The biggest lie you tell every day

…Is “Yes, I have read the terms and conditions.” This is because, well, in the famous words of Sweet Brown,

But perhaps people are going to reconsider that one. The recent iCloud hacking scandal resulting in celebrities having private photos sprawled across the web has caused global chaos.

The leaking of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence in particular has people asking two questions. The first question is irrelevant and unnecessary and goes something along the lines of “why would you even have nude pictures of yourself saved?” And the second, more important question is “what do you mean Google/YouTube/Facebook is already spying on us all the time anyway?”

Yes, while the hacking is not only intrusive, violating and a crime, it is also a rude awakening for many to hear that these big data companies also have access to everything you search, share and even own the pictures you upload.

Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 2.38.33 PM
Max Schrems’ 1,222 files. (Mitew, 2014)

“Okay, yeah, but so what? They’ll never really do anything with your information though,” I hear people say all the time. But if you look at Max Schrems’ case in 2011 where he requested Facebook send him every piece of personal information they had on him, he received 1,222 pages of content. From personal messages, to pages liked, to search history to GPS tracking, it was all there. Or in slightly more extreme cases, you could look at Pedro Bravo, who allegedly murdered his roommate in 2012 and then proceeded to asked his iPhone assistant Siri where to hide the body. Needless to say, this information was tracked and used against him. So, if information about you was ever needed, it’s all tucked away for future references. Our Internet and mobile phone use have become a human tracking system.

Discussing this further with peers and tutor alike, we concluded that as users of Google or Facebook, we are the product. The information extracted from our Internet use is packaged and sold as content to whoever will pay for it as needed. This is evident by just looking at Google’s terms and services which state:

“Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

So… basically we own our content but really Google does too. Looking at Mitew’s (2014) feudalism analogy, Google is the lord who owns the land, or space, on the Internet and as users, we are the vassals who may have our own space, but ultimately we work in allegiance to the lords. What is interesting is that while we work for our own survival and wealth in allegiance to the data lords, they simultaneously live off our labour.

After taking a closer look at the concept of iFeudal and terms and agreements of data companies such as Google, are you inclined to alter the content you upload and share on the Internet? Why or why not? 

Social media is turning us into goldfish

 

Social media is turning us into goldfish

This week’s topic of the attention economy and the long tail effect brought ‘produsers’ to the forefront of the network society once again. As Mitew (2014) stated in this week’s lecture, “we are in a paradigm where the former consumers are now also the biggest producers of content”.

Looking specifically at Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet, his article “Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing” (2002) analysed the use of blogs and the possible moneymaking from them.

He stated that “weblogs are becoming a vast and diffuse cocktail party, where most address not ‘the masses’ but a small circle of readers, usually friends and colleagues.” Shirky makes an interesting analogy that may have rung true in 2002, but I wonder how the dynamics of this cocktail party have changed 12 years on?

Chang & Yang (2012) said that original weblogs (now shortened to just ‘blogs’) were used for webpages with links to other sites of interest, “providing commentary for added value”, and many of them took the form of a personal diary after mid-1999 when blogging became accessible, easier and free. Evidently, the blogsites that are this ‘cocktail party’ at this point are still quite intimate, with a small circle of friends and colleagues as the targeted audience.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the blogging landscape has had a seemingly total revamp. The utility of blogs has evolved from a mere personal diary, to channels of information; focusing on journalism, education, marketing and even entertainment.

Forget partying like it’s 1999! Now, the cocktail party has become an open-house party, with bloggers reaching out to ‘the masses’ and looking beyond their small circle of friends and colleagues to share information with.

Now with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, the blogging landscape has changed dramatically, making blogging via social media an important marketing tool for businesses. Tech writer and author Kerry Butters (2013) also highlighted the interesting fact that social media has now gone from a luxury to a necessity.

With that said, it is worth noting that a lot of blogs have reverted to their old ways. Or, did they ever really change at all? With the introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so too came the return of journal entry-style blogging and a new notion of ‘micro-blogging’. Facebook asks “what’s on your mind?” and Twitter used to ask “what’s happening?” (although I’ve just noticed they’ve dropped their prompt all together, what’s up with that?).

