Final Podcast

I have an opinion. Of course that's the name of this podcast and I'm totally going to get into that, but right, now I want to ask you a question. Is Canada as polite as the internet thinks it is? I mean, I know we say sorry a lot and we have a really handsome prime minister and all that good stuff but I see a glaring problem in this logic. And that problem lies with Canada's treatment of indigenous people. I'm not blameless. Up until about six months ago, I had no idea that Canada had this problem either. I thought probably exactly the same as you right now. We're just America's friendlier cousin! We don't have an orange president, we don't have a gun problem, and we have free healthcare. What's there to complain about? But, I think there is more to this story, and that begins with an opinion piece by Niigaan Sinclair. What skeletons are in Canada's close? Well, we're about to find out.

From Scratch Media, this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide from opinion to the facts. I'm Giuliana Quinto and today we are talking about the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada.

I realized Canada had a problem with representing its Indigenous peoples in a digital cultures class that I took this past year at York University. My professor was teaching us about alternative news sources and I began to realize how little Indigenous issues were really covered in a mainstream Canadian media. This is where I really realized how misguided settler Canadian are in regards to indigenous issues, culture, and experiences. Then I came across Niigaan Sinclair’s opinion piece for the Winnipeg free press. On the surface it seems like it is just about food, but upon further examination you realize what food represents in the grand scheme of Canadian cultural history. As Sinclair states in his article, “food is related to indigenous identity. But, like most things Indigenous in Canada, these identities are legislated, controlled and limited” (Sinclair, 2018). When I read this line, I had never thought about it before, but it really made perfect sense.

After I spoke to a couple of my white settler friends, I was sure something was up regarding Canadians’ framing of Indigenous identity, laws and culture. From the time we are children, we are taught to think of indigenous people in a very narrow and close-minded framework. I know I’ve experienced it myself but I talked to a few of my friends and I realized that this is a pretty widespread issue. Here’s what Hannah and Brendan had to say:

Hannah: I have learned that we have definitely treated them poorly, for instance with colonialism, but I find colonialism was taught very briefly and in a very cushioned way. Yes, they highlighted that we did take their land but it wasn’t in a way that was as damaging as the real effects that were realizing now.

Brendan: Personally, I do remember being taught something, but it was very little, not enough to leave a strong or a lasting impact on me to remember it.

This uncertainty and ambiguity is exactly what Sinclair is talking about. It’s become a really big problem, and it’s seeped into levels of the government. In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised to make reconciliation a priority in his liberal campaign (See Liberal Party of Canada). And you might be wondering what reconciliation is, so I’ll hit you with a quick definition.

In Canada, reconciliation means bringing together Indigenous peoples and Canadian settlers to repair their relationship and to come to shared understandings. This could mean working to overcome the inequality between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous citizens on issues such as poverty, income, health, living standards and life expectancy, as well as prejudice and racism (University of Toronto). There are even dedicated government agencies which are working to repair our relationships and make reconciliation a reality. But more on that later. Let’s get back to Trudeau and his shenanigans.

Now it’s 2019, the federal elections are just around the corner and reconciliation isn’t that much closer as it was when Trudeau started. And why is that? Because most people just don’t know about indigenous issues and they’ve been taught not to care. but we should. Because Canadian people don’t know what is going on the government lets these issues slide. Most Indigenous cases that end up in courts are tossed aside because judges simply don’t know. The jury simply doesn’t know. Then once again, indigenous issues are left at the wayside (See Sinclair, 2018; Rudin, 2018; Kane, 2019). This is why reconciliation has to become a priority to people like me, and probably you too. And the way we can start is by learning.

To start, let’s get real about Canada’s historical amnesia (See Dion, 2009). As Canadians, we tend to forget what our history really is and that is one deeply rooted in colonialism (See Joseph, 2018). In the name of patriotism, history tends to paint the early Canadians settlers as true heroes of Britain and France looking to create a new world free and independent creating what we now know as the True North Strong and Free… but give me break. We need to get our facts straight. So, with that in mind I’m going to try to give you the world’s fastest crash course on Canadian Indigenous history.

From the time Europeans stumbled onto Indigenous lands they took from them as they pleased. However, the two societies managed to keep their distance at first. The First Nations tolerated the colonizers and allowed them to reside on their territory, however settlers took diseases with them that began killing off countless numbers of indigenous people. And this is where the first problems started to arise. Now, around 1580, the growing non-Indigenous population tried to foster co-existence mostly in the form of trading and in the military alliances. There was mutual tolerance and a degree of respect between the two groups because they had to (FemNorthNet, 2016).

And in 1869, a couple years after Canadian Confederation, the federal government swiftly began to choke Indigenous people with European standards and claimed Canada in its entirety. Land was taken without consent, reserves were established, and by 1876, “status Indians (1)” were not legally considered people (Joseph, 2018). This change occurred when the Indian Act was implemented, and it marks over 150 years of suffering.

The Indian Act’s primary goal was to assimilate First Nation’s peoples (Joseph, 2018; CBC News, 2008). This act also bore the creation of residential schools. These were government mandated boarding schools that subjected Indigenous children to abuse and forced assimilation (See Monpetit, 2011; Joseph, 2018). While this may seem like ancient history, this horrific reality is much closer than we can ever imagine. The last residential school closed in 1996 (Monpetit, 2011). Approximately 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were stripped of their families, communities, cultures, and humanity (Monpetit, 2011).

Of course, my description barely touches the surface of the hundreds of years of colonization that Indigenous Canadians experienced, and I highly recommend that you do some reading on your own. But I need to make this clear because we can’t have reconciliation without knowing what we’re reconciling for.

