Monday, 12 October 2015


Interesting neologism [creating a new term] - the idea that feminism is being packaged and exploited by the very ad industry that has for so long (and continues to) inculcated sexism and negative gender stereotypes. This is actually part of a much older trait: powerful, challenging (counter-hegemonic) ideologies get undermined by being brought into advertising, losing their radical edge. Go back 40 years and look at how punk, an anarchic explosion of working-class discontent and challenge to corporate control through self-distribution, notably with ties to reggae and Afro-Caribbean culture, gave way to race riots as advertisers made the radical punks a colourful selling tool.

The article sampled below looks at other, older, examples, such as the Virginia Slim campaign to flog cancer sticks to women. Can these commercial ad campaigns be a force for positive change?
You can further examples in: Eight ads that shatter tired gender stereotypes.
This neologism notably came about through a hashtag...
It started, as these things now do, with a hashtag. Earlier this month, utility company EDF launched a campaign to encourage young girls to explore Stem-based careers (that’s jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths), reminding everyone that “only one in every seven” of these roles in the UK are held by women.
The way the UK’s second-biggest energy provider chose to help was to launch #prettycurious. The sell? “Sparking the imagination of young girls [and] inspiring them to stay curious about the world.” When the marketing team paid for by your electricity bill is selling female empowerment, “femvertising” is no longer a niche internet neologism, but a genuinely queasy chapter in feminism’s fourth wave.
Behold! The advertising industry, once bent on selling us sex is now selling us its disgust with sexism. Experts in the field might point to Virginia Slims, the godmother of allegedly feminist brands, selling female empowerment as far back as 1968. These were the ads that showed women sashaying, strutting and smoking with the tagline: “You’ve come a long way, baby”, making lung cancer an equal-opportunity disease.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Commutation test: Twilight gender-flipped in new Meyers book

Meyers has issued a 'fan fiction' (so-called despite being written by her, as it expresses a common fan trope) rewrite of Twilight which reverses the gender roles, with a drippy bloke clinging onto a purposeful chapette. Still sounds horrible, but it is another example of a growing trend of gender reversals, helping to add impetus and freshness to the unceasing torrent of often stinking remakes (another example, Battlestar Galactica, being a rare upgrade on the original), reimaginings - just think Ghosbusters...
Gender swapping is a powerful way to analyse the gendered nature of fiction. The more original and surprising the reworking is, the more tired and cliched the original almost certainly was. If it feels astounding to have a young guy besotted with an older, powerful woman, that is because the reverse was something we’d seen a thousand times before.
Gender-swap Twilight should expose the flaws in the original – I can’t wait.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Playlist of past/practice clips

You can use these to set yourself practice exercises - feel free to hand in any subsequent essays for marking and feedback - some in the playlist have been blocked. This includes several past OCR G322 exam clips:

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Summer 2010 Primeval clip and A essay

In the following exemplar essay (an actual student's exam essay) you can read the examiner's report and go through a response which got 48/50 to see how this question can be tackled to a high level.