Kim Kardashian and the Madonna – Whore complex


Is Kim Kardashian a positive role model for women, or a disgrace to the feminist movement?

Representations of Kim Kardashian in the media are usually presented like two sides of a coin – she either sets an empowering example for women by embodying unapologetic confidence, or she sends a negative message to her millions of followers.

Vanessa De Largie is an Australian actor, author, writer and sex- columnist based in Melbourne. Her article titled, “I wanted Kim Kardashian to die” for the Rendeview section in the Daily Telegraph shows her opinion very explicitly.

De Largie is referring to Kim Kardashian’s robbing last month, where the celebrity was held at gunpoint and robbed of around $14 million worth of jewels.

Her article opens up with a short statement, “I’m a feminist,” which suggests that she knows her audience may disagree with her argument that this is a feminist perspective.

De Largie’s central claim is that Kim Kardashian sets a bad example for women and she justifies this by highlighting how much influence the celebrity has on social media:

“Kim Kardashian West has 48.3 million followers on Twitter and the late Nelson Mandala has 1.35 million. Welcome to the state of the world in 2016, ladies and gentlemen.”

Here the author is appealing to analogy to compare the difference between the two personalities. Her tone is sarcastic, expressing the author’s worldview that contemporary society is shallow and materialistic.

Throughout her article, De Largie constantly acknowledges the opposing perspective that defends and supports Kim Kardashian. This reflects that the author is aware of the polarising debates regarding Kim, and is cautious to explicitly mention it, in case her audience doesn’t share this viewpoint and needs to be persuaded otherwise.

“There were those who rushed to defend and empathise with Kardashian West – the wife, the mother, and the daughter.”

It can be argued that De Largie has used the relevance of Kim Kardashian’s robbery to express her distaste with Kim Kardashian’s contribution to society.

“But while Kardashian West had $14 million of diamonds and her sense of safety stolen that night, what about all the girls who have been robbed of their innocence and sense of self in the quest to emulate their idol?”

Here, De Largie compares Kim’s theft to young women who have been robbed of their innocence as they strive to look and live like the celebrity.

This can be considered a false analogy because there is little similarity between the two situations.

The author then appeals to authority and facts by referencing a survey conducted by Mission Australia of 50, 000 young people aged 11- 14 whose number one concern was body image. De Largie is claiming that Kim Kardashian is the main reasons why young people are self-conscious of their bodies.

This is an example over generalisation. Perhaps Kim Kardashian does influence many young women to aspire to look like her, however, there are considerably more factors in the media that contribute to the concern of body image – Kim Kardashian is not the only cause.

It is important to consider the debates in the media around Kim Kardashian’s body image. Opinions in the media are divided with those who applaud her for embracing a curvier, ‘healthier’ figure, and others who claim Kim’s body is anything but natural due to heavily filtered photographs and cosmetic procedures. De Largie obviously holds the latter perspective.

Vanessa De Largie mentions how many people have also shared her opinion of wanting Kim Kardashian dead. This can be considered ad populem fallacy because she is using popular opinion to justify that her hate of Kim Kardashian is valid and a shared sentiment:

“I was not surprised when I went on social media and read thousands of comments echoing my initial thoughts on the robbery. The masses wanted her blown away. When you offer so little to the world, is it any wonder that people react viciously to when something tragic occurs?”

De Largie brings in different voices into her article, the most notable being actress Kate Winslet. She quotes Winslet praising herself and her daughter for their natural curves:

“ ‘We’re so lucky we have a shape. We’re so lucky we’re curvy. We’re so lucky that we’ve got good bums.’ And she’ll say, ‘Mummy, I know, thank God.’ It’s paying off.”

By doing so, the author is appealing to analogy and drawing a comparison between the two females and the messages they send about body image. She is also appealing to authority by bringing in the voice of a famous and celebrated actress.

Other feminism perspectives are also voiced in the article such as Andrea Peyser, a columnist for New York Post. Peyser’s claim that “Kim Kardashian West has risen from being the co-star of a sex tape to one of the world’s leading post-feminist icons” is used only so De Largie can immediately refute it:

“Umm, no. Definitely not. Feminist-Icon-Land only reserves places foro women like Camille Paglia, Germaine Greer, and Gloria Steinem. Oiling up your butt – implants for a glossy doesn’t get you a Guernsey. Sorry, Kim!”

Here, de Largie is appealing to authority again by listing renowned advocates for the feminism movement and arguing that Kim Kardashian’s ‘contribution’ to feminism should not be celebrated.

Kim Kardashian is portrayed as a narcissistic, and self – centred and hollow. The author does not mention any details about her entrepreneurship or success, which is usually a common argument taken by those who support Kim.

The images used to support the author’s claim that Kim is materialistic and superficial are snaps from Kim’s Instagram account of her luxe lifestyle.

The article is largely opinion rather argument, as most of the points made by De Largie are ad hominem fallacies, attacking Kim Kardashian’s character instead of putting forward arguments as to why the celebrity should not be famous.

“The only thing I care about is whether a woman is REAL. I can’t connect to cookie-cutter celebrities, Botox, and reality TV…Give me real people. Give me people who can move their faces. Give me people that have views and opinions.”

Here, the author attacks Kim’s appearances, career, and lifestyle. However, it is important to note that other opinions in the media actually praise the Kardashians for building up a television show successful enough to air for 12 seasons. As previously mentioned, many also commend her for promoting positive body image for women and for being unapologetically feminine.

In September, Kim Kardashian was also been commended for using her influence to pen an open letter condemning the Wall Street Journal’s decision to run an advertisement from a group of Armenian Genocide deniers. Kim Kardashian is of Armenian descent and was publically thanked by the Armenian Educational Foundation, a non-profit organisation which offers financial help to Armenian students around the world.

So does Kim Kardashian really have no opinions and no contribution to society, as De Largie argues?

It can be concluded that De Largie positions her readers to agree with her sentiment that Kim Kardashian is superficial with no positive attributes. The author acknowledges opinions regarding Kim’s appearance but ignores others about her success as a businesswoman or her advocacy against the Armenian genocide.

Similarly to De Large, controversial personality Piers Morgan directed a public letter to Kim Kardashian; “That robbery was a wake up call Kim. Time to decide if you want to be the smart, warm woman you really are or the trash talking monster you were becoming.”

Like the first article, Piers Morgan uses the timeliness of the incident to criticise Kim Kardashian’s lifestyle and public image. Piers Morgan’s argument is recommendatory, as he suggests Kim should use the attack as a wake up call to reassess her life and her contribution to society.

His opinion echoes De Largie’s, and represents those who believe that Kim Kardashian is a negative role model for young girls.

“Do you seriously want to encourage them to think the only pathway to success for women is getting their kit off and middle fingers out? For better or worse, these girls relate to you, look up to you, admire and respect you. Why contaminate their impressionable minds with such a bulls**t message?”

Morgan is referring to Kim Kardashian’s notoriously famous nude selfies, which have sparked a lot of controversy, usually dividing the public population into feeling empowered or disgusted.

Morgan also compares Kim Kardashian to an activist personality. The television host claims that he interviewed the Dalai Lama and when asked if he minded that Kim Kardashian had more followers than he does on Twitter, the Dalai Lama responded that he did not know who she was. The author agrees that Kim Kardashian cannot compete with the preacher’s wisdom.

This is considered false analogy because the Kardashian and the Dalai Lama arguably do not represent the same values. They have two completely different ways of life.

Throughout the article, Morgan’s tone is quite condescending and scolding. He portrays Kim Kardashian as immature and selfish – almost like a teenage daughter gone rouge. And he positions his readers to do the same.

By outlining her positive attributes followed by her ‘less admirable’ traits, Piers positions the audience to feel sorry for Kim but also argues that her attack should teach her a valuable lesson.

“It’s a change to re-calibrate, to take a pause and work out if you just want to be known as a topless, bird-flipping, trash talking sex tape celebrity – or something more meaningful and influential.”

Piers Morgan attacks Kim for her vulgar selfies. Image: The Daily Mirror
Piers Morgan attacks Kim for her vulgar selfies. Image: The Daily Mirror

Morgan’s language is very negatively loaded and reprimanding. He uses a combination of evaluative presumption and either –or fallacy. He paints a very two-dimensional portrait of Kim’s character and offers her only two options of how she should live her life.

Musicians Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s feud, which was all over social media and celebrity news – is also mentioned by the author. The author assumes his audience has knowledge of this controversy and summarises Kim’s participation in the dispute:

“…you began trash-talking Taylor Swift after she took exception to your husband Kanye West writing a song in which he called her a b*tch and said he wanted to have sex with her. You even encouraged his appalling piece of waxwork ‘orgy art’ …it was exploitative, distasteful and frankly, revolting”

Here Piers Morgan’s disgust is explicitly clear, and he is positioning his readers to view Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as celebrities who use their influence to bully others.

The images Morgan uses to follow his belief that Kim Kardashian has transformed from a warm and successful woman to a vulgar and shallow celebrity. The photographs begin with her laughing with her husband Kanye West, to a still from an interview with Kim smiling happily and dressed appropriately, to photos of her posing naked and sticking her middle finger up, and laughing over a wax figure of Taylor swift.

Overall Piers Morgan’s article is a combination of opinion and argument. His language is very explicitly biased and evaluative; however, he does support his claims with justifications of why he thinks Kim Kardashian is a becoming a negative influence on younger girls. For example, posing vulgarly in photos using her influence to turn social media against Taylor Swift. Morgan also acknowledges that Kim has spoken out publically about gun laws, gay rights and the Armenian genocide, which perhaps gives the feel that he is more balanced than De Large. Both articles portray Kim as a negative influence on society and a bad role model for feminism.

On the flip side of the coin – other media representations of Kim Kardashian applaud her for being unapologetic about her body and sexuality and applaud her for being a successful entrepreneur, as previously mentioned.

Amy Buswell’s article “Why Kim Kardashian is one of my Feminist Icons,” portrays the author’s views that Kim is a successful businesswoman and great example for confidence and sexuality.

Similarly to De Largie, Buswell acknowledges that the opinions about the Kardashian are divided, she even writes a disclaimer at the beginning of her article acknowledging these different arguments. She agrees that Kim is not the ‘perfect’ feminist icon because she does not use her platform enough to speak for marginalised groups and the difficulties women face.

But central claim of the article is that Kim Kardashian is a feminist icon because of her success and unapologetic confidence. Throughout the article it is clear that the author admires Kim Kardashian, “The Kardashians are women who have built an empire on the power of women.”

Buswell discusses the controversial sex tape that arguably brought Kim Kardashian to the spotlight. She appeals to ethics in her justification that Kim was a victim of a privacy breach and that the hate she received for it is misdirected.

“However, as I’m sure you know, the public reacted to the leak by holding Kardashian to blame for…having consensual sex? I’m still unclear about that part.”

Buswell claims that Kim was able to make the best of a bad situation, which is impressive and requires talent. She appeals to popular opinion in her justification by saying many porn stars are penniless but Kim Kardashian was able to “turn the sex tape into a fortune.”

Buswell acknowledges that Kim Kardashian and her family are not relatable, reflecting that she understands that her readers may not like the celebrity. But she compliments qualities of Kim that she believes are admirable, such as her confidence and marketing skills:

“Kim Kardashian is a mother unembarrassed of her sexuality, a successful entrepreneur, and a human strong enough to withstand a decade of victim-blaming. And if that does not impress you, I can not wait to meet your dinner guests because they must be phenomenal.”

Amy Buswell presents a more balanced and less critical perspective towards Kim Kardashian. Her article was written before the robbing in Paris, which is why there is no mention of it. This article is written online and the images that accompany it are photographs of Kim holding her daughter, North and a naked selfie of her pregnant body from her Instagram account. These images portray Kim Kardashian as more human and therefore more relatable. There are also images of memes that make fun of Kim’s superficiality and lack of talent, but the author has used them to highlight and discredit the nature hate that Kim Kardashian receives.

Source: Instagram
Kim Kardashian cradles baby North. Source: Instragram

“The Kardashian lifestyle might be ridiculously decadent and unattainable, but I for one would love to unapologetically take selfies, be proud of the way I look without being embarrassed by acting vain, and not base my actions on the expectations of others. In short, I would like to incorporate a little Kim Kardashian in my daily life.”

Overall, Amy Buswell represents the arguments in the media that support and defend Kim Kardashian. The author understands why her readers find Kim hard to relate to but provides justifications of why the hate directed to Kim is unnecessary. Throughout the article, Buswell’s tone is sympathetic and admiring of Kim. She believes Kim Kardashian West is a positive role model for women’s confidence and femineity.

In conclusion, it is clear that most representations of Kim Kardashian in the media portray her as either a role model for women – for being successful and unashamed of her sexuality, or as a vulgar and superficial celebrity who represents a hollow brand and creates unrealistic expectations for women. The articles analysed represent a few of these debates surrounding Kim Kardashian.

Where do you stand?

Susan Chen z3462543


Sun Yang: A jerk or a wretch?

by Wong Hoi Tung


Sun Yang, the Chinese Olympic and world-record-holder, who is also the most contentious swimmer at Rio Olympics 2016. He is the first Chinese man who won an Olympic gold medal in swimming. However, his glory history is not the reason for him becoming the subject of controversial media attention. Yang allegedly splashed his competitor, Mack Horton, in the warm-up pool before the 400-meter freestyle even and then being called a “drug cheat” by Horton after Horton beating him. Yang denied knowing Horton on the next day and declared that he is the king and new world. His behaviours and Horton’s speech have raised extensive media coverage of his private life. His stories successfully gain great attention from the public. Some states that he is a jerk and the opposite opinion argues that he is just a poor wretch.



