Women's Health Base

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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

TV Testing Women’s Body Image

Posted by hannahflynn on November 19, 2008

Last night there were two programmes shown on prime-time TV exploring the way women perceive themselves.

The first was Gok Wan’s new incarnation as the presenter of Miss Naked Beauty; a Channel 4 series which seeks to empower and liberate women though shock tactics which expose the levels of unrealistic pressures on the way they look. Few have swallowed this agenda, however.

Just a week after the show first aired the Sunday Mirror claimed Gok had “humiliated, demeaned and exploited” the women taking part. The section in question revolved around the participants having their make-up removed by being hosed-down by Wan. 

The regionals, including The Liverpool Post and South Manchester Reporter  also had criticisms of the show.

Wan has since defended the show on ITN, but the outcry has raised some serious questions about the wisdom of shows which offer self-help through changing the clothes and make-up of people with already low self-esteem. Trinny and Susannah he is not, but many people are claiming the presenter’s shows are little better in their aims.

The BBC decided to broach perception of body image last night, in its challenge cum documentry entitled How Mad are You? One of the few participants they correctly diagnosed was Alex, who considered herself a recovered anorexic. The deciding factor for their diagnosis was her gross overestimation of her body size on a test which asked her to adjust an image of herself to what she considered her actual size. She was 30 percent over. It was explained that people in this country often over estimate their size but usually only by around 5 percent. Interestingly, a woman who had been diagnosed with depression found the task the hardest to complete.

The documentaries contrasted sharply, with guidance and commentry being offered by fashion expert Gok Wan and musician Mylene Klass in one and by professional psyciatrists in another. As one participant in Miss Naked Beauty was told by James Brown, former editor of Loaded, her picture looked like it should have a phone number put under it, we really have to ask exactly what Channel 4 are planning to achieve with this Campaign for Naked Beauty.

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Social Networking in Journalistic Practice

Posted by hannahflynn on October 22, 2008

I have been looking for examples of organisations using social networking tools to find and recruit people. Luckily, so has Press Gazette’s Student Journalism Blog. By joining a Put Dr Pepper in all UK McDonalds group on Facebook, he has been targeted by a Channel 4 journalist looking for fast-food aficionados.

This is a classic example of how much easier it has become to find people (and target them) on sites where people group together according to interests or ‘beliefs’. I’ll be trying to contact this Channel 4 journalist to see how successful using social networking sites was for her documentary.

With regard to my own social networking networking experiment, The Waves is going relatively strong nearly a week after it began. The Facebook group has been the most successful (38 members, three discussion topics and 12 posts) example, probably because of the fact that you can invite people to it which increases the level of traffic. The launch of the blog was popular with several people who asked for it to become a community blog. I agreed after visions of becoming the administrator for the UK version of Feministing. However, no one else has posted anything yet.

I have had two people respond to the Yahoo group, and one person (already involved with the group) respond to my post on 43 Things.

It is less than a week into this experiment but I’m really starting to doubt the power of anything other than Facebook, but we will just have to wait and see.

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Facebook: The Voice of the People?

Posted by hannahflynn on October 16, 2008

Those who watched the last installment of Jamie Oliver’s new campaign for social justice, The Ministry of Food, on Channel 4 last Tuesday will know it was not going well. The people of Rotherham weren’t getting their mates round for a cook-up as Jamie’s food revolution manifesto had insisted on. So, he’s gone online.

On to MySpace to be exact*. And I’m left wondering; why didn’t he think of this earlier? A quick googling session later and its clear others have already jumped on the Ministry of Food bandwagon. Fans have already set up a website based on Jamie’s ‘pass-it-on’ campaign, which links to their Facebook page. Students’ favourite, Beyond Baked Beans has a Facebook page which has recently started promoting the ‘pass-it-on idea’ with a vlog showing people how to cook the recipes from the book. A brilliant branding idea.

Its not surprising as any campaign group worth its salt has at least a Facebook group these days. These are not only used as a forum for its members, but also as a recruitment and advertising technique which ensures as large a group as possible is aware of its presence.

It has been touched upon in lectures but I have failed to find many good examples of the positive influence that social networking can have on campaigns and grassroots activism. Then, completely by accident, a little experiment has fallen into my lap…

Wasting time cruising on Facebook, I found a post on a group’s wall looking for people willing to set up a feminist group in Cardiff. I fired off a message saying I was interested and ended up at a Cardiff Feminist Society – Founders Forum meeting at Milgi’s last night.

Having already discovered this using Web 2.0 social networking facilities I have decided to carry on in this vein. So, I have set up a community blog, a Facebook group, a Yahoo group and a posting on 43 Things to get the ball rolling.

Lets see what happens!

*Not Facebook as was suggested in the lecture!

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