Codes and conventions evaluation.

Mainstream Media Article: I followed the following codes and conventions that I identified in Mainstream media : firstly I chose a newspaper that was in the mainstream media which is the guardian. I picked the guardian, as mainstream newspapers either lean to the left or to the right and the guardian although slightly left leaning (labour) they’re infact liberal. I liked this as they’re for the people and are for a  global audience. This meant that they were less bias than other papers and I could write freely whilst sticking to the conventions of mainstream media by having a side the paper leaned to. I chose a topic that was topical as Orange is the New Black is a show that’s been featured in many articles and runs on Netflix currently and is very popular. They speak of current events and issues so they fit in with being general and would be of interest to those that read mainstream media as they aren’t interested in too niche of a topic. Another code that I stuck to was the use of punction and sentences that are structured well and are formal and intelligent, as mainstream media publications do. I did make the mistake of having my opening paragraph a bit to informal and personal which is not a convention of mainstream media, instead they like to keep themselves and their opinions, thoughts and experiences out of the article and they prefer to report factually and matter-of-fact. The guardian is a more artsy and relaxed paper so I felt that I could perhaps get away with it. Now having reflected I think I should avoid doing that and keep the tone of the article more professional and less like a diary in the beginning. Mainstream media publishes articles that are current and are usually the first to report on breaking news. Orange is the new black has been around since 2013 and reached its peak popularity over the past year, this means my reporting on it was not very current and it did not fit in with the code of mainstream media being current and speaking of topical news that is being spoken of that week. I would say that we were given the project about 2 months ago and I started research back then so to produce a very current topic would have been testing. I kept the reading age of my article between 8 and 15 so that it fit in with the conventions and was easy to read and understand whilst still not using any colloquial language, which doesn’t regularly appear in mainstream media. I printed my article in the layout and format of the guardian, having spent hiurs replicating the name and slogan with the date, price, location of publication and websit along with the different awards the paper had one. I kept to the font and font sizes of the guardian thus sticking to the conventions of mainstream media which is each publication uses a uniform layout, font and so forth. I failed to place an advert that was representive of a wealthy and successful company as I ran out of time and found a filler advert instead. This was not following the conventions as usually there is a half page advert featured next to or underneath the article and it is always for the same well known successful companies. Another fault was that I did not have any quotes from celebrities that are famous and would bring their fans in as potentially extra readers of the paper. I did use a picture of the cast of orange is the new black so that fans would see them and know the article is about them which is a convention of mainstream media as that way they get a larger demographic of readers. I kept my title relative to the show and used a catchy line that anyone who’s watched the show would recognise immediately. This another convention of mainstream media as bold, catchy titles are what they use to attract their readers. My title may have related to the show but it did not relate to the main point of the article, being female prisons. This fail to tie the two in, is something I would do differently next time as it just makes the article seem poorly put together.
Altogether I feel I followed the codes of conventions well but there are many improvements still to be made.
Independent Media Article: I followed the codes and conventions of independent media as best I could. I kept my topic niche and fitting in with the independent publication I had chosen, namely Attitude Magazine (a gay men magazine). The article was about how the UK has handled same-sex marriage since it was legalised in 2013, the history of how the UK treated homosexual people, Alan Turing and how the rest of the world is either like the UK or getting worse and it fit in with the magazine as the magazine’s articles only revolve around homosexual news around the world. I stuck with the conventions because I reported on Alan Turing who is a niche celebrity that was gay. These publications conventionly use celebrities that pertain to their niche topic and Alan Turing is an excellent martyr to homosexual people in their fight for equality. Codes of independent publications are that jargon pertaining to the niche topic is used and all adverts or competitions relate to the topic aswell. Attitude magazine doesn’t publish articles with adverts next to them so I didn’t get the chance to show this code. Another convention of independent media is that the articles are allowed to be a bit more relaxed and personal. The opening paragraph and the two paragraphs thereafter all follow this tone and thus keep in with the convention. The rest of the article speaks of news around the world, statistics and history but all related to homosexual people and the laws that have or did affect them. This fits in with the code that articles don’t have to be topical, as in current affairs, they can be just a perspective into the topic and general talk of it. My tone and use of language was intelligent but not too formal with a reading age of between 8 and 15 with use of some colloquial language and unconventional writing styles. Along with following the font, font size and layout of the independent magazine, I felt I successfully followed the code of how to present an independent magazine article. This also applies to the heading which was not too bold and catchy but just simple and easy to realise what the article is about. Lastly I was not able to update viewers on events for gay people, nor was I able to offer advice as firstly I am not gay and it would have been presumptuous and secondly my article was based on events that had already happened. These are conventions I did not follow, along with articles that have follow ups as I ran out of time to create a pretend next and upcoming article, in addition it is not commonplace in Attitude magazine anyway.

