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Creative Activism – Creating An Impact

I want my impact to be small and entertaining. There is too much sadness in our world and making a fool out of myself for ten seconds to make someone laugh is certainly a positive thing I can do.

In Iceland, we marvelled at the volcanic and mountainous scenery. Nick and I played silly buggers and reacted to it in our own take on a Carry On joke (think Kenneth Williams and “Ooooh Matron” etc).

Ooh Matron

The way we make this video a viral one is the manner in which we get it out there. It is on YouTube and we made as many tags as possible so people stumble across it. One particular tag was “Koni Mountains” as the whole Koni issue is high in media press at the minute. We were hoping people would see our video whilst looking through others. Although this seems heartless, in a practical term with something more moving or predominant or a good in the world it is an incredibly clever tactic. We find the trends on the web and make content that deals with our own issues but link it to the current affairs so when people search for it, they come across our message instead.

This could be really beneficial to a true cause or event that has real purpose in being a force for good in life. It would be seen as controversial but if good intent is behind it all then controversy will give it even more press. Perhaps in the future I could viralise something amazing in this manner.

We also spammed Facebook and Twitter with the video in hope that more and more people will view it. It already has had a lot of comments and likes on Facebook but we want it to go further.

Check Nick and I out being Dingbats by a geyser in Iceland!

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Creative Activism – Documentary Pitch

Title: Once Was Armed

Short Overview: I will put myself in the shoes of a soldier who has been maimed at war losing both their arms.

The big idea: I really want to show people how utterly life changing a war injury can make. It’s focus is not going to be the aimed at creating empathy for the affected, more than they should be angry at the lack of support they receive. Soldiers without families struggle after rehabilitation and are left completely limited in what they can do.

A synopsis: I will not use my arms for a day and attempt to carry out every day tasks. I will interview people I interact with to get their opinions of the situation.

The audience: My target audience will be anyone and everyone from the UK. I am referring specifically to the situation our armed forces are left in.

The conflict: I will be controversial in this film and ask very deliberate questions. I will ask who is to blame and also give my personal opinion in the film.

Structure: – Introduction interview with me on what I am attempting and why.
– Footage of me doing day to day tasks.
– Interviews with people about the situation.
– Reflection.

Resolution: I want to provoke a reaction for people to get off their backsides and put forward this issue across the internet – the most powerful form of speech in modern society.

Length: It will be around a minute to a minute 1/2


Creative Activism – Week Three Case Study

This weeks task was to, as a group, research a pressing issue that we were against, develop it into a case study and then plan how we would act against it. My group decided to attack the growing popular trend of “Vajazzling” by picking up early on how younger girls are thinking it’s the next big thing they HAVE to do because everyone else is doing it and the media are paying so much attention to it. Here is our work which is we collaborated on Helena Borthwick’s blog: http://helenaborthwick.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-only-way-is-vajazzles/

My part was all the background research and to construct the argument agaisnt what Amy Childs is doing because I find she glamourises sex for girls of too young an age.

The Only Way Is Vajazzles…

So what is a vajazzle??

According to UrbanDictionary, vajazzle means ‘to give the female bits a sparkly makeover so as to enhance their appearance.’

So yes, it’s when girls have their lady parts blinged!

It first became recognised in 2010 with a couple of celebrities publically coming out and saying they liked vajazzling.

This then led to Amy Childs from the reality tv show ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ making it ‘fashionable’ and ‘Popular’ in the UK.

<— example of a vajazzle! by Amy Childs herself!

Now what could be the problems with everyone getting vajazzeled up? Is there even a problem at all?

Vajazzles are seen to be sparkly and glitzy, this may then encourage young teenage girls to buy them. They see role models of theirs telling people to try it out, effectively glamourising vajazzles. This can lead to problems such as young girls wanting to get one because they’re deemed ‘cool‘ or their favourite celebrity has encouraged them.

The show ‘The Joy Of Teen Sex‘ has done this very problem. Within the show it showed vajazzles and did a couple of segments on it. From 18 minutes in it talks about vazzling (glamourising sex rather than teaching it) the audience of this show is young teenagers, what is this content telling them? That they should go out and get vajazzled? And what are the implications you’re sending out if you have one?