Another reason you really need this crash course to understand what I am about to get into and that’s how Canada’s history has affected Indigenous people now. Bob Joseph is the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. and he’s outlined eight key issues for Indigenous peoples in Canada today. According to Joseph, some of these issues are poor health related to both mental and physical. Mentally, Indigenous people are dealing with generational trauma which leads to mental health issues such as depression and there are confirmed higher rates of suicide among Indigenous individuals versus non-Indigenous (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, 2012). Physically there are many clean water issues on reservations and a lot of Indigenous people don’t even have access to clean water (2012). There’s also increases in diabetes and heart disease, and if you look back on our opinion piece Niigaan Sinclair attributes this to the denial of culture because Indigenous people are not able to access their traditional and healthy foods (Sinclair, 2018). They’re not able to access healthier traditional foods which leads to poor diets.

Another key issue that Joseph outlines is lower education. According to the 2011 Stats Can Survey of Aboriginal Peoples, only 22.8 percent of Indigenous people have completed both a high school and post-secondary education (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, 2012). And finally, there are higher rates of unemployment, incarceration, and death rates in youth due to unintentional injuries in the Indigenous communities (2012). And these issues aren’t being handled by the federal government. Take for example the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women that have been reported across the country.

To this day, there are over 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls that have not been found (Brant, 2018). Their families can’t find peace, their communities can’t find peace and that’s because nobody is taking their issues seriously. This is wrong. Indigenous issues are Canadian issues. The country is Indigenous. We live on land that was stolen, and most of us are guests who have long overstayed our welcome. As settlers, we owe it to Indigenous Canadians for letting us stay on their land way longer than we were supposed to. The Canada we know today would not be possible without the cultural and generational contributions of Indigenous Canadians.

The name Canada itself comes from Indigenous roots. It’s a Saint Lawrence Iroquois word meaning “village” or “settlement” (Muskrat Magazine, 2015). But the Indigenous part of Canada is never acknowledged. As Lee Miracle writes in her essay “Who are we separately and together,” while Canada is not Indigenous anymore, it is not without Indigenous influence (2017). This influence, however, is unknown to Canadians and unrecognized by Canada’s government. Canadians believe that their cultural foundations are British (Maracle, 2017).  As settlers, we are blind to the foundation Canada was built on. And ignorance is not an acceptable defense. Lee Miracle so perfectly explained this phenomenon in her book that I mentioned earlier. She says that everyone knew Indigenous people “came from here and not Indigenous people came from somewhere else. But no one got curious about what was here before. Any information was available and written in plain English, the language that is prioritized and taught to every single person. Yet we claim not to know. She says to be a white Canadian is to be sunk in deep denial” (Maracle, 2017). And she’s right.

That realization hit me really hard, but it is important because we are taught skewed ideas from a British colonial perspective our entire lives, and it is about time that we change that. It’s time because Indigenous Canadians have been and are still stigmatized and silenced by mainstream media. That’s because the exploitation of Indigenous Canada generates profit (See Maracle, 2017). But denial’s not an option anymore. Now I know, and now you know too. So it’s time to reconcile. But of course, that’s so easy to say. How can we go about doing it?

Truth be told, I was really daunted by that question myself! So I asked for a little help. I reached out to Dr. Maggie Quirt, an assistant professor in the Equity Studies and Indigenous Studies programs at York University. Dr. Quirt is busy, so I couldn’t get any audio for her answer, but that’s totally cool! I got an email from her instead:


From what I gathered, true reconciliation is based on education, and education can look like a lot of things. It can be doing research like I did, it can be reading [or] learning about history. It’s all about acknowledging the past. Another great resource about reconciliation is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Also known as TRC (2), this is a group of real residential school survivors that have come together to form a plan and guide Canada towards making reconciliation possible. TRC spent six years travelling across Canada to hear from thousands of residential school survivors (Northern Affairs Canada, 2019). Then they compiled this information into a six page report, including 94 Calls to Action that all Canadians are encouraged to read. These Calls to Action outline government, institutional and media wide requests that will help bridge the gap between Settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples. While I highly encourage you to read them on your own, there is one Call to Action in particular that I want to focus on.

Call to Action number 61, subsection two calls upon the Catholic Church to put permanent funding into into the establishment of community cultural and language revitalization efforts (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015). This shows the importance of culture in the reconciliation process and that certain institutions must answer to this loss. I don’t think this has to stop with the Catholic Church. I think that Canadians should take it upon themselves to get involved and learn about Indigenous culture. It goes back to to what Niigaan Sinclair was talking about. There’s so much red tape surrounding Indigenous cultural practices and so little coverage for Indigenous voices in the mainstream media and Canadian cultural landscape that I think another part of reconciling truly and deeply is by engaging and embracing Indigenous culture throughout Canada.

Canada’s global identity revolves around sharing, politeness and the idea of a global community. These are inherently Indigenous beliefs, so it’s about time we learn where Canada’s roots really come from. You can also learn a great deal about Indigenous oral history, tradition and views of life by engaging with Indigenous media, literature, music, art, installations and film (Side note: this is intangible culture). Some of my personal recommendations are: A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq and her novel Split Tooth, the hilarious and brutally honest writer Lee Maracle, any of Thomas King’s novels or short stories, and Metis author Cherie Dimaline’s sci-fi novel The Marrow Thieves.

At the end of the day, appreciating Indigenous culture brings awareness to Indigenous issues and allows voices that aren’t normally heard to, well, be heard. Any step towards acknowledging the Indigenous condition, historically and presently, is a step towards reconciliation. So why not start with culture?

