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News Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Prince Harry hits back at media over treatment of Meghan Markle.

I’m not a monarchist per se. However, I have been quite disgusted at the treatment of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

From the start, the – now Duchess’ life has been a media circus, especially with reports of her estranged father and half – sister.

Then, earlier this year, the Duchess of Sussex was slammed for “diva” behaviour at a Wimbledon tennis match. She sparked outrage when photos circulated the media surrounded by empty seats.

The only criticism I do get is the private jet/ climate change controversy. Last month Prince Harry and Meghan went to a Google – hosted climate change summit and then flew in eleven private jets while on holiday. That did make the climate change cause look like class warfare rather than actually preserving the planet.

Prince Harry vs. Dailymail UK

Daily Mail web page on tablet screen
Image: iStock

Things have boiled over between the royals and the media. The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry have decided to sue DMG Media, owners of DailyMail and MailOnline.

Last Sunday, the Duke and Duchess threatened to sue Daily Mail/ Mail Online parent company, DMG Media. The company is accused of breaching copyright after using a handwritten letter addressed to Markle’s father , Thomas Markle. The claim is DMG Media deliberately took passages of the letter without permission.

A spokesman for DMG media vehemently denies the accusations.

Markle, the media and Princess Diana

This is deeply personal for Prince Harry. He has linked the treatment his wife to that of his late mother, Princess Diana.

I lost my mother and now, I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

He has expressed fears that history was repeating itself.

The media and Princess Diana’s death

I was only a eight when Princess Diana died in 1997. Back then, I wasn’t aware of the aftermath.

However, I have come to know about some of the fall out that the royal family and media faced. Since Prince William got married to Princess Catherine, the royal family has been quite protective of her.

The Duchess of Cambridge has hit back at tabloids. In 2017, she successfully sued French tabloid, Closer over topless photos taken of her. She was awarded €100,000 (A$162,163.03). The magazine editor and publisher were fined another €45,000 (A$72,972).

Yes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are royals and public figures. But I think that the media need to be careful and not allow history to repeat itself.

Everyone has got to remember that Prince Harry is now a dad

The timing of Prince Harry’s attack on the media isn’t really surprising. He’s a father to four-month- old, Archie. So much more is at stake for him now. I’m sure parents everywhere can relate to the intense desire to protect their children and their spouses/ partners. Surely journalists and tabloid photographers understand that, too.

Update

According to the ABC, Harry is also going after the owner of the Sun and Daily Mail over alleged phone hacking. Some in British media have lamented that Prince Harry has declared ‘war’ on the media.

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News Opinion/Commentary

Leave Greta Thunberg alone!

On the 1976 album, Alice Goes to Hell, Alice Cooper made a plea: Give the kid a break.

Alice Cooper: Alice goes to hell CD
The title of the sixth song summarises the Greta Thunberg quite well: Give the kid a break!

This summarises how I feel about the treatment of sixteen – year – old Swedish climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.

She gained global attention last year when she did a protest outside her school.

This year, Thunberg initiated the Climate Strike, which saw students from around the world leaving school in order to protest and pressure governments to take action.

Since then, Thunberg has been has been deemed a prophet for some and a ‘brat’ by others.

I have had so many issues surrounding how Thunberg has been treated. Here are a few issues.

Analysis on Thunberg’s mental health

Greta Thunberg’s mental health has been a discussion in the media by both her admirers and critics.

Thunberg has been open about her struggles with depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and mutism. Her mother, former opera singer, Malena Ernman wrote autobiography, Scenes from the Heart where she wrote about Greta’s mental health struggles, including an eating disorder. This was allegedly caused by worry about the state of climate change.

Now, if Greta herself wants to be open about this then, fine. But this has repeatedly been used against Greta ever since.

Being used as a martyr

I get why people are concerned about Thunberg being used as a ‘prophetess’ to the world. She has really been thrown out to the sharks, so to speak.

