Global culture and ethical design
Notes from the lecture
The Global Village
• Shared common destiny: health, environmental & sustainability issues?
• Cultural exchange & hybridity: mix of the local/indigenous culture with global influences.
• Cultural imperialism:the disproportionate effect of one culture over another.
• The post-traditional community:economic and technological impact on community relations.
Choose one of the following;
• Analyse one of the written extracts (see Learning Materials folder)
Naomi Klein- No Logo
Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’ was published in a never seen before phase of globalisation, in which brands such as McDonald’s, Nike, Shell, Starbucks, Disney, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Microsoft could ignore workers’ rights, local laws and civic opposition in order to produce more profits and use the majority of income to fund ads and sponsor athletes/celebrities for endorsement. Rather than selling a product these corporations are selling an idea, a life style and the brand itself. Rather than buying the product for its quality, consumers now buy into the brand for how it makes them appear.
In chapter 9, ‘The disregarded factory’ Klein talks about how many companies bypass production completely, no longer sourcing employees from the UK and closing existing factories, choosing instead to contracted out, offshore manufacturing, usually in Free Trade zones such as Indonesia, China, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines etc. As well as this company’s purposefully hide the location of their production operation, in order to hide the unfair mistreatment of their factory workers and the conditions in which they are forced to work in, not to mention their lack of a fair wage.
It’s shameful to think that in the 20 years since ‘No Logos’ publication things haven’t gotten better when it comes to big brands, their exploitation of garment workers still clear to see and the lack of accountability for their actions a clear warning for the consumer. Although their is progress in some areas it is slow in making things better for people and the environment, the only saving grace is that with today’s social media, information is much more accessible and there is a push in areas such a sustainable fashion, supporting small business and shopping locally.
Gender identity and Representation
Notes from the lecture
In this lecture we have begun to delve deeper into the understanding of gender, how it is represented in media and the change in gender roles over time. It is important to understand, when discussing gender, that: someone's 'sex' refers to the characteristics that are biologically defined, whereas someone's 'gender' is based on socially constructed features. It is widely recognise that there are variations in how people experience gender based upon self-perception and expression. Non-binary refers to a spectrum of identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine, and the term Transgender or trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth.
Laura Mulvey Reading
Conduct a review of Laura Mulvey’s essay – Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema. Key points?
If you can point to the critical 'framework' that she uses, pull out some of her key arguments (and limitations) then you are doing well.
Laura Mulvey - My review
Within this essay Laura Mulvey discusses women's role in 'Hollywood cinema', it is important to note that at the time of writing, there were no female directors and the majority of people on a film crew were male, as well as the target audience being men - it was a very patriarchal time.
Mulvey begins her essay by discussing 'The paradox of Phallocentricism', this is the ideology that the male sex organ is the central element of the social world and a symbol of male dominance. I think one of Mulvey's limitations in this piece is referring to 'the castrated woman' as this links to Freuds opinion that women are envious of the male sex organ and wish they had one. However, the actual word 'phallocentricism' was coined by the welsh psychoanalyst Alfred Ernest Jones, who even though a friend of Freud, disagreed with his theory and argued that his belief of women being envious of the male sex organ revealed more about Frued's 'penis based paranoia' than it did about women's so called 'penis envy'.
However, it can be inferred from Mulvey's writing that because a woman lacks a penis she must make up for the fact and spend her whole life being an object for men to project their fantasises on to. This is where the 'male gaze' comes in, in film the male gaze occurs when the audience 'sees a woman' from the perspective of the heterosexual male. The camera will purposefully zoom in on the curves of a woman's body, breaking it up into segments and the scene will be set in slow motion. This is to emphasize that she is only the sum of her sexualized parts. Furthering the dehumanization of women, denying them individual identity and relegating them to the status of objects to be admired only for their physical appearance. Although the woman's appearance in film is vital, she has no real importance, her only addition to the story line is how she makes a man act or feel. Mulvey argues, that this behaviour, presented through film, encourages women to objectify other women through the eyes of a male. This links to the quote from John Berger's 'Ways of seeing', "Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The Surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed is female. Thus she turns herself into an object of vision: a sight." The males gaze theory links to the hegemonic ideology, which is a political or social dominance within our society and therefore, for a woman to survive in that kind of society she finds herself taking on (consciously or unconsciously) the role of the object.
Mulvey also explores scopophilia, which is the “pleasure in looking”. This is when the audience sit in a room and observes the people on the screen who are unaware that they are being watched, for pleasure. This gives the spectator the power to 'directly possess' the female character, as she falls in love with the main male protagonist, she becomes his property and through scopophilia the property of the audience too.
Overall, Laura Mulvey’s theory explores women’s rights and how the female body is represented through the media, which refers to the ways the audience view the characters on the screen. Although I hope we have come a long way since the time of Mulvey's writing there is still evidence of the male gaze being used in film to this day and there is still a lack of female directors, writers and producers and behind the camera roles. Even powerful females characters are more likely to be objectified compared to their male counterparts. The article below includes facts and figures about the objectification of women in movies today, it also talks about society becoming so desensitized to the male gaze that we don't even realize were seeing it as it is so ingrained in our viewing experience, as well as the advertising used to promote it.
The Male Gaze Still Dominates In Movies Around The World, New Study Shows | HuffPost UK (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
Subculture and style
In this weeks lecture we have been learning about subcultures and their influence on fashion.
Dick Hebdige Reading
• Define what a subculture is - using at least one academic source.
• Post visual examples of cultural capital (fashion, graphics … etc) for a subculture of your choice.
Definition of a Subculture
Dick Hebdige states in 'Subculture: The Meaning of Style' (1979), "Subcultures represent 'noise' (as apposed to sound: interference in the orderly sequence from which leads from real events and phenomena to their representations in the media." Hebdige discusses the idea of subcultures as cultural "noise," which conveys interference with mass culture. This 'noise' suggests an obstacle which the dominant culture has failed to acknowledge, causing a significant cultural discourse. Therefore, subcultures are a break from the mainstream a way to go against the grain, often offending or unsettling those outside the group. However, those individuals who 'don't fit in' acquire a subcultural membership, giving them the opportunity to experiment with style, music and dispute gender norms.
Hippies were one of the most powerful countercultures of the 20th Century. They started in the mid- 1960s in the Unites States as a youth subculture characterized by free love, utopian socialism, sexual revolution and psychedelic art and music. The movement peaked in the 1969 Summer of Love and subsided by the mid 70s. They were strongly against the Vietnam war and often took psychedelic drugs like LSD and mushrooms.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.