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Changing Perceptions

The Gaze Photographs by Tristan van Rooyen

Issue One 10/05/2018


Contents

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Meet the Team

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Editorial

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To speak or not to speak: The limits of the Bechdel Test

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Perception through the screen of a television

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Pushing Boundaries:a dramatic influence

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Cartoons: Millenial representation of women

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Wathintha’ bafazi Wathinthi’ Mbokodo

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Insta-Anxious

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My sexual orientation my decision

(You strike a women you strike a rock)


Meet the Team

3 Ongezwa Shosha I am a shy person who enjouys reading other people’s blogs and short stories. I love photography because I like to be both behind and in front of the camera.

Tristan van Rooyen I am from Durban Kwazulu Natal and have spent majority of my life there. I was educated at Kearsney College and spend most of my days surfing, staying fit or having fun with friends. I have a passion for adventure and sharing my experiences with the people around me, I guess that’s how I got into journalism.

Zamukhanyo Mendile I am a humble and friendly person. I like to smile, laugh, and talk. I am passionate about writing stories and I like to watch animations. My dream is to create South African animations.

Bethany Meyer I am a quirky type of person who enjoys spending a lot of my time making art and creating new things. I am passionate about issues involing oppresssion and misrepresentation.


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Editorial Saskia Bronkhorst eye’s show that wearing makeup has become common occurence in todays society. The social orders in which we live in are sexually biased and in most cases throughout history and the modern day world have been one-sided. This can be seen throughout society as women are often depicted and desired as sexual objects through different realms of media such as clothing brands, perfume and even fast food adverts. The representation of women in media platforms show women as powerless, submissive and inferior to men. Women are subjected to doubt, negative selfperception because of unrealistic goals set by everyday media that depicts perfect bodies and what our society thinks a beautiful women should be. Self-confidence, as a result of mass media, is heavily

linked towards how we and others perceive our bodies. An individual’s perception of their own body can reflect how they think about themselves, feel, and carry themselves. This unfortunately can lead to an act called body disgracing, which is experienced by numerous females, to different degrees of severity, people even go as far as to bleach their skin, to transform into the view that is seen to be more attractive. The image that is put by the society on the looks of a women puts pressure to many people as they feel need to transform to what is seen as beautiful. For so many years, the public has put on this picture that women need to look and act a certain way, not that they truly need to take after the public’s

Ongezwa Shosha Photographs by Tristan van Rooyen

image of women. Yet for one to be confident about their appearance, they need to comply with the general public’s view of what is beautiful. This creates a truly sad norm within society, that in order to be happy, you have to please other people or meet other people’s standards of what they think is attractive and right. This is why the world we live in today thrives off social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram where appearance and likes are heavily associated with self-worth. Society is becoming ever increasingly narcissistic and sexually orientated (especially towards women) and this is a sad reality that must be faced as it not only destroys the happiness of millions of people, instead of being content within their own skin.


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To Speak or not to speak the limits of the Bechdel Test

The Bechdel test is seen as a ground breaking new way of looking at female interaction in films. The select few films that do pass the test are commended because they are the rare few that show a more accurate depiction of women in their stories. However, when discussing representation in a popular media genre, such a film, a critical response is a good way to recognise the limitations of how women are represented less or in a more submissive way than men are in films. The Bechdel test has three steps that a movie must contain in order to pass. These steps are: there must be two, named, female characters who have a conversation with each other, about something other than a man. Despite how simple these steps are very few films that actually pass this test. In this capacity the Bechdel test is important because it creates the opportunity for people to discuss how women are shown in films, especially when interacting with men. Although the Bechdel test can be seen as an effective starting point because it highlights how little women get to interact with other on screen, there are still

many problematic issues with female representation. Firstly, although the Bechdel test requires the women to speak about something other than men this doesn’t automatically mean the conversation reflects anything about the women’s personalities and agencies. Secondly, the way in which women are represented in films is not addressed in the test. Even though the women must be named the agency of the women in question is not addressed. The way the women are dressed and whether or not they have agency in a way that does not relate to their relationship to men isn’t questioned. This means that even if a woman does manage to have a conversation with another female character she still may not have any other role than to make a point about the male protagonist’s personality or achievements. For example, saving the love interest shows the man as brave and resourceful and who has once again saved the day. In contrast the

Bethany Meyer Illustration by Bethany Meyer

woman is the damsel in distress who is incapable of rescuing herself from danger and through this shows the audience how admirable the man’s personality is while ignoring hers. Thirdly, the test does not take into consideration important racial issues like the under representation of women of colour in film. Women of colour are more underrepresented in movies than their male counter parts and less likely to have a speaking role. Therefore, as a first step, the Bechdel test is important in highlighting the basic differences between the amount of screen time women get to spend with other women within the context of the film genre. However, feminist theories of representation still have many tropes and established stereotypes that need to challenge before female representation in films can be considered equal to their male counterparts.