Some people think this has been quite a deliberate and cynical move by the United Nations and climate change activists. Who would pick on a sixteen- year- old and challenge what she’s saying?

The fact that Thunberg is a child and her mental health hasn’t stop her critics. Or bullies.

Abuse

This is where things get sickening. On the one hand, Thunberg has been infantalised by her critics. On the other hand, she has been repeatedly abused by others.

Much of this has not been called out or condemned. That is despicable, especially from those who repeatedly call for her protection.

Sixteen can be a vulnerable age for anybody. You are still working out who you are, who your friends are, etc.

I am outraged at the abuse Thunberg has received by those in the media. If people are that concerned about Thunberg’s well – being, more of them would be willing t9 condemn her high profile bullies. Where s Andrew Bolt’s outrage over Fox News’ Michael Knowles’ comments. Where is the outrage for former football player, Sam Newman who called her a “brat” and “sh*t” on Twitter? Or outrage at people saying she needs to be slapped? That would be terrifying to someone with a history of severe anxiety and depression, don’t you think?

 

Everyone needs to get off Greta Thunberg’s back. She is a passionate teenager. And she is entitled to those passions. However, she shouldn’t be a martyr by climate change activists, nor be infantalised by critics.  Just leave her alone!

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Opinion/Commentary

‘The Final Quarter’ sparks racism debate again

2016 and 2017 was plagued by same – sex marriage debate and LGBTQ+ rights. 2019 is about Indigenous Australians; their symbols, (i.e. whether people should be able to climb Uluru), whether Aboriginal people should be mentioned in the Australian Constitution as the ‘First Australians’ and whether there should be an extra body for Indigenous people in the Australian parliament.

Now, the Adam Goodes controversy has been revisited.

The Final Quarter caused a stir,  even  before premiering on free – to – air TV last Thursday.

It is about former Sydney Swans star, Adam Goodes. A media storm erupted after Goodes called out a thirteen – year – old female Collingwood supporter who called him an ape. Unfortunately, this caused a backlash against Goodes that lasted two seasons.

AFL embroiled in race debate

After calling out the thirteen – year – old, Goodes did a press conference, which only added fuel to a raging fire.

I don’t think Goodes saying “racism has a face” was a smart choice. It’s been used against him ever since. However, Goodes did everyone to back off because she was only a kid. He didn’t want her to be charged or harassed.

I’ve also heard that Goodes wasn’t behind the move for police to interview the teenager. Was that an overreaction from the AFL itself?

Australia Day controversy

Goodes became Australian of the Year in 2014. While it seemed like an uplifting move; an Indigenous man receiving one of Australia’s most celebrated awards, it quickly added tension and division. Goodes used his platform to raise contentious issues, such as the ‘Recognise‘ campaign and condemning alleged atrocities committed by early British settlers.

 

The role of the media

A number of commentators and journalists did, and continue to defend Adam Goodes and condemn the spectators and his critics.

Others pointed fingers at  Goodes. Whilst calling the constant booing  of Goodes “bullying“, Newscorp columnist and TV presenter, Andrew Bolt has repeatedly criticised Goodes for his “over reaction” over being called an ape.

Bolt has suggested that Goodes admit he was wrong and he may have got critics’ respect again.

He, along with other commentators, have repeatedly criticised Goodes’ press conference in the aftermath of being called an “ape”. (the video I posted above).

Frankly, I hate how Goodes’ critics pick out the unfortunate statement “racism has a face”, while often ignoring Goodes’s defence of the girl. Herald Sun’s and Sky News Australia’s Rita Panahi did that only last week on Outsiders. (To his credit, Bolt has put the comment in context).

My verdict on ‘The Final Quarter’

Yes, it was largely biased. It was obviously told from the perspectives of Adam Goodes and his defenders.

It paints an unfortunate picture of what went down. I believe that Adam Goodes was bullied and that the whole saga got out of hand. It should have never got that bad.