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-joy-of-teen-sex/4od

The Guardian went further to slam this show.

“What is visible is the increasingly blurred line between sex as pleasure and sex as performance. The Joy of Teen Sex doesn’t quite differentiate between the two.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/11/joy-of-teen-sex-channel-4

Joy of  Teen Sex does not teach teenagers about sex but how they can enhance their experiences using things like vajazzles. This show should teach about safe sex and sexuality not how to become a porn star!

Shows like ‘TOWIE’ and ‘The Joys of Teen Sex’ have had an obvious impact on younger girls and vajazzles, as these shows are often aimed at their age bracket.

You can now buy 99p vajazzles at 99p stores, making them accessible and very easy to get ahold of.  Perhaps they are sold so cheaply is their demand for them by younger girls who can’t afford expensive, salon designed Vajazzles.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2073634/The-way-isnt-Essex-Sales-99p-vajazzle-soaring-Cotswolds-West-Midlands.html

The rise in popularity even leads to things like this!

But these ‘celebrities’ (and I use the term loosely) like Jedward are meant to be role models for the young to look up to.

Evidence that the effects vajazzles have on young girls can be read about on this forum website designed for mothers. http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/advice-support-40/serious-stuff-43/535660-vajazzle-my-daughter-wants-get-one-what-would-you-do.html

A mothers 14-year-old daughter wants a vajazzle. Although she ends up applying it to her stomach like gem transfers, they’re still available to these young girls. They’re provocative.

‘My daughter came home recently and told me that her and her friends had purchased some Vajazzles from some website like the one ive linked here. When I realised that they are crystal tattoos that are placed around the vagina, naturally i was disgusted! … My Clare is only 14 and I’ve told her she is NOT having that done.’

‘I think the gem transfers are very pretty although yes on your lady bits should be reserved for adults.’

Coleen Nolan from Loose women is also appalled by vajazzles for little girls which is also termed as ‘junior jazzles

“A Vajazzle for little girls is one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard.”

“It doesn’t matter where grown women choose to stick their body adornments – that is their decision.”

“But I hate the thought that little girls might think it is cool to copy them. The makers of these Junior Jazzles say that they are not encouraging ­children to use the jewels in the same way as older girls in their late teens and 20s, but the reality is that kids always copy older people.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2011/04/14/coleen-nolan-appalled-by-vajazzles-for-little-girls-115875-23060001/

Now what possible solutions could there be to stop glamourising vajazzles to young girls??
The main problems is the way vajazzles are publicised, they are seen as cool by the likes of Amy Childs who encourages their use.
It shouldn’t be on shows like The Joys of Teen Sex which seems to glamourise it to young girls. And perhaps they should be kept as salon treatments so to appeal to the older women.
However, the people behind vajazzles such as Amy Childs can state that it isn’t glamourising them towards young girls and that
‘Despite its affiliations with Essex girls, vajazzles are actually really popular with upper-class girls looking to spend their inheritance and impress their boyfriends,’ said the 34-year-old, who has been selling beauty treatments for the last 11 years. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2073634/The-way-isnt-Essex-Sales-99p-vajazzle-soaring-Cotswolds-West-Midlands.html
Any attacks on the companies and ‘celebs’ behind vajazzles could have legal action taken for publicly attacking them for intentions they may not have had such as Amy Childs & Jennifer Love Hewitt.
No legal action has been implemented yet when it comes to vajazzles, mainly because there hasn’t been much campaigning about it in the past. However, a few discussions and bad reactions are starting to appear on sites like ‘Netmums’ and shows that there is an issue and there should be some action taken.
Here is presented a possible campaign against Vajazzles if we were to highlight the idea and raise awareness of this issue.
Caption: The Modern Day Vagina 
How it will create an impact?
The caption is very important here as it creates the link between the bright lights and these crystal gems. Christmas time is for children, decorating their trees and houses. It’s a joyful time full of bright, colourful, sparkling lights. With Christmas being a time for children, it represents the ideas of children decorating their bodies with sparkling gems.
Here is a nice quote from two women from Joys of Teen Sex :
‘It is very kind of like, ‘I’m going to have sex over the next 10 days if you get it done though isn’t it?’
‘Noo, you don’t have to show it to a boy (pause) It’s not all about boys, you can show it to your girl friends, just sat round having a cup of tea and get your vajazzle out.’
Is that what vajazzles were designed for really?! In the back of our minds, we know the answer is no.

