Can we please stop with the so-called ‘feminism’

The issue of gender inequality has been rife in the media over the past week or so. The sacking of Jill Abramson and the resignation of Natalie Nougayrède has thrown the issue around once again.

However, has the onslaught of ‘pro-feminism’ tweets and posts that are smeared all over social media really contributed to the issue? Has it furthered the cause and developed the argument? For the most part, I think not.

Much, maybe most, commentary on these two events, has blurred the issue and muddied the name of feminism. Feminism has became a chant that people love to yell but seem to have lost the meaning of. Gender inequality is nothing to be scoffed at, it exists and it is a worthy issue to be addressed. However, we mustn’t forget that it may not always be the case, and we as women need to start seeing ourselves equally as well, instead of continually lamenting over our so-called disempowerment.

 It seems that “it happened because she’s a woman” is a quick and easy port of call for many young, social-media-image driven women who have decided they understand the issue without doing their research. 

Whilst the dismissal of Abramson and the resignation of Nougayrède does require an investigation into how much gender played a role, it needs to be rational and reasonable. One-sided, dogmatic, vapid slogans are offensive to the integrity of Abramson, Nougayrède and feminism. (And Natalie Nougayrède resigned. She was not dismissed as many news publications chose to report.)




There’s no question that gender inequality is a serious problem, worthy of discussion and investigation. But it shouldn’t be the first port-of-call to find answers as to why women are being dismissed or resigning. That is in fact more undermining and merely deepens the divide further.

“Feminism… has had two strands: as a media phenomenon and as an academic discipline. The vast realm of reality that lies between remains unaffected by either.” – Germaine Greer, “White Beech: the Rainforest Years” 

If women continue to act as victims, if we continue to make excuses for ourselves because “we are women and we are treated differently”, we will not end up on the even playing field. Yes, sexism needs to be addressed, but not through an irrational and uniform approach. That is not progressing the cause, that is pushing us back even further.

“Until we do away with the belief in an unassailable patriarchy and credit ourselves with the strength, intelligence and ability to change our world for the better, we will suffer inequality and injustice.” –  Susan Bennett “The Drum”

The Future of Korsakow

At the beginning of this subject, I was hesitant to form an opinion on Korsakow. I didn’t quite understand it, and I was skeptical as to what type of media it fitted into. At times I found it clunky and frustrating to use, it didn’t seem as user-friendly as some of the software I am used to working with. I didn’t understand exactly the way in which it expressed narrative, or stories, or…anything to a point.

However, over the course of the semester, I began to really enjoy working with Korsakow (shock, horror). I realised that I had been trying to construct it’s use and it’s form in my mind, by only drawing on previous conceptions. I wasn’t trying to grasp it as a new form of media, as something entirely different, coming from a place of it’s own.

The catalyst of change for me, was looking at past students work. It was easy for me to see in these works, what worked and what didn’t. I felt the pieces that were strong, were the pieces that weren’t trying to tell a narratively driven story. They were merely views, or lists even, of a subject, that gave the user a comprehensive understanding of what it was they were to address. They were snapshots, often unbiased, of a place, a happening, an object, a thing.

When I had my first Korsakow project review with Adrien, it was very interesting and enlightening to listen to him talk about it’s purpose. I feel I won’t give justice to what he said – but basically he explained that it was a program in which focus was purely given to the way in which the story is outlined, explained, told and shown, not the story itself. It is not the story that makes a great film, we are working within a visual field, it is the visuals and the use of these instead.

It made sense that the past student’s pieces I liked were those that weren’t even trying to tell a story. Yet they somehow did. Instead, focus was purely on the visual, on slowing down and looking at each individual moment that passes in front of a camera lens.

Korsawkow is a great program for this. It causes you to think about what themes are present in your work, what these are saying and how they can all link to tell the user something. Or make the user feel something. Or even just enable the user to enjoy your piece. Narrative is broken down in Korsakow, and through this we have to actually examine what it is that can make it more than just a story line, a recount, but what can help us create media that makes us think and is worth remembering.

Australian politics flashes before us in the wink of an eye

Type Tony Abbott into google and the first prediction that follows after is ‘wink’, a search that produces 188,000 results and counting.