It showed how the media often inflamed the situation. Did Goodes always do or say the right thing? Probably not. That’s not an excuse for repeatedly taking his words out of context, even six years later. Nothing can excuse for bad behaviour against Goodes (surprisingly, some of the spectators agree and have apologised).

Believe it or not, I think there is an upside to the whole Adam Goodes saga. It gave Indigenous people courage to voice their own experiences of racism. I remember being almost emotional when  former Labor president, Warren Mundine AO admitted the psychological toll racial abuse had on him.

Actress, Miranda Tapsell also spoke up about racism.

 

I think The Final Quarter, like Adam Goodes himself, hit a raw nerve for many people. Let’s hope we can find a way to move past it.

If this post has raised any issues, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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News Opinion/Commentary

New Zealand mosque shooting: the focus is all wrong

Image: iStock

 

The massacre of at least fifty people at the two mosques in Christchurch last Friday left many in horror and shock.

Less than a week later, the focus has been less on the victims and of who’s right and who’s wrong. Pot shots have started thrown and now it’s become left vs conservative and media outlet vs media outlet. And Prime Minister vs. commentator.

 

Now, I actually thought some of the initial reporting and commentary was good. I liked the universal condemnation of the gunman (who I won’t ever name on here). I liked how Andrew Bolt condemned the mastermind as a “sick bastard” and the massacre as “ghastly”. He also criticised Independent Senator Fraser Anning’s response to it.

Everyone in their right mind was saddened and repulsed over what happened. But now, the victims, their families and the rescuers are in the back of the minds of commentators. Less than a week later, culture wars and partisan politics have taken centre stage.

 

Culture wars ramp up

Since I started writing this I have seen so many more examples of this. No more are commentators (on either the Left or conservative) focusing on the fifty victims who perished and the families and communities that have been shattered.

Just days after the massacre, I was reading an editorial from The Guardian attacking politicians and columnists including Andrew Bolt for their rhetoric that they accuse of fanning flames. I have seen editorial pieces, blog posts and TV clips of columnists, panellists and politicians sniping at each other and trying to pin blame.

 

Sunrise received backlash after heated exchange over the Christchurch attack

Seven’s Sunrise received backlash after One Nation’s Pauline Hanson was ambushed by host, David Koch and Justice Party Senator, Derryn Hinch. They accused her of flaming the hatred that led to the attack. A change.org petition has called for Koch’s sacking. It currently has over 116,000 signatures.

I’m not always a fan of Senator Pauline Hanson, but what happened to her on Sunrise was unfair. And, like all the other bickering and finger pointing, the victims are pushed aside. Fifty people were murdered. That means there are roughly fifty families that have lost mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc. People have lost their friends and colleagues. That was what was taken away that day. And also remember that one of the victims was Mucaad Ibrahim, who was only three.

Can we change the narrative around terrorist attacks?

Every terrorist attack in the West, regardless of victims or perpetrators have the same affect. The media reports and comments on the attacks ad nauseum, then the culture wars begin. The blame begins. No wonder why Janine Perett said on Paul Murray Live (I think) that some New Zealanders have expressed anger over how the Australian media has covered the massacre.

 

Every terrorist attack is evil. None can ever be justified. That’s the message we should get across. What the mosque shooters in New Zealand did was as equally apalling as any Islamist attack. Too many lives have been lost or changed forever because of them. Victims should get everyone’s condolescences and support and not have their tragedy used for political scores, by politicians or journalists.

 

 

 

 

 

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Opinion/Commentary

Violence towards principals shows an attitude overhaul is needed

Principal at desk with pen and paper
Image: iStock

Last Wednesday, the ABC reported a frightening spike of attacks on principals. Australian Catholic University revealed through their annual Australia Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing survey that 45% had experienced threats from parents and students. 37% claimed that they had been physically attacked. These figures from last year were higher than 2011 – 2017.

This is clearly unacceptable. No, that’s not strong enough. It’s appalling. And I don’t doubt that school teachers are receivers of abuse, too, probably at a similar rate. So, what is going on?