Perception through the Screen of a Television

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Pinto is photographed here, writing her blog about women in media and representation.

Tristan van Rooyen All children, in every culture, are prone to learning and adopting various roles and behaviours that are presented to them. Gender role development is then developed by how children’s literature and media in general has affected the way in which women perceive themselves in todays’ society. Gender role development creates, ‘self-perception’ in every person, especially females. This is because women are constantly exposed to various stereotypical tales that create a certain ideology. Natasha Pinto, a fourth year Journalism student who is currently writing a blog about representation, stated that children’s tales create the impression that “you need a man to look after you”, and that “you need to look beautiful, or look a certain way” because you aspire to be like them. This can create a false representation of what should be beautiful and could create a lot of psychological disorders along the road. Dr Priscilla Boshoff, a lecturer within Rhodes University, stated that “story-telling still affects us today” this is because it still plays a massive role in what a “boy is supposed to be or what a girl is supposed to be.” Children learn a lot about the world around them through story-telling and media. Every society contains sources of information designed to foster these traditions. In most cultures the most important way of transmitting values and attitudes is through story telling. Boshoff stated that, “when we see thousands of characters all depicting similar roles it creates a sense of value, and all children want to be valued”. Despite the unfair or unjust role that women have had attached to them in the past, women do still feel that they are becoming more empowered. Pinto stated that, “feminism is huge in pop culture and fashion and is challenging many ideals of maleness, where men wear nail polish and rings, and we have begun to embrace feminism for everyone”. However , Dr Pricilla Boshoff stated that “even though some roles of female characters show evidence of a powerful women, “ it’s more of an exception than a norm”. Which leads to the conclusion that our society still have a long way to go in the representation of women.

Dr Priscilla Boshoff is a lecturer at Rhodes University , she is a feminist and is passionate about the treatment and equality of women. She has a vast knowledge about these happenings within society and stands to be a powerful and proud women who tries not to conform to societal norms.

Photographs by Tristan van Rooyen


Pushing Boundaries:

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A Dramatic Influence

Bethany Meyer

Pumelela ‘Push’ Nqelenga lectures in in the Drama Department at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She spent most of her life in the Eastern Cape, having been born in East London, and attending Rhodes University for her tertiary education. Nqelenga’s colleagues describe her as wonderfully open. She brings this dramatic openness into her teaching, articulating every point that she makes with hands gestures and wellchosen words. She encourages her students to not be afraid to question and wonder why an exercise is relevant. Nqelenga is a person of prominence because of her openness and hard work is seen as exemplary of what one can achieve as a woman in the dramatic field. Fiona Jackson a fellow lecturer, at the University of KwaZulu Natal, who met Nqelenga during the #feesmustfall protests stated, “she is an extremely positive role model for our students - an articulate, intelligent, very hardworking and talented young academic and dramatist.” This photo series depicts Nqelenga while teaching and interacting with her second-year students, portraying the openness with which she has come to be associated.

Leaning forwards, eyes watching every movement, nothing can distract Nqelenga as she watches her students perform a basic warm-up routine.

Taking her place in the spotlight, Nqelenga begins her lesson. Her teachings focus on the importance of movement as a method of communication.

Nqelenga animatedly gives feedback to her students before moving onto the next task. Her passion towards her chosen profession shines through as she passes on her knowledge to another generation.   

The first exercise serves to highlight this process of showing meaning through movement. Nqelelnga and another drama lecture show a partnership communication. Listening to each other’s movements is vital in this exercise. If one partner moves too fast or too forcefully the fluidity of movement breaks down and the connection is lost.

More movement! In the next exercise, the students create movement sequences based on their names. If a student appears to be struggling or finds it hard to loosen up their bodies, Nqelelnga is there to give a helping hand whenever possible.

Photographs by Bethany Meyer


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The class is coming to an end. Nqelelnga calls her students into a circle to perform warm down exercises before reflecting on what they have learned.

Nqelenga’s students create a blur of movement and colour with their warm up exercises.

The final reflection. Sitting crossed legged on the floor with her student, Nqelenga welcomes their input. Their insights bring her joy and new perspectives into her own teaching methods.

