Towards intersectional approaches – ‘Gender inequality & Femen’

Word around is that media is generically not so pro-female. It has been found that journalists often amplify antifeminist women’s opinions and this is done, more often than not, in the expense of the coverage feminist organizations. An example of media portrayal upon feminist groups is that they are run by a handful of leaders who is tightly focused on limited issues. On top of that, media also often misconstrue the true intentions of these feminist groups.

Criticism has been made in regards to the relationship between women and media. Firstly, there is an absence of woman in serious news content. When they are in fact included, the news media would portray them stereotypically; focusing on their sexual and aesthetic attributes rather than their more relevant contributions.  Adding on, research has showed that women overall has limited accessibility to news making apparatus. Putting these points together, we can conclude that the female has a ceiling in regards to their access towards media and little control over what is being displayed.(North 2004)

Negative correlation between women and media results in slanted portrayal of the feminist and polarization of the coverage of feminist. In several forms of media, they have polarized the image of feminists by constantly pitting them against conservative women’s organization; portraying both parties to constantly be debating about who is actually looking out for women. We know and understand the ability of journalist to attribute identities towards these groups. If the image and characteristics being portrayed is that these two groups are spending majority of their time pitting against one another, both groups lose their efficacy and gets their true intentions overshadowed.(Schreiber 2010)

A prime example would be in regards to one of the leading feminist groups in the world right now ,Femen. Femen is a group of feminist protest group founded in Ukraine in 2008. Their method of protest is unprecedentedly simple but yet very spectacular; woman would be drawing attention and protesting in public in regards to gender inequality in Ukraine whilst being topless. Over the years, western media has associated Femen as a new democratic initiative similar to that of the Orange Revolution. Anna hutsol, the group’s leader, has publicly shared that Femen’s primary objective is to highlight the negative impact that sex tourism and prostitution have on Ukraine. However, as examined earlier, the media has yet again overshadowed this intended message by highlighting the photos of the participants in this nude protest tactics.(Zychowicz 2011)

For as long as restrictions are being held and accessibility in media is being limited to woman, we can foresee that woman groups, both feminists and conservative woman’s organizations, would have to truly create a larger impact to spread their true intentions across and out of the grasps of media polarization.

 

Reference :

 

North, L 2004,’ Naked women, feminism and newsroom culture [This paper receive the Grant Noble Award at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. Conference (2004:Sydney)’, Australian Journal of Communication, vol 31, issue 2, pp53-67, accessed 6/6/2014, http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Naked+women%2C+feminism%2C+and+newsroom+culture&rft.jtitle=Australian+Journal+of+Communication&rft.au=North%2C+L+C&rft.date=2004-01-01&rft.volume=31&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=53&rft.epage=67&rft.externalDBID=n%2Fa&rft.externalDocID=CAX0280030000547&paramdict=en-US

Schreiber, R 2010,’ Who speaks for women? Print media portrayal of feminist and conservative women’s advocacy’, Political communication, no 27, issue 4, pp432-452, accessed 6/6/2014, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/10584609.2010.516800

Zychowicz, J 2011, ‘Two bad words : Femen & Feminism in Impendent Ukraine’, Anthropology  of East Europe Review, vol 29, no 2, pp2-13, accessed 6/6/2014, http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/aeer/article/view/1266/1336

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Diasporic Media

The majority of the cultures that are seen today are deemed as mediated, an act of the cultural background and personification being portrayed mainly through media.  This also means diasporic media is gaining its fair share of attention to those who are interested in learning about different cultural backgrounds. The term diasporic is characterized as the scattering of people , either voluntarily or forced, from their homeland to other parts of the world.(Georgiou 2003)

Diasporic media refers to the media created in relative, as a representation by or for those people.

 Diasporic media is an integral tool, especially known to be used in the Australia during 1978, during the integration or change in policies affecting immigration and multiculturalism. When Australia established their status as multicultural, they chose used diasporic media to reduce and minimalize the fears associated with social harmony among those whom were already there. They emphasized the usage of it as a social tool to help settle and integrate the migrants. Soon after, the country took another step forward in this approach by introducing Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) in 1980. The SBS consists of experimental ethnic radio stations, activists counter-programing, and innovative logic of multi-lingual narrowcasting to cater towards a nation of migrants according to Sun et al (2011).