 

 

Discipline

Let me say from the outset that I don’t propose bringing back corporal punishment in schools. It was banned for a reason, probably the risk of teachers going overboard.  But principals have slowly begun to lose powers to expel or suspend disruptive or dangerous students.

Last year, the Victorian government introduced a process that allowed principals to plead their case on why a student should be expelled. This move was slammed as, yet more red tape.

 

Physical discipline is another issue. I’m not talking about corporal punishment, but rather, using physycality as a restraint. Earlier this year, principal of Manor Lakes P – 12 College, Steve Warner, was suspended after footage showed him dragging a nine – year student by the arm across the playground. To their credit, other staff defended Mr. Warner, arguing that he was trying to prevent the student from attacking a pregnant teacher. (The sister of the nine year – old deny that he hit or kicked anyone and said that he suffered anxiety and ADHD).

Will the fear of controversy prevent principals or teachers intervening in the future? Only time will tell. I could understand why they wouldn’t want to risk it.

Undermined at every turn

When I was growing up, I often heard how past generations were expected to respect authority, including teachers. Disrespect was not toledated.

It’s not only students that seem to have lost respect. As the ABC article pointed out, parents have, too. Also, the media has a lot to answer for. How many times have you heard commentators smearing teachers as ‘socialists’ and accusations of them ‘indoctrinating’ children as if they are some sort of sociopathic cult leaders?

 

Teachers are also expected to perform magic; keep on top of paper work and red tape, and make sure students in years Three, Five, Seven and Nine all top the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

 

Anti – bullying is another losing battle. I get that bullying rates shouldn’t be exaggerated, but they shouldn’t be ignored, either. Teachers doing their best to address bullying should be applauded. Teachers should not have been painted as predators when Safe Schools was implemented across multiple schools. Could people offer a different perspective? Sure. But teachers who want to support LGBTQ+ youth should not be unjustly smeared.

 

I’m not saying teachers are perfect. I’m not saying that improvements can’t be made to the education system. But I can’t see how we can expect students get the best results when teachers and principals are abused and their efforts denigrated by societty. We, or rather the next generations, will reap the results.

 

 

Categories
Media

Gillette ad controversy: is the media and social media trustworthy?

U.S. razor company, Gillette, caused a furore last month for their viral ad ‘The Best Men Can Be’.

If social and traditional media was anything to go by, this was an outrage. They were attacking boys and men — their primary consumers. This was #MeToo on steroids.

Hashtag #boycottgillette trended on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/socalsnowbrdr/status/1095811379741642752?s=21


 

So you’d assume that the ‘anti masculinity’ campaign would destroy Gillette. Well, no. Apparently, the campaign was actually positive.

Many U.S. consumers applauded the campaign

According to Upworthy, two studies showed that most consumers looked favourably on the campaign.

Data collected by Morning Consult found that more consumers believed that Gillette shared their values than before the campaign (42% before, 71% after). 65%of study respondents said they were more likely to buy Gilette products since the campaign.

Over four fifths (84%) of women and more than three quarters (77%) of men were either in favour or felt neutral towards the campaign. Data from Ace Metrics produced similar results.

Is the media and social media out of touch?

I am always careful when it comes to studies, especially on social issues. Too often, so – called ‘studies’ are conducted purely to confirm one’s own biases.

I don’t know the sample size of the Morning Consult study. I am also not familiar with Ace Metrics.

But, lets assume for a moment that both sets of data are a fair representation of Americans’ overall attitudes toward Gillette.That means traditional and social media did not represent mainstream public opinion. And maybe it’s not the only time.

Traditional media still a major source of news for the public

I’ve heard that U.S cable networks such as CNN and Fox are losing loyalty among the public. Meanwhile, independent news sources, including YouTube channels are rising in popularity.

Australians, too,  seem to also have little faith in the media.

