Cultural Appropriation: It’s Not About Kylie Jenner’s Braids

What is Cultural Appropriation: Cultural appropriation is a sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon.

Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg has been particularly vocal in her criticism of celebrities for appropriation, recently making headlines after she called out Kylie Jenner via Instagram for posting a picture with her hair in cornrows. “When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter” Stenberg wrote. Jenner’s Response “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t” (what she really wrote “Mad if I don’t, Mad if I do”) embodies the attitude many people have towards cultural appropriation as a concept.

The bigger issue that comes with cultural appropriation is the inadvertent effect that it can have in further perpetuating stereotypes associated with the culture being appropriated and reinforcing the imbalance of power between dominant and minority cultures.

The argument that people are ‘celebrating’ or ‘appreciating’ the cultures of their adornments, is one that really just isn’t quite viable. The celebration of a culture is not done through sporting what is often a sacred and traditional cultural element at your local music festival, but the acknowledgement of the significance of the culture itself.

This notion is further expressed at the recent Met Ball, China: Through the looking glass. This theme expressed further stereotypes of China with celebrities ‘celebrating’ this theme through their costumes.  It’s possible to pay homage to a culture without turning it into a costume. Cultures are complicated and intricate. Respectfully celebrating them doesn’t involve cherry-picking disparate elements to spice up a look.

Indeed, many of The Met Ball’s outfits didn’t honor and represent China so much as exemplify Western stereotypes. Beyond being offensive, relying on symbols like dragons, braids and chopsticks to represent an entire culture is simply lazy. “The Met itself is acknowledging that these images have often been inaccurate or even based on problematic racial stereotypes such as the ‘dragon lady’ or ‘China doll’ tropes,”

The difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation is Cultural appropriation is the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture by another. It generally is applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture. Where as Cultural diversity is a form of appreciating the differences in individuals. The differences can be based on gender, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social status.


Did You Know? Studying Abroad

Australia educates 9% of the world’s cross border tertiary students. In 2004, there were 228,555 international students enrolled in Australian higher education institutions, three quarters of them onshore in the southern continent. International students constituted 24.2% of all enrolled students and provided 15% of university revenues. (Loneliness and International Students: An Australian Study,2007)

Majority of international students want closer interactions with local students, and are prepared to take risks to achieve this, however, most local students are not interested in this. Many assumptions are made upon international students, therefore individuals believing this are not making an effort to include them in class group work, friend groups etc.

This issue could stem from the ideas of ‘ethnocentrism’ which means to subjectively classify and judge other people’s cultures according to the standards of one’s own culture. As stated in Marginson’s study, international students are subordinated by ethnocentric practices and therefore lead to them being seen as inferior or in deficit.

Australian ‘English’ “G’Day Mate! Ow Ya Goin!?” This phrase being said in conduction with an extremely bogan Australian accent could sometimes be considered to be a different language. The Australian version of english is rather unique. You aren’t going to find someone calling food “Tucker” or McDonald’s ‘Maccas’ in China, India and even America  so Imagine how hard it would be for International students to come to Australia, when English is not their first language and have to try understand our bogan phrases especially when majority of the time international students learn  formal English and there is nothing formal about the Australian ‘English’.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2010-11 “one fifth of all student visa applications lodged and granted were from China”, followed by India and South Korea. The world is becoming much more of a global place and while people from non-English speaking countries are choosing to come to Australia, many Australians who study abroad are choosing to go to English speaking countries as well, the most popular being America, the UK, New Zealand and Canada. This emphasises the growing need to be able to speak english in todays global society.

While there is a lot that still needs to be done to help the transition for international students coming to Australia a bit easier, there is always the fact that travelling is a way in which you will learn life lessons and gain incredible memories. Travelling to different countries to study will enhance a persons view of the world and inspire them to think about different things that they wouldn’t necessarily think about in their home country. It opens so many doors, and in the globalised world we live in today, gaining an international education can only strengthen a person’s view of the world.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, International students, Australian Bureau of Statistics <>

Utopian or Dystopian? Which Side Are You On?

Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information. Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism’ (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 458).


Globalisation is seen as a utopian view which Marshall McLuhan has phrased “the global village” “McLuhan suggests that people of the world can be brought closer together by the globalisation of communication, no matter how far apart we may live.”

Examples of cultural globalization can be seen in our everyday lives. The Internet has exploded with a boom in technology providing individuals from all over the world the opportunity to communicate instantaneously with each other. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow this instantaneous exchange from people around the world. Public panic rooms for the invisible global village.

However, The dystopian view counters the utopian view of globalisation described above by pointing out that while the media have become indeed globally interconnected, and programs and messages circulate in the global network, we are not living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed. (Castells 2000)

Castells conceptualises globalisation in terms of a network society, in which he considers to be the dominant social structure of the information age. From this viewpoint, media globalisation can have a significant financial and cultural consequence: for instance, the Internet is the means by which we access information, power, and knowledge.

