Who is already going on about my Area of Interest?

One question I should be asking this week is “who is already publishing material pertaining to youth issues?”

But what I can gather, most of these publications speak about youth issues in a negative way. That’s where I come in. I’ll (aim) to speak positively to an audience that will want to listen. Youth listening to someone not long out of youth speaking about the issues they face in a positive light rather than in a tone of blame and shame? Yes please.

It seems there is no specific publication that is wholeheartedly addressing youth issues. Many websites such as Australia’s government website has a long list of relevant sites for youth guidance, advice and information on youth events, however there is no specific mention of the issues the younger generations face and ways to combat these issues at a community level.

Impacting negatively again on this specific issue is certain legal websites such as Legal Aid Victoria – it speaks about common law issues for youths – which is good for me in a way, as it proves there is a niche market for what I’m talking about.


Youth issues at the local community level BUT in a positive light. Okay, there are issues within Generation Y and Z, but let’s look at what is being done : community rallies, help networks, cultural events. Do these help or hinder?

Wendy Miller from Australian Youth Climate CoalitionYouth Climate Coalition

Youth help website Reach Out does attempt to assist youth through problems such as depression, anxiety and family break up. Their section Get Involved relates to my Area of Interest the most, with the call for youths to take charge of the website. This positive spin on youths (in need of guidance or not) is what I will be concentrating on most, so this site is a great reference point.

That’s my focus at the moment. Moral of the story- not many publications are shedding a positive light on youths and the issues they face today. THAT is where I’m heading at the moment.


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1. Area of Interest: Youth

“Welcome to second semester, Mel, you must now choose an area of interest for which you are to focus on forever*”- Online News 2.

This semester, this blog will focus on youth culture. I don’t mean whizz-bang technology the kids of today use, or the songs they listen to – I mean the issues surrounding Generation Z, why these issues exist and what we know about them.

This semester will see me critically assess academic works that discuss such problems facing teenagers in Australia and abroad. Is it their use of alcohol, drugs, celebrity worship, body image, the media and upbringing?

How do these affect youth and the way in which they act and progress through their adolescent and subsequent adult years?

Well, I’m not too sure yet! But that’s exactly what I will attempt to discover over the next 14 weeks.

The 21st Century has seen  massive influence placed on body image and celebrity status, with teenagers taking the most influence from reality stars and unlikely ‘role models’. Does this affect their behaviour in a negative way?

It’s a highly contentious issue, but looking at underage binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and unemployment (and hey, the London riots anyone?), it is easy to see that teens are dealing with a plethora of issues that may or may not directly result from their formative pre-teen years.

Do parents pose a problem? Is public school more likely to produce problem teens? Does creamed corn actually taste good?

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and make a snap judgement when it comes to problems of youth, but this semester will be a critical analysis that will hopefully shed some light on why teens are like they are…with a little help from the internet, scholars, not-so-scholars and their academic/not-academic-at-all works.

I look forward to exploring this issue with you all.**

*This semester.

**One person may be reading this.

 Image credit: Taken from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22036287@N06/4468911841/, artist: I Woke Up Today. Labelled for reuse


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Kirsten Dunst Bares All In Comeback Movie (via CLEO.com.au)


From CLEO.com.au

03 Aug, 2011

Just when we thought we’’d seen the end of Kirsten Dunst, bam! The Spiderman actress is back in a big way — getting her gear off in upcoming film Melancholia.

Dunst won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress in the sci-fi/drama flick where she … er, strips off for some scenes.

Getting nekkid in front of a whole camera crew would be daunting enough, but get this: Dunst’’s director, Lars Von Trier, refuses to airbrush his actors.

“I trusted everyone and the lighting was beautiful,” Dunst told Elle UK.

While most of us would need more than flattering lighting to encourage us to go nude on film, Kirsten claims she did very little to prepare for the baring role.

“I didn’t work out beforehand, it was all very natural … I don’t have any real body issues,” she told the magazine.

On her body and diet, Kirsten says she isn’t obsessive.

“I never really overeat, I shed weight in the summer, put it on in the winter and yes, I do have big boobs. People don’t realise because I cover up a lot, but they are there.”

And who can forget her trademark ‘snuggle fangs’’? Most of us would opt for braces but nope, not Dunst.

“They give me character and character is sexy,” she says.

“People comment, but the only person who ever told me to fix them was my mom. Mothers are always like, ‘Wear lipstick, put on rouge!’ They can be s****—-y about that stuff because they love you. I just went my own way, like daughters do.”

Melancholia, which also stars 24’s Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg is due for Australian release later this year.

Welcome back Kiki!

By Mel Evans

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Promoting healthy body image discovers a deeper issue


MISS Universe 2004 is the Elephant Woman. Flawed with a dimple, creases and hips which accentuated her as a real woman.

Over 400, 000 readers feasted upon the February issue of Marie Claire ready to be entertained by another tantalising article about the successful Jennifer Hawkins. It appeared they were let down dismally. On first glance eyes were greeted by the model juxtaposed alongside words such as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘daring’ Fumble through the lustrous pages of the thick magazine, however, and the reader is soon transported to another dimension. A dimension where this glamazon beauty is not leading the cause for a body happy image but objectifying her own ‘defects’ and blemishes, much to the anger of those 485, 000 who buy Marie Claire on a monthly basis.

