TAKE SAFE SELFIES.

The word ‘selfie’ was known as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013, and since then the selfie phenomenon has ensued. There are so many different ideas on what is considered a selfie and more importantly, how and if it’s considered healthy.

I don’t entirely know where I stand on this topic, but that aside, I am indeed guilty of taking a selfie or two. And usually, when I’m on the quest to take the perfect selfie, I may snap a few more photos than the one you see posted online. For some bizarre reason, this is what people see as a huge problem in the world of selfie-taking. Because, you know, it’s not like there were any other photos taken than this one single image of Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of Vogue.

source: http://www.buzznet.com/2013/05/magazine-takeover-jennifer-lawrence/

 

They must’ve taken this photo in one shot, with no vanity or regards for her appearance whatsoever.

So, you get my point. I don’t think that’s a problem. To me, wanting to have a nice photo of yourself is something very liberating and should be celebrated. We live in a world that tells us how we should look and what we should strive to be, and if taking a photo of yourself in spite of all of that, and being proud of it makes you a narcissist? Than we have a very big issue surrounding what people deem to actually be a mental illness.

It really comes back to the whole concept of “the self”. Taking a selfie might seem self-indulgent, but how does this differ from writing a blog about yourself? Or writing an autobiography? Whether we like it or not, we are consumed by ourselves, and some of these things are just ways we find our place in the world– or give ourselves a platform to have a place.

In Jill W. Rettburg’s bookSeeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves, she talks about this history of self-portraits and the very first autobiographies. The difference in selfies today than the fragmented self-portrait paintings of the past, is that the camera is no longer a barrier between the subject and the viewer, “the outstretched arm is like a (forced) embrace, placing the viewer between the face of the person photographed and the camera (Warfield, 2014).”

Because of the drastic shift social media has made in society, I think we want people to step into our lives a little bit more. Maybe privacy is definitely not the sanctity it once was, we are now in an age where we want to share. Taking selfies or photos of our everyday, mundane lives and sharing this with the online world creates some kind of link or connection between all of us. While it might not make sense to some older generations, because life’s all a matter of what you’re used to, for us, it’s about communicating and making a connection with others.

Jennifer Saunders says, “Girls are now getting ill because all they spend their lives doing is finding the perfect selfie.” A 2015 study showed that women spend an average 5 hours a week perfecting selfies. “I hate the way it makes girls think they should look,” she said. “That Kim Kardashian look, it’s so automaton.” (Hinde)

Thank you Ms. Saunders for your opinion, and while yes, this survey showed that women between the ages of 16-25 were most obsessed with selfies and spend 16 minutes on one selfie session and repeat this three times a day, there is NO science to show that this behaviour is making us “ill”.

In FACT,  “Researchers from the University of California, Irvine studied college students and found that snapping selfies and sharing images with friends had a positive effect on their psychological and emotional states.” (Holmes)

There are a whole lot of different aspects when it comes to taking a selfie. Confidence and self-gratification mostly come into play. I think it becomes a matter of how this effects you. Getting a number of likes on a photo and some pleasant comments is of course going to boost your confidence, and that’s great. I think it’s only when we let this become a controlling aspect of our moods that there is a problem.

For just one moment though, we need to look outside ourselves. We’re being told that selfies are harmful to ourselves, because as humans, everything is about us. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is affecting others.

“A dolphin has reportedly died in Argentina after beachgoers surrounded the animal and pulled it from the water for photos.
It’s the second dolphin to be killed by selfie-crazed swimmers in a year in the South American country.” (Dengate)

Maybe we need to stop telling everyone how their mental states are at risk because of this selfie-craze, and instead teach them how to not use it as a weapon or means of harming living creatures.

Take safe selfies, don’t harm others in the process.

REFERENCES:

Dengate, Cayla. “Second Baby Dolphin Killed By Selfie-Taking Swimmers In Argentina”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Hinde, Natasha. “Jennifer Saunders Believes Girls’ Quest For The Perfect Selfie Is Making Them ‘Ill'”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Holmes, Lindsay. “Science Says Selfies Can Make You Happier And More Confident”. Huffington Post Australia, 2017, Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Rettberg, Jill W. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, 1st ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

Issue #4/2016 of the UOW’s ‘Tertangala’ came out today, and again, I was lucky enough to have something published in there. For those who don’t have access to the beautiful copy, here it is for ya:

NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

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Nostalgia is a terrifying emotion for a lot of people. We either clutch onto it with all our might, or we have it tightly gift wrapped in a brown paper box, tied up with blue ribbon and sent off to Timbuktu. It’s hidden everywhere. It’s laced in the trees of your backyard. It’s sprinkled on your mother’s apple pie. Your bedroom, no matter how young or old, is completely exploding with nostalgia.

I crave it. Nostalgia is something that grounds me; that makes us human. Experiencing it places us somewhere on the emotional scale and perhaps for some people that can be a bit too much. Once, while having a conversation with my friend’s host-brother from France, he told me “Australians are fixated with the past”. All of our stories, a large source of our humour, are based on things that have already happened. We can’t seem to move out of it, we love to talk about the no longer. For him, it was nice to watch us relish in the days of our youth, but it didn’t seem very constructive.