Justin Peters’ “Olympics Jerk Watch: The Chinese Swimmer Who Kick and Splashes People” and Claire Harvey’s “Sun Yang should have our support and empathy – not our ridicule” which published on Daily Telegraph in August 2016 are two articles that hold different views about what kind of person Sun Yang is. Justin’s article claims that Yang is a jerk but Claire’s says he is just a poor Chinese swimmer manipulated by China.


Not both of these two articles reveal explicitly of what kind of person Yang is. “Olympics Jerk Watch: The Chinese Swimmer Who Kick and Splashes People” published on Slate in August 2016 clearly states its stance that Sun Yang is jerk with its tittle. Since Yang kicking and splashing people had already been widely discussed before this article, mentioning these behaviours has an obvious purpose of conveying Yang as the main subject in the article. The use of “Watch” is for telling people to check out why is Yang an Olympics jerk.


Claire’s tittle of her article does not just explicitly saying that Yang is or is not a jerk, but tells readers to give him “support and empathy”. People do not support jerk in normal sense, therefore, the tittle actually implicates that Yang is not a jerk so he deserves people’s support and empathy.


Both of the two articles are mainly combined by evaluative argument. The central primary claim of “Olympics Jerk Watch: The Chinese Swimmer Who Kick and Splashes People” is that Yang is a jerk. Justin justifies that Yang has done several jerk-seeming things such as explaining about ramming his car into a bus without driving license, tussling with Brazilian swimmer and splashing other swimmer. This justification appeals to social norms. The underlying warrant of Justin’s principle claim is that Yang is a very disrespectful and inconsiderate.


Sun is one of China’s best and most controversial swimmers. He won two gold medals in London in 2012,in the 400-meter freestyle and the 1,500-meter freestyle, setting an Olympic record in the former and a world record in the latter. Since then, he has done several jerk-seeming things.


Sun’s tenure at the Rio Olympics has been predictably controversial. Last week, he splashed rival Australian swimmer Mack Horton during a practice session, a maneuver Horton interpreted as hostile and disruptive.”


Justin uses very explicit phases and wordings to express how he thinks that Yang is a jerk and how bad the things has Yang done. In the paragraph talking about the car crash incident, Justin mentions Yang’s bad excuse for ramming his car into a bus while driving without a license. Yang told the public that he has been focusing on training and competition so he only had a hazy knowledge of the law, which led to his mistake. Justin claims that Yang’s attitude is jerk and he did not really care whether or not anyone believed him because his explanation makes no sense. This justification appeals to ethical and other social norms as well since everyone should know that driving without license is illegal. The warrant behind tells that Yang does not care how people see him because he is arrogant. Justin describes this excuse is “one of the worst excuses I have ever heard” and mentions Yang’s attitude is “pretty jerk”. The tone Justin uses is quite emotional and the use of “I have ever heard” is filled with subjective and emotive colour.


In 2014, he spent a week in jail after he rammed his car into a bus while driving without a license. In explanation, Sun offered one of the worst excuses I have ever heard: “Because I have been focusing on training and competition, I had only a hazy knowledge of the law, which led to my mistake.” I’ve never met the guy, but you’d have to imagine Sun knew this was a bad excuse and yet used it anyway, which implies he didn’t really care whether or not anyone believed him, which is a pretty jerky attitude to take, given that, you know, he collided with a bus.”


Informal fallacy is also involved in this article. When talking about the positive result for testing a banned substance- the stimulant trimetazidine, Justin uses a subjective word “excuse” instead of “reason” to describe Yang’s explanation. The author simply presumes and evaluate that Yang’s reason is an excuse without evidence. He also satirize that this reason is just a better excuse. However, this sarcasm also put readers in a position to view Yang negatively because it implicates that no matter how Yang explain is always unreliable.


That same year, Sun tested positive for a banned substance—the stimulant trimetazidine—and received a three-month suspension from the China Anti-Doping Agency. His excuse this time, that the medication he took for chest pains contained trimetazidine, was better than his bus accident excuse, I guess


Justin lists out all the “jerk-seeming” behaviours in paragraphs according to the timeline. Each paragraph starts with the year when the incident happened and ends with explicitly stating that Yang is the jerk due to those incidents. These are the characteristics of the article.


Despite the content of “Why he might be a jerk” covers two-thirds of the article, it also has a small paragraph as counter argument starts with: “Why he might not be a jerk”. The author rebuts his previous allegations toward Yang. He starts off with “To be fair” to make his argument more completed with different angles. In this paragraph, he claims that Yang’s splash can be a convivial gesture because it demonstrated in Bobby Darin’s classic Olympic swimming anthem “Splish Splash”. The justification appeals to precedent and customary practice, there is a previous example of positive splashing so Yang splashing might not be necessarily negative. Nonetheless, it involves informal fallacy of non sequitur since there is no any logical and direct relationship between Bobby Darin’s splash and Yang’s slash.


To be fair, this Mack Horton guy seems like kind of a jerk himself. Also, splashing can be a convivial gesture, as demonstrated in Bobby Darin’s classic Olympic swimming anthem “Splish Splash.” And I haven’t seen it conclusively demonstrated that Sun doesn’t have heart problems. Finally, Sun’s blowup with his coach apparently came after said coach tried to get him to dump his girlfriend so he could spend more time in the pool. You tell me who was the real jerk in that situation.”


When readers read “Olympics Jerk Watch: The Chinese Swimmer Who Kick and Splashes People”, they are positioned to take a negative view of the Yang. The main claim of this article conveys Yang negatively with respect to credibility and plausibility of the words from his mouth. Justin uses “excuse” to describe every explanation from Yang’s mouth. The author’s approach is obviously trying to portrait Yang as a very dishonest, irresponsible and inconsideration person, basically a jerk. The words and phases he uses in the article are generally mixture of direct blaming and sarcasm.


The other article, “Sun Yang should have our support and empathy – not our ridicule”, has a completely different view and stance. “I feel sorry for Sun Yang” is the very first sentence and paragraph of the article. The tone of her expresses how Clare really feels pity and sorry about Sun Yang. In the first sentence of second paragraph, her words: “Yeah, I know China’s bad-boy swimmer is Australia’s public enemy.” shows that although everyone else does not like him, she is still going to write things that she wants, even that it might hurt people who do not like Yang.


” I feel sorry for Sun Yang.”

“Yeah, I know China’s bad-boy swimmer is Australia’s public enemy. I know he tested positive to a banned substance. I know he splashed Mack Horton in a training pool.”



Claire’s primary claim is that we should not humiliate Sun Yang because he is only a victim that manipulated by China’s medal-winning ambition. The underlying warrant is that a victim deserves our empathy. However, it is evaluative presumption of informal fallacies since she does not give strong evidence to support that Yang’s scandals are all because that he is controlled by China. That is all her own evaluative presumption. Claire raises questions to doubt the actual causes of Yang’s scandals but she does not give a strong answer that makes sense.


“Sun Yang is a victim. He’s a cog in the relentless machinery of China’s medal-winning ambition; a mere tool for Beijing’s desire to prove itself the equal, and the better, of the United States in every field of human endeavour. Just as Beijing redesigns the South China Sea to show America just how powerful it is, China’s Olympic mandarins have colonised the bloodstreams of their athletes.”


Claire has two major approaches in the article. First, shift the focus from blaming Yang to how the others can handle things better. For the “drug cheat” scandal, she says that Mack Horton could have showed some empathy instead of humiliating Sun. Second, always provides an explanation for his scandal, which she always shifts Yang’s responsibility to the others.


She claims that Horton acts like a schoolgirl and hurt Yang’s feelings because he ignores Yang and remarks Yang as drug cheat. Informal fallacies is involved. It is a use of ad hominem Argument. This fallacy substitutes irrelevant judgements of an individual for reasonable evaluations of an issue.


Maybe, instead of publicly humiliating Sun, Australian gold medallist Mack Horton could have showed some empathy. Horton could have said he wished China didn’t sacrifice the health of its athletes by making them take drugs. Or Horton could have been a bit less of a schoolgirl about copping what he himself described as a friendly splash, given that he was already in a swimming pool. “He splashed me to say hi and I ignored him because I don’t have time for drug cheats,” Horton said. That remark clearly hurt Sun’s feelings, and it helped motivate him to win his own gold medal.”



There is a paragraph talking about the superior background of Yang, as a justification to support her claims about Yang is a problem child. She mentions about many scandal of Yang and claims that those scandal could not be trustworthy because the national pride of Chinese is low. It involves non sequitur since Chinese’s high national pride does not have direct relationship with whether Yang’s scandals are trustworthy or not.


The article concluded in the point that Yang is a talented young man who does not make every decision by himself and he has been controlled by China government, therefore, maybe people should be on his side.


The whole article of Claire basically just lists out many of the scandal of Yang with a few sentences of evaluations, mostly tells that she does not think things are true or Yang could be innocent. Her article lacks of strong justification and evidence. Therefore, her article is mainly combined by factual argument and evaluative argument. However, it involves a lot informal fallacies.


“It might feel good for Australians to dismiss Sun Yang as just another drug cheat — but to me, that interpretation fails to acknowledge the obvious. Sun, like every other Chinese athlete, is the employee of a regime that practises brutal repression of its own people, military intimidation of its regional neighbours and a single-minded pursuit of glory.”

“To me, Sun Yang’s a phenomenally talented young man kicking against the pricks, as much as he possibly can. Maybe we should be on his side.”


Peters, J. (2016). Olympics Jerk Watch: The Chinese Swimmer Who Kicks and Splashes People. Slate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2016].

Harvey, C. (2016). Sun Yang should have our support and empathy — not our ridicule. The Daily Telegraph. [online] Available at:–not-our-ridicule/news-story/84546dc2ea2e8de9131e126f11f6b9c1 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2016].


Jones, Alexandia -F12A – Media Analysis 2

Media Analysis Article 2 – Caster Semenya


Alexandia Jones

Word Count: 2, 015


Caster Semenya is an Olympic star athlete that has sparked a lot of media attention in the past few years surrounding the question of her gender. The controversy surrounding Semenya and her gender has been around since she first competed in the Olympics in 2008. A lot of debate over gender politics in sport journalism has been focused on Semenya in the past few years, with people questioning whether or not it is fair to let her run in female events with Hyperandrogenism. Semenya has a condition called Hyperandrogenism, where her body naturally produces a higher level of Testosterone in her body. This media analysis will be a comparative analysis that analyses how articles represent and portray Caster Semenya in the media, and what assumptions are made about the readers. Three articles that share similar positive viewpoints and create positive representations of Semenya will be comparatively analysed in terms of style and argumentation. The first article, ‘Caster Semenya is the one at a disadvantage’, by Sisonke Mismang was published in The Guardian in August 2016. The second article, ‘South African Caster Semenya prepares for controversy ahead of 800m at Rio Olympics’, by Andrew Webster was published in The Sydney Morning Herald in August 2016. The third and final article, ‘Reactions to Caster Semenya prove we still define womanhood as weakness’, by Amy Middleton was also published in Sydney Morning Herald in August 2016. All articles were published around the same time due to the influence of the Olympics and have had years of story development to form an opinion since she first competed and sparked controversy in the 2008 Olympics. All three articles depict Semenya in a positive way but portray her in this way through different argumentative styles and using different techniques.


In the first article, ‘Caster Semenya is the one at a disadvantage’, by Sisonke Mismang, the central claim in this article is that ‘Caster Semenya is the athlete that suffers from a disadvantage due to her country being under-resourced’. Mismang argues that instead of Semenya having a physical advantage with her testosterone levels, other athletes that come from wealthier countries are put at an advantage with the use of nutritional, psychological and biomechanical performance enhancement available to developed countries. Mismang’s central argument is an evaluative argument is explicitly written in the title, with supporting claims throughout the article. These include:


“The irony of athletes from Great Britain, which spent £275m on preparations for the Rio games, raising fundamental questions about fairness in a race against an athlete from a country that spent less than £1.9m has somehow been lost.”


“The British athletes’ selective outrage over Semenya’s victory ignores the unfairness of their own situation. By cherry picking one form of advantage while being unprepared to recognise the myriad ways in which they themselves are privileged, athletes such as Sharp have chosen to portray themselves as victims – despite all the benefits of birth they have enjoyed.”


These are supporting claims to the article’s central argument. The first quote uses factual evidence to support the claim that is integral to supporting the central argument of the article that Semenya is disadvantaged to other athletes from developed countries due to more resources. These second claim is opinionated and justifies the central argument through appeals to emotion because they are claiming that the disadvantage for semenya is being ignored and they are only focusing on the physical disadvantage that they suffer.


This article portrays Semenya as the victim of this global controversy that has surrounded her life and her performance in the media where critics have argued that she does not deserve her medals. Quotations of Semenya have also been used to portray her in a positive way, giving her strong characteristic attributes.


“Semenya has been the object of a long and terrifyingly international campaign that has included the disclosure of private medical information and ongoing hounding by the media. She has refused to talk about the condition, saying only that “God made me the way I am and I accept myself”.”


Mismang’s use of quotes here portray Semenya as a strong woman, emphasizing her central claim that Semenya is the one with the disadvantage. This quote by Smenya used in the article expresses that Semenya as a good and fair person that just wants to compete in the Olympics. It also expresses her religion and emphasizes her portrayal of a positive figure. The evaluation and portrayal of Semenya’s character in this article is done by two analytical approaches. Mismang explicitly conveys evaluations of Semnya’s character through opinion, and also expresses these evaluations indirectly through implications and quotes. The quotes used throughout the article emphasize the victimization of Semenya. In the beginning of the article, quotes are used to express how Olympic athletes from developed countries feel that they are at a disadvantage to Semenya due to her physical ability.