Though Australia’s intentions were positive, there are flaws in the approach of diasporic media. The main flaw that jumps out on me is the fact that these tales are told mostly by someone else looking in, some sort of observer. Yes, there could be interviews and segments would be used to portray the life and wellbeing of the migrants (most of them are portrayed in extremities; as either villains or victims). However, what these media does not take into consideration is the cultural complexity of the refugee experience.

What would be truly appreciable is a new mean of media space for the emerging communities of migrants. This new form of media space needs to provide a platform of which the stories are being told by the exact people that are going through them. In other words, to allow them to speak and tell their own tale rather than having someone else place one upon them.  One of the better examples would be digital storytelling. Digital storytelling is time based digital narratives that remix photos, video, animation and drawings, sounds and sometimes music soundtracks and voice-over narration.  This is a growing platform that is being utilized to envisage and document the diverse history of refugees. Australia is one of the countries practicing it for their refugees, both fresh of the boat and second generation communities.(Salazar 2012)

 

References:

Georgiou, M 2003, ‘Mapping diasporic media across the EU: Addressing cultural exclusion’, London school of economics and political science, pp 1-66, accessed 30/5/2014, http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/EMTEL/reports/georgiou_2003_emtel.pdf

Salazar, J 2012, ‘Digital stories and emerging citizens, media practices by migrant youth in western Sydney’, 3Cmedia:Journal of community, citizen’s and third sector media and communication, issue 7, pp65-84, accessed 30/5/2014, http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=5ff484db-7d44-4224-aecf-497114c5b394%40sessionmgr4002&vid=2&hid=4106

 Sun, W, Yue, A, Sinclair, J & Gao, J 2011, ‘Diasporic Chinese media in Australia: A post – 2008 overview’, Journal of media & cultural studies, vol 25, no 4, pp 515-527, accessed 30/5/2014, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/10304312.2011.576751

Globalization

We live in a world where integration of world economies, politics and culture continue to define our time according to Naim (2004).

A simple scan through the television programs would be able to tell you just how globalization has taken over our media channels. In fact, most of the songs we hear on radio are not even made locally. But do we truly realize the impact of globalization upon our media channels?

There are groups of people who label the effect of globalization upon their media channels as a “cultural invasion”. These claims are not as profound as they sound and the effects are magnified in countries such as India where they have significantly more television than telephone cables. The Western formats of television programs were so appealing to the audience that many local Indian programs integrated those formats with their local twist. Several adaptions of famous American television programs were “Hello Friends” and “Kuan Benega Crorepati”. Both were inspired by the American sitcom “Friends” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” respectively. On top of adaption of famous programs, new slurs were invented through the incorporation of the English language. An example would be Hinglish, a slur combining English with Hindi used mostly by urban middle classes.(Sinclair & Harrison 2004)

Impact of globalization upon television programs also extends towards the demand upon local television programs. What can be noticed during the globalization phase is the thinning in the proportion of the local programs in the television menu. In other words, national origin programs are becoming less and less of a fraction of what is available. This effect is exceptionally true in Canadian television which is vastly dominated by American television programs. How this event takes place is that the market for satellite services tends to focus on regional or even global programs rather than local or national. The decision then for the satellite service providers is simple; to provide what is demanded. This in turn diminished the fraction of local programs.(Tay & Turner 2008)

Another impact globalization has upon the media channels arrives from an indirect source; the Internet. Constant integration worldwide is causing the increasing demand for internet and for those who already has it, faster internet. Information in regards to the world is far more accessible online in comparison to contemporary media channels such as television or radio. In this advance technological age, former media channels are no longer as effective or preferable. Countries such as Australia are already showing signs; television advertising is on a decline with the rising online advertising taking over its place.(Tay & Turner 2008)

Though it may not be clear as of yet whether the impact of globalization upon our media channel is positive or negative, we can concur that there are definite and significant evidences of it leaving its trace.  