A Roy Morgan study showed that journalists are generally not trusted by the public. Inaccuracies left uncorrected and biases were two major criticisms. Out of radio, TV and print news, most people surveyed, (66% for national news, 56% for world news) gained their news from TV. Print media gained the most negative responses.

Social media also deemed untrustworthy

While traditional media has its critics, social media hasn’t faired well, either. 2018 saw a backlash against social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Reuters Institute, Digital News Report found that social media was facing a worldwide decline in both popularity and trust, with the U.S. leading the charge. News item were also not shared on social media as frequently as it used to

Apps such as WhatsApp and email news services are rising in popularity. However, many reported being annoyed at being bombarded with emails and notifications.

Personally, I’ve gotten increasingly annoyed by the number of statuses and ‘news’ articles that turned out to be hoaxes or just untrue. It’s made me cynical about sharing anything and now I mostly ignore a lot of articles I see posted.

I’ve also found that so much on Facebook is heavily biased, often veering to one extreme on the political/ ideological spectrum. People are often hard Left or hard conservative, with very few willing to look at multiple sides to an issue. Look, people can publish what they want. I’d just advise viewers to be wary of articles that are posted. If you read it, Google it and see if the article is factual. Many times, they aren’t.

 

Social and traditional media have issues with trust. To mainstream journalists, no offence, but pull your head in. Your viewers/ readers/ listeners deserve the truth, not just political propaganda.

What did you think of the Gillette ad and do you have any news outlets you particularly like? Let me know in the comments

 

 

 

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Asexual Awareness Week: Is asexual awareness still needed?

Asexuality flag in shape of heart
Image: iSock

In June 2013, I started my blogging journey with Asexuality In A Sexual World. In it, I explored what it meant to be asexual and attitudes towards asexuality, particularly in the media.

While it’s not the first time asexuality was talked or written about (the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network started up in 2001), it was still a fairly new in the mainstream. The media just started to talk about and interview people who were asexual, like Jo Qualmann. Some attitudes towards were just plain wrong, presumptuous and, frankly, quite narky. (I remember exploding on my blog after the segment on The Project).

 

Five years later, I feel asexuality has become more visible in the mainstream. More media outlets are doing interviews and publishing articles on asexuality and how it affects individuals. Just recently, women’s site, SheSaid published an article about a woman who identified as asexual and how it affected her religious upbringing and her marriage.

I think that’s something that has changed over the last five years; more media outlets are hearing from non – aromantic asexual people and the complexities that often arises. In the beginning, very few media outlets explored how asexuality affected romantic relationships.

 

I’ve also noticed that there are many LGBTQ+ spaces, at least online, are becoming more inclusive and welcoming to asexual/ ace – spec people. When I first started learning and writing about asexuality, I realised that there was a disconnect, even a bit of hostility between LGBTQ+ groups and asexual people. I remember doing a post in my first blog asking people’s opinion about asexual people being apart of the LGBTQ+ community, and I got somw comments from people not feeling like a part of the LGBTQ community (unless they were allies). Now, the acronym itself has often being extended to include asexual people; (LGBTQIA+).

Where to from here? 

I’m amazed and pleased at how asexuality visibility has come since 2013. However, there are two areas where I think there can be improvement: entertainment and education.

Needless to say, there is a lack of mainstream shows and movies that have asexual characters or where sexual/ romantic relationships aren’t at the forefront. Last year, Netflix’s Riverdale, let asexual fans down when Jughead came out as asexual, only to enter a straight relationship. A similar thing happened on Neighbours  earlier this year, when Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor) suggested that Jack (Andrew Morley) was asexual when he was resisting Paige Smith (Olympia Valance). Paige an$ Jack were mutually attracted to each other. Asexuality hasn’t been mentioned, let alone explored, since.

