Monday, December 13, 2010
The presence and absence of Catholic religion in the November 2010 editions of Elle UK and Elle Spain
The presence and absence of Catholic religion in the November 2010 editions of Elle UK and Elle Spain - Olivia Ball
In order for Elle magazine to fulfill the same benefits in countries with varying languages, values and cultures, it must tailor a large percent of their content to make it culture specific. This essay explores the differences between the media content of the November 2010 editions of Elle UK and Elle Spain and analyzes the reasoning for these differences by focusing on the absence and presence of the Catholic Church.
It relies heavily on Hallin and Mancini's Liberal Model and Polarized Pluralist models, which explain the historic influence the Catholic Church has had on Spain's media and the freedom the UK has had regarding media. This essay focuses on the issues approach to marriage, aging and style. It demonstrates that Spain encourages marriage, embraces aging and has a more traditional and sensual style while the UK demonstrates a more modern view of marriage, is anti-aging and demonstrates an aggressive and highly sexual style in some of its editorials.
However while Elle UK has more freedom to express themselves and play with the traditional ideas of what feminine means due to the less influence religion has had on media throughout press history and their more liberal stance, Elle Spain is gradually becoming more liberal and pushing social boundaries, which is demonstrated by the sultry look of cover girl Irina Shyak. As a result Spain’s tendency to become more liberal and have more space for freedom of expression is demonstrating a shift from the Polarized Pluralist Model toward the Liberal Model.
Everyone considers Comme des Garcons’ advertisements to be weird and artsy. Comme des Garcons campaign is a good example of “out of convention fashion photography.” However, they were not so different and out of convention when Rei Kawakubo, their head designer, first came to Paris in 1981.
As one can see, there are no distinct difference between Campaigns of Chanel and Comme des Garcon from 1981. But as the brand became more notable, they took bold moves; they stoped following the rule of fashion photography, and started to create ads that look rather random and obcutre. If a person who do not know what Comme des Garcons see these ads, he or she would be rather confused. According to Robert Goldman in the article “This is not an Ad,” these advertisements can be classified as ‘avant-garde non-ads.’
Comme des Garcons advertisements seem to have stayed the same, but their advertisement style has evolved over time. In 2000, their style have become even more abstract and conceptual. In the late 80’s, they still showed people in their ads; now, they started to feature random objects. Some of these ads even look like some sort of contemporary art pieces. This style of ad helps them maintaining their brand image of new, different, artsy, avant-garde.
The result was a wave of greenwashing scandals. Greenwashing is the idea of making a business or company appear to be environmentally friendly through marketing without actually being good for the environment at all. Crédit Agricole, France's biggest bank, was one such example. They jumped on the Green Bandwagon and began promoting themselves as the "Green Bank". Unfortunetally, at the same time, their investment banking arm Caylon was one of the primary funders of oil exploration in the developing world and was also involved with lending money to Trafigura, a Swiss oil giant that had been caught dumping was off the ivory coast. All in all, despite claims of being Green, Crédit Agricole had no actual environmental actions to substantiate said claims.
Crédit Agricole's Greenwashing Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypjKxGCgO8E
In response to Greenwashing fro Crédit Agricole and others (notably McDonalds), the industry became regulated with an "EU Ecolabel". The idea was to educate consumers on products that were really environmentally friendly by only allowing companies that met the EU Ecolablel's "rigorous" environmental standards to carry the EU Ecolabel's flower.
Unfortunately, the EU Ecolabel was plagued with just about as many scandals as Green Advertising. In 2006, the French Competent Body responsible for the national regulation of the label, deemed the paper company Pindo Deli worthy of receiving the EU Ecolabel. However, in a totally un-environmentally friendly manner, the pulpwood for the Pindo Deli paper appeared to actually be illegally coming from a UNESCO world heritage site- the rapidly disappearing rain forest of Sumatra.
The media is an important communicator of the issues facing the environment today. As such, it must be carefully regulated and controlled if people are to be properly informed and motivated to act.
