PDP – Constellation

Despite the fact that I’ve always enjoyed reading and certainly writing, something I have struggled with since first year was finding relevance to my course within Constellation. I will always remember a terrible lecture we had in first year on William Morris and ceramics and I just couldn’t understand what purpose this would possibly serve. Contextualising my practice makes sense, but I couldn’t make any connections with the context they were providing us. This has definitely changed now that the nature of Constellation has become a lot more focussed on what we want to be learning about, rather than what we have to learn.

I thoroughly enjoy the written aspect of the course and the dissertation is something I’ve been looking forward to writing and exploring since we started in first year. The obvious first step was to identify something that I was passionate about, something that would hold my interest for the next year – if I found it boring or taxing then I’d inevitably lose interest pretty quickly.

Initially, I had chosen to pursue the module led by Catherine Davies, as I had missed out on the opportunity in first year: she’s a popular lady! I was over the moon that I’d managed to secure a place because it meant exploring something that I found captivating and worthwhile. I have a great deal of interest in femininity in visual media, particularly with how women are presented a certain way. It’s something I had written about in first year with Mahnaz so to explore this in greater detail has been really beneficial to my understanding and contextualising some of my own work. It can be difficult sometimes to contextualise to our practice within Graphic Communication, as a lot of the time we are given briefs that do not necessarily lend themselves to exploring what you would really like to look at. A branding exercise for a company does not usually lend itself to an exploration of femininity, the female form, the ‘goddess’ or the ‘monster’. The portrayal of both women and men in media is something that I now feel a great deal of awareness about, and I think it’s something that will continue to inform and help me.

When required to submit a dissertation ‘idea’ form, I didn’t want to stick to what I had already done – albeit a short 3,000 word essay on the portrayal of women in media in first year, which was very similar to what Cath was teaching through the Goddesses and Monsters theme. I wanted to stretch myself and come out of my comfort zone. As I have an interest in teaching, creativity, and art and design, and is a career I look to pursue, I decided to look more at the idea of creativity within education, and how this is changing or being effected within schools. I have been assigned Mahnaz as my tutor which I’m definitely looking forward to as I worked with her in first year. Some of the tutorials we had were helpful in pointing me in the direction of some well-known authors in the field of developmental psychology and the role that this plays in our fundamental creative tendencies. This essay has really peaked an interest, as it’s overwhelmingly clear that what is being explored by psychologists and in the education literature is not transcending to schools, certainly not in my own personal experience and evidenced by a decreasing level of interest in artistic/creative subjects in school. According to a Guardian article, the amount of money given to the arts (0.3% of public spending) is negligible compared to what is generated within the arts sector; whether it be exhibitions, museums, stage production, music, drama.

This all started very loosely, and it still feels a bit that way, but after speaking with Mahnaz I wanted to look more at the idea of creativity as a subject, as something that could be or can’t be taught. Certain theorists I’ve studied have differing standpoints on this, but using the psychology behind creativity will be more a basis from which to work. Placing this research within the realm of a modern day classroom, or even workplace, and whether or not we’re truly getting the best out of people. Is creativity the final piece of the puzzle that people aren’t tapping into? It is my belief that we could be generating scores of bright, creative people, but we’re not. Why is that? Even in the workplace we are encouraged to get our heads down, get on with our work, and get by. Where are the new ideas? Are they being discouraged?

I want to look at the ways in which we implement creativity, and how we think. The ways in which we interact with each other and the world around us is fundamental to our existence, and central to our success as a species. Our understanding informs us but it also shapes us. If we’re not being allowed to reach our fullest potential, if creativity is this untapped resource that few are accessing, can we truly understand what’s happening around us and make informed yet radical decisions? Or do we all just stay the same, like cogs in some great machine.

I think this subject is something that is of pertinence to my course, as Graphic Communication is a way of problem-solving and ideation. It requires smart thoughts and new ideas, and to me is a perfect example of being taught how to tackle a problem creatively. Yes, we are taught ‘creative thinking’ strategies, how to mind-map or use other techniques, but at it’s core there is a simple truth – you are presented with a problem, go and find the best way to deal with it. Without the thinking of a few who thought quite far outside of the box, we would be living in a very different 2016. Phones, tablets, television, apps and even our print-based medias might not be what they are today without those creative thinkers.

