What has Christmas become?

I’d like to begin by saying I am by no means a ‘Christmas scrooge’. In fact, I would go as far as saying Christmas is my favourite time of the year, what’s not to like about getting time off university and celebrating with your family with a few drinks and lots and lots of food along the way? However, nowadays Christmas is all about presents and the stress that comes with buying presents, especially for those with young children. Although I doubt there are very many people that would change the idea of exchanging gifts at Christmas, including myself.

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I personally believe that Christmas has become far too commercial. Christmas is a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, although I must admit I wouldn’t say I’d be the best Christian but I would always attend church on Christmas Day. However, this is becoming less and less common as years go on, kids now grow up thinking a man named Santa is generous enough to bring them gifts if they are well behaved while missing the real meaning of Christmas. People generally get more excited about the famous Coca Cola advert than the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it.

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In my eyes, Christmas has become all about getting the biggest, most expensive presents and having the best Christmas decorations in your street. It has almost turned into a competition – “I have better decorations than you do” or “I got better presents for my kids than you did” it’s becoming ridiculous. I had a conversation with a member of staff in my work last week and he told me he has been working 50-55 hours a week for the past month to save up money for his kids because they have written ‘Santa letters’ worth over £500 each. I thought to myself that it’s crazy that you’re working these long overtime hours because your kids live in a generation that Christmas is all about presents, which has resulted in putting yourself through all this stress to save money to buy these presents whenever you could settle for buying you kids less and instead spend more time with them coming up to the festive period rather than being stuck in Tesco, which I can guarantee they would appreciate more in the long run.

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Working in retail, I witness at first hand the mayhem that evolves around this time of the year. I see mums, dads, boyfriends and girlfriends running around in panic, spending as much money as they need to keep everyone content with their Christmas presents. People simply spend money at will without worrying how much they are spending in order to fit in with the commercial aspect of Christmas, rather than its true meaning. Having said this, I still agree that presents are a nice gesture at Christmas and they add to the celebrations, however I feel there would be a much more balanced spread between basing Christmas around presents and remembering the real meaning behind it.

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Although all that I’ve mentioned above isn’t always the case, there are still a small number, in fact a very small number of people that ignore all the hype and teach their children to live by the true meaning of Christmas rather than the modern commercialised version. In the 1950’s the average child would get up on Christmas day and go to church in full Christmas spirit, knowledgeable of what Christmas really meant. He or she then would have come home and perhaps received a few presents. However, in today’s world kids get up as early as 6am and open an entire stocking worth of presents that their parents have no doubt worked very hard to purchase. After opening all the presents some kids would be forced by their parents to attend church or in some cases the family would forget about church and enjoy the rest of their day. The excitement around Christmas is buying and receiving presents rather than celebrating the birth of Jesus, therefore I can conclude than Christmas has become extremely commercialised.

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Rory McAllister is a final year BSc in Communication, Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: @R_McAllister14 on Twitter.

This Christmas, I really don’t want Snow(flakes)

Disclaimer: The author of this post is expressing their opinion, try not to be offended!

We are well and truly living in Generation Snowflake. The term has undergone a curious journey to become the most combustible insults in this decade. It emerged a few years ago on American campuses as a means of criticising the hypersensitivity of a younger generation. You can almost guarantee that in any one sitting on Twitter, you will come across a tweet about someone being offended by a company or by a product for some social justice reason.

Recently there have been numerous instances were there has been outrage at things that are seen to be normal in our society. While the list is exhaustive, for the purpose of this post I will focus on Kleenex’s TissueGate, “The Problem with Apu” and recent outrage at classic Christmas songs.

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In October 2018 Kleenex had released a box of tissues and had branded them “Mansize” to indicate their extra size. Twitter user @LisaMHancox pointed this out in a tweet to the company saying, “Hi @Kleenex_UK. My 4yo son asked me what was written here. Then he asked, why are they called man-size? Can girls, boys and & mummies use them? I said: I don’t know & yes of course. He suggests you should call them “very large tissues”. It is 2018.”

