“For millennia, all kinds of authorities — from religion to eminent scholars — have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom. However, science tells us that animals can have cognitive faculties that are superior to human beings.” States Dr. Arthur Santiotis.

The Cove, documented in 2009, focuses on the mass dolphin killings in Japan (Taiji), Japanese fishing practises and the increasing risk in mercury poisoning in dolphin meat. It would also be relevant to mention Ric O’barrys, ‘The dolphin Project’, which aims to raise awareness to the mistreating of dolphins. During the documentary it was discussed that dolphins use a larger capacity of their brains than what humans do.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 8.29.14 pm
Taken from onegreenplanet

Research in animal intelligence has even found that cetaceans  (a.k.a, dolphins and whales) are more complex than we can ever comprehend. Through forms of communication using an echo system as well as strategic group planning to save the young orcas in Blackfish, we see a species that surpasses the way in which humans use there brains today; not to say dolphins and orcas are smarter than humans, but the cetaceans are a lot more complex than just ‘animals’. According to research undertaken by the Michigan State university, “They have the distinct advantage over us in that their primary sense is the same as their primary means of communication, both are auditory. With primates, the primary sense is visual and the primary means of communication is auditory.”  Kenneth Marable and Misha Collins even state there is a strong possibility that cetaceans can project an ‘auditory image’ to one another.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 8.05.01 pm
Taken from Daily mail

This image shows a diver in the ‘eyes’ of a dolphin to show the way in which dolphins signify images for inter-species communication. It could be said that cetaceans even break down signified images into words. This means that instead of thinking of the word ‘Sun’ and then picturing the sun in our mind, a cetacean would just skip the step and project the image of the sun.

So what am I trying to say with this example?

Cetaceans are not just ‘animals’ because of their superior intelligence.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 8.29.06 pm
Taken from onegreenplanet

Its also interesting to explore the way in which we listen to animals when they behave like humans. During certain scenes in Blackfish we see orcas given human behaviours, for instance when the young orca is taken away from the mother and the mother stays in the corner, weeping for days. Its interesting to see the way this truly effects its audience in comparison to seeing an animal being killed for food. We connect with the orca on a deeper level, due to the heartbreaking human behaviour that we can understand, however we label pig meat as pork and cow meat as beef? Is this due to the connecting stigma of an animal dying for our dietary intake? To justify the killing as, okay because we need it?

Many believe that cows and pigs may not be at the same human superiority as what we are, however as spoken about in class. Meats could be eaten in smaller doses, to save many unnecessary killings. Either way, I believe some animals are a lot more like humans than what some other species may be. **Not to justify that killing animals is okay because its not!** Therefore some animals such as cetaceans should be treated with a lot more respect than being shoved in glorified bathtubs for entertainment and tourism.

If this discussion wasn’t enough to prove that cetaceans don’t belong in tanks, here are another 10 reasons why.


Stigma surrounding Poverty

The welfare in the UK has become a lot more strict in the way it controls the recipients of welfare payouts. It has also immediately classified poverty into two groups: those who are responsible for how they became poor and those in which being poor was out of their control. This kind of structure hasn’t changed much within society over the centuries, the media works to headline cases in our country of economic crisis which gains much attention but the other crisis is the social and moral crisis which is stating that the ‘Broken society’ (the poor) are adding to this economic crisis.

As explained by Gerry Mooney, the term ‘Broken Britain’ is an extremely flexible term used to describe a range of social problems. A central argument stated by David Cameron is that “the broken and failing part of society has its roots in ‘Broken Families.'”

Its interesting to see that ‘family life’ is one of the central ideas of why Britain is deemed broken. An example shared in class was struggle street and it became apparent that many of the children documented in the series had problems due to how they were brought up, they simply didn’t know any better or were ‘born into it’.

In class we spoke about ‘Poverty Porn’, a term defined as commercialising poverty as a way of selling it to an audience. I believe Struggle street is a very good example of this, it is aimed to shed light on areas which are commonly associated with housing commission, law issues and drug use. However characters are cherry- picked, a narrator is added as well as music etc. This all adds to the entertainment factor of airing the program for SBS. We often experience the worst of that area for entertainment purposes instead of documenting the area the way it is. This sways the audiences opinion of a certain area and of the people in that community as well as an automated stigma surrounding what we have seen, adding to the way in which ‘main-stream society’ views the ‘broken society’ as a whole.