“Paula Radcliffe explained why Sharp had been so upset. “However hard she goes away and trains, however hard Jenny Meadows goes and trains, they are never going to be able to compete with that level of strength and recovery that those levels of elevated testosterone brings,” she said.”


The article then shifts focus to the victimization of Semenya, as opposed to athletes from developed countries.


“It is calmly accepted that athletes from large, rich countries enjoy benefits not available to those from poorer, smaller countries, and so will always dominate sporting competitions such as the Olympics”.


The use of the world calmly, implies Mismang’s opinion that it is unfair that it is commonly accepted for athletes in developed countries to reap the benefits of resources that under developed countries cannot afford. This is an explicitly conveyed evaluation by Mismang. This article’s portrayal of Semenya is subjective and expresses Mismang’s opinion of Semenya and portrays her as the victim. They angle taken on the controversy of Semenya was focused on the unfair distribution of resources among developed and undeveloped countries for athletes in the Olympics. The evaluative position of the article – that Semenya is the victim and is disadvantaged is not treated as a ‘given’ and accepted opinion held by the readers. The article addresses the common misconception that Semenya is in fact viewed as having an unfair advantage due to her physical testosterone levels. Mismang argues that instead, the other athletes put Semenya at a disadvantage. This is a new angle and has not been commonly explored by journalists. Although journalists have a tendency to victimize Semenya, as Mismang has, this is a rare article that points the blame of disadvantage to the other athletes and hence treats this opinion as a new idea and not a given. This opinion and angle is portrayed throughout the article and factual and emotional claims are used to persuade the reader of this evaluation.


In the second article, ‘South African Caster Semenya prepares for controversy ahead of 800m at Rio Olympics’, by Andrew Webster, Semenya is portrayed as a victim of the controversy that the media and the athletic industry has created and subjected her to. This article is persuasive in its evaluative use of quotes that present Semenya as a victim of this global campaign against her running, and the main purpose of this article is to portray Semenya as a person. Webster makes the assumption that the readers believe that Semenya has an unfair advatange on the track and uses explicit opinions and implications through quotes to express his opinion and argue his central claim that – Semenya is person and does not deserve the unfair treatment she has been given. The article begins by portraying Semenya in a positive way, with the opening sentence being a quote from Semenya.


“I am not a fake. I am natural. I am just being Caster. I don’t want to be someone I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be someone people want me to be. I just want to be me. I was born like this. I don’t want any changes.”

I just want to be me.”


This quote is used to portray Semenya as human. It depicts Semenya as a fair human being that is happy with her body and this persuades the audience to understand that she was born with her condition and it is not her fault. The quote is then followed by an image of Semenya after finishing second in the London 2012 Olympics. She is depicted holding her flag and standing proud. Webster uses this initial quote and image to strip the reader of their previous opinions of Semenya and to portray her with characteristic attributes of being a fair athlete and a strong woman.




Webster continues to implement his own evaluative opinions in the article to persuade the reader that Semenya doesn’t deserve the unfair treatment.


“And with one remark, that should kill the debate when it comes to Caster Semenya even if it will not.”


This article is subjective and contains Webster’s opinions throughout the article about Semenya and her situation. The main portrayal of Semenya in this article is that she is a victim. This is expressed through facts, quotes and evaluations made by Webster.


“The appalling part of this remark is that the IAAF already knew Semenya was not a man, exposing her to a series of humiliating “gender verification tests” in South Africa and Germany by an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist and psychologist.”


The use of the words ‘appalling’ and ‘humiliating’ emphasizes Webster’s victimization of Semenya and his opinion that she has been treated unfairly. This adds to his portrayal of Semenya being a human with feelings and is used to persuade the reader.


“We need to remember these are human beings,” Coe said. “This is a sensitive subject, they are athletes, they are daughters, they are sisters and we need to be very clear about this. We will treat this sensitively. We need to go back to CAS and we have the right people looking at this.”


Webster also uses quotes to emphasize his point and add further to his positive portrayal of her.


“Here is a female who doesn’t walk inside in the normal boundaries of femininity, who has masculine appearances and traits, but has been cast as some sort of cheat as a result of simply being who she is.”


Here, Webster uses evaluative opinion and is used to persuade to share his opinion of Semenya. Her victimization is emphasized here by his comment “has been cast as some sort of cheat as a result of simply being who she is”. This depicts Webster’s view of Semenya as being first and foremost a human being with feelings and appeals to the reader’s emotions.


“Caster needed help and she was approached by people she shouldn’t have trusted,” he said. “Someone sold an article with Caster to You magazine where they dolled her up in a dress. You never see Caster in a dress. It was so awkward.”


This quote depicts how Semenya’s performance was not affected by her hormone suppressing drugs, but instead her personal life. This is also used to persuade the reader and appeal to their emotion. This also sheds light on a different angle toward Semenya’s character, as most articles blame her performance during that time on the testosterone hormone suppressing drugs that she was given, as opposed to issues within her personal life that no one ever considered.


In the third article, ‘Reactions to Caster Semenya prove we still define womanhood as weakness’, by Amy Middleton, Semenya is portrayed as victim from her gender controversy, but also as an inspirational figure that can help the common held sexist views on females and their relations with sports. This is a different angle from most articles that just focus on Semenya’s condition. This article is subjective with evaluative opinions used through both analytical approaches of explicit opinions by Middleton and implications through the use of quotes. Semenya is portrayed in a positive way in this article.


“Individuals like Semenya help pave the way for those who are gender non-conforming, those with diverse gender identities, diverse bodies and diverse experiences of self.”


Here, Middleton portrays Semenya with positive attributes to her character, by expressing that she is an influential figure for women with diverse gender identities.


“The majority of reporting on Semenya has been intrusive at best, and violent at worst. The reality is that physiological details of Semenya’s body and person are not crucial to this discussion. Caster Semenya is a woman. Full-stop. No need to touch on this again.”

This quote acknowledges past coverage on Semenya as being critical and judgmental of her condition. The use of the words ‘intrusive’ and violent’ emphasize the unfair treatment that she has experienced and emphasizes her victimization, further persuading the readers. Middleton’s dismissal of any questions regarding Semenya’s body and gender identity emphasizes her opinion and persuasion of gender equality and highlight her assumptions about her reader’s opinions – that they are critical of Semenya’s condition.


“But even after it found insufficient evidence in 2015 that naturally high testosterone levels give female athletes an advantage, Semenya is still being subjected to invasive interrogation around her body, her history and her identity.”


This article is subjective because Middleton’s opinions and commentary heavily influences her writing, however, these points are backed up by factual claims about the regulations regarding Semenya and her testosterone suppressing drugs, and her performances in the Olympics. Middleton phrases Semenya’s treatment as ‘being subjected to invasive interrogation around her body, her history and her identity’. The term ‘subjected’ portrays Semenya as a victim and emphasizes the point of her fair treatment and appeals to the readers’ emotions. The term interrogation further emphasizes this point.


“Semenya, on the other hand, was temporarily banned from her sport, has had her performance and identity hijacked by the media, and been forced into years of social and medical scrutiny. A statement from Semenya in 2010 confirmed this: “I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being.” 


Middleton points out the media’s unfair attention that Semenya has been subjected to, with the phrase emphasizing that her identity was ‘hijacked’ by the media. This emphasizes the unfair treatment on Semenya and appeals to the readers’ emotions to persuade them from their assumed opinion that Semenya has an unfair advantage, and that in fact her condition does not justify her unfair mistreatment. Middleton also links this to gender equality, making the argument that as mens’ athlete performances are not questioned, neither should Semenya’s.


All three articles took different angles towards the controversy of Semenya’s gender politics displayed in the media. There has been a shift in the portrayal of Semenya’s depiction throughout media over the past few years. In 2008 after her first Olympics, there was a wave of criticism that was evident in articles all over the world, with the common held opinion that Semenya held an unfair advantage and did not deserve her medals. Since then, Semenya has experienced social scrutiny and physical interrogation towards her body and privacy. Media opinions have since changed, with Semenya receiving a victimization in her portrayal in the media. All three articles used in this analysis were subjective and employed similar writing styles to appeal to readers’ emotions and persuade the readers into shifting from their assumed traditional view of critiquing Semenya’s condition, to thinking that Semenya cannot be blamed and should not be punished for her condition and perhaps Semenya is the one at a disadvantage. All articles, however, portray Semenya in a positive way with fair and innocent characteristic attributes and this represents the media’s shift in portrayal of her as a whole.

















Articles used:


‘Caster Semenya is the one at a disadvantage’, by Sisonke Mismang

Published in The Guardian in August 2016


‘South African Caster Semenya prepares for controversy ahead of 800m at Rio Olympics’, by Andrew Webster

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald in August 2016


‘Reactions to Caster Semenya prove we still define womanhood as weakness’, by Amy Middleton

Published in Sydney Morning Herald in August 2016.





Punishing Cardinal Pell: Warranted or Witch Hunt?


Punishing Cardinal Pell: Warranted or Witch Hunt?

By Terri Slater


The Investigations into child sexual abuse within the Australian Catholic Church have been a source of heated debate over the past few years, with a large focus on Cardinal George Pell and his involvement. Pell, who works directly for the Vatican in the area of high finance, has been under investigation for a range of allegations, ranging from being part of a ‘cover-up’ in regards to sexual abuse committed by other Priests within his diocese of Ballarat (such as currently incarcerated former priest Gerald Ridsdale), to child sexual abuse allegations against the Cardinal himself. Most recently, Pell has become the subject of severe scrutiny for his refusal to return to Ballarat to testify in court due to health issues, as well as reluctance to admit to any personal failings, leading a range of high-profile Australian journalists to offer their opinions on the issue.


The attention of the Australian media has been focused on the character, values and morals of Cardinal Pell, how he has responded to accusations as well as how he is regarded and perceived by the majority of Australians. While journalists Andrew Bolt and Miranda Divine of the Daily Telegraph consider the backlash against Pell a ‘witch hunt’ and unwarranted ‘punishment’, journalists Susie O’Brien of the Advertiser and Kristina Keneally of the Guardian take a much different approach, essentially insinuating that Pell is at fault, without directly stating that he is guilty- a notion that may be interpreted as walking a fine line in ethical journalism, as Pell has not been formerly charged for any crime.


Cardinal Pell has neither accepted nor acknowledged himself to be at fault in relation to these crimes at any stage within the interrogations. However, his continuous declarations of self-innocence and willingness to ‘shift blame’ to other members of the church have caused many to scrutinise him even more. So is it warranted for high profile Australian journalists to essentially drag his name through the mud even though there is a lack of conviction, or is it in fact a witch-hunt? Pell, ordained in December 1966, is one of the most distinguished and influential members of the Roman Catholic Church, who has served as Archbishop in both Melbourne and Sydney. To make such claims against him not only threatens his legacy as a faithful ‘servant of God’ but also threatens the very integrity of the Australian Catholic Church and demonstrates the institutions’ immorality in regards to dealing with child sexual abuse and paedophiles within the Church.



Andrew Bolt’s article, ‘Cardinal George Pell is the victim of a vicious witch hunt’ seeks to condemn anyone who ‘smears’ the Cardinal, claiming that the accusations against the him come from a ‘joy of hatred’ with ‘no attention to the facts’. Bolt immediately makes his primary claim clear- Pell is an innocent man who has been wrongly accused by the Australian people, who have ignored fact and instead sought a trial by media. This claim is explicitly stated, and immediately appeals to the emotions of the reader in the opening par through the use of highly poignant language, when he states,

“Cardinal George Pell is the victim of one of the most vicious witch hunts to disgrace this country. It is shameful. Disgusting. Frightening”.


Bolt provides support for his central claim by seeking to discredit opposing arguments, demonstrated through his reference to Tim Minchin, who released the song ‘Come Home (Cardinal Pell)’ (Available at in order to raise money for the victims of sexual abuse to fly to Rome to be present while Pell gave evidence to the Royal Commission. Bolt explicitly states that Minchin was “falsely portraying him as a defender — even a friend — of Paedophile priests”, and thereby directly implies that Pell is completely innocent of any crime. Bolt characterises Pell as a helpless scapegoat for the crimes of others, who continues to be ‘dehumanised’ and ‘hated’ by the media, although he has always sought to help the victims of child sexual abuse. He refers to Pell’s creation of the ‘Melbourne Response’- an organisation to help protect the victims of sexual abuse, while incorporating his own experience to provide further justification when he says,

I know Pell. “Sociopathic” is a lie”.



Tim Minchin performing “Come Home (Cardinal Pell)’ (The Project)


Bolt continues to discredit opposing arguments, ranging from that of publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, to journalist Kristina Keneally who ‘taunted’ Pell. Interestingly enough, Keneally also mentions Bolt in her own article, when she seeks to similarly discredit him by implying that he was unable to condemn Pell, no matter the evidence. Bolt makes many appeals to fact, stating that each accusation brought against Pell stands unproven and lacks sufficient evidence.


Essentially, Bolt seeks to discredit the majority of the Australian media and create a sense of sympathy for Pell, under the assumption that the bulk of his readership holds a negative opinion of the Cardinal. He achieves this through appeals to fact, ethics and self-evaluation, which seek to sway the opinions of the audience and question the information they had previously been exposed to through a hard line, heated approach.


Similarly, Miranda Devine’s article, ‘Pell punished for trying to aid victims’ functions on the primary explicit argument that Pell is an innocent and wrongly accused man, who is being punished for trying to help the victims of child sexual abuse. While Devine takes a less dramatic approach, and focuses more on fact than emotion to support her main argument, she paints the Cardinal in a similar light to Bolt- an honest man of ill-health who is considered ‘fair game’ by the media and the Australian public, who has experienced unjustified cruelty.