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The tweet gained traction and after a while Kleenex responded by taking the product off the shelves, but the issue remained, are we to change every nuance in our language to conform to modern gender norms? Is this sustainable? Does it really make a difference to anyone’s life if we change to name of a manhole to a mixedhole?

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When I first seen the tweet I thought to myself there was no way her son said that, and would she really go as far as to use the fake emotive appeal of her son’s voice to make a point. When I went into the replies I expected her to have unanimous support but was shocked to see that she had a mixed response of ridicule and support. Arguments against her being very PC were made and people had begun to question if her son had really said that and before you know it, it had become a trend on twitter for people to tweet as if they were their sons, daughters or even animals for comic relief. It was the first real instance I had seen the majority of people responding negatively to a post criticising the standards of something from today, and I was surprised to see the swing in opinion.

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My problem with “The Problem with Apu”

In 2017, Indian-American comedian Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called “The Problem with Apu”. The documentary discusses the character of Apu Nahasapenapetilan from long running animated series The Simpsons. From his perspective he talks about the caricature of Apu as the only South Asian TV character gaining national coverage on American television as he was growing up, and that show employed racial stereotypes in having him work at a convenience store with his trademark saying being “Thank you, come again”.

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The release of the documentary led to unconfirmed report from a former executive producer of the show claiming that the character would be cut as a result of the documentary. Again, this lead to a firestorm of opinions on Twitter, with many saying that Kondabolu was raising points that people were too afraid to bring up during The Simpsons heyday in the 90s. People argued back saying that The Simpsons stereotyped Apu in a positive manner; as a family man dedicated to his religion and as someone who was seen to have a tireless work ethic. My problem with this documentary is the fact that no body ever brings up the fact that nearly every character on The Simpsons is a stereotype; Homer is an alcoholic middle aged white man who beats his son, Willie is a haggard Scotsman who makes little sense, Luigi is the owner of a pizzeria, but there is very rarely light shown on the racism if the person’s skin is white.

Censorship of Christmas Classics

While it goes down as the undisputed champion of Christmas Songs in my eyes, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues in 1987, comes under scrutiny more and more each as year as we delve deeper into this decade. The raspy Christmas song is memorably sung by Kirsty McCall and Pogues singer Shane MacGowan, in which they depict a couple of lovers who seem to have fallen in and out of love with each other.

A particularly nasty verse in which MacGowan’s character calls McCall an “old slut on junk” to which she famously retorts with “you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot” is sang with particular glee, which pays more testament to the fact that Irish people have a self-depreciating love of insults as opposed to a love of homophobia.

The Tab in Dublin and RTE DJ Eoghan McDermott recently called for censorship due to the word “faggot” that is used, a pejorative word for homosexuals. Arguments have been made that in the context of the song the slur means a lazy person, with MacGowan himself saying that the character singing the words is a nasty person trying to question the man’s love for her.

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A cheap, lousy faggot.

Being a straight, white, Irish person, I have never experienced any discrimination, and probably won’t, other than being stereotyped for loving the drink, which, to be fair, is an accurate stereotype, but this means I will never understand the pain of hateful words being directed at my identity. I understand that there is no place for stereotypes or racial or homophobic slurs in today’s society, but I feel strongly that things that were made during a certain time when attitudes were different, should not be boycotted today knowing how people thought and acted when they were made. Sure, if a song is released today containing slurs against people of an identity, boycott it, but don’t ruin Christmas by demanding that classic songs be taken off the air.

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The next person who tries to get “A Fairtytale of New York” off the air.

