#5 — The Mediated Public Sphere

Part I

(Caption: This is the subvertisement that my group and I came up with. We took the original advertisement for the waterproof Sony Xperia Z3+, which said, “Beautiful inside and out”, and replaced the word “Beautiful” with the word “Water” in attempts to undermine Sony’s claims that its phones are waterproof. I have personally had a negative experience with this aspect of Sony’s Xperia phone series — despite having followed the recommendations for usage in water, my phone had ended up unable to function after I tried to use it to take pictures in a swimming pool, hence this idea. This is a problem that has been faced by many others, as shown in this forum: https://talk.sonymobile.com/t5/Xperia-Z3-Compact/False-advertiing-Sony-Xperia-Z3-is-NOT-waterproof-at-all/td-p/901962 .)

Part II

‘The Legend of Korra’ is the sequel to ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’, a children’s animated show which aired on Nickelodeon. In the final quarter of ‘The Legend of Korra’, several scenes were suggestive of there being a romantic relationship between the female protagonist, Korra, and her female ally, Asami. The show ends with a scene of Korra and Asami venturing into the spirit world together with their hands held, which many viewers interpreted as proof of a romantic relationship between the two characters.

The possibility of characters being in a same-sex relationship on a children’s television show sparked much discussion – most of which were in favour of such a move. The finale of the show thus faced much scrutiny, as viewers debated the legitimacy of concluding there was such a relationship. Eventually, the creators of the show, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, confirmed that Korra and Asami were indeed in a romantic relationship. This pushed the boundaries of themes often covered in children’s television, because children’s capabilities to understand themes surrounding sexual orientation have often been questioned and doubted.

The Huffington Post and USAToday published online articles about this development, shedding light on it in a positive manner and applauding the creators of the show, as well as Nickelodeon, for giving LGBTQ+ representation a chance on mainstream television – something that is rarely done. The coverage of this move has been largely supportive, and many express hopes that this will be the beginning of normalizing LGBTQ+ representation and deconstructing the prejudice towards non-heteronormative couples. This mirrors producer Bryan Konietzko’s opinion that this move “falls short of” a “slam-dunk victory for queer representation”, but that “hopefully it is a somewhat significant inching forward”.

Read the news articles here:

Konietzko subsequently released an artwork titled “Turtle-duck Date Night”, which depicts Korra and Asami on a date. He donated 100% of his share of the proceeds from the sale of this artwork to an LGBTQ suicide prevention hotline.



2 thoughts on “#5 — The Mediated Public Sphere

  1. Hey Rachel. Alicia here.:) Firstly, I like the poster that your team has come up with about the Sony’s claims and also agree with the message that your team is trying to convey. There can be times when the claims made by the manufacturers about the products are not true. In other words, certain products might not be as good as what it seems to be. Hence, consumers like us should always make careful decisions and do not believe what the salesperson have said so easily, especially when buying things like electronic gadgets that can cost much more money. Other than that , hope you have a good time using your current phone. 🙂

    Next, I have to say I really like the example that you have use to talk about an issue that is still not widely accepted nowadays- same-sex relationships. Many countries like Singapore still cannot accept the idea of same sex relationship, particularly when we are facing the problem of ageing population. If many people get involved in such kind of relationships, the problem of ageing population might only get even worse. In my own point of view, I do not really have anything against same-sex relationship as I think love is really hard to say. Who knows in future, we might fall in love with someone whom we do not expect. Therefore, the more important thing will be to follow where our heart goes and do the things we want, though it can be difficult to do so sometimes.


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