We could use the power of tv advertisements of a young girl playing about in her Moms clothing. She goes through her Moms bedroom draws and quite clearly finds a vajazzle kit and starts applying on her arms and legs. It would show the innocence of the child and how she wants to be just like her mummy.

 Now by the end of this blog we have said vajazzles, vajazzled and vajazzling way too many times. My last question though is, why on earth would any girl want one?

It may be promoted as being ‘stylish‘ or ‘popular‘ but as soon as these girls and women get it done, they get instantly labelled by the society as ‘sluts‘. No matter how innocent they are when they have done it, at the end of the day is that meant to be ‘glamorous‘.


Creative Activism – Week Two

I am currently just reading up on items my peers illuminate on our Facebook group. It’s remarkable how someone says “This is interesting – consume it” and I unwittingly do without thinking. Independent thought is something I have always strived to achieved and normally hold this on the topics they address however, I still click on their links and read their findings or watch the video they think is great!

On a note, I did find this interesting piece of work. It really speaks for itself but I will express my thought on it:

Revolution Tools

How technology has moved on!

It really is quite a predominant thing that in today’s time, we can change so much through talking and mass congregations online instead of having to resort to extreme violence. But the question lies, is it truly effective. Is wireless the new gunpowder? Wish I had feedback on this image, it would be great to see what other people think about it.


Creative Activism – My Comments

The richness of the thought provoking images that came from last weeks task is magnificent! There were three which, when I really took into consideration, I thought made me think the most about what they represented.

The first is  Tiks < Click link!
It’s quite a comical approach I think and is plain and simple yet encourages an immediate reaction. I was sitting there looking at it and saying “Yeah what is the point of a digital book when there are real books out there”. I suppose Kindles and the like are the way forward; initially expensive but brings down the continuous costs of book; small compact; only have to have that one on you instead of carrying multiple (I take three books on holiday with me etc); can be read at night (a favourite pro of mine). But the physicality of books is something which I think we can’t loose.

Next is Sara’s < Click Link
Sara’s work is in the classic format of newspaper pisstakes which take a current affair, normally some blunder from stupid politicians, and cartoonises it in a mocking fashion that really hits home what everyone is thinking. This image looks at the atrocities of the politician expense scandal in which they were paying for trivial things with our taxpayers money whilst budget cuts were being emplaced in places of more pressing matter – NHS, schools, military etc. It was a truly appalling event and Sara hits the nail on the head by showing the Prime Minister’s toilet roll is actually money. He is tearing off OUR money and wiping his arse with it then flushing it away effectively wasting it. The image says what we all thought about it.

Finally Tom’s < Click link!
Tom’s subject matter is one that is close to my heart. I instantly recognised when I saw his image that he was thinking about the fact our military personnel are used then thrown down the gutter. The wristband was recognisable to me and I decoded it with ease as the Help For Heroes wristband that shows people’s support for the work our forces do. The Dark Blue connotates the Royal Navy; the Red connotates the Army; and the Sky Blue connotates the Royal Air Force. Each branch of the tri-service forces are affected by issues we all know about but neglect in our thoughts. Yep they win the battle, come home, get a medal but then we let me fall down the drain as problems occur to them and we don’t even bat an eyelid!


Creative Activism – Starsuckers Review

“Starsuckers“, in my opinion, is a fascinating and liberating film which really opens ones eyes to the actuality of modern society’s lifestyle, ambition for fame and what it’s worth and also how it is controlled. I thought the general look of the film was brilliant – it looked edgy and risqué which directly coordinated with the topic in question. As a documentary, it worked really well to stretch out it’s view and coerce the audience to agree with it’s cause and fuel themselves with the want to fight this oppression.