Contrived Realities in the European Fashion Editorial: An analysis of pictorial narratives in French and Italian Vogue
Often, images featured in fashion magazines are used as a facet to represent social norms of the global and national society in which the magazine is produced. The images in these fashion magazines are expected to be recreations of reality, but not of actual reality itself, because the overall function of the magazine is to provide an escapism that is both entertaining and enjoyable. This is often achieved through the editorial when fashion and the human body are placed in varied thematic contexts (Barthes). Existing in a realm independent of the fashion magazine are processes such as age and death that are biological and unavoidable shared human collective experiences. Yet, through the guise of the display of clothing, these socially constructed concepts related to both age and death are presented in the magazine mediums. Because of the fantastical imagined lens of fashion and the European perspective, the images contained in the editorials are indicative of more than what is visible on their surfaces, they are representative of multifaceted meanings and implications as presented by photographers Patrick Dermanchier, Dutch team Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and Steven Meisel. The realities depicted in these European fashion editorials can be explained using various Roland Barthes theories and the concept of “hyperreality” as explained by Jean Baulrillard.
These magazines present a pictorial narrative where one is forced to question the malleability of the role of reality in our world, where the ‘definite’ and ‘truth’ are so often sought. Elements of the human experience are explored and commented on through the lens of the European, which is both visibly sensual and deeply emotional. French photographer Patrick Dermanchier presents a mythic and typically romantic view of Paris to the audiences of Vogue UK. Inez van Lamsweerde and Vindood Matadin portray a model instantly aging, which Vogue Paris presents under the façade of attainable to French viewers. Steven Miesel recreates the funeral of Yves Saint Laurent in a way that contrasts how the event happened in actuality, presenting a tribute and idealized version of the funeral through intimate images of mourning. In each of these editorials, reality is imagined, presented, and influenced by the point of view of each photographer and Vogue publication.
Barthes, Roland. "Fashion Photography." Fashion Theory: A Reader. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007. Print.
France24 assumes a drastically sensational approach to reporting. Headlines indicate emergency, violence and a direct connection between Islamic terrorists and the French public. An article titled, Bin Laden targets France, blasts burqa ban and Afghan war, published October 27, 2010, exemplifies this tendency to emphasize a direct impact on France. France24 restricts the image of Islam that is propagated throughout France by relying on news content with fascination value. In The Mediated ‘Ummah’ in Europe: Islamic Audience in the Digital Age, Ibrahim points to “media artefacts as sites of cultural and knowledge production” which can “mediate how societies experience the world beyond,” (Ibrahim 114). In addressing domestic social issues, France24 relies on a direct reporting style that builds French nationalism by referencing French cultural pride. The opening sentence in French parliament to take anti-burqa stand, published May 11, 2010 states: “France will move a step closer towards outlawing the full Islamic veil on Tuesday when parliament adopts a formal resolution condemning the burqa as an affront to the nation’s values.” France24 sets up a dichotomy of “the west and the rest”, which pits the immigrant “other” against a tolerant host society (Poole 49).
B.B.C. formats its reports in a ways that glorify British nationalism in the face of a terrorist threat. “The idea that somehow by running away from the school bully, then the bully will not come after you is… known to be completely untrue by every kid in the playground,” remarks Defence Secretary John Reid, quoted in Ministers reject Iraq terror link from July 18, 2005. The nationalistic focus of the B.B.C. presents a distinct kind of identity crisis for Muslims living in Britain as they are forced to pick a side in this ‘clash of cultures,’ and in doing so, problematizes the negotiation of British-Muslim identity. However, it situates itself as a neutral discussion forum with the inclusion of reader-response sections—an action that democratizes the press. “ Do British Muslims put being Muslim above being British?” on reader asks. “Wrong question. ‘British’ and ‘Muslim’ aren’t in the same category. One is a religion and one is a nationality… You can’t compare them.”
Sunday, December 12, 2010
By Michael Dishi
A study of France’s reaction, acceptance and gradual adoption of the Apple iPad with regards to digital publishing, can be strongly related to a similar technological innovation presented to France decades ago. France’s relationship with foreign technology, and its own culture, can be tracked by comparing its very different reactions to the rise of the Internet and the birth of the Apple iPad. The Internet, now hailed as one of the staples of modern day living, was not originally eagerly accepted in France, and by exploring the cultural bias to such an innovation one is better equipped in analyzing the country’s acceptance of new technologies since.
France once viewed the Internet as an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ symbol of cultural imperialism, threatening to weaken French language and culture, of which they were fiercely proud. The rise of the Internet was seen as a personal affront to France because of its superiority to the Minitel, a video-text online service accessible through telephone lines. By the early 1990s, the Internet superseded the Minitel, widely spreading the English language to a culture that was for the most part unwilling to receive it. It is difficult to know beyond all doubt that France did not realize that the Internet they fought to reject would be a global technological phenomenon, given the strength of their cultural bias (Dauncey). Regardless, the eventual acceptance and adoption of the Internet ensured France’s desire for technological advancement. In 2010, the iPad itself was positively received and digital publishing had become increasingly accepted, allowing France the opportunity to shake off its infamous reputation. The global launch of the iPad acquainted Europeans with the eBook market. Some of France’s major publishing houses have even joined together to launch a new eBook distribution platform, proving that the French have turned a crucial corner with regards to embracing, and investing in this new technology.