The Sexualisation and Objectification of Women in Modern Media and its Subsequent Impact on Female Body Image

Abstract

The paper will aim to address the issue of the ever-increasing sexualisation and objectification of women in modern media and the idea that a woman’s worth is measured by her appearance and sexual appeal. It will also investigate the prevalence of various cultures that have emerged and explore the themes of power, gender and sexuality and the role that these play in the portrayal of women in modern media. This paper will address the suggestion that our society is one that encourages male sexual violence towards women through a ‘rape culture’ (Buchwald and Fletcher, 1993, p.vii). Certainly, it is both women and men who can be objectified and sexualised and yes, it is definitely true that both sexes can be victims of an erogenous media campaign. I suggest that it is women who suffer more so than men at the hands of the media: A media world whose influence in our lives is an ever-increasing one. I will look to address the connections between the notion of a modern woman through the eyes and ideals of the media, and the role that media plays in the image a woman has of herself. It would be possible to assert that the sexualisation of women in the media could be in part responsible for a modern notion of rape culture, where an objectified woman is seen as nothing more than fodder for the desires of consumers, particularly male consumers. As demonstrated in a publication by the Government of Western Australia [GoWA], when a woman is constantly portrayed in a sexualised way it makes it more likely that she will be seen solely as a sexual object (GoWA., 2012).

 Introduction

The paper is premised on the idea that the portrayal of women is hyper-sexualised, more so than the portrayal of men. If hyper sexualised is understood to mean a manic expression of sexual desire or explicit sexual themes, then through in-depth research of modern societal trends, popular media outlets and publications, it would appear that the prevalence of sexualised images of women is increasing. Journalists (BBC, 2007) and scholars alike assert that modern society has indeed been sexualised and that it is harmful to young children, particularly young and impressionable girls who seek older female role models to base their action or inaction upon. They put forward that society has been thrust into a culture of “raunch” (Levy, 2005) and indeed a “rape culture” (Farley, 2009). Through an understanding of female culture, this paper will argue that there is an unspoken vision of an ideal woman. She is unattainable, and yet a large percentage of media outlets would look to perpetuate this ideal. She is forced upon us through magazines, television advertising and music videos. This paper does not look to deny the existence of male sexualisation in modern media, nor does it look to lessen the effect that this has on men in turn. There is, of course, if one were to subscribe to modern media campaigns, also a concept of what it is to be masculine.

Though there are certainly many sexualised articles to pick from to underpin my research, there is not conclusive evidence that would suggest a total sexualisation of women in modern media. Unless it is known whether the sexualisation of women has increased over time, it would be an untruth to suggest that it is a solely modern phenomenon. I would look to determine whether this is indeed the case, that in these modern times of increased media outlets and avenues, the objectification of the female body has become more widespread.   I will investigate other secondary themes, such as gender binaries and the role that these play in our idea of what it is to be a woman and to be feminine in the 21st century.

            The media an undeniably powerful tool, one that can entertain us, shock us, and influence us. As Kilbourne points out, advertising is a 100 billion dollar a year industry and we are possibly exposed to at least 2000 adverts a day (Kilbourne, 2002). It has the ability to change the way we interact, they way we see ourselves and what we see ourselves as being able to achieve. This paper hopes to provide a view on women being shown to be dependent and weak (GoWA, 2012) and how this is perhaps becoming a societal norm.

Argument

Firstly, one must observe current studies that have shown to prove the existence of a culture of sexualisation and objectification of women, which is no doubt damaging to the societal role of women. Objectification Theory asserts that in media advertising women’s body parts and sexual functions are routinely separated out from her person, therefore reducing her to a mere object or instrument that exists solely to provide pleasure to others (Fredrickson and Roberts, 1997). Further exploration has shown an extensive, baffling array of highly sexualised advertising. When faced with a barrage of scantily clad women it is hard to deny the pervasiveness of the way in which women are portrayed in modern media.

Image

Fig. 1

 Clearly, the young woman shown in this American Apparel advertisement (Fig. 1) is greatly sexualised. Her positioning is sexual: she is lying on what would appear to be a bed, her sultry gaze is directly toward the camera and beside her are the words ‘Now Open’. The woman is being viewed primarily as an object of male sexual desire, which Bartky would assert is when sexual objectification occurs (1990). Her body positioning serves no relevance to the text whatsoever and is a crude play on words to advertise the opening of American Apparel’s new store in Amsterdam. American Apparel’s use of female nudity has become a part of its brand. When American Apparel sell something as simple and benign as cotton briefs, it manages to become a pornographic display that seldom focuses on the underwear that they aim to sell (Fig. 2).