Devine also draws a large focus to Pell’s creation of the Melbourne Response, and how his compassion for victims has essentially made him more vulnerable to being unjustly blamed for such crimes. She says,

“This is the profound unfairness of the attacks on Pell. He alone of any church leader in Australia responded to the crisis of child sexual abuse…”


Devine not only blames the public and the media for making Pell a “whipping boy” and a “scapegoat”, but also seeks to discredit the Victorian Police, whose allegations she describes as “vague” and “appalling”, thereby continuing to provide support for her main argument by essentially ripping apart any claims against Pell.


A prominent similarity between Divine and Bolts’ articles is the lack of reference to the victims themselves, and their willingness to dismiss any claims made against Pell as unjustified and lacking evidence. Both opinions have been greatly criticised by the readerships of each respective newspaper due to each authors’ dismissal of victims’ accounts, particularly in relation to allegations against Pell in regards to sexual abuse he may have committed during his time in Ballarat. Both authors exhibit similar persuasive strategies in their dealing with opposing arguments, in that they characterise Pell as an innocent, ethical man who has been wrongfully accused of these crimes with no real evidence.


In sharp contrast to Bolt and Devine, Kristina Keneally of the Guardian seeks to vilify Pell, by claiming that he has essentially shifted blame to anyone but himself in her article, Once again Cardinal Pell has thrown his men to the wolves – it’s everyone’s fault but his’. Keneally’s main claim is more implicit than explicit, due to the fact that she is unable to unambiguously state that Pell is guilty, however it functions on this assumption that her audience is likely to agree with. In the opening par, Keneally makes a direct appeal to authority when she refers to a quote by church historian Father Campion, supporting the metaphor of Pell ‘throwing his men to the wolves’ which thereby acts as key underlying support for Keneally’s claims. She characterises Pell through use of his own words, particularly in regards to Gerald Ridsdale, to which Pell stated that “It was a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me … I had no reason to turn my mind to the evils Ridsdale had perpetrated.” In response, Keneally states,


Let’s set aside that perhaps any priest – indeed, any human with a functioning conscience – might have shown some interest once stories and rumours started to swirl in Ballarat… Pell had more reasons than most to turn his mind to what Ridsdale was perpetrating”


Keneally essentially highlights the claim that Pell did indeed know about the abuse, yet failed to act until he came into power, as to avoid threatening his own career. Pell was Ridsdale’s housemate during the time that he was assaulting young children, and was part of the committee that relocated Ridsdale time and time again. Through incorporating these simple facts, Keneally is able to provide straightforward justification for her argument that Pell is responsible for the crime of covering up such abuse, by allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions. She is effectively asking the reader- how could he not have known? Being so involved with Ridsdale, who has been formerly charged with over 50 accounts of child sexual abuse, surely he would have observed enough to lead him to intervene?



Ridsdale (L) and Pell (R) arriving to court in 1993


Keneally continues to appeal to Pell’s claims against other members of the church to develop her argument, before asserting her secondary claim- that Pell only addressed any issues once he was appointed Archbishop, when he “decided to clean up the problems of which he had previously been unaware” In all, Keneally addresses a factor that both Bolt and Devine had previously ignored- the testimony of Pell himself in regards to being completely uninformed on the crimes going on around him.


Susie O’Brien’s article, ‘Cardinal George Pell should step aside while police investigate child sexual abuse claims’ holds many similarities to Keneally’s article in that it casts serious doubt on the innocence of the Cardinal in response to the allegations made against him. O’Brien’s highly recommendatory argument is that to leave Pell in his position of great power and influence during the investigations critically undermines the church and what it stands for. She states,


“This matter has the potential to not only undermine faith in the cardinal, but in the entire church hierarchy… Members of the public as well as members of the church deserve better from an organisation that’s supposed to stand for compassion and caring for others”


While O’Brien doesn’t explicitly imply that Pell is guilty of said accusations, her tone and style of writing as well as her inclusion of evidence that incriminates Pell demonstrates her underlying opinion of him- clearly, if she believed in Pell’s innocence like Bolt and Devine, she would have completely refrained from calling for him to step down as cardinal. It is interesting to observe how O’Brien characterises Pell, and how her focus shifts from criticising the church to Pell himself as part of the “cycle of abuse and reabuse”, stating that there is “plentiful evidence to justify Cardinal Pell’s appearance at the commission in Ballarat”.


Therefore, Susie O’Brien’s article functions on the assumption that the reader generally agrees that Pell is or may be guilty of the allegations brought against him, a similarity that runs through all four articles, and supported by the general consensus of the media and the Australian public. Like Keneally, O’Brien leaves her argument open to interpretation by providing the facts, yet clearly demonstrates her subjectivity towards the issue, particularly through her description of his being the “third most powerful Catholic on the globe” as an “outrage and disgrace”, using highly emotive language that seeks to elicit a similar opinion from the reader, and demonstrate the immorality of the church. She also refers to two sexual abuse victims who claim to have told the Cardinal about the abuse, claims that have been vehemently denied by Pell. O’Brien thereby was able to mount her argument by appearing initially objective towards Pell, but gradually including evidence that would be more likely to grab the readers’ attention and impact their opinion more effectively.


The four texts thereby demonstrate two principal opposing opinions of Cardinal Pell and the accusations that have been brought against him. While Bolt and Devine are completely in support of Pell and believe that the media has essentially villainised him and tainted his achievements, Keneally and O’Brien both demonstrate a fundamental belief that the evidence brought against Pell is too overwhelming to be cast as false. A key similarity between the texts is that they all seem to function on the assumption that the readers agree with the general consensus of the media and accept that Pell is or may be guilty. This assumption justifies Bolt and Divine’s articles somewhat, as they are forced to employ more severe language and writing style to attempt to sway the existing opinion of the reader, while O’Brien and Keneally simply supply facts that are already known to the majority of Australians, as to increase the impact and persuasiveness of their article, as well as relying on direct quotes to increase the legitimacy of their central claims. In all, it is very difficult to objectively judge whether the negative characterisation of Cardinal Pell is warranted due to a lack of conviction; however, it is clear that the evidence at hand is quite extensive and crucial to this evaluation, which is quickly dismissed by both Bolt and Devine as false.

Word Count: 2230




Article 1- Bolt, Andrew 2016, Pell Is The Victim Of A Vicious Witch Hunt. The Herald Sun, Accessed 2 November 2016. Available at:


Article 2- Devine, Miranda 2016, Pell punished for trying to aid victims. The Daily Telegraph, Accessed 2 November 2016. Available at:–trying-to-aid-victims/news-story/2b1bc13054af6f4af60fcb33dc25efaa


Article 3: Keneally, Kristina 2016, Once again Cardinal Pell has thrown his men to the wolves – it’s everyone’s fault but his. The Guardian, Accessed 2 November 2016. Available at:


Article 4: O’Brien, Susie 2016, Cardinal George Pell should step aside while police investigate child sexual abuse claims. The Advertiser, Accessed 2 November 2016. Available at:


Minchin, Tim 2016. “Come Home (Cardinal Pell) – Tim Minchin”. YouTube. Available at:




















Impartiality in the Australian media – stuck between a rock and a hard place

By Gavin Seow                                                                               

Intended for publication in: The Diplomat


The 19th century has been classified by many as the “British Century”. The 20th century has been classified as the “American Century”. Now, there are those that say the 21st century will be classified as the “Asian Century”, wherein some the world’s most important economic and strategic decisions for the next hundred years will be played out.

As more and more attention is being focused onto on our region, Australia has an influential role to play in the years ahead. Therefore how we manage our relationships with two of the most powerful players in the region (and our most important trading partners) – China and Japan, is of particular importance.

The volatile relationship between Japan and China however, have put Australia between a rock and a hard place in determining how best to interact with the two in terms of security and diplomacy.

Tensions between the two East Asian neighbours, who share a history of conflict, have re-emerged in recent years due to territorial disputes. The territories – known as the “Senkaku Islands” by the Japanese, and “Diaoyutai” by the Chinese, are a set of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.

Whilst relations between Tokyo and Beijing have turned frosty, Australia has chosen to be resolutely impartial on this matter – believing that the best way to continue its strong relations with the two is to not choose a side.

However, whilst it is the official stance for the government to not take sides – can the same impartiality be seen in the Australian media? This article will seek to shed light on this question, and will argue that reports on the territorial dispute have been largely impartial. That being said, some bias and a slight leaning towards Japan’s legitimacy can be observed.

In examining the stance of the Australian media on this issue, we will first examine how Chinese and Japanese sources report news related to the territorial dispute. In March 2016 a radio base was set up on the island of “Yonaguni”, which is situated near the disputed islands, by the Japanese Self-Defence Force for the purposes of monitoring activities in the South China Sea. This news was quickly picked up on and reported about by both Japanese and Chinese news agencies.



A story titled “Anger over Japan’s radar base situated near Chinese Islands” was published on the 29th of March 2016 by the Shanghai Daily, a Chinese news agency. As expected from a hard news report, there is no explicit use of emotive or colourful language that indicates the author’s stance on the matter like one would expect from an opinion piece. Rather, the publication’s bias for the Chinese standpoint is implicitly revealed through the warrants behind the various appeals to fact that the article uses.

The very title itself, “Anger over Japan’s radar base situated near Chinese Islands”, reveals the article’s nationalistic slant on the issue. The central claim that can be gleamed from this title is that there are angry sentiments around the Japanese radar base that have been situated near territory that is understood without further clarification to be Chinese.

As the issue of Japan and China’s territorial dispute is one that is ongoing and yet to be resolved, the use of the term “Chinese Islands” as opposed to more neutral terms such as “disputed territory or “Diaoyu/Senkaku island” (which are commonly used in the Australian media) introduces a slant in the article that supports the Chinese standpoint on the issue. By not referencing the ongoing dispute by the two countries and stating that, in fact, the territories belong to China, the article is implying that the issue is not up for debate, therefore discrediting Japan’s standpoint on the matter.

The report follows a similar trend as it uses the phrase “Diaoyu Islands” in reference to the islands throughout the article without acknowledging that the Japanese call the islands “Senkaku”. In doing so the author is re-affirming the warrant that the there is no controversy or room for debate in the dispute, as the islands are called “Diaoyu” and therefore resolutely and absolutely Chinese territory.

Furthermore, the use of the phrase “Anger over Japan’s radar base” without stating who or which party is angry implies that the author is writing to an audience who shares or is amongst those who have angry sentiments towards Japan. It can be argued therefore that the author is writing to a Chinese audience who is believed to inherently understand the nation’s negative sentiments towards Japan. In other words the author assumes to be writing to an audience that understands negative sentiments towards Japan as a status quo.

The article also references a piece of discourse or narrative, which is commonly found in the Chinese media, wherein Japan is understood to be a threat to the public, due to their efforts to remilitarize.

“The 30-square-kilometer island is home to 1,500 people, who mostly raise cattle and grow sugar cane. The Self Defence Force contingent and family members will increase the populations by a fifth.”

The decision to include the statement above in the story is a deliberate choice by the author to appeal to the audience’s emotion of fear. Due to the underlying understanding of the readership’s fear of a re-militarized Japan,

The decision to include the statements above in the story is a deliberate choice by the author to appeal to the audience’s underlying fear by providing ‘proof’ or justification to the narrative of Japan’s aggressive re-militarization. By painting Japan in a negative light, the article is able to slant its readership being apathetic to the Chinese standpoint whilst consolidating the narrative of Japan being an aggressor by constantly making reference to it.


GSDF brings Yonaguni radar station online to keep closer eye on China

The Japan Times, March 28, 2016




GSDF brings Yonaguni radar station online to keep closer eye on China


A news report by the Japan Times on the same story however, reveals a polarising narrative. The article, titled, “GSDF brings Yonaguni radar station online to keep closer eye on China”, while arguably more restrained than the previously examined article, still cannot be argued to be impartial. Akin to the article published in the Shanghai Times, subjective terms such as “the Senkakus” are favoured when referencing the disputed territories.

“The listening post on the nation’s westernmost inhabited island is just over 100 km east of Taiwan and nearly 150 km south of the flash point Senkaku Islands.”

Similar to how the previous article used the term “Diaoyu Islands” independently to reinforce the worldview that the disputed islands were Chinese territory, “Senkaku Islands” are used here in the same manner, to indicate to the reader that the name of the disputed territories are the “Senkakus”, and therefore unequivocally sovereign territory of Japan. The phrase “flash point” however shows some measure of restraint by the author, as it references and acknowledges the disagreements between China and Japan.

Parallels can also be drawn to the previous article’s reference to well established narratives in order to appeal to audiences. Where the Chinese article referred to the narrative of Japan being the aggressors in the bid to re-militarize, this article by the Japan Times refers to the narrative that Japan is being forced to re-militarize in order to defend itself against an aggressive Chinese neighbour.

The author actively and explicitly voices this narrative by stating that “the new radar will give Tokyo a first line of defence as it keeps a wary eye on a more aggressive Beijing”. The explicit statement of this claim however is justified through the use of an appeal to authority, by including a quote by a Japanese commander in the Self Defence force stating that:

“Establishing a stable defence setup in the area of the Nansei islands represents our country’s commitment to defence.”

Whilst this article uses an appeal to authority by quoting experts that speak positively on Japan’s new radar stations on numerous occasions, expert opinion about the contrary has not been included, thereby having the effect of slanting the readership to agree with Japan’s standpoint on the territorial dispute.

By understanding the tendency for news reports by Japanese and Chinese sources to have a nationalistic slant, an examination of how an Australian news article has reported on the same event will highlight the contrast in objectivity between the Australian media and that of our East Asian neighbours.