A more important area where I think asexuality has been absent is education, especially in Personal Development Health and Physical Education (PDHPE). Asexuality, or romantic orientation or relationships without sex was never spoken about when I was at school. The program, Safe Schools did have resources that mentioned asexuality and did distinguish romantic and sexual orientation, but, due to political controversies, the program has been scrapped by most of the States and Territories and the Federal Government has ended its fundin* of the program. I doubt whether the Coalition or Labor will replace it with another LGBTQ+ support program or curriculum anytime soon.

I think asexual awareness has come a long way and there are many individuals; ace and non – ace that should be commended.

 

 

 

Question to asexual/ ace – spec readers: where do ypu think improvements can be made? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Categories
LGBTQ rights

The bigotry against the trans/ gender non – binary community should stop

 

Public toilet signs: female, male, disabled
Image: iStock

Bigotry against the trans/ gender non – binary community always gets under my skin and I feel like I have to respond.

The latest I’ve seen is a retweet from a journalist/ commentator that, frankly, I’m starting to lose respect for. Here is what the journalist/ commentator retweeted:

https://twitter.com/boodleoops/status/1053317526749396995

I read in another tweet that this ‘poll’ is extremely biased and is deliberately aimed at hard – line anti – trans conservatives, so it’s safe to assume that it isn’t representative of the population.

The problem with the question

The question of the ‘poll’ itself is problematic. “Should everyone who identifies as female have access to women – only spaces?”. The question conveys the idea that cis – men will simply identify as women to enter women’s spaces, including public toilets. A few years ago, conservative politicians and journalists spread paranoia about the safety of women and girls if transwomen used women’s facilities. In 2015, Vox pointed out  that there had been no reports of sexual misconduct by men pretending to be women in public toilets.  Mic Network also confirmed  this myth

Now, people are panicking that becoming transgender is a fashion. Transgender people don’t just ‘decide’ to become transgender out of the blue. According to the American Psychological Association, while people may experience their gender identity at various stages of life, many trans people know that they are ‘different’ from early childhood.

And let get this one thing clear: professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists don’t just throw hormones people willy nilly. Junkee wrote a really good article that  not only debunked the “gender whisperer’ hysteria stoked by the Daily Telegraph, but also called out and debunked the idea that transgender identity and hormonal and surgical treatment is done on a whim.

Dr. Elizabeth Riley, who was interviewed for the article, condemned how she was misrepresented. She claimed that her role was to help teachers identify children who may be trans, but also said that the process in identifying trans students is a lot more complicated than what the Daily Telegraph insinuated.

When talking about the diagnostic process in helping trans people she told Junkee: 

The parents will usually come and see me, and I’ll recommend that they go to Westmead Children’s Clinic and see a psychiatrist for a full diagnosis. And it’s only if the child is 100% [certain] and [their status is] clear that we even go down this path (gender reaffirming treatment).

(Emphasis mine).

So, the myth that parents are often left in the dark about a child’s transgender/ gender dysphoria status is debunked. So is the idea that people identify transgender willy nilly or because it’s ‘fashionable’.

The dark side of the trans and public spaces paranoia

I must admit, I’ve made the mistake of thinking the trans/ gender non – conforming community should step away from the public bathroom/ change room debate. Then I remember how dangerous this ‘debate’ has actually become, particularly in the US.

In August, Achille Public Schools were closed for two days after a twelve year – old trans girl was threatened with violence and mutilation via a Facebook group by a number of parents. This was sparked when they found out that she was given permission to use a female toilet. Where was the “protect the children” brigade? Anyone want to advocate for the safety of this TWELVE YEAR – OLD who was threatened with violence and MUTILATION? Anyone?

So, while there is NO evidence that cis – male perverts use women’s bathrooms to assault and harass young girls and women and yet a twelve – year old child has been dehumanised (some referred to her as a “thing”), threatened with physical violence and mutilation, people want to focus on the non – existent threat of male perverts accessing women’s spaces in order to harass women and young girls. (Before anyone screams at me that there are articles that suggest that men have gone to women’s bathrooms to harass women and girls, those cases have been debunked.

