The paradox of the nude selfie

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.11.37 pm


As the class erupted in heated discussion about the above photo I found myself in a state of panic.

“A woman should be able to do whatever she likes with her body?”

“But she’s a celebrity! How is this empowering for the every day woman?”

“But it’s empowering for her!”

Everything that I thought I believed about feminism and empowerment came crumbling down with one Kardashian selfie and a knot in my stomach.

In the aftermath of the media storm that this picture created, Kim Kardashian penned an essay defending the photo in the plight of empowerment. Kardashian states that:

“I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”

I have read this before and I must confess that I was 100% YAAS QUEEN‘ing my way through it. I thought good on Kimmy K for using social media and the selfie to empower herself and others.

However my initial thoughts of female solidarity evaporated in the heat of this class discussion. My immediate confusion stemmed from the fact that while I agreed that a woman should be proud of her body and portray it accordingly, is this actually bringing empowerment to women? While the naked female body has historically been powerful political statements and a source of fine art, somehow, the introduction of the selfie had changed this.

Roanna Gonsalves in her article ‘Selfie is not a dirty word’ describes the selfie culture as jamming together “the impulse to be noticed, to exert control over one’s own self presentation, to bear witness, to reframe stereotypes, to celebrate.”

Herein lies my confusion. When a selfie and the culture of which it is situated can do, and does, so many different things, the issue of empowerment is considerably blurred. I feel the most pertinent question is who is being empowered by the selfie?

If we take this back to the mirror selfie of Kimmy K and the afore quoted paragraph, then it seems that if Kim says that she is empowered by posting a nude photograph of herself, then who are we to say this is not empowerment?

This picture, found on The Daily Feminist, provides an interesting argument for this.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 6.48.06 pm.png

John Berger was an English art critic and feminist who in his book Ways of Seeing examined the male gaze. By contrasting post Renaissance paintings of naked women to his present day posters, he was able to show a recurring theme of objectification of the female body by the male gaze. Whilst this was before the time of the selfie, the concept that when the naked female body is presented by the owner of the body’s own self, as opposed to a male, this could be seen as empowering.

However if we turn to the latter part of her empowerment essay and examine the notion that she may empower other girls and women through her selfies is where the complication lies.

While I will acknowledge that these selfies may evoke feelings of empowerment for Ms Kardashian, women still face enormous inequalities due to their gender which is where the empowerment argument falters. As a millionaire and celebrity, Kim Kardashian is in the small percentile of women who have the opportunity to portray themselves like this on their social media platforms.


Feminist commentator Jacqueline Lunn on the other hand believes that Kim’s nude selfies have nothing at all to do with feminism or empowerment but all to do with the marketing of the Kardashian brand.

But empowerment and self branding are another issue that we will have to save for another rainy day…



Over the course of BCM288 Transnational Media and Culture Industries I have learnt to think about the media as a part of a global media entity. Utilising the international case studies that were presented in both classes and lectures, I have been able to understand the affect that globalisation is having on all facets of the media in regards to content and the way that it is consumed.

Growing up as a part of the technology generation I believe it is easy to have quite an insular view of media as we consume it in our every day lives. However I believe throughout the course of Transnational Media and Culture industries you are challenged to think about the bigger pictures and the causes and effects that ensue.

We are provided to really work through this as we were provided with a range of really specific examples that covered a range of media.  It was interesting to delve into the creation of co-production agreements and examine the policy and practice aspect of the media. The ‘paperwork’ aspect of co productions are something that I had never thought of and it made me appreciate the complicated state that we are in as in many ways, media transcends physical borders of nation states yet at the same time is very much bound by these borders.

I found the study of the translation of formats and intercultural audiences extremely helpful in locating the media on a global scale. Using the comedy genre as an example was hugely beneficial as humour is often thought of as somewhat of a personal thing as opposed to a culture thing and I think it became quite clear that humour can generally be linked to cultural background.

In regards to intercultural audiences I found the examples of Australian MasterChef and If You Are The One astounding as MasterChef reflected cultural values and yet in If You Are The One it’s popularity was because of it’s element of the unknown.

I found the breakdown of international film festivals, especially broken down in the format of a debate to be highly informative as we were able to examine very specific examples of both the positive and negative aspects. For example, it’s isolationist appearances or existing as a homegrown alternative to Hollywood Blockbuster’s.

