I got my final grades from last term. I decided to do a little school post and share two of my hand in works here, in case anyone is interested. :-)
Like I mentioned earlier, we had two units last term. The first one was
ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF JOURNALISM
This unit's point was basically to introduce us to what it means to be a journalist and what are some of the key elements of it. On Friday's we also had lectures with Tony Glenville who pretty much has had the most incredible career ever. He has worked in some many different magazines, he knows basically everyone, and he has an opinion to everything - whether it's similar to mine, doesn't matter because I love hearing about his life. I wouldn't say those lectures were the most informative ones, but I would say they were the most enjoyable ones.
Over the course we had to write two news pieces (250 words), five fashion writing pieces that were a shop review (700 words), brand report (250 words), catwalk report (350 words), fashion profile (400 words), and a range review (250 words) and a news feature (800 words). We also had to write a broadcast script and do a one minute vox pop that was basically interviewing people on the streets and learning how to edit it.
Then we had teeline shorthand (pikakirjoitus in Finnish). Oh, this is tricky. I can see why teeline would be benefitial and very important for a journalist to manage, but it is like learning a whole other language (as it is). Quite a few were very keen on it in the beginning, some abhorred it from the very first day, and I stayed in the middle. I know I have to study and do well in it so I'll pass the tests (24-25/25 all of them *proudface*), but I am doubtful I'll ever master it the way I should be. Truth is that I'm just too lazy. When learning a new language, one should practice daily and thus improve one's skills. Well, I don't really do it because I just don't feel like it. However, I know I have to start practicing more if I'm ever going to pass the final exam in term three.
I guess many of you remember a couple months back when I had my hand in? I certainly do. It was a terrible time. That's a minor exaggeration, but I honestly was panicking. Coming up with text and stories isn't difficult for me, but turns out journalism is a lot more than just writing. We need to interview and talk to people all the time and find out about something to report about. It can get very stressful, especially when you don't have any contacts in a new city. Somehow I did manage to get all my quotes and survived the last term. Now I'll be a bit more wiser and start gathering the quotes a lot earlier.
So for our hand in we needed to complete the news feature, one news story, two fashion writing (I did catwalk and brand (and didn't actually bother to write the others, oops)), the broadcast script and the vox. I got B as the final grade and I am completely satisfied with it. I had no idea how they were going to mark the texts, but luckily now I had some kind of an idea for this term.
I've attached here my best work (got the best feedback) which is the catwalk report. Read it if you wish!
Catwalk Report for Chloé S/S15
Clare Waight Keller continues to elate us. Her newest spring/summer collection for Chloé was primed to be a success from the opening look – a gorgeous white, highly detailed mini dress promised to give us a magical, brisk and artful show. And it did.
Differentiating from her previous spring/summer collections, this time Waight Keller used colours that imply purity and lightness, so the colour palette varied from white to powder pink and baby blue with an occasional bold splash of navy blue and mustard yellow. Waight Keller also experimented more with fabrics this year when denim overalls and suede jackets and shorts strutted along the catwalk. The most interesting piece, however, was a denim look-a-like sweater poncho and trousers. Who said fashion couldn’t be comfortable?
Chloé’s strength is to make quintessentially feminine clothes and this collection was no exception. Sheer, barely there dresses took over the catwalk along with flowing shirts with baggy pirate-like sleeves. Furthermore, 60s vibe dresses were presented to give a more sophisticated but still a feminine look.
Simplicity has been Chloé’s go-to for the past three years. However, what is lacking in prints is compensated for impressive detailing. Metal circles in dresses that create a fishnet-like pattern, buttons in skirts going all the way down to the hemline, cleavage shaped like a horseshoe, and frisky cut offs are among the most intriguing details for the next season.
At Chloé little quirks and imperfections are more than acceptable according to the make-up that was as natural as can be. This nonchalant look was also demonstrated in the models’ hair that was sleek but still carefree. Chloe shows that femininity really is all about character and natural beauty.
