The Big Issue : Edition 483
THEBIGISSUE1–14MAY2015 43 not all of the sites have such horrifying articles as featured in Femail, most have one subject bar for news and then many subject bars for things like ‘parenting’, ‘beauty’ and ‘food’. These override any real discussion of politics or current affairs because, let’s be honest, in the words of Malibu Stacy from The Simpsons: thinking gives you wrinkles. But, seriously, Mia Freedman said she started Mamamia because she wasn’t seeing the issues she cared about represented in the mainstream news. Personally, I care more about the nuclear talks in Iran than nail polish or babies. But I do see her point. Mainstream news is man news, and women have felt the need to find somewhere else to talk about the issues that are important to them. The more credible women’s news sites do include important discussions about things like domestic violence and WHY DO SO many famous women have such monster feet? The question has plagued many for years, nay, decades. Thankfully, Femail, the women’s branch of news website The Daily Mail, has an exposé on the issue. The website contains many other articles on important female issues, such as ‘Is your mobile phone ruining your looks? It’s called tech neck’. Understanding the importance of reinforcing stereotypes and segregating women in a neat, pink- hued forum has become very popular lately, with the launch of News Corp’s RendezView (including the article: ‘Does feminism mean a man can’t pay for a first date? Hell no’) and Ninemsn’s Honey. Women’s news websites are not new. Mamamia and Fairfax’s Daily Life have been around for some time. And while reproductive rights, which is great. But by being segregated from mainstream news sites, these issues are not being talked about by a huge chunk (read: half) of the population. Issues that are important to women can be discussed in the mainstream news. The Guardian regularly runs articles about pressing female issues, right on the main page. They also have ‘fashion’ and ‘lifestyle’ tabs – if that’s what you’re into – on a site that men visit. ABC online recently featured an incredible 7.30 report on the number of women killed by violence in Australia, and it wasn’t even relegated to ‘ABC Pink’. By creating these websites, women are being sidelined so men can carry on with their important business in peace. If we want women engaged in the news, and if we want men to be talking about issues that are important to all of us, we don’t need more pink tabs; we need a voice in the mainstream media. by Katherine Smyrk (@ksmyrk) accessing the top-down, centralised news sources of the past. We don’t wait for the newspaper in the morning. Not just because the news cycle lasts for 24 hours, but because we don’t have to trust one source. We have choices. Media organisations and governments are no longer the only news sources curating the information from which we furnish our opinions. In this environment, if the Australian government decided to pay for and produce a dramatic telemovie encouraging us to behave in a certain way, it would be subjected to criticism, ridicule and the spawning of numerous hashtags. At the very least, we’d be able to see who made it by watching the credits, and we’d temper our response to the film with that in mind. Interestingly, the Australian government is funding the production of a telemovie of this kind. This one’s THE WORD ‘PROPAGANDA’ is so old fashioned and theatrical – a relic from a time when Goebbels was the Nazi Minister of Propaganda and they didn’t even think it might be a nice idea to tweak that title and run with something a little less obvious. It’s shocking to see old footage from that era, not to mention the glimpses we get of North Korea’s manufactured and completely hysterical crowd scenes. Comparing these extremes to anything produced in Australia is surely simplistic and over-the-top. Propaganda is information used in a way that promotes a political perspective. It’s usually biased or misleading. At the very least, it is not transparent. It has not been subjected to the scrutiny that one would expect in a society that respects freedom of the press. The way most people in Western cultures use media these days is not by MEDIA TELEVISION YOUR TELEVISION IS A WEAPON THE INTERNET GENDER AGENDA designed for overseas broadcast – to discourage asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan from seeking asylum in Australia. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection told the ABC that “television soap operas and telemovies are proven media to reach the target audience when seeking to deliver complex messages”. One of the show’s Sydney-based producers has been quoted referring to her work on previous projects (projects that, presumably, qualified her to produce this one) as that of a ‘propaganda merchant’. This seems, on face value, to be very close to the definition of propaganda. The Department is refusing to clarify whether the involvement of the Australian government will be obvious to audiences. That also seems strange. What have they got to hide? by Lorin Clarke (@lorinimus) AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO DETER ASYLUM-SEEKERS?