It’s essential to Indigenous reconciliation efforts to reconnect with elements of culture such as language, [religion and community]. When the Indian Act took effect, Indigenous children were forced into whiteness, causing them to lose essential parts of who they were. They are still grappling with that loss to this day. This is why cultural revitalization is so important to Indigenous reconciliation efforts. In fact, it is one of the most effective tools in dealing with [by this I mean treating] Indigenous mental health (See Barker, B., M.P.P., Goodman, A., M.A., & DeBeck, K., PhD, 2017; Bhatt, G., Tonks, R. G., & Berry, J. W., 2013).

If you think of Niigaan Sinclair’s opinion piece, you might have though it was just about food. But it’s so much more than that. The red tape that surrounds Indigenous food is marks hundreds of years of suffering, of ambiguity, of apathy. So, is it really about food? Or is it about something much bigger than we can ever understand?

I know I’ve probably given you a lot to think about, but I think that’s probably a good thing. My ultimate goal was to get you to think about things that you probably haven’t thought about before. That small act of questioning what you think you knew, like what is the Indian act?

Hannah: Is it an initiative by Trudeau?

Brendan: I don’t know anything about it.

Or “where does the name Canada or Toronto even come from?” can do you a world of good (See Muskrat Magazine, 2015). Everybody has to start somewhere. Because once you start, there’s always more to an issue than meets the eye. When I first read Niigaan Sinclair’s opinion piece, I could never have imagined the depth of what he was talking about. I mean, it’s just food right? But it’s more than that. It’s the story of a group that dates back 14,000 years. It’s a human right as an element of Indigenous tangible culture. So it’s about time we listen up, learn and support our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

Reconciliation is not on the menu until settlers and their governments can get the ingredients right.

  1. I say “Indians” only in this context because I am directly referencing Bob Joseph, who uses all different terminology to discuss the different views towards Indigenous peoples in the eyes of the law. At the time, Indigenous people were legally considered “Indians”.

  2. I accidentally said TCR in my podcast. I was thinking of Toronto Cat Rescue. o.m.g.


Barker, B., M.P.P., Goodman, A., M.A., & DeBeck, K., PhD. (2017). Reclaiming indigenous identities: Culture as strength against suicide among indigenous youth in canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 108(2), E208-E210. doi:

Bhatt, G., Tonks, R. G., & Berry, J. W. (2013). Culture in the history of psychology in canada. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 54(2), 115-123. doi:

Brant, Jennifer. "Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia, 21 March 2018, Historica Canada. Accessed 11 May 2019.

CBC News. (2008, May 16). A history of residential schools in Canada. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from

Last updated March 21, 2016.

Dion, S. (2009, May 1). Braiding Histories: Learning from Aboriginal People’s Experiences and Perspectives. Vancouver: UBC Press.

FemNorthNet. (2016). Colonialism and its Impacts. Resource Development in Northern Communities: Local Women Matter #3. Ottawa: Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. Retrieved from

Joseph, B. (2018). 21 Things You Might Not Know About the Indian Act. Port Coquitlam: Indigenous Relation Press.

Kane, L. (2019, April 24). Feds trying to ‘manage the problem’ with Indigenous people, rather than work on reconciliation: Wilson-Raybould. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (2012, September 10). 8 key issues for Aboriginal People in Canada [Web log post]. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from

Last updated March 23, 2018

Liberal Party of Canada. (n.d.). A NEW NATION-TO-NATION PROCESS. Retrieved from

Maracle, L. (2017). My Conversations with Canadians. Toronto: BookThug.

Montpetit, I. (2011, July 14). Background: The Indian Act. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from


Northern Affairs Canada. (2019, February 19). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Retrieved from

Rudin, J. (2018, April 30). The (in)justice system and Indigenous people. Retrieved from

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Calls to Action. Retrieved from

Sinclair, N. (2018, December 17). Chewing through red tape to save Indigenous foods. Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved from

University of Toronto (n.d). What is Reconciliation in Canada? Retrieved on May 9, 2019 from

Recommended Resources:

CBC. (2018, March 19). Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Native Land. (2015). Retrieved May 11, 2019, from

True North Aid. (n.d.). How to Help Canadian First Nations. Retrieved April 2019, 10, from

Vermette, K., Henderson, S.B., Yaciuk, D. (2017). A Girl Called Echo: Pemmican Wars (Vol. 1). Winnipeg: HighWater Press.


I recorded this podcast on Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee territory. I am grateful to be a guest on this land.

Thank you to Olivia Hanson and Jonell Ebreo for helping me through the process of creating this podcast and helping me solidify my ideas.

Thank you to Brendan Brown and Hannah Dewitte for agreeing to be interviewed and allowing themselves to be vulnerable enough to admit they didn’t know something.

Thank you to Walter Gehm-Torrez for all your support and helping me transcribe.

Thank you to Dr. Maggie Quirt for agreeing to let me feature your answer in this episode.

The songs used are:

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

"Echo Sclavi" The Mini Vandals (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

"Epic Battle Speech" Wayne Jones (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Phase Three

Final Podcast

Podcast Transcript: 

Our health is the most valuable thing in the world as were only given one chance at life and unlike in video games, there’s no such thing as re-spawning. And because of this, it's understandable that we would want what’s best for ourselves and our wellbeing, and would do whatever we could in order to achieve that right? But what would happen if, with all of this extra effort, we were actually making no progress and were potentially causing damage instead? From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Sara Tomovic , and today we’re talking about if the wellness industry and their trends are actually jeopardizing our health all while promising to better it. 