The message that the designers, including Waight Keller, have been telling us is finally loud and clear. The liberation of the female body is happening and it’s happening now – both physically and mentally. There will be no more 6-inch heels and skinny jeans, especially not during the summer. The season is all about celebration, freedom and being in ease – and truthfully that would be almost impossible to achieve in a figure-hugging pencil skirt.
the second unit was
INTRODUCING TO STUDY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
= ISHE. Ishe, my worst enemy. Well, my problem with ishe was that I didn't really know what I was supposed to do, or what the whole course was even about. No one knew either so I felt a bit lost all the way until the hand in day - no lie. Ishe was basically a unit that taught us how to study in a university; it showed the academic side to us. We had lectures about plagiarism and how to refrence, which was very useful to brush up again.
Our major project was a 1250 word essay analyzing a magazine cover. This was all very clear until it was time to actually start doing it. We were supposed to use a lot of refrences to back up our ideas, so that meant we were supposed to be reading a lot of books. No one were, really. I managed to write a beautiful essay until the day before hand in I found out the whole essay was supposed to be based on a quote that was in our student handbook. I had heard about the quote, but I had no idea we were supposed to add it in the essay and actually refrence it. This led to the fact that I had to do some changes to my essay the night before that was obviously fun. In the end I was satisfied with my essay and ended up getting a B as well. However, I feel like we weren't instructed well enough.
We also had to write a 500 word piece about our own progress during the term and held a group presentation about a problem in fashion media. Our group chose self-censorship as our problem. The whole group presentation was a fiasco. I don't think any of us knew what our topic really was until the day before the presentation and it all seemed very hasty. I ended up getting a C+ of it, meaning that my ishe grade was B-.
All in all I didn't enjoy ishe that much, at least not in the beginning. My opinion about it changed, however, close to the end because I realized searching (and, hopefully, finding) the information can be very rewarding and to be honest, this is what I came here for. To add the academic part to this. No one said it would be the easiest part - I'm sure many would say it's the most difficult one. But this course and the one we have right now, Cultural and Historical Studies, are the ones that are supposed to develope us as thinkers and make us more knowledgeable.
I attached here my final essay. It is quite long, but hopefully some of you care to read it.
Gender and Feminism in Fashion Media
Figure 1 & Figure 2 (both from google)
This is an academic essay that explores a fashion magazine cover of Elle UK (issue 11/2014, published 2nd of October, 2014, London) and analyses how ideas of gender and femininity are presented in it. The analysis is based on a quote by Stuart Hall: “There is no single or “correct” answer to the question, “What does an image mean?” [...] Since there is no law which can guarantee that things will have “one, true meaning”, or that the meaning won’t change over time, work in this area is a debate between, not who is “right” and who is “wrong”, but between equally plausible, though sometimes competing and contested, meanings and interpretations.’
The cover is a photograph by Kai Z Feng and it is a portrait of an American actress Anne Hathaway (Figure 1). She is a woman in her thirties and sitting on, what appears to be, a red armchair or a couch. She is leaning back on the chair and her knees are bent, allowing her other arm rest against them. The hand is balancing her forehead and the fingers are on the temple. Her other arm is placed on the armrest and the hand is on her waist. She is looking at the camera with an intense look. She is wearing a black Armani jumpsuit that gives an impression of an actual suit. The zipper is open to the navel and reveals her black lace bra. Her makeup is natural, apart from her lipstick that is the shade of a plum. The colours of the cover create a contrast. The paleness of the model is emphasized with the darkness of the suit and makeup. The chair is also dark red and the back of it is grey with a light illumination on top of the picture. All the text in the picture is white with an exception of the words “thigh-high”, “statement”, “sexy” and the cover girl’s name, which are written in red.
Anne Hathaway has appeared on the cover of Elle UK twice during her career. The first time was in December 2010 (Figure 2) and the setting then was quite the opposite. In that cover she is wearing a golden sequin dress, giving the impression of a desirable goddess, whilst in her latest she is dressed in a plain, polished jumpsuit. In both of the pictures the cleavage is, however, cut very deep. The position of the model is also different where in the Figure 1 she is sitting and in Figure 2 standing one hand on her waist and the other one on her thigh. The attitude in the covers differentiates. In Figure 1 the model is looking straight at the camera and her eyes are on the same level. This gives an impression of equality with the viewer and makes her more approachable. In Figure 2 the model’s face is upright and she is looking down at the viewer. Instead of giving an equivalent feeling, the model considers herself superior and unreachable towards the viewer. However, the attempt of seduction is notable because of the intensity of the gaze is visible in both of the images. In conclusion, in Figure 2 the pose, longer hair and low cut dress give an impression of femininity whereas in Figure 1 the intent gaze, short hair and suit are signs of masculinity, parity, and feministic ideas.