Photographs by Bethany Meyer


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Do Children Notice It’s A Boy’s

World


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Cartoons: millennial representation of women Bethany Meyer Outside of our families the media is the first way in which we interact with society and the world. For millennial women, this is relevant in relation to the cartoons, specifically the animated cartoons they consumed as children. These cartoons had the potential to shape how they see their future in the world based on the female characters positions and how they were presented. An independent poll of Rhodes University students, completed anonymously by one-hundred and fifteen participants, fifty-eight of whom were black women, found that black students described having little or no representation of their ethnic group in the cartoons they watched as children.  Some of the cartoons described as more easily relatable than others, were Pax Africa, a South African series and Boondocks. Boondocks was the only cartoon to feature a majority cast of black representation.  However, Boondocks was set in an English-speaking, American setting. This meant the humour and references were not as relevant to a South African cultural context and as such although participants could visually relate to its characters they didn’t relate to the attitudes of the characters. For instance, an anonymous participant described the difference between Boondocks and life as a South African child: “kids couldn’t have hair and disrespect”. Stereotypes of black women were also common representations noticed by an anonymous black female poll participant “none could give me a wide scope of blackness other than ‘the sassy black girl’

or ‘the tough black guy.’” Diversity, of cultures and different types of families are a part of everyday life, however, television series often don’t represent this range. Several participants in the poll describe experiencing no representation as a mixed-race person or having parents who are of different ethnicities. Another common lack of representation was pointed out by an anonymous Indian participant in the poll. “As an Indian, the only representation I found was Baljeet in [Phineas and Ferb]. He was stereotyped as a klutzy science nerd. Instead of having a ‘normal’ role, it seemed like he had to be comical to be featured. I feel the representation of people of colour should come without the need to be kooky.” Controversially, the white participants easily described being represented an example of one of their answers was: “the majority of cartoon characters when I was younger were white… which made relating to them easy.” This disparity between audience and product come from the program providers South Africa uses for the broadcasting of its programs. The two of these are the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Digital Satellite Television (DSTV). Although, the SABC does provide live-action South African shows it almost always imports its cartoons from overseas countries like America and the United Kingdom. During this time period, most cartoons were aimed at a male, juvenile,

Illustration by Bethany Meyer

audience, as stated in Television Cartoons: Do Children Notice It’s a Boy’s World? “because they outnumber girls… and they will not watch shows that have girl leads, although girls will watch cartoons with male leads.” This gendering of audience targeting had noticeable effects on the way the shows were structured in terms of the character roles and the opportunities given to them. Firstly, boys generally were given more speaking roles than their female counterparts but, were also more likely to either be silly or ‘violent’ in their actions. Secondly, girls were generally given roles that were dependant on their relationship to the boys in the cartoons and were more likely to focus on ‘feminine characteristics’ like housework and wanting to be seen as pretty by their male counterparts.  The subliminal effects of gendering roles and careers are not necessarily obvious, but Fiona Jackson, a media studies lecturer at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, recalls a study done by Pam Gilbert that looked at the effects of how male and females represented. Even after engaging in an in-depth study that raised awareness of gender issues the participants still created texts with a majority of lead male characters. The conclusion of a study done on whether children notice how many more male characters than female characters in cartoons confirms the argument that “the depictions [of] gender roles as seen by children could impact and interact with both the expectations they develop about relationships… and their future life decisions.”   Representation is a system that is continually changing and evolving, however, its long-lasting effects on people from different generational standpoints should be considered and remembered in order to prevent further limiting representations.


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Wathintha’ bafazi Wathinthi’ Mbokodo