France is aware of the importance of digital publishing and this time around they are not shying away from novel, foreign technology. Apple employees in Paris vouch for the iPad’s success in France, calling the product a “huge hit.” They also revealed a recent study of the breakdown of the Parisian customer’s intended use for the iPad, stating that 50% of customers buy it to use Safari, 30% buy it for gaming purposes, and 20% buy it to read iBooks (Thomas).
Unlike its original view of the Internet and foreign technology, France acknowledges the iPad as a major contender in media innovations. Mathias Döpfner, head of publishing house Axel Springer, insisted publishers should "sit down once a day and pray to thank Steve Jobs that he is saving the publishing industry," as the iPad is "what we were all waiting for" (Brauck). Even an opposing argument acknowledges the iPad’s relevance as a powerful shift in media: “the iPad might not be the savior of publishing…but it is certainly a growing vehicle for reaching large numbers of people and potential readers” (Johnson).
The media image, as Baudrillard explained it, "creates a fatal attraction to itself" (Hayhoe). This fatal attraction is built on by an element of seduction, a sort of magnetic pull to the allure of the image. While seduction often carries with it somewhat of a sexual connotation, it is more accurately a way "to tempt, to fascinate, to attract, to charm, or to entice. A good French advertisement is one that tempts the consumer with its offering" (Taylor). In the process of analyzing seduction within French advertisements, it is interesting to look at ways in which the woman's body is incorporated with the idea of seduction, from the nearly nude female form present in most luxury brand perfume advertisements to more subtle forms of a woman's sensuality in which seduction is often accompanied by other elements such as humor.
Especially after women’s liberation in the 1970s, women were encouraged to take control of their bodies, and this cause an increase in both body awareness and self-confidence that has perhaps influenced the view of the woman as the “seductress.” When looking at a perfume advertisement in a magazine, one does not usually see the model actually spraying the perfume on herself. Perfume advertisements in particular maybe do not distinctly note the perfume's function, but rather embody the scent in the visual, and in order to sell a scent, like all other products, it is first necessary to sell the image. In this case, there is a rather overt and literal element of seduction rather than a mere suggestive one, focusing mainly on the sensuality of the model's body.
In this ad, in particular, there is no model, nor is there an actual advertised product. One can only assume that since the men are all staring straight ahead, instead of at the girls next to them, so it must be another woman that they are looking at. The label “Wonderbra” reinforces this assumption. This ad plays with the way that lingerie advertisements are usually seductive, because there is no image on an actual woman, and whereas most time the male gaze would be directed from outside the image, this time the male gaze comes from within the image. Because of this, it is more likely that the advertisement is targeted to all women, to make them feel desired, to place themselves in the context of the image as the model for once.
In this ad, sexuality is not portrayed in a conventional manner, therefore it is hard to say that these images are in the same way seductive as the previous advertisements showing images of real women. Some viewers might even say it appears more disturbing rather than sexy. However, that is one way these images are able to seduce, by capturing the viewer to take a second glance at them because of their humorous yet bizarre realistic quality and sexual suggestiveness. "In advertising they [the advertisers] try to touch our sensibility, for us to see the person we love in the product or ad…they try to…let us enjoy it…” (Taylor). In the interview with Robert Singer, he noted many times how people outside of France might have an inaccurate impression of seduction in French advertising, and that most images deal only with sex and the over-use of women. “Perhaps that is one element of seduction that has resonated within French advertising, but seduction has in fact become very broad. Focusing on the woman’s body is just one aspect of it, and even that, as we have seen, can be shown on a different amount of levels” (Singer).
Comparison between the representation of the current Roma deportations in two French media sources L’ Humanite (Liberal) and Le Figaro (Conservative) to the transnational UK media source the BBC(State owned/neutral).
Immigration in Franc France was country of Immigration for over 150 years. Immigration was a remedy for an aging population in France. In relation to the Post WWII economic boom and France needing workers for It’s industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy Post 1950s immigrant groups in France include: North Africans
Eastern Europeans. (Peignard, 1) Noticeable shift in unfavourable attitudes of French Population towards these groups.