Gerry Mooney repeatedly coins the idea that people experiencing poverty are assaulted by the media within the genre of poverty porn and as a whole. Similar to Struggle street, a program named ‘The Scheme’ was aired in England targeting a housing commissioned area in Scotland. This provided a view on poverty and people experiencing poverty through focusing on individuals and their lifestyles much like struggle street.This program was not a fair representation of the area, it had no consideration for underlying issues in the economy such as the economic change in East Ayrshire.

So whats the difference between Struggle street and Jack Monroe’s blog in regards to poverty porn? In class we were asked to explain the difference between poverty porn and something else entirely. This comparison is a great example. Jack Monroe has been through poverty, she isn’t trying to sell her recipes or sell that she is poor to people. Jack has been through poverty in every shameful detail and is helping others like her. Struggle street is narrated by someone else and extremely selective on what it chooses to air, this changes an audiences opinion and creates stigma surrounding poverty.

If you have experienced the truth behind poverty, ‘poverty porn’ is nearly impossible.  You have been through it so why would you sell it as entertainment? Struggle street is produced by someone else, as entertainment. This I believe is the difference between poverty porn and plain, hard, truthful poverty.



BCM310 Week 2- ‘Selfie-absorbed’

When I hear the word ‘Selfie,’ I cringe. The notion of taking a picture of yourself, for me, is totally different to someone taking a photo of you.

I immediately think of the millions of girls who are pretty in their own way, imitate the famous ‘Kylie Jenner look’. I think of the people who are obsessed over gaining and losing followers, the people who only post online during certain times for more likes or even worse, the people who have a Instagram tracking app that alerts who has followed and unfollowed them and begins to cry at a restaurant table about how ugly they are…thats called fishing. Although I sat there and told them how beautiful they were, it didn’t seem to mean as much as those virtual likes and comments. (…not mentioning names)

The ‘selfie hype’ continues to grow as technology advances, for some, taking a selfie is a process of deleting hundreds of photos before you find the perfect one, with a perfect filter but for others a selfie may be a ‘cultural practise’ or raising awareness such as the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Theresa M. Senft and Nancy K. Baym break down what a selfie is into two different components;

  1. ‘A Selfie is a photographed object between that of a photographer and the person being photographed’
  2. ‘A Selfie is a practise- its like sending a gesture and sharing a message between individuals, communities and audiences’- this is subject to change with influences such as censorship, the amount of likes, interpretation etc.

During class we touched on the idea of Selfies as a ‘Moral Panic,’ but in understanding what constitutes as a moral panic, one has to be reminded that each generation has a moral panic (something they aren’t used to.)

Cue scene from Dirty Dancing:


The good type of Selfie: Bad Stigma surrounding Selfies:
o   A selfie movement used to empower young women. For example, the “no make-up selfie” and #Feministsareugly o   “Science Links selfies to narcissism, Addiction and Low self-esteem”
o   Selfies used to promote ALS– ice bucket challenge (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) o   Selfies have been blamed for peoples mental states
o   Selfies in the slums of brazil- fight oppression and express there true identify gives the ‘favelados’ a sense of empowerment. o   Selfies stay online forever- Do you want your future employer seeing these?
o   Political Movements such as #BringBackOurGirls as well as the #WISH movement o   We cant conceptualize a selfie or understand how that person wants to be perceived.
o   Racial Protests such as #WhatADoctorlookslike o It is impossible to control where a selfie may end up.
o   Raise social awareness such as Suicide awareness


“When a selfie enters the digital space it becomes part of a ‘digital superpublic’ this picture can live on through time, space and place”, states Senft and Baym.

Selfies today are heavily judged and scrutinised to the point where we have become scared and anxious to post a selfie or any photo of ourselves online due to what people may think or even comment. It is a selfie that stays online for all too see even if it has been deleted. A lot of Selfies depend on context, the environment we are in or the country we are in when determining how they are perceived.

John Berger states, “For centuries woman have strived for the approval of men-Men look at woman. Women watch themselves being looked at.”

But the bottom line is that are Selfies and even ourselves are perceived by others one way or another, whether this is in a good way or a bad way. We are constantly selective in the way we construct ourselves that it has become almost second nature to like or post certain things onto our online feeds.

Take a selfie, don’t take a selfie. In the end the only one who suffers the repercussions is you. Personally I believe that a selfie with purpose is a lot more effective and monumental that an everyday ‘Kylie Jenner Selfie’ but as the saying goes…

You do you, Boo!