THE SUCCESS OF WONDER WOMAN & GAL GADOT

 

Image result for wonder woman quote

Women have been crying out for better representation in TV and films for years, with Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot we got that. What we have is a robust and independent hero whose physical strength is just as necessary as her compassionate and caring nature. Both are currently taking Hollywood by storm; this leading actress though is a badass on-screen and off-screen. From soldier to Hollywood, Gadot has gone far. Hollywood just can’t get enough of this leading lady.

Image result for gal gadot military

With the success that both Wonder Woman and Gadot has found comes with an important message for all, that can be transferred in everyday life and within PR.

“I wanted to show that women are empowered and strong, and don’t have to be saved by some male hero, but they can take care of themselves using their intelligence and their power.” – Gal Gadot

Firstly, take risks. In PR, taking risks is necessary sometimes. If we can’t answer the question will this work or not, at times, we’re going to need to take a chance and wait for the fallout. Similar to Wonder Woman, this entire project was a risk, DC movies that came before weren’t doing well in comparison to Marvel. Not only was making the film taking a chance but having Patty Jenkins was as director was another risk. It more than paid off with the movie breaking the record for the most successful live-action film directed by a woman. So take more risks.

Image result for patty jenkins wonder woman
Patty Jenkins ‘Wonder Woman’ director

Another lesson is to find your passion. Not only being passionate about PR but finding what makes you passionate within the area will make your job so much better. Loving what you do is always said to be essential to any successful career. Gal Gadot is an example of this, having been a soldier, model, business owner to Hollywood actress.

A message we can take from Gadot’s success, having both families and successful careers are possible. With a workload that comes with juggling successful movies, promoting them and juggling family life, she shows it’s possible. She teaches women in PR; we can have it all too. This an important message being sent to young girls and women everywhere, you don’t have to choose one or the other.

Wonder Woman and Gadot show how successful PR can be. With this success comes power. Gadot, whether she wanted it or not has power. Most recently she is credited with taking a high profiled stand against sexual harassment in Hollywood by apparently requesting the removal of Brett Ratner from Wonder Woman sequel, refusing to reprise her role as Wonder Woman if it didn’t happen. True or not, this is an inspiring message to millions of women in the world, this behaviour is not acceptable no matter who you are or the money you have. This act is not something women have to accept or tolerate. True or not, this shows the Gadot’s name has power, and with it, the ability to make compelling statements. She has denied that his removal happened in this way but is still in hailed a hero, a real-life Wonder Woman and an embodiment of women’s empowerment.

This story circulating Gadot has only increased her PR image, and as result Wonder Woman. The claim is that she refused to sign on for Wonder Woman 2 until Warner Bros. removed Brett Ratner from the movie. As it stands Warner Bros. can’t afford to lose Gadot and keeping Ratner would send a negative message, undoing the powerful message sent out with the first film.  To have a man accused of sexual harassment and assault financing a film about female empowerment, would be a PR disaster. With this claim, Gadot’s influence has considerably increased.

Image result for gal gadot military

 “It was the first time for me — as a woman, a girl, a female — that I saw an image of strong women that are beautiful and confident and can take care of themselves,” – Gal Gadot speaking of seeing Wonder Woman fight scenes. 

With Gadot and Wonder Woman becoming more intertwined in the future, the pressure will mount to maintain the current image projected and revered by the public. Since the film’s release, Gadot’s reach has significantly increased, with 13.9 million followers on Instagram and with 1.52 million on Twitter.

Celine Ward is a 3rd year Communication Management with Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/celine-ward-b900b3156/ and found on twitter @celinemward

 

Social media: Giving Women a Platform to be heard

Social media: Giving Women a Platform to be heard

Social media, some people love it and some people hate it. Personally I’m a big fan, most likely because I like expressing my opinion and I enjoy laughing at those Scottish tweets far too much. Another reason I like social media is because I feel like it has given people the opportunity to have their voices heard no matter who they are and where they are from. Recently social media has played a large part in promoting feminism and giving women in particular a voice. But is social media really empowering women, or is it causing as much damage as it is good?

