"Every week Tony Abbott makes another comment that reveals very concerning social views. Commentators blow them off as 'gaffes', but this isn't about gaffes. It's about values. It's about our national character if our Prime Minister labels refugees who seek our help as 'illegal', even as they exercise their legal, human right to flee danger. It's about the message we send to young gay and lesbian Australians, if our Prime Minister talks about their equality as a 'passing fashion,' and what that does to their self–esteem. It's about our values if a Prime Minister talks to 'the housewives of Australia as they're doing their ironing,' says his colleagues are 'not just a pretty face' and have 'sex appeal' and calls on his opponent to 'make an honest woman of herself'. Prime Ministers reflect our national values, and have the power to change them radically. Does what Tony Abbott says matter? Well, in 17 days he wants to be speaking for all of us. That's why GetUp members are launching this ad. Will you be part of it?"
"Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV–14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under–representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media's limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman's value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective."
(Jennifer Siebel Newsom)
"This image makes it easy to comprehend the social bases of the contemporary decay of the aura. It rests on two circumstances, both of which are related to the increasing significance of the masses in contemporary life. Namely, the desire of contemporary masses to bring things "closer" spatially and humanly, which is just as ardent as their bent toward overcoming the uniqueness of every reality by accepting its reproduction. Every day the urge grows stronger to get hold of an object at very close range by way of its likeness, its reproduction. Unmistakably, reproduction as offered by picture magazines and newsreels differs from the image seen by the unarmed eye. Uniqueness and permanence are as closely linked in the latter as are transitoriness and reproducibility in the former. To pry an object from its shell, to destroy its aura, is the mark of a perception whose "sense of the universal equality of things" has increased to such a degree that it extracts it even from a unique object by means of reproduction. Thus is manifested in the field of perception what in the theoretical sphere is noticeable in the increasing importance of statistics. The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception."
(Walter Benjamin, 1988, p.223)
Benjamin, Walter (1988) "Illuminations", New York, US: Random House.