China Sea dispute: Japan opens self-defence radar station close to disputed islands


The Sydney Morning Herald, March 29, 2016

The article we will be looking at was published by the Sydney Morning Herald on the 29th of March 2016, titled “China Sea dispute: Japan opens self-defence radio station close to disputed islands”. Published by an Australian news agency that has relatively little stake in the issue, the tone of this report contrasts noticeably from the previous two articles. Instead of slanting the story to favour one standpoint, this article is commendable in its efforts to provide voice for both sides of the story.

This is evident from the very title itself – whereas the previous two articles used terms such as “Diaoyu” or “Senkakaku” independently when referring to the disputed territories, this article uses a much more neutral phrase in “disputed islands”.

“150 kilometres south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China”

The quote above further highlights the balanced nature of this article. The phrase “disputed known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China” contains no language that would imply the islands belong to any nation – simply, it communicate to the reader that the islands are being disputed and have different names in Japanese and Chinese.

By doing so the article is choosing not to explicitly take sides, by acknowledging that there is in fact an ongoing debate about the issue and communicating to its readership that the verdict is still out on which nation the territories belong to as it is still being “disputed”. Instead of writing to persuade an audience, or to provide a rallying point for audiences who share the same worldview, this article is objective in its goal to simply report on the issue.

The article provides references to arguments made by both sides of the dispute (although perhaps not equally);

“Japan has switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it permanent intelligence-gathering post close to Taiwan and a group of islands disputed by China, a move bound to rile Beijing.”

“Over the next five years, Japan will increase its Self Defence Force in the East China Sea by about a fifth to almost 10,000 personnel including missile batteries that will help Japan draw a defensive curtain along the island chain.”

Statements such as the ones above inform the reader of Japan’s increasing militarization in the East China Sea, which comes at the expense of angering China.

“China has raised concerns with its neighbours and in the West with its assertive claim to most of the South China Sea where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims”

At the same time however, the above statement acknowledges the assertive territorial claims made by China in recent years. By providing facts that neither support nor discredit the arguments made by either side of the dispute, the article is simply stating the facts of the matter.

Despite making reference to narratives used by both sides of the dispute there is evidence of a slight leaning towards the Japanese standpoint, although not explicitly. For instance, Japanese experts are quoted several times during the article, seemingly providing background as to why (and perhaps justifying why) the new radio station has been set up. On the other hand, quotations from Chinese experts, or authorities related to the matter have not been included, therefore perhaps implicitly slanting the article to favour the legitimacy of the narrative that Japan’s focus on re-militarization to be a result of self defence.

Indeed most of the Australian media follows a similar trend.

The following excerpts have come from news reports from Australian news agencies on news related to the dispute. Noticeably the articles actively reference both the Chinese and Japanese names of the islands.


Chinese warship near Senkaku-Diaoyu islands anger Japan:

The Australian, June 10 2016

“Japan said a Chinese frigate sailed within 38km of the contested territory, islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China”

Similar to our previous Australian report, the phrase above references the fact that the territories are contested, and lacks language that implies ownership over territories. Further, the title includes the neutral phrase of “Senkaku-Diaoyu”, unlike the Chinese or Japanese reports which include only one or the other.


Tarpaulin glitch delays Japan’s first military satellite for two years:

Sydney Morning Herald, July 19 2016

“Tokyo and Beijing are locked in a territorial dispute in the East China Sea over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China”

Once again, both ‘Senkaku’ and ‘Diaoyu’ are referenced in this article. However the following sentence;

“It has [the tarpaulin glitch hindering the satellite from being deployed] set back plans by Japan’s military to unify its fractured and overburdened communications network, and could hinder efforts to reinforce defences in the East China Sea as Chinese military activity in the region escalates.”

Whilst not explicitly stating that the Chinese will attack Japan, by implying that Japan’s defences need to be reinforced as a result of increased Chinese military activity implicitly suggests to the reader that the Chinese are at fault, and justifying Japan’s push to rearm as self-defence.

As we have seen, the Australian media remains to be relatively impartial in the reporting of the island disputes between China and Japan. Where the Japanese and Chinese news reports use the names “Senkaku” and “Diaoyu” independently, the Australian media has opted to use more neutral phrases such as “disputed islands / territories” or “Senkaku-Diaoyu”. It also has to be noted however that despite the use of neutral phrases, there seems to be a slight slant towards justifying Japan’s recent re-militarization as self defence, as the narrative of Chinee aggression is often referenced.

However slight it may be, the implicit support for Japan in Australian media reports may explain why a recent study has found that whilst 80% of Australians express favourable views towards Japan, only 57% of us feel the same about China.

Indeed as more strategic and economic importance begins to shift towards the Asia Pacific, and the world begins to turn their eyes towards our neck of the woods, Australia has important decisions to make as to where our allegiances lie. Whilst the stance of our government is to avoid making choices in the first place, there may come a time where Australia is forced into a dilemma of picking a side.

With that in mind, we need to be cautious about how reports in the media are shaping our public’s perception about our two biggest East Asian neighbours.


Milo the Supervillain – An analysis of the Establishment’s most confusing enemy

Milo Yiannopolous is a clown, and will be the first to gleefully admit it. As the enfant terrible of the anti-political correctness movement sweeping the right wing of American politics, the conservative commentator has attracted both condemnation and admiration for his heavily protested speeches to university campuses as part of his “Dangerous Faggot” tour, where he rapturously dismisses the objections of offended students and effusively praises Donald Trump, who he calls “Daddy”, to standing ovations.


His highly publicised banning from the Twitter sphere, after he compelled his supporters to attack Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones on her online social media, has reinvigorated debate regarding free speech, and whether or not social media personalities hold responsibility over the conduct of their followers, regardless of their anonymity.


His association with the fringe “Alt-Right” – an internet-forum based political movement centred on nativism, western chauvinism and stalwart support of the 2016 Trump campaign, has met bitter opposition from both sides of American politics. The internet-based movement has raised concerns that it shields white supremacists under the guise of free speech, trivialises anti-Islam and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and has formed a cult of worship around Donald Trump that fails to recognise the Republican candidates personal foibles, in favour of supporting the spirit of national renewal that Trump has repeatedly promised to deliver.


This analysis will highlight the incensed opposition that has met Milo Yiannopolous from both sides of American politics, showcased through the articles No, Donald Trump Isn’t Your “Daddy”. Grow Up and Trump Just Burned Down Conservatism. The Time To Rebuild Begins Now., by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, and How Out Magazine’s Milo Yiannopoulos Story Missed The Whole Story & Betrayed Readers. The latter is a reactionary piece by the Huffington Post in response to Send In the Clown: Internet Supervillain Milo Doesn’t Care That You Hate Him, a feature profile by prominent LGBTQ magazine Out. The analysis of these articles will not only focus on Yiannopolous, but the Alt-Right movement that he is associated with, although professing to not consider himself a member.


To his opponents, the combination of his outspoken conservatism and overt camp demeanour renders Milo Yiannopolous a baffling figure. Although this would be rarely admitted on public record, the LGBT community is expected by pundits to support and vote for liberal political movements, especially in light of the progressive marriage equality reforms that have swept the global north.


A profile on Yiannopolous run by prominent LGBTQ magazine Out sparked controversy from its dedicated community, when it was accused of being a “puff piece” that ignored the dangerous and divisive aspects of his activism. Labelled in a Huffington Post article as “giddily reverent”, the profile focuses on Yiannopolous’s individual uniqueness, rather than the effect his rhetoric has upon his supporters. While noting that the article featured a figure definitely worth discussing, the author David Michael Conner opined that the sprawling, almost 5,000 word profile called Yiannopolous a “professional mischief maker and provocateur” in an act of “hyperbolic genuflecting” and “saccharine pandering”.


The author argues that Out has completely misread its audience, and has used the fact that Yiannopolous is a queer personality as the only qualifier to publicise the opinions of an otherwise damaging figure to the LGBTQ community. This is in light of allegedly transphobic comments made by Yiannopolous in the past, as well as his outspoken opposition to marriage equality. The author does not attack the article for being incorrect, but incomplete. For example, Conner notes that Out fails to mention the commentator’s own struggles with his homosexuality, such as when he once told Joe Rogan’s podcast “If I could choose, I wouldn’t be homosexual. That doesn’t make me self-loathing”. Conner then uses this train of thought to form an ad hominem argument against Yiannopolous, by inferring that he exaggerates his camp demeanour as an act, writing: “he claims to be gay. In fact, he flaunts it — believably so, as, at the risk of offending readers with stereotyping, Yiannopoulos’s facial expressions, bodily movements and words are saturated in gayness; unless he’s an incredible actor”.


For such a unique readership, the author asserts that the article should have challenged Yiannopolous on this assertion, as Rogan did on the original podcast to open a conversation. To Conner, the article further omits the provocateur’s argument that college rape and violence culture is a myth, labelling this “inexcusable” given the disproportionate violence faced by transgender students on American college campuses.


The author argues that Yiannopolous has made racist comments, but does not city any examples. The author uses an assertion by Yiannopolous that there is no true “rape culture” on American college campuses to then state that he must support decriminalisation of sexual assault. Conner then uses the argument that because Yiannopolous once plagiarised poetry from Tori Amos, a survivor of sexual assault, that he has no grounds on which to discredit the movement for law reform on college campuses. The author’s outrage at the Out profile is well founded, as indeed it does read as a harmless series of interviews with a political oddity, rather than a serious critique of right-wing extremism in American politics. However, the above arguments that Conner uses in an attempt to discredit Yiannopolous are tenuous and uncited at best, and bizarre at worst, exhibited by the Tori Amos example.


The Out profile itself is interesting strictly from the perspective that Yiannopolous is a prominent LGBTQ figure that has played a very public role in the 2016 election, and is therefore a subject that deserves coverage. The LGBTQ community is one of constant evolution, expanding its own acronym in the name of inclusiveness and focusing more heavily on transgender issues in recent years. However, the community has no single fixed agenda, besides the ongoing acceptance of its members within wider society. For this community, the influence Yiannopolous exerts as tech editor of the popular conservative publication Breitbart represents progress, regardless of the individual opinions he vocalises. As Yiannopolous has himself written, gay identity is overt, outspoken and unashamed.


From a technical perspective, the profile refrains from judgement. It documents the backlash that Yiannopolous has faced, but does not vocally support the reactionaries. The article does however lend a voice to figures that he has humiliated, such as civil rights activist Shaun King – who last year was the subject of false rumours, perpetuated by Yiannopolous, that he was Caucasian. “Milo is not a free-speech crusader,” he says in the article. “What he does is consistently ugly. It’s often very bigoted and racist. He almost exclusively attacks people of colo(u)r, people who he somehow has decided are enemies of the things that he believes in. He’s so far removed from the pain that he causes people that he doesn’t even believe that it’s real. He’s just so desperate for attention. It’s like a bad circus act.”


The article includes reservations from Yiannopolous’s own friends, who often regard his activities as excessive and grandstanding. “He is so smart and witty and intelligent,” says Christina Hoff Sommers, a senior analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “He could be a model for how to confront the campus puritanical cult—that it’s much more effective to do it with evidence and humour. You don’t need vulgarity and personal assaults. He needs to work on it. If you’re going to be a Joan Rivers, you need to practice. He’s a lovely boy, except he can be deplorable!” 


The feature has been met with loud opposition, put by Breitbart to be a “triggered” response – one that would rather supress opinions than confront them. Most of the opposition has come as a result of transphobic comments made by the commentator, such as his opinion that transgender people are “hilarious” and “mentally ill”. The opposition to these comments, besides obvious emotion, stems from the logical basis that the LGBTQ community is largely a united lobby that seeks progress for all its members, and will not tolerate high publicity of one individual at the expense of a portion of itself. The response to the article is representative of the political dimension of the LGBTQ community, where members privilege unity over individual opinions and preferences.


In an email to TheWrap, Out Magazine editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin said, “Naturally, we anticipated a negative reaction, but I hope readers will recognize that the strength of our profile lies in the diligent way Chadwick Moore interrogates his subject.”


Hicklin continued to say, “In my experience, there is a double standard at play when it comes to LGBT media, since other mainstream outlets such as Bloomberg magazine can write about Milo freely, but LGBT media is too often seen as having an obligation to self-censor subjects/people we don’t like even when they are in the midst of a political movement, as Milo is.”


Opponents of liberalism are often labelled as “old, angry, white, privileged heterosexual men” who draw their conservatism from a misplaced sense of status loss in a cosmopolitan society. To those on the left, the fact that a young, unashamedly gay man of mixed ethnicity should join this monoculture, with its supposedly asinine hatred of minorities, unabashed homophobia and resistance to globalism mixed ethnicity is an affront to pre-conceived assumptions regarding the Right, and can only be desperately read as an example of how easily right-wing extremism can radicalise young men.


The Left occupies its place in politics for its emphasis on plurality, its safe-haven status to embattled minorities and its welcoming stance towards the LGBT community. The fact that Milo Yiannopolous is not tolerated at his conservative speaking engagements, but applauded by “Make America Great Again” hat-wearing steel workers from the rust belt is a direct threat to core leftist sensibilities. He is regarded as something of a supervillain, a mercurial figure who will offer a dignified defence of the Alt-Right on an afternoon CNN timeslot, then bathe naked in pig’s blood at a pro-Trump art show the very same week. He defies categorization within an election cycle that has been divided along stark demographic lines.