Zamukhanyo Mendile A postgraduate student who is currently majoring in Legal theory and Drama studies is set to shoot for the stars. She is a young beautiful black woman who achieved the second position in the regional singing contest, others might have acknowledge her for her amazing song Akanababa (without a father). Last year she received an award for the best supporting character in Cape Town, in the Arts Cape Theatre. In the highly collaborative world of gospel music, she is an unusual case.She managed to not only sing about her life experiences in her entitled album Ubuhlungu (pain), but produce the songs too. Built on the strings of hits, is where the song called Akanababa, losing control, and problems was made. Her mother fell pregnant when she was still in university, when she was only twenty years old and as a result, hid her pregnancy from her parents. On 15 December 1995, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Somila Nesi. Five years down the line, her mother mat another man and had a second child with him. When she was in grade two, her stepfather would come home drunk, and become very abusive towards Nesi’s mother. It was not long when her parents broke up and this time things got serious when her stepfather threatened to kill both her mother and younger brother. Things continued to worsen as Nesi’s younger brother was shot to death while her mother was taken to hospital as she was shot in her spinal cord when she tried to flee. Somila remembers the sound of a gunshot, that had deliberately caused her little brother’s death. Wiping tears from her eyes. Feeling the pain of losing her brother at the age of five years is something she will never forget “I remember crying out load begging God, to help me get over the pain, I was willing to settle for anything because the pain was so unbearable” she said, with a said look on her face. She stated that, “I was frightened and on top of that my world had shattered.” The most unforgettable moment of her life has turned into existence after hearing that her mother was not going to make it to her brother’s funeral and that she was in coma. “In that moment I needed someone to comfort me, I knew that in her condition she might not make it, but I kept telling myself she will” she said. “I understood how anger can carry sorrow, but I never thought I would developed hatred towards men.” Attending counselling sessions was her daily routine, as she was badly traumatised by the incident. Nightmares, and hallucinations had consumed her mind. As a result of the incident she began to experience hallucinations. “I kept on hearing my brother’s voice, and sometimes I would talk to myself when no one is listening,” she says. “People treated me as if I was physically disturbed without understanding the pain I was going through, and the said part, was when my friends had distanced themselves from me.” Sakhe Dawood a third-year student, who has been friends with Nesi since 2015 stated that, “She has fallen prey to violence against women, as a result she even lost a dearest family member and so far, her mother is unable to walk”. While sitting on the bench wiping tears off her face, something shifted from her state of mind as she walked towards a big red poster written #no excuse. “I wonder what would have happened if she had reported my stepfather’s behaviour, maybe things wouldn’t be the way there are now” she said. In her words I felt grief and sadness. Dawood, gazed at me while sipping orange juice, and asked “What caused pain in her life and family? Who is to blame?” he said. “With respect to what happened to her childhood, I blame everyone who beats up defenceless women.” While looking at the clock, Nesi responded “yet there are many people who are facing the same struggle, and we need to do something about it.” Dawood respondent “yes mhlobo (friend) we have to keep reminding people about the danger of abusing women and children, enough is enough tshini (emphasising).

Born in the Eastern Cape, near Tsolo village, Somila Nesi is showing us what it means to become Intombazana (women) within the Xhosa culture.Nesi is expressing her cultural traditional costume (Isambatho). The red and white cloth represent her clan-name, and is worn when there is a special ceremonial event (umsebenzi).

Photographs by Zamukhanyo Mendile


Insta-Axious

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“Instagram makes you look at flaws in your picture and then compare your profile to people that are doing well with likes, this makes you want to be different and try create a false impression of who you really are” Tristan van Rooyen Social media can be an amazing tool to have in any individual’s life. It allows us to not only stay connected with friends around the world, but also allows us to share our lives with others. For many, it creates a sense of identity or even figure out points of interest for themselves, such as travel and lifestyles. However, there is a much darker side to these social apps, one in particular- Instagram. With the ability to promote oneself, also comes the ability to valuate and criticize oneself and when the number of likes is linked towards your value as a person, this can have detrimental effects to any individuals psyche. According to a recent survey, Instagram, out of 1,500 teens and young adults causes the highest amount of stress and anxiety out of any social media application. It results in many individuals to compare themselves to others or create feelings of despair. Ruby Barry, an Honours student studying English literature. Stated that Instagram can be seen as a “toxic environment”, she also stated that “Instagram makes you look at flaws in your picture and then compare your profile to people that are doing well with likes, this makes you want to be different and try create a false impression of who you really are”. This affects your self-worth. She said it made her extremely self-conscious over her own body and also obsessive with the app itself. If there is an element in your life in which your own perception of yourself is evaluated on how others see you, this will only create a sense of self consciousness and stress.

In another survey done by the RSPH, found that around 1,500 Britons aged 14 to 24, associate Instagram with extremely negative connotations. This is because this platform is extremely image focused and often causes feelings of inadequacy in young people. The RSPH through various surveys created a list of the 5 most ‘harmful’ social media apps. The results are as follows: 1. Instagram, 2. Snapchat, 3. Facebook, 4. Twitter, 5. YouTube. It seems that the apps that are very image orientated, have the most negative impact on the users and as the list goes down it moves away from that element. Despite Instagram stating that they are constantly working on their app to be a “safe and supportive place, where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” Also claiming to be “working with experts to enhance and provide mental health support”. Many users such as Chene Schoeman- a 4th year Journalism student specializing in communication design. Stated that “It results in its users focusing more on showing everyone else what you are doing, instead of actually having a goodtime yourself.” A lot of her friends have often said to have taken down posts, because they didn’t get enough likes, creating feelings of inadequacy, affecting their mood and happiness in some way. Schoeman,stated that “many of her friends often speak about ‘the perfect time to post a picture’, because this is when you will receive the most likes form other people”. She also brings up the point that, instead of posting pictures out of the users own enjoyment and to share creativity and what they are about. It becomes more

of what other people think, stating that “this would be bad for anyone’s mental health”, “we post in order to try make people think that we are living a certain lifestyle”, in order to be as good as others or better. However this will only be “detrimental to how people perceive themselves and situate themselves in social sectors.” Instagram, if overused or used as a platform to measure