 

Reference:

Naim, M 2004, ‘Globalization – passing fad or permanent revolution?’, Harvard international review, issue 1, vol 26, pp83-84, accessed 22/5/14, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/230946526

Sinclair, J & Harrison, M 2004, ‘Globalization, nation and television in asia: the cases of idea and china’, television & new media, issue 5, vol 41, pp41-54, accessed 22/5/14, http://tvn.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/5/1/41.full.pdf+html

Tay, J & Turner, G 2008,‘What is television? Comparing media systems in the post – broadcast era’, Media international Australia, incorporating culture & policy, no126, pp 71-81, accessed 22/5/14, http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/fullText;dn=907493952716742;res=IELLCC

Race, Ethnicity & the Media

People would always have the need to feed their stereotypical views which, more often than not, includes race and ethnic stereotypes. Media corporates acknowledge this and in turn chose to ride upon the stereotypical wave of their target viewers. But of course, at this point of time, they would have to do it in a more subtle way in comparison to the past. Some viewers may not even know that they are being fed with race and ethnic stereotypes. If you are one of those who are still wondering if this is true, ask yourself this; when is the last time you saw a Chinese do a commercial for Durex?

So, why would the media chose to integrate racial and ethnic stereotypes into your respective channels and mediums? Simply because it makes good business; it uplifts their ratings and positioning as viewer’s choice. As mentioned earlier, people have the tendency to go after things that agree with their stereotypical views. Take for example, the WWF (World Wrestling Federation, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment) has ride upon the racial and ethnicity stereotypes to rack up their viewership. Previous years, back when racism wasn’t as intolerable as today, they create these characters that are just oozing with stereotypes of the community. There is a wrestler by the name of Iron Sheik, who portrays a strong Iranian man who uses dirty tactics and denounces everything American. On the other side, you have Sergeant Slaughter, who portrays an image of American rectitude, who announces that he is here to banish all the Iranian and is of the side of good. WWF used these stereotypes throughout a span of time to transition their company into the billion dollar company that is seen today.(Maguire & Wozniak 1987)

Other than media corporate greed, incorporating racial stereotypes into the respective channels can assist in delivering a positive message. In the very popular television series, The Simpsons, there is an Indian character by the name of Apu. Throughout the series, Apu has developed from a typical Indian immigrant to a multidimensional character and eventually going on to be one of the more significant ones in the series. What this depicts to its viewers is that Amercian Indians, who effectively earns an above average income in America, are able to integrate, rather than assimilate, into the American culture.(Gottschlich 2011)

However, as with any existence of racial stereotypes, its presence in the media is likely to cause some negative outcomes. Take for example, the effect of racial stereotypes in sports. When it comes to all the major sports, the Whites tend to “think black”, due to the fact that African-American dominates the sports they watch often. If that case is true, it cannot be denied that an action of a particular sportsman will affect the image of all the other athletes. Due to the bigot actions of a few, terms often used to coin American athletes are dumb, violent, rapist and drug-user. With no surprise, those that fall victim most to these terms are African-Americans.(Lapchick 2000)

Having racial stereotypes imbedded within the media may swing both ways, good or bad. It all depends on how the media choose to portray those stereotypes, keeping in mind of the subsequent consequences. The one thing that is certain is that racial stereotypes are here to stay. The more you try to keep them suppressed in your head, and the more likely they are to reappear.(Macrae, Bodenhausen, & Milne 1994)

And you can bet, its perpetual presence in the media is going to make that so much harder.

 

Reference: 

Gottschlich, P 2011, ‘Apu, Neela, and Amita stereotypes of Indian American in mainstream Tv shows in the united states’, Internationales Asienforum, vol 42, no 3-4, pp279-298, accessed 16/5/2014, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1013487807/fulltextPDF?accountid=15112

Lapchick, R 2000, ‘Crime and Athletes: New racial stereotype’, society, vol 37, issue 3, pp14-20, accessed 16/5/2014, http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/article/10.1007/BF02686168

Maguire, B, & Wozniak, J 1987, ‘Racial and Ethnic stereotypes in professional wrestling’, the social science journal, vol 24, no 3, pp261-273, accessed 16/5/2014, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0362331987900759