Shut the open-house party down, while a lot of our social media and blogging is open to anyone and everyone, a whole other lot of our presence online is to engage with our friends and colleagues in cyberspace, whether it is to maintain the personal, physical relationships, or it’s simply a requirement through university, work, or upcoming events.

Going off on another tangent related to micro-blogging, it is interesting to note that while Google is the world’s largest search engine, many are surprised to read that YouTube is the second largest (Rubenstein, 2014). This is saying a lot about how the blogging landscape has changed due to social media.

Evidently, attention spans are getting smaller, and we are only permitting ourselves a small amount of concentration to absorb information each time. This is evident in that blogging has been reduced to 140 characters or less on Twitter, seven seconds in Vines, and one single picture on Instagram. Rubenstein observed that 2013 saw the rise in visuals as seen by the huge increase of numbers on Instagram and Pinterest, saying images have changed the way we digest information on social media; “they’re becoming a necessity and driving force of engagement.”

What do you think? Do you blog for friends and colleagues or are you aiming for ‘the masses’, i.e. anyone and everyone?

References

Butters, K 2013, “The Changing Social Media Landscape”, XEN, accessed August 28, 2014. 

Chang, Y. S, Yang, C 2013, “Why do we blog?”, Behaviour and information technology, vol. 32, issue 4, pp. 371-386. Accessed August 28, 2014. 

Mitew, T 2014, “The Attention Economy and the Long Tail Effect”, Global Networks, University of Wollongong. Accessed August 28, 2014.

Rubenstein, B 2014, “The Changing Social Media Landscape in 2014”, Imagine That, accessed on August 28, 2014. 

Shirky, C 2002, “Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing” in Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet, accessed August 28, 2014.  

“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

Yes, I just quoted lyrics of the great rapper Eminem in relation to “liquid labour”. Here’s why…

It always seems so absurd to me when older people criticise Gen Y for “being on the computer too much” or get offended at the sight of people “glued to their phones”. I could be biased, I could be ignorant, but I could also be a product of the “liquid modern society”.

 Deuze (2006) defined a liquid modern society as “one where uncertainty, flux, change, conflict, and revolution are the permanent conditions of everyday life” due to the convergence of production of consumption. Put simply, our work and social lives have become intertwined and now merged; borders have been obliterated resulting in the invasion of personal spaces (Mitew, 2014).

What this means is that it is almost impossible for Gen Y, and other people studying/entering the workforce to stay off their screens. Deuze also observed that a liquid modern society is evidenced through our “constant and concurrent immersion in media”. We can no longer simply “switch off” from our work lives when we get home.

The concept of transitioning from industrial production to knowledge production that Mitew (2014) spoke of in this week’s lecture was expanded on in Bradwell & Reeves’ (2008) article, where they stated the new labour market and technologies have put social networks “at the heart of organisational thinking.” For Gen Y, not only is social networking a way of the future in both work and leisure, but it is also a prerequisite and skillset required for obtaining and sustaining employment in many industries now and in the future.

Just as Kelly predicted in 1999, the new economy is all communication-based. “Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems.” Similarly, Deuze alluded to Hardt & Negri (2001) who discovered that “the anthrolopology of cyberspace is really a recognition of the new human condition.”

So, there you have it. The convergence of social life and work has resulted in a new human condition where it is –almost- only natural that we are on our screens 25/8. For work, uni or leisure, communicating is essential. Communicating via the Internet also means there are no restrictions with time and space- so it is actually totally normal for us to get a text message at midnight from our manager asking us to work the next morning. Or to receive a Facebook message from your boss enquiring about work-related topics while you’re out on a date. And naturally, we will reply. Always. Why? Well why not? Not only is it easy and efficient, but it is expected. We are expected to have an Internet connection on us at all times, and it’s netiquette to reply ASAP. Sorry people, but social networking waits for nobody. The instantaneity and ease granted with social networking makes this all possible.