Christopher Hynds is a final year BSc in Communications Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @chrissyoheidin ; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-hynds-a60531162/

Coca Cola, The King Of Christmas Advertising

Holidays are coming!  We’ve all seen them, and around this time of year it’s almost impossible to avoid them.  Around this festive period every single business and company are fighting it out to try and create the top Christmas advertisement of the year. Companies throw thousands upon thousands into their advertising for the Christmas period in a bid to attract the most attention to their company or product. However, no matter how good the advertisement or how hard they try there is always one advertisement that sticks out at the top. That of course being the Coca Cola Christmas advertisement.

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Many of us mainly associate the beginning of the festive period when the first Coca Cola Christmas Ad airs on the TV. For many people Coca Cola is the brand most associated with the Christmas period, this may be down to the fact they have been creating iconic Christmas advertisements since 1920.

The first ever Coca Cola Christmas campaign goes all the way back to 1920 when the red Santa clause first made an appearance in magazine advertisements. However this advertisement is very different from Christmas advertisements that Coca Cola are very famous for today. The famous Coca Cola Santa Claus we see later on in Coca Colas Christmas campaigns doesn’t resemble the one used way back in 1920.

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In 1931 Coca Cola set out to re-invent their Christmas campaign, so they then approached the D’Arcy advertising agency where the Iconic red Santa we see today was born and was created by artist Haddon Sundblom for the 1931 ‘Thirst has No Season’ campaign. This was essentially the first influential Christmas ad by Coca Cola attracting a lot of attention turning it into a classic holiday brand. Haddon Sundbloms perception of the famous Santa Claus created the popularity surrounding the Coca Cola Christmas campaigns, increasing anticipation of their Christmas ads each year.

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It is sometimes underestimated how influential coca cola have been over the years with their Christmas campaigns, their perception of the iconic red Santa Claus created by Sundblom very much painted a clear image of people’s perception of the Santa Claus that all children see today.

Sundblom created various advertisements of his iconic Santa Claus over several decades, establishing Coca Cola as one of the main festive brands. His last ever advertisement came in 1964. For decades after his last piece Coca Cola advertisements featured designs of the Santa Claus based on Sunbloms vision. Over the years Coca Cola have incorporated various other Christmas advertisements but in 1993 the Coca Cola polar bears made an appearance in their Christmas campaign.  The famous Coca Cola polar bears have been about for some time they first were seen in magazine advertisements in 1922.

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In 1993 The Coca Cola polar bears were brought back to life for a Christmas campaign by Ken Stewart who got the idea for the polar bears from his Labrador puppy that resembled a polar bear. Stewart brought the idea of the campaign to the animation company Rhythm & Hues who brought the animation of the Polar bears into the world and now the Coca Cola polar bears are one of their most famous advertising campaigns used by Coca Cola. Although they have been used by Coca Cola for nearly a hundred years they never featured in their Christmas campaign until 1993. It took over 12 weeks for the ‘Northern Lights’ campaign to be created and drawn up, for the advertisement to first be aired. In 2013 the polar bears yet again made a return to the Christmas advert with the ‘Open Happiness’ Christmas campaign with a short film created by Ridley Scott showing the popularity of the famous Coca Cola Polar Bears.

It is pretty obvious that these famous campaigns by Coca Colas have really established them as one of the main seasonal brands around the Christmas period. The creativity of their campaigns and the art involved has essentially created a vision of the certain aspects of the holiday itself. The campaigns in the past have set in stone Coca Cola’s position as a holiday brand, leaving people with the excitement of waiting to see their campaigns each year, and it is no surprise that their current campaign of the ‘Holidays are Coming’ trucks are also such a success.

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The bright red Coca Cola Christmas trucks were first introduced in 1995 as part of the first ‘Holidays are Coming’ TV advertisements created by George Lucas. To many when they first appear on our screens it marks the start of the festive period. The Holidays are Coming trucks are so popular they are broadcast to over 100 countries around the Christmas period making it the most widely used Christmas advertisement in history. In 2001 the trucks were used to bring back Sundbloms iconic Santa Claus imagine by having it featured in the 2001 advertisement on the side of the Coca Cola Christmas trucks incorporating the influence of the Santa Claus image created by Coca Cola. The holidays are coming campaign is such a massive success for Coca Cola that it is still the same campaign we see today. The advertisement is so popular to the Christmas period that they are even sent out to do tours of various countries attracting many visitors to go catch a glimpse and get pictures with the world famous trucks.  Once we see that advertisement with those red trucks, Christmas has well and truly begun.