KL11

Twitter recently extended their number of characters to 280 meaning more interesting tweets to read generally, and longer ridiculous Donald Trump tweets. However one hashtag which captured the word’s attention was the #MeToo campaign, where people shared their experiences sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood including Harvey Weinstein victims Rose McGowan, Asia Argento and Cara Delevingne. This hashtag helped to unify both men and women who had experience sexual assault and/or harassment, essentially empowering them. Being able to share their experiences on social media and seeing the support others have received from the #MeToo campaign may have given these people more confidence.

KL14

The #EverydaySexism project on Twitter which was started in 2012 on Twitter allowing women to share their experiences of sexism from the workplace to a nightclub. The project is an ongoing one with a hugely successful book sharing these women’s sexism experiences, helping to show others they are not alone and that they should not have to put up with this behaviour.

KL10

As well as unifying women, social media is show us to how men are also promoting feminism and equality. Interviews with celebrities including John Legend, Prince Harry, Ryan Gosling and Will Smith have been shared thousands of times online expressing how they are supportive of the women using their voices via social media and how they believe in equality. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also highly featured on social media promoting equality, recently stating in his speech in New York ““Being a feminist for me means recognising that men and women should be, can be, must be equal and secondly, that we still have an awful lot of work to do”.

KL16

Although there are many upsides to social media, there are also a number of negative experiences as sometimes people use the power they are given on social media to criticise. In October Noble Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai faced criticism on social media for attending her university classes wearing western styled clothing and for not being accompanied by her father. Instead of simply letting the young woman be free to dress as she pleased, some users chose to focus on no male being present.

Dating Apps are becoming the norm, most single people use Tinder or Bumble which can quite easily affect a person’s self-esteem. A woman recently shared her Bumble experience where a man told her if she made some effort at the gym, he would consider dating her (his mum did an interview saying he’s only had 2 girlfriends before, no surprise why with charming texts like that). There is no doubt there are a number of men and women who have similarly had negative experiences with social media, showing it is not always used in a way which empowers.

Like most things in life, there are positives and negatives. The good of social media does not justify the bad, however I believe that social media is having a positive impact and allowing women to be heard.

Many people even now see feminism as a dirty word, a word that means women think they are better than men when in fact a feminist is simply a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes (shout out to Beyoncé for educating the world). Social media is one way in which people are able to learn more about feminism and giving women a voice.

KL15

 

Kellina Loughran is a final year student studying Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellina-loughran-a382a9123/  and Twitter: @kellina_x

Did Donald Trump “Slut-Shame” N.Y. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand?

In another colorful news week, the president was accused of what’s called “slut-shaming” when he fired out a tweet at New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. After tweeting about the president and his shortcomings in a series of multi-day statements, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand implied that the women behind the curtains of Trump’s past sexual assault accusations should come back into the spotlight.

Once Trump, or his team of PR agents, read the series of tweets, President Trump had his own response to send to the senator. In the tweet, Trump states, “Kirsten Gillibrand is someone who would come to my office begging for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them).” Although some Twitter users are stating that one’s mind needs to be “in the gutter” to interpret that tweet sexually, others are arguing it’s a very blatant slut-shaming attack on a high-ranking female political representative in our country today.

Trump’s Accusers

To date, there are 17 different women who have come out and made their case for inappropriate touching and comments made by the past reality television star. Working together to make their voices more nationally heard these women took to Twitter to rally the troops and share their individual stories and encounters with the president. Joining them was Senator Gillibrand, who although she does not have a personal story regarding the president, was passionate about the act of empowerment that was sweeping through the ranks of afflicted women.

In response to Trump’s tweet, Gillibrand stated, “I will not be silenced.” Much like the cases that are going down right now against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, no one is safe from the accountability that victims are holding their accusers to today. Gillibrand stated she felt that Trump should be no different, as she has held a same standard to President Clinton today, whose accusers are in the dozens.

This past Tuesday, 59 female members of Congress urged the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate misconduct claims against Mr. Trump. Spurred into action by Senator Gillibrand’s public slut-shaming, the people who are demanding social justice are growing in numbers.