Experimental Media: It is there to push the envelope, make a statement and impact on the viewer, has an unconventional display and may have multiple messages that are not necessarily clear. I feel I followed these codes correctly as I presented my article on a mannequin which is unconventional and the symbols and the article along with how they were written on the mannequin all held messages relating to modern day feminism, our patriarchal society and other little messages this fits in with the code of multiple messages that aren’t exactly clear. I wrote around her genitalia and added nipple tassles, which assisted in making a statement and having an impact on the viewer.  I used the normal materials used in media such as pen, paper, paint and markers but I used them in an unconventional way to highlight the message, this is a convention of experimental media, along with the piece having a small budget, my student lifestyle allowed me to only spend £11 on getting one mannequin and fitting everything on there, I was both the artist, writer and editor. I have little wish to make money off of this work and hopefully it is evident in the sarcasm and tone of my article that it is a personal passion of mine. Yet again more conventions of avant garde work. The only characteristic I was not able to successfully fulfil, was that the work wasn’t entirely interactive but rather just a piece to look at. I would have preferred to have made a game out of it. Otherwise this was my favourite piece I did and I felt that I followed the codes and conventions well.

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Evaluation

When I got the brief for this project I was immediately excited to get started on my avant garde project as the topic of God’s and Men that we were given allowed for a variety of substantial topics that would have an impact. I couldn’t wait to be able to convey my article with a mixed media product. I researched into the sacred feminine and modern day feminism. For this I did secondary research by the means of online research and creating a research log- documenting all I had researched. I then conducted a survey on the sacred feminine and feminism, to find out people’s opinions of current day feminism and the sacred feminine in relation to our patriarchal society. I spoke to my friend Katie Wilkinson who is an active feminist and recorded some of her thoughts on the topic. This all helped me and I found it really insightful. I looked into the signs and symbols of Christianity and feminism and I researched into some of the patriarchal text in the bible. I discussed my research with my lecturer Greg and he offered the lyrics of the song James Brown- it’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world as something I could quote in my article. I liked the idea and used it. I then ordered a life size mannequin online that was just the torso. I wrote my article on the mannequins body and painted the symbols onto paper and stuck them onto her. I wrote the article over her genitals and stomach. I wrote the article in a feminine handwriting and placed my symbols and writings mainly over her genitals so people have to look at them. I wanted to do this to make them feel uncomfortable and to really take in the message of the article which is equality for woman, hence the mannequin.
I have a few things I wanted to do differently but unfortunately time and money were against me. I couldn’t afford a mannequin with all her limbs and head so my article couldn’t be as long as I’d have liked. I would have liked to be able to quote a poem of Maya Angelou as she was a proud and active feminist who based a lot of her poetry on it. Sadly I didn’t have enough time. I would have liked to have enough time to research further into monotheistic and polytheistic religions and the routes to our patriarchal society, I felt my article was just a drop in the ocean. If I had more time another change would be that any bible quotes and talk of patriarchy would be in a masculine font or handwriting. I would have liked to paint and add a lot more symbols to the mannequin aswell. I tied my article in with the theme by speaking of how religion created a patriarchal society and how certain religions still allow for woman to be oppressed.

