All posts by sophiaabuelsaud

Photoshop Frenzy

My piece of online media is from Upworthy. The video displays a woman during a photo-shoot, and how Photoshop is used to transform her body into something other than her own. At the beginning of the video, the young woman has no make up one, and is half naked. Hairstylists and make-up artists do their work and create a completely different person. The lighting is then changed so that the woman looks longer, leaner and thinner. Then Photoshop comes in to play; making her eyes bigger, neck longer, legs longer, and so much more. The final product is no longer the same woman. She is edited and airbrushed.

In terms of ideologies, we can see through this picture, the nature of the how the world views beauty and women. It’s the ideology that we need make-up and styled hair, airbrushing and Photoshop to be beautiful. And if we don’t have any of that, we aren’t worthy of being beautiful. This piece of media illustrates how our society is obsessed with external beauty, rather than internal.

The stereotype that women aren’t beautiful in their natural, untouched skin is a stereotype portrayed here. This has a huge effect because women, and young girls need to love themselves just the way they are; yet with Photoshop, an unrealistic view of a woman is portrayed. This has a huge influence on young girls, going through puberty, who are growing up and want to be seen as beautiful. This video shows them there is only one type of beauty, and if you don’t fit that mold, then you aren’t beautiful. This has huge consequences, such as self-esteem issues, eating disorders, depression and others.

Another problem is that the woman is topless. Her chest is hidden, but this video glamorizes taking off ones clothes to the public. It shows that you need to take your clothes off to receive attention from men, the world, etc. This is a problem, because it’s a show of disrespect for yourself. Everyone deserves respect, and every body should be sacred, and shouldn’t be showed to the whole world. Being that exposed, in my opinion, shows a deep lack of self-esteem and confidence. You don’t need to take your clothes off to be beautiful; it’s possible to love and be proud of your body, without revealing too much to everyone else.

technology and the future

Obviously in the past ten years, technology has transformed lives; with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other sorts of new media emerging, people are always connected, sharing, updating, tweeting, posting…you name it. New media has created a tech savvy, but also a tech obsessed generation. IPhones are now considered an extension to the body, never leaving someone’s hand.  Instead of conversing at diner, people are on their phones texting, checking their social media pages. I saw one commercial that describes scenarios where people are missing moments with their children, coworkers, and friends, because they are on their phones.

This commercial is accurate in that people are spending too much time on technology, instead of interacting with the people around them. Apple responded with a commercial which displayed a child obsessed with their IPhone during a holiday gathering, but instead of checking their social media pages, this child was putting together a video of the holiday experience, documenting the family together.

I’m not saying that technology and new media haven’t had a poor effect on youth, but I will say that technology and new media have been used to organize and create change. During the Arab Spring, activists took to twitter and other social media pages to organize, debate, and protest. Social media had a huge role in ending Mubarak’s reign.

As far as the future goes, there will never be a limit. Something new can always be created or invented in the fields of technology. Wearable technology, in the next ten years, is really going to take off, as well as smart kitchens and smart cars. Every year in Las Vegas, there is the Consumer Electronics Show, which displays a number of new technologies. With Google glass, fin, and a number of other wearable tech emerging, the way we interact and complete day-to-day tasks will drastically change. As far as our children, I hope they don’t become as obsessed with social media as our current generation.

Wendy Davis and The People’s Filibuster

  Earlier this summer, Wendy Davis was in the news for participating in an eleven-hour long filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, a measure which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas. The Texas anti-abortion bill threatened to close nearly all of the abortion clinics in the state. Lawmakers had to vote on Senate Bill 5 before the special session’s end at 12 a.m. local time. However, more than 400 protesters halted the proceedings 15 minutes before the roll call could be completed with what they called “a people’s filibuster”. The crowd of demonstrators in the capitol cried “Shame! Shame!” when Davis’ filibuster was halted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, then the protesters roared after state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” Their cries continued to echo inside the chamber — and over a livestream watched by thousands around the world — until after the midnight deadline passed. When Senator John Whitmire told Davis “This will not become a law”, the crowd of protesters gathered in the capitol cheered and began singing “The Eyes of Texas”, which is the alma mater of the University of Texas at Austin. After the filibuster, Davis was quoted saying, “Today was democracy in action. You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor.”

This filibuster received a ton of press through average citizens; they were tweeting, posting on Facebook, sending videos and making this event viral and newsworthy. This is a direct example of gatekeeping. This was known as “A People’s Filibuster”, because the people were responsible for gaining support and spreading the news about the Bill and Wendy Davis’ commitment.  Gatewatching was involved with shares of pictures and statuses on Facebook, as well as through retweets on Twitter. The constant presence made this event a national story, and that was all possible because of individuals. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, tweeted about Wendy Davis’ win, and her tweet received over 1,000 retweets. This is just one example of how people are gatekeeping and gatewatching. President Barack Obama also shared a video via twitter about Wendy Davis, and his tweet received over 17,000 retweets. According to Kate Sommers-Dawes of, “As the tweets, Facebook posts, and Vine videos rolled in, Tuesday became a huge day for new media and, on a larger scale, democracy itself. People were engaged. In that moment, they didn’t have Rachel Maddow or Bill O’Reilly on 24-hour cable news to tell them what they should be up in arms about or how they should think about it. They took to the Internet, watching, commenting, and getting their hands dirty in the political discourse as history was made, in what otherwise would have been a largely ignored issue germane only to one state of many.”