This may be difficult for some people to grasp (read: older generations), because the idea of working outside of work, or being paid to tweet/Facebook/social network in general, is just absurd, right? Wrong. Producing immaterial ‘things’ in labour does not necessarily mean that they are not ‘real’, because after all, information is power (Mitew, 2014). So please, mind your own business while we’re trying to mind ours. Yes, on a screen. Yes, at 8pm while we are at the gym/shopping/working/in class/with friends.

References

Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)

Deuze, M. (2006) ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work’

Kelly, K. (1999) ‘This new economy’. In New Rules for the new Economy

Apps of the week

Apps of the week

I know I normally blog about more pressing and heavier issues, but I have to say it’s not always intentional. I just like to write about things that spark some sort of passion in me. Today my muse is on a much lighter note: apps of the week! I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to game apps, especially if it involves trivia, cute cartoons, chirpy music and a simple objective. Hence why I loved Pet Rescue Saga so much! Alas, that one got a little too tricky and my patience wore thin. But never fear, I have discovered two new little gems to add to my collection! Thanks Dan for bringing these beauties into my life.

1. Cooking Fever

If you’re into games that challenge your multi-tasking skills and you love food the way I do, then Cooking Fever is perfect for you. But be warned, excessive game play will result in strange and random cravings for hotdogs, burgers and cakes. It will also become the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep. Oh, is that just me? Okay then. The objective is simple: serve as many customers you can as quickly as you can in order to upgrade your kitchen to the best of the best and keep your customers happy. Easy enough, right? Wait until you get to level 36! 

2. QuizUp

Although it is not as new as Cooking Fever, I’ve only just recently discovered QuizUp! I’ve always been a lover of quiz games, HELLO, SPORCLE, ANYONE?! Anyway, QuizUp is basically a quiz app that allows you to challenge others in a quiz on any topic of your choosing. And let me tell you, the topics list is pretty darn extensive, I’m impressed. My personal favourite quiz topics have been the “Harry Potter Movie Knowledge Quiz” which I have aced almost every time… not bragging or anything. One thing I would like to point out though, these ‘general knowledge’ quizzes on QuizUp are really not general… I’ve struggled quite a bit with them, but not sure if it is just me. Regardless, I am now also addicted to QuizUp, and I’ve actually been learning a lot of new things! Fun, addictive AND educational… sounds too good to be true, right? WRONG. Download it now.

What are your thoughts on these apps? Any others you’d like to suggest? I’m all ears!

Why We Are Not Always Entitled To Our Opinion

“No, you’re not entitled to your opinion”- thank you, Patrick Stokes

Dyson et al. (1994) coined cyberspace “the land of knowledge”. This is because finally, in this parallel reality, humans now have scale and speed at their fingertips, allowing them control and coordination of information via digital networks (Mitew, 2014).

Information on anything and everything can be found on the Internet, and while this is usually a huge advantage of being connected to the network society, as cyberspace continues to grow and spread information quicker than ever, things are controllably getting out of control. I say controllably because that is just what digital networks and citizens of this society have; control. Well, to a certain extent.

In more recent times, large companies and governments have implemented measures in order to control what information they can from becoming accessible to Internet users. Control of information has always been highly contested especially on the Internet, but there are both negatives and positives to demanding absolute freedom or liberty in cyberspace.

Barlow’s 1996 ‘Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace’ declared, “You (the government) have no moral right to rule us… we are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity”. While Barlow’s declaration sounds ideal, it is also extremely utopian and slightly ignorant.

What if, hypothetically, someone’s expression, belief, or opinion is that they have the right to access/produce/share child pornography or abusive material on the Internet? Following Barlow’s Declaration model, everyone and anyone would have the right to participate in the harmful and morally indecent exploitation of children who do not have a say for themselves.

Patrick Stokes, Philosophy lecturer at Deakin University wrote a wonderfully accurate article on the topic of people being ‘entitled’ to their opinion and freedom of expression. He put it down to “you are not entitled to your opinion, you are only entitled to what you can argue for,” noting that people need to recognise when a ‘belief’ has become indefensible.