I am quite anti-mainstream media so when I had to write an article for a mainstream media publication I was lost as to what to write about. I decided to write for the Guardian as their articles leaned to the left but not as much as any of the other publications I had read and I found them less bias and more arty and for the people. I decided that I would write about a show I had begun watching on Netflix called ‘Orange is the New Black’, I really wanted to discuss the show as it was topical and the show had a different method of presenting their stories in the manner that it wasn’t the typical beautiful models and happy ending tales holywood has force fed us, instead it is gritty and real and explores the grey areas of life and really makes some good social commentary on the American society and their systems that they use. As the Guardian is more global in its reports I thought that this would be appropriate. I did research into Piper Kerman, the woman who wrote the memoir of her life in prison and whom the show is based on. I found out her opinions on the women judicial system in America and I then researched into how the said system works. I looked into statistics on women inmates in terms of mothers being arrested and if it was an increase or decrease in inmates and why. This made up my secondary research which I also recorded in my research log. I then conducted a survey as my primary research. I tried to find out people’s opinion of the show and found that not many people watched the show but of those that did they agreed wholeheartedly with the shows opinions and ways of conveying their messages. Once I had completed my research I wrote my article and got a few people to read it and give me their opinion on the article. I then edited it and used Adobe Indesign to create the layout of my article. I followed the Guardians layout with five columns per page, a main picture in the top middle area and I kept the font and font size as close to the Guardian’s as I could.  I could not attain the guardian Egyptian font which is the font that they use so I went for the helvetica font which is the old font they used to use and isn’t too far off. I then downloaded an image of a guardian newspaper page and opened it up in photoshop. I used the colour tester tool to find out what colours the Guardian used for their name and the top block of the newspaper. All the colours were in the RGB range and so with indesign I recreated it as closely as I could.  I did this by adding a rectangle for text and then changing the colour of the RGB as found out in photoshop. I then added the text. I had many problems with the program as the text would dissapear or jump around the page and duplicate itself. I got help from Niall who simply added more text boxes and this sorted out the problem. My next problem I faced was that when trying to save the article as a pdf it still had borders around each column. Brendan who is another lecturer at the college helped me fix this by finding text boxes I had duplicated and made their opacity 100%. This worked.
I enjoyed writing the article but once more there are things I would have liked more time to work on. I would have liked to make an exact page replica of the guardian but without the font and time to work on indesign that was not possible. Another change would be to the content of the article. I enjoyed writing it, however I still felt I could have gone much more into depth into one or more of the subjects mentioned in my article like the pregnant women in prison and how their families suffer or the prison institutes going private and making money off of the prisoners. I did not have enough time or article space to do so and I landed up doing just a brief recount of prison life and the show. I felt that the theme tied in with the article as the government act like God’s amongst men.

My independent media article was another favourite I did. I enjoy writing for such publications as they’re open to being controversial and are not worried about big companies that (don’t) own them complaining about what they write. I wrote on the topical subject of same sex marriage in the UK and how far we have come. This article explored all that has happened in the UK since same sex marriage has been legalised and all that has happened around the world aswell. I then spoke about Alan Turing and his life story and his pardoning by the Queen. For my secondary research I read many articles that had been published since same sex marriage had been legalised and found out all the big news revolving around it. I then looked into how the laws had changed over the years and I watched the movie of Alan Turing’s life in “The Imitation Game”, I then researched into him further. For my primary research I did a survey on people’s opinion of same-sex marriage and found them to be very accepting and open to the topic. I decided to write for Attitude Magazine, as they are a gay men magazine that allows for articles that have some personality in them. I wrote about the history of how men were treated in Britain and (condescendingly) discussed how the Bible forbids same-sex intercourse and so forth. I then went on to mention the countries that were taking a step in the right direction by legalising same sex marriage and I spoke of the countries that still kill people for being gay. I would have changed how much I spoke of Alan Turing as I only recently found that they have infact already done an article on him.  I followed their font and font sizes as they have them in their magazine as it was simple and easy fonts to find. I did not have enough space or time to create a three page article to fit their customary picture that they attach to each article that fits onto a page and a half. I would have liked to place the date and name of the magazine where they do and the size that they do but I couldn’t afford to buy a copy of the magazine and couldn’t find any images of examples of articles to find out exactly. Instead I placed them where I thought they went. For this article I had an easier time on Adobe Indesign as the magazine doesn’t have the same layout as the guardian. It is plain and simple and easy to replicate with just the article, it’s image and only a few tidbits like the date and page number. The article required three columns and a quotation of the best part of the article in a bolder text and placed in a box. I had no trouble doing this and completed it quickly. I did run out of time to do all my finishing touches so the start of the article with its first letter wasn’t large as I should have made it and I don’t feel like I stuck to the paragraphing as they did in the magazine as theirs weren’t as evident as mine with a clear break between each paragraph. I tied the article in with my theme by speaking of how religion has caused so many homosexual men to be persecuted, hurt and oppressed.

Overall I enjoyed the project and getting to explore such cool topics. I feel I need to work on my structure of sentences and I need to put my essays together in a more clear manner but I enjoyed getting my points across and learning more about my chosen topics and different publications. My favourite was the avant garde project as I had freedom to say what I want and really try and make a statement.
(Please not my images of working will be added to this evaluation by next Tuesday as they’re still on my Mac)

Second Draft: Mainstream Media.

MY DANDELLION.

Orange is the New Black (OITNB) is the hit American comedy series currently ruling Netflix. The dynamic characters and the show’s plot have started up the controversial topics surrounding female prisons and their goings on.