 

Hugh Dornan is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/hugh-dornan-60376a14b/

 

Happy Blogmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year– well to me it is anyways. I’ve always been a fan of Xmas, I just love the smell that comes with it, and for some reason everyone is just always happier. With the lead up to Christmas, many of us attempt to lose a bit of weight, purely so we don’t feel as guilty for the endless amount of celebrations and quality street we consume for breakfast. For me, I’m already embracing the pig in a blanket look, whereby I’m masking my Xmas physique with many woolly layers of clothing. So, I thought a little ‘blogmas’ post would be fitting considering Christmas is pending.

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I’ve been watching Xmas movies since even before Halloween, so I guess you could say I’ve the Christmas movies well sussed out- here’s a few to keep use going over the crimbo hols!

Must watches:

1. ELF
2. The Grinch
3. The Night Before
4. Home Alone – Lost in NY
5. Fred Clause
6. Four Christmases
7. Deck the Halls
8. Jack Frost
9. Santa Clause (1,2 & 3)
10. Love Actually

You know Christmas is approaching fast, whenever the house is coming down with crates of Shloer and you lowkey have a bottle with dinner every night from now till Christmas, the tins of Quality street and Celebrations are stocked up and well out of site, so no one can get their hands on them, and the house has a constant scent of cinnamon from Christmas candles being burnt continually. Although in my family the chocolate stash is well raided before Christmas, hence why the body will be delayed this year yet again. Through a lot of debate and tastings from celebrations a well-rounded ranking has been established, which is presented below.

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*Note: Galaxy Caramel sadly didn’t make the cut in the ranking due to them all being inhaled before the positions were decided!

 

 

 

 

 

Que being a slight Bah humbug…

More than ever, Christmas has turned into a money racket as my mummy would say, acting like she is going to put an end to  going over board each Christmas. Even though our living room door is covered in Christmas wrapping paper for me and my sister to run through in the morning, as well as our presents being wrapped in 2 different colours, so we can tell who’s is whose of course , may I also add me and my sister are 20 and 22 (not complaining though). So I blame my mother for me being such a Christmas fanatic.

Christmas is also a busy period for all the festive activities which we have to attend, like the annual trip to the Christmas markets, staff do’s and the 12 pubs of Christmas, at this time of year they are basically compulsory to participate in. However, all these festivities do leave a hole in the pocket, and many people’s funds are low, especially the student loan (roll on Jan for a wee top up). However, with Christmas slowly but surely becoming so orientated around gifts and pressures to get the right present. It forces some people to spend money they don’t have, to try and meet the materialistic standards set by society. At this time of the year, if my mummy buys me a Chinese it’ll be part of the Xmas present too. In other words, we are all so infatuated in spending money to get the flashiest gifts for people, we often get too caught up in it, and forget what Christmas is actually about (As cheesy and cliché as it sounds), but we do. There’s no doubt that receiving and getting presents for people is satisfying, especially when you see their face gleam up whilst unravelling the paper.

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As I’ve kind of matured (slightly, not a lot), I’ve come to realise that yea presents are great at the time, but they don’t make up for everything. Many families dread Christmas, due to a loss of family member, whether it was recent or long ago, however that empty place at the dinner table on Christmas day is more obvious than ever. For me it’s my wee granny, Christmas has never been the same without her and I’m sure many can relate to how their Christmas experience has changed massively from losing that certain someone. What I’m trying to say is appreciate what you have around you, and it’s nice to be nice, especially around this time of year because no one knows what this festive period means to people. So, just remember ‘he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree’.

