SlutWalk raises victim blaming awareness

By Brylie Harris

Melbourne, August 31

Anita Stevens; 2013 SlutWalk participant

Anita Stevens; 2013 SlutWalk participant

Men, women and children alike converged on the State Library in Melbourne on Saturday for the annual SlutWalk. SlutWalk is a global movement which stands against victim blaming and slut shaming. Speakers from all backgrounds addressed the large crowd before the march down Swanston Street to Federation Square.

Among them was rape victim Van Badam who shared with the crowd her story of victim blaming. Her story started at a bar near King’s Cross in Sydney where she met a man who she said had seemed like a bit of a nerd. The same man raped her and left her in an alley.

She said that part of the issue with rape and sexual assault is that it is stigmatized. “People don’t want to think about the notion of sex being corrupted by violence,” she said.

The SlutWalk movement started in Toronto when a police officer said, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” These words spoken at a small forum in Toronto at the start of January 2011 spread across the globe and sparked outrage among many communities.

SlutWalk participant and former performer Anita Stevens said that SlutWalk is important for survivors of rape to come together and act as a mutual support system. “SlutWalk is about that support and being able to have that verbal conversation about what’s happened and how it shouldn’t be happening,” she said.

When asked why victim blaming and slut shaming happens Miss Badam said it’s a fear response. “That girl got raped because of what she was wearing, what she was drinking and because of who she was hanging out with. So if I didn’t wear that, or drink that or go out with those guys, I might be fine. It’s false security because stranger rape is the more uncommon form of rape. Guys jumping out of bushes and raping women on the street is very, very uncommon. You’re more likely to get raped by your husband than by anymore else,” she said.

Miss Badam says that this is why people are weird on the issue of rape. “They don’t kind of think that the most personal kind of thing you can experience, which is, you know, penetration by another person can occur without consent. I mean, that’s a terrifying thought.”

Miss Badam says we can solve the problem of victim blaming and slut shaming. She said it is important to raise awareness because, “we don’t treat other victims of crime this way.”

Miss Stevens said it’s important that we continue to have the conversation about victim blaming and slut shaming.

While SlutWalk is a relatively new movement Miss Stevens said compared with the two previous there was a stronger turn out this year, even though participants were not as vocal. “There’s an undercurrent of stuff going on,” she said.

“I think weather has a lot to do with weather as well,” she said “this the only time where I’ve been like, yeah this would be good weather to get naked.”

First written August 2013. 

Dystopian: Our future is anything but.

Do You Remember … The Future?It’s not hard to view the world negatively when there is a plethora of dystopian movies, books and articles in the media. Films such as The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Divergent tell stories about a world damaged by technology, society and disease. Television shows such as Black Mirror paint a bleak picture for the uses of technology and the internet. The episode “5 Million Merits” depicts a world where people are constantly surrounding by advertisements and have to spend their days pedaling bicycles to produce energy and gain ‘merits’. Such apocalyptic stories aren’t hard to relate to when talk of viruses such as Ebola spreading across the world are running rampant in the media.

However, I believe these dystopic depictions of our future largely ignore the positives of modern day technology. With new technological innovations occurring as we speak, I feel the future for mankind is anything but dystopian.

In the past week alone several articles have popped up in my Facebook newsfeed about some of these exciting technological advances.

Yesterday a friend shared on Facebook a Kickstarter campaign for hover boards. A concept mostly famous thanks to the film Back to The Future is now very real. With the ability to place these ideas and technology in the hands of anyone worldwide comes the ability to further develop the technology which could see hover boards made manifest and the technology doesn’t stop there. Consider the possibility of hover trains, hover cars and hover bicycles, the options are virtually limitless!

Many of the technological advancements being made currently are in the field of medicine. Recently I read an article about a man who had a tumor in his foot. In order to save it, doctors duplicated his heel bone from his healthy foot and used 3D printing technology in order to make the man a new heel bone.