I would say this article included gatekeeping and gatewatching practices, and not so much of gatecrashing. Gatecrashing doesn’t go through the typical channels of mainstream media gatekeeping, and I know this event was very mainstream and in the public eye. The forces of gatekeeping and gatewatching were mutually reinforcing. The people decided this event was important, and once enough people took to social media to share their thoughts and updates on the event, more people had access to it. Everyone started posting and sharing about Wendy Davis, making the people the journalists. Gatewatching occurred through the countless retweets and shares. What does this say about the people? It says that people are engaged and use social media to decide what they think about current events. It shows the world that social media has the power to unite people and ultimately create change.



Regulating for Morality

The content displayed in the media has been a controversial issue for a number of years.  The content portrayed in the media has influence over everyone who observes it, and as a society, we need to be aware of what we are being exposed to.  Do we want young children having access to inappropriate music, movies, or other forms of media? What will be the affects if they are exposed?  We also have to look at the other side of this, which is freedom of speech and censorship.  I personally don’t like censorship; I think it takes away from the ultimate goal of what the content is supposed to portray.  But then I think about the music industry, and the clean versus explicit version of songs.  For a long time, my mother would only let me purchase the clean version of songs.  Which is fine, but then parts of the music are beeped out, or substituted with milder language.  Is this considered censorship?  Does using profanity really add to the goal of a song?  There are a number of different perspectives to take from this.

Our text discusses how once presidential candidate Bob Dole gave a speech on the evil of pop culture. He stated, “One of the greatest threats to American family values is the way our popular culture ridicules them.  Our music, movies, television and advertising regularly push the limits of decency, bombarding our children with destructive messages of casual violence and even more casual sex.”  The first issue with this is that government shouldn’t regulate what a family views in terms of the media.  That decision should be up to the parents.  Another issue is that not all families are the same, and they have different values.  Dole appears to be narrow minded while generalizing typical “American values”.  Also, not every song, movie, show or piece of media ridicules family values.  I do think that adverting rides the line of indecency, sexism, and a number of other issues, in order to make money.  Dole also argues that, “we must hold Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry accountable for putting profit ahead of common decency.”  If the entertainment industry were held accountable for their actions, society would view things differently and act accordingly.  Top executives benefit from the profits, while society is constrained because they are exposed to a poor influence.  However, there is an argument that censorship constrains the artist and freedom of speech, which is something America, prides itself on.  In this case, one could argue that families benefit from censorship.  Ultimately, I don’t think there should be censorship and regulation by the government.  Nowadays, everyone has access to everything because of social media and the Internet, so attempting to regulate the media is almost impossible.  I think if parents don’t want their children to view certain things, then it’s their decision and responsibility to regulate what they view.  However, I also think that advertisers need to stop objectifying women in their ads.  Women shouldn’t be portrayed like that if men aren’t.  It’s disrespectful and widens the gender barrier, which is a problem to our society.



Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

Bertelsmann is a multinational media conglomerate.  Bertelsmann operates in 50 countries, and its headquarters are in Germany.  Its principle divisions include Penguin Random House, RTL Group, Gruner + Jahr, Arvato, Be Printers, and BMG.

Penguin Random House  is the world’s largest general interest trade book publishing company.

RTL Group is Europe’s biggest broadcaster of radio and television, which is also the parent to the FremantleMedia movie and TV production enterprise, the largest of its kind outside Hollywood.

Gruner + Jahr is one of the biggest magazine publishing houses in Europe.

Arvato is an international media and communications service provider.

Be Printers is an international group of companies offering printing solutions and communications services.

BMG is an international music company focused on the management of music publishing and recording rights.  BMG is the fourth-largest music publisher in the world, based on revenue.

Bertelsmann is a media conglomerate that employs Vertical Integration, which is evident considering its holdings primarily deal with the media, including book publishing, broadcasting tv and radio stations, magazine publishing, a media and communications provider, and a printing solutions firm.  BMG could be considered a horizontal integration, because it has to do with music and not the media industry.  Bertelsmann’s strategy is all about creativity and creating an environment that fosters innovation.  According to their CEO, Thomas Rabe, “Creativity is the foundation of all our businesses, the centerpiece of our value creation. We will therefore continue to invest in and expand our creative businesses.” Another part of their strategy is to aspire to be part of the digitization of media outlets, including watching tv on tablets, using e-readers, and reading magazines through their apps.  They way people consume news has drastically evolved over the past decade, making this point a priority for Bertelsmann.  Bertelsmann plans to continue growing and expanding their reach and influence.  Purchasing BMG Rights Management was a step in that direction.  In just four and a half years, BMG is  the world’s fourth-largest music publisher, with the rights to more than a million songs.  Bertelsmann plans to grow into the education industry, the booming e-commerce business, and integrated financial services, as well as the IT and high-tech sector. Bertelsmann also plans to expand geographically, to South America, India and China.

Although Bertelsmann is a multinational company, I haven’t heard of any of the media outlets.  However, Bertelsmann is more of a European company.  They have similar European television shows that are also showed in the US, such as The Price is Right and Idol.  Bertelsmann is in the top 10 for World’s Largest Media Conglomerates, but I had never heard of them before, which is surprising. However, this probably has to due with the fact that it’s a European company.

For more info on the specific tv and radio stations, magazines and newspapers, check out