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Film, TV

Have Women’s Roles in Media Influenced the Real World?

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A publicity show for Double Indemnity

There’s an argument that media has an effect on the people’s perception of reality. Media’s history of portraying female characters in film and television have kept them as mostly one dimensional and supporting roles. They have been the housewives, moral supporters for their husbands such as in The Dick Van Dyke Show. In films, they have been portrayed as femme fatales or in essence, sexual objects that need to be rescued in some form such as in Double Indemnity or Chinatown.

In the real world, since the moving pictures began, the world has gone through a lot. Two world wars, technology advancing faster than ever before, and the changing role of women. Females wanted not only to be doing more, they wanted the media’s representation of them to add more to what was going on in reality.

Over the years, there have been changes in the media’s portrayal of women. Women played more leadership roles such as Murphy Brown or Working Girl, where the main female character’s priority was her career. Women were shown in more powerful roles, instead of being the damsel in distress, especially in the fantasy genre. Characters like Buffy from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Xena in Xena: Warrior Princess showed young women and men that the girl can be the one to save the world time and time again.

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Detective Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

 

In recent years, we have had a stronger presence of female characters. They are multidimensional, and they come from a wide range of professions and personalities. There is the strong but surrounded by personal problems lawyer, political fixer, Olivia Pope on Scandal; the unapologetically girly-girl doctor, Mindy Lahiri in The Mindy Project; and we watched as strong and empathetic Detective Olivia Benson became a Lieutenant on the long running show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

What does this mean for media and its audience? If the argument is true, then this change of more multi-faceted female characters can help people see reality in a different way. Women can be strong, independent, smart workers and leaders. They can also care about relationships, just like many male characters have for so long in media.

If the range of female characters continues to grow, the idea of a femme fatale or damsel in distress will slowly start to change into more equal standing with the main male characters. Shows that showed men and women working together, using each others strengths to achieve a goal proved to be popular. Watching the dynamics of the journalists in The Mary Tyler Moore Show or the partners in The X Files represented a small window of what media can bring to light. Women can be the smart person in the room, and they can also work together with men, to compliment each other to achieve a greater good.

The role of female characters is in constant change and hopefully,  people’s attitudes towards women in the real world will change as well. As someone who grew up during the days of Buffy, Xena and Olivia Benson, I want this trend of strong female characters to continue. I wanted to be a writer and work in media production because I knew there is more than just what meets the eye. The femme fatales in classic Hollywood films were always the most interesting part for me but alas, we never learned their stories. We just knew that they moved the story forward for the male counterparts. Today, it is changing and I hope to be a part of that change too.

*Originally for Women on the Map.

The Baha'i Faith

A Human Rights Case for Digital Media: The Persecution of Baha’is in Iran

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Imagine not being able to go to college, let alone graduate school. Imagine not being able to get a government job or owning a business. Imagine not being allowed any legal rights or representation. I hope this is hard for you to imagine, I hope this never becomes the case for you. However, for Baha’is in Iran, this is all too real. While the persecution of Baha’is has never stopped since the faith started in Iran in the 1800s, the severities have changed over the years.

The Baha’i Faith was founded in the mid-19th century in Iran; its main principles are that there is one creator, oneness of religion and oneness of mankind. When it first began, they were brutally tortured and publicly executed. Over time, the killings stopped but there were still rumors, children were picked on and there was a constant stigma of being a baha’i. However, when the Shah was overthrown and during the Iranian Revolution in the 1980s, the brutality of torture and murder in large numbers came back. One reason is that in the Baha’i Faith, there is no clergy and the growing power of the clergy in Iranian politics found the faith as a threat. Global media attention brought this persecution to light and the government stopped killing them however baha’is are continuously not allowed basic human rights such as education or voting.

Baha’is only want peace and unity so obeying the government laws where they live are principles that Baha’is must strive for. Since the Iranian law does not grant them rights as they believe in a faith that happened after Islam, they cannot do anything about it. However, other countries are helping us change that. The US and New Zealand governments, among many others have tried to help bring rights to Baha’is in Iran; Iran signed the Declaration of Human Rights, one of the rights is the right to freedom of religion. Yet the persecution persists without an end in sight. The US House of Representatives has been working on getting House Resolution 220 passed. This resolution, “Condemns the government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” Other countries are working on similar acts and they have helped but there needs to be more media coverage to bring awareness to this injustice.