Since we naturally want the best for ourselves, it makes sense that the health and wellness industry would be doing well. To be more specific, it's doing so well and prospering so tremendously to where a study done by the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health revealed that the market for complementary health approaches has actually just become a 30 billion dollar industry in America (NCCIH, 2016). One thing contributing to how large this industry has gotten is the fact that there are trends coming out fairly regularly. But are any of these health trends actually beneficially to us? According to Margaret McCartney, a family doctor based in Scotland, many of these trends are actually worrisome and she further explains her worries in an opinion piece written by her called  Don’t fall prey to the cult of wellness. In this opinion piece, Margaret argues for how wellness trends feed and helps promote one's self-obsession which actually make us unhealthy while promising health and prosperity and yet people continue to fall for them because of their lack of knowledge and research on the subject (McCartney,2019). 

One of these questionable trends is something I’m sure we’ve all come across as we live in an age where social media plays a large role in our lives and tends to consume a hefty amount of our time during the day. Whether you’re aimlessly scrolling through Instagram trying to kill time or maybe avoiding an ex in public, or even doing the sacrilegious pre bedtime feed scroll were all guilty of, I’m sure you’ve come across the infamous detox tea advertisements. You know exactly what I’m referring to as it's basically everywhere and anywhere on Instagram feeds these days. These ads typically consist of an online influencer or celebrity that many people tend to look up to when it comes to physical appearance such as Kylie Jenner or Tammy Hembrow, the product itself, and the promise of the product having the ability to help you lose weight, speed your metabolism, and boost energy in order to help you achieve your dream body. So someone being able to accomplish all of that by simply drinking some tea everyday sounds too good to be true right? That’s because it is. 

Naturally, one would assume that because these detox teas have the word tea in them that it’s automatically good for you as tea is a natural product and also carries this reputation of health and weight loss promotion but unfortunately this also is too good to be true as well.   Apparently even natural tea “really has not proven to be terribly useful” when it comes to weight loss according to David Sere, an associate professor of medicine at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia Universities Medical Centre (Sere, 2018). In comparison to regular tea, these detox teas that are promoted to us are actually products that are loaded with natural and unnatural diuretics, laxatives and stimulants. So how do they get away with this? Well basically detox teas claim that they are “dietary supplements” which means that the  Food and Drug Administration  aka the FDA is more lenient and less strict when it comes to giving approvals when compared to actual medicine (Consumer Reports,2018). So now if regular tea can’t even promise weight loss, then what exactly are these detox teas doing to your body? Well,  some of the consequences of these teas range from symptoms such as; abdominal pains and discomfort, an imbalance of your electrolytes, sleep disruption, throwing off your digestive system and even  decreasing the effectiveness of meds you maybe be on. One of the most infamous symptoms of these tea’s is drum roll please, diarrhea. So, once you take your rose coloured glasses off, you’ll realize that these detox teas are basically a glorified laxative in pretty pink packaging. This revelation was enough to stir up quite a lot of attention and drama over social media when Actress Jameela Jamil began trolling and lecturing other celebrities who got caught advertising detox teas. One of the most notable tweets, among many, would have to be “ "They got Cardi B on the laxative nonsense 'detox' tea. GOD I hope all these celebrities all shit their pants in public, the way the poor women who buy this nonsense upon their recommendation do. Not that they actually take this shit. They just flog it because they need MORE MONEY” (Jamil, 2018) She then later went on Instagram to further add “ "I am so sick of the lies. I was so riddled with eating disorders when I was young. I listened to irresponsible celebrities and bought all these bad products and followed their TERRIBLE and toxic diet tips for how they maintained the tiny weight they were... and I fucked up my metabolism and digestive system for life. I damaged my fertility, I was consumed and mentally ill. I was obsessed and didn't eat a meal for over three years as a growing teen. I am not going to stop until we teach people to be better allies to women and stop selling this not at all medically sound s--t and rhetoric to us. UNFOLLOW THE PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BAD” (Jamil, 2018) So if you’re still not convinced that detox teas really are that damaging after everything I’ve said then here’s Jameela, someone who works in the industry with the people advertising you these detox teas and she's directly addressing the fact that they are pure bullshit, dangerous for our health and  just a pay day for celebrities 

Now instead of just having me ramble about detox teas and their cons, I think we should get the opinion of someone else! Today were going to be getting an opinion from our guest who just so happens to be a very close friend of mine, Sadhana Persaud. Like many of us, she’s an avid user of social media but what sets her apart from many is the fact she used to compete in pageants and modelled resulting in her knowing a few things about diets and working out as  she’s always had to take care of herself physically

S.T: Hi Sadhana, thanks for joining me.

S.P: Of course  Sara! Thanks for having me!

S.T: So, since you and millions of others are on social media, I’m sure you’ve come across ad’s advertising these things called detox teas right? 

S.P: Oh gosh, those. Yes, I have definitely seen many of those and I feel like I come across at least one a day. 

S.T: One a day, wow thats a lot. So, what do you exactly think of them and their promises of helping with things such as weight loss, bloating and acting as an energy booster? 

S.P: Well personally, since I used to model and compete in pageants for a few years I’ve learned that there is no cutting corners when it comes to losing weight or being healthy and that your only option is simply a good diet and working out. Having supplements - of course - are great, but because of my personal experience that I feel like I can rely on, it makes me think that these teas with all their crazy claims are a big hoax.

S.T: And what do you think of these ads using celebrities to endorse their products?