Social commentators reported passionately about the sheer tenacity of the ex-Newcastle Knights cheerleader to pose in such a context and illustrate her “flaws”. Marie Claire readers suggested the shoot contradicted the very foundation of promoting a healthy body image to those who were suffering their own image issues.

After all, Jennifer Hawkins has made her millions for looking good.

The backfire from this shoot was illustrious, prompting the magazine industry to swiftly defend its position as a healthy, body happy advocate for women across the nation. Very angry women, that upon scanning through the glossy pages of the monthly, were now turned off the idea of buying the March issue.

Women’s rights advocate Melinda Tankard Reist was one of these readers who upon sight of a naked Hawkins was deeply offended. Marie Claire’s attempt at capturing the figure, attitude and vitality of the real woman was lost on Reist, who believes the media at the time was attempting to depict a healthy body image. However, its endeavours were empty mantras.

“There is a contradiction involved… [they were] giving the appearance of social responsibility while not actually doing anything,” Reist said.

The sheer mention of the word “real” affects women. You can feel the shudder of disgust and the verbatim sigh that resonates deeply upon sight of the article shot in response to a nation-wide survey. The results of those 5500 surveyed illustrated that only 12 per cent were happy with their appearance. However instead of prompting women to feel inspired and engaged with the content, they were left isolated and angry.

Since the January debacle, many glossies have boldly followed in editor of Marie Claire’s footsteps. The Australian’s Women’s Weekly plastered a make-up free Sarah Murdoch front and centre and Madison magazine positioned naked radio personality Bianca Dye and pop star Tiffani Wood among their pages. Australian women did not react so malevolently this time round, instead embracing the bravado of these ladies who were truly classes as “real women”.

From what evidence do these editors know the formula of the ‘real woman’?

Professor Marikka Tiggemann from Flinders University’s School of Psychology is uncomfortable when presented with the ‘real woman’ as she attempted to illustrate her strong opinion of the media, with the slightest of trepidation. Tiggemann believes there is a culture of unrealistically portraying the female body. However, as many women and men will contradict wholeheartedly, this negative affect on body image is not just the media’s fault, but society’s.

“The models present unrealistic ideals, but people need to buy into them,” Tiggeman said. “It’s [the fault of] the articles in the magazines and those surrounding the magazines.”

It has been long suggested that the magazine industry plays a pivotal role in the issue of unhealthy body image, illuminating the tense atmosphere created through Hawkins’ naked pose, sandwiched between ads for mascara and girly cars.

With confidence the deputy editor of Dolly magazine Harriet Farkash, believes the blame should be placed on the advertisers.

“While we choose to put girls of all different sizes into our editorial pages we don’t have control over the ads that go in,” Farkash said.

Remorse is lost in the voice of this professional and successful magazine journalist, who over her years of working in the fabled glossy world has come across many a ‘real girl’ slogan.

“It’s an obvious issue when advertisers are trying to sell an aspirational image but choosing these ‘perfect’ models,” she said while imitating speech marks with her fingers.

It is blatantly obvious to readers of Marie Claire that Jennifer Hawkins embodies this exact notion of ‘perfect’ and the very mention of her a ‘real woman’ is offensive and depressive.

On the other hand, perhaps we are all ‘real women’.

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My excursion to the Twittersphere

Four years ago if you asked me if I could be an avid Twit I would have probably cried and wondered why someone could be so mean. If you then asked me if I have a Facebook, I would have probably thought you were trying to make a move.

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Twitter and Facebook making university easier

Never thought I would think that a social networking site like Twitter  or Facebook would make my university course so much easier*! But alas, I have found third year one of the easiest to navigate thanks to Twitter and FB (that’s slang for Facebook, y’know).

As I’ve noticed, journalism in this day and age is snuggly accompanied by an online presence. However in my journalism course this online presence isn’t just through the blogs I post here for my Online Journalism class, but also through Twitter and Facebook pages and posts that go along with my Advanced Broadcast Journalism tutes.

My tutor, Julie Posetti, is quite a maverick when it comes to combining the world of journalism with the magical and transforming world of online. As part of my assessment, we are tweeting almost continuously about our course (Sorry to anyone that follows me that has no idea what #abj is and is quickly growing tired of it- it will end soon) and we are able to chat to other class mates and our tutors with ease through this and through our Facebook page.

I’ve posted about the pitfalls of the social networking site, especially Facebook, but here is where I shout to the world how much easier it has made some of my subjects this year (so far).

If I need to catch up on some blog posts here, I log onto my tutor Eleri’s blog page where I can see all that I need to blog about.

If i’m having trouble uploading a broadcast bulletin to the internet and I need some techno, tutor advice- I ask my tutor on Facebook.

If I want to engage in witty, educational banter with my fellow journalism green-horns, I log onto Twitter and use the ABJ hashtag.

IF only something like Twitter came along in my first year’s studies- I wouldn’t have just left the good marks for my last year.

*It also makes for great Royal Wedding coverage.

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