Before ending my lil blog post, be sure and have yourself a very Merry Christmas!
CYA, Clodagh xx

Clodagh McFaul is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/clodaghmcfaul/ ; Facebook – https://en-gb.facebook.com/clodagh.mcfaul ; LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/clodagh-mcfaul-592381173/

 

10th October, 2018

The 10th October 2018, the day I realised a whole lot more than I originally thought I knew, the day I believe I can say confidently now that a lot more people than just myself came to a great amount of realisation and had their eyes opened. The day that was World Mental Health Day.

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This is a topic I have never really spoken to anyone about in great detail, maybe because I didn’t think it was particularly relevant to my life or due to a lack of complete understanding of the topic even though obviously I was always aware of it. On this day, I realised how important the topic of mental health really is, from scrolling through all social media platforms, my phone was covered with the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay2018. It amazed me to see how many people were confident enough to come out about their struggles with mental health, no matter how big or how small these struggles were.

I think it really hit me the most and made it so real to me when I read a very brave post written by someone very close to me. I couldn’t help but feel slight guilt however, when I was reading it. I was always aware that this person had their struggles but never did I fully understand the extent of them and how much they affected her life. If you were to ask my friend group, or anyone that knows and loves this person what their personality traits were, you would’ve got answers such as care free, laid back, doesn’t give a s***, cool as a cucumber, easy-going, cheerful, enthusiastic, upbeat, I could go on all day but I’m sure you get the idea! This person was so good at hiding how she was really feeling and telling you that she’s OK and making sure that everyone else around her is OK.CK6

You never truly know what’s going on behind closed doors, this is why it is so important that we be kind every day, ask your friends, your family, your dog, your granny, anyone if they’re OK. A simple chat is all they might need to let them know you’re there.

This amazingly selfless person who has been my inspiration behind this blog, took the brave step on the 10th October 2018 to post about her struggles, not for attention, but for anyone else going through problems or issues similar to hers to let them know that it is absolutely OK to ask for help and to not try to battle your demons on your own. CK8

Our generation needs to stop letting social media platforms take over our lives in negative ways. Don’t get me wrong, I believe social media is so powerful and great for topics such as this to raise awareness and try to bring about change. I love how this year especially, I think that the stigma that comes along with mental health has been broken down that bit further due to the help of social media. However, unfortunately, as I said before, it can cause so many negative effects and has the potential to be so poisonous, especially on young adults and teenagers.

All of the famous bloggers and instagrammers with thousands of followers and seem to have the perfect life through these platforms that we all wish we could be like? FAKE NEWS!! People aren’t going to post the bad things that happen in their day to day lives, that’s why their instagrams, facebooks, snapchats etc look so perfect. They get to literally put a filter on their life.

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We need to start trying to teach ourselves to stop comparing our lives and our looks to other people who we don’t even know. I need to take my own advice here because I am so guilty of doing this sometimes and letting it affect my mood, which I’m sure majority people reading this blog might be guilty of this also.

Let’s continue to break the stigma, live our own lives, stop living behind smartphone screens, be kind to everyone around us, realise that nobody is perfect and know that it is absolutely OK to not be OK.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

 

Claire Kearney is a final year student at Ulster University studying Communication Management and Public Relations. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-kearney-835a68165/Instagram – @claire_kearney ; Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/claire.kearney.98?ref=bookmarksTwitter – @Claire_Kearney  

Boston Blues

Fáilte,
The title isn’t just about how I miss my time in Boston. It’s more than that. It tells the short story of the whole reason I was there in the first place. To play Gaelic football for the Shannon Blues of Boston.