Reading articles like these, it’s hard not to be excited about the future. The best part is being part of it and watching as the world becomes a place where almost anything is possible.

 

Image credit

Sunbury school leaver’s struggle

 

 

A little less than 12 months ago Sunbury teen, Tom Blackmore completed his VCE studies with a clear mind about what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go in the future. However, for the past year Tom has been in and out of apprenticeships and in and out of work and is now unemployed and living at home.

Department manager at Kangan Institute in Melbourne, Chris Arnold estimates that of all people starting apprenticeships, about 95 per cent are school leavers.

Mr Arnold cites job security and getting paid while you work as some of the major motivations for school leavers deciding to take on apprenticeships.

“Qualified tradespeople also earn more,” he said.

However, of about half of all people who start apprenticeships never complete them, research by the national centre for vocational education shows. The report shows that one of the most common reasons for this is because of employment related troubles where apprentices have interpersonal issues or decide they do not like the career.

Tom says that it took him at least six months to even find his first apprenticeship and when he did finally start it, he said it was more fun than work.

“I wasn’t getting paid properly and I learnt the equivalent of nothing,” he said.

Whilst Tom says that his second apprenticeship was much better but he decided to leave because of the stress.

“The whole time I’d been talking to my friends and I developed interest in what else there might be.”

Unemployed for over a month, Tom still has little idea of what he wants to do in the future. His mother, Lisa Blackmore says that he seems to have no drive at the moment.

“We’ve made a few suggestions but he hasn’t really settled on what path he’d like to take at the moment.”

Mrs Blackmore believes that one of the reasons school leavers like Tom change career paths after they finish year 12 is because they are pushed into deciding on a career path early on.

“They’re basically told in year ten you’ve got to decide which way you want to go, because your subject choice has to be altered now,” Mrs Blackmore said.

“It was probably halfway through year 12 that Tom decided on the apprenticeship scenario,” she said.

Tom says that a lot of his friends are now also in a similar boat to him.

“A lot of people I’m associated with have dropped out of uni, picked up part time work after realizing they weren’t ready for full time study on top of year 12.”

 

Getting the “fur babies” home for winter

When 26 year old youth worker Jane Ruge first met Riku she wasn’t looking to adopt a cat. But she missed the company of pets and when she heard about the foster program through the Geelong Animal Welfare Society she saw an opportunity.

Ruge says that Riku is inquisitive and clever and has adopted some interesting habits such as running past doors in her house and high-fiving the door handles on his way past since moving in with her. Riku is a completely different cat to the one that Ruge first saw when she first picked him up from GAWS.

“He was so very sad when I went to collect him,” Ruge says. After a few days living with me he brightened up and seemed much happier. I fell in love with Riku and could not give him back, so I adopted him full time.”

Riku is one of many lucky cats and kittens to have found a new home because of GAWS which is one of the largest animal shelters in Victoria. And thanks to the cat adoption drive “Get Them Home for Winter” which aims to put 75 cats and kittens into new homes over 75 days, there is a whole new swathe of “fur babies” who are as happy as Riku. Animal drives or ‘specials’ are just one of the many things GAWS now do to make sure that lost and stray pets and animals are given the best care possible. The drive also makes use of the new veterinary facilities at GAWS, with desexing, vaccination, fleaing and worming all included in the adoption fees.

Ruge says she’d much rather a pet from a shelter than a pet shop or a home breeder.

“I chose GAWS because I want to support animals that need a second chance,” she says.

Specials such as the “Get Them Home for Winter” are a common thing at GAWS. The non-for profit shelter has been running for over 50 years, relying on money and donations from the public in order to keep its doors open. But it hasn’t been a smooth ride, with animal activists.
prompting the implementation of a no-kill policy after videos emerged of animals being mistreated at the facility.