“It results in its users focusing more on showing everyone else what you are doing, instead of actually having a goodtime yourself.” your own self-worth, can in many ways be detrimental to users own personal mental health. It can be positive if used correctly however, if taken too seriously and not managed correctly, will only affect those who use it negatively. The youth of today, most certainly do relate the amount of likes or social recognition of a photo to their own self-worth and this issue must definitely be addressed. The correlation between this and anxiety and depression is clear. However in this narcissistic society we live in today, where image is valued extremely highly, an app such as Instagram will flourish and with that, have negative effects.


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This photo shows Kirsty Ball, a Rhodes student, attempting to study in the library. However instead of looking at her books for her upcoming test, she is thinking about her next post on Instagram.

Photographs by Tristan van Rooyen


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My sexual orientation my decision

Asiphe Galada, loves nature and spends a lot of time in the gardens surrounding Olive Schriener Hall.

Ongezwas Shosha It is yet another day in Asiphe Galada’s excruciatingly boring life, she has no choice but to brave through it because the universe leaves her with no option. Being a woman and being black is already a burden on itself, her homosexuality truly adds a pinch of insult upon her misery. With each passing day, she has to wake up utterly miserable as she is forced by the society and her family to transform into something that she is not. She knows that deep down she will never be able to be who she wants to be, as she is putting on her floral dress and her makeup, she stares at her own reflection bewildered by what she is seeing she looks away hurt and confused.

never needed. “The society picked my sexual orientation, and I needed to acknowledge it, our societies and social orders in which we live in can be extremely prohibitive from multiple points of view, take a gander at me, I must be inkosazana (princess), in light of the fact that my dad was a chief, despite the fact that I never needed to be a young lady, however I had no other choice”, said Galada.

Asiphe Galada is a young lady brought up in Cofimvaba, she is from an illustrious family with her dad being a chief. Generally, she is inkosazana (princess), along these lines, she was denied to be a heterosexual woman. “Living as another person, at first was to some degree testing yet I had no other option. I was expected to make sense of how to be a young woman. I would now have the capacity to state, I am happy to call myself a heterosexual woman”, said Galada.

While there’s far to run with respect to instructing elderly individuals in our social orders on the third sexual orientations, one would contend that a few people in the towns are acknowledged and given a chance to convey what needs be as they need to. In any case, not every person is sufficiently lucky to have that respect. For a man having guardians who fear for their economic wellbeing, it turns out to be extremely hard to accomplish something that is seen by the general public as socially unacceptable. Society has certain anticipations of what a man’s sexuality ought to be. On account of Galada, on the grounds that she was conceived a young lady, she was relied upon to be a heterosexual woman. She expresses that she has confronted a great deal of difficulties with her sexuality, she needed to fit in with the guidelines of the general public.

While other individuals have the privilege and the decision to choose who they need to be, Galada never had an opportunity to communicate and be who she wanted to be. She has constantly realized that sexual orientation is socially constructed, yet she has never suspected that she would be in a position of carrying on with an existence she

“Society picked my sexual orientation.”

Photographs by Ongezwa Shosha

As indicated by her, she simply needed to be a young lady yet more pulled in to young ladies than young men. This all began with dressing, she was more alright with kid clothes, at that point wound up being pulled in additional to young ladies, which was seen as socially out of reach. After a ton of battle, being tormented by young men at school and young ladies not having any desire to connect themselves with her, she chose to adjust to not partner herself to any sex. “This was the best thing I could do to spare myself from being tormented and disconnected from other youngsters at school”, she says. “A journey to a story book being disclosure was never a simple one, you go over various difficulties and you need to confront them”, said Galada. She is presently alluding to herself as a lady, and she is so cheerful to have at long last acknowledged her sexual orientation. Galada trusts, the difficulties she has looked in her excursion of selfdisclosure, were instructive, and have constructed her to be the individual she is currently. She says that despite the fact that it might be viewed as though she changed to fit in to the general public, however she is sure that it is the excursion she was intended to take, to learn and to develop to be a ladies.


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“I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.” Maya Angelou

The gaze magazine  

A publication that focuses on the representation of women of colour and how people view them in the world and media. #WomenOfColour #Women #...

The gaze magazine  

A publication that focuses on the representation of women of colour and how people view them in the world and media. #WomenOfColour #Women #...

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