Inserting subliminal messages into the entertainment we consume en masse is hardly new. After all, it is the birthplace of ‘product placement’; that is, strategically positioned branded products subtly suggesting you purchase them.
From the Beats by Dre headphones showing up in music videos by Lady Gaga, Ludacris, Pussycat Dolls, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Solange, Busta Rhymes & Linkin Park, Keri Hilson, the Volvo driven by Robert Patterson in Twilight, the Mini Cooper driven in the famous car chase in the Italian job, down to the Heineken downed by Daniel Craig in Skyfall – all are testaments to the power and persuasion of your subconscious mind.
Ask any psychiatrist who has studied the brain and how it works, this is pretty much accepted as basic psychology 101 – we experience certain emotional affects most times without even consciously realising it. From hypnosis, mind control and brain washing – this is all very real, persuasive and powerful stuff. In the words of esteemed psychiatrist and Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to clinical psychology, the late Antony Kidman “I think all of this exposure impinges upon our brains”.
The subliminal messages and hidden messages in the films, TV shows and videos we watch, the music we tune into and video gaming, is fast becoming the scandal de jour, as we are beginning to serious question if there is something more at play in the background and are starting to scratch the surface to see what is behind the curtain and what lies beneath. And when it comes to children, the stakes are raised high.
Earlier this year, the messages behind the release of children’s movie Show Dogs came under scrutiny, setting the internet alight after a popular US parenting blogger brought to attention what she (and subsequently many others including the US National Centre on Sexual Exploitation aka NSOSE) believed was a not-so-subtle inclusion of a scene that appears to be grooming the young audience instead of the films canine characters.
The suggestive subplot in question centres main protagonist Max, a Rottweiler and police dog who goes undercover in the dazzling world of pet pageantries. Keeping in line with his show dog pedigree, he is subjected to doggie pedicures, Botox and even Brazilian waxes, and it’s here that things get hairy when the Max must have his ‘private parts’ inspected par for the course to progress to the next level of success in the show. When Max is shown to be uncomfortable and wants it to stop, he is told to go to a ‘Zen place’, subsequently allowing the judges to pet his privates.
Dawn Hawkins, NSOSE Group Executive Director, stated, “The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier. Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children — telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort.
Children’s movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say ‘no’ and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”
As a result of the furore, Global Road Entertainment announced they had pulled the Show Dogs movie from theaters and have re-edited it to remove the offensive scenes. The entire sage begs the question of “Who let the dogs out” in their ignorance of release in the first instance?
Only this week popular children’s game Roblox, aimed at age 7+ and with over 64 million players globally was exposed to the inclusion on its platform of hard-core porn themes including sex games, incest and gang-rape.
Speaking to The Sun, the NSPCC Associate Head of Child Safety Online Andy Burrows, warned against the game.
“It’s blindingly obvious a game aimed at kids as young as seven shouldn’t expose them to graphic sexual content,” Andy told The Sun.
“Gaming platforms need to be moderated properly so that young children are not exposed to such inappropriate material.
“It’s just as worrying that YouTube is hosting these videos that can be easily accessed by children. It shows why tough Government regulation to force social networks and sites to keep children safe is needed, with proper consequences for those that fail”.
Yet another high-profile example of subliminal coercion making the kind of world-wide headlines Kanye can only dream of and sparking enough mass Google searches of ‘hidden meanings behind’ to break the internet sans Kim, was the recent release of Childish Gambino’s (aka Donald Glover) music video ‘This is America’.
According to the populace, the release was a veritable onion with so many hidden meanings and layers in the film clip, it required repetitive viewing in order to begin to dissect and pull the real meanings of what the heck the American singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper, DJ, actor, comedian, writer, and director is actually saying behind the guise.
With Glover distracting viewers by dancing manically in the foreground, the background is packed with powerful imagery, extraordinary violence and more symbolism than can be consciously absorbed, he clearly delivers that by being distracted and by not paying attention, you can’t see what is happening in the background. With more speculation than the backward message of the Beatles “Revolution 9”, it’s easy to forget to even listen to the actual song, the tune itself taking a backseat to the myriad of conjecture.
Using his platform of fame and with over 65.3 million US streams in the US alone in the first week, Glover appears to have cleverly achieved his ultimate goal of trying to ‘wake us up’ by having society question and discuss the real messages behind what they are seeing, hearing and consuming daily.
And it’s a great message, as I only recently discovered (albeit 30 years too late), Tone Lōc’s 1989’s hit Funky Cold Medina despite its killer tune is, in fact, about date rape. The song details how the rapper is introduced to a date rape drug, Funky Cold Medina, labelled though proponents of rape culture as an aphrodisiac, and then details the ensuing escapades of its application in comical fashion. In hindsight, it’s about as funny as Bill Cosby, and just as dangerous.
Ultimately, what these examples serve to provide is a reminder that our minds are powerful, and that equally as potent is the influence (both consciously and subconsciously), that the films we watch, the music we listen to and the Influencers we follow. Particularly vulnerable are children, whose brains are yet to develop and are at greater risk to the impressionable effects of being bombarded by technology parents aren’t so savvy about.