After the Iranian Revolution and well into the 1980s, Baha’is were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered without any justice. Once there was the help of the worldwide media, they are no longer being killed but they still can’t go to school. Without education, their possibility of prosperity and taking care of their families diminishes. This is a systematic way of destroying a faith and it’s followers. Not only that, but Baha’is are continuously being imprisoned, without any legal representation. All of this is due because the religion started after Islam was established, therefore, the Iranian government decides Baha’is are heretics and do not deserve basic human rights.

Many Baha’is escaped Iran and have not been able to go back home for fear of being imprisoned. My mother didn’t know that when she went left Iran to Paris for school, it would be the last time she would see home. While as an American, I have the right to practice my faith, a chance to continue my education which has led me to Georgetown, none of this would have been possible if my parents didn’t get out when they did. My mother would never have been able to own her business; my father would have never been able to go to law school.

My years spent spent traveling around the world and bringing awareness through videos and social media on the persecution of Baha’is in Iran gives me drive and purpose. The more we educate ourselves, the better our lives will be. In Iran, they decided to stop the Baha’is from progressing by stopping our education. Without worldwide awareness and pressure, nothing will change.

Digital media has allowed Baha’is and their friends to speak out against the injustices and it has helped. Continued endeavors by government and private citizens all over the world using the media will bring steps to ending this persecution hopefully, once and for all.

You can learn more about the issue and what you can do to help here.

Works Cited

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, “H.Res.220 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Condemning the Government of Iran’s State-Sponsored Persecution of Its Baha’i Minority and Its Continued Violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.,” legislation, (May 20, 2015), https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-resolution/220.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Qajar-dynasty

*Originally for gnvois.
Europe, TV, Uncategorized

The Spanish Game of Thrones

I spent a 9 days in Spain where I got to visit four Game of Thrones locations. In honor for the upcoming season, I want to share where and how to go see some of the most famous places of the series in Spain:

Dorne aka The Alcázar of Seville

Visit the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, which is also a World Heritage Site. It is also the place that is the location for the fictional place of Dorne from the popular tv show, Game of Thrones. It is in the city center and is very popular. I already wrote about how there is a cafeteria and plenty of gardens to relax and spend a couple of hours to see beauty.

About three hours away from Seville is the The Alhambra in Granada.

This is where the show originally wanted to film Dorne. However, the Alhambra is the biggest and most visited monument in Spain with about 9,000 visitors a day. It proved too expensive for the show to close it down for the several weeks needed to film and so they “settled” with The Alcázar of Seville. Still, visiting the four palaces and hearing the history of the Alhambra is well worth it and to see what could have been for the show.

The Tower of Joy aka Castle of Zafra

Rent a car and take a two and a half hour drive from Madrid to the castle that is the place for the famous Tower of Joy scene (well at least the exterior). It is a 12th-century castle located in Guadalajara. You have to go through a very rocky road uphill, take it slow but eventually you will see the castle. Reenact the scene from season 6 (I got to direct two other fans playing the parts, a geek’s dream come true). The castle is privately owned and unfortunately you cannot go inside the castle but there is tons of history. There is a board in Spanish that explains it. If you are a fan of the show and the books, it really is a thrill to see the chosen real life location for such an important even in the stories.

Italica aka Season 7 will reveal

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The Roman city and well preserved amphitheater, the third largest in the Roman Empire at the time is the setting for an unknown setting for season 7. I went a month after they finished filming in the early winter, 2016. Not much is known about this location but being a 45 minute bus ride from Seville, there is still a lot of history to learn. Only after the show airs will I (and the rest of us fans) learn what Italica was used for. Until then, we can only speculate. I theorize it has something to do with Daenerys and her dragons.

There are so many places in Spain that the show uses to film. I was happy to have gotten to see three locations and the Alhambra. All of them are historic in their own right, for centuries standing and hase it’s own stories. For us fans, there is an added element to be where the show’s fiction becomes slightly real.

Social Media

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Writing Surveys

not-see-1404401_1280Creating surveys to better your business can be really beneficial. Making sure your survey is easy to read, to answer and avoid confusion is key. Here are three big no-nos:

Double-barreled questions

This is really unnecessary and annoying, right? Basically, don’t ask two questions and force them to give one answer. It really doesn’t save time, it can even hurt your results. For instance, for your restaurant, do not ask: Do you wish we had more chocolate options and service was nicer.

Instead you can ask:

  1. Do you wish we had more chocolate options?: Yes or No
  2. Do you think our service could be improved? : Yes or No

Leading questions

They really are the worse, don’t you agree? The point of a survey is that you want to learn an unbiased opinion or experience. Leading questions don’t allow that to happen. It can be hard trying to plead your case to something. However surveys aren’t about that. You want to know the truth and you can handle the truth!