There is no doubt that the wink on everyone’s lips was a low moment for Abbott. We can postulate what it meant, perhaps a distinct lack of empathy, and ill-timed at best. However, a wink is a wink, George Bush Jnr. gave one to the Queen and Sarah Palin can’t participate in a debate without giving them compulsively (note pattern in said winker’s politics).

Debate surrounding #winkgate (nee ‘the wink’), can be divided into two camps. One contends it was a friendly message to Jon Faine, confirming he continue with the call, and at the same time, a response to Faine’s smile (who thought a wink couldn’t speak a thousand words). Another states the wink was a sexist, disrespectful and disgusting remark regarding the caller, Gloria, a 67-year-old pensioner. In fact not only Gloria, all sex-workers, women and everyone, actually.

We cannot base political opinion and commentary on such minor issues. We continually lament the loss of debate on major issues in politics, and moan that our leaders instead choose to participate in nitpicking and cheap shots. Yet if we get stuck on a wink, how can we expect more?

I can only wonder how, one small facial gesture, a momentary movement, can tell so much about a person. Perhaps even more interestingly, so much about a nation. Are we really moving into the territory where we extrapolate a wink into an all encompassing profile of a man’s personality and politics?

A wink should not provide for debate, it shouldn’t provide a basis for blanket statements regarding Abbott’s character and politics. If anything, it should be evidence of much bigger issues, catalysts to find greater evidence that provides for well-reasoned opinion and debate.

Alongside the Prime Minister’s wink yesterday, Joe Hockey gave an address at the Australian Council of Social Service lunch, and the Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen gave his budget reply. Yet what appeared to dominate news rooms and social media around the country?

Sadly, the contents of the interview with Jon Faine wasn’t given a mention. Abbott’s fumbling (a character trait now) over budget details was not examined, although his eyelid was, in depth.

“In the same interview Abbott made a mistake about the budget changes to university fees. Not being across the detail of an area students were taking to the streets about was, to say the least, careless.” – Michelle Grattan, The Conversation

Let us move on from such squabbling, and decide that the policy at hand, not a wink, is worthy of consideration, debate and analysis.


Reading 10

‘We believe that humanity is on the verge of a revolution. We’ve moved
beyond the web of pages and the Internet of people. Soon, we’ll take
ubiquitous data for granted. Our every glance will be augmented; our
every purchase shared and analyzed. Big data, available to everyone, in
compelling, convincing interfaces will change the very nature of how we 3
think. It will unseat and launch entire industries, hold governments
accountable, and empower society. There’s an industrial revolution of data coming.
The power of data will change us as surely as the power of steam did a century ago.’
(O’Reilly ‘Strata: Making Data Work Conference’ Feb 1-3 2011)

“In this piece we want to think about what happens when documentary imaging occurs within the new data rich contexts referred to
in our opening quotation above.” Jon Dovey, Mandy Rose

I found this reading quite compelling. Unlike some before, it really held my interest throughout. The idea of examining contemporary love, desire, emotion through what saturates the internet 24/7 is amazingly original and innovative.

The notion of identifying the emergence of a new type of social information which is neither quantitative nor qualitative is so pertinent to our society as we further merge into the future of constant information flow through the web.

Our emotional escapism through the web, has been captured in rational data in both of the below projects. A head twist, but a twist worth acknowledging as it’s a well-though out insight into our world today.

This is an amazing concept.

As is this.

These ideas are artworks authored by the world, they take advantage of the millions of what often is though of mindless data, produced every day, and paint it into a poignant reflection, that changes every moment, of our evolution. Incredible!

 ‘With its unique software-driven model, We Feel Fine is a revelation of emotion through a prism of rational data that only makes the emotional crux deeper and more compelling.’ Maria Popova.


What is going on with our media? Maybe it’s time to come to terms with our general public

Cuts to the ABC and SBS have highlighted a gaping hole in journalistic appreciation in our government, but perhaps worse, in our general public.

In light of the recent cuts, one can only see it as a political move rather than a genuine budget saving measure. Figures may be manipulated to justify the 1% decrease in funding, however no one is blinded to the notion that most conservatives lack a soft spot for these channels (even to the point of breaking an election promise). ABC Mark Scott has commentated on the service that the ABC provides for Australians for me to detail this any further.

