Vunerable Audiences

What is a vunerable audience? Simply, it is Children. Anyone under 18 (the law says) though by children (most influenced by the media I shall be talking about) I think under 12. A vunerable audience is an audience who could be influenced, scared, tormented, scarred for life by inappropriate media for their age. This sets of the debate of what is inappropriate to certain audiences. Which would then lead to looking at that one word I used to love but  now hate….DESENSITISATION!

There is sooo much work around that word, what it means and what it represents. People could spend their life writing one essay about it. But then you could also spend your life carrying out studies to see if people are becoming desensitised. Then you could look at whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, what it says about culture and society etc etc etc. I could go on for hours and hours just listing things one could write about under this topic heading.

But I will stay on task. Everyone in my group had to look at one thing in their Cabinet of Curiosities. Here is what my group chose:
Arlene – Cheap Clothes
Daniel – Spongebob Squarepants
Emily – Fashion
Gov – Cloverfield
Scott – Robin Williams
Vlad – Cartoon Network.

Apart from my travelling and experiences in the ATC, my whole cabinet consists of controversial and influential which needs a level of maturity and way of thinking before it can be consumed and understood. I started looking at games which I have done a fair bit of research on; films which I would never recommend to a child; and music which I listen to (well that’s in my cabinet, I do have an eclectic music taste). I will come back to these later. I did, on the spot, choose to look at war films and present this to the group.

Arlene – Cheap Clothes

I have not seen what Arlene looked at in this topic area as yet. But I feel I have a bit to say about it. At first I found myself questioning her choice as to what she had chosen. It is not something you could call a ‘media platform’. However, cheap clothes shops like Primark, New Look etc are actually institutions – which are powerful and influential in the media world. If a glossy magazine told people to go buy the latest ***** from Primark then…well you get my point.
In my opinion, parents never really spend that much money on children’s clothes. They grow out of them quickly, get a lot of wear and tear and clothes are not the focus of children (as opposed to say toys). This would force them, albeit subconsciously, to seek out cheaper clothes and deals these stores offer.
If we then look at the controversy around why cheap clothes shops are priced lowly – which is apparently extortion to horrific levels (child labour, forced labour, minimum pay etc) we can then challenge the decision of parents. They are, after all, influential to their children and they are the ones communicating the media to their children who may not quite understand themselves.
What ime trying to say is that the vunerable audience, children, are being exposed to these cheap clothes whilst being trained accidentally to overlook the issues surrounding the low pricing. I think Arlene could make a strong argument for this so long as she effectively explains how it relates to the media.

Daniel – Spongebob Squarepants

I was once again sceptical of the cards Daniel would play with this topic. Having never seen the show I could not comment on whether or not any of it’s content could be harmful to vunerable audiences. Daniel found something.
In his blog, he talks about the fact Spongebob is aimed at and broadcasted to children. He is therefore influential to them. Kids will pick up on his actions and the things he does. It would seem that as well as entertaining children, the programme aims to teach children moral values and ways of thinking positively.
However, Daniel also found discussions which were negative about the programme. This was church members (I believe in America) being disgusted by an image created when Spongebob’s eyes and nose are turned upside down. It supposedly looks like a man’s genitals and caused several people to be physically ill and mentally traumatised when exposed to it. Despite having opinions, I normally do not write them and sit on the fence. But for once I have to say I find that complete balderdash! I mean someone could be holding a banana and it could be seen as provocative. The 2012 Olympic Logo is popularly described on the web looking like ‘Lisa Simpson carrying out an act of felatio’ (note I am being polite!). But to see a cartoon characters facial features as being similar to some goolies, well that’s just ridiculous.
Back to the point. If Daniel argued that misinterpreted messages could be harmful to children I would agree. If he agreed to the comment just made I would argue the exact same thing back (thank God he did not!!!)

Emily – Fashion

Emily’s topic is one I actually have studied before. Without pretty much rewriting what she has talked about, her article is about Gok Wan trying to change the ways women think about their bodies.
When relating this to vunerable audiences, it is easily observed that young girls are particularly subjected to the concept of ‘looking good’. For this reason I feel Emily’s article is really really important in the issue of vunerable audiences. People aspire to look like the models and celebrities they see in the media. Most women are represented in the media as ‘THE PERFECT WOMAN!’. People then start thinking this is how people should look. Which makes people then think how you should not look is the opposite to ‘THE PERFECT WOMAN!’. Imperfections are seen ultimately negatively. This pressurising people – especially vunerable audiences!
I know he is not everyone’s cup of tea and can be an acquired taste, but I respect and admire the work and message Gok Wan is doing and giving out. He is using his celebrity status and media production to do some positive to our modern society. Go on Gok!

Gov – Cloverfield

Scott – Robin Williams

To me there are two types of Robin Williams. Mainstream comedian and adult comedian. Some of his films are remarkable (Good Will Hunting is a particular favourite) but hold no real comedic value. Others use his comedy to soften the harsh reality of something (Good Morning Vietnam springs to mind). Scott is looking at the fact that some of his work appeals to children (VA) though others should only be viewed by adults.
My first encounter with Robin Williams was in Aladdin. A children’s film. It made him known to me. It still makes him known to younger children. But then look at his stand-up material. It can get quite offensive and he uses many profanities. The issues he talks about in his jokes are also very direct and sometimes he makes comedy from the ideas many people think but few are brave enough to say out loud. In this way he could potentially influence vunerable audiences into liking him and his material, from say Aladdin, and then following his ideas and ways of being in say his stand-ups or more serious movie work.
I absolutely love Mrs Doubtfire and I would like to point out that I think this film is his bridge between his younger audiences realising and being teased into his more adult orientated stuff.

Vlad – Cartoon Network


My Choice – War Films

Ime not going to lie, I was brought up watching war films. From the old black and white features I watched in between daytime TV with my gran, to the horrific realistic gore of modern epics. I have always loved them. Although I believe they have in some way influenced me. A passion of mine is joining the Royal Air Force. As such I joined the ATC. Along with my dad’s encouragement (being in it himself) I feel my passion of war movies may have teased me into it as well.
My CofC is full of them. Although I favour the more modern ones. This is for two reasons. Firstly, like most people, the faced-paced action and dialogue is more entertaining (and me being honest) less boring than older pictures. Secondly films are now made to show emotion through experiences, characters and the occasional gore (which really shows the true nature of war). I am really interested in history of the First and Second World Wars, and other Western Wars since then. I even watch foreign movies and their outlooks on wars and crisis’. I could keep talking about this subject but I feel ime chuntering too much.
War films could be very damaging to vunerable audiences. Firstly they are graphic and gory. This is not something children should really see. It could be traumatising to them. It has been to me sometimes. Secondly they are above all, violent. They are about fighting and killing. Children shouldn’t have this forced fed to them. It is potentially harmful. Whether it makes them more violent or just desensitised I couldn’t say but it still cant be healthy for a child watching a soldier being blown apart and screaming in agony?


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