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Shannon Blues crest

It was mid June and I had been toying with the prospect of going for a while. It was a year of mixed emotions for me with a lot of ups and downs. Part of me thought getting away for the summer would help but for the most part I was scared that deep down I’m a real home bird and that I’d never be able to do It. The idea of leaving home properly for the first time was daunting. Making the journey across the big pond to the US. Alone. I at times asked myself if I was going crazy. Luckily I had Gaelic football which for many young Irish men is their ticket over to Boston or wider afield, and costs us little to nothing at all. Still, money was not the limiting factor rather it was whether or not I had the courage to go by myself.

On the 20th of June a few hours into the flight I diagnosed myself insane. Another three hours later I had arrived in Logan airport in Boston. Picked up by a man I didn’t know much about and brought to a house full of other young Irish lads at the same chapter in life as myself. A couple of days passed by and I was almost regretting the decision. By the third day, somehow and inexplicably over night the lads I had been staying with and the team that I had joined became my new family. A band of brothers is what we had become and our manager aka “Biscuits” had become a father to us all while we were there. We went about our day enjoying the sun and come night-time there was always a buzz around the city. When it came time to play football we did just that. The quality of football surprised a lot of us first timers that had made the journey over the Atlantic. Even more so the quality of home based players or actual Americans who adopted the sport was truly amazing to see. Although he wasn’t on my team, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Diarmuid Connolly the Dublin five time All Ireland winner; was a bit surreal. I’m sure for those who have been in in America their whole lives it was even more meaningful to have a living legend of the game like him come over and showcase his skills in their own backyard. At the end of the day we were all there to do the same thing. Enjoy our summers and do what we cherished, which was play ball.

I would like to speak for all the lads not just on my team but for all of the Irish lads who traveled to Boston to play football in the summer of 2018. We appreciate and thank everyone who was able to make it happen. We each joined a new family and hopefully we will see them again in the near future.

Some of the Shannon Blues and I

This being my first blog post is really just a quick insight into what I wanted to share with whoever was interested in reading. There is a lot more to tell and an interesting array of topics I could get into in the future. Let me know what you might like to hear about my travels through any of my contact details below. Thanks for reading folks.

Go raibh maith agat.

Connell Lemon is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: Instagram – connell_lemon97 ; Facebook – Connell  Lemon.

Shonda Rhimes, Thank You For Using Your Platform To Raise Feminist Issues

It is impossible in today’s society to not use TV as a form of escapism during this current political climate, where some argue that instead of taking steps forward for equality for all we are taking steps back. I believe therefore it is important that we are aware of social issues that are happening in the world around us and, instead of choosing to ignore them, that we should educate ourselves about them. One of the main problems we face at the moment is the inequality of how women are treated. Most recently we saw Brett Kavanaugh being appointed to The Supreme Court, even though he has multiple sexual assault allegations and, also, how Dr. Betsy Ford was treated in court when she testified against him.

Last year for placement year I studied abroad in America at East Stroudsberg University.  Living in America it was impossible to escape politics. After being able to ask many of my class mates and just listing to conversations, I found out that a lot of people felt that their voice was not heard. It became clear that women’s voices were not being heard. However, seeing the me-too movement taking off in America, with women coming forward with their stories of how they had been sexually assaulted, we saw women marching as a way to raise their voices to call out the inequality that they face.

What does this have to do with TV and even more Shonda Rhimes you might ask? Being away from home I had a lot more free time on my hands, so I found myself binge watching a lot of Netflix. One of the series I found myself totally addicted to was Greys Anatomy. Well luckily enough after a quick Google, I was able to find out that the creator of Greys Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes, also had an other amazing show called Scandal. I soon realised how Shonda Rhimes has used her platform as the creator of these shows to raise issues that are faced with women every day.

