sitcom takes things to another level by ensuring the main cast remains Asian, with the exception of Caucasian neighbors and other characters.

” The Huangs may be the only non-white family living in that Orlando, Florida, cul-de-sac, but the show is solely concerned with their perspective. Home truths are presented in an honest and frank way, from the moment that Eddie (Hudson Yang) makes an earnest plea to his mother about his school dinner (“I need white people lunch”) to when he finally introduces her to his white girlfriend Allison. ” (Lee, 2016).

Simple premise includes a Taiwanese family moving from Washington D.C’s Chinatown to Orlando (Florida) where family experiences cultural shock attempting to blend in with the local population while the children go through same trouble at school. All this is lined with east Asian way of life; as seen through the eyes of the show’s protagonist, Eddie Huang. My aim is to find out more about how both Asian and Western audiences perceive this sitcom and whether they think this show is a sufficient and accurate representation of immigrant Asian family’s behvaior within American culture.

Overall perspective of this show may make newer generations think that portrayal of ‘ethnic’ people is somehow in fashion, but this isn’t the first time TV production decided to offer the viewers into daily life and struggles of races other than Caucasian. The history of TV sitcoms witnesses some well-known productions that included portrayal of every day lives of middle-class African American families and there are quite a few to name; Family Matters, The Cosby Show, Everybody Hates Christ, Good Times and many others.


Methodology

I intend to pick a representative sample among my BCMS peer group who had first-hand experience growing up as a part of local Hong Kong culture, as well as my colleagues who had no first-hand experience growing up within Asian culture – ideally four individuals from each group will suffice for gathering applicable data that can be successfully analyzed and presented. While I am fully aware that primary data will be of greater importance because my research questions seeks to find out a two culture perspective, I will certainly use complementary secondary data to either support and/or explain my final results, seeing as I am using a combination of online and traditional ethnographic method.

I plan on devising a set of interview questions which my interviewees will answer anonymously after being shown a pilot episode of the sitcom. Some of the sample questions I may include (and possibly revise):

  • Does your opinion differ in terms of how Asian culture is both represented and accepted?
  • When you see an asian person behaving in a certain way, do you feel this resonates with asian-american culture rather than asian culture alone?
  • Do you hold the same views as the show’s protagonist?
  • Has your perspective on Asian culture been changed/influenced somehow by the media?
  • How much of what you know about Asian culture has been relatable to what you have seen in the pilot episode?

 

Being aware that this topic contains potentially sensitive subject involving stereotypes and racial profiling, I do not intend to film my interviewees or use any video format. Questions presented to interviewees will be used for no other than my own analysis and more efficient acquisition of results. I aim to turn results of my interview into a form of a podcast that will be later featured in my digital artifact. Interviewees will be interviewed in groups of four, with each individual answering a series of five questions.

FORREST WHEELER, HUDSON YANG, RANDALL PARK


Stakeholders

Interviewing two groups of four people will be the source of my primary data as well as my online reach-out which will help me gain insight into secondary data – but my goal extends further than that and in order to entice a discussion and possibly encourage people to look at this matter objectively and express their perspective honestly and without fear of  harsh moral judgement, I will start generating research-related tweets starting from week 11 until the research is completed.

Complete BCMS group is more than welcome to participate in this discussion as I am more than curious to hear their perspective on this matter as well, as well as the professors who have had a chance to live and work in Hong Kong, either as locals or foreigners.

Platform

As a former candidate of Associate of Arts in English for Professional Communication, I haven’t had extensive experience with video editing or creation of more visually stunning materials, therefore I will turn to my blog as a platform for my digital artifact. However, understanding how important the contents of this research will be, I intend to represent my findings fairly and objectively while at the same time delivering them in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Considering that my ability to express myself through my writing greatly exceeds my video and design capabilities, I am convinced that communicating my findings through my blog will provide adequate corner for both findings and conclusion.

 


Ethical concerns

 

As I mentioned previously, this topic alone has been met with many questions and statements claiming it to be controversial and in many ways offensive, so my main concern is how this research may be perceived by the extended audience. Fresh off the Boat has been debated by the critics previously and should any of my readers take offense because of either research question, findings or conclusion, I would obviously want to objectively reflect and make sure I go over my research once again.