The combination of audiences, formats, government support and the content being created in this global media industry, it allowed for the exploration of the things that are causing this state of transnational development that we are currently undergoing. By looking at the media and it’s cultural industries I have been provided with a deeper understanding of the workings of the media and the way it is affecting us as audiences as well as the way it is being affected.

The rise of cosmopolitan politics and news

Media content around the world is portraying a clear rise in cosmopolitan politics and news. I believe this is because the media and the current state of the globe is subject to the process of cosmopolitanisation.

Cosmopolitanisation is concerned with the sociology of cosmopolitan thought and refers to the process by which cosmopolitanism is achieved.

As the media becomes increasingly global, so too does it’s news and political sphere. As the media presents its visual content, it is impossible not to cause cosmopolitan feelings to arise as we are subjected to other cultures, ways of living and beliefs.

The media is increasingly using cosmopolitan frames in the way that it presents the news of the day and this is seen through the coverage of the Asian Tsunami.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami caught the attention of media outlets and individuals all around the globe. The saturation of global coverage of the incident resulted in an outpouring of support and unprecedented solidarity in the form of financial, physical and emotional support.

As news sites provided 24 hour coverage of both the incident and the fall out, the visual of that the television provided people with the capacity to stimulate cohesion. As we followed the constant media stream of information there is strong argument that this created a strong sense of a global public. This is furthered as the media content surrounding the Tsunami was focused on the individual or ‘ordinary person’.

In a way, this engagement from the unaffected people creates a sense of moral universalism which is the foundation of cosmopolitan thought.


Whilst it is perhaps impossible to empathise with every person, everywhere, the individual willingness to engage with the people affected by the Asian Tsunami is a prime example of the process of cosmopolitanisation that our global community is undergoing and stands to be an example of cosmopolitan media.

This way of thought reflects the work done by sociologist Ulrich Beck which refers to cosmopolitanisation being a natural response to a “globalised world order” however, there is also strong argument to the contrary by Robert J Holton.

Holton asserts that an increase in globalisation does not necessary lead to an openness of political views or otherwise, cosmopolitan politics, as in some cases, globalisation results in the rise of right wing nationalism.

This is a valid point as not only can it lead to right wing nationalism but also the media does not equally represent every economic, political or social crisis that occurs globally.

For example, Australians are much more likely to care about a happening in Asia as opposed to in the Middle East and this provides a strong argument against the argument that the media and politics are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan.

Whilst I believe this is gradually occurring, I do not think the political sphere or media institution is cosmopolitan as yet.


Balch, A 2015′ Hard evidence: how has press coverage of immigration changed?’ The Conversation, January 21, viewed 30 October, <;

Theory in 3 Minutes 2016, Cosmopolitanism in 3 minutes, online video, January 22, viewed 30 October <;

Co – production treaties (successes and gaps)

Co productions are a direct result of the increasingly networked global community that we live in. Co-productions are based around the collaboration of two individuals from different countries who create a film together.

By creating international films, through co productions, the industry is working towards a global market.  According to Screen Australia, these co-productions are governed by treaties that are formalised between Australia and other countries.



Currently, Australia has treaties in place with the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Ireland, Isreal, Germany, Korea, South Africa, Singapore and Memoranda of Understanding with France and New Zealand.

These agreements are rife with uncertainty as they can be both beneficial and disadvantageous to all parties involved as the practice is still being work shopped.

In regards to the benefits, the agreements or understandings are aiming to provide both economic benefit as well as rich collaborative and cultural experiences. Economic benefit would be find through the bi-national status of the film and bring new avenues of distribution and consumption which immediately raises revenue.

In regards to the facilitation of a new collaborative and cultural experiences the benefits are obvious for a creative industry such as film.  However in summary, the combination of creative and technical expertise leads to a higher standard of production as well as the product being regarded as ‘domestic’ in more than one country.

On the surface, the benefits of co productions appear to be integral to the way forward for the film industry in our globalised context.

However, there are some serious disadvantageous to co-productions and the way that the system operates currently.

Firstly, the ‘paper work’ aspect is time consuming and and highly bureaucratic. In order to attain either a Treaty or Memorandum of Understanding it is necessary to apply for both Provisional Approval and Final Approval which can take up to 18 weeks.