Jessica Van Deventer

If you haven’t signed-up to Netflix and binge-watched all three seasons of OITNB over a long weekend whilst your friends are out taking “selfies” and licking their spilt drink off some bar counter,  then your first world life is not complete.

Orange is the New Black is the new Netflix series by Jenji Kohan that has been airing since 2003, it gives a new insight into what prison life is like in a minimum security penitentiary for a woman, based on the life events and memoir: “Orange is the New Black- My year in a woman’s prison” by Piper Kerman. If you indeed are an avid watcher of the show you would have gone through many of the heart-wrenching yet hilarious episodes that have you questioning your own prejudices and your opinions of many governmental systems.

Whilst this show is set in America, it’s stories’ are relatable to many countries all over the world, with issues of over-population, drug smuggling, explicit violence and pregnant mothers carrying their child to term whilst behind bars. All common, so to watch this show it can be an eye-opener into why women land up behind bars and how they deal with it.

As I have learnt, thanks to the show, black and white, right and wrong, are things that cannot be determined. They’re merely an opinion and it is in fact the grey areas, the interesting bits, the human parts of life that can tell you the best part of the story and the rest… well that’s up to you to decide. I began watching the show and learnt this quickly. Each show begins with the background story, flashbacks, of a different individual in the prison and how they got to where they are and each and every time – without fail, I have judged the person badly on their behaviour and the crime they have committed, but it is once the show explores their story and shows just how they got to where they are that you’re able to fully understand that they’re not bad people, they’ve just had bad things happen to them.

For most, may it be smuggling, stealing or just protesting in a prohibited area, they have been led to their crimes by men they are dating or by simply being on the streets with no other choice, violence at home, mental illness or drug abuse. Women inmates have increased by 800% whilst male inmates have increased by half of that since the 1980’s. As sentencing laws have changed in the U.S so minor offences and drug related offences which, before could be settled with mental health/Rehabilitation treatment and community service, have increased the number of incarcerations. Most of these women as represented accurately in the show, are in fact not a threat to the public but just need a helping hand and some guidance in life. Throughout the show you learn of the inmate’s stories and find out that whilst most crimes were for love or fear, the rest were accidents or women with nowhere to go. It begs to question, should the focus be on rehabilitation, recovery and finding a place for the lost soul in society.

In some of the stories, issues of institutionalisation, lack of support and poverty have led the inmates to either return to their old habits, commit suicide or ultimately land up back in prison as it’s the only place that they know. As it is, U.S prisons are severely understaffed and underfunded, so to look to them to solve this would not be the course of action,  but instead a change in mindset of the people could open this wide up and expose it for the ugly, gaping hole in society that it is. Instead of finding out what an inmate is good at doing, the inmate is forced to find 3 job interviews a week and has to go through the rejection constantly due to their criminal record even though they have served their time.

A cycle is caused. 75% of women incarcerated are not only mothers but are the only carer for their children. Women prisons are sparse in America and often the mother loses contact with her family whilst in prison as the distance is too far. This is not a system built to rehabilitate and create a flourishing society,  these women need to be helped, not locked up.

This is why I love the show. This is why I faked being ill for four days straight over a long weekend, so that I could watch every episode of every season. It was because, my judgements of each and every character changed completely once I got to know them and the strengths and weaknesses they possesed and the fronts they put up to hide them. I found myself caring and routing for a bunch of inmates. That’s when I realised,  these women aren’t bad, they’re just real and bare and so strong. They’ve been dealt a raw hand in life. I admired them all for the struggles that they had gone through and for how they had pulled through…at all. For I would’ve been found curled up in a ball having given up.

Human nature,  it is a powerful thing, something not to be quashed but rather nourished. To lock up a woman for allowing her boyfriend to sell weed in their back room so that she can afford to take her baby for his injections,  is not a danger to a society, but rather a victim of it. If not prison, then what do we do to keep society safe… and well that, is a whole other kettle of fish.

Second Draft: “…You May Now Kiss The Groom”

A look into the Homosexual rights around the world and how far the UK has come since 1533 when being homosexual was punishable by death.

Jessica Van Deventer

Here we are, it is 2015 and still homosexual people around the world are fighting for equality. They aren’t asking to be made the rulers of straight people, (as the fabulous Queens we are), no just for the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. In case you didn’t know, this is because ancient literature written thousands of years ago, made of selected books (because why use the rest of them? when the book is already SO perfect)- says so;

  1. Lev. 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” 
  2. Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”

I am not here to talk about the bible and its glaring contradictions, events that actually happened a hundred years after they were recorded to have happened or that I consider it to be just another man-made form of control. However, I do want to discuss just how far the UK has come and how far a lot of the world… hasn’t.