The treatment of animals at the shelter has changed as a result, with euthanasia rates dropping significantly in the past two years. According to the GAWS 2012 annual report 75% of cats and kittens in the 2010/11 period were euthanized where in 2011/12 the percentage dropped to 50%, with a majority of euthanasia’s occurring due to medical reasons. Whilst this isn’t quite  “no-kill” it seems it is a step in the right direction for GAWS who have witnessed many changes during the past two years. A switch around in management has meant the implementation of a foster program-which means sick animals can now be nursed back to health without the risk of infecting other animals. There have also been multiple fundraisers held and more recently, a veterinary clinic added. It is these positive changes that have also seen more and more people volunteering for GAWS.

One volunteer, Brigette Bell moved to Geelong to take on a cattery attendant role last year and has seen many cats and kittens adopted through the shelter.

Bell says adopting out cats is a good feeling, but sometimes she’s found herself getting attached to the cats and kittens. She remembers fondly a big old ginger cat called Bugalugs who was surrendered to the shelter.

“He used to jump on my back and sit on my shoulders. The older cats have more personality.”

Working at the cattery inside GAWS isn’t all fun and games though. Being an open admissions shelter means that every cat or dog surrendered at the facility is accepted through the doors, including those who have been previously well looked after.

Bell says that surrender cats are usually older cats whose owners can’t look after them anymore.

“They use excuses like they’re moving house in a few weeks. These animals are really well looked after. It’s a sad excuse.”

But for every cat or kitten that is surrendered there is someone out there willing to adopt. Mel Tanner had been going to GAWS almost every second weekend for a few months trying to find the right cat for her and her family when she found Puss, who she describes as a beautiful fluffy cat who is playful and a ‘big smoocher’.

“He has the best personality and is my best friend. He used lie on me and be my study buddy.”

Tanner says she was happy with the adoption process and she would adopt from GAWS again.

Bell fondly remembers a couple who come into the shelter and asked to adopt the cat who had been there the longest. She says that people of all ages adopt cats and kittens from the shelter with older couple often opting for older cats, families for kittens and young adults opting for a mixture of the two.

“We’re always full of cats,” she says.

“They seem to be going out of the shelter quicker now because of the special though.”

Jane Ruge couldn’t imagine her life without Riku, despite her initial reservations about adopting him because of how often she travels on weekends. She says it is important to note that there are always ways to make pets fit into your life and they are also an important part of the family.

“Riku provides me with endless entertainment, and makes me laugh out loud on a daily basis. He gives me great cuddles and a whole lot of love.”

This story was written as part of an assessment for Deakin University, 2014.

ALC201: Looking For Love Online

ALC201, Module 2 Exercise

 

 

Reflection

In my video I have attempted to explain and argue the reasons why online dating has become increasingly accepted by society. I decided to focus on the rise in the number of older people using online dating. Gays and online dating being accessible to a wider audience, and, mobile applications and how they make online dating convenient.

My video is an attempt to use the conventions of speech style writing and convert them into an online format. Because of this, I chose to film myself talking about my chosen topic. I also decided to include a couple screenshots of websites in order to provide a wider context for my argument.

In order to make my video more engaging I also chose to use Creative Commons material. I decided to use Flickr for my opening image. The image is a direct reference to my argument about online dating moving to mobile technologies and I believe it helps set the scene for what the video will be about. I have also chosen to use Creative Commons music for the entirety of my video. I chose to do this because I believe it helps set a scholarly tone and mood for the video.

Before I created my video I read several articles about online dating as well as searching through various scholarly texts and articles. I used the chapter: “Shopping for love: online dating and the making of a cyber culture of romance,” by DeMasi as the foundation for making my video and also in the search of further research. I also used several studies to form the basis of my argument as I feel they provide solid evidence of the rise in popularity of online dating. For my argument about online dating being important for the gay population I used: “From the Web Comes a Man,” by Mowlabocus. In this book Mowlabocus focuses on one of the most important online dating websites for gays, I feel he also explained well why gay populations use online dating.