S.P: Honestly it's unfair. Apps like Instagram require their users to be at least around 13 or so, which means many of their users are children and easily influenced. They’re also dealing with things like insecurities because of the intimidation or the lust they might have for their admired celebrities. On top of that, because they are younger, they aren’t even aware of what’s true and what’s not when it comes to health related things since they aren’t even remotely educated in that field. Another thing is that many of these celebrities that they use to advertise their products, not only photoshop their content, but have bodies that were basically built by dieticians and a whole team of trainers, which makes having a body like that unattainable to your typical girl scrolling through her feed. Some of them have a ton of surgical cosmetic enhancements too! These girls following them thinking that by purchasing a tea advertised by someone like Kylie Jenner that they are going to end up achieving a body like hers which again, is unrealistic for your average everyday girl. They are impressionable and following health advice by someone with no health background but instead a fat check that she earned by advertising. With all that considered, using celebrities that are looked up to and respected by young girls is basically taking advantage of girls that want to be like them, that are already in a sensitive place mentally with their insecurities. And that’s just unfair and wrong.

S.T: Well said. I think you’ve answered all the questions I had, thank you so much for sharing with us today and thanks for being on the show!

S:P: Anything for you girl, and again thanks for having me! 


With everything I've said so far, it's pretty obvious that celebrities unfortunately  play a large role in the health and wellness industry. Another large player in this industry is Gwyneth Paltrow. Im sure you’ve heard of her. Honestly, Gwyneth can be considered as a pioneer in the collab between health and influencers. Gwen has become quite infamous for her company Goop. To sum it up, Goop is an e-commerce and lifestyle brand/blog that promotes wellness with rather odd products and even odder claims. Goop’s well known for their crazy, out of the box type wellness remedies such as vaginal steams,  vampire repellent sprays designed to protect your aura  and even yoni eggs which is just a fancy way of saying jade eggs that get shoved up where the sun don’t shine. By the way that yoni egg got Goop fined for $145,000 in civil penalties because of their  “unsubstantiated” marketing claims (Belluz, 2018).

Now, if you’re going to be producing products as crazy sounds as these, there’s no surprise that Goop has been under public scrutiny which has led to many of the products and their claims to be debunked. Even the top search on Google for “Goop debunked” is a whole blog by an OB/GYN and pain medicine physician named Dr. Jen Gunter,  that is dedicated to debunking Goop. In one of her heavily detailed blog post called “I reviewed all 161 of GOOP’s wellness products for pseudoscience. Here’s what I found”  Gunter comes to the conclusion of  Goop products being “Biologically implausible therapies and ill-researched products were identified. The majority of health products (90%) could not be supported by science.”  She also concluded that “much of the health information presented on was associated with pseudoscientific beliefs” (Gunter, 2018).

Now moving on towards the blog side of Goop. In the past, Goop never revealed their scientific accuracy for their posts but now they have 5 tags dedicated for their blogs. The tags go as 

“For Your Enjoyment: There probably aren’t going to be peer-reviewed studies about this concept, but it’s fun, and there’s real merit in that.

Ancient Modality: This practice is nearly as old as time — many find value in it, even if modern-day research hasn’t caught up yet (it’s possible the practice will never attract its attention).

Speculative but Promising: There’s momentum behind this concept, though it needs more research to elucidate exactly what’s at work.

Supported by Science: There’s sound science for the value of this concept and the promise of more evidence to come soon that may prove its impact.

Rigorously Tested: The validity of this concept is pretty much undisputed within the world of M.D.’s, D.O.’s, N.D.’s, and Ph.D.’s.” (Gunter,2018)


Even though their transparency of the accuracy of their blog posts is a step in the right direction, it's still rather alarming. It's alarming considering the fact that people turn to Goop for advice and answers regarding their health on topics such as cancer, diseases, only for some of these posts to have been “just for fun”. Imagine you were in search of  wellness tips to help better yourself and you came across a Goop article,then spend your money to follow this article thinking it’ll help you,  only to come back months later and realize that it was now tagged as something that was just for fun for the company. You’d be infuriated because not only did you waste your valuable time and money, but you also followed false health advice which could have potentially put your health at risk. Someone who is impressionable shouldn’t be taken advantage of and their health should never be considering something that’s just for fun and it's wrong that a celebrity like Gwen and her company Goop can just get away. Your health should not be a hobby or a joke to someone, it should be a priority and it's a shame people get away with this. 


So, how are people okay with posting false information and promoting products that cause negative side effects? As I mentioned earlier the health industry is a 30 billion market. Apparently out of that 30 billion,63 million was spent just on things such as detoxes and cleanses, laxative and weight loss teas according to SPINS, a market research firm that researches only products like these (Consumer Reports, 2018). This led me to come to the conclusion that at the end of the day this is an industry which means people are profiting off consumers insecurities and lack of knowledge thus meaning money is likely their motivation instead of your health. I mean hey, the fact Goop sells a 100$ jade egg that has many claims that were proved false, got them sued but yet it is still being sold and people still continue to purchase it and believe it will help with their wellness.Falling victim to the cult of wellness is rather easy but can be avoided with a few tips and tricks that i’m going to tell you. Firstly, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Secondly, please do your research as you’re toying with your health, and thirdly the best rule of thumb to lose weight is a good diet and exercise. 9So if there’s anything you should have absorbed from this podcast, it's that if you’re going to do anything to alter your health with the hopes of bettering it, maybe skip taking advice from a celebrity without a degree and try running it by your doctor first, I mean he did go to med school after all . With that being said, I hope you enjoyed the podcast and thanks for tuning in!