I suppose he was right. What good is going through your wardrobe and finding a stuffed toy that you’d thought you lost, but really, she sat there waiting patiently for you to find her? Okay, maybe he was crazy. Finding things that remind you of, not a better time, but a different time is what helps us grow. I look at reminders of my past: stuffed animals, a photograph, an old jumper, the scent of a once-used perfume and I think of who I am today. I compare. What once was, what never became, and now what is.

I hold a navy blue dress before me, remembering my 18th birthday when I first wore it. I was thin, I was tanned, my hair was long and my smile was wide. I looked healthy and happy. I look at myself now. I’m still me. The navy blue dress will still hug me in all the right places, but I would never wear it again. I have let go of the essence it held. I am not the 18-year-old version of myself who would wear this and rock it. I am the 21-year-old who looks at the memories the dress holds, happy  they happened, but glad they are over. In a sense, the dress is a small factor, a minor contributor in the shift that makes me an evolving human being. If I wore that dress now, regardless of how it fits me, I would look like an idiot. Maybe not to anyone else, but the mirror tells me it’s not an option. I’m a different version of myself three years later, and it’s time the dress gets posted on UOW Students Buy and Sell. $25. Time to go buy a book.

One would assume that in the modern days of consumerism, when we’re constantly replacing the old with the new, that nostalgia has escaped us. But no, it has found new and innovative ways to creep into our lives. Hugging onto your stuffed walrus Mookie might transport you back to a simpler time, and you thank nostalgia for being a gracious old friend. But you forgot about nostalgia’s backstabbing side. Thankfully, Facebook has reminded us. Each day, nostalgia knocks on your door with a simple notification.  “On this day, seven years ago, you wrote a status that could diminish your entire social life. If you decide you want to do this, please click the ‘share’ button, if you’re happy and you like yourself, please keep scrolling as if 2009 never happened.” Thank you Facebook, but most importantly, thank you nostalgia, for reminding me that if I met my 15 year-old self, I’d flick her gently on the nose and tell her to take a hike.

 

BARBIE WITHOUT HER INTERNET.

So for this week, I’ve been asked to go back and have another little chat with my grandmother, Barbie, about her household’s access to the internet. I might as well save you some time– it’s limited. And by limited I mean, non-existent.

There was a time, back when my Grandfather was still kicking, that my grandparents had a fairly beaten down old laptop– which is now sitting, unused, in my mother’s wardrobe. Because when my Grandfather finally decided he could no longer successfully use this piece of machinery, it was passed on to my brothers and I to fight over. He used this laptop for things like emails and checking the weather, nothing too special. I don’t really think Barbie had much to do with it at all, I think she was quite fond of the fact that the computer was his and she didn’t have to deal with it.

So when the laptop was passed down to us, and then years later my Grandfather passed away, Barbie has had absolutely no access to the internet– and I think she quite likes this. She occupies one of our old iPhones, “it’s really only for emergencies. I barely know how to use it– you know that!” She is strictly a TV, reading or games person. Obviously she has some involvement with the internet, if my mother or I, or any of her other grandchildren, decide to show her something. She’s quite fascinated with the use of our smartphones and the things we’re able to achieve on these tablets, but it’s just not for her. She really has no need to use the internet, and I think it makes her life that bit more simple. To be honest, I’m a little jealous.

Gregg (2010, p. 156) paints a picture of “the nuclear family” and their individual interaction with a screen. This reminds me of my family, and not so much now, but in the early 2000’s. My dad is a chief technician officer for an investment company. He develops software and can write code; he’s got the whole computer thing down pat. Whether he likes it or not. When I was between the ages of 9-12, whilst living in the US, my family had 5 televisions and 6 computers operating in our household. My oldest brothers were ages 16-18 and barely around the house at all. Our family, although quite close, felt very distant because of our individual interactions with the many different screens in our house. I often brought the family laptop in my room, where I talked to friends for hours on AIM and watched a movie on my own TV. My parents have reflected recently, that buying my brother and I televisions for our own room was probably a huge mistake. It made us anti-social. It wasn’t until we moved to Australia, into a small townhouse, with only one computer and TV-sitting area, that my family was forced interact and rekindle our close bond.

It’s not so much the same these days. We’re older, we all live separately and we all have our own computers. My brother and I have recently changed our internet over to NBN, something I was very excited about because I felt enraged at how slowly my internet was streaming an episode of Friends. And you know what? NBN sucks. It’s no different, at least not right now. I’ve heard people across town saying that all of Gerringong’s internet is playing up, and then I heard on Triple J, them discussing how shocking all of Australia’s internet is at the moment. Gregg talks about the switch to high-speed internet access, but I got to be honest, I’ve yet to seen it in action.

I really don’t care too much though. Like I said, I’d rather be in Barbie’s shoes. Internet free. Doesn’t that sound calming, pleasant? I think so.

