Poverty Porn

Poverty porn. A situation we do not want to be in yet we want to look at other in that situation. Poverty porn is defined by Aid Thoughts as

“Poverty porn, also known as development porn or even famine porn, is any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause. Poverty porn is typically associated with black, poverty-stricken Africans, but can be found elsewhere.”

It gives way to the a cultural belief that those from these African nations are not able to help themselves and it is up to us, from our first world nations, to help. It is clear that these countries are suffering through hard time but the notion of poverty porn sensationalises this intensely, creating an idea that only we can save those in need and creates a vulnerability between both ourselves and those in media campaigns

A campaign video by Compassion International really encapsulates this idea of poverty porn and this clear divide of western society and eastern society that creates a very clear dominance of the cultures. The video depicts a young girl who is waiting for a sponsor to sponsor her and demonstrates how this child is impacted by this important moment. It is a highly emotion driven video as most aid campaigns are.

However it is not the emotional aspect that makes this video particularly uncomfortable and demeaning. It invokes this idea of the White Saviour Complex which creates this idea by being a so called ‘white’ individual, this gives you the means to be able to fix the low socioeconomic in these developing in Africa. It reinforces the idea that those living in Africa are simply waiting for the day that a white person will come and save them creating this hierarchy between the western culture and eastern culture. The emotional response of the family heightens this idea further and creates this idea of ‘poverty porn’

While highly emotive stories are seemingly always used it is clear that these methods work and they are being used against those who do donate. The effectiveness of poverty porn can be seen through a campaign by Sunrise Cambodia. This charity portrayed a young girl who was a sex worker and encouraged people to donate in order to allow her to learn to sew. The campaign raised over $200 000. However, this young girl and other children are paid poster children who are not what they are made out to be through these campaigns. This can be seen as an exploitation of both the children and those who are donating.

The concept of poverty porn is also portrayed in countries outside of Africa such as India. The film Slumdog Millionare was considered by many to be poverty porn. In an article by Tulsi Bisht it says that “although the international recognition of Indian artists involved with the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire was cause for celebration, the film itself was fiercely criticised for depicting India in a derogatory, uni-dimensional way. Some critics claimed it reflected a Western fascination with ‘poverty porn’”. By creating a negative view of a country it can create negative stereotypes and perception of the country.

Poverty porn has a negative effect on both those suffering and those viewing this form of media. Creating a stereotypical image of those in need and consistently emphasising it creates distance from the viewer from the real issues. It also simplifies the issues that are occuring in these countries as they focus on mainly children without consideration for the bigger picture.



Bisht, Tulsi. ‘Poverty Porn’ and the Politics of Representation [online]. Eureka Street, Vol. 19, No. 14, 31 July 2009: 16-17


Kids and Animals

Image resultImage result for winnie the poohImage result for peter rabbit

Winnie the Pooh, Peppa Pig, Peter Rabbit. Animals across children’s television shows, movies and story books is everywhere and it’s abundant. The way that children are exposed to animals has through our media can be seen to affect the way in which children interact and respond to animals in the real world. Is this a positive or negative? Depending on what we are teaching them about animals, representing animals in a way that children can connect to them as well as in a way that demonstrates their natural biology is important. It is finding the balance between the two that determines its effectiveness.

It is difficult to deny the role that animals have in our media representation towards children. An article by Megan S. Geerdts called ‘(Un)Real Animals: Anthropomorphism and Early Learning About Animals’ (2016) explores this notion. Geerdts states that more than half of children’s book represent anthropomorphic animals that are represented through language and imagery. She believes that anthropomorphic representations of animals do help the efficiency of children’s learning however the key factor was the language. When anthropomorphism was mixed with anthropomorphic language there was a reduction in their factual understanding of the animals.

What this demonstrates to us is that the extent to which anthropomorphism is used throughout the media that children consume is critical when helping them understand animals. Allowing them to both connect to the animal through an emotional way as well as ensure factual knowledge of animals is a key balance to maintain.

The article The Representation of Animals on Children’s Television by Elizabeth S. Paul also noted that the representation on animals is focused on the nurturing animals and very little is represented in regards to meat consumption of these animals. Paul believes that this is heavily due to the paradox amongst society in which kindness and nurturing towards animals is advocated, society still finds the consumption of meat acceptable. This raises the question of whether it is acceptable to represent the meat consumption industry to children from a young age.