Our society has come a very long way within our progression of gay acceptance. to think some fifty years ago it was severely frowned upon for a man to hold another man’s hand…Western society has really progressed, and thats amazing. However, it would be ignorant to live in a little rainbow bubble thinking everyone has the same rights. people across the world, especially in countries like Nigeria are still imprisoned and even murdered purely for their ability to love. how on earth are we punishing people and hating people because of LOVE?!

Some people who are against gay marriage might use the argument of what next….? for example, you could marry your dog, or your sister or your mother or even your sandwich. But here’s the thing, incest and paedophilia are sexual perversions. they are based on manipulation and sexual abuse. Gay marriage is based on two consenting adults who love each other… I repeat… gay marriage is about LOVE, not sex.

But I am preaching to the converted here. It is 2015 and it has been almost 2 years since the legislation to have same-sex marriages in the UK legalised, has been passed. Since this, 15 000 couples of the same-sex have married, Britain had its’ first openly married gay vicar elected into the Synod of the Church of England, Tom Daley, an athlete for the UK has become engaged to Dustin Lance – a gay right’s activist and director of the movie ‘Milk’. We have had a positive change in the British public’s views of same-sex couples with half of the British public in favour of same-sex marriage and majority of the public say that same sex marriages are just as equal as heterosexual marriages. However, we have had Christopher Biggins, a tv personality who has been in a civil partnership with Neil Sinclair since 2006 who opposes the law change as he believes that marriages are for heterosexual couples and that, we can’t get rid of everything.

Over the years countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, France, New Zealand, Denmark, Uruguay, England and Wales, Ireland, Estonia, Slovenia, Finland and Luxembourg have all legalized same-sex marriage. More and more people are coming out of the closet but there are still fears of judgement and bullying. “People are scared they’ll upset their fans. but the fans don’t care.” – Christopher Biggins (Pinknews 19/10/2015)

The film ‘The Imitation Game’ 2014, directed by Morten Tyldum, starring Benedict Cumberbatch who acts out the life of Alan Turing, a Princeton graduate who helped crack the German’s Enigma machine in WW2 and thus helping to win the war. He was found guilty of gross indecency in the mid twentieth century and was chemically castrated instead of serving time in jail. He passed away in 1954 having committed suicide. A remarkable man, affected by the prejudices of that time, against gay men, a law that was only changed in 1967. Alan Turing was given a royal pardon by Her Majesty The Queen in 2013 after a campaign involving Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins.

Although we may be taking steps toward total equality, there are still 38 African countries that have laws against homosexuality. There are still five countries in the world where it is punishable by death to be gay. Iran is one of these countries as are most Middle-Eastern countries. In Cameroon if you are perceived to be gay, you are arrested. In Nigeria same-sex marriage is punishable with fourteen years in prison. Just knowing someone is gay and not turning them in, gets you arrested for aiding and abetting. No activist groups like LGBT are allowed to be formed. Russia… have public killings of gay people.

Many people are arguing that each step the Western world takes to equality for homosexual people, is a step back for all the countries opposing it as they say that if they give their homosexual people even the most basic rights they will eventually lead to becoming like the Western World.

So while we are celebrating the fights we have won… let us keep in mind those that are still in battle. Whatever you believe in, whoever you pray to or don’t… just keep in mind these innocents. For it could have been you.

“You wanna tell them their love is different, you wanna make that distinction? You wanna tell them that this beautiful and limitless thing we call love has rules and a proper way to do it and that their love is less love because an old book don’t approve it?” – ‘Same Love’ Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Experimental Media Article.

Not your property.

Jessica Van Deventer.

 

You may ask why feminism is around? women are pretty equal, right?… wrong. As we speak, there is a little girl in India being married off to someone 7 times her age. There are 15 million child brides being married off each year. One in five women are raped in the U.S. Seventy percent of women in India are abused at home. These women rarely get to speak out about this, which is why we have the voice for them – to make a change. For hundreds of years humanity has been split into male and female. For centuries just because of our gender we have been discriminated against and oppressed.

Feminism… it is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

Before the world and many of its most popular religions became monotheistic – believing that there is only one true God to rule us all, there were Pagan religions that related God’s to earth, water, light and these religions believed that there was a male Gode and his counterpart, a female Goddess. Respected and equal. Now with monotheistic religions which Christians and Muslims follow it has helped base our society as patriarchal.