” While much of the recent debate around Asian representation in Hollywood has centered on whitewashing – when white actors are cast to tell Asian stories – working actors said a lack of opportunity was only one part of the problem. Asian American actors said they rarely, if ever, got auditions for leading roles, and when they did get parts, they were frequently secondary to the plot or portrayed offensive tropes. ” (Levin, 2017).

Remaining objective, while also truthful and respectful is imperative for my research to yield a relevant result. I am however, more than happy to explore this topic and also extremely grateful to both my classmates and colleagues who agreed to spare some of their valuable time and participate in the interview and discussion.

 

 

 

 

References:

1. De Souza, A. (2016). Fresh Off The Boat: Beyond racial stereotypes. The Straits Times. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/beyond-racial-stereotypes

2. Lee, C. (2016). Fresh Off The Boat shows Hollywood there’s life beyond yellowface. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/oct/11/fresh-off-the-boat-asian-american-stereotypes

3. Levin, S. (2017). ‘We’re the geeks, the prostitutes’: Asian American actors on Hollywood’s barriers. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/11/asian-american-actors-whitewashing-hollywood

 

 

#BCM240 Hong Kong’s public information distribution; How MTR and malls go hand in hand

Having lived in Hong Kong for four and a half years, I had plenty of encounters with all methods of information distribution that this city has to offer. And seeing as I am observing this from a perspective of a small-town European, I can see Hong Kong certainly has quite a knack for bombarding its citizens and visitors with information on every step. Granted, it is a metropolitan jungle so this observation shouldn’t strike me as something unusual seeing as I have visited other major cities like New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Dubai; but each of them with their own unique style of drowning us in visual and auditory commercial content.

” Commuters on the subway or double-decker buses sit with their screens lit and faces tilted downwards. Young people walk the streets with earphones plugged into their iPhones or Androids, pausing always to snap an Instagram picture or a Snapchat of their ‘food porn’. ” (Davis 2018)

I visited Tai Po Mega Mall to gain a broader perspective on both private and public media practices of Hong Kongers. Having that in mind, I was initially reluctant to take photos of people even in a public setting, feeling it might be perceived as somewhat invasive but eventually decided to subtly pursue my photographic documenting after witnessing hundreds of people taking videos and photos of their surrounding and uploading them to their social media. This young couple, for instance, spent a considerable amount of time watching a local romance drama that was conveniently placed right under what appears to be screen showing related ads – from wedding venues to couple activities.

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After observing what looked to be a romantic drama, the couple took to social media to document their time out and share with friends on Snapchat

Considering Hong Kong’s dual nature where English and Cantonese peacefully coexist, I decided to see for myself whether distributed information offers an optimal output to both worlds equally.  Naturally, MTR is Hong Kong’s timeless trademark and carrying millions of passengers every day, it is bound to be an information hub of sorts and since most stations are normally attached to a mall, an influx of people is expected to be massive. From my observations, these malls are venues that serve a purpose other than just a place to shop or eat at; thanks to this overwhelming media outpour, these malls also take upon roles of social hubs where both people and the advertising companies gain a momentum in their ‘online’ presence.

 

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Young lady in front of Shiseido store took to Instagram for checking whether she can obtain this brand’s lipstick for a cheaper price elsewhere.

 

” As the trend toward unbundling apps and developing niche communities continues, targeting these smaller audiences with more targeted messages may become the more intelligent strategy for many companies rather than going after the larger, more general market.  ”  (Steimle, 2014)

Public media practices as well as private media practices are also a form of excellent stimulant for the marketing strategies of various companies found across Hong Kong as well as global companies looking to spread their influence among local population. Steimle’s perspective on the marketing aspect is interesting, he claims that app usage is one of the most common form of merging public with private media practices and it seems to be an ever growing trend among Hong Kongers.

 

 


References:

1. Davis, H. (2018). What social media platforms run Hong Kong and what are the implications? South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/community/article/2142652/what-social-media-platforms-run-hong-kong-and-what-are

2.  Steimle, J. (2014). An Introduction to Social Media in Hong Kong. ClickZ. Retrieved from: https://www.clickz.com/an-introduction-to-social-media-in-hong-kong/28743/

 

 

#BCM240 My father’s cinema experience & Hägerstrand’s perspective

Upon striking a lively conversation with my father and getting him to indulge in some healthy nostalgia regarding his cinema experience in the old days as well as now, I got him to reveal a lot more about how he perceives the concepts of media experience but also the concept of time as a channel that enables that experience (as per Hägerstrand’s definition). But if I am to explain why I chose to analyze my father’s cinema experience instead of my own, I first need to address Corbett’s simple yet effective explanation of Hägerstrand’s space-time path.