The film certainly challenges the ways the media control our look on the world and fame and celebrity culture. It also looks at the way we as users can create our own content for mass-media and then reap its benefits. On another note, it throws forward the conception that we have an innate lust for power and wealth, fortune and fame. However, the underlying message throughout the film is how easily we let ourselves become manipulated. The film itself manipulates the audience into agreeing with it without thinking for themselves. This confrontational issue slaps the viewer in the face with their own stupidity as they let themselves fall into this common occurence of not thinking for themselves.

By utilising secretly filmed footage and following press members exploiting exactly how the institutions go about manipulating our minds, “Starsuckers” shows us what is actually going on in our society and points out that we are letting it happen to ourselves by becoming endorsed by media and feasting off it at every opportunity. It’s an inspirational piece to me as I can develop my own ideas of how to stand out and not become one of these deceits which is a valuable commodity in the current age to have as people want to buy into that trust. An example of this in the film is when two normal people with no connections to fame are followed down a strip in Vegas and photographed with people acting like they are celebrities. Bystanders are drawn in thinking that they are looking at a celebrity and jump on the opportunity to be seen with them despite not knowing anything about them.

I strongly recommend the viewing of “Starsuckers” to media practitioners; they should start to think more about being a force for good in their media world (an attribute of a creative activist) instead of manipulating a suspectable, vulnerable audience.


Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities

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^^^ CLICK ON POWERPOINT TO OPEN IT ^^^

This is a PowerPoint of my Cabinet of Curiosities.

The first two pages consist of Television Programmes I am particularly fond of. Most of them are comedy (especially sitcoms) though there are two dramas in there. Hustle just fascinates me. It’s so well put together and ingenious. I’ve always been a big fan of Sharpe and I think Sean Bean is amazing (plus he’s a Yorkshire lad). I did forget to include two other programs, Merlin and The Big Bang Theory (the only American TV show on my list).

Next is a list of games consoles I have owned. I grew up with the developing world of game consoles. I was obsessed at one point. I think the main thing that stopped my ‘habit’ of constant game playing was the fact the games in the main were becoming too expensive. I was forking out £30 – £40 pounds on games (albeit they were pretty amazing) but still, it’s a lot fo money in the long run. I forgot to include these two bad boys:

The next section is about the music I like; which bands I’m into. These are only my favourite, I have quite an eclectic music taste. Though my favourite (as shown in the slide) is obviously rock! I normally listen to most stuff and I am always willing to indulge in the unknown. The characters on the following slide are two of my absolute favourite musicians; Brandon Flowers and Nikki Sixx. Flowers music is compelling, I love it. I love the way he sings and the things he sings about. I may be using one of my two guycrush cards on him as I love him! Nikki Sixx appeals more to me as a person than a musician. I love his outlook on life, his lifestyle and the way he acts (and plays too!). After reading The Heroin Diaries, my liking of Nikki Sixx turned into an obsession. He is just the ultimate rock star! I also strongly recommend his book; its both hilarious and completely heartbreaking. I know he was a sick, messed up heroin addict but I can’t help feeling sorry for him.
 I also threw in a couple of pictures of instruments (not mine) that I play. I love the piano and spend hours on it at home but my guitar is more portable and therefore easier to just pick up and get strumming.

The slides on my cadet career are relatively small in terms of the things I’ve done as a cadet but to write everything down I’ve done would take too long. These are just some of the highlights of activities I love doing.