In Christianity the father is seen as head of the household and provider to his family whilst the wife is the keeper of the home and the carer of children.1 Timothy 2:9 – 15* 9.

” In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

In 2006 the movie ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was released. It brought back a topic that wasn’t popular in the Catholic church. San Greal – The Holy Grail. The teachings of the sacred feminine. It is believed that early religions followed a matriarchal society and that Constantine and the Christian church did their best to destroy it. “In The Eternal moment you exist In creation itself. The Queen of Light” – Unknown. How beautiful? It is where women are seen as Goddesses and givers of life and light. This movie and book caused such a storm that the Catholic church made an open statement against them. Why such cause for concern?

Yes there are the select few who use feminism as an excuse to dress provocatively and to attract attention to themselves but I know many women who are truly passionate about equality, about recognising the differences between man and women and celebrating this, rather than putting anyone down. I had a chat with my feminist friend, Katie and asked her what her opinion was on feminists and her response was so accurate – ” I  feel that feminism is vital for gender equality. I feel that feminism in modern society however is seen as just an angry bunch of women. But there are many issues like rape culture and FGM (female genital mutation) that still are problematic today. “White feminism” however is problematic. The idea that some women call themselves feminists because it’s trendy and only care about issues relevant to them as a white person of privilege. This paints all feminists with the same brush and unfortunately makes a lot of feminist activism seem pointless and stupid. Feminism is called feminism because not everyone is oppressed equally. The same reason gay rights is called gay rights and not sexuality rights. The same reason we have black history month and not white history month. I believe that modern day feminism is vital for a pivot in the fairness and equal workings of our society. I believe we have come a very long way. But I also believe that we have a long way to go. Women across the world are still very much oppressed. And I think you’d be foolish not to want to stop that. You can’t be pissed off at feminism being called feminism when the whole history of society is documented as mankind.”

So to all those little girls that want to be footballers and mechanics when they grow up, to the women who would like to get and keep a job at the age they could be bearing children, to the women being subjected to physical, emotional and verbal abuse, to the little girl crying at night because she will have to leave her family soon and go live with a strange man. We are here for you. We are here to be your voice and your light in this darkness. Because no we are not asking to be raped, we are not asking to be hit and we are certainly not asking to be oppressed.

So in short, take your ancient book and its teachings away. For we will not be quiet. We will not be anything but the strong, independent, proud FEmales that we are. Full stop.

“It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” – James Brown

This is a man’s world
This is a man’s world
But it would be nothing, nothing
Without a woman or a girl

You see, man made the car
To take us over the road
Man made the train
To carry the heavy load
Man made the electrolight
To take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water
Like Noah made The Ark

This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world
But it would be nothing, nothing
Without a woman or a girl

Man thinks about a little bit of baby girls and a baby boys
Man make them happy
‘Cause man make them toys
And after man make everything
Everything he can
You know that man makes money
To buy from other man

This is a man’s world
But it would be nothing, nothing
Not one little thing
Without a women or a girl

He’s lost in the wilderness
He’s lost in bitterness.

Same Sex Marriage in the UK.

A look into the Homosexual rights around the world and how far the UK has come since 1533 when being homosexual was punishable by death.

Jessica Van Deventer

Here we are, it is 2015 and still homosexual people around the world are fighting for equality. They aren’t asking to be made the rulers of straight people, (as the fabulous Queens we are), no just for the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. In case you didn’t know, this is because ancient literature written thousands of years ago, made of selected books (because why use the rest of them? when the book is already SO perfect)- says so;

  1. Lev. 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” 
  2. Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”

I am not here to talk about the bible and its glaring contradictions, events that actually happened a hundred years after they were recorded to have happened or that I consider it to be just another man-made form of control. However, I do want to discuss just how far the UK has come and how far a lot of the world… hasn’t.

our society has come a very long way within our progression of gay acceptance. to think some fifty years ago it was severely frowned upon for a man to hold another mans hand…western society as really progressed. and thats amazon. However, it would be ignorant to live in a little rainbow bubble thinking everyone has the same rights. people across the world, especially in countries like Nigeria are still imprisoned and even murdered purely for their ability to love. how on earth are we punishing people and hating people because of LOVE?!

Some people who are against gay marriage might use the argument of what next….? for example, you could marry your dog, or your sister or your mother or even your sandwich. But heres the thing, incest and paedophilia are sexual perversions. they are biased on manipulation and sexual abuse. gay marriage is based on two consenting adults who love each other… i repeat… gay marriage is about LOVE, not sex.

