CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gender Myths and Media 'Sell' Acceptance of Harassment and Inequality

An urban myth and popular excuse used to pressure women to excuse unwanted sexual overtures from and actions by men is the notion that 'men are fixated on the size of their dicks' and 'preoccupied with sex'. This myth is not only nonsense but also an insult to mankind.

Food matters to men too as do many other priorities such as philosophy, politics, art, and literature. Patriarchal societies have evolved from caveman times. Thinking men have responded to generations of women in western societies who had asserted their human rights and demanded equality in treatment. Without the support of men in western society, women would still be suffering repression as in some Middle Eastern societies.

The selling of values through popular media has been important in the evolution of attitudes about sexual harassment and relationships. Personally, I think that media influence began when the medieval Code of Chivalry was promoted through the popular media of that time - bards and minstrels - to combat the power abuses rife at that time. The widely promoted ideal In practising the solaces of love, thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover was a response to a common abuse. Was this the first time a woman's rights in sexual practice were considered and recognised as valid?

In the seventies and eighties, television shows such as 'I Dream of Jeanie' and 'Bewitched' reinforced that women should not have power. Not only did 'I Dream of Jeanie' heavily sugar coat the master slave relationship, it reinforced that women who had access to unlimited power were frivolous in their exercise of it. It affirmed a woman's place was in service of her master benevolent though he may have been. Likewise 'Bewitched' sold wifely domestication as the rightful price of love. Although Samantha and her kind had unlimited power, it was used for luxury consumption, lifestyle, and getting out of jams again demonstrating that women did not know what to do with real power.

Likewise, popular media today, as part of its exploration of gender relationships and politics, reflects, challenges, and at times unwittingly affirms negative environments and cultures that foster a locker-room mentality and related harassment. In numerous story lines, genuine sexual freedom has been hijacked; real gender freedom has become shackled to sexual expectations that a woman 'should put out' as part of gender interaction and because of sexual freedom.

17 Again (2009) is a good example where the story represents the growing counter cultures of respect and disrespect in gender relationships but doesn't probe it. This is where the susceptible viewer can miss the passing editorial comment embedded in the narrative about teen female behaviour and think that such behaviour is the accepted norm, and it was the father (Zac Efron) who was out of step (although still really handsome)!

Glee offers a similar exploration but also documents harassment and bullying as a common feature of a culture where talent, intelligence, and difference are compartmentalised and portrayed as unpopular, even unacceptable. As central characters, the nerds and geeks are portrayed as types of anti-heroes, however, any validation of them in the narrative may be missed amidst images of blonde bombshell cheerleaders and body-beautiful football jocks and the preoccupation with sex and its power. The biggest concern about Glee is the representation of harassment and disrespect as part of life. Without any embedded subtle editorial comment in the show, its stories unwittingly validate and perpetuate that status quo. The unthinking person absorbs that embedded value and is less likely to draw a line within his or her own environment.

Although we are in the 21st century, many groups within the media continue to 'sell' traditional gender myths and promote acceptance of harassment and inequality as a given in life.


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The Month's Posts


LATEST BLOG POSTS

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    reflection on 'In and Out of step'

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    Set between 1988-1990, In and Out of Step’s thesis picks-up on a period of significant change in Australian social and cultural history which mirror the wider western world. The novel reflects the popular perceptions of the era and explores reaction to changing roles and values, the relationship between generations, gender dynamics, and power in society through contrasting character perspectives.  

    The novel charts Cassie Sleight's (rhymes with slate) and her generation’s journeys in new and uncharted territory in their relationships: personal, social, and work after the second wave of the women’s movement.

    Life forces the women in my novels to reassess what they are doing, how they are doing it, and to evaluate who they are and want to be.

    Through Cassie’s experiences, the reader is entertained and provoked to consider the perceptions held and dualities of women’s roles in western society. That may suggest that this is a non-fiction work masquerading as fiction. However, this aspect is firmly set in the external world of the story and Cassie’s experiences.

    In and Out of Step explores:

    • how identity and relationships are shaped by the way gender operates and gender differences
    • how place—geography, attitudes, values, and culture—shape people’s lives and actions
    • the culture that supports and promotes sexual harassment in the workforce and social spheres
    • changing perceptions of gender roles
    • adapting to change in oneself and the wider world
    • the personal, social, and workplace influences that contribute to change.

    My novelsIn and Out of Step, Life Song, Song Bird portray the diverse and changing realities of women in the time the novels are set: 1980-1990, 1996-1998, 2000-2002.  The stories are anchored in the social and historical context of each period.

    Read more

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Life Song - a story of metamorphosis

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Twenty-two-year-old Mavis Mills first appears in my novel In and Out of Step. Outgoing, gregarious, and confident, Mavis is a significant secondary character in that novel.  Mavis' story - a subplot - is used to provide contrast to and insight into Cassie Sleight's (the central character) journey. 