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Fig. 2

 Increasingly in modern media, a woman’s worth can be measured by her perceived usefulness in a society where sex sells. New technologies dramatically increased our ability as human beings to communicate with one another, also increasing our abilities to share sexually explicit images and videos with one another, somewhat normalising our view on what is offensive and what is normal. A widespread access to media within our society is leading to skewed views on the representation of gender (GoWA, 2012).

Leading sociologists concerned with the portrayal of women in modern media (Hatton and Trautner, 2011) have found that the same stereotyped images of women are appearing in magazine advertisements, and that nude or partially nude images of women increased nearly 30% from 1979 to 1991 (Kang, 1997 cited in Hatton and Trautner, 2011). This dramatic increase in the commonplace nudity of women shows a common disregard for the sanctity of privacy, decency and morality.

Studies have shown (Papadopoulos, n. d.) that those who view sexually objectifying images of women in mainstream media are more likely to be accepting of violence towards women. This normalised view on female nudity, sex and objectification is clearly affecting the common psyche with regard to the treatment of women and a degree of sexual expectation placed upon them. The self-image of a modern woman has perhaps changed to a feeling of disappointment and self-loathing at the realisation that she will never be the ideal woman. Indeed, this ideal woman is tall, slim, has large breasts, and is free of wrinkles and of blemishes. Of course, she is also free of pores. (Fig. 3). Women are being constantly critiqued and notified of their somehow unacceptable appearance, be it their pores, wrinkles, grey hair or stretch marks.

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Fig. 3

If the women in modern media are shown as dependent or sexualised, it can seem unusual for them to be active, independent or powerful in society. This, according to GoWA, will affect both men and women’s ideas about which careers a woman might be good at, how important it is for women to be sexually attractive, and whether or not women should be in positions of authority (2012). According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, it will take 70 long years before we have an equal number of women MPs and directors in the FTSE 100 (EHRC, 2011).

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Fig. 4

The sexualised portrayal of women in modern media often shows women as submissive and weak. This portrayal of women can often show them as lesser beings or as having less worth than their male counterparts. This advertisement (Fig. 4) is for a shoe, and was banned in Spain and Italy for showing violence towards women. Others complained that it glamorized gang rape, and is certainly demonstrative of Farley’s notion of a ‘rape culture’.

            According to RAINN, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organisation, an American is assaulted every two minutes. Each year in American there are roughly 237,868 victims of sexual assault (RAINN, 2012), and advertisements similar to the Dolce and Gabbana one shown above (Fig. 4) would appear to glamourize or trivialise sexual abuse or a sexual attack. Similarly in the United Kingdom, an average of two women a week are killed at the hands of their partner or ex-partner (Department of Health, 2005). In a culture where the objectification of women is prevalent, surely it is our most popular brands and organisations that would look to affirm women’s position in society as an equal one? Seemingly, this is not the case. Returning to Objectification Theory, which posits women as mere objects with a total disregard to any personality or dignity they may have, the images shown serve to validate the idea that it is in fact true of most advertising that women are reduced to nothing more than objects of sexual desire, their purpose being one of sexual gratification for men. The effect that this advertising has on women in general is both conscious and subconscious. Consciously wherein we choose to purchase makeup, hair dye, or whichever other lotion promises to rejuvenate our old and unappealing skin, whereas unconsciously we are programming ourselves and our daughters to look at themselves through the eyes of a judgemental third party.

An American Psychological Association (Wilcox, B. L. et al, 2007) report demonstrates how sexualisation has affected young girls in an emotional way, and in turn impacts on their cognitive abilities to develop a healthy self-image. Children are faced with a bombardment of images daily. The charity Safer Media state that a third of children have been exposed to explicit pornography on the internet by the age of ten and that “the portrayal of explicit violence, sex and bad language are becoming normalised as mainstream fare, but research suggests they are partly to blame for violent crime and anti-social behaviour, family breakdown, pornography addiction and sex crime.” (Safer Media, 2014).

