Friday, July 26, 2013

I think I should also get a llama (’-’*)

                                                 (Lyrics located in the comments section)

Last week’s Media Log is evidently about consumerism and its role in media. The video above is a musical entitled Consumerism! The Musical. I came across this video upon the advice of my Economics teacher. This video is satirical, meaning that it pokes fun about how Americans (being the most consumerist of all the capitalist countries) have this philosophy or idea that they happiness achieved through excessive purchases of material goods. The musical implies that with how consumerism works, they could buy whatever they want and as many as they want, use/consume these goods now and pay later. This would sound very appealing to people who want something immediately and that they could pay for it later on (or “utang” as it’s known in the Filipino language).

 This is evident throughout the lyrics like when the singer sings  “my credit cards, they never fail” and “... which means I don’t own a thing and I buy even more” supports this mentality. This could be because of how credit cards work, where they say to pay a small amount of the full price at the time of purchase then pay the rest over the period of (usually) a month. An example would be like if I buy the new Xbox One gaming console. The console would cost approximately $4000. If I pay with my credit card, I could pay $200 for now (this is called the downpayment) then pay the remaining $3800 in installments over the course of one month. This method is a fallacy in a sense because it would lull people to believe that they it would be better to postpone paying the full amount so that they could save money at that moment. However, credit card companies anticipate this since they believe that the customer would either pay the money that they owe at the last minute or if the customer can’t pay at the allotted time, the bank would allow payments made after the due date but these would come with an ‘interest rate’ or a penalty fee so that they could make a little more income.

Another fallacy that we could incorporate in this musical video is an appeal for Ad Populum (a fallacy wherein when something that is popular then is is immediately true). If we look throughout the duration of the video and the lyrics there is a message there where the singer is saying “It’s a wonderful life because you can buy all of these things you want and pay it back later so that you could enjoy the thing that you bought NOW instead of worrying on how to pay for it later on. In this type of modern world that we live in today, through technology, we have this luxury on convenience: where the things we want are attainable instantly and with no restrictions in terms of quantity (unlimited), These two factors of consumerism were very hard to obtain in the past years.

My theory is that, because of these two factors that lead to consumerism, people that don’t practice capitalism, consumerists are looked down upon because they consume goods excessively (as stated in the lyrics “I’m the king of success”) and therefore waste goods that should have been appropriated equally. This discrimination is a fallacy because the focus only on consumers who buy goods on credit and forget to pay the loan later on. Effective consumerism is achieved only if the person controls his credit spending proportional to that of his income, so that he can easily pay his credit loan safely, knowing that he has enough money to do so.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eyes on that motherboard.. XD

This week’s Media Log theme is Media and Gender. For this theme, we will focus more on the Female aspect of Gender (as seen on the video above). The video is a tutorial made by MSi, a Taipei-based gaming company. It shows how to assemble a MSi Z87-GD64 Gaming PC. From what I learned from the video, apparently, all you need on how to assemble a gaming PC is a bikini-clad female model with a Philips screwdriver and a bad English language dub, all the while a cheesy pop music blares in the background. If we look at this advertisement through a gamer’s point of view, we would see some factors that would make us ("us" term used since I  myself am a gamer) cringe at some segments of the video like the way she handled some of the parts oh-so-not-gently and touching some of the wires/components that are not meant to be touched at all since it would affect the computer’s performance. But we aren’t here to criticise the video itself but rather the model used in the video. To keep the logical flow in order, I have decide to divide my criticisms into these simple questions : 1) Why was a woman model used in the video? and 2) Why is she dressed like that?

In my opinion, a female model was used to obviously attract and target the male population of the gaming community. As of now, the male/female gamer ratio is around the 60/40 criteria. By using a female model, MSi aims to target that 60% male part of the gaming community and chooses to completely ignore the other 40% female part (unless they are lesbians or bisexuals). Of course, let us not forget that MSi is a gaming COMPANY, and companies need to attract buyers to get sales. And what better way to lure male gamers into buying a gaming PC than a female model in a bikini assembling one? This brings us to the answer of the next question.

One of the things that seemed strange was about the model’s apparel throughout the video. It was bearable at the start when she was clothed decently until the cheesy pop music started playing and she was suddenly transformed to that of a “gamer girl in a bright orange bikini”. I mean, she could’ve stayed clothed in that jacket and miniskirt throughout the course of the video, but why did they suddenly dress her in a bikini that is sexually provocative? Obviously this is a textbook case of sexism. This style of marketing wherein companies lure male buyers by sexualising women into buying their products is a very old marketing strategy. However, this is very effective as it produces the desired result. To be honest, most of the male gamers in the comments section of the video’s responses could be summarised as “ I don’t think any of us (the male gamers who have viewed the tutorial) here came for the tutorial” (referring to the fact that they are more interested in the scantily-clad model rather than the tutorial itself). In short: Sexualising women to attract male buyers: an age-old but very effective marketing strategy.

A fallacy that could evidently be seen in this video is an Appeal to Ignorance. The definition for an Appeal to Ignorance is that since something (in this case the video) has not been proven false, it is therefore true. This fallacy can be applied by saying that the way the model assembled the PC is correct, therefore the tutorial’s instructions are also correct. However some people who have had experience in assembling PCs are chastising the video. Commented by Youtube use Dawi Fourie:
"First of all you don't hold the CPU like that, and you don't touch the gold plates on the memory,"  Numerous other YouTube users pointed out that this was no way to hold a CPU.

This just shows that not every product marketed should involve women being sexualised just for the benefit and assurance that there will be male buyers.