For his defence of the Alt-Right, Milo Yiannopolous has attracted opposition from conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro, who manages The Daily Wire, the most popular conservative website and podcast in America. In his piece entitled No, Donald Trump Isn’t Your “Daddy”. Grow Up, Shapiro labels Yiannopolous as one of the “Trump Children” – a group that has placed a cult of personality around the Republican nominee for the national renewal that he promises to deliver. A blunt speaker who favours an intense adversarial style, Shapiro mocks Yiannopolous’s support for Trump with his argument that the candidate is “closest to a drunken deadbeat father, because like most drunken deadbeat fathers, he cares more about himself than the people who rely on him. … these are the voters who know that Trump lies routinely, that he has a history of betraying promises, that he will likely go off on another policy bender and abandon them for the next political skirt that catches his eye. But like abused children, they long for his loving touch, and they insist with fiery rage that he will come back home eventually”.


Shapiro, a friend of Yiannopolous besides their frequent online tête-à-têtes, has knowledge of his difficult and often abusive childhood, incidentally outlined in the profile by Out. Without resorting to cruelty, Shapiro is drawing a parallel between Yiannopolous’s own past and aspects of the Trump campaign to mount an allegorical psychological appeal to emotion.


Following this, Shapiro writes, “there is no political Allfather, as Trump’s supporters are about to discover. There are just liars who play the part, and Children who follow them.” In this excerpt, Shapiro uses the mythological term “Allfather” to mock the Alt-Right, who are known to co-opt symbols from ancient civilisations to support their claims.


Although considering Yiannopolous a personal friend, Shapiro further targets him in Trump Just Burned Down Conservatism. The Time To Rebuild Begins Now for his blanket support of the Alt-Right.

To Shapiro, the Alternative Right is “a mash-up of nationalism without constitutionalism, vileness masquerading as political correctness, and frustration at the status quo misdirected to support a corrupt insider (Donald Trump)”.


Shapiro, an outspoken conservative, champions a purist’s approach to the political ideology, stressing that conservative tenets cannot be ignored in favour of populism, and that extremism must be stamped out even if it aids the conservative agenda. A seasoned debater, Shapiro finds fault with the language policing that has ironically permeated the “Dangerous Faggot” speaking tour, where students with dissenting opinions are dismissed through repeated chants of “cuck!” or ushered out of the auditorium by Yiannopolous’s fans.
A frequent target for anti-Semitism due to his Jewish faith, Shapiro argues also that Yiannopolous prefers to ignore the extreme aspects of the Alt-Right, in favour of allowing them to sow the seeds of dissent during the 2016 Presidential election. Indeed, members of the Alt-Right have been known to share stereotypical images of rapacious Jews and photographs of Nazi memorabilia to opponents such as Shapiro, and have been defended by figures such as Yiannopolous for simply being provocative. Shapiro expands his definition of the group to label them “an ugly agglomeration of intelligent skinheads, white supremacists, morons who conflate everything vile with political incorrectness, and the odd Hitler fan or two.”


Aside from his vested interest to remove anti-Semitism and other religious vilification from political discourse, Shapiro criticises Yiannopolous as he views the Alt-Right as a morally bankrupt body that prizes electoral success over basic values. As a “Never Trump” proponent, Shapiro is voicing the concerns held by other members of the Republican establishment – that Trump is a RINO – a “Republican in Name Only” that is using the party’s ticket to satisfy his own ambitions, rather than upholding any of the core values that define the GOP. To rally the support of his Republican readership, Shapiro favours appeals to patriotism and idealism.


“Yiannopoulos is right about one thing: the Trump movement rejects conservatism. They don’t care about the Constitution – it’s a passé document that must be discarded in favo(u)r of a Dear Leader who can lead America back to Greatness. They don’t care about the Declaration of Independence – they are an interest group, and they want their payoff.”


Shapiro will continue to hold approval among his supporters, as his arguments are grounded in genuine patriotism and a mission to save the embattled cause of American conservatism. The gravitas of Shapiro’s rhetoric, however, pales in comparison to the jingoism sweeping the Right of American politics, with Milo Yiannopolous at the helm of its Internet wing.


An inveterate clown, Yiannopolous’s mission is not to rebuild the Republican Party, to offer serious policy suggestions or to encourage a serious yet civil debate on issues. Rather, the young firebrand relishes in his opportunity to bring fringe voices to the forefront of political discourse, to combat political correctness on college campuses, and to communicate with supporters via Internet references that are almost undecipherable to older generations of the political establishment. His influence during the 2016 election has been one of division despite intellectuality, due to the emotionally charged atmosphere that has permeated all aspects of the race, leading to its frequent label as the most negative election since the Civil War.


Yiannopolous, among other Libertarians and Conservatives, is of the opinion that the subject matter of a debate is immaterial, so long as a debate is taking place. A free speech advocate with every fibre of his “fabulous” being, Yiannopolous represents an ugly yet important evolution of political discussion – one that ironically embraces liberal postmodernist theory to assert that all voices are important, all issues are worthy of debate. A perennial threat to polite liberal sensibilities, Yiannopolous refuses to ever let us see the last of his smug smirk and Gucci clothes.


And his supporters love him for it.


Maximilian Enthoven, z5017395, FinalAss4-Ping12.00

Islamophobia: The Divergence of Australia – Emily Hennessy z5060215 FinalAss4-Ping12.00

Australia is one of the safest countries in the world. The brutalities of war are so far removed from our daily reality, encased in a 30-second news segment, that we ignore it as we continue to go about our busy lives. Bush fires, killer insects and feisty sharks are things we are more likely to fear. Because there is no daily contact, the fear is subdued. However, we do come into contact with people. When the majority of Australia siding with Pauline Hanson on her ‘anti-terror- anti-Muslim’ rampage it becomes unsettling as we divide in chaos.


It is unsettling that the word ‘un-Christian’ – the actions or words that go against the basic teaching and values of the Christian faith – is used to describe uncharitable situations that happen in the West. The fact that the media is always purporting how dangerous every Muslim is creates unrest and a phobia within society. This phobia has reached a point where our government is banning all asylum seekers who arrived by boat for life from our beautifully multicultural country. Thus assuming that every refugee or asylum seeker will be a burden to society. Instead of embracing an immigration program that will welcome and support these people to give them the best start we have embraced white solitude and discrimination in the face of religious extremism.


49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration. So why is this ban so highly regarded when there are thousands of people globally wanting to unite in diversity and fight against the western reinforcement of terrorist propaganda?


The articles analysed continue to reinforce the absence of a link between Islam and terrorism, comparing to the fact that there is no link between Christianity and the West’s destruction of Iraq – even though it was done in the name of Jesus – or the Ku Klux Klan inhumane callous killings of innocent black Americans. This war cry and comparison to Christianity exemplifies that Islam, as an ideology is more than the terms thrown about in the media that not really explained, such as ‘hijab’, ‘niqab’, ‘halal’, and ‘Sharia law’, which creates this ignorance and hatred.


Is it genuine fear or is it ignorance?


The facts are that in a population of about 24 million Australians, of which 500,000 are Muslims, 60 are on the ground fighting with ISIS and a further 100 are suspected of supporting them in which ASIO keep track of. For all the alerts, warnings and suspected ‘close calls’ thus far, six Muslim men face terrorism-related charges and one man has been killed. As a result of these 166 extremists callousness, 11,766 refugees who came to Australia to seek safety will now be ill-targeted by some sort of perverse punishment.


Most individuals seeking asylum by boat are refugees. In order to even be considered to stay in Australia, these people who have fled war-torn countries by boat without authorisation are detained in Nauru or Manus Island and must pass rigorous identity, health and security checks. The definition of refugee in the Refugee Convention means that people cannot be refugees if they have committed war crimes, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or other serious non-political crimes. Therefore making it highly unlikely that a war criminal, terrorist or any other person who posed a security threat would be able to enter Australia as a refugee as this vetting process is so consuming. It is also highly unlikely that a criminal or terrorist would choose such a dangerous and difficult method to enter Australia. However, if one does slip through the barrier it is almost certain that ASIO would pick up on their criminal activity and quickly contain them.


We have all read in anguish the United Nations special rapporteur finding that Australia is systematically violating the international Convention Against Torture by detaining children in immigration detention, and holding asylum seekers in dangerous and violent conditions on Nauru and Manus Island. So it was no surprise that this extreme lack of compassion is forcing the UNHCR to take action and urge Australia to end offshore detention. However, Australia’s newest immigration policy is serving as a warning to others who might be tempted onto a boat. Questing whether this policy is a consequence from the bigotry and racial abhorrence towards Islam that is clearly emphasised in the media.


The most interesting element is how the flow and effect element of this framing in terms of white Australia rather than the individual ‘good’ Muslim. In moving beyond the simple reportage of the events that have taken place, writers are claiming the right to question Islamophobia in radical responses in search for the root of the problem that caused such abhorrent fear and violence within society. The representational effect of this search for a cause is significant: it creates a sense of phobia in the reader, leading them to believe that banning boat people to fundamentally stop terrorism is essential.


Why does the reader think it is essential? Because, through the writer’s convincing opinion that Islam is the problem, violence, and rational fear is represented as being able to be explained.


In order to understand how this representation is somewhat of a wider trend, it is logical to look at an article that represents the hegemonic standpoint that Islam causes violence compared to a variety of media coverage against the fear of Islam. Therefore, this examination is not restricted to a few articles but will focus on a broader range.

Let’s start with Andrew Bolt “Why Does Islam Beget Violence?” in The Courier Mail (2014). This piece is an interesting example of the way the language of the journalist immediately creates a sense of immense separation between Muslims and non-Muslims in an ‘us verse them’ stylistic argument. Right from the start, there is a negative undertone and a pessimistic outlook assuming that the readership agrees with him and is stupid if they dismiss the faith of Man Haron Monis as a coincidence for his act of terror in the 2014 Lint Café Siege. Bolt has conservative views and his stance is beneficiary to white elitists, to keep the population in fear of Muslims is to constantly remind the public how scary they are; that all the bad things that are happening in society are because of the influx of immigrants and refugees.


“Except, of course, we rarely get damaged individuals killing people in chocolate shops in the name of Buddha. We don’t get damaged individuals beheading a British soldier in the name of Christ.


We didn’t get damaged individuals shooting a Canadian soldier guarding Canada’s cenotaph, or plotting bombings of our MCG, or trying to blow up jets with the explosives in their shoes or their underwear in the name of any faith other than Islam.”


Immediately the issue is being represented in a way where it doesn’t really matter who the alleged offender is – what is relevant is that he is a Muslim. The use of strong emotive language and personal pronouns in comparing different religions to what ‘they didn’t’ do compared to what extremists have done emphasises a strong opposing argument to again get people on board with the whole us verse them hoc ergo propter hoc argument.


It is useful to turn to some examples to illustrate how the use of previous heinous crimes, like the Port Arthur massacre, the AUM Shinrikyo gas attack on a Tokyo subway and Ivan Millat. Crimes committed by white men are used in different contexts to portray different threats to society. These men who have killed women, children, and men of all different colour, races and beliefs, who are comparable to ISIS easily appeals to the readers personal values and contexts as it is so close to home. Using these examples positions the reader to either create fear or to appeal to their rational ‘logical’ thinking. Rather than naming the alleged perpetrators and addressing Islam as the key to violence and using such specific horrific crimes that the Australian community will never forget serves as the foundation for legitimising and creating Islamophobia thus enforcing the ban on the boats. Karen Brooks “Bigots Let Off The Leash” in the Courier-mail (2014) uses this same tactic of influencing readers to stand together and stick up for the ‘underdog’ of society. However, this evaluative presumption positions the reader different to Bolt and uses the examples to ask the reader to remember, to think logically, and to question the hegemonic ideology that is currently running through the Australian media. The inclusive pronouns used within her articles and the colloquialism appeal to the readers and promotes her central claim that if Australia doesn’t act in unison, then the terrorists – whether “home-grown” or on the other side of the world – win. This is emphasised in the end of her article, as the sentences are short, sharp and poetic, conveying a clear point and engaging the readership to agree with her war cry.


“We keep hearing Muslim community leaders should condemn ISIS publicly and those who wish to associate with their sick, brutal actions.

Yes, they should. They are.

Likewise, we should be loudly denouncing all the bigots, racists and right-wing extremists who are using fear as an excuse to discriminate and hound a minority group.

Only together can we heal this festering social wound and bridge the growing chasm.

Instilling distrust and fear of each other and making panic and suspicion a way of life is the goal of terrorism.

Remembering our common humanity instead of religious or other differences is how we’ll begin to restore hope and repair the damage.

United we stand, divided we fall into anarchy.”


Waleed Aly, a prominent journalist, who is Muslim with strong views on the Project in 2015 made it very clear in his Soliloquy that his central claim is that ISIS wants to appear powerful, but are however weak and use Western fear as propaganda to promote themselves and appear more dangerous. The tone of his voice and the use of characterisation, inclusive pronouns and the use of the word ‘you’, triplets and an ad hominem argument is a powerful combination. Appealing to the audience that these feelings of fear, anger and hostility is normal, as the strong emotive language of absolutes totalizing the statement resulting in fallacy, leading the reader to, in a sense, make a rise and to stand up and fight and be mad: but at Western governments for painting all Muslims with the same brush as ISIS, fulfilling ISIS’s strategy of splitting the world into two camps. Since the tone is emotive and passionate, it is more likely to get a response from the audience to believe him. By using factual statements without justification or verification and appeals to authority to sway his audience. The tone that the authorities are stupid and people who contribute to this hatred of Islam, are essentially helping ISIS.


“There is a reason ISIL still want to appear so powerful, why they don’t want to acknowledge that the land they control has been taken from weak enemies, that they are pinned down by air strikes or that just last weekend they lost a significant part of their territory,”


“ISIL don’t want you to know they would quickly be crushed if they ever faced a proper Army on a battlefield.