What do you think? Is Barlow’s Declaration correct or should we base our beliefs on Stokes’ notion?

__________________________________________________

References

Barlow, J.P. 1996, ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’

Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. 1994, ‘Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age’

Mitew, T 2014, “Understanding the Network Society Paradigm”, <http://youtu.be/BY2YR1hkGzA?list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&gt;

Stokes, P 2012, “No, you’re not entitled to your opinion”, The Conversation, 5 October. <http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978&gt;

Anarchy in the UK… but mostly on the Internet

Anarchy in the UK… but mostly on the Internet

The word ‘anarchy’ instantly has a stigma attached to it. Having negative connotations, it makes us think of disorder, chaos and an out-of-control society purely because of the absence of a government or controlling authority (or that legendary song by the Sex Pistols). But what about anarchy on the Internet and furthermore, cyberspace?

Bruce Sterling (1992) wrote that people want to be ‘on the Internet’ because they want ‘simple freedom’. Freedom to do what, exactly? Sterling basically defined the four major uses of the internet as; mail, discussion groups, long-distance computing and file transfers.

Interestingly enough, since Sterling’s A Short History of the Internet publication in 1992, not much has really changed. These four functions have merely progressed on a much wider and deeper scale. We use the Internet primarily to communicate with people, often with people over long distances even more than with people who are within close proximity. Think of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram- we are sharing files; pictures, music, links, information with anyone and everyone on the Internet, and most of the time, especially as part of generation Y, we don’t even have a particular audience. We simply project things out into the wide open for anyone and everyone to see, like, and comment on. In these activities, we have time and time again ticked off the four uses Sterling mentions- file transfers, mail, long-distance communication and discussion groups.

One use of the Internet Sterling did not mention, but probably did not doubt, is ‘prod-using’- users of the Internet who produce and create their own information, files and material to post and share on the Internet for everyone in cyberspace to see (making these people ‘produsers’). Finally, humans had created and discovered a medium and media outlet that allows our opinion and thoughts, our feedback and talk back to be just as important if not even more important than news itself. While we see and hear shocking news everyday across the globe, it seems attention on cyberspace is divided between the news provided my credited media sources, as well as people’s reactions to it.

For instance, after the tragic MH370 incident where a plane carrying 227 people vanished into thin air and still hasn’t been located today, the citizens of cyberspace reacted in a range of weird and wonderful ways to the news. A main reaction was people producing their own story in response. Conspiracy theories started popping up everywhere; some said it was a promo for the new Godzilla movie, others were certain it was aliens, many blamed the CIA and others were adamant it was an attack of terrorism.

We are at the stage where we have the freedom to post, share, say and do almost anything and everything on the Internet. Think of James on USENET in Lessig’s (2006) article. We, users of the Internet and citizens of cyberspace, are contributing to the anarchy that is the Internet. While this may sound terrible, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sterling drew a wonderful comparison between the Internet and the English language and how anarchy played out.

“Nobody rents English, and nobody owns English. As an English-speaking person, it’s up to you to learn how to speak English properly and make whatever use you please of it… Otherwise, everybody just sort of pitches in, and somehow the thing evolves on its own, and somehow turns out workable…”English” as an institution is public property, a public good. Much the same goes for the Internet. Would English be improved if the “The English Language, Inc.” had a board of directors and a chief executive officer, or a President and a Congress? There’d probably be a lot fewer new words in English, and a lot fewer new ideas.”

For all of the gruesome, disturbing and troubling things that can be found on the Internet, there are just as many amazing things to discover. Exposure to injustice has been one of the most extraordinary things to come out of the internet.

To finish off with one more of Sterling’s great quotes, “the Internet is an institution that resists institutionalisation”, and I think that is wonderful.

References

Lessig, L 2006, “Four puzzles from cyber space”, L. Lessig Code Version 2.0. 