On a practical level, different time zones make it extremely difficult to communicate, as does language barriers.

I believe a huge difficulty lies in the creation of the actual content of the movie as it is difficult to maintain an equal influence of both countries involved in the co-production. This would mean that co productions are only suitable for ‘global stories’ and therefore limits the amount of a strong influence of either culture or nation of the co-production parties.

In Doris Baltrus’ paper, Globalization and International TV and Film Co-productions: In Search of a New Narrative she discusses these issues and highlights that whilst the concept of co-productions could be great, it’s current state is doing nothing to explore concepts of “diversification and hybridisation of cultures”.

The way that co-productions are being created at the moment is leading them to focus solely on a global market and therefore only telling ‘popular stories’. This in turn is working against everything that the theory of a co-production treaty or understanding works towards.

Therefore while the notion is an exciting one, it still has a long way to go to achieve it’s ultimate capabilities.


Baltruschat, D 2002, ‘Globalization and International TV and Film Co-productions: In Search of New Narratives’ Media in Transition 2: Globalization and Convergence May 10-12, viewed 30 October <;

Screen Australia n.d, Co-production Program, Screen Australia, viewed 30 October <;

Yecies, B 2009, ‘What the boomerang misses: pursuing international film co-production treaties and strategies’ University of Wollongong, viewed 30 October <;

Intercultural TV audiences

In this weeks class we explored the concept of intercultural tv audiences with the examples of Australian MasterChef and Chinese dating program If You Are the One.



When discussing intercultural audiences we are referring to an audience base spanning across different cultures. With the globalisation of television, this is becoming increasingly common as it is no longer surprising that if you are overseas or watching international television that you find the format of one television show being used in another country.

Often, these shows or formats are more popular being used in a another country than the original country.

Intercultural audiences is what has lead to the success of both MastcherChef and If You Are The One.

When Shine Australia remade Masterchef for Channel Ten the success completely outshone the original British version.



Surprisingly, the show received critical acclaim in India, a country with very little apparent cultural proximity. The judges of the hit tv show put the popularity down to the “fabled Australian lifestyle” as well shared themes or values.

Examples of this are the importance of family, sitting around a table to share a meal and the importance of food to Australian society is something that resonates with the rising middle class of India.

Despite apparent stark differences in cultures, aesthetically speaking, these shared cultural values allow for the undertaking of intercultural audiences to engage with international content.

In regards to the dating show If You Are The One which is based upon a British format of Take Me Out, the show has attracted up to 50 million viewers in China as well as receiving a cult following after SBS began screening it with english sub titles.

I find this example of intercultural audience viewing different to the example of Masterchef as I don’t believe it is the shared values that are attracting Australian viewers to the the dating show.

“Bold, blunt and deliciously weird”the Chinese dating show is unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced. It’s appeal is found in the stark differences that it has in comparison to Australian culture. It is the brutal honesty of the contestants, the quirky nature of both the format of the show and the contestants themselves as well as the charismatic host.

If You Are the One is constantly featured on social media and it’s followers remain passionate and dedicated and yet it stands as completely different example of the ways that audiences can engage with intercultural content.


D’Mello, C 2015, ‘MasterChef the toast of India’, the Sydney Morning Herald, January 31, viewed 30 October <;

Groves, N 2015, ‘If You Are the One: call for Australian lonely hearts on Chinese dating show’, The Guardian, September 8, viewed 30 October <;

Knoll, S 2015, ‘Why Australia has bizarrely fallen in love with a Chinese dating show’, Global Post, October 9, viewed 30 October <;

O’Donnell, V 2014, ‘Same show, new country: how Australia led the tv format trade’, The Conversation, January 9, viewed 30 October <;


Digital Storytelling: reflection



I chose to focus my digital storytelling assignment on the way that technology and mobile devices affect public spaces as I believe that it is a hugely important issue in today’s society as the way we conceive a public space continues to change.

Public spaces, historically speaking, used to be places of conversation and idea sharing. A foundational aspect of a democratic society.

Currently, whilst we still live in a democratic society, there is strong argument that we no longer use public spaces in this way and the flow on effect of this is endlessly complex and fascinating.

I find it particularly interesting in regards to the effect that this is having on social etiquette, specifically in public spaces.