Macrae, N, Bodenhausen, G & Milne, A 1994, ‘Out of mind but back in sight: stereotypes on the rebound’, journal of personality and social psychology, vol 67, pp808-817, accessed 16/5/2014, http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Out+of+mind+but+back+in+sight%3A+Stereotypes+on+the+rebound&rft.jtitle=Journal+of+Personality+and+Social+Psychology&rft.au=Macrae%2C+C.+Neil&rft.au=Bodenhausen%2C+Galen+V&rft.au=Milne%2C+Alan+B&rft.au=Jetten%2C+Jolanda&rft.date=1994&rft.issn=0022-3514&rft.eissn=1939-1315&rft.volume=67&rft.issue=5&rft.spage=808&rft.epage=817&rft.externalDBID=n%2Fa&rft.externalDocID=10_1037__0022_3514_67_5_808&paramdict=en-US

Gender & the Media – into the world of Disney

Gender stereotypes were never uncommon in the media. There would always be a set of beliefs towards the characteristics, attributes and behaviors of the male and female gender being portrayed by these media. ( Khan, Benda & Stagnaro 2012)  

Gender stereotypes, or more commonly known as sexism, has been involved and incorporated into many of today’s media mediums. A more obvious one may be that a female model is used in the posters and press ads to advertise for credit cards with shopping rebates. A more subtle example of sexism is when Sue Smith, whom has worked in her news channel for 3 years and has stand-in for the male newscaster twice, is set to be installed as the new lead, considered news. We live in a world whereby events such as a female news anchor that replaces her male counterpart as the head anchor can be considered news. (Mayer 1977)

Gender stereotypes do not necessarily only transmit through medium that are targeted towards adults, in fact we would most likely would have faced it at a young age. Believe it or not, classic Disney movies have been framed for transmitting subtle stereotypes, including gender stereotypes. This includes favorites such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella. One significant trait that is being transmitted throughout the Disney movies is what-is-beautiful-is-good, which applies to both female and male. (Bazzini, Curtin & Joslin 2010)

 What this term refers to is that those who are deemed beautiful are often associated with positive attributes and vice versa. For example, the beast in Beauty and the Beast were deemed as scary, fierce and temperamental during the initial part of the movie. However, as the movie progresses and as more positive characteristics are omitted by him, he became more caring and loving; he was rewarded in the end of the movie with a beautiful outlook to match his new found personality. Another example would be Cinderella whom manages to grab the attention of the Prince, who eventually became her Prince Charming, only when she received a more beautiful outlook prior to the ball.

For young children, our beliefs and preferences are subtly affected by the stereotypes that surround us.  Many of the kids do not realize that being an audience to these gender stereotypes causes them to learn about the gender specific roles portrayed by these characters. This can be seen in the research done by Durkin and Nugent 2010, as television is a main influencer in the development of gender role in young children.

What this means is that young children are also likely to have those stereotypical messages instilled into them at a very young age , which may also be a reason why ugly or abnormal looking kids get picked on. Moving forward, as these kids grow up , these stereotypes will create an unseen force on their choices and behavior. (Schmader 2013) If truly what-is-beautiful-is-good is what they hold on to, they are more likely to opt for surgeries or purchase cosmetic goods to achieve that sort of perceived perception of positivity. They would only feel good when they look good.

Another stereotypical portrayal by old Disney movies is that the male lead must always be the hero to save the day. It was the same for Aladdin, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and so on. However, Disney must know that with the emerging influence of feminist, they must adapt their movies which brings us to one of their latest movie, Frozen. The movie doesn’t portray ‘princess’ like themes as compared to the past, since in this movie; the female lead(s) actually moves out of their comfort zone and go after the things that they want. The paradigm of Disney movies shifted from “princess awaiting prince charming” to “the bond of two sisters”. In this movie, Disney decided to stay away from the stereotype that the male has to be the protagonist. This time, the day was saved simply because of two sister’s love for each other, not by the arms of a prince charming.

Gender stereotypes would still be looming around us and would not be expected to be diminishing anytime soon. However, with Disney starting their shift from a stereotypical position into a more relatable and appreciative one, I guess it would mean a good first step in changing future generations.