Sterling, B 1992, “A Short History of the Internet”, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

 

A trip to Melbourne in pictures

1. Chinatown

Just a stone’s throw away from our hotel, Melbourne CBD’s Chinatown was beautifully lit every night and regardless of the chilly weather, the atmosphere was always buzzing; noodle houses were packed even on week nights. The aroma of dumplings wonderfully wafted in and out every so often as we walked along the narrow street lined with dozens of different Asian eateries and grocers.

2. Luna Park/Palais Theatre

Out of the CBD’s chaos and into the beautiful coastal suburb of Saint Kilda. The lights of Luna Park and the Theatre at night are spectacular, creating a truly majestic and vintage scenery. Such a shame I didn’t capture it at night. This one was taken during the afternoon.

3. Hardware Lane

Stumbled across this little laneway one night and it was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We were surprised to find a street lined with al fresco dining right in the heart of the CBD as we thought Lygon St was the only place like this. It had a fun, European vibe to it with a musician on the street playing funky music. Each restaurant had their host out the front trying to lure customers in with suspicious, too-good-to-be-true deals, some were very persistent! It was almost like a game to see how many we could dodge or the best deals we could get. We settled with Max’s Bar & Restaurant, scoring a free starter and two glasses of white on the house! It goes without saying, the pizza was divine. (Excuse the poor quality, my phone camera doesn’t work too well at night).

4. The Queen Victoria Markets

And on this day, I died and went to European delicatessen heaven. While there are lots of things to look through at the QV markets such as clothes and little knick knacks, we headed straight to the food hall. Cheeses by the wheel, salami hanging from the ceiling and freshly baked bread rolls galore, I have to admit this could have been the highlight of the trip. The vast range of European stalls were incredible, from Hungarian sweets to German wieners to delicious Turkish bread rolls (pictured), we had a field day picking all sorts of sandwich fillings for our lunch.

5. Catching trams

The tram system was impeccable in Melbourne. Well, coming from Wollongong/Sydney where we don’t have these services, they were really impressive. Also, what a weird and wonderful ad for a tram, right?! Definitely eye-catching, I wonder if this ad was purposely used on the trams to resonate with the saying “packed like sardines”? The simile is totally relevant, especially at seven o’clock in the evening when everyone is finishing work, definitely want to avoid the trams at these times!

 

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a bittersweet old thing. It can bring you back to blissful fluttering memories and it can also transport you back to the sickening, darker times in life.

They say that the sense of smell is one of the biggest triggers of nostalgia, but for me, it is hearing particular songs.

I’m sitting propped up in my bed wide awake on a Tuesday night, much to my dismay, because the several dogs along my street won’t stop barking. It’s 1am! I resort to my good friend, iTunes, for support. I hastily click ‘shuffle’, and iTunes answers my prayers. “Volare” by Dean Martin starts playing, and my soul is soothed immediately.

I quickly floated up and away from my room and barking dogs through the clouds of the night sky as my nostalgia brought me back to the happiest feeling and time of my life. I was like Wendy from Peter Pan, flying to my Neverland, Italy.

The Italian verb “Asolare” means to pass time in a meaningless but delightful way. (Andrews, 2006)

It’s late afternoon and the countless terracotta-coloured buildings of Bologna are illuminated a warm orange from the sunset’s glow. The air is still and balmy, the streets are filled with people who love to linger and waste time in coffee shops, bakeries and tobacconists. There is no agenda and no schedule, time is nothing and all that exists is the present. Walking along the cobblestone roads to our favourite restaurants and bars, everyone is relaxed. There is an Italian verb that describes this memory perfectly: “asolare”- meaning to pass time in a meaningless but delightful way. The fact that there is a verb to actually describe this just proves the blissful, laid-back lifestyle one can enjoy in Italy. Dean Martin brought me back to my utopia.

I find nostalgia to be one of the most intricately wonderful things. Taking a quick look at the definition of the word on dictionary.com, I find exactly why nostalgia is so bittersweet. Of greek origins, “Nost-“, means to return home or homecoming, and ‘-algia’ is defined as denoting pain or a painful condition.