Bad Example: We spent a lot of time and money on our website, was it easy to use?: Yes or No

Good Example: Was the website easy to use?: Yes or No

Avoid double negatives

That wont do you no good. If you had to reread that last sentence, I prove my point. To make an effective and quick survey (the faster it takes them, the more inclined they will participate), you need to be very on point.

Bad Example: Long lines are bad, aren’t they?: True or False

Good Example: In your opinion, the wait line is too long: True or False

If you avoid these three mistakes, you will get the most out of your survey. There are other things to help your survey. Being aware of these three is a good place to start when you first create your survey. The takers will not be confused or annoyed. You get the answers you need to make the most effective changes to progress your business.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.
Social Media

The Appeal of Anything Quick

clock-1527700_1920Why would someone want to give out a survey? Particularly for a business, it can help better their services for customers. Perhaps you would get more customers if your prices were slightly lower. You might find out that people tend to come to your store on Tuesdays rather than on Saturdays. Basically, you make a survey to get results. All of these can help you and your business do better.

So how do you get people to pay attention to you? The obvious choice is creativity but another key is quickness. The chances of anyone taking longer than three minutes out of their day to listen to you is getting slimmer. Therefore, anything that can help you get your message out there quickly is an asset.

Enter Qrvey: the free, quick survey making tool. Now, how much time do you want to take making a survey? Chances are, not a lot. Most survey makers at Qrvey take less than 4 minutes.

How much time does someone want taking a survey? As short of a time as possible! Again, with Qrvey, it takes about 60 seconds, that’s it!

No one’s time or money is wasted. The qrvey maker first has to narrow down what they really need to know. Then they can send it out to as many people as they want. The qrvey taker takes less than a minute to contribute. The results are given easily and quickly. Everyone’s a winner.

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For you and your business, how much time do you want to go over all the answers? Analyzing results and quantifying them is not the best part of surveys. Qrvey takes care of that too! All the analytics, the most popular answer, popular times people took the survey, who answered what, all of this is give to you simply and quickly.

Don’t forget that Qrvey takes care of all the steps with you and for you for no charge! From making the survey, sending it out, taking it, organizing the results – we offer it all for free! You don’t have to spend any money and spend very little time to help your business! The best things in life can be free!

So take two minutes out of your day to create an account and start your own survey, now.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.
Social Media

Never Too Late To Improve Your Business

improve-businessWhen the recession hit, a floral company in Chicago took a dive in clientele. Weddings cut back on their costs, hotels’ weekly décor changes were put on hold, and therefore flowers were not in the primary list of needs. The company went through a lot of changes. They closed their studio and moved everything into the director’s home. Over the years, things started to look up but the company could have used Qrvey’s free services to improve business. Here’s how.

With a prospering business of over 15 years in a metropolitan city, Parisian Floral Design had made many connections with prestigious  organizations, clients and hotels. When they all decided to cut back on costs, the company could have used Qrvey’s quick surveys and learned from the analytics without spending a dime. How? Quick–I mean really quick–1 minute surveys could be sent out to the client right through a follow up email after a consultation. Communicating with clients is key to improve business and Qrvey allows you to do that.

This isn’t like the common “customer satisfaction” surveys you might be familiar with. Qrvey allows you to use a template or you can create your own to  see the priorities and affordances clients have. And these surveys don’t have to be about how to improve your company specifically, they can be about how to improve business with your clients. It could ask three easy questions: how soon they think they will use the shop’s services again, how big they anticipate their next order to be and if they were happy with their current order. In less than 60 seconds, Parisian Floral Design could have gotten a heads-up that their orders were going to decrease as the recession hit.

The surveys could cater to individual clients; one hotel might have always liked big floral arrangements while another was known for it’s simple smaller arrangements. Customizing what the company knew about their preferences, they could find out what was still in their budget.

Using the ranking option, they could see what their clients were prioritizing: cost, look, monthly or weekly changes. They could also send out information on what kind of flowers and plants last the longest and are most cost efficient through a qrvey and see what the hotels are more inclined towards after they received the information.

Qrvey is an application trying to help businesses learn how they can make money while not wasting any. We aren’t reinventing the wheel but with our blogs, we hope to educate people on how much surveys can help. Qrvey is also the leader in giving all their templates and simple, yet rich, analytics all for free.

We might not have been around in 2008 but we are here now to help you improve business. Check out our infographic here on how Qrvey’s free services allow companies to learn and offer more to their clients.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.