MEDIA


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#HollywoodSoMale

7 Comments
02 March 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Chris RockChris Rock's hosting of the Academy Awards was a win-win culmination of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign in which no actual person had to take the blame. Instead, a faceless institution named 'Hollywood' was rapped over the knuckles for its racism while the flesh-and-blood white faces that represented it could get on with the business of congratulating themselves. While all this mollification was going on, there was another, gargantuan prejudice saturating the air these celebrities were breathing.


Time to retire 'magical negro' trope from Aussie sport

16 Comments
28 February 2016 | Erin Riley

Cyril Rioli in actionSports journalists shape narratives. There is drama intrinsic to sport, but the sports journalist draws it out, identifying heroes and villains, and slotting each performance into a broader arc. The power to influence the way the public understands a game or player ought to be wielded carefully. Too often, it is not. This is best demonstrated by the ways in which commentators and journalists speak about Indigenous athletes. A simple superlative can be loaded with more than a century of cultural baggage.


The Kanye West konundrum

4 Comments
25 February 2016 | Jen Vuk

Kanye WestIt seems not a week goes by that Kanye West isn't in the news. Over the past few weeks alone, West has among other things disparaged Taylor Swift, announced that 'white publications' had no right to write about black music, and tweeted in support of alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby. Depending on your perspective, West is either the gift that just keeps giving or the twit who just keeps tweeting. How has someone like him managed to flourish in a time in which online shaming has become the norm?


The butterfly effect of online grief

2 Comments
26 January 2016 | Kate Mani

Blue butterfly shapeA few months ago, someone I know died. We had only met a couple of times, accepted each other's Facebook friend requests, and messaged each other on and off. But I grew to know him well. His face filled my Facebook newsfeed weekly. Now I see his family's farewells, and the preceding year of photos makes it even easier to picture their grief. Be it the loss of a friend or a city shattered by terror, the 21st century colossus that is social media has reinvented the wheel of commemoration.


Battered broadcaster's Bolt delusion

12 Comments
26 January 2016 | Jeff Sparrow

Margaret Simons The Content MakersJosh Bornstein compared the ABC to the victim in an abusive relationship, desperately trying to ward off the next blow by anticipating the criticism of its enemies. Certainly, enlisting Andrew Bolt to participate in a documentary on Indigenous constitutional recognition seems like a pre-emptive defensive move against the accusations of bias that are routinely levelled against the national broadcaster. For Bolt the arrangement is win-win; for the ABC it's yet another example of self-sabotage.


2015 in review: Images that empower women

1 Comment
14 January 2016 | Catherine Marshall

Image from Getty Images LeanIn CollectionStudies confirm that sexualised images of slim young women used in advertising and popular culture lead to body dissatisfaction, psychological impairment and eating disorders. A new initiative from the non-profit LeanIn.org is fighting this entrenched culture through a partnership with Getty Images. It has created a photo library depicting females in many sizes, cultures and styles of appearance, but all strong and determined and in-charge.


2015 in review: Q&A fails smart women

5 Comments
12 January 2016 | Moira Rayner

Annabel Crabb chaired it all really well, but the next day I realised that not only our Foreign Minister, but not one panelist, got one question about their extraordinary achievements. Bishop was managing partner of a big law firm. She has unique experiences and must have views on the world's problems and their impact on Australia. But nobody asked.


2015 in review: Australia's film industry boys club

12 January 2016 | Rochelle Siemienowicz

Kate Winslet in The DressmakerThe success of the Australian comedy The Dressmaker is thrilling to those watching the local film industry. There's more to cheer in the fact the film is proudly female in both story and production. We're not as bad as Hollywood, but even in Australia, there are not enough films for women, about women and by women. Since the 1970s male directors have been responsible for more than 85 per cent of the feature films made. Why does it matter? Because women are more likely to tell stories about women.


2015 in review: The roots of troll culture

11 January 2016 | Jeff Sparrow

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things by Whitney PhillipsThe common perception of internet trolls is that they are outsiders descending on a particular platform in order to wreck it. But there is a close relationship between trolls and the culture in which they operate. If you're a publisher seeking virality, you need to foster the strong emotions in which social media trades. Getting people to love your content is great, but outrage, incredulity and even hatred also work.


My mother's last Christmas

4 Comments
17 December 2015 | Catherine Marshall

FarmhouseOn her last Christmas, my mother produced a Christmas dinner for 14 people on an ancient anthracite stove in the kitchen of the farmhouse I'd recently moved to. Nothing could distract her from the preparation of this Christmas lunch on a stove that was built last century - except for the pain that had been growing for some months just beneath her ribs. As she stirred the stock and pressed cloves into the ham I saw a wave of discomfort wash over her. It was uncharacteristic and unnerving.


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