The ‘Gender-swapping Disney’ project

Let me start by saying I am a big Disney fan. Huge. I grew up with Disney, practically lived in Disneyland and many Disney films helped define my childhood. My princess is Belle, by the way.

That being said, Disney is not without its flaws — mainly in terms of gender. Disney characters, both male and female, are often defined almost entirely by their gender. Classic Disney heroes want wealth, glory or recognition (such as Simba or Aladdin), whereas classic Disney heroines want something “more,” which usually amounts to getting married.

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Women in politics … tweeting

Earlier today, I came across a list of the Huffington Post’s Top 100 tweeters to follow during tonight’s presidential debate. Upon looking at the list, I discovered that a majority of the list’s journalists were men. In fact, barely a third of recommended journalists to follow were women.

I first was a little upset by this — after all, there are so many qualified female journalists out there, so why aren’t they more fairly represented? Then I looked at my own Twitter feed. Out of all the professional journalists I was following, a large majority of the ones active during the previous debates were men.

Well, I naturally felt like a complete hypocrite, but I also pondered something: Why weren’t there more female political journalists active on my Twitter feed during the debates? Was I just following the wrong women, or are female journalists less active on Twitter during live political debates?

Women are underrepresented in American politics — I would hate to think we also are underrepresented in online political analysis and reporting. Twitter needs that perspective, especially considering the arising social changes with regards to women’s reproductive health and the right to choose.

So I’m asking all of you to provide suggestions for quality female journalists I should start following during the political debates. I’ll be reporting from a school board meeting tonight, so I’m having to depend on my Twitter feed for up-to-the-second information. Comment or tweet me @BethElderkin with your suggestions!

“I’m a girl reviewer on the Internet”

As some of you may know, I recently started delving into video reviews for iPad Insight. I just published my second one, and so far things seem to be going pretty well. But there’s something I’d like to address: The difference between male and female video reviewers, or rather, how they’re treated.

This was first brought to my attention by a comment on my most recent review of Bastion for iPad. The fact that a reader was complaining about something I did or didn’t say was nothing new, but something else was:

That’s right, my cuteness got involved.

In my previous reviews, my appearance or attractiveness as a female was never mentioned in comments … mainly because they all were print articles. If I said something wrong or didn’t include a detail someone else thought was important, comments would just complain about that. Sometimes they would throw in my double-X chromosome as a possible reason for my lack of knowledge, but no one knew what I looked like.

Now, there’s a face to match the print, a “cute” face at that. It’s not so much a commenter thinks I said something wrong — now, it’s I said something wrong but am using my female attractiveness to distract from it. It puts me on par with the Olivia Munns and booth babes of this world who know little about gaming but use the medium to get exposure.

I’ve long been aware of how female reviewers, newscasters, politicians and other professionals who use the visual medium are received. For some viewers, a woman’s appearance can be seen as just as or even more important than her message. I don’t think this is okay in any way, but it’s not something I’m going to take to the streets to protest. It’s based on men’s biological responses, and I (regretfully) understand it.

But when someone calls my integrity into question by suggesting my appearance is a guise for my lack of knowledge or experience, that’s where I draw the line. If you think I’m an idiot, that’s fine — if you think I’m attractive, that’s fine, too.

Don’t ever think I’m using one to substitute for a lack of the other. 

My guilty pleasure movies

There are some bad movies I love. They are the flicks I will watch when on TV or rent on Netflix — but only when I think / hope nobody is watching over my shoulder.

Until recently, I didn’t know there was a term for this: guilty pleasures. At least, I didn’t understand that movies which are so bad they’re cool were included. Now that I know there’s not only a term for it, but people are actually pretty okay with it, I decided to share a list of five of my favorite guilty pleasure movies with all of you … as well as why I find each movie so much fun. These are in no particular order.

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iPhone on the GoGo: Blogging

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When it comes to blogging, the iPhone is not often looked at as a first-choice device. The touchscreen keyboard can be frustrating to use for long periods of time, and it sometimes feels like it just too long to write a blog entry.

However, I plan on showing you it’s not only feasible, but actually pretty simple. There are a few disadvantages when compared to the computer, but the advantages of blogging on the go are too good to ignore.

How would I know? I am writing this whole entry on my iPhone, as a matter of fact!

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iPhone On The GoGo: Photos

The iPhone as a multimedia device has a wide array of benefits, including its versatility, usability and portability. Creating media became so much simpler when the iPhone came along.

Think about it. Before the iPhone, media professionals such as myself had to cart around a camera, audio recorder, video recorder, laptop, pad of paper and a pencil to every and all situations. Now, all I have to do is carry a small portable computer and I can accomplish all those things easily.

That’s not to say the iPhone can replace a camera, an audio recorder or any of the other devices I mentioned. Currently, the iPhone’s capabilities as a device are acceptable / good, but nowhere near on par with professional-grade equipment. If I were to record a news package for a TV station, I would not use my iPhone. However, if I were needing to vlog onsite, or shoot a quick pic during an emergency situation, the iPhone does what it needs to.

As a journalist and blogger, I’ve been quite a bit of time exploring the iPhone’s potential as a mobile multimedia-producing device, with varying degrees of success. I’ve decided to spend the next few weeks discussing those different abilities the iPhone has and how they can be improved with apps and accessories.

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#ISOJ12

Right now I’m live and kicking at 2012’s International Symposium on Online Journalism. It’s only been a couple of hours, but I’ve already heard about new aggregation and Web-focused journalism from the head of Google News, as well as how social media is merging the international community in ways little thought possible before.
I’ve loved the focus on tablet journalism as well. As soon as the iPad launched, I knew it would transform the way we read and absorb news, and I’m glad tablet reporting is finally starting to catch on with traditional media outlets.
On a sad note, #ISOJ has been plagued with spambots! We’ve already changed to #isoj12, but they’ve already caught on. Sad reality of social media networking; as soon as attention is paid, someone wants to exploit it. However, I hope this means we end up trending. After all, if spammers are paying attention, that means we’re worth some notice.
Will post more later. In the meantime, follow my live tweets at @BethElderkin.