Works Cited: 

Belluz, J. (2018, September 06). Goop was fined $145,000 for its claims about jade eggs for vaginas. It's still selling them. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Cadieux, M. (2018, November 05). Goop's Vaginal Eggs And Other Controversial "Health" Products Were Just Officially Debunked. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Cirno, E. (2019, January 9). The Purported Benefits and Side Effects of Detox Teas (D. Westphalen, Ed.). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Cohen, J. (2018, November 28). Jameela Jamil Trolls Celebs Who Promote Detox Tea in Savage Parody Video. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Gunter, J. (2018, October 19). I reviewed all 161 of GOOP's wellness products for pseudoscience. Here's what I found. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Gunter, J. (2018, June 27). Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP say the joke is on you if you followed their advice. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

McCartney, M. (2019, January 04). Don't fall prey to the cult of wellness. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

America, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2016, June 22). National Centre for Complementary Health. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Sass, C., MPH, RD. (2019, January 8). 5 Things You Should Know About Detox Teas. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Thorpe, J. (2018, December 17). Why Those Detox Teas You See On Instagram Are So Bad For You. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

What you should know about 'teatox' as a way to detox. (2018, August 20). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from
Wischhover, C. (2018, June 15). Goop Is Categorizing Its Wellness Stories from "Rigorously Tested" to "For Your Enjoyment". Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Recommended Resources: 

E. I. (2019, February 9). Goop: What a Mess. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

D. C. (n.d.). The Case Against Wellness. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from


Rosevere, Lee. “Going Home.” Music For Podcasts, Happy Puppy Records, 18 June 2015,


Week Twelve:

So producing a podcast has definitely been a fun, educational journey that I personally wouldn’t mind embarking on again. It wasn't the easiest thing to grasp at first but seeing the fruits of my labour with the final podcast was by far worth it. I've learned many things throughout this project such as new and proper ways to research, new writing techniques, how to use audacity etc.

Because of this assignment, I was able to learn new techniques on researching and even the types of sources that there are. Before this, I was only really aware of the basic types of sources you’d find through a quick google search and sometimes I’d find scholarly sources by doing this. Now I’m aware that there are sources such as government sources, popular sources, scholarly sources, etc. Another thing I learned is that there is way more research tools than I knew existed.

Another thing that I had to do because of this assignment is figuring out audacity. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for me and I spent a lot of time on google and youtube trying to figure out how to do certain things on the program. I actually had quite a lot of trouble with this program and it seems things just kept messing up on my laptop so producing my podcast was quite difficult but at the end I managed to make something im proud of. Im glad I learned to use this program as it can be quite useful for many things and who knows I might need to know how to do something similar for another class project one day.

A lot of things that I've learned in this course I can see myself using in future courses which in turn are going to help me be a better student overall and because of this, I’d like to thank everyone who made this course possible and a special thank you to our prof Stephanie Bell!

For the last time, thanks for reading!

-Sara Tomovic


Week Nine:

For my podcast I am discussing different types of trends that are damaging to us in the health and wellness industry and finding sources has proven to be difficult but I managed to find a few gems.

One of the sources I found quite useful was an article written by Erica Cirino and edited by Dena Westphalen, PharmD. In this article they breakdown the promises detox teas make to their consumers and then debunk them and give the reader a truthful idea of what they actually do. They also go further into detail about some symptoms some users may deal with and precautions to take. This is a really useful source for me because not only is it backed and edited by a professional in this field, but it also further proves my point about detox teas being bad and unhealthy for their users. Overall this source was the perfect place to go to to have a majority of my questions and concerns answered. It was also a great source to be used as the foundation to my detox tea research.

Another source i've found useful during the production of my podcast was a blog written by Dr. Jen Gunter, a  OB/GYN and a pain medicine physician. she  dedicates this blog post to testing out almost all of Goop, a company by the pioneer celebrity wellness influencer Gwyneth Paltrow,  products and using science and her knowledge in this field to debunk them. With her post she really goes in detail and gives a great understanding of how hoaxy Goop actually is. Because she was able to debunk 90% of Goop products, she helps further prove my point of how this industry is full of useless products that are solely to get the consumers money rather than actually helping improve peoples health and wellness.

These two sources go hand in hand as a major part of the wellness industry is detox teas, and then a good chunk of the wellness industry is about Gwyneth Paltrow and her company Goop. So with these two great sources I am able to back both of my main podcast points with reliable resources from reliable writers and compare and contrast them.

Source One:

Cirno, E. (2019, January 9). The Purported Benefits and Side Effects of Detox Teas (D. Westphalen, Ed.). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Source Two:

Gunter, J. (2018, October 19). I reviewed all 161 of GOOP's wellness products for pseudoscience. Here's what I found. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from

Phase 3

Sexual Violence Cases in the Justice System Transcript 

Hello listeners, my name is Sephra Perruzza and welcome to my very first podcast episode, thank you for joining me. I have a specific goal in mind for this episode, and that would be to leave my listeners with something to think about by the end of this podcast. Today I am going to discuss with you an issue that is rampant in today’s society that I’m sure you’re all familiar with, and that is the way that sexual violence cases are treated in our criminal justice system. Just a fair warning, this episode touches on some sensitive material, so feel free to stop listening at any time. There’s some resources and numbers to call in the episode transcript provided. Now let’s get into the episode.


As it stands today, sexual assault is the most unreported crime against the person. In fact, over 80% of survivors never actually report their experiences. Why is this, you may ask? Well most of the time, they fear disbelief, the risk of unjustified blame, and the very common possibility of re-traumatization, also known as the “second rape” when survivors are forced to address their trauma in detail, bringing back every painful memory. Unfortunately, trials have been shown to  seriously impact the mental health and well being of survivors.  