            It is further suggested that this sexualised perspective of women in the media is becoming an internalised view. Young girls will increasingly view themselves or their bodies from an outsider’s perspective: ‘How do others see me?’, rather than ‘How do I feel?’ (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997). A woman’s relationship with the media starts at an increasingly young age. It would appear that there is a lack of accurate gender representation within modern media, which clearly has the potential to skew a child’s notion of what it is to be either masculine or feminine. As parents, we have reinforced for decades the gender bias that serves to perpetuate the idea that the sexualisation and objectification of women is the norm. We put our children in gender-suitable clothing, whether it is a dress or a football kit. Crespi puts forth the idea that gender stereotypes are indeed a predetermined mind-set, which starts as soon as the question is posed whether the pregnant mother is expecting a boy or a girl (Crespi, n. d.), and continues that “…traditional gender roles help to sustain gender stereotypes, such as that males are supposed to be adventurous, assertive, aggressive, independent… whereas females are seen as more sensitive, gentle, dependent [emphasis own], emotional and people oriented.” Young girls are encouraged to play at the miniature toy kitchen set, whereas young boys are encouraged to open the Lego and build something spectacular. If we continue to conform to these gender stereotypes by reinforcing them to future generations, then we will always be in abundance of sexualised, objectified images of women, which glorify sexual violence and passivity towards sexual abuse.

Instances of sexualisation and objectification affecting younger children are becoming commonplace. Children are witness to obscene music videos containing uncensored swearing and partial nudity, over-sexed dolls in fishnet tights and full-face makeup, and a wide array of prepubescent lingerie to choose from.

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Fig. 5

Objectification of female body parts has become a mainstay of modern media campaigns, as shown in this Nikon advertisement for their latest model of Coolpix camera (Fig. 5). The woman on the left is shown as less worthy or useful through her appearance. She has small breasts, is glaring downwards and would appear unhappy with her more humble chest in comparison to the breasts of the woman shown on the right. The woman on the right is stood upright, proud and pushing her chest out in a display of somewhat misplaced dominance. Whereas the old model has a mere 2 million megapixels, the newer model has a far more impressive 3 million. A woman’s self-worth is here reflected in the size of her breasts. In this advertisement, small breasts equates unsatisfactory, and bigger would certainly be better. A study by Evans and Chin (2003) found that it is indeed women who feel dissatisfied with their appearance, and are constantly comparing themselves to females who epitomise the ‘thin-ideal’ standard of beauty. There is too the notion of a real woman [emphasis own] as a woman with an abundance of curves. Tall, thin women may then feel excluded, that their genetics have not come together in such a way to provide them with this ‘real’ body as opposed to an invisible one of course.

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Fig. 6

Media sexualisation has also been linked to an increase in eating disorders amongst young women due to an inability to identify with the array of images they are presented with, and in a vain effort to achieve the appearance of an ideal woman, many resort to starvation. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) posit that sexual objectification in the media can increase women’s anxiety about their physical appearance and in turn being evaluated on that appearance, which can oftentimes lead to a feeling of depression culminating in disordered eating. The Tom Ford cologne campaign shown in Fig. 6., is precisely one of those images. Firstly, there is little to no connection between her naked body and the perfume that she is displaying. The image is suggestive and provocative, and her purpose within the image is as merely a vessel upon which to display a bottle of men’s cologne. This again would show further evidence to support Fredrickson and Roberts’ Objectification Theory (1997), whereby her body is faceless therefore retaining a sense of ambiguity and lack of sense of self, and a blatant disregard for anything other than her body parts. In addition, despite the overt sexualisation and objectification of the woman in the image, a great deal of effort has gone into ensuring that no sexual organs are shown. This could possibly reflect a desire to truly show her as an object. Her sexual organs are not shown therefore she has no purpose other than as an object upon which perfume is displayed. The photographs, shot by infamous photographer Terry Richardson who more recently photographed a topless Miley Cyrus, were subsequently banned in several countries for being too pornographic (Hughes-Chamberlain, 2013).

Conclusion

 In summation, I would certainly suggest that the modern media portrayal of women is a harmful one. Not only does it serve to alter our own self-image, it changes the value that society places on us women a whole. Through thorough research and understanding, this paper has gone some of the way in proving that the sexualisation and objectification of woman is certainly dangerous. If women continue to be portrayed as mere objects to fulfil a purpose, then we will continue to be faced with socioeconomic restrictions, particularly when reaching for the upper echelons of the business world and the political sphere. If the media sees women as nothing more than homemakers and child-bearers, we will continue to live in a world where female self-image and worth is dictated to by unattainable ideals, perpetuated by a male dominated industry.


 Bibliography

Bartky, S. L., 1990. Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge.