Comparison of the representation of the Roma expulsions in L’Humanite (Liberal) to Le Figaro (Conservative). L’Humanite (Liberal) Represents the Roma as “individuals” and avoids “collectively marginalizing them. An example would be an actual interview of a single Roma mother of two. This interview is important because it “humanizes” the Roma who were expelled from France. It combats stereotypes of the Roma being “lazy” or a “burden to society”. The interview demonstrates that Roma have similar values to other French citizens, in relation to the mother in the interview wanting her children to receive an education. (Presentation of Photographs). The article in L’Humanite titled the interview with the Roma mother, “Madeline-Maria, mere de famille rom veut sortir de le spirale In fernale”- translation “the mother wants to leave the cycle of hell” This is in relation to the article discussing many challenges faced by Roma migrants to France, of who are E.U. citizens and some even having the potential to apply for refugee status. L’Humanite is important because this form of media demonstrates how media is able to portray a certain group of people or an issue. Adversely, media is potentially dangerous in relation to its ability to reaffirm commonly known stereotypes. L’Humanite also emphasizes in the article that despite their for expulsions from France that Roma are indeed E.U. citizens and are entitled to due process under the law. This transitions into the next legal matter pertaining to the Roma which is the right of E.U. citizens having free movement in E.U. member states.
Le Figaro (Conservative)
Le Figaro discusses the Roma in very “broad” and “loose” terms. The collective identity of the Roma being viewed as a collective entity rather than the discussion of individual Roma.
Differences from L’Huamnite include Le Figaro discussing the Roma in more broad terms; examples include several Le Figaro titles of articles pertaining to the Roma.
« Roms et gens du Voyage en France » (Translation: Roma and people of travel in Europe).
« L’Europe de l’Est peine a integrer les Roms » (Translation : Eastern Europe struggling to reintegrate deported Roma)
« Le pauvrette pousse le Roms à partir » (Translation : The poverty pushing the Roma to leave)
Le Figaro’s lack of descriptive pictures and collective portrayal of the Roma is in stark contrast to L’Humanite. Le Figaro deals with the immigration issue in similar ways to many French media entities which scarcely represent the issues pertaining to immigration problems in France.
The differences between L’Humanite and Le Figaro are two classic example of “Political Polarization” which is present in Hallin and Mancini Mediterranean Model.
Comparison between the French Media sources to the transnational UK BBC.
The BBC represents the Roma expulsion issues in more broader and European context. Examples in headlines to BBBC articles.
1. “E.U. may take legal action against France over Roma”
2. “Amnesty Accuses Hungary of failing to Protect Roma”
3. “France gets reprieve on Roma”
Rather than having partisan representation the BBC in relation to the North Atlantic Liberal Model in Hallin and Mancini has more of a more neutral and over viewing perspective towards the deportations. The BBC in relation to their representation of the Roma provides a timeline of events in 2010 that were of significance to the Roma pertaining to their experiences in France and greater Europe.
· 19 July: A French Roma mob riots in the Loire Valley town of Saint-Aignan after police shoot a Roma man dead
· 29 July: President Sarkozy orders the clearing of 300 illegal Roma and traveler camps within three months
· 9 September: With about 1,000 foreign Roma already deported from France, the European Parliament demands an end to the policy; France vows to continue
· 14 September: EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding draws parallels with WWII
· 16 September: President Sarkozy tells EU summit Reding's words were "disgusting and shameful"
(BBC, 29, 2010)
EU warns France of action over Roma (BBC September 29, 2010)
While many politicians, celebrities, and other prominent individuals constantly try to use the press to boost their popularity, members of the media are constantly looking for stories that will interest consumers and “sell papers,” even if it concerns the private lives of others. As a result, several laws have been passed in numerous different countries all over the world to protect both the individual’s right to privacy and the media’s right to free speech. Often times, law courts try to find a middle ground between these two laws in order to protect the rights of both parties. However, the French laws regarding media and the privacy of the individual, specifically Article 9 of the French Civil Code, are much different than any other country’s. In France, the privacy of the individual almost always comes before another’s freedom of speech, in both law and public opinion. In contrast with many other countries, France has a history of keeping one’s private life out of the public sphere. Thus, a stricter law code has developed to protect the privacy of all and punish those who try to go against the age-old, societal values protecting the privacy of each citizen.