 

REFERENCE LIST:

Gregg, M 2010, Available in Selected Metros Only Rural Melancholy and the Promise of Online Connectivity, Cultural Studies Review, 16(1), pp.155-169.

 

THE FAIRY AND THE LUMBERJACK.

tumblr_no7c7fqo6r1qczwklo1_500Sitting atop the white fluffy mound, she plucked a chunk from the mushroom, indulging in a rich and satisfying meal. Transparent, rose tinted wings glitter from the crisp blades of her shoulders. She applies powder to her cheeks, giggling sweetly. Waving and blowing kisses to a nearby cluster of squirrels—she sighs in their direction. ‘What’s the matter?’ one of them asks, to which her plight hand points north. A human, his back the width of nearby oaks, stands grounded. One hand gripping tightly around the handle of a saw, his other rummaging through a forest of facial hair. The squirrel nods sympathetically and the dear fairy, the size of the lumberjack’s palm, flees through the air, landing gently on his shoulder. Humming a silent lullaby into his ear, he drops to the floor, numbed with sleep; her delicate lips planting seals of love across every inch of his face.

WHY I’M SO NOSY.

Hello fellow BCM210 students and teachers. You’ve asked me to write about how I connect curiosity to learning. For me, it’s not really one specific event that helps me understand this connection, but rather the way I have made my way through life.

As the youngest girl of four, with three elder brothers, I have always been curious– although that’s not what my brothers and parents refer to it as, I think they prefer the word “nosy”. Not only did I live my life constantly asking questions about everything, but I liked to sit back and listen. If my parents hosted or attended a dinner party, and kids were involved, I didn’t always play with the other kids. I sat happily next to my mother or father and listened in on the adults’ conversations. I took note of the way they reacted to things happening in their lives, their social conduct, the things they found funny and the things they did not. It’s not only until now that I understand where a lot of my social knowledge has come from. I remember taking in things just as they were- I questioned things, in my head but also aloud to my parents in the privacy of our own home. But, I always tried to understand and accept the truism of everything presented to me.

I’ve always loved to read. Whether it was books or magazines around the house, if I was bored, I read, and I learned. I remember coming across an old magazine of my mother’s and there was feature article about a young trans girl who underwent a sex-change and who was now happily engaged as a man, to another woman. In the interview, he talked about how he never felt like a little girl, even as a six year old. He always felt like he didn’t belong in his own skin. At the age of 9, I accepted that. I understood that he couldn’t help the way he had felt, and that it was a battle for him to try and accept who he was and make a change in order to be happy. I thought he was brave. As I got older and saw all the negativity towards homosexuals and trans people, I was confused. How could people not understand that you cannot control the way you feel? Brains are curious things. Everybody’s works in a different way. We like to eat different things, different colours are pleasing to different people.

I’ve always been curious about these differences in people and wanted to learn more. I like trying to understand human behaviour and the things we do to try and understand the world. Acceptance is a large part of it, but so is asking questions. Trying to understand  is the process of learning, and being curious is the step that brings us there.

MATILDA

Paw perched pensively on my nose
She’ll be home soon, enriched by a bitter scold
“You better not have touched any of those!”
Eyes will droop in her direction, perplexed by anger
Why must I always do as I am told?

The room misshapen
Through my colour-lacking goggles
Ones that I cannot remove, for this is my vision
Her voice will puncture the quiet,
Anger and irritation
“You better not have touched any of those!”
Her voice a scold
Why must I always do as I am told?
“Get down from there!” she yells
My ears no longer filled with static
She looks unhappy, her eyes well
Why does she always scold?
Why must I always do as I am told?

Her eyes locked with mine, stinging and bold
My body lifts and lowers,
I must do what I am told
I leave my coat behind on the couch,
With no remorse for my mistress the grouch.

A poem I wrote for a class, this is draft number 2.

IF IT’S OUT OF ORDER, THEN THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR.

The media is a vast realm in which so many different platforms of presentation take hold. Videos, images, text, or a combination of all of these. The one thing they all seem to have in common; is a beginning, a middle and thus, an ending. What happens when you mix the chronological order of events? The message changes.

Perhaps the best example of this is Quentin Tarantino’s film, Pulp Fiction.

While the plot definitely contains significant events, it’s fair to say that the appeal would not be nearly as evident without the non-linear sequence.
As viewers, our interest is held purely because of our confusion, “How come Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta are both wearing ridiculous t-shirts, when just moments ago they were clad in their best suits?” or more importantly, “Why is John Travolta alive?”
Questions like these, alongside the mix up of characters spread across the story line, it’s the kind of movie you want to re-watch over and over again, until you get it just right.

Here is a prezi presentation that I put together to outline the basic chronological order of events in Pulp Fiction. Based on this fairly boring presentation, you will see how the overall message of the film has been altered. The message that Tarantino originally wanted within his non-linear sequence, no longer exists.

http://prezi.com/wtdaxfl7zbid/present/?auth_key=07gtn89&follow=fklixuak764s