However, what happens to those that don’t have access to the Internet? These people left without knowledge become socially excluded, therefore creating what is known as information poverty.

Herbert Schiller’s theory of cultural imperialism “describes how one culture spreads its values and ideas culturally such as through the media rather than through direct rule or economic trading,” (O’Shaughnessy, M Stadler, J, 2008, pp 465). Cultural imperialism argues that the result of globalization is that some cultures dominate or intrude upon others. The main culprit for this is Western culture.

In conclusion, there are two different views that people take on globalization, the Utopian view that it has allowed interconnectedness and new forms of community. Or the Dystopian view that globalization is making people less connected, which increases the gap between the rich and poor. This further creates a loss of cultural diversity.

Which side are you on?


#Why am I so Pretty

Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. A celebrity is basically who you consider to be a ‘famous person.’ It is through each individual’s profession that allows their social media persona, to define themselves as a celebrity. For example: Kurt Coleman is famous for absoluting nothing but he is trending on twitter and all other social media accounts. He is famous for loving himself, for who he is and not being afraid to express it. There are other celebrities some would say are famous for nothing ie, Kim Kardashian and the whole Kardashian-Jenner family who on average have over 20 million followers on Instagram!! This just shows the power of social media and how internet sensations can become famous. Another example of internet sensations is YouTube stars they are famous for sitting at home filming themselves and getting paid and people are interested in them and want to follow them around and find out their every move as if they were celebrities!! Kurt Coleman became famous from posting his notorious selfies all over social media. He is a perfect example to showcase the power of the media through sharing and posting within the media. Kurt’s empire continues to grow with his up and coming clothing line, YouTube videos and never ending selfies.

3D Printing and Digitisation

In the lecture this week we examined the notion of material transformation, and how it manifests itself into manual and digital processes. We concentrate on material-digital transformations and explore the kinds of experiences made possible by various processes of making.

Essentially digitisation is the conversion of a source of analog information, such as a photograph or a text article to a digital form, predominantly onto electronic devices, so that the information can be processed and stored through digital networks. Both the conversion of images and of text are digitised quite similarly, while audio and video conversion is carried out utilising one of a few different forms of ‘digital to analog,’ which is defined by converting the file without altering the original content by using a multi-level signal. The source is assessed by measuring the amplitude and the waveform of the files.

In my groups digital artefact ‘3D printing’ it correlates with material being transformed into a digital item then back into a material again. In our video it explains how the surgeon Dr. Austin believed that scanning the heart to create a 3D model could help them study the heart’s defects. Dr. Austin called the University of Louisville and they offered a MakerBot 3D Printer to create a replica model of the heart based on 2D scans.

3D Printing goes through phases before having the final product the first phase being the scanning phase where the object is scanned and processed into the computer which is now in a digital form. This digital form can then be used a blueprint for 3D Printing where the object is then printed out of the printer. The scanning process is a perfect example of object, digital and then the digital object is printed into an actual object.

Digitisation is becoming more recognised through the emergence of technology as society unintentionally phases out the use of analog files. It is revealed as so many people rely on digital technology sources to get through their daily routines. Digitization is a forever growing trend, as technology becomes more of a necessity than a privilege.

O.K, Google

The concept of citizen journalism (also known as “public”, “participatory”, “democratic”, “guerrilla” or “street” journalism) is based upon public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing, and disseminating news and information.”

New media technology, such as social networking and media-sharing websites, in addition to the increasing prevalence of cellular phones, has made citizen journalism more accessible to people worldwide. Due to the availability of technology, citizens can often report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters.

An example of a new media convergence is the Google Glass which is the future of journalism. Sometimes breaking news happens right before your eyes while you’re out and about, Google Glass can capture those events when they take place. CNN also has a way to share the photos and footage of the action directly from the headset.

“This platform is so new, no one has defined what journalism looks like on there. It’s such an opportunity for the journalism industry to jump on”

Transmedia: The Lord of the Rings

Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story. (Jenkins,2007 )

When I was younger, I had a Care Bears book that came with a CD for sing-along songs and a VHS video I could watch while I read (it also came with a cute stuffed Care Bear—Good Luck Bear. This was in the year 2000, long before e-books, tablets, and mobile apps and games. Since then Transmedia storytelling has grown immensely One of the more popular and well-known uses of transmedia storytelling is The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is a 1950s epic high fantasy trilogy that has, over the years, expanded into various genres and media platforms. Lord of the Rings transmedia has crossed over into platforms such as video games, board games, mobile games, card games, comics, cartoons, films, songs, and internet memes (“One does not simply walk into Mordor,” etc.). There is also merchandise, like official The Lord of the Rings swords—even wedding jewelry made in the likeness of the “one ring to rule them all.” As movies based on the trilogy continue to be made, the success of Lord of the RIngs transmedia also continues to rise.

There is also the rising of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Like The Lord of the Rings,Harry Potter crossed numerous genres and media platforms – games, films, clothing, merchandise, cookbooks, and even Rowling’s own website, Pottermore.