And it is so very true. “Volare” brings me back to a place I once called home, the fleeting memories are so happy they give me butterflies in my stomach, yet Dean Martin’s rendition often manages to bring a tear to my eye. I want to go home so much that it aches, but I know it’s a time and feeling I cannot get back, even if I did go back. It wouldn’t be the same.

But I am glad my brain allows me to visit Bologna and several other places or times every now and then whenever a specific song randomly comes on… it adds a little more excitement to the wonder that is music!

What triggers your nostalgia most? 

Rape culture: it’s a jungle out there

“She was basically asking for it. I mean, look at what she’s wearing!”- Sound familiar? Most people who have a Facebook or Twitter account, or generally have an internet connection, would have seen the latest pictures circulating of Rihanna at the CFDA Awards. Notable for the sheer number she wore, allowing onlookers a glimpse of what lies beneath; a nude g-string and a pair of nipples. Oh the outrage! Boobs! Bums! I can’t believe what I am seeing! Rihanna Hold on- yes I can. While the ‘suitability’ of the dress has been questioned and outright blasted, there are more concerning issues at hand. Rihanna The real reason I felt it necessary to draw attention to Rihanna at the CFDA Awards is not because of her dress or its suitability, but because of the general public’s reaction to it. Scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, the pictures of Rihanna appear here, there, and everywhere. The other thing that appeared everywhere was the nasty, sex-shaming, victim-blaming comments. I am past the point of trying to understand or reason with people who call Rihanna or any woman not wearing a turtle-neck a ‘trashy whore’ or ‘stupid slut’. Those people are obviously ignorant and close-minded bigots who will only only bring you down to their level of stupidity if you try to engage in debate.
However, while we are on the note of sex-shaming* based on a woman’s attire, I do have to wonder what the hell is all the fuss about? These photos of Rihanna have sparked outrage and attracted the nastiest of comments, yet I am clueless as to what is surprising people. Have we not seen this before? Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, just to name a few, are all female celebrities who regularly don forms of underwear in favour of pants. They perform in front of masses of people, including children, every year in this attire. Butt cheeks out, g-string on, some sort of crop top that is basically a bra, and ta-da! You have the normal female celebrity. They’re all doing it, so why isn’t Rihanna’s dress suitable after all? Something to think about. Anyway, getting back to my point. Rape culture. If you don’t know what it is or are curious, you can read all about it and much more in this wonderfully written piece here. I cannot recommend it enough. Bookmark it for later if you don’t have the time. Anyway, to avoid this post getting way too long and boring, I will cut to the chase. Casually scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, Rihanna pops up in her sheer Swarovski dress. My first thoughts? Crickets! Her boobs are perky without a bra. I’m envious. Second thought? Oops, I think I can see her nipples. Third thought? Oh wait, that isn’t a wardrobe malfunction because she just turned around and I can see her thong. Judging by the comments other people had left on the picture above, I was alone in these observations. The amount of misogynistic, sexist comments I read was incredible.

One Facebook user commented,

“The definition of dress: to put on clothes… What are we telling young ladies and then telling the men to keep it in their pants- mixed messages. What’s wrong with covering up and leaving a little for the imagination… Judge a person by the content but how do you judge this?”

Right. So apparently we are sending ‘mixed messages’ to the males out there because while we tell them to ‘keep it in their pants’, there are women like Rihanna who have an amazing butt and boobs and decide they’d like to flaunt them. How dare she! Heavens forbid we expect men to actually take control of their thoughts and actions, obviously it’s up to us females to dress appropriately to prevent any harassment. Know what that’s called? Rape culture.

It gets worse. Another Facebook user apparently discovered the formula to Chris Brown beating up Rihanna. Her clothes! He wrote:

“This is why Chris pimp slapped her… if the mother from Everybody Hates Chris saw her in this she would knock her into next week.”

Because of course, violence is the answer. Said nobody ever. This misogynistic mindset is unfortunately nothing new and definitely not uncommon. Domestic violence against women is one of Australia’s biggest killers, and it’s obvious why when we have men judging and mistreating women based simply on their clothing or sexual liberation.