My father said the way of going to cinema changed drastically. Looking from Hägerstrand’s perspective, we can see why going to cinema 30 years ago must have been a more arduous task to organize and complete. Should he have decided to go with friends, rigorous planning had to take place at least a week or two in advance to make sure all of them confirm they are going and that they meet at a correct location on time. He recalls a general lack of technological wonders we have today and says it sure would have been easier if he could just group-text his friends a few days before the movie instead of calling them individually to their landline phones while also having to make sure he is calling at the right time.

As explained by Corbett, Hägerstrand came up with the concept of a space-time path in order to emphasize the importance of time in human activity as well as illustrate how people and things fit together and function in socio-economic systems and how people navigate their way through the spatial-temporal environment; the physical area around an individual being reduced to a two-dimensional plane on which their location and destination are presented as zero-dimensional points.

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Crowded cinema in my hometown, as observed from my father’s perspective every Sunday from 5-10 pm.

Before I continue and put this in the context of my father’s experience, it is necessary to explain the limits to this concept. Seeing as we are observing how people move in a spatial-temporal grid, it is expected there might be a number of obstacles that may prevent those people from reaching all the wanted points on the grid within the desired time. Hägerstrand categorizes these obstacles as three types of constraints;

Capability constraints – these refer to limitations caused by certain physical or biological factors. For instance, being in multiple locations at the same time is impossible, therefore it is categorized as a capability constraint.

Coupling constraints – this type of constraint simply refers to a need to be at a certain location for a certain period of time, which usually involves crossing paths with other people and needing to interact with them in order for our activities to be completed. In my father’s case, going to a cinema and completing his movie watching experience before he can go home would make for an ideal example.

Authority constraints – refers to a type of constraint that may involve limited access to certain locations that are controlled by institutions or people.

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The experience of a drive-in cinema may pose more constraints as it requires a person to enter the premises with a vehicle, that way limiting the audience that cannot travel there by car.

Yet another reason why I chose to write about my father’s cinema memories is the huge technological gap between the cinema of his youth and the contemporary cinema. This gap not only affects the difference in how he completes his space-time path but also how he perceives the whole experience and determines whether it was enjoyable or not. Being a rather tech-savvy 54-year-old, he celebrates modern gadgets and praises them for allowing him an easier and more comfortable ability to organize his time, and social life and combine the two with a pleasant evening of catching a new flick.

As for constraints he encountered over the last 30 years, one particular situation he told me about involved an authority constraint and he and his friend wandering into an area that served as a drive-in cinema they didn’t know belonged to a military base. Seeing as most other restraints involved his friends being unable to go due to physical factors or they couldn’t spend as much time outside, this one stood out to me. His quote about the cinema visit planning process back in the day made me think:

” It used to be quite difficult, your generation has it easy. It was either call one friend for days to make sure he’s going, then have another friend cancel on you without being able to let you know because there were no cellphones. You start by planning to watch a film with 10 friends but end up finally going with only 2 – if you’re lucky that is. “

His contemporary experience can hardly even compare to the way he used to go to a cinema, considering he is a major cinephile and needs to see all the newest films. It is safe to say his daily ‘movement pattern’ alters significantly on the days he goes to the cinema, so much so in fact, that even he could say it looks as if the cinema visit is a priority while everything else gravitates around it.
To finalize this intriguing perspective, while the technology continues to develop and in process grants us new methods of entertaining ourselves, I am curious to see how my father and his generation might keep up with it.

 

 

 

References:

1. Corbett, J. (2010). Torsten Hägerstrand – Time Geography. Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science, Spatial Resources for the Social Sciences. Retrieved from: https://is.muni.cz/el/1431/jaro2006/Z0147/time_geography.pdf

 

#BCM332 Case Study Part 2: How Racially discriminated models use social media to fight back

In my previous post, I elaborated on the rising and ‘not so contemporary’ issue of racial discrimination in the modeling industry against women of color, and the extensive list of possible effects on society it carries along. The evidence to support this claim provided a substantial insight into the true extent of this problem and showed us that consequences resulted from it are causing quite a stir inside and outside the beauty industry. Another yet discouraging note by S. Newman confirms that black models are being set back by a few decades in terms of employment success rate and leading prosperous modeling careers. Newman explains how in the 1970s black models had greater opportunities that significantly dwindled with the arrival of 1980s, 1990s – and the ‘new’ aesthetic that ultimately excluded women of color.