BBC News website, 2007. Sexualisation ‘harms’ young girls. [Webpage] Updated Tuesday, 20 February 2007. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6376421.stm. [Accessed on 12/05/2014].

Buchwald. E, Fletcher, & Pamela. R, 1993. Transforming a Rape Culture. 2nd ed. Minneapolis, Milkweed Editions.

Crespi, I., unknown date. Socialization and Gender Roles Within The Family: A Study on Adolescents and Their Parents in Great Britain. Milan: Department of Sociology, Catholic University of Milan, Italy. [pdf] Available at http://www.mariecurie.org/annals/volume3/crespi.pdf [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Department of Health, 2005. Responding to Domestic Abuse: A Handbook for Health Professionals. [pdf ] London. Available at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130107105354/http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4126619.pdf [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2011. Sex and Power 2011. [pdf] Equality and Human Rights Commission. Available at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/sex+power/sex_and_power_2011_gb__2_.pdf [accessed on 13/05/2014].

Evans, Chin. P., 2003. ‘If Only I were Think Like Her, Maybe I Could Be Happy Like Her’: The Self-Implications of Associating a Thin Female Ideal with Life Success. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27(3), p.209.

Farley, M., 2009. Prostitution and the Sexualisation of Children: The Sexualisation of Childhood. In S. Olfman ed. Connecticut: Praeger.

Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T., 1997. Objectification Theory: Toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology or Women Quarterly, 21.

Government of Australia Department for Communities – Women’s Interests, 2012. Women and the Media: Who Do They Think You Are. [pdf]. Western Australia: Government of Australia. Available at http://www.communities.wa.gov.au/Documents/Women/Women%20in%20the%20Media%20Discussion%20Paper%20FINAL.pdf. [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Hatton, E., & Trautner, M. N., 2011. Equal Opportunity Objectification? The Sexualisation of Men and Women on the Cover of Rolling Stone. University at Buffalo. [pdf] Available at http://www.seejane.org/downloads/Hatton_Trautner_Sexuality_and_Culture.pdf [Accessed on 14/05/2014].

Hughes-Chamberlain, A., 2013. Banned Fashion Ads. [Webpage] Available at http://www.hungertv.com/feature/top-ten-tuesday-banned-fashion-ads/ [Accessed on 13/04/2014].

Kilbourne. J., 2002. Beauty and the Best of Advertising. [Webpage]Available at http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/beautyand-beast-advertising. [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Levy, A., 2005. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. New York: Free Press.

Papadopoulos, n.d. Sexualisation of Young People: Review. [pdf] London: Home Office. Available at http://www.drlinda.co.uk/pdfs/sexualisation_review.pdf [Accessed on 12/05/2014].

RAINN, 2009. Statistics. [Webpage] Available at http://www.rainn.org/statistics [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Safer Media, 201?. Safer Media Homepage. [Webpage] Available at http://www.safermedia.org.uk/welcome.htm [Accessed on 14/05/2014].

Wilcox, B. L., et al., 2004. American Psychological Association Task Force on Advertising and Children. [pdf] American Psychological Association. Available at https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/advertising-children.pdf [Accessed on 11/05/2014].

 


List of Illustrations Used

 Fig. 1. Photographer unknown, 2006. American Apparel advertisement. [Poster advertisement] Available at http://fashionista.com/2011/01/american-apparels-most-provocative-ads-from-1995-to-the-present-an-evolution#awesm=~oEhOIc6xisFjsD. [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Fig. 2. Photographer unknown, 2003. American Apparel advertisement. [Poster advertisement] Available at http://fashionista.com/2011/01/american-apparels-most-provocative-ads-from-1995-to-the-present-an-evolution#awesm=~oEhOIc6xisFjsD. [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Fig. 3. Photographer unknown, 2013. Revlon advertisement. [Advertisement] Available at http://www.examiner.com/article/get-the-perfect-fresh-face-with-revlon-colorstay-foundation [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Fig. 4. Photographer unknown, 2007. Dolce and Gabbana advertisement. [Advertisement] Available at http://thegirlrevolution.com/sex-violence-in-advertising/ [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Fig. 5. Photography unknown, unknown date. Nikon camera advertisement. [Advertisement] Available at http://imaginetoday.net/2009/05/23/marketing-to-women-101/ [Accessed on 13/05/2014].

Fig. 6. Terry Richardson, 2007. Tom Ford for Men campaign. [Advertisement] Available at http://sharpformen.com/wp-content/gallery/controversial-ads/tfformen.jpg [Accessed on 14/05/2014].