    At one point in the novel, effervescent Mavis is severely injured – physically, emotionally, and psychologically - by domestic violence and the fire of her partner’s rage. He also destroys her guitar and the copies of her original songs. Part of  the subplot from In and Out of Step explores the context of the domestic violence and provides insight into the psychology of it. Excuses are not made.

    At the start of Life Song, Mavis is twenty-eight-years-old and very different from the young woman who shone throughout most of In and Out of Step. She is the central character in Life Song. She has become subdued, distrustful of her own judgement, and an echo of her former self. Unexpectedly, she discovers she has a choice: continue to live a life tainted by domestic violence or seize the opportunity before her and try to rise above her circumstance and, like the phoenix bird, leave the ashes of her past life behind.

    'Could she live the rest of her life as she'd been living. She couldn't, not now she'd glimpsed another world, fleeting though that vision had been.'

    Life Song is not a cliche 'chic musician on the road' story and is definitely not a romance. It is about the woman Mavis becomes and the people who stand by her as she undergoes transformation – physical, psychological, and to an extent spiritual. She does not solve her problems in the arms of a man but makes the hard choices herself.

    The drama comes from the tugs-of-war that Mavis has to work though. It is made all the harder because Mavis' heart is in conflict with itself. One person, no matter how strong, cannot win a tug-of-war alone. The same applies to Mavis.

    Readers learn about the things that give Mavis strength and that enable her to boldly embrace the inevitable changes coming into her life as she becomes Nikki Mills, the Song Bird from Oz.

    I recommend you listen to two songs from that novel: Sunshine Days and Life Song (A Vision Splendid) to get a feel for this story.

    There are many kinds of wins in life, most of them personal rather than widely acclaimed. It's those personal 'brave heart' moments that define Mavis. Reader feedback through my publisher and website is that Life Song is a gratifying read.

    As part of your journey in reading this blog,  I suggest you listen to Move On.  In my imagination, it is first sung by Mavis' support network, but ultimately the song becomes her personal mantra.

    Australia is a diverse landscape and has diverse communities. Life Song gives readers an opportunity to spend time in some of those communities. The title alludes to the fact that each character's life has its own melody and when sung in concert become the symphony that is Life Song

    Notes:

    Life Song is one of four novels in The Keimera Series. Each novel is a standalone narrative and has the backstory woven into it.  The Keimera Series is an opus.

    Keimera does not in any way allude to chimeraa monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature from Greek mythology.

    If you would like to lend me your support so that I can produce more music from my novels, you can buy any of my songs from CD Baby.  Each of my songs can be purchased for the very small price of $1.69. My music is also on iTunes and other major online music sellers as well.



    Read more

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The story behind my song 'The Flame'

    Sunday, June 25, 2017


    'The Flame' features in my novel ‘Song Bird’. In the novel, it is sung by rock legend Rick Brody who serenades Nikki Mills (the central character in the novel). In real life, it was sung by Funnie Williams and Thanapat Yarchartoen (aka Film). I produced the song through Karma Sound Studios in Thailand.

    BACKSTORY TO 'THE FLAME' - The Singer or the Song?

    In ‘Song Bird’ and its prequel 'Life Song', Nikki Mills - the Girl from Oz - is a survivor of domestic violence. Once an innocent, she believed the very convincing serenade of her first significant love, Terry Kikby. Long before Nikki met Rick, his song 'The Flame' resonated with her.  She believed that Rick's songs really expressed his own ideas and values.

    Having been at the top of the music industry for sixteen years, Rick finds his music is dropping in the charts. Defined by his 'bad boy' image, he has lost sight of his real self. Consequently,  his music has lost its connection with his fan base. Interested in Nikki as a woman as much as in her skill as a lyricist, Rick collaborates with Nikki on a new album. 

    Flattered by Rick's interest in her and impressed by 'The Flame', Nikki embarks on a relationship with him.  A subplot in the novel explores the ramifications of that decision.  Can she help Rick find the heart that his music once had?  Will Nikki be hurt or healed by the relationship with him?  The answers are found in my novel 'Song Bird'. 

    Readers of this blog may also find the pop rock song 'Masque' and interesting insight into Rick and Nikki's relationship issues.

    I currently have 8 songs on CD Baby and iTunes. You can help me raise the money to produce the rest of my songs by buying one or more of my songs at the very small price of $1.69 per song. They are on sale at CD Baby and  iTunes. Online music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer promote my music, but I only earn approximately one cent per one hundred streams. 

    Read more

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NEWS

  • Christine's music update

    11-Oct-2018

    Christine’s admin team are pleased to report ‘Life Song’ has continued to receive an increasingly strong response in its latest month of rotation on numerous radio stations targe..
  • Christine's music on Unearthed Triple J

    10-Oct-2018

    Help Christine cross over to commercial radio by following this link (https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/christine-m-knight), playing her songs, and giving them a star review. Yo..
  • 4 out of 4 stars review for 'Song Bird'

    16-Jul-2018

    Another 4 out of 4 stars for 'Song Bird'. Click here (https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?t=75821)for the review...

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