In order to make my video I used the program Adobe Premiere Elements. Having only used the program on one previous occasion I had to play around with various settings to figure out how the program worked. In order to place screenshots within the video I also viewed a tutorial from the program which showed me how to insert images over a video clip.

Because my film was so heavy with talking, filming was problematic. I also attempted to talk directly to the camera and not look at my notes. I believe this attempt made my film a little more personal than it would have been, however, it also meant that I filmed the video is small snippets, some of which do not match up as the light changed the room throughout the filming. I tried to combat this by changing the lighting settings of individual clips and I think this helped.

The rest of the creation of the film was relatively simple. Placing the clips in the program, cutting them and arranging them was a simple process.  Similarly exporting the film was easy with various saving options available.

I used my Google account to upload my finished product to YouTube, a process which was relatively short even though I have never done it before.

Through completing this exercise I learnt what a simple process making a video and distributing it online can be. I also discovered more about the work and planning that needs to go into creating this a video and of how much you can present in a certain amount of time. However, I feel the most beneficial thing I learnt was how to enrich videos through the use of creative commons music and images.

 

References
Arndt, B, 2014, Love across the ages in online dating, The Age, February 18, retrieved September 1, 2014, <http://www.theage.com.au/national/love-across-the-ages-in-online-dating-20140217-32w6a.html&gt;

DeMasi, S 2011, ‘Shopping for love: online dating and the making of a cyber culture of romance’, in Seidman, S and Meeks, C (eds.), Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, pp. 206-13

Kang, T and Hoffman, L, 2011, ‘Why Would You Decide to Use an Online Dating Site? Factors That Lead to Online Dating’, Communication Research Reports, 28, 3, pp. 205-213, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 August 2014.

Quiroz, P, 2013, ‘From Finding the Perfect Love Online to Satellite Dating and ‘Loving-the-One-You’re Near’: A Look at Grindr, Skout, Plenty of Fish, Meet Moi, Zoosk and Assisted Serendipity’, Humanity & Society, 37, 2, p. 181, Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File, EBSCOhost, viewed 29 August 2014.

Mowlabocus, S, 2010, “From the Web Comes a Man’: Profiles, Identity and Embodiment in Gay Dating/Sex Websites.” Gaydar Culture : Gay Men, Technology And Embodiment In The Digital Age, Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, viewed 30 August 2014.

Stephure, R, Boon, S, MacKinnon, S, and Deveau, V 2009, ‘Internet Initiated Relationships: Associations Between Age and Involvement in Online Dating’, Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, 3, pp. 658-681, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 August 2014.

Thomas, 2014, online dating, used with Creative Commons Permission, <https://flic.kr/p/oeqpYE&gt;, retrieved September 1, 2014.

Song used with Creative Commons permission, Son Lux, <http://freemusicarchive.org/music/son_lux/deximer/06_enough_of_our_machines_johnny_ripper_remix&gt;, retrieved September 4, 2014.

http://www.gaydar.net/, accessed Sepetember 4, 2014.

http://www.rsvp.com.au/, accessed Sepetember 4, 2014.

ALC201: Presenting multiple identities online

 ALC201, Module 1 Exercise

American computer scientist Jason Lanier suggests that Web 2.0 reduces individual creativity to general ‘mush’. (Gauntlett 2011, p. 197) However, in my experience the opposite is true. Web 2.0 allows for more choice and more creativity than ever before. There are now a multitude of websites available where we can share and create different versions of ourselves. My own online identity is formed through many different social networking websites, all of which have different options and opportunities for self-presentation. These online ‘personas’ are shaped largely by the audience they are intended for and are therefore complex in structure.

In the graphic below I have recorded a list of social media websites I currently use, along with an estimate of the percentage that I use each. While this is an incomplete list it provides a snapshot of what platforms I use to form different online personas. Each of these social media websites has given me the opportunity to ‘try out different’ versions of myself (Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, p. 75).

 

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/2466846-create-your-own-infographic An infographic showing my approximate usage of social media websites.