When it comes to trials, the usual methods used by the defence actually end up harming survivors with strategies like cross examination which is frequently linked to re-traumatization. The defences job is to poke holes in the prosecutions case, but unfortunately most of the time the only evidence provided is    the victims testimony, which becomes the focus of attack for the defence. They attempt to undermine credibility and reliability, and detailed questioning forces the victim to recount every painful detail. Psychologist Judith Herman noted “if one set out intentionally to design a system provoking symptoms of traumatic stress it would look very much like a court of law.” 


Not only does the defence attempt to create doubt but they also use rape myths and stereotypes to their advantage. They can bring up what the victim had been wearing or if they were intoxicated. In fact, in November of 2018 activists protested in Ireland after a man was acquitted of raping a 17 year old girl. And why? Because the defence used the young woman’s laced thong underwear as evidence, claiming it signified consent.


Now we have a phone interview with Jacky Stevens, the head of a sexual assault centre in Nova Scotia who would like to share her thoughts on the criminal justice system. 


JS Anyone who has experienced sexual assault and then gone through a court process often identify numerous examples or numerous ways at kind of all levels of the process that they experience re-victimization or re-traumatization, and that can be anywhere from them not feeling believed, or judged in terms of decisions being made by police whether or not to lay charges. When it gets to court level, you know again in terms of decisions being made about how women will testify, or what questions or information will be included. And sometimes you know that is around the perception of the credibility of a victim and what that does is it makes people feel like they’re being judged or blamed for the assault or other factors in terms of if someone has experienced trauma or has other experiences that lead to their credibility being questioned. All of that re-victimizes them or makes it a negative experience for them, because the onus is then on their behaviour or actions and not on the assault that happened to them by the accused.

Now that you know what happens once victims enter the justice system, let’s discuss why so many of them never make it there. Of the 20% of survivors that actually do report their experiences, there is a certain system that they must go through before the case can go to trial. The first step is referred to as the “make it or break it” stage, which is a survivors first contact with police. After that, around 8% of cases actually continue on to trial. One of the main problems with the justice system prior to the trial problems are the officers on duty when a victim reports an assault. Officers have a bias around the idea of “real rape”, meaning the details of an assault that make them more likely to decide to take the report seriously. A few studies have concluded that when it comes to survivors being raped by people that they knew rather than a stranger, officers don’t often take it as seriously. They also base their decision on whether or not there were alcohol or drugs involved, or if a weapon was used during the assault. Not only that but one of the largest reasons used to justify not sending an assault case to trial is “insufficiency of evidence” usually referring to lack of medical evidence showing signs of the assault, basically tests that would come from a rape kit administered at a hospital. That being said, victim injury plays a large role in the progression of sexual violence cases. How can it be that in today’s society where mental health advocacy is everywhere, our legal system relies on physical injury to determine sexual violence despite the fact that it is just as mentally damaging, if not more so?


SP Today we have a guest with us who is a sexual violence survivor, here to answer some questions about the reasons she decided not to report her case. She would like to remain anonymous for our show. Welcome, how are you?

G Hi Sephra, I’m good thanks.

SP If at any point you’re uncomfortable or would like to stop the interview, please let me know. But really my one question for you is what reasons went into refraining from reporting the assault? 

Well the assault happened about two years ago now. He was my age and someone that I knew, not well but I still knew him. At the time of the incident I had been under the influence and I was unfortunately taken advantage of while in that state. That is part of the reason I decided not to report it. When you’re a teenage girl, dressed in tighter clothing and intoxicated and you get raped, there is always victim blaming. They ask what you were wearing or how much you had to drink or if you were asking for it. I could just picture being on trial, my word against his, as some lawyer picked apart every detail of my story and tried to make it seem like I was lying. The event itself was traumatic enough and I don’t think I could have handled having to recount it again. 

SP Do you ever think about what would have happened if you had reported it?

G I do, sometimes. I imagine it could have gone the way I thought it was, me going through more trauma just for him to get acquitted, but it might have also gone the other way, and I would have been able to prevent him from every doing what he did to another girl. I think about it a lot.

SP If our justice system worked differently and you weren’t afraid of the trauma that comes from a trial, would that have changed things? 

G Absolutely. I know so many girls in the same boat as me, who are too scared to say anything. We think about our families and what people might think. We think about how we’ll be interrogated and made out to be slutty teenage girls. The fear of those things ends up trumping our desire for justice against our attackers. If the system wasn’t the way it is, I would have reported the incident right after it happened, knowing that I’d have the support I needed. It doesn’t work that way though.

SP Well I think you’ve answered all the questions I had, thank you so much for sharing with us today.

G Thank you for having me.


As we examine the justice system and the way sexual violence cases are treated, it becomes easy to realize why so many victims never report their cases, just like our guest. For those who have never experienced trauma such as that, sometimes it’s hard to understand the true damage it has, and the fear behind making oneself vulnerable to a judge or jury. As much as justice needs to be served, the system makes it very difficult for people to rely on it and trust that it won’t fail them. However, there is one important thing to remember, despite all of these issues. In the same way that millions of people advocate for mental health, or suicide awareness or even gun control, there are people advocating to amend the justice system and its process for sexual violence cases. There is hope. 


As I speak, there are people discussing ways to improve the experiences of sexual violence survivors. Ways to get them the justice they deserve. One term that continuously appeared in my research was restorative justice. The idea and principle of this type of justice dates back to those used by the Ancient Greeks, as well as many Aboriginal tribes. Essentially this new form of justice would give the victim control over what happened with their case and the offender would have to take responsibility for their actions and together both sides would come to an agreement rather than go forward with a painful trial. The most common definition, stated in the Handbook of the United Nations in 2006, states that restorative justice is any process in which the victim and the offender and, where appropriate, any other individuals or community members affected by a crime participate together actively in the resolution of matters arising from the crime, generally with the help of a facilitator.” The idea of restorative justice has the potential to drastically change the percentage of sexual violence cases that are reported each year, and the amount of offenders that will be held responsible for their actions, but most importantly will bring justice for so many victims who never believed that day would come.