I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in my time. I’ve visited Ireland a few times (having family there) and seeing most of the major sites there. I’ve done the main cities of England; London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham to name but a few. I’ve also seen quite a lot of my home Country, Yorkshire (particularly West Yorkshire where I am from). I’ve hit Scotland and Wales a few times, though not as much as I’d have liked to – but there’s still time. I’ve visited France several times, mostly the North (Brittany and Normandy) but I’ve been south of Paris a few times. Me and my family also spent quite a bit of time in Holland, with a few summer holidays there. I have been into Amsterdam because of this and I must say it’s a remarkable city. I have been on school trips to Bruges in Belgium (sightseeing), Paris in France (amazing trip I had to plan…will post a video of the week I spent there), and a large proportion of Rome in Italy. Rome is spectacular! Stunningly beautiful and very interesting (without wanting to sound too much of a geek). During my week there we visited the ruined town of Pompei and then climber Mount Vesuvius. I would just like to note here that my visit to Rome was last year and at the same time of the hugely devastating earthquake that killed many people there. I did feel the first two earthquakes and the substantial tremors that followed though the first time I was highly intoxicated on red wine and just thought i was too drunk. The day after the first earthquake was when we went up Vesuvius (an ‘inactive’ volcano that is many years overdue to erupt) and I was standing on top of St Paul’s Basilica (which I can honestly say was bloody scary). I forgot to put in my slide show that I visited Catalonia and Barcelona, Spain, at the beginning of this year – again with school.

 The slide about Lourdes is quite self explanatory however, I will fill in some details. I have been there twice; the first time was in Year 10 and the second in Year 12. It’s hard work but it’s rewarding and the camaraderie you build up with your friends makes you form some unexplainable bond. What we experienced there is hard to tell someone who has not been themselves. Other things we just keep to ourselves, the gratification you get from selflessly helping someone who may be too disabled to stand up or may only have a few years/months/weeks or even days to live. You also see things there that completely change your life and make you grateful for health.

The next two slides are just some of my favourite films. I could happily watch these every night. I also strongly recommend other people to view them (most are just amazing).

Edward Norton gets a slide to himself. He is, above all, my favourite actor. There are others I am fond of greatly, ones that I will watch a film just because they are in it like De Niro, Dicaprio, Pitt, Washington, Neeson, Spacey, Jackson, Bean, McKellen, Freeman (and these are only a handful) but Edward Norton, for some innate reason, is just special to me. A note people may pick up on is that all my favourite ‘actors’ are ‘male’ I do not know why this is, whether they appeal to me more being male or just because male actors are better (assumption not an opinion). I could name a few of my favourite female actors however, they rank under the the ones mentioned above. Not because of gender or even talent I just love those actors. I better list some before the WI or fundamental feminists complain to me; Brittany Murphy (check out her performance in ‘Don’t Say A Word’ – she MADE that film), Helana Bonham Carter, Judi Dench, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd (who is amazing in Twisted) and finally Famke Janssen (who I confess I fancy???). I digress, back to Edward Norton. As a massive movie geek, I have seen most of his films. The ones in particular that stand out are Fight Club, American History X and Primal Fear. Watch these performances first because I believe EVERYONE has to see them =D. His other movies are outstanding though.

David Fincher is a director I love. His films are normally gritty and dark but with a twisted, gruelling storyline accompanied with a great cast. My favourite films he has done are Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac.

Stanley Kubrick is another director I’m rather fond of. His cutting edge story telling techniques, as well as the narrative he choses to portray in film (A Clockwork Orange and The Shining) normally end him in a lot of controversy. But it’s films like Kubrick’s that pushed the boundaries of censorship and opened up doors in the media industry. His films changed our outlooks on what is deemed acceptable media and how we become more tolerant of hardcore topics.

Please take the stage, Mr Martin Scorsese, my favourite director. I can not seem to get enough of his movies. Even his older material is still good and still counted as ‘essential films to see’ (ie Raging Bull). His storylines are sooooooo intricly developed throughout his films; you can never guess what will happen. He always makes me leave his film with a gaping mouth and awe inspired drool. I take my hat off to you Scorsese, Sir.

The next two pages are filled with a number of war films I adore. I’ve always been interested in war and visual portrayals just draw me in. The modern ones, the old ones, the old old ones in black and white. I love them, especially ones concerning the RAF or campaigns (not so much the ones set around Naval Battles though the Cruel Sea’s okay I suppose, if a little long, and Das Boot’s a classic).

Anyway that’s a summary of my Cabinet of Curiosities and also how they affect me. I feel I need to go into detail on a number of things mentioned but they will be in different blogs.

P.S, finally managed to upload this bloody thing =D