The role of the media

I am getting sick of columnists and presenters in the mainstream media misrepresenting LGBTQ+ issues. This is why I believe independent media is so important. I do applaud Junkee for putting the “gender whisperer’ hysteria to rest. I encourage more Australian independent outlets to the same and I encourage Australians to read articles from independent outlets to get other perspectives.

 

I want to emphasise some points (unfortunately, I feel I have to). Trans people don’t choose to be trans. It’s not a fashion. It’s not simple, either the cause or the diagnosis process. And… THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT MEN ARE ‘IDENTIFYING’ AS TRANSGENDER TO HARASS AND ASSAULT WOMEN AND GIRLS. The media needs to STOP spreading this.

Categories
Media

Magazine ‘Cosmopolitan Australia’ is stopping production at the end of year

Collage of fou4 issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Four issues of a revolution in women’s media about to come to an end

After forty – five years, Cosmopolitan Australia is set to close it’s doors. CEO of  Bauer Media, Paul Dykzeul released a statement confirming the closure, stating “commercial viability is no longer stable for magazines”.

This is the third magazine that Bauer Media has stopped producing, with Dolly having stopped the production of it’s paper magazine in 2016 and Cleo also ended print editions the same year.

What’s going on?

I’ve written before how I find it disheartening that women’s media is slowly collapsing. Not only have I felt it as a consumer on and off for fiften years, but it has also made me wonder about the future as a female content creator.

Frankly, I find the reasoning questionable. Newscorp, Fairfax and other media outlets around the world have been able to transfer their content online and create a paid subscription service. I’ve also seen a number of Cosmopolitan companies producing apps for women with a small subscription fee (you can also buy single editions of different magazines from around the world).

So, why couldn’t Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly just go digital and have subscribers pay a fee per month?

Now I get it. I think paid subscription services, especially for independent, little  – known media companies is risky and, frankly, I don’t think it’s always viable. But, for newspapers and magazines like Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan, Dolly and Cleo; products that have been consumed and trusted for decades, why can’t they transfer to digital and remain in business?

Is women’s media just not profitable?

When Cosmopolitan started by author of Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown, it was revolutionary. The idea that women didn’t have to be married to own their sexuality. However, Gurley Brown was accused of spreading the message that women needed a man and playing down sexual harassment.

Yet, her product worked. For generations, women were informed and entertained by articles that thousands, if not millions of women could relate to. Also, Cosmopolitan evolved, and they were instrumental in campaigning for same – sex marriage last year.

They have explored same – sex relationships and fluid sexuality.  However, I have asked whether they’re approach helped or hindered campaign towards LGBTQ+ rights.

img_0102

Has women’s media hit a dead – end?

Is it possible that women’s media is just not needed anymore? Are women just sick of reading the same relationship advice, same old sex advice, etc? Over the years, I know I have been. While I do appreciate some of what magazines like Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly have done for me and countless other women, it got to the point, where, frankly, they were monotonous. It was the same old, same old: same relationship advice, same fashion advice, same… advertisements. Like Cleo before it, Cosmopolitan Australia ended up lacking on high – quality articles that made me a fan of them in the first place.

 

So, where does it leave women’s media, regardless of it’s format? Personally, I want high – quality articles and commentary. I want to read about people’s first – hand experiences and things they’ve overcome. I want commentary that is well written and offers a strong argument for or against an issue (or a fair, well – written piece featuring both sides of an argument).

I want media that doesn’t make women feel like they need more to be enough, (which, ironically, was the business model that made Cosmopolitan a successful brand for nearly fifty years).

I want health to be promoted, rather than the debate on size, not the dangerous extremes. I want articles that focus on exercises that most people can do without too much trouble. And recipes that are easy and stuff that most people would actually eat. I also want LGBTQ+ and people of colour represented without being a gimmick.

 

The end of an era in women’s media is coming. But surely women’s media itself doesn’t have to. Maybe the format… and content of women’s media in the future will just have to evolve.