Throughout the process of my research, it remained clear that the issue is highly complex and often relational to the individual who is being questioned or from whose perspective is being relayed. The notion of technology in public spaces seems to be one closely related to personal values and also generational stand points.

For example, when interviewing my Mum while I agreed with a lot of things that she said in regards to a loss of ‘manners’  at the hand of our mobile devices, there were some things that seemed much more natural to me as a member of Generation Y. As I have more or less grown up with technology, our understanding of any unspoken rules of social etiquette are slightly different.

In order to provide my digital story with intellectual support it was necessary that I undertook some thorough research to add to the interview that I had done with my Mum. I found this extremely interesting as I saw the ways in which she perceived the ‘problem’ or ‘change’ in the way social etiquette has changed in public spaces due to technology, reflected in academic writing.

This highlights the complexity of the issue and the multiple facets of the debate. I believe however that the digital storytelling platform is the perfect way to explore technological dilemmas such as this as. I chose to use my blog as I felt writing is the best way that I can express myself on a matter that I am so interested in. Additionally, using my blog as a platform allowed me to integrate the resources that I used in an aesthetic and succinct way.

However, it being qualitative research it makes for a difficult theory to actually prove. A lot of the information that I read and reflected in my blog post were based on personal opinion and interpretations of public spaces. Also the nature of social etiquette despite being relatable to society at large is a hugely personal thing. This makes it difficult for stakeholders or members of society to really grapple with the issue and make changes should they feel they need to.

Despite the nature of the research I do believe that it is still useful. This information, presented in the form of digital stories allows for media groups or stakeholders to grapple with information in a way that extends beyond numbers and graphs. In many ways it allows for organisations to look at the very soul of these numbers and understand the content that they are being presented with in a much more dynamic and complex way.

For example, digital storytelling allows for a start, middle and end to a problem so that stakeholders have a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Additionally, digital storytelling allows for a cross platform engagement with content. In many ways a digital story allows us to access an issue using both our emotions and brains which is a highly effective method of persuasion. Finally, as it is centred around a narrative so it makes issues more relatable than other ways of presenting information.

Digital Storytelling: Is technology eroding our awareness of social etiquette?


As Miss Manners eloquently states, the technology has changed, but the rules remain the same.

Yet, one step outside to anywhere resembling a public space and it seems we are all in a constant state of confusion as to what the rules of social etiquette are and how on earth we abide by them.

There are countless studies that discuss the role that technology has played and is playing in public spaces. However for the most part, these studies are situated in America. Nevertheless, due to the current state of our society being increasingly globalized, American society and Australian society are highly comparable.

Tali Hatuka who head the Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University believes that basic ideas that are associated with public space are being altered by individuals when smart phones are involved.

This directly relates to the growing confusion regarding social etiquette and technology as people believe that as they move through communal spaces, they still have their privacy through their “portable private personal territories“.

It has become clear to me that researchers are not the only people concerned with how technology is affecting social etiquette in public spaces after a conversation with my mum, Liz.


Today my Mum told me about a recent altercation that she had had at lunchtime in North Sydney. There was a huge amount of foot traffic in Grennwood Mall, it being lunchtime, and a man that was taller than her and looking at his phone walked straight into her.

Being completely fed up with this sort of thing happening Mum snapped and said, “could you get off your phone?” to which the man replied “could you mind your own business?”

I found this astounding on so many levels. Firstly, when did bumping into someone create such aggressive reactions as opposed to the usual mumbled apology, yet apology nevertheless. Secondly, when did bumping into someone after being on your phone become a matter of that person having to mind their own business?

Mum described it as, “phone rage”.

Through the proliferation of mobile devices, we have become slaves to these devices and their incessant demands. Regardless of the public or private space which we may find ourselves in.

Subsequently, this blurring of the public and private dichotomy is resulting in societal confusion concerning basic behavioural conventions.

As we become more and more inward focused due to our mobile devices it is clear that we are losing so many things that are in turn contributing to this breakdown in understanding social responsibilities.

Another story that Mum shared with me was relating to the loss of ‘stranger communication’ which relates to talking to strangers in public places. In this instance, Mum had seen a lady in the street and she had been attracted to her outfit and Mum decided to let her know. When telling me this story, Mum also added that this woman was clearly in a huge rush but regardless Mum stopped her anyway and gave her the compliment.