 

Reference: 

Bazzini, D, Curtin, L, & Joslin, S 2010, ‘Do animated Disney characters portray and promote the beauty-goodness stereotype?’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, issue 40, pp1-22, accessed 9/5/2014, http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/asu/f/Bazzini_Doris_2010_Do_Animated_Disney_Characters_Portray.pdf

Durkin, K, Nugent, B 1988, ‘Kindergarten children’s gender-role expectations for television actors’, sex roles, vol 38, issues 5-6, pp 387-402, accessed 9/5/2014, http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018705805012

Khan, S,  Benda, T , & Stagnaro, M 2012, ’Stereotyping From the Perspective of Perceivers and Targets’, Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, pp 1-10, accessed 9/5/2014, http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=orpc

Mayer , H 1977, ‘TV, Sexism and Journalism’, Media information in Australia, issue 4, pp 1-23, accessed 9/5/2014, http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=TV%2C+Sexism+and+Journalism&rft.jtitle=Media+Information+Australia&rft.au=Mayer%2C+Henry&rft.au=Jobson%2C+Sandra&rft.au=McCarthy%2C+Craig&rft.date=1977-05-01&rft.issn=0312-9616&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=23&rft.epage=34&rft.externalDBID=n%2Fa&rft.externalDocID=587336554833877&paramdict=en-US

Schmader , T 2013, ‘ The biases that binds us: how stereotype constrain how we think and whom we become’, proceedings of the 2013 university of British Columbia, accessed 9/5/2014, http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/conferences/2013-w50-research-symposium/Documents/schmader.pdf

Mainstream media – your main source of information?

Journalism today can be found via different means and not only restricted to professional news agencies, more commonly known as mainstream media. A different form of media that is on the uprising at the moment is citizen journalism; a form of journalism when people employ the press tools that they have in their possession to inform one another according to Lewis, Kauhold and Lasorsa (2010)

I understand that perception of citizen journalism is that it isn’t as “professional” as opposed to those in mainstream media and understandably so. Those of the citizen journalism may have significantly less budget to travel or access to information causing concerns of diversion from the whole truth. However, this does not necessarily mean that citizen journalism is any less dependable. We should keep in mind that the mainstream media is majorly controlled and owned by private entities. What this means is that those entities have the ability, should they choose to do so, to alter or massage the truth to transmit information that would be slightly beneficial to them (it could mean that it would increase views). (Deane 2005)

However “unprofessional” citizen journalism may seem to the general public, those who know better would not belittle the impact that it can have on the publishing of into onto the public. For example, during the terrorist bombing of the London subway on July 7th, BBC reported the day’s events based on the many forms of journalism and information that was publicized by the public that day. Photographs, amateur videos, text messages and emails by the public became an integral part of how BBC reports the event. (Sambrook 2005)

Many times have we heard the speculation of which newspapers are filtered and adjusted in their news so that it doesn’t directly hit out at our government, especially during controversial events such as the 13th General Election and more recently the case of the missing flight MH370. If the following is applicable then we can say that there is a chance that there is more truth in citizen journalism than there are in mainstream media. People within that category may opt to throw in their opinions and findings which are more likely to be unconstructed and raw.  

Moving forward, citizen journalism is developing and growing within the community with many thanks towards the advancement of the internet. (Barnes 2012)  A good example of such growth would be of the Youtube Channel , “The Young Turks” which as of today has attracted over 1.5million subscribers. The growth has been significant to the point that people are to be rewarded for their outstanding performances in citizen journalism. Young Turks for example has received Best Political Podcasts and Best Political News Site in the year 2009. This ‘citizen journalism’ which derived from  the popular uploading channel which is youtube has evidently reached more than millions of viewers from fan who would much rather tune in to listen to what he has to say as opposed to listening to mainstream news channel. This has greatly showed the impact of citizen journalism that is trending in today’s time.  In conjunction to this, citizen journalism within the internet also allows the community to pick what they want to read and those of their interest. This trending behavior will highlight a form of practice of which the community gets their news from the internet from now onwards. With this, it can’t be denied that citizen journalism will, if they have not already, cement a place in the community as a valid form of news and information. 