But I am preaching to the converted here. It is 2015 and it has been almost 2 years since the legislation to have same-sex marriages in the UK legalized has been passed. Since this, 15 000 couples of the same-sex have married, Britain had its’ first openly married gay vicar elected into the Synod of the Church of England, Tom Daley, an athlete for the UK has become engaged to Dustin Lance – a gay right’s activist and director of the movie ‘Milk’. We have had a positive change in the British public’s views of same-sex couples with half of the British public in favour of same-sex marriage and majority of the public say that same sex marriages are just as equal as heterosexual marriages. However, we have had Christopher Biggins, a tv personality who has been in a civil partnership with Neil Sinclair since 2006 who opposes the law change as he believes that marriages is for heterosexual couples and that we can’t get rid of everything.

Over the years countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, France, New Zealand, Denmark, Uruguay, England and Wales, Ireland, Estonia, Slovenia, Finland and Luxembourg have all legalized same-sex marriage. More and more people are coming out of the closet but there are still fears of judgement and bullying. “People are scared they’ll upset their fans. but the fans don’t care.” – Christopher Biggins (Pinknews 19/10/2015)

The film ‘The Imitation Game’ 2014, Morten Tyldum, starring Benedict Cumberbatch who acts out the life of Alan Turing, a Princeton graduate who helped crack the German’s Enigma machine in WW2 and thus helping to win the war, he was found guilty of gross indecency in the mid twentieth century and was chemically castrated instead of serving time in jail. He passed away n 1954 having committed suicide. A remarkable man, affected by the prejudices against gay men, a law that was only changed in 1967. Alan Turing was given a royal pardon by Her Majesty The Queen in 2013 after a campaign involving Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins.

Although we may be taking steps toward total equality, there are still 38 African countries that have laws against homosexuality. There are still five countries in the world where it is punishable by death to be gay. Iran is one of these countries as are most Middle-Eastern countries. In Cameroon if you are perceived to be gay, you are arrested. In Nigeria same-sex marriage is punishable with fourteen years in prison. Just knowing someone is gay and not turning them in, gets you arrested for aiding and abetting. No activist groups like LGBT are allowed to be formed. Russia… have public killings of gay people.

Many people are arguing that each step the Western world takes to equality for homosexual people is a step back for all the countries opposing it as they say that if they give their homosexual people even the most basic rights they will eventually lead to becoming like the Western World.

So while we are celebrating the fights we have won… let us keep in mind those that are still in battle. Whatever you believe in, whoever you pray to or don’t… just keep in mind these innocents. For it could have been you.

“You wanna tell them their love is different, you wanna make that distinction? You wanna tell them that this beautiful and limitless thing we call love has rules and a proper way to do it and that their love is less love because an old book don’t approve it?” – ‘Same Love’ Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Experimental Media Design Brief.

Title:  Not your property.

I chose this title as it is short, punchy and to the point.

Format:  The article will be written on a mannequin with markers and paint.

The final design:  I will present my avant garde article on a mannequin. The article is about the present day feminism and why it has come about, venturing into how religion played a role in creating a patriarchal society. The mannequin will be covered in writing, its left side masculine font and based on how religion created a patriarchal society, with quotes from the Bible that indicate this. The right hand side will be in a feminine font and will be about why feminism is necessary and quotes from the sacred feminine teachings. She will also have a tattoo on her based on the lyrics of James Brown-“This is a man’s world”as a bit of irony.

Voice:  The voice of my article whilst being intellectual will be informal as it is an artistic piece and I want the article to match its format and interest the readers. I want to keep the sentences from being lengthy and yet keep them well- structured and comprehensible.

Target Audience: My target audience will be British Females, aged 17 to 25 that are middle/working class that are also sometimes creative and artistic. The primary target audience will have a socio-economic status of B-C whilst my secondary target audience is more broad ranging from B-D and includes males and females of an older demographic. This is because I want my piece to appeal to a mainstream audience as I feel this is a topic that should be shared and spoken by a wide range of people, the theme is topical to societies shift at the moment. My primary target is more specific and are the type of woman that I would like to read this and due to my voice in the article would be most likely to read the article. I want them to read the article as it is when they are old enough to understand the concepts being spoken about and young  enough to be the change woman need.

Inspirations: The current feminist movement in society as I feel their message is powerful and that there is truth to what is being said. My other inspirations are The Da Vinci Code and their talk of the sacred feminine and some feminist avant grade artwork that gave me the idea of using a mannequin. I love art, I love to paint and doodle. This avant grade article has given me the platform to do so.