Perhaps this article may be the beginning of your own ‘awakening’? I guess it will depend on your own interpretation of my message. In the words Alanis Morissette, “Isn’t it ironic”?
One day when he was 4, my son woke up with puffy eyes. Given I was working full-time, and with my one year-old daughter on my hip, as he wasn’t bleeding out of said eyeballs (and otherwise appeared to be a healthy and active little chap) I brushed it aside, telling myself it most likely was nothing of consequence. Maybe it was the pollen in the air? Maybe it was an allergic reaction? Maybe he ate something that didn’t agree with him? Maybe it was Maybelline. With no further symptoms, I decided to make like Elsa and ‘let it go’.
A day or so later, I fleetingly remember thinking he looked a bit pudgy on his legs – quite common for kids as they grow, right? A slight weight gain, followed by a growth spurt, working up that growth chart on the kitchen wall in the blink of an eye and then boom, your kids are teenagers. It’s all par the course. Or so I thought.
Come the weekend, my son awoke with not only puffy eyes and chubby legs, but also a stomach that looked somewhat like my own when I was 9 months pregnant with him. It was distended to the point he had no belly-button, with the swelling so profound it had literally pushed it out. Terrified, it was at the minute that I realised something was very, very wrong. Our life was about to turn upside down.
My son was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition which now, at age 18, he manages with daily medication. Over the past 14 years, he has seen more hospital visits than I care to mention, and suffers frequent relapses where his kidneys stop working.
At this juncture, his condition necessitates lengthy procedures, painful side-effects and nasty drugs including a potent intravenous diuretic called LASIX, and Rituximab, an intravenous drug most commonly used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Additionally, he remains on very high doses of steroid that’s used to prevent kidney failure but ultimately can be at a high cost to your health. It is all horrible, heart-breaking and utterly devastating to for him to experience – and for his family and friends who love him so much – to watch him go through.
But the thing is, most kidney disease can be preventable if caught early. The problem for me was, I had no idea of knowing any symptoms or signs. As kidney disease is sadly not highly publicised, and with no prior exposure to the nature of this disease, how could I have known?
I now know 70% of your kidney function can be completely gone before you see any symptoms and by this time, it’s too late.
It is coined ‘the silent killer’ for this very reason.
One way I could have discovered my son’s illness early is, just like stocking up on Panadol in the pantry, I had urine test strips like WeTestonline.com urine strips on hand.
Call it the ‘wee whisperer’; by way of a simple urine test every few weeks for not only your kids but the whole family, We Test can red flag if there’s any underlying issues.
Not unlike a pregnancy test, We Test is a simple stick that you pee on that can indicate a problem not only for kidney disease, but also pointing you straight to your local doctor to diagnose anything from diabetes and bladder cancer. WeTest urine strips allows for early detection of health issues, which means early intervention, and better outcomes.
I strongly suggest you make the purchase and get in the habit of testing the entire family on the regular.
Oh, and make sure you tell your friends. Some things may not be as exciting as Kim Kardashian’s latest outfit, but are well-worth sharing and in the end, can be life-saving.
#WeTestUrineStrips #KidneyDisease #UrineTestStrips
It’s 3am. A tiny voice whispers in your ear, ‘Mummy, I’m going to throw up.’ You pry yourself from slumber and sit up. ‘What happened?’, you ask your wide-eyed toddler. But it’s too late- intestinal armageddon has already struck, and your bed is covered in vomit. Two hours later, you’re awake in bed feverishly Googling the symptoms of every vomit-inducing infant disease ever.
We live in an age where every piece of parenting information is literally at our fingertips. Sure, it’s empowering to know you’re always a click away from solving any problem. But do have the skills to filter out the garbage? Is the epidemic of cyber-parenting causing us more anxiety than it’s worth?
The madness doesn’t end with Dr Google. We’re also contending with the temptation to buy into Instagram happiness and Pinterest perfection. From humble-bragging to brazen oversharing, there are a million ways for parents to boast about their glamorous and exciting lives when social media is involved.
The effect is that parents reading these posts are left feeling inadequate, hopeless and depressed. Sure, it’s easy to fall into the habit of seeking inspiration from ‘perfect parents’ via social media- after all we all want the best for our kids. But the real problems arise when we begin to compare our own lives to a flawless ideal that resides only online.
So why do we buy into the hype? Surely we know better than to model our lives on contrived Instagram captions and carefully-composed happy snaps?
The truth of the matter is that we don’t need these things to become a better parent. Reading endless parenting forums and scrolling through celebrity Instagram posts may feel good for the short-term, but in the long-run, you’re feeding the anxiety monster with validation-seeking activities and unfair comparisons.
If it’s not doing you any good, it’s doing you bad. And it’s time to stop.
Where have the days gone when your daughter wanted your hand-me-down eye shadow, lipstick or blush?
Following in the footsteps of beauty bloggers and influencers, teenagers are now mastering the art of makeup all on their very own and wearing makeup proudly, yet with sophistication.