” By the mid-1990s, the affinity for black models began to decrease. Designers opted for a new aesthetic that excluded black models. Black models were left in the dark to make way for the grunge era and “heroin” chic which fostered that group of models that included Kate Moss, Stella Tennant, and Kristen McMenamy. Models were more homogenous, so the industry didn’t require models who were bold, or charismatic. ” (Newman 2017).

Perhaps a few decades ago, this problem would have stayed swept under the rug and models of color wouldn’t have much in terms of media as an outlet efficient enough to help them gain deserved recognition and distinction in their field. Social media, however, changes all that. As a society riddled with discriminative behavior, we went from having to gather in massive numbers and hold large handwritten signs, to posting a single image, caption, status or tweet and directing it at the right audience. British model, Leomie Anderson testifies on the power of social media in context of this rapid shift the fashion world has seen recently, by explaining how the beauty industry used to feel very much like its own little world with its own set of rules and models unhappy about these rules never felt empowered enough to change anything.
She adds that nowadays, social media finally gives models the opportunity to speak up which in turn helps the industry to ‘up its game’ and meet the contemporary social standards. In a way, social media came as a blessing to these women who, up until recently, made only 6% of runway models during the peak of fashion month, according to Newman. These models, however, are all public figures with a handsome following on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube channels. What happens when one of them is told off by a designer, photographer or fashion show director for being a woman of color?

“I have only once or twice before seen a campaign featuring models with our complexions, as we have never been presented as the norm for western beauty ideals. But the cast Rihanna picked was very reflective of modern society, and that’s who she sells to. People want to know what they are going to feel and look like when they use a product.”  (Anderson, 2018).

She will, most certainly, reach out online and target her audience with the right kind of hashtags. Her ‘voice’ will merge with voices of many other discriminated models and their content will reach a strong momentum. Since social media has already proven to be an excellent conduit for self-branding and finding exposure, it is almost certain that these women, who have experienced such unfair and unprofessional treatment – will find work or work might just find them.

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Anderson, 2018, ‘Leomie Anderson: social media has given models a platform to speak out. I am one of them’, The Guardian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/mar/07/leomie-anderson-social-media-has-given-models-a-platform-to-speak-out-i-am-one-of-them

2. Newman, 2017, ‘Black Models Matter: Challenging the Racism of Aesthetics and the Façade of Inclusion in the Fashion Industry’, Graduate Faculty in Liberal Studies, The City University of New York.

 

#BCM310 Poverty Porn; Do celebrities use charity for self-exposure?

Throughout the previous BCM310 lecture where we tackled the topic of ‘Poverty Porn’ and its mass misrepresentation in the western media, a lot has also been discussed about the inadvertent effects of celebrity intervention. With an ever-increasing number of charity organizations, it can be difficult for us to imagine an effective campaign without the help of a well distinguished public figure who is surely going to successfully utilize the power of ‘the herd mentality’ to aid the cause.
Nonetheless, if and when a celebrity decides to dedicate their star status to a worthy cause, more often than not, it lands them in hot water over assumption their intentions aren’t exactly pure and selfless. For instance, Peter Stanford (journalist) and Justin Forsyth, (Charity organization CEO) each provide some feasible arguments on why and how celebrities may or may not benefit or even completely trivialize the concept of poverty and the how the audience perceives it through the media.

Starting from Stanford’s professional opinion, he doesn’t completely exclude the idea of a genuinely helpful celebrity and their lasting benefits but claims that in his experience, expecting a mere celebrity appearance to effectively cause people to open their hearts and minds is, in a sense, underestimating potential supporters. That means, if their effort ultimately fails, for the celebrities this is simply gaining greater exposure but the poor remain poor.

” There can be, in some circumstances, a role for celebrities in marketing a charity’s objectives, but we need to ask some deeper questions here. Why should our supporters back education as a human right for all children around the globe or decent maternity care in Malawi? Because Bono and Stacey Solomon, however well-intentioned, give it their imprimatur, or because these are crying injustices that scar our world and degrade our own humanity? Celebrities can get in the way, the messenger becoming more important than the message. ” (Stanford, 2011).