The lady stopped dead in her tracks and her reaction time in responding to Mum was awkwardly slow. Whilst there was a genuine thanks at the end of this transaction it is the reaction time that is of concern.

It is like recently when someone asked me for directions whilst I had my headphones on. I was immediately sent into a spin as I had a) forgotten that I was in a public space as I was so focused on the music in my ears and the direction that I was going and b) I couldn’t believe that an actual real life stranger was talking to me as it so rarely happens these days.

Our mobile devices have everything we ever need to get by in every day life and so we no longer have the need for stranger conversation. When it happens in this day and age we are hugely put out. Scientifically speaking, stranger communication directly correlates with increasing individuals capacity to empathise with others. When this skill is not used, it deteriorates and we forget how to do it.



Mum has had a similar experience with headphones in the work place which is interesting as it exists as a semi-public space. Mum works for the Australian Catholic University and she works in a largely open plan environment. Mum believes that the use of headphones in this work space is working against the aims of an open plan work space.

This example is interesting as headphones are something that are used when there is no one around. Putting headphones in your ears when in the company of others is, I can confidently say, considered rude.

I would think that this transfers into the workplace however Mum says that this practice is becoming increasingly popular!

These are only a few examples of the countless ways that people using technology affects the use of public space. In a Study conducted by Pew Research Center called Americans’ Views on Mobile Etiquette, they measured the different reasons that people are using social media in public spaces.


The results of this graph clearly show that people are using their mobile devices for a broad range of reasons in public spaces and this begs the question as to which ‘code of practice’, per se, do they follow?

Do they respond to the people that are communicating with them through their devices or do they prioritise the physical world in front of them?

Regardless of what should be done in this situation I believe that all too often, people are choosing to follow cyber etiquette as opposed to the etiquette of their physical reality.

When I spoke to Mum about this theory of mine, she somewhat timidly agreed.

“There is something about technology that is so distracting and consuming.”

The ability that technology has to consume our attention is reshaping our informal personal reactions…

Mum explained that it has become so hard to ignore your phone. “These days” she said, “it has become the norm that when you are speaking to someone in the flesh, and your phone rings more than once that you excuse yourself from the conversation in order to answer your ringing phone”.

When you actually think about this by normal standards of etiquette, this seems inexcusably rude and yet this is becoming more and more like the norm.

With all these examples I believe the question of whether technology is eroding our awareness of social etiquette is one of extreme complexity.

In some regards I believe that, yes, technology and our mobile devices are to some extent encouraging inward focused behaviour at the detriment of greater societal values and civil responsibilities.

However, in the flip side of this, people are not becoming less kind, but in many ways are developing new rules to govern etiquette in a technology revolution.

All in all I think I agree with Miss Manners, I think the rules that are in place to govern any societal changes and we don’t need new ones.

The Internet of Things


The internet of things essentially refers to the merging of the virtual world with reality.It is the concept of physical objects becoming connected to the internet.

This is slowly happening across the globe already! An example of this is connected cars that are equipped with internet access as well as local wireless networks.

When an object becomes connected it is able to store and process information and then frighteningly, independently initiate action. This allows these objects to become uniquely identifiable and remotely located.

In Wales, there has been studies relating to the Internet of Sheep where researchers are attaching wireless devices to livestock to gather information.

Now while all this sounds ridiculous, this is one of the first example of the internet of things being utilised outside of a city context and I believe that is interesting in itself! These studies are looking to recover information about and agricultural pollution however morally, this area seems to be quite grey for me.

What do you guys think?

Dark Fiber

dark fiber.jpg

Throughout the length of this course we have discussed the benefits of the architecture of a distributed network and as a result I had inadvertently blocked my mind to any thoughts of negative influence brought about by the internet.

However, here we are today discussing the very same architecture but in a much darker light.

It seems obvious, really. It is a habit of the internet to store and remember information. That is it’s default setting.

Despite the boundless freedom the internet provides us, it seems we are always and will always be leaving a trail of information behind us.

Perhaps my use of boundless is inappropriate in this context.

This tendency leaves internet users at risk to hackers, botnets and of course, cyber warfare.

When put this simply it is a terrifying thought. Yet we put ourselves at risk every time we use the internet.

It appears it’s a price we’re willing to pay.

Blog at

Up ↑