Have you been reading Cosmopolitan (Australian or otherwise)? What did you get out of it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
Media

The misreporting and omissions in the media on same – sex marriage need to stop

Sunday Herald Sun17 September2017
I think the media plays a role in what side of the same – sex marriage wins or loses.

The debate on same – sex marriage is still going on as the postal surveys are being sent out nationwide.

A win for the ‘Yes’ side is not guaranteed.

Yesterday in Sunday’s Herald Sun a study by ‘No’ campaigners predicted that there was a million vote swing against the ‘Yes’ vote. According to the stats, if that’s the case, the ‘Yes’ vote will still get up, but only just. Only a few hundred thousand less, then it’s gone.

Million vote swing claim in same - sex polls article Sunday Herald Sun
Story in ‘Sunday’s Herald Sun’ reports that poll estimates that there is up to a million vote swing to oppose same – sex marriage

If the ‘Yes’ side doesn’t get up, I’ll personally blame the media.

The liberal/ Left and conservative media have been pathetic during this campaign. Commentary, for the most part, have been deliberately skewed and extremely selective on what they are willing to report, condemn and support.

The earliest example of poor journalism (or in this case ‘interviewing’), that saw the demise of the ‘Yes’ campaign in my view, was The Project’s ‘interview’ with former tennis champion, Margaret Court.

This was the first of a number of extreme media biases that ended up painting the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters in a bad light.

More recently, ABC’s Insiders allegedly promoted Tim Minchin’s parody of Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home, titled I still call Australia home -o – phobic (look it up on YouTube if you want. I won’t post it here). While opit got some praise in the media and elsewhere, there was a fair bit of backlash on social media due to it’s crudeness.

On a more serious note, is the misreporting of incidents between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners. One example is Channel 9’s coverage of a standoff between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners in Brisbane, in which, a meeting attendee was falsely accused of deliberately using his car as a weapon to mow down ‘Yes’ campaigners, in which protester Jessica Payne — who Today Show interviewed. Andrew Bolt pointed out that Payne was not injured by the driver, but tripping on a gutter.

There was more misreporting by the media on another confrontation happened at a barbeque set by a group of ‘It’s OK to say no’ campaigners. Contrary to the media reports, it was members of  the ‘Yes’ side that was causing the trouble, not ‘No’ campaigners.

Talking about ‘No’ side causing trouble, I’ve been incredibly disappointed about the lack of reporting and condemnation when the shoe is on the other foot. I noticed this for the first time last year when bomb threats were made against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, Joy 94.9FM. At the time, I looked up multiple Facebook and news sites. There was no article ddon Mamamia, nothing on The Project and, most disappointingly, Andrew Bolt did not mention itvat all, on his TV show, on radio, in the papers or his blog.

There have been other events that haven’t been reported or condemned, for example, a Greek Orthodox priest saying that gays should be shot on Fatger’s Day this year. Another, more frightening example happened in Dubbo, New South Wales where a man was arrested after he threatened a 14 – year – old girl after she posted her support for same – sex marriage. Plus, very few from the mainstream media is pointing out that Madeline’s former contractor, Madlin Sims,  has faced abuse over  the incident with Madeline.

Plus, I’ve also read that parents of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ celebrities, like Magda Szubanski have been abused on social media. The abuse has been vile, including the false link that LGBTQ+ people are paedophiles. Author, Anthony Venn – Brown recently put his foot down and took to his Facebook page, warning that anyone who suggested a link between being LGBTQ+ and paedophilia were at risk of being permanently banned from his pages.

Screenshot of warning from author, Anthony Venn - Brown
Anthony Venn – Brown often takes criticism and insults on the chin, but has put his foot down when LGBTQ+ people are compared to paedophiles

 

So, from now on, can I make a plea to both sides of the media, please report factually. And please condemn ‘Yes’ supporters when it’s due and don’t ignore when it’s the ‘No’ side. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he wants respectful debate. A bit of accurate reporting and fair commentary might help.