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(Photo credit: Jordan Hanz)

Potential Problems: Feminism is a big movement in society and me putting my opinion out there is scary as I have never written about it and don’t want to only receive negative feedback about it being weak and boring. Other potential problems may be getting the writing onto my mannequin as it is plastic.

Overall Goal: To inspire and inform about modern feminism movements and the history behind gender equality.

Mainstream Media Article.

First Draft.

MY DANDELLION.

Orange is the New Black (OITNB) is the American comedy series currently ruling Netflix. The dynamic characters and the show’s plot have started up the controversial topics surrounding female prisons and their goings on.

Jessica Van Deventer

If you haven’t signed-up to Netflix and binge-watched all three seasons of OITNB over a long weekend whilst your friends are out taking “selfies” and licking their spilt drink off some bar counter,  then your first world life is not complete.

Orange is the New Black is the new Netflix series by Jenji Kohan that has been airing since 2003, it gives a new insight into what prison life is like in a minimum security penitentiary for a woman based on the life events and memoir: “Orange is the New Black- My year in a woman’s prison” by Piper Kerman. If you indeed are an avid watcher of the show you would have gone through many of the heart-wrenching yet hilarious episodes that have you questioning your own prejudices and your opinions of many governmental systems.

Whilst this show is set in America, it’s stories’ are relatable to many countries all over the world, with issues of over-population, drug smuggling, explicit violence and pregnant mothers carrying their child to term whilst behind bars. All common, so to watch this show it can be an eye-opener into why women land up behind bars and how they deal with it.

As I have learnt, thanks to the show, black and white, right and wrong, are things that cannot be determined. They’re merely an opinion and it is in fact the grey areas, the interesting bits, the human parts of life that can tell you the best part of the story and the rest… well that’s up to you to decide. I began watching the show and learnt this quickly. Each show begins with the background story, flashbacks, of a different individual in the prison and how they got to where they are and each and every time – without fail, I have judged the person badly on their behaviour and the crime they have committed, but it is once the show explore their story and shows just how they got to where they are that you’re able to fully understand that they’re not bad people, they’ve just had bad things happen to them.

For most, may it be smuggling, stealing or just protesting in a prohibited area, they have been led to their crimes by men they are dating or by simply being on the streets with no other choice, violence at home, mental illness or drug abuse. Women inmates have increased by 800% whilst male inmates have increased by half of that since the 1980’s. As sentencing laws have changed in the U.S so minor offences and drug related offences which could be settled with mental health treatment and community service, have increased the number of incarcerations. Most of these women as represented well in the show, are in fact not a threat to the public but just need a helping hand and some guidance in life. Throughout the show you learn of the inmate’s stories and find out that whilst most crimes were for love or fear, the rest were accidents or women with nowhere to go. It begs to question, should the focus be on rehabilitation, recovery and finding a place for the lost soul in society.

In some of the stories, issues of institutionalisation, lack of support and poverty have led the inmates to either return to their old habits, commit suicide or ultimately land up back in prison as it’s the only place that they know. As it is U.S prisons are severely understaffed and underfunded, so to look to them to solve this would not be the course of action,  but instead a change in mindset of the people could open this wide up and expose it for the ugly, gaping hole in society that it is. Instead of finding out what an inmate is good at doing, the inmate is forced to find 3 job interviews a week and have to go through the rejection constantly due to their criminal record even though they have served their time.

A cycle is caused. 75% of women incarcerated are not only mothers but are the only carer for their children. Women prisons are sparse in America and often the mother loses contact with her family whilst in prison as the distance is too far. This is not a system built to rehabilitate and create a flourishing society,  these women need to be helped, not locked up.

This is why I love the show. This is why I faked being ill for four days straight over a long weekend, so that I could watch every episode of every season. It was because, my judgements of each and every character changed completely once I got to know them and the strengths and weaknesses they possesed and the fronts they put up to hide them. I found myself caring and routing for a bunch of inmates. That’s when I realised,  these women aren’t bad, they’re just real and bare and so strong. I admired them all for the struggles that they had gone through and for how they had pulled through…at all. For I would’ve been found curled up in a ball having given up.

Human nature,  it is a powerful thing, something not to be quashed but rather nourished. To lock up a woman for allowing her boyfriend to sell weed in their back room so that she can take her baby for his injections,  is not a danger to our society, but rather a victim of it. If not prison, then what do we do to keep society safe… and well that, is a whole other kettle of fish.