 

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Greys Anatomy

In Greys Anatomy a show about the daily lives of surgeons at Seattle Grace Hospital, you can easily see how Shonda Rhimes has used this series to give people a voice on social issues that women face. One of the main things is how it has helped raise awareness for these issues. This includes how they showed the pressure that was put on the women on the show to be great surgeons, but also the pressure they felt to be a mother. The main character Meredith Grey had to chose whether to perform surgery on a sick patient or sit with her daughter while she got stitches.MH2

In one of the most recent episodes where Arizona Robbins is fighting for custody of her daughter, it is brought up in court how she is unfit to have full custody of her daughter due to the fact she has a demanding job as a paediatric surgeon. It is soon pointed out by Arizona’s boss in the court room if you would be asking that same question if Arizona was a man.

We have Cristiana Yang who didn’t want kids and and even having an abortion throughout the series, showing women how it is okay to not want to have a family if you would rather focus on your career. We have women also being represented from the LBGTQ community such as the marriage between Callie and Arizona.

There is Miranda Baily who was nicknamed the “Nazi” due to how she bosses her team. We learn that at the start of her medical career she wasn’t taken seriously, so she had to become loud and bossy to be taken seriously. She isn’t afraid to use her voice to make seriously important medical decisions for the hospital leading to her to becoming chief of the whole hospital.

We see women not being taken seriously due to their gender being mistaken for a nurse instead of surgeon or being called “honey” – would you call a male doctor a pet name or mistake him for a

MH3nurse?  We see Meredith Grey becoming chief of general surgery but she soon finds she is getting paid less than other chiefs of surgery. Soon realizing the inequality demands to be paid the same.

 

 

Scandal

Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, is a crisis manager who owns her own crisis management firm. Let’s look at how she is breaking barriers on TV when it comes to women as main characters. Shonda Rhimes made it clear that this part was to be played by an African American woman as that who she wrote the part and more so the character was based on Judy Smith who served as George W Bush’s deputy press secretary. Straight away with Scandal, Shonda Rhimes wanted the show to have a diverse cast and have a smart African American woman as the main character who is using her position of power and political connections to stand up for what she believes in. This I believe has lead to a change in how many TV shows have casted their characters – now we can see a rise in women from different ethnic backgrounds getting cast as the main part.

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Throughout Scandal there are many examples of how Shonda Rhimes used it as a voice for women. Vice President Susan Ross spots that a young female officer’s wrist has been bruised – we soon find out that this young woman has been sexually assaulted by a military Admiral. Olivia Pope soon takes on the case and makes sure that the admiral will be caught for his actions. Olivia was able to leak footage of the admiral dragging the young navy officer into his office, forcing the admiral to confess.

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Throughout Scandal we also see how women face many forms of assault, even in their own homes.  We learnt that one of Olivia Pope’s friends Abbey was a victim of domestic assault from her abusive husband.  Later on in the series we find that Abby’s ex husband could be running for senator of Virginia, leading Olivia Pope to convince Abby to come forward and share her story of domestic violence so this man wont be allowed to take up an important political position.

Another important story line in Scandal which is one of my favourites. Mellie Grant, the ex wife of the president, decides to run for office as she wanted to be so much more than just a first lady. We are surprised to see her and Olivia Pope becoming friends due to the fact that it was Olivia Pope who had an affair with Mellie’s ex-husband the President. Both women realised they had both one shared goal, in making sure that their political voices where heard. During the election race we hear one of the best feminist lines from Scandal that echoes into the environment today. When asked by her political opponent in a debate how Mellie will just be the same president as her husband, we see Mellie Grant turn round and say in the 21st century you can’t look at man and assume that his wife will share the same views – women are not their husband’s keepers and they are their own women, with their own beliefs.

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I hope you can see the importance of having Shonda Rhimes as a show runner  to help raise awareness for social issues that we are facing today. To show young girls that you can be in charge, not afraid to use your voice to stand up for something you believe in. Someone who knows even you could be president one day no matter what your race or gender is. She has been so successful in her portrayal of strong women that she, along with her three main characters, were used as a campaign ad for Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

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So thank you Shonda Rhimes.

Muriosa Houston is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @MuriosaHouston ; Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/muriosa-houston-32b41413b