Random Rambles

Theoretical Approaches and Key Concepts Evaluating the Contrasting Views of User-generated Material.

In today's cultures, particularly the western future,the use of user-generated materials (such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook) have boomed in the last decade with no signs of slowing down. People of today want that easy access to everything and everyone with a click of a button and both traditional media such as newspapers and the new media (meaning the internet) have most definitely helped contribute towards this cultural implosion of mixing up high cultural ideologies and mainstream ideologies which in a strange way have moulded into it's own hybrid or even bricolaged ideologies in which one can, for example find themselves well knowledge in the world of art and in popular music.
Now one side of it is that the people can get a liberating and fulfilling experience of it all, for example making a film has never been easier, all you need to do is get your stills camera (all of which now film) shoot something, edit it and load it up to somewhere like YouTube for the world to see! 
Now of course there is always a dark side, many people have questioned whether this 'freedom' is for the whole use of the public or is it just another way for companies to advertise and make everyone passive, leading to brainwashing ideologies into us while we sit back and believe that it us who control what we see and what we do with this new 'power'. At first I might have said that with this new 'freedom' people of today may end up challenging traditional values, morals and ideology as with so much information at your fingertips may open your mind to saying, for example, "Why do we need to marry to live happily ever after?" or "Do i really need to dress in a certain way?" and of course I still question that this is the case for some but for others the new media is filled with Irony in way. You could argue that the internet has enabled this 'Freedom' and given us 'Power' but really, all of our information is there for the world to see, once it's up it can never come down really and who really hold the power? I don't think that it is us. I think it is large corporations who own these sites knowing that whatever we find on there will effect the way we think, do and feel with things. It also holds the sense of false needs, yet we get so addicted to these sites that we are in a sense hooked on for life and really, does that sound like we are the ones with the power and the freedom?
Really we have made this new hyper-reality and us being hooked is that we convince ourselves that it really is a part of our lives and we wouldn't be able to keep up in today's cultures without any of it. We create simulacrums of ourselves and reconstruct our identities to impress others for example Facebook, we make the decision of what photo's to put up/allow and we 'like' things which we think others will accept and identify with, but you could argue that these 'decisions' that we apparently make are also effected by the media and how we see ourselves. for example young girls will see beautiful models with 'lovely' figures and clothes and this effects the way we choose the pictures. it's all very style over substance today and it is maybe ben a true fact that if your good-looking you will go far.
Maybe it is a good thing as it gives some strong people the chance to have their say and be heard, but for most I think it has taken over their lives and they really do live in this hyper-reality world and this leads to some rather scary examples of how we live our everyday lives swallowing most -wait no- all of our knowledge through the media. Whether its from the news, film, internet… think about it. how much do you learn everyday that hasn't got anything to do with media or user-generated materials?
Instead of going out into the world and being curious human beings we can satisfy or needs just by logging onto the nearest computer and 'seeing' the world from the comfort of our own homes, we turn these experiences into memories and when/if we actually visit these places we most likely don't like it as we have, like our identities, constructed our idea of a place and if that place doesn't match up we are disappointed. But then again, if we aren't fortunate enough to be able to afford to visit these places in the world, maybe it is a good thing that we are capable of doing. 

Third Wave Feminism And How We See Women In Today's Western Culture (Through Objects Of Desire And Fictions) 19.12.12
In today’s society many may think that woman are empowered and have equality. This is not true. You only need to switch the TV on or put on a film to see how women are viewed in our western culture. For example the Herbal Essences adverts will often have a woman having an orgasm in her shower while she shampoo’s her hair. This advert ties into the fiction (for women) that ‘if you wash your hair with this, you will become sexually desirable and young’ and all of this links in with our cultural ‘disease’ of narcissism and how we have become obsessed with our own appearances 24/7. Now with the herbal essences adverts it is very much about the objectifying of the female body, whereas for example someone like Lady Gaga struts around pretty much naked not for the enjoyment of the male gaze but because she likes doing it and that she makes a point that it’s not about having the ‘perfect body’. Women have become men’s objects of desire due to the media becoming the center of our culture and brainwashing us into think that these fictions of woman having to be desirable and objectified by the male gaze in acceptable.
Even cartoon adverts such as 'Confused.com' will objectify women in giving them big boobs which jump up and down and skirts which will occasionally blow up. Cartoons have been seen to attract a lot of attention from younger audiences and these sorts of adverts which at the time seem 'fun' or 'harmless' actually will effect the way women are seen in ideological terms.
But it’s not just the products of our culture that objectifies women… even our own practices, practices which are apart of our mainstream ideology, are what some now have begun to think ‘old’ and ‘out of date’. Take marriage for a good example. This time last century women who were married belonged to their husbands. They weren’t aloud to enjoy sex and they owned nothing. But why do we need to get married in this day and age? Marriage is a fiction. A story about how once you get married you will live happily ever after, have beautiful children and maybe even a family pet and everything will be absolutely fine. This last statement is most definitely a fiction because what marriage do you know of had no problems what so ever? None. And yet women crave the romantic idea that our ‘prince charming’ will sweep us of our feet and we all know the rest of that story! Marriage is such a strong fiction to women that you might argue that it has become a mainstream object of desire. If it wasn’t for the media, I would argue that maybe the idea of marriage would be non-existent. If there were no films, TV, magazines all about who is getting with whom and how so-an-so has found her ‘prince’… would we crave it? Would we think that we needed to get married to be apart of the ‘norm’ and be apart of this ideological value?
Maybe we would still get married, maybe women would still ‘belong’ to their husbands.

Okay, so we don't physically 'live in the Matrix' (as in we are plugged into... whatever that thing is in the film) but we are in the sense of how media and technology has become such important factors in modern day western culture that we are effectively  tied up with these things which we say 'help us'. But what my point is... Do they? I'm not convinced. I feel lost without my phone if I forget it or lose it for example. But what's happened to our freedom? Some may say that objects such as phones actually help us in our 'freedom' but personally, we are never alone, we are always being watched and controlled, and we don't even realise it.
Something that does bother me a lot is that we are living in a simulacrum, this is a simulated (or copy) of the real thing, a theorist named Baudrillard referred to a simulacrum as a copy of an original, which has been enhanced, exaggerated and refreshed. A easy example of this would be 'retro' things which are technically old things but give them this 'retro' name and it becomes somewhat new and fashionable. Another, more scary example is how we live our everyday experiences. In today's culture most - wait no - all of our knowledge comes from the media. Whether that's film, TV, newspaper, internet... that is where all our knowledge seems to be stored and we tend to live our lives based on these fictions and hyper-realities instead of making our own REAL experiences, Example: A girl has always wanted to go to Paris, She's watched films based there, she has looked it up on the internet and seen some beautiful pictures, she has flicked through travel brochures and she knows it will be a fabulous time. She eventually goes there and is shocked at how the hotel is kept, the people aren't friendly and basically it's not all what it cracks up to be. the moral of the story though is that we base our opinions and experiences of a place (for example) on how it is SHOWN rather than LIVING it. And what's more scary is that people in today's western culture build up a goal of say... doing a Gap Year but when it actually comes to it, their needs to see these places are slowed down due to the amount of 'images' they are shown whist researching it and might not even end up doing it. It is also harder to just GO and DO (going with the flow and all that...) whilst travelling due to modern day technology and how everything has to be done 'over-the-phone' or most recently, 'over-the-internet'. This brings me back to the heading, 'Living in the Matrix'. This is my opinion and I'm not saying it's bad, but it's something to consider. Hope it all makes sense!

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