To top it off, we have the comedian of all Facebook users:

“Cop’s thinking what a skank, if someone tries to grab her, she’ll expect me to put my life on the line to help her.”

Clearly just trying to be a good citizen and looking out for this poor police officer. But seriously, this is an exemplary attitude condoning rape culture. This man is saying that if someone attacked Rihanna that night, that ‘poor’ cop would have to protect her. Shit. God forbid he actually does his job! Basically, this guy, and evidently many others, are saying that Rihanna is ‘asking for it’. Ah, sweet victim-blaming, we meet again. On top of that, it is sending out the message that only ‘good girls’ (‘good’ loosely defining a woman who doesn’t show skin or warrant the ‘slut’-branding) deserve protection. What utter bullshit. This is no different to saying a sex-worker doesn’t deserve protection if she is assaulted or raped. This is like saying a stripper doesn’t or deserve protection if she is being sexually harassed or assaulted because, hey, she doesn’t have feelings! She doesn’t really feel the pain of rape or violence the same way an ordinary woman does.

Doesn’t she?! Last time I checked, unless you’re Spiderman, regardless of your occupation, you are still a human who has feelings. How is this still a prevalent attitude in the 21st century? These comments are only a few of what is defined as blatantly victim-blaming. We as a society are still looking at what the victim is doing to answer for the actions of the perpetrator. This is rape culture. We don’t question what the children must have been doing when a paedophile decided to sexually assault them. We don’t assume that a wife deserved to be strangled and stabbed to death by her physically absuive husband. We don’t say the shopkeeper deserved to be held up at knife-point because, hey, that’s what you get for being open at night. No, we don’t.

So why do we still look to the victim when it comes to sexual violence? What do clothes have to do with anything? Do you think the girls that are raped by strangers in the street at night were wearing a sheer gown? Do you think their breasts were out for the world to see? Do you think their g-string was showing and that is what caused them to be raped? Obviously not. A rapist will rape regardless of how ‘sexually provoking’ the woman’s clothing is. Do you know why? Because they are only thinking about two things. How physically easy of a target (agility etc) the woman is and what’s in between her legs. That’s it. You don’t get the average bloke walking along the street and stopping when he sees a woman showing ‘too much skin’ and thinks, ‘hey, she’s obviously up for a good time, and look at what she’s wearing- obviously wants my penis in her.’ NO. That doesn’t happen. The reason, in fact, why it does happen boils down to the (mis)representations of women in our media and in our society. We are apparently the weaker sex, the nicer sex, the kinder sex, the submissive sex. It is a result of our patriarchal society- unless a woman is deemed worthy of respect and protection in the male gaze, she is nothing. We need to stop associating women with their relationship to men, and instead look at them as human, equal, individuals.

As a society, we need to stop victim-blaming. Sure, some people probably don’t even know they’re doing it. But it needs to be made known that commenting on what a woman is wearing and relating it to being attacked IS condoning rape culture. And you, whether male or female, are part of the problem if you are doing this. Don’t think what a girl is wearing is ‘suitable’? That’s (kind of) fine, you are entitled to your own opinion. BUT, for the love of humanity, please keep that opinion to yourself and DO NOT go and associate what a girl is wearing with sexual violence or abuse. They are not related issues and you’re victim-blaming if you do. If you can see a woman’s clitoris hanging out of her skirt, guess what? It doesn’t even matter, she’s not asking for it. Nip slips? Still not asking for it.

A WOMAN IS NOT ASKING FOR IT UNLESS SHE PHYSICALLY, VERBALLY, ORALLY and CONSCIOUSLY ASKS FOR IT WITH HER OWN MOVING MOUTH.

Breasts, bums, vaginas, legs; they can’t talk. They can’t ask for it. Rape culture is ubiquitous and inevitable while victim-blaming comments are still being thrown around. Regardless of what a woman is wearing, she is not asking for it. She does not deserve to be raped.

Protest Rape