Makeup is all part of being a girl, but it’s hard to know where to draw the line with experimentation.
As a teen, Rachael Finch vividly remembers looking through the contents of her Mum’s beauty collection, and the shock horror when she looked in the mirror for the first time with red chunky lipstick all over her front teeth.
She laughs, “I don’t think I wore red lipstick again until my 21st birthday.”
Nowadays of course, Rachael has makeup artists on hand to ensure she looks a vision for a variety of events and appearances, but thanks to her beauty ambassador role with Amcal Pharmacy, she has some great recommendations for teenagers wanting to start experimenting with make-up.
Rachael knows what’s essential, what’s reasonably priced and what the best beauty products are for teenagers and recommends Colour Theory, a versatile collection of makeup tools and applicators perfect for anyone’s handbag.
Blush A Little
Colour Theory Flawless Angle Blush Brush, RRP $12.00
“The perfect beginners’ tool for those just starting out,” she said.
“A little blush on the cheeks accentuates a natural feature, while at the same time allowing them to start playing with makeup in pretty pink and purple tones.”
Keep It Colourful
Colour Theory Nail Polish, Flamingo, RRP $4.00
“Go for a subtle pink on the nails on special occasions, it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time together without being over the top in the makeup department.”
As they develop into the later years as teenagers, Rachael suggests some other products:
“Now that they have their basics down pat, bolder colours can come into play,” she said.
Refresh Your Complexion
Colour Theory Bronzer, Sun Kissed RRP $10.00
“The biggest trend at the moment is the natural look – a bronzer adds glow to their skin in summer and creates the sun-kissed look during winter.”
Make A Statement!
Colour Theory Lip Gloss, Hot Shot, RRP $10.00
“Makeup can make people feel confident in their own skin and accentuates stunning face features. This easy application lip gloss is the perfect starting point when trying a bold lip for the first time.”
Fan those flames and go smoky
Colour Theory Eye Shadow Duo, Berrylicious, RRP $8.00
“Eye shadow can take the most practice and this little duo is an ideal starter kit. The lighter colour goes all over the lid to make the eye seem bigger while the darker colour goes in the crease to add definition, and always remember to blend!”
Celeste Barber is indisputably the queens of keeping it real.
From her realistic AF selfies to her video challenges of duplicating such gems as Miranda Kerr’s $4 million-dollar smoothie, Celeste hands down touches a nerve with Mums who totes get that life is not as glamorous as some would like to have us to believe.
Yet there’s a new voice emerging – in Fisher-Price, who in conjunction with some of Australia’s most influential mums, is celebrating and empowering parents across the country to stand proud and show the beauty and realness of how sucky parenting can be via their social channels.
Enter the Fisher-Price Challenge, a social media campaign spearheaded by the hugely admired and followed; Clementine McVeigh and Marcia Leone, broadcasting the toughness and not-so glamorous sides of parenting.
Since sharing their stories, the #FisherPriceChallenge is receiving interest from other mum’s across the globe, and together they’re calling for more parents to get on board and empower each other by simply sharing an honest, authentic social media post about the realities of being a parent.
Whether the living room looks like it’s been turned upside down or an outfit change is required five times a day – the world of mum’s want to hear about it using #FisherPriceChallenge.
So, what are you waiting for. Go take a pic of the washing pile and get amongst it!
Clowns are out, fairies are passé and don’t even think about hiring a magician.
When it comes to children’s birthday parties, a unicorn theme is the celebrity trend du jour.
If you’re partial to the occasional Instagram stalk, you’ll have noticed a surge in unicorn-inspired festivities among famous mothers over recent weeks.
The likes of WAG queens Kyly Clarke and Terri Biviano have wasted no expense in throwing unicorn birthday parties for their cherished tots, all the while making sure to flaunt the merrymaking on social media.
Bakers-to-the-stars have also cashed in on the celebrity craze, with Rebecca Judd recruiting a couture desert chef to craft a unicorn cake for her precious three-year-old daughter Billie last year.
And while the price tags attached to these A-list affairs are undoubtedly exorbitant, mere mortals need not take out a home-loan to indulge in the trend.
C’mon, we reckon spending big bucks on unicorn-themed birthday parties is comparable to believing in unicorns in the first place: dumb.
One savvy mother who works in our office demonstrated the ridiculousness with her daughter’s recent unicorn birthday party, which set her back just $25. Yes, that’s a grand total of $25 bucks.
Instead of purchasing an expensive cake (and let’s be honest, most of it’s going to end up smeared on the kids’ faces anyway), our smartie Mum friend nabbed a stock-standard Woolies cake and decorated it with M&Ms – all for the tidy price of $5.00
As for gifts, she simply strolled down to Kmart to pick up three chalk bombs, a Creeper Keeper bug catcher, a make-your-own crystal set, a sausage dog night-light and a box of Kinetic Magic Sand – all for just $20.
In Mum’s words: ‘Kid as happy as a pig in poop and family love = priceless’.