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/2466846-create-your-own-infographic
An infographic showing my approximate usage of social media websites.

Through Instagram I am able to share different images of things I find interesting and important in my life, thereby giving other users a snapshot of my identity. Similarly I use Twitter to tweet to others about things that I think are interesting and important. However, like many others my main source of self-presentation and online identity construction is Facebook.

Through Facebook I am able to share different aspects of my identity through status updates, sharing, linking and posting images, (which coincidentally, are often shared from Instagram). The identity I present through Facebook is also interactive. Others are able to comment upon it and learn things about me from it and I am also able to edit posts based on these interactions. Self-presentation here is directly linked to the people I am constructing my identity for. Therefore I find the need to be as authentic as possible in the representation of myself as my audience is largely friends and family and they will know when something is an inauthentic representation.

Smith and Watson, argue, the reason people feel this need to be authentic online is because appropriations of realness in online environments reinforce social norms (2014, p. 76). This is further reinforced by Chester and Bretherton who suggest: “although online contexts provide unique opportunities to manage impressions, for the most part these impressions were based on socially desirable aspects of offline personality and a desire to present an authentic impression” (cited in Gradinaru, C 2013, p. 105). Therefore I suggest online identity is largely influenced by social norms from outside of the online environment. Looking at my own Facebook page this point is rings true. My Facebook profile page is a reflection of my everyday life which adheres to social norms. The pictures shown are appropriate reflections of my identity. My profile picture is of a cat and I, which would suggest I like cats. This is true. It is also an appropriate image which shows my face, revealing me as an authentic person and adhering to social norms.

However, the influence of social desirability in constructing online identity is dependent on the platform that is being used to construct identity.

Blogs such as WordPress allow for some anonymity in the online environment. I can choose to use a pseudonym when writing blog posts and therefore protect one of the most vital aspects of my identity-my name. However Web 2.0 means that bloggers can now also include a variety of multimedia features such as photos, videos, widgets, links to other social networking websites and ‘friends’. Bullingham and Vasconcelos, argue that all of these features “allow bloggers to present a wide range of identity indicators,” (2013, p.102). Looking at this blog itself it is hard not to notice the fact many of these features are currently being used and give some indication as to my identity. These identity indicators however are largely influenced by the audience this blog is aimed at. You will notice that I have included that I am a student and this blog is for assignment related work. The colours-basic black and white also reflect this academic approach and therefore also the academic aspect of my identity. The allowance for creativity on this blog also makes it a good platform for presenting this aspect of myself.

However, some of the other blogs I currently have do not reflect the academic aspect of my personality. In fact, by “maintaining multiple blogs I can create different personas to suit each blog, and so the self is effectively broken up with its varying readerships receiving different information,” (Bullingham and Vasconcelos, 2013, p.102). This means that in the online environment I have the opportunity to create different personas. These personas are effective in that I am able to shape them according to how I want myself to be perceived in different online environments.

Through Tumblr, I am free to reveal different aspects of my identity I would have been restricted to because of social norms on Facebook. I am also able to delete versions of my ‘digital self’ with minimal consequences and the possibility to rebuild another online ego (Gradinaru, 2013, p. 101). This freedom to represent myself and means that social networking websites are effective in establishing my online identity in the way I wish to be perceived by my intended audience.

References

Bullingham, L and Vasconcelos, A. C, 2013, ‘The presentation of self in the online world’: Goffman and the study of online identities, Journal of Information Science, 39, 1, p. 101-112, doi: 10.1177/0165551512470051

Gauntlett, D 2011, Making Is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, Polity, Cambridge and Malden, pp. 194-204

Gradinaru, C 2013, ‘From Multitude to Convergence: Contemporary Trends in the Study of Online Identity’, Argumentum: Journal The Seminar Of Discursive Logic, Argumentation Theory & Rhetoric, 11, 2, pp. 95-108, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 August 2014.

Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95