We can continue to point the figure at our government for the death of journalism with substance and an ambition to provide the public with information they deserve (and more to the point, should know), but we are still left with evidence of an even greater concern; we as a public could be the problem.

The mainstream media is largely a collective of private organisations (a reality that yes, is alarming but yes, we have to face), so we must recognise its interests are not concerned with creating a thriving democracy.

It is far more reasonable to assume the Australian media’s number one priority is to attract high sales and advertising revenue, thereby achieving optimal profits. To do so, media content must engage the largest market: if content is not popular, entertaining or relevant, consumers will choose another option. We see this priority each time we tune into any major channel, or open almost any newspaper – headlines are a black hole of substance, glimmering instead with the Solange’s, Jay Z’s and devastating tragedies of this world.

Many commentators justifiably lament the resulting displacement of thorough analysis in the media by sensationalised content, and claim the growth in tabloidization effectively undermines intrinsic news values and informed discourse. I can’t agree with this more, but can’t ignore the issue that the resulting output is actually the result of democratic process; the reason the Australian media is so dominated with said “news” is because it appeals to the greatest demand.

Leading up to the 2013 election, public interest channels ABC and SBS, which devote more broadcast hours to policy concerns than private networks, held just over 15 per cent of the total viewer share across all of Australia compared to 60-70 per cent held by the major channels. What more is there to say.

Of course,the Australian media has a duty to reflect public opinion and respond to public concerns. Yet it must equally be recognised that sadly our private media is based on demand which is formed through the interaction of the multitude of differing views within a society. The reality is the Australian media always has a case to answer, but we have to question how much we are responsible. We vote on which media survives every time we buy a newspaper and turn on the TV.


Reading 9 – Plotting the Database

I found this reading quite informative due to it’s easy to understand parallels. The notion of interface became much more easy for me to grasp when it was related to the notion of plot. I was able to understand much more what it’s purpose was, what made one good and what made one not so good.

I feel this passage sums it up well, and made me at least, understand the concept in a much more efficient and clear way:

 “It provides the database user with access, fast retrieval and manipulation of stored data and metadata. An interface that frustrates any of these is said to be poorly designed. Primarily a spatial narrative device, an interface is more than a map. It is a map that changes with the user’s navigation in time, offering multiple interpretive paths and levels of abstraction.”

In  that way, it differs to a plot, which is an already outlined path for a ‘user’ to follow. Instead, an interface offers a quasi-plot, a medium by which the ‘user’ can become involved in the plot and take their own journey. Sort of. At least that’s how I understood it.

However, although the ‘user’ navigates their own path, a narrative must be there already. This is the job of the creator to establish, and perhaps the most difficult part of the task at hand. It is complex to create narrative when the plot itself is up to someone else…. (I hope I am on the right track here).

“Manovich writes that it is the relationship between narration and story-world, or syntagm and paradigm, that gets flipped in database logic.”

This flipped me a little bit…. However, I think I grasp the idea. I think it relates to what I have said above. I feel it is saying that the narrative sequence becomes suppressed, or up to that of the user (unusual for usual story lines) whilst the different aspects of the story, which usually flow become segmented and visible.

These points are interesting and definitely make me think about this reversal (almost) of what we understand traditional narrative to be vs. that online.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this reading for me was the database-like novel, “Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewellery”. As a literature lover, this notion of a database novel was thoroughly perplexing and interesting. The breakdown of usual narrative elements, to a multi-linear catalogue like structure or ‘list’ was so so different from anything I have been exposed to. Whilst I don’t think it will take over my favourite books, or make me lose interest in the traditional form of literature – this is a highly original and interesting way of viewing narrative differently.

Periodic Table of Storytelling

Woaahh it’s kind of neat but also brings science into a the creative writing realm in which I was happy to keep far apart from. I am not sure if it was produced by a creative writer or a chemist but it is kind of genius. I like these type of projects, I feel like they keep subjects alive which would otherwise slip into the banal-stagnant territory even though I am not sure exactly how useful they are. If you are having to look at a quasi periodic table to keep your story alive then maybe it’s come to an end!! Or maybe that’s just me being cynical and it is really a fun/ny and useful tool.