Protective PR

However, as we have seen in the case of Hollywood, individuals in the limelight come with a certain protective public relations sphere that keep them from being held truly accountable for what they have done in the past. Since the majority of predators are being exposed in their 60s and 70s, these men have been able to keep their history of sexual assault hushed until today. Arguably known as a protective PR stance, it certainly looks to be the case for the likes of President Trump.

And then there comes the case of slut shaming. Known as the action of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative, the debate remains regarding the interpretation of Trump’s tweet and its plausibility.

Slut-Shaming

You are probably forming an opinion right now about how you interpreted the tweet and what Trump meant by it. If there’s one thing we need to remember to be fair in assessing the news, it’s that we can’t jump to conclusions with the intonation of his tweet, although acknowledging that it could’ve been malicious in nature. Either way, the war on women continues, and tweets like that from the Commander in Chief to high-ranking officials in our nation sends a bad sign to citizens and most importantly, young girls with hopes and dreams of being respected one day.

Much like Hollywood is doing right now, politics needs to incorporate an element of accountability for past actions committed against women, as well as men. Mr. Weinstein has a list of 50-women and counting, all accusing him of various types of sexual harassment to assault. Leveraging national PR to his aid once more, Mr. Weinstein apologized in a statement that managed to dilute the message and make it more about overreaching actions than his actual intentions and law-breaking behavior.

If we are to prevent this kind of “norm” from happening again, we must hold these individuals to a higher standard. Famous PR protection is something that needs to be monitored more closely. Slut shaming, no matter the intention or deliverer, should never be tolerated, which Congress is taking very seriously right now. As the debate heats up regarding big name offenders in our world today, we are seeing that no one is safe. Protective PR can only go so far when the voices grow in strength and number, and thanks to social media, they are able to do just that today.

As for Trump’s tweet, do you believe he was slut-shaming Senator Gillibrand?

 

Nicole Devlin is a final year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-devlin-29342364/

 

 

 

#MeToo what is it and why should I care?

It is no secret that in the news recently there has been a lot of allegations against stars in Hollywood and the emergence of the Me-Too hashtag has left a lot of people confused. Is it related? Why has my friend put it on Facebook / twitter / Instagram? Should I? I’m here to explain what it is and why it’s so important.

GM7

 

GM5Unfortunately, sexual harassment and sexual assault is still seen as a ‘blurred line’ (don’t even get me started on that awful song) and far too many people have experienced it in their lives – the prevalence of this hashtag proves it. Facebook reported that over forty five percent of their United States users had a friend who posted the term.

This hashtag was created to encourage any women who have been affected by sexual harassment to come forward and speak up. It came into existence when the actress Alyssa Milano posted on twitter a call to arms from her friend that women who have been harassed or assaulted sexually should post ‘Me Too’ to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. It was, quickly, picked up by the public and took Twitter, then Facebook, then Instagram, by storm.

By this point the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein had spread to include most of Hollywood; actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as many others, had made accusations against Weinstein for inappropriate conduct.
The most interesting part of this is that the allegations, at this point, were still just allegations but it didn’t matter – the idea that famous actors and actresses were speaking out about this problem was enough to inspire ordinary people to also speak out. These ‘silence breakers’ have since been named TIME’s person of the year for 2017; proving that the truth, especially in the huge numbers demonstrated, has power.

This is important because it shows the magnitude of the problem. Alyssa Milano woke up to thirty-two thousand replies in the twenty-four hours following her initial tweet, by October 16th 2017 it had been tweeted more than five hundred thousand times, and used more than four million times on Facebook.

GM6

 

This is not a problem limited to women either – men have also been using it to speak out about their own experiences. Over 30% of the #MeToo posts were by men. This is a very underexposed area and something I will have to go into some other time!

Unlike many kinds of social-media activism, it isn’t a call to action or the beginning of a campaign, culminating in a series of protests and speeches and events. #metoo is simply an attempt to get people to understand even though it feels very far away, in the far reaches of Hollywood, sexual assault is much closer to home than we realise.

Georgia McCalmont is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be contacted on Twitter @04Georgia or Instagram @Georgiamac26.