Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Today I was linked to a website for an upcoming documentary called "InRealLife". It follows some young people in their day to day lives and their use of that terrifying platform "Social Media". The film's short summary says "InRealLife takes us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, to find out what exactly the internet is doing to our children." which, to me, is a fairly odd statement to make. It instantly implies the terror and danger of the internet, suggesting it is deliberately 'doing' something to our children like junk food would. As if it carries some sort of terrible disease. As if ultimately a young person with any reasonable intelligence has absolutely no control over how he uses the Internet. 

The trailer for the film conveys young people using their preferred aspects of the Internet, ie. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and even porn. The only point made that seemed agreeable, or even interesting, was that the exploitation of Internet porn is causing some young boys to mix up their reality with a photoshopped, well lit, well angled fantasy. The rest, it seemed to me, was rather pointless. 

The trailer appeared really over-dramatised, with a build up of tension towards the end like you would expect to see in a horror movie trailer. A quick, punchy montage of "frightening" images of examples of the scary Internet world did seem a little over the top. The fact that one of those images was a clip of a girl claiming a Youtube sensation commenting on her video had made her life, followed by the guy at a Youtube meet up surrounded by screaming fan girls made me believe the documentary is going to completely miss the point. The Youtube sensations and fandom is, in my opinion, currently one of the greatest aspects of 'Social Media' for young people. It's a community of passionate and nerdy fans, artists, vloggers, musicians, comedians, film makers, and video gamers. Will "InRealLife" mention the impact this community has on young people? The group of friends they found through it who understand them in a world that sometimes doesn't? 

And what about blogging and vlogging itself? Is that what the Internet is 'doing' to me? Alas, there's that age-old risk of bumping into a pedophile in this virtual place, right? Better not use this wonderful platform to express myself through my writing, or I might spontaneously give out my address to a complete stranger. 

I haven't seen the film yet of course, and I don't yet know if I will, so its content could contrast to how the trailer initially depicted it. However, if it is anything like how it advertises itself I'm going to be irritated to say the least. Another group of adults telling my generation they're too stupid to think for themselves and discover the Internet's risks and wonders. How boring. Our society has altered slightly due to Social Media, but it isn't the first sign of a coming apocalypse and it isn't the beginning of the break down of physical interaction. I still manage to see daylight and have face to face conversations, it's okay. 


Thursday, 12 September 2013

The death of Hannah Montana.

Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMAs caused a world wide, online reaction that seemingly defined the moment as yet another childhood star's public breakdown. A type of breakdown which has become increasingly common during the 21st century that applies to the kid stars who realise they've labelled themselves for life. It can begin when their career comes to an abrupt end, or when it becomes too repetitive or in Miley's case when the cute tweenage idol decides her good girl image just isn't who she wants to be. Watching this sort of breakdown is like watching a caterpillar turn into one disturbed butterfly. It's uncomfortable, and almost saddening.

It would appear that Miley has decided to shake off her Hannah Montana image by creating content and performances that utterly sexualise herself and her music. She's claimed her new song Wrecking Ball's music video which involves her completely naked body straddling a pole is 'symbolic' but all I can think is that it's a cry for help. The sort of cry for help that says "I can't define myself as a little girl's idol anymore so I'm making myself a sex object to disown that image." which frankly does nothing for her, probably former, young fans.

She doesn't have an empowering way of owning the current objectification of women because she doesn't look in control. Her recent work looks desperate and helpless and frightening. It seems as if she's frantically trying to discover and demonstrate her sensuality but only resulting in a rather uncomfortable act of public humiliation. She could be hot, and sexy and own her body in a way that was liberating but she's throwing herself around to make her money and fame.

All the little girls who thought she was their idol are only going to witness a woman laying herself down to the patriarchy. Giving everyone a reason to objectify and sexualise her, taking no control over her body, image or influence.

Robin Thicke received little to no criticism on his performance with Miley at the VMAs but maybe that's because we were all shocked a woman in this day an age would allow herself to be so stripped of her own dignity towards her sexuality. Robin Thicke crudely objectified her on that stage but Miley bent over and told all the little girls to let it happen.

It is not hot. It is not sexy. It is not empowering. Miley did not own her body, and show the girls that she was in control of it and could use it to show sexual beauty and liberty. She disempowered herself, and her image, and it's simply becoming uncomfortable to watch.

The patriarchy doesn't have to possess her sexuality, but it looks to be as if she has let it willingly damage her image and power.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Defined Lines.

I find this both amusing and completely brilliant. And it's far better than the original. Worth the watch.