Final Constellation PDP

At the start of the year I was thoroughly excited for the constellation module.  I do work better with the written word or verbally than perhaps I do visually, so the idea of someone talking about something interesting for an hour was not something that worried me.  My ability of being able to sit still for an hour when someone talks about something that isn’t interesting is something that worries me.  I looked forward to learning about art styles and art movements, and having my eyes opened to things that I did not know previously.  However, after the first few lectures in the first term I found myself lagging.  I found there to be very little drive in the lecturers, and oftentimes their lectures were long and drawn out, and I did not find them personally relevant in the slightest.  In the lecture with Dr. Jeff Jones, I found it monotonous and incredibly arduous: I just felt totally lost.  Why was I sat in a ceramics lecture?  I’m not a ceramicist.  Mostly he sounded as uninterested in his lecture as I was, which didn’t help with keeping the attention of the room.

I wanted more punchy topics, something with more bite, but unfortunately the following week with Dr. Kontogeorgakopoulos was equally as uninteresting.  Once again, it did not appeal to me and still doesn’t appeal to me.  I would be studying Music Technology if it were something that I was interested in.  Fortunately he did seem incredibly passionate about his subject choice and lecture itself, which in itself encouraged me to listen.  It is not something that I think I will use in my future works.  The idea of having music with images is not uncommon in Graphic Design, but I think not the music that Dr. Kontogeorgakopoulos is interested in.

By far the lecture that stood out the most for me was that of Cath Davies and her Teenage Kicks!  This lecture was the only one throughout the whole year that I, and many others that I have spoken to, felt that I could engage with.  I’ve worn Dr Martens boots since I was 14, and the notion of them being a boot with which you kick down stereotypes and societal norms is something that definitely interested me.  I was desperate for this constellation option in the second term, but the early bird gets the worm and I am not an early bird.  I constantly scribbled notes throughout her lecture, and upon returning home I wrote even more.  It really gripped me, whereas the others simply did not.  I was really drawn to the idea of culture and meanings, and the different significance that can be put on an object depending on the context.  This is something that really interests me.  The idea of analysing an artefact in relation to a cultural approach is something that I will definitely take forward with me with my work.

When our study skills sessions began, I was guilty of thinking that they were just a series of sessions on writing an essay, essay formats and how to properly research the writing that would come later on in the year.  I was not phased at all by the prospect of having to write a 2500 word essay as I had done essay subjects at A Level, and writing is something that I have never found particularly taxing.  In hindsight, the ‘skills’ part of these sessions were probably more about researching artists’ work and the interaction we have with them?  I’m not sure, but either way, as much as I love art, and love design, love drawing and illustrating and playing, I definitely don’t love having to describe some of Picasso’s earliest works as anything other than nonsense.  I find the whole notion unappealing, and aesthetically confusing and no more than nonsense.  I love to learn, I love lectures, but I just don’t love things I’m not interested in.  Plainly I am aware of the cultural and artistic significance of Picasso, but I just want to learn something with a bit more significance in the world that I am in, not the one that Picasso was in.  I perfectly understand that I am at university to learn, to achieve my fullest potential, but I find it incredibly difficult to identify with William Morris and his pots, or the ‘Grandfather’ of house music.

The lecture that we had with Dr. Shah was one that I was initially sceptical about.  Literal?  Phenomenal?  No idea.  But this one made a great deal of sense to me, in as much as I struggle to identify with a lot of art as it stands, so she put forward some interesting questions and viewpoints.  Why is it relevant?  What is its relevance to me?  Does it have a meaning?  All of these questions are things I often ask myself, so this lecture is one that I will definitely refer to in time.

After failing to choose a constellation option choice (something that I would obviously address next year), I was placed with Dr. Shah.  At first I was again sceptical, but after an initial discussion I became more interested in the idea of what is literal and what is phenomenal.  Through some personal circumstances I missed several discussions which is again something that I will have to address, but when writing my essay I did refer my lectures, in that I looked to them for relatively little or lots of guidance on various matters on how to address a topic or subject.  Particularly as the majority of our second year revolves around dissertation preparation, constellation is not something that I plan on missing out on.

Overall I have found the Constellation part of our course at times exciting and interesting, but at other times arduous and monotonous.  Hopefully when we pick our subject topics for our dissertations, constellation will be something that I find more targeted and specialised in something that I genuinely want to sit down and write about.