 

Reference:

Barnes, C 2012, ‘CitizenJournalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A Case for Collaboration’, Caribbean Quarterly, vol58, pp16-27, accessed 26/4/2014, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1237145950

Deane, J 2005, ‘Media, democracy and the public sphere’, In Oscar Hemer and Thomas Tufte(eds) Media & Glocal change: Rethinking Communication for change, pp177-214, Sweden, Nordicom, accessed 26/4/2014, http://bibliotecavirtual.clacso.org.ar/ar/libros/edicion/media/16Chapter10.pdf

Lewis, S, Kaufhold, K & Lasorsa, D 2010, ‘Thinking about citizen journalism: The philosophical and pratical challenges of user-generated content for community newspaper’, Journalism practice, pp163-179, accessed 26/4/2014, http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/11299/123405/1/Thinking%20About%20Citizen%20Journalism%20preprint.pdf

Sambrook, R 2005, ‘Citizen Journalism and the BBC’, Nieman Reports, vol 59, pp13-16, accessed 26/4/2014, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/216754593/abstract?accountid=15112

Verbatim Theater – the new aesthetic journalism

This week’s lesson we were taught about the extended version of the public sphere of imagination where we look into the deeper notion of ‘how to inform without informing’. This strikes as a fascination to me that, in today’s creativity age, mediums such as verbatim theatre, arts, festivals and fashion can be a form of aesthetic journalism in our public sphere.

Public sphere can be defined as a realm in our social life whereby public opinions may be formed. (Habermas 2007) The current status of the public sphere would more appropriately termed “media-dominated”. Majority of the people gather their respective daily updates of the societal issues and worldly updates via the likes of Newspapers, Radio and more so than ever, the Internet. It is then of no surprise why giant corporations look to take over the means of which these news are spread. It would enable them to conveniently alter and transform those channels into sources of which they may transmit manufactured opinions to lean towards a certain side that would be more favorable to them. (Deane 2005)

However dominant the news media may be, journalism is no longer specified solely towards news and texts anymore. As of today, countless of information can be widespread by other means. The impact of a powerful message in text and writing can now be easily matched by a simple picture. One particular example I would like to bring forth would be the verbatim theatre. Verbatim theatre is depicted a form of documentary drama which involves tape-recorded materials from the “real-life” original characters and events to provide it with a more dramatic effect. (Derek 2009)

Amongst many forms of media representations and means, the verbatim theatre has one of the better potential to deliver a message that sticks to its audience due to its interactive nature. Firstly, I think we can establish a more interactive means of delivering a message would appeal more and also more likely to capture its audience. For example, it would be far easier for a person to remember the lyrics to a song rather than the details of a historic past. Put something on writing and the person may just screen through the whole thing. But if you put those same details into a successful play, you can bet people would digest more of the intended message. The key point here is interaction between the one sourcing the information and the one receiving it.

One of the more recent examples of a verbatim theatre would be “the Laramie Project”. The play, which was premiered by the Ricketson Theatre in February 2000, draws on the hundreds of interviews that were taken in regards to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie,Wyoming. Matthew Shepard was beaten, tortured, and left to die due to what was denounced later as an act of hate crime (Matthew was gay). The verbatim theatre played its part in assisting to draw both national and international attention towards hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. The impact was so significant in this case that soon after in 2009, President Barack Obama signed the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” into law. This legislation, also known as Matthew Shepard Act, expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes that are motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. ( Ott & Aoki 2002)

In sum, verbatim theatre is one of the pillars for the extension of public sphere of imagination. Having its interactive nature with its audience create a much more powerful effect towards portraying the intended message without necessarily having to break it down to words. 

 

Reference:

Deane, J 2005, ‘Media, democracy and the public sphere’, In Oscar Hemer and Thomas Tufte(eds) Media & Glocal change: Rethinking Communication for Change, pp 177-214, Sweden, Nordicom, accessed 19/4/2014, http://bibliotecavirtual.clacso.org.ar/ar/libros/edicion/media/16Chapter10.pdf

Derel, P 2009, ‘Verbatim Theatre’: Oral History and Documentary Techniques’, New Theater Quarterly,vol 3, pp317-336, accessed 19/4/2014, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=3017620&jid=NTQ&volumeId=3&issueId=12&aid=3017612&bodyId=&membershipNumber=&societyETOCSession=

Habermas, J 2007, ‘The Public Sphere: An encyclopedia Article’, New german critique, no 3, pp49-55, accessed 19/4/2014, http://www.socpol.unimi.it/docenti/barisione/documenti/File/2008-09/Habermas%20(1964)%20-%20The%20Public%20Sphere.pdf

Ott, B, & Aoki, E 2002, ‘The Politics of Negotiating Public Tradegy: Media Framing of the Matthew Shepard Murder’, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, vol 5, pp483-505, accessed 19/4/2014, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/rap/summary/v005/5.3ott.html