Forsyth on the other hand firmly stands behind celebrity status being a powerful catalyst in the process of reaching a new audience of potential supporters and conveying the charity’s message, provided it is very clearly stated and there is a decent output. He confirms how helpful this ‘celebrity touch’ can be,  especially considering celebrities themselves bring their skills into this process and can convince a greater number of people than a mere poster or a TV commercial ever could. A perfect example of how soft power works our perception of poverty and encourages us to emulate actions of our key opinion leaders.

” Millions of people are inspired by music, sport, and film, so we should use that inspiration to communicate the injustices millions suffer. If we’re going to change the world we need to engage and tap into people’s emotions through the force of human stories that everyone can identify with. ” (Forsyth, 2011).

Evidently, it is difficult to tell whether celebrities truly have the intention of adding this type of good deeds to their ‘resume’ or they simply feel for the impoverished on a personal level for whatever reason but it still poses the question of who truly benefits from this relationship? As someone quite familiar with the contemporary pop culture and a young adult with a number of ‘celebrity’ role models myself, I took the liberty of asking my peers their thoughts on the matter. From what I have been told, being convinced that a certain celebrity truly has good intentions with no side goal that includes advertising themselves, requires more than one appearance among those who suffer in extreme poverty. In other words, seeing Kim Kardashian decked out in diamonds and expensive shoes standing in mud surrounded by starving children – isn’t the best look philanthropy-wise and certainly not the best way of inducing empathy in viewers. This image, as a result, may bring some positive reaction out of current fans, but could also repel potential supporters.

 

Smith argues that, as our appetite for it grew, the concept of celebrity started looking like a job in itself and it resulted in revealing this symbiotic relationship between charity and celebrity, to both parties. He continues on, saying that celebrity endorsement – regardless of its inadvertent effects on the audience opinion, still remains the primary means by which most charity organizations ‘sell’ their message and gather wanted feedback from the people whose support they seek.

” And while only a cynic would suggest they are motivated by anything more than a selfless desire to help others, their efforts do little to make people remember the charity they are supporting. ” (Kelly, 2014).

Overall, it is clear there will be opposing opinions on this matter and as much as celebrities wish to provide selfless help, the positive effect their altruistic deeds have on their careers are definitely undeniable. After getting more familiarized with these concerns people had about what the true intentions of charity-oriented celebrities may be, it is safe to say that only celebrity behavior over time and some extensive side-research can be the only two objective ways to find an adequate answer to this issue – both of which take up a lot of time. My hope is that, in one way or another, this small passage on thoughts and arguments from both sides have helped you form your own impression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Forsyth, J. Stanford, P. (2011). Are celebrities a help or hindrance to charities? The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/26/celebrity-ambassadors-charities-debate

2. Kelly, T. (2014). How charity work benefits stars most: Links to good causes make celebrities more popular. Daily Mail UK. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2720336/How-charity-work-benefits-stars-Links-good-causes-make-celebrities-popular.html

3. Smith, A. (2002). All in a good cause? The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2002/jan/27/life1.lifemagazine2

#BCM240 Effect of Internet; media spaces and practices

My week 2 blog – filled with my aunt’s nostalgia and my own curiosity for old Yugoslavian TV programs, hopefully, provided a detailed enough glimpse into the ways of ‘vintage’ media of Eastern Europe. Aware of everything I learned through my conversation with her, I re-visited the topic of media but this time with my curiosity shifting towards how the internet changed her life and perception of media spaces and practices. But before I could get her in-depth explanation of this matter, I was shocked to find out she owns more ‘gadgets’ than I do.

When asked why she owns a tablet, a laptop, 2 smartphones and a desktop computer, she replies: ” don’t each of these have their own little features? Sometimes I like to switch from one to another and keep one in each room of my home for better access. ”
She adds to that saying that regardless of her age, she likes to stay in the loop and make sure she’s all caught up with whatever is going on in the world.

” According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in a demographic group. Furthermore, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71 percent do so daily and 34 percent use social media. The elderly use these tools to bridge the geographic gap between them and their loved ones far away and as a way to re-connect with friends from a far-off time. ” (Kamiel, 2016).