“They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry. They want all of us to become hostile”


“ISIL’s strategy is to split the world into two camps. It is that black and white. Again we know this because they told us.”


“We all need to come together. I know how that sounds. I know it is a cliché, but it is also true because it is exactly what ISIL doesn’t want.


“So, if you are a Member of Parliament or a has-been Member of Parliament preaching hate at a time when what we actually need is more love — you are helping ISIL. They have told us that. If you are a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here or basically them saying the same thing — you are helping ISIL.”



Let us look at one more example of the impacts of media in creating Islamophobia leading to the cause of the Turnbull government initiating a ban on all boat people by investigating Mona Elhassan article “The Fear of Muslims Is Based In Ignorance, Not hatred” New (2016).

“Muslim Australians have diverse backgrounds and, contrary to common belief, not all Muslims arriving in Australia are from the Middle East. Insinuating that all Muslims bear the same culture is dangerously ignorant and over-simplistic. It forcibly groups all Muslims together, as though we are all the same.

This is not politics: it is racism. Muslims do not bear a single culture. We embody the cultures of our ancestral backgrounds and present realities, just like everyone else.

People must understand that Islam, like Christianity or any other religion, will include values that work with Western modernity, and it will include values that do not.


It is up to everyone to contribute their experiences of being Australian. And it is up to all Australians to think about what it means to ban the entry of those who flee their countries because of wars (that Australia may or may not be involved in).

How tragic it would be if we supported something that would make us so uncivilised and inhumane – and then called it Australian.”


This article is allegedly reporting on Pauline Hanson’s claim that Muslims bear a “culture and ideology that is incompatible” with Australian culture. Elhassan purporting that Hanson, and her many sympathisers do not understand the diversity of Australia as a result of Muslim immigration. The way she has argued that the culture of racism and Islamophobia in Australia is attributed to a lack of understanding and racial inequalities in broader society is evidence of this representational style where the readers and the claim to authority are positioned to be blamed by the author as she points out the fallacy of hasty generalisations made by mainstream media and the Turnbull government. The plea “people must understand”, “It is up to everyone”, “if we supported,” appeals to the reader’s inner patriarchal stance, alike the other articles investigated, this stance is what is helping the authors empathise with their readers and connect with them on a deeper level. The emotive language via recommendation used to create such emotion works effectively and efficiently within not only Elhassan’s article but all articles examined.


It is interesting that these articles plea to the community of Australia as a whole to change their personal stance assumes that the readership is predominately white and Christian. All the articles are parallel in a recommendation style argument where the authors are calling for a dramatic change in society. The use of ‘slippery-slope’ informal fallacy about what the future looks like, and the power ISIS will obtain if Australia does not take action now to separate the radical extremists from the mainstream Islamic community creates intensity within each article examined. The influences of heavy ‘us verse them’ language within the media and the painting of all Muslims under the same brush is ignorance by definition. But this fear as a result of this lack of understanding is what is driving this hatred. An overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country, and all over the world are feeling the impacts of ISIS and terrorism. They are more so the victims of these extremist groups and are unreasonably punished separated by ignorance and hate from the rest of not only Australia, but also the whole Western community.


We need to unite, however, we are divulged in conflict, anchored in anarchy. Australia needs to not be so ignorant. This fear is driving us mad.


Emily Hennessy z5060215 FinalAss4-Ping12.00

Smashed Avocado and the Economy


Lindsay Stevens – Final Assessment 4


Ping – F12A

This analysis will focus on the representation of millennials as a social group and the general societal (and sometimes political) issue of “young people” and their (in)ability to enter the current housing market. Recently, journalist Bernard Salt published a column in The Weekend Australian, “Moralisers, we need you!” in which Salt claims that more young people could afford houses if they stopped buying smashed avocado at brunch. Firstly, we will analyse this article, along with several others that followed, across different platforms, as a result of such a claim.

We will look at news journalism piece published by ABC News Online, “Property ownership out of reach due to high prices, not ‘smashed avocado’ penchant, millennials argue” by David Taylor. Following this, we will analyse how the portrayal of Salt and this issue is achieved in a views journalism piece “Why The Oz linking smashed avo to the housing crisis is a guac of shit”, by David Adams for Pedestrian.Tv. Finally, we will consider Madeline White’s “It’s not avocado on toast that’s keeping me out of the housing market”, publish for The Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s interesting to consider the charaterisation of millennials as presented by all of these articles, considering the authors and assumed readerships are so diverse. Sparking this brunch-based controversy, Salt immediately identifies with an assumed readership of forty years and older. From the lead, Salt implies that the audience will align with his views on millennials and assume the same worldview of the social group as he holds;

“If you are under 40 and starting to read this, I politely suggest that you turn the page. There isn’t anything here that will interest you. Just me rabbiting on about the old days. Bit of a yawn-fest, really … Have they gone? Is it just you and me now? Shhh … act natural and read this column without making a sound. Do not look up; do not make eye contact with anyone. Come close to the page. Closer!”

In doing this through a conversational dialogue and sarcastic or humourous tone, Salt effectively portrays to his audience that if they are over forty, they should be automatically interested in his worldview and that they will align with his causal claim that the lifestyle choices of today’s youth are excessive, lavish and are the primary reason they will never be able to own their own home. Not only is this characterisation reinforced through publication in The Australian (a typically right-leaning publication), but also in Salt’s constant self-identification as a “Moraliser” due to his age, and discussion of “the evils of hipster cafes”.

In exploration of such “evil” Salt continues with the narrative recount of an “evil hipster café” as a forty-something-plus “moraliser”, in a mocking and sarcastic tone, experiences it. In doing this, the implication is made that treating one’s self to a Sunday brunch is more excessive and lavish than the median house price of a Sydney home being a seven-figure number. Ultimately, these implications persuade the reader to consider millennials that engage in this activity as irresponsible, further supporting his claims with a slippery slope effect.

Interestingly, the first and only time Salt mentions anything to do with the housing crisis is right toward the end of his article with the falsely analogous smashed avo argument;

“I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more. I can afford to eat this for lunch because I am middle-aged and have raised my family. But how can young people afford to eat like this? Shouldn’t they be economising by eating at home? How often are they eating out? Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house.”

This characterisation is making the assumption that millennials are unable to buy their own home because they choose to go to brunch rather than saving money through eating at home. However, this Salt’s portrayal of this issue seems rather unduly bias as this false analogy is not supported with any statistical economic evidence to support his claim. It is simply warranted in an ad hominen argument attacking young people for their choice of breakfast.

Salt’s piece is ultimately effective in characterising millennials in the view that might be shared with the intended audience. However, the primary claim is a rather contentious point that someone who was not of the very specific target readership might find hard to align with.

Comparatively, different publications and authors have characterised millennials in their articles in very different ways. Taylor, in his new journalism piece keeps an objective, traditional journalistic approach to the issue – typical of a piece published by the ABC. In his lead, Taylor presents us with the issue at hand, and in the following par, the audience becomes aware that this news story is in light of Salt’s claims – “Millennials have hit back in the growing debate over home ownership, arguing an out-of-reach housing market has nothing to do with a penchant for “smashed avocado”.”

In this lead, the audience gains an understanding that whilst Taylor may not align with Salt’s claims, he is not aligning with millennials either. Taylor is addressing this issue with as much neutrality as possible – which is supported in his use of quotation and statistics throughout the piece to support his factual claim that millennials are unhappy with Salt’s avo argument. However, the piece reads with a sarcastic tone and in selectively writing in this style, Taylor seemingly portrays millennials and their issues regarding the housing market as something not to be taken too seriously by the reader (quite the contrary portrayal compared to his representation of the actual issue with the current housing market).

Taylor quotes “Sydney comedian, renter and millennial, James Colley” in order to provide a representative voice of the youth. In order to represent the opposing views of millennials, Taylor has also selected quotes from Investment Manager, Robert Montgomery and economist, Chris Richardson – in doing so, alleviating any room for accusation of bias in his portrayal of millennials. Along with this, Taylor has strictly adhered to news journalism values and is simply reporting facts like; “Smashed avocado is a common cafe breakfast menu item that can sell for more than $20.” All of these techniques have been employed in an attempt to characterise millennials in the most neutral light possible and bring the issue back to what Taylor believes is the main concern- the economy.

As this piece is of news journalism nature, there are no central claims that need to be justified through argumentation. There is opinion featured in the text, yet it is quoted from other sources – not advice or opinion provided by the journalist. On the surface, Taylor’s article is about millennials as a social group, which is fairly neutral coverage and more so portrays that Salt’s claims are the only thing absurd about this issue. In depth analysis would reveal that perhaps this article is more so focused on addressing the economical issues surrounding our housing prices. Ultimately, the intended audience might still align with the view that millennials are entitled and/or lazy (despite it’s apparent neutrality), but this article would not convince a reader of the opposite.

In the alternate, there have been articles published that represent millennials in the complete opposite of entitled and lazy. In his article for, Adams represents the youth of today as a social group who are severely struggling with this genuine issue despite working hard to combat it. As explicitly stated in the title, Adams’ primary claim is that Salt’s argument about young people and the housing market is completely wrong and unwarranted. In justifying this claim, Adams simultaneously discredits Salt, addresses the economical issues of the housing market and characterises millennials as having the worst end of the deal in this situation – all of which encourage the audience to align with the youth.

Adams wastes no time in attempting to persuade the reader as to why they should align with his worldview in further stating his primary claim – “…he had a bit of a spray about Millennials, and our apparent predisposition towards overpriced smashed avos on toast. And he was very, very wrong about it.”

Adams then goes on to provide a statistical comparison of the housing prices and expenditure of ‘young people’ between today and fifty years ago, along with a plethora of randomly selected sarcastic twitter screenshots that critique Salt’s claims regarding smashed avocado. This justificatory support is perhaps the most we see from any of the authors in an attempt to appeal to authority, but it is carefully selected in such a way that it characterises millennials as though they are suffering through this situation, and provides an ad hominem attack on Salt.

The piece is effective in its use of narrative. We are welcomed by Adams and made to feel familiar. He aligns himself as having the same job as Salt, and therefore, the same credibility to be speaking on the issue, and following this, we learn that he “had smashed avo on toast for breakfast.” In a humourous style, appropriate for intended audience and publication, Adams effectively characterises millennials as though they are suffering in the economy, not leading a lavish lifestyle of excessive avocado consumption with justificatory support to back up his factual claim;

“A titanic series of institutional roadblocks stand between us and home ownership, but the big ones are obviously negative gearing and its associated culture of rampant property investment. Both have ensured it’s far, far easier to buy a home if you already own several more, and that’s a luxury not too many of us young guns have. Turning away some avo won’t change that, but internalising the current status quo won’t do shit either.”

We are also provided with justificatory argumentation in the form of personal recount, a technique that was carefully selected in order to evoke emotion in the audience and encourage them to align with Adams’ worldview in supporting his primary claim;

“Sat in a Melbourne apartment, a pretty unique and uncomfortable feeling came over me. It wasn’t from my avo, which was frankly quite delicious. Rather, the background sensation of “these surrounds are not mine, nor will they ever be,” which I could usually tune out, was rendered unavoidable due to the sheer bloody assurance of Salt’s opinion. By extension, that’s an opinion we can reasonably assume many of the, yes, “Boomers” hold as gospel.”

Ultimately, Adams has effectively used views journalism techniques in order to persuade his audience that his primary claim is right and that this is serious argumentation, not just opinion. These techniques are obviously effective in reaching the intended audience, and arguably might be able to persuade someone holding an oppositional view.

Finally, White’s piece is another views journalism piece that, whilst it employs a lot of traditional news journalism piece, is obviously opinion based. Her primary claim is factual and, similarly to Adams, explicitly stated in the title – that it is the economy to blame for the housing market, not a young person’s choice to consumer avocado on toast.

In her writing, White seems to suggest that she is aligning herself in favour of millennials in this debate – “The avo has become a symbol of my generation’s erroneous consumption preferences: according to Salt, it’s not property prices that are keeping us out of the market, but our indulgent lifestyles.”

We see White employ the same kind of connection that Adams achieved in connecting with her audience via personal recount in order to gain their trust (and eventually, persuade them to align with her worldview). This kind of anecdotal recount effectively justifies White’s claims, based on the warrant that the housing market in it’s current state is completely out of reach for young people;

“In my humble share house, we gather, six of us, sometimes more, to chow down on bargain avocado, smashed onto cheap bread, with homemade coffee. We gather on the couch, on the ground, on the futon-cum-spare-bed, around our coffee table-cum-dining table, in our living room-cum-dining room. (A share house with a proper dining room was sadly out of our price range).”

White then asserts that Salt’s opinion is not the first time millennials are hearing of this, and in doing so, similarly to Adams, positions the reader to empathise with a generation that is struggling in this economy and completely dismisses Salt’s claims;

“I like to think it’s a lifestyle appropriate for someone of my income and life stage who should, my Mum says, be saving for a house deposit. Looks like I’m on track then. Except I’m not – bargain avos will not change my income. Nor will they change property prices.”

This is another example of how views journalism can be used to characterise a social group, issue or in this circumstance, both. White has employed similar literary devices and journalist techniques in attempting to persuade her audience, but perhaps without statistical evidence and strong use of quotation in any form, this piece might fail to persuade an opposed reader.

Ultimately, in depth analysis of these articles have provided a deep understanding of how millennials are represented in news media – particularly in relation to the housing market. The expected conclusions were definitely reached – older journalists, working for more conservative publications will write pieces that typically characterise young people as entitled, lazy and suggest that they lead lavish, excessive lifestyles. Younger journalists writing for more liberal publications seem to write in a defensive manner that characterises young people as suffering or being involuntarily subjected to economic hardship. Each author makes effective use of journalistic techniques in order to justify their primary claims, some more so effectively than others. Typically, use of quotation and statistics even in views journalism pieces are still likely to be more effective in potentially persuading a reader to change their mind based on the fact that it appeals to authority. On the surface, ad hominem fallacy may be effective at first, and it is not until the article is broken down in context that we can understand whether or not the argumentation is legitimate, or just unsound opinon.