In a journal by Nora Timmerman and Julia Ostertag discuss the message given to children through the media’s portrayal of animals stating that “Anthropomorphism can have its benefits; indeed, children’s literature often uses anthropomorphism to teach moral lessons about how to recognize the self in the other”. It is also important to understand that there is a spectrum of anthropomorphism throughout children’s media. This ranges from animals that are the central characters and are separate from human character, to the relationship between humans and animals, to animals that have human qualities and principles.

This separation is important to make and affects the way that animals in the media are represented towards humans. Establishing a point of connection between a child and an animal can help develop a meaningful connection while anthropomorphising animals to a greater level can create confusion between the differences between animals and humans.

Does the representation of animals in children’s media have a negative effect on children? If so do these negatives outweigh the positives?

I believe that the issues that may arise from anthropomorphism are heavily outweighed by the positive affects it can have on children. Children’s television represent to children a positive way to view and treat animals and furthermore, view and treat people as well. While borders between what is real and what is not may create confusion for children this can be separated by introducing both anthropomorized animals as well as real animals to create a distinction between the two. The representation of animals especially towards children is vastly different from the way animals are viewed by adults and allows for connections to nature around us to be found early in our development.


Geerdts, MS 2016, ‘(Un)Real Animals: Anthropomorphism and Early Learning About Animals’, Child Development Perspectives, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 10-14. Available from: 10.1111/cdep.12153

Paul, ES, 1996. The Representation of Animals on Children’S Television. Anthrozoös ,vol. 9, p.169-181
Timmerman, N, Ostertag, J 2011. Too Many Monkeys Jumping in Their Heads: Animal Lessons within Young Children’s Media. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 16, p.59-75.


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The introduction of the smartphone application Snapchat was a huge game changer in 2011. Front facing cameras had been introduced and now the concept of an image that could only be seen for 10 seconds. This changed the way we took selfies and influenced the nature of the selfies we took, because what consequences could there be to a photo that you could only see for 10 seconds?

Initially launched in 2011 under the name Picaboo, creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy discovered the market to sending foolish photos on their smartphones. This then led to the new features such as videos and the ability to annotate these photos and by 2012 the app had taken off. Now with its story feature and filter features the app has over 100 million active users. Now it is dominating  the market alongside Facebook and Instagram but in a very different way.

This idea of a image that can be seen for 10 seconds and then disappears made it a perfect way to sext. Sexting is the sending of nude or semi nude images digitally typically through mobile phone devices. As the number of teens with smartphones increases this type of activity is becoming more prevalent amongst young people. The idea that this image is never going to be seen again makes it all the more appealing to younger generations to send these types of images when the may not otherwise have. Snapchat has changed the way we perceive ourselves and the images we take of ourselves by having an outlet that can be used without the risk of this image getting into the wrong hands. Loopholes do exist with the ability to screenshot images, however the sender is notified when this happens. However, third party apps did arise to get around this.

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Creator Evan Spiegel doesn’t believe that sexting on Snapchat is a big issue stating that

“I’m not convinced that the whole sexting thing is as big as the media makes it out to be… I just don’t know people who do that. It doesn’t seem that fun when you can have real sex”


An article by Kashmir Hill called ‘ Three Good Reasons Not To Send Nudes Via Snapchat’ puts the his views of sexting through Snapchat in a negative light by stating that;

  1. The statistical features of Snapchat such as your “best friends”, who are the people you send snaps to the most and the number of snaps you have sent “gamify” sexting.
  2. The loophole in which a recipient is able to screenshot a snap and is then free to distribute the photo without your control
  3. Snapchat encourages blog such as ‘Snapchat Sluts’ in which nude photos sent on Snapchat are willingly submitted to a blog

Generally the idea of sexting on Snapchat can be seen as a moral panic amongst older generations. However, it has become so common amongst the younger generations that the concept barely phases us. So is sexting on Snapchat as scandalous as it is thought to be? Has the shift in the way we take selfies affected us for the worse?

As we move further into a digital age, as well as, having a generational shift in the way we view ourselves and our bodies platforms such as Snapchat only aid the inevitable practice of sexting. Selfies have become a way of expressing ourselves and the nude selfie is now an extension of that.

Hill, K 2012, ‘Three Good Reasons Not To Send Nude Photos Via Snapchat’, Forbes.com, p. 38.

Rodríguez, K., 2016. SnapCHAT: The Genre of the Vanishing Memoir. GRASSROOTS WRITING RESEARCH JOURNAL, p.55.

Poltash, Nicole A.. Richmond Journal of Law & Technology , Summer2013, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p1-24, 24p. Publisher: Richmond Journal of Law & Technology