Furthermore, Kamiel writes that studies have shown that internet has become an excellent method for battling loneliness among the older generations and has helped them reduce isolation and other depressive symptoms. My aunt seems to agree with this point by adding onto it and saying that as she gets older, it may be significantly more difficult to be in certain places at the right time in order to meet up with people, do shopping, watch movies or learn a language even. The Internet seems to wrap all of it up for her and offer a variety of activities that involve communication, entertainment and access to information and knowledge, all at her convenience.

” Connecting with family members and friends is just one way the internet has positively impacted the lives of older adults. Getting online also gives seniors a tool for managing and researching health issues and a way to increase brain activity. ”  (Matsuura 2017).

This is yet another aspect my aunt is quite happy about; crossing vast distances in a second with a single message. Despite being almost 62, she acknowledges the bond we have with technology that allows us to do so much with minimal effort. This is something I touched on in my week 1 blog where I talked quite a bit about how suddenly removing all this technology that allows us so much, would hinder us significantly.

We often have concerns that Internet may change things for the worse but we need to consider the positive impacts it has on lives of people with numerous obstacles, whether they may be geographical, financial, or health-related.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Matsuura, A. (2017). How social media and technology are changing the lives of the elderly. Deseret News. Retrieved from: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685302/How-social-media-and-technology-are-changing-the-lives-of-the-elderly.html

2. Kamiel, A. (2016). A Hot Trend: The Internet, Social Media & The Elderly. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anita-kamiel-rn-mps/older-people-social-media_b_9191178.html

 

#BCM240 Collaborative Ethnography; advantages and disadvantages

Collaborative ethnography by its definition is already an extensive method of ‘working together’ on a wide variety of disciplines, ideas, and theories for the sake of more accurate and in-depth knowledge about one’s culture and all of its researchable aspects.
In the research field, whatever is being observed, it is absolutely essential to have the right approach and most importantly, get accurate data.
Whether quantitative or qualitative, data may be more difficult to obtain and even more difficult to accurately analyze and explain if the focus of the research cannot be properly assessed through observation only. Should we observe one’s culture strictly from an outsider’s perspective through auto-ethnographical approach, there is bound to be myriad of mistakes and inaccurate notes on the matter as there is no way to confirm scientific doubts without somehow interfering with the observed culture.

This is where collaborative ethnography comes in. As described by Eric Lassiter, collaborative ethnography literally means to work together in an intellectual effort.
He further claims that it isn’t possible to carry out ethnographic research without engaging with those people whose daily life and cultural habits we wish to observe and that the data that comes out from collaborative ethnographic research is based on the relationship of the researchers and their interlocutors.

” We might sum up collaborative ethnography as an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it—from project conceptualization to fieldwork, and, especially, through the writing process. Collaborative ethnography invites commentary from our consultants and seeks to make that commentary overtly part of the ethnographic text as it develops. ” (Lassiter 2005)

 

LearningCultureHero
Collaborative ethnography may require a large number of variously prepared individuals which may cause result dissonance

 

Judging from Lassiter’s statements, collaborative ethnography as a method seems to be the foolproof way of approaching anthropological research and getting accurate findings. However, there may be certain disadvantages involving this approach that may have the exact opposite result than what both researchers and interlocutors have hoped for. Having to research a broad anthropological concept may require a considerable number of individuals involved, which may cause greater confusion rather than moments of epiphany; especially if the people involved aren’t familiar with the methods of research participation.

For example, if we wish to conduct a research on Marriage traditions of indigenous Siberian communities and we involve a large number of people, many of whom might not be well acquainted with proper research methods, there may be a significant dissonance among the findings and it might take quite some time for experts in the field to filter out what may and may not be of value. Even then, it will be impossible for researchers to distinguish good information from the bad one without having to involve the members of the indigenous Siberian community yet again.

Another very common disadvantage of this approach is the possible ethical problem it may cause during the time of research. A vast number of cultures, even in this day and age, might still have certain aspects they simply do not wish to share with the outsiders for whatever reason – be it fear of judgment or ridicule. If and when this happens, ethnographers must have a proper ethical conduct with the culture they’re researching or their research might be incomplete and/or inaccurate or simply cut short as a result od created distrust.

Still, it remains important to note that as scientists, whether in social or natural disciplines, there is a set of ethical rules they need to abide by regardless of their personal preference and opinion. I am sure that despite these disadvantages, as further progress and efforts are made by the ethnographers in the collaborative researches, the number of such incidents will decrease significantly.

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Lassiter. L.E. (2005). Defining a Collaborative Ethnography. The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. Retrieved from http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html