“Moralisers, we need you!”
By Bernard Salt – October 15-16 2016, The Weekend Australian Magazine

By David Adams – October 17 2016,

“Property ownership out of reach due to high prices, not ‘smashed avocado’ penchant, millennials argue”
By David Taylor – October 17 2016, ABC News

“It’s not avocado on toast that’s keeping me out of the housing market”
By Madeline White – October 18 2016, The Sydney Morning Herald

Self-confidence vs. Expectations – Alicia Keys and the no makeup revolution.

Alicia Keys is making a statement. Yet, the resounding effects of it aren’t inspiring the movement she had wished for. ‘Do the braless and makeup-less trends exclude some women?’ by Kelly Lawler, ‘Why Alicia Keys’ #nomakeup look is not quite as ‘real’ as it seems,’ by Priya Elan and ‘Here’s why people are annoyed at Alicia Keys’ by Nicole Bittete, are three distinctive pieces outlining the adverse effects of makeup free revolutions. These pieces include an array of individual experiences that help to shed light on the reality of wearing makeup in the shallow world of the 21st century where looks are everything.


The attendance of the MTV Music Awards sans makeup by Keys created a whirlwind of both positive and negative responses. Baring a bare-faced makeup look for a female celebrity is unheard of, but alas, Keys attended the MTV Music Awards, make-up free and confident. However, not every woman can jump out of bed and head into the world feeling invigorated and confident.


In a world where appearances set the tone of careers and endeavours, an argument that arises from such trends, is its ability to create stark divides amongst women. The reality is that not every woman aligns to the standards of which society deems as beautiful. Makeup is not viewed as a mask, that covers everything you truly are, rather it is viewed by many, as an enhancement. Makeup is controlled by its user; women apply the makeup the deem as suitable to themselves. A 2012 Harris poll shows most women apply makeup to appear as natural as possible (Renfrew Center Foundation, 2012).


All articles present a societal view, encasing the reality of different individuals. All are opinionative, evaluative pieces aiming the position the audience to understand, that not one size fits all, that donning makeup or no make-up is a choice, not an expectation. These views journalism pieces emulate the inclusion of social issues into mainstream medias.


The exclusion of certain body types and groups is showcased in Lawler’s piece, who highlights the fact that not all trends suit all types. This article by the USA Today is a thorough shut-down of the trend, which although had good intentions, doesn’t holistically appeal to all women.


Lawler uses the analogy of the bralette trend to appeal to the audience. Going braless or without makeup is easier and more popular among certain groups of women, such as those who already meet traditional beauty standards. For bras, that means size.

Lawler writes to an intended audience who also shares the difficulty of matching fashion and beauty trends that often sweep mainstream coverage. Lawler, writes with the intention that the audience share her own views. Those views being experience of being excluded from fashion trends either because their body type makes it impossible or their beauty does not match the standards placed upon women and like many looks I dig, it is not meant for me.

Lawler incorporates multiple third-party voices within her article, uses a wide array of quotations to substantiate her argument without directly stating it. Lawler makes her argument through the voices of other women.

By including Linda West, described as a “fat-acceptance blogger” Lawler, once again takes a subtle approach when shutting down the trend. “You’re establishing a cultural beauty standard that is deeply exclusionary,” says West. “Small is great. Big is great. All bodies are good bodies, and all bodies deserve options and respect.”

Rather than out rightly proclaiming her own opinion, she uses the voices of different women, with different experiences as the median. She also employs ad-populum fallacies in order to substantiate her stance by appealing for popular beliefs that all women are beautiful in their own right.

“Irrespective of your breast size you should be able to embrace whatever trend you feel and I do think there is no one trend anymore,” Heer says. “I think that the great thing is that there is choice.”

Lawler moves on to highlight another popular trend hitting online sites; with a prevalent one being the ‘Power of Makeup.’ The tag essentially is women, particularly beauty guru’s on YouTube filming a makeup tutorial on only half of their faces.


Lawler includes a young woman with burn scars covering her face from an accident as an advocate that make-up empowers rather than belittles. Lawler once again allows her sources to speak for her which emulates the intent of the article to be written by the people for the people. She employs an inclusive argument, that does not discredit Keys’ belief rather it places it into perspective of mainstream women.


Shalom Blac, is used within the article to lift the veil of shame that is usually cast upon women who wear makeup.


Blac knows people who don’t have “perfect skin but go about their day to day lives without ever wearing makeup. And then you have people like me with problematic skin that like doing both whenever need be, or just because we love and appreciate the art of makeup.”

Lawler uses direct quotes to deliver a clear and direct message from the sources to the readership. Nothing will be lost in translation to succinctly deliver a message that attempts to holistically present the image of makeup in society. Bralettes or “naked face” are the latest in a series of fashion and beauty trends that leave some women out. Plus size women have struggled to find retailers that sell fashionable clothes in their size, while women of color have often noted the lack of makeup options for their skin tone.

Lawler draws distinctive conclusions on trends themselves, highlighting their nature to disregard certain body types. She employs an Us vs. Them argument through the evaluative conclusions. Us, being women on the outskirts of modern beauty standards due to their pigmentation or size, whilst “them” being women who meet societal beauty standards. The extensive use of personal pronouns by the direct quotes also shows the decisive stances of each of these women. The piece itself is an opinion piece which showcases women with different body types and their experience of attempts to match a trend that doesn’t match them. This itself positions the reader to empathise with their situations and align with their views.


“I think that women of colour and fat women feel more pressure to look a certain way and be a certain kind of feminine in our culture, but I’m not convinced that bralettes and natural makeup/no makeup makes that worse,” Toal notes. ” It’s just a different side of the same old (expletive).” 


Lawler positions the reader to be in an empathetic position, rather than defensive. Through the integration of women and their direct quotations, Lawler sets an environment that is one woman speaking to another. There is no shame or embarrassment, rather it is an open conversation where real insecurities are shared and accepted. Lawler replicates modern feminism within her argument through both the integration of women within the piece and her refusal to disrepute Keys’ stance.


Priya Elan’s piece, ‘Why Alicia Keys’ #nomakeup look is not quite as ‘real’ as it seems,’ casts an altering perspective on the piece by questioning the integrating of Keys’ “no makeup look.” Published in the Guardian, Elan extensively deconstructs the “allusion of no makeup” by drawing on an interview done with Key’s makeup artist.


Elan sets the tone by starting off the piece with a casual, ‘So,’ to morph into an extensive accusatory introduction, ‘it turns out that Alicia Keys, whose comeback has been based around the concept of being makeup-free, isn’t quite as untouched as she claims to be.’

Elan uses a casual vernacular that induces his audience to be a younger niche.


Keys’ idea of being ‘makeup-free’ is not original. Keys has tapped into the humblebrag movement of the moment. Adele, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kylie Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Beyoncé and Laverne Cox have all posted #nomakeup selfies on social media to make a statement about the tyranny of contemporary beauty ideals.


Elan draws on an Ad Hominem fallacy when referencing Keys being able to be makeup-free because she was already beautiful. Keys is a natural beauty and wearing no makeup does not make her any less beautiful. Thus Elan creates grounds that since she is already beautiful she has no right to create such a trend of ‘no makeup’.  Neatly, of course, while showing up how ridiculously good-looking they all are.


Not all women meet modern beauty standards that deem them to be beautiful, and thus for these women, the only way to meet these standards is through makeup. Elan then incorporates accusatory language through the inclusion of the prep routine undertaken by her makeup artist to achieve the ‘makeup-free look.” Keys wears brow definer, self-tanning anti-ageing serum and mattifier that total more than £300. The singer also applies cucumber pulp and does “ice work” on her skin to achieve the bare, fresh-faced naturalism she is after. The singer then applies eyelash hair to her eyebrows to make them appear fuller.


Elan writes to an intended audience that is expected to share his own views. His own views being, that being makeup-free is not a real construct in the 21st Century, with the construction of “real” in 2016 is a complicated one. He employs evaluative language to breakdown the legitimacy of Keys’ claim that being makeup-free allows one to be true to ones self by embracing their inner beauty. Although he is a male, he can still empathise with beauty standards placed upon young people in particular within this current day and age. Although Keys’ claims that they are ‘welcoming a new era of beauty,’ Elan insists that, the overall impression is that actually, not much has changed at all. By employing an accusatory tone from the onset of the piece and throughout Elan expects his audience to immediate align with him. He writes the piece without the expectation of being criticized or frowned-upon. Rather he writes it with the idea that he is merely putting onto paper what people already think. The tone of the article leaves no impression that he does not believe that Key’s is completely makeup-free. He then goes into depth by integrating an interview with her makeup-artist to confirm that to be able to achieve Keys’ makeup-free look will take $300.


Elan’s questioning of beauty constructs in modern society alludes to the evaluative tone he intertwines within the opinion piece. On the surface, it implies that long-held conceptions of beauty are false and dated, but on a deeper level it upholds another aspirational standard of appearance that is just as difficult to maintain.


Elan incorporates descriptive and emotive language within his piece to further discredit Keys’ attempt at a movement by drawing on the ad hominem fallacy that her own beauty cancels out her ability to talk on another women’s behalf. Not all women are beautiful and thus a beautiful woman should not be able to dictate new beauty standards and trends.


This notion is further called upon in Nicole Bittete’s ‘Here’s why people are annoyed at Alicia Keys.’ Bittete engages a variety of literary techniques to present a concrete opinion piece on why she believes Keys has overstepped the line on the issue. Bittete continues the ad hominem fallacy of beautiful women should not be able to dictate beauty standards by stating that while the idea of saving all that time, money and mental energy we spend putting on a face is exciting, the lamentable fact is that most of us can’t afford to skip it.


Bettete moves on to use personal pronouns to further reiterate her stance on the matter by clearly defining that she should not be able to dictate the beauty regime beyond her own. Bettete attempts to be the voice for the annoyed within the first opening paragraphs of her piece. Already ready setting the tone that the piece is aimed at the like-minded. Here’s why I think people are upset. Bettete goes on the list the reasons why Keys’ actions have caused irritation. By drawing upon lists within her piece she is altering the opinion piece into evaluative terms. First, she’s not just doing her own thing —she’s trying to make a statement. Keys declared she would start going makeup-free back in May, noting that she feels liberated to rock the simple look and even finds it refreshing to show her true self.

Bettete goes on to discredit Keys though the statement that, but she later wrote in Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny: “I hope to God it’s a revolution.”


Bettete moves on to draw upon factual evidence and polling statistics conducted to further emphasize her point. The point of the article sways into a more defensive stance at this incorporation. Rather than writing directly to an audience she expects to agree with her, she moves on the defend her stance by supplying the statistics that show women being more comfortable with makeup than without. Of the 3,000 woman polled, 70% of them said they would never want bosses or colleagues to see them barefaced around the office — let alone on stage in front of MTV’s entire viewership.



The article positions the reader to finish the article with a stance identical or similar to the tone set by Bettete. Thus Keys is portrayed as a woman who has no rights to speak on behalf of all women when she herself does not share the struggles they do. Keys’ attempt to proclaim that baring all was like “not covering up your true self.”  Is depicted by Bettete as an inaccurate indication of why women actually wear makeup. As a wealthy, beautiful woman she already does not seem relatable to the wider population as well as the intended readership of this piece.


The general tenor of the three pieces aim to give voices to women who fit outside to the mainstream beauty parameters creates by the rich and beautiful. Keys, a wealthy and beautiful woman is painted throughout these articles as a woman who should not be able to freely dictate what she believes should constitute as beautiful in a world based around beauty. Beauty is a facet of everyday life, whether this is accepted or not the reality that beauty standards are an important aspect to modern society.


With beauty and fashion trends rising and falling every other week, it is impossible to stay indifferent. However, some women are forced to stay indifferent due to the mere fact that they lie outside of the beauty parameters set by the rich and beautiful like Keys. And thus, the only way these women do feel beautiful is through makeup. A 2011 survey demonstrated that over 60 per cent of women who turned up for a job sans makeup stated that is was more stressful than a job interview or a first date. In a world where individuals are so fixated on beauty, with women especially so, it becomes evident that not all forms of beauty suit all. Not all trends match all and subsequently, Keys’ attempt at a movement, as shown through the Lawler’s, Elan’s and Bittete’s pieces will not suit all.





Barton, A. 27 February 2012. No makeup? No way, almost half of American women say. The Globe, accessed 31 October 2016.


Bettete, N. 4 September 2016. Here’s why people are annoyed at Alicia Keys. The New York Daily, accessed 1 November 2016.


Denton, A. 31 August 2016. Alicia Keys Responds to Critics of Her No-Makeup Movement. Allure, accessed 1 November 2016.


Elan, P. 11 October 2016. Why Alicia Keys’ #nomakeup look is not quite as ‘real’ as it seems. The Guardian, accessed 31 October 2016.


Huffington Post. 28 February 2012. Half Of Women Are Dependent On Makeup, Study Says. Huffington Post, accessed 1 November 2016.


Lawler, K. 2 September 2016. Do the braless and makeup-less trends exclude some women? USA Today, accessed 1 November 2016.


Stern. C. 3 September 2016. ‘I love my lip gloss, I love my blush. It’s not about that’: Alicia Keys explains why she’s going makeup-free – and gets Today’s Tamron Hall to join in. Daily Mail, accessed 31 October 2016.