The whole idea of the cover is the black jumpsuit that resembles a men’s suit. During the 19th century some women, mostly middle-class, started wearing pieces of men’s clothing. Diana Crane (2000, p.101) calls this the “alternative style” that describes women wearing “ties, men’s hats, suit jackets, waistcoats, and men’s shirts” on a daily basis. However, these were always combined “with fashionable female clothing” and didn’t give too much of an impression of masculinity. Claire Moses (1984, quoted by Crane (2000, p. 101)) says, however, that the use of trousers wasn’t acceptable because it would have come across as a too rebellious act and women weren’t ready to challenge the “system” yet. A suit, worn by a woman, was finally accepted in the 1960s because fashion designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent ((no date) http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/y/yves-saint-laurent/) and André Courrèges ((no date) http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/andre-courreges/), first presented it as a fashion piece.
According to Crane (2000, p. 174) a suit is commonly worn by men who have authority and who are in a certain profession, “such as law, finance and management.” John Molloy’s (1977, quoted in Steele (1989) p. 87) pretense “suits are associated with… power” backs this statement. Also Antongiavanni (2006, p. 64) concurs and gives an example how a work promotion is most likely to be given to the best dressed one. He also argues that men wearing well-fitting suits have the most luck with the opposite sex. Indeed, it seems like a suit, if worn correctly, is a key to success in every part of life. In addition, a suit gives a certain sense of unity and thus insinuates equality (Crane, 2000, p. 174). Unity, however, can also be interpreted as a “suppresser of individuality” (Joseph, 1986, quoted in Crane, 2000, p. 174), and this is what Hall’s (1997) quote is referring to. The interpretation of the suit depends on the wearer.
Aspiration for independence and parity was the root that led women to include menswear in their closets (Crane, 2000, p. 102). John Berger (2008, p. 39-40) argues that woman’s appearance and behavior are the most important nominators when it comes to men’s approval. That is why it is necessary for a woman to adopt the manners and personality traits that are innate to men, so that she wouldn’t need to feel inferior. According to Berger, the most dominant characteristic trait for a man is “the promise of power” that can be “moral, physical, temperamental, economic, social [or] sexual” and the bigger the promise, the more influence the man has. Steele’s (1989, p.64-66) analysis of a woman’s characteristics supports Berger’s argument as she alleges that women are “kind, love children, vain, neat [and] follow the instructions meticulously”, thus they are less likely to succeed in the business world. This reflects to Hall’s statement that each image is creating multiple meanings for various readers. Some women choose to come across as more masculine, hence powerful, when communicating with men, but behave differently when associating with the same sex.
The desire for women to become equal with men is evident in the chosen Elle cover. Like earlier mentioned, Hathaway is dressed and styled as a man, but it is her attitude that convinces the viewer about her feministic spirit. She has an intimidating, almost threatening stare at the viewer, giving the impression that she is not willing to be walked over. There are also empowering words surrounding her, such as “power” and “confident” which endorse the unsaid message. Typography is highly relevant in fashion photography, since the titles are based on the image (Jobling, 1999, p. 91).
In conclusion, women have not reached a perfect equality yet. According to American Association of University Women (18.09.2014, http://www.aauw.org/files/2014/09/The-Simple-Truth_Fall.pdf), women were paid approximately 78 cents when men in the same position earned a dollar in the United States in 2013. In addition, in some professions women are expected to wear a suit and present them as masculine, but they still need to feminize their appearance with, e.g., accessorizes and makeup. “The totally mannish look for women is still a taboo”, Steele says (1989, p.86). This is also evident in the cover photo because Hathaway’s look is sexualized with the help of the apparent lace bra. Berger (2008) claims that “the ideal spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him”, thus a woman is still considered to be socially submissive under man’s power.
However, there is evidence that the world is changing. Elle UK’s December 2014 issue was dedicated to feminism, and its cover girl was an actress and a feminist Emma Watson who held a speech HeForShe (United Nations, 2014) concerning about the importance of feminism. In the speech she, however, discussed about how feministic ideas don’t just concern women, but men as well. Like Hall said, things don’t just have “one, true meaning” (1997).
All in all I have been content with the course so far and can't wait what the future will bring with it :-)