Another potential solution has less to do with the actual trial and more to do with the people involved. Officers especially, should be given specific and intensive training on ways to handle sexual violence reports, especially on the realities of PTSD. Their training should also include redefining the term sexual violence as a broad term that encompasses all physical and unwanted sexual advances. Not only should this training apply to officers but it should also apply to judges and jurors. If a jury is assigned to a sexual violence case they should be required to go through some sort of sensitivity training prior to the trial in order to make their decision with all the information they need, rather than any biases put upon them by society.  


Some of you listening to this podcast today may have friends or family who have been victims of sexual violence. Some of you may be survivors yourselves. But maybe some of you were surprised that incidents considered sexual violence are more than assaults that happen with a weapon or by a stranger. Some of you may even need a lesson yourselves on the effects that this kind of trauma can have on someone’s mental health and well being. The way it can cause PTSD and depression and ruin lives in the span of seconds.  But no matter who you are, I hope everyone can take away something from this episode. That action needs to be taken. That words alone are not enough. Our criminal justice system, which supposedly prides itself on serving justice as best as it can, is failing survivors and by extension failing society as a whole. When a crime is committed it is committed against society as a whole, which means everyone is effected. Friends, family, entire communities. If there are small changes we can make that will create vast differences, then there should be nothing stopping us. Once we recognize that the justice system needs to change, we can begin to create a better world where victims will feel supported and offenders will be held responsible for their actions.  

Thank you all for listening. This is Sephra Perruzza, signing off. 

Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416.863.0511

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: 416-597-8808


 Works Cited:

Feeney, Hannah, et al. “Do You Wish to Prosecute the Person Who Assaulted You?: Untested Sexual Assault Kits and Victim Notification of Rape Survivors Assaulted as Adolescents.” Victims & Offenders, vol. 13, no. 5, July 2018, pp. 651–674. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15564886.2018.1426668.                       

 Greeson, Megan R., and Rebecca Campbell. “Coordinated Community Efforts to Respond to Sexual Assault.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 30, no. 14, Sept. 2015, pp. 2470–2487. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0886260514553119.

  Jordan, Jan. “Beyond Belief?: Police, Rape and Women’s Credibility.” Criminal Justice, vol. 4, no. 1, Feb. 2004, pp. 29–59, doi:10.1177/1466802504042222.

 Keenan, Marie, and Estelle Zinsstag. “Restorative Justice and Sexual Offences: Can »changing Lenses« be Appropriate in This Case Too?” Monatsschrift Fuer Kriminologie Und Strafrechtsreform, vol. 97, no. 1, Feb. 2014, pp. 93–106. EBSCOhost,   

 Kennedy, Kieran M. “The Relationship of Victim Injury to the Progression of Sexual Crimes through the Criminal Justice System.” Journal of Forensic & Legal Medicine, vol. 19, no.6, Aug. 2012, pp. 309–311. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2012.04.033.

 Kerstetter, Wayne A. “Gateway to Justice: Police and Prosecutorial Response to Sexual Assaults against Women.” Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, vol. 81, no. 2, Summer 1990, pp. 267–313. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/114 

“Putting Sexual Assault Trials on Trial: the Way the Justice System Tries Cases of Sexual Violence.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada,

 Venema, Rachel M. “Police Officer Schema of Sexual Assault Reports: Real Rape, Ambiguous Cases, and False Reports.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 31, no. 5, Mar. 2016, pp. 872–899, doi:10.1177/0886260514556765.



Fanfiction and Copyright Law: Full episode


Imagine for a moment that you’ve just finished a work of fiction. A book, a TV show, a video game… It doesn’t particularly matter what it was. What matters is that you finished it. I’m sure everyone listening knows the feeling that comes with finishing a good book or a tough game. Maybe you thought it was the best story you’ve ever seen, so you go online to look up the creator and see if they’ve made anything else. Then, when you type their name into the search bar, you find out that they’ve said or done something horrible in the past or the present that you can’t agree with. You don’t want to be associated with them, or give them your money, but you really enjoy their work; what do you do?

Or maybe there’s nothing wrong with the author, but the story goes somewhere you don’t want it to. Maybe they kill off a villain who you think should have been redeemed, or add in a romance subplot that doesn’t make any sense. You know you could have done it better if the story had been in your hands; how are you going to handle that disappointment?

One option is to make the story your own. If you want to reclaim the story for yourself, or change a plot point you disagree with, why not write it yourself? All you need is a computer or a notebook, after all. It’s easy to do.

Unless, of course, it turns out that this hobby could land you in the courts.

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Kate, and in this episode we’re talking about fanfiction and copyright law.

In “Fanfiction and Alternate Worlds”, Kay Rivera (2018) discusses the importance of fanfiction as a means of interacting with fictional works, particularly those with problematic creators, or whose creators took the work in an unpopular direction, citing Junot Diaz, Woody Allen, and J.K. Rowling as examples. She considers the difficulties of enjoying a work while disagreeing with or even hating its creators, and suggests reading and writing fanfiction as an alternate means of engaging with the work, while also claiming it as the fans’ rather than the creators’, and avoiding providing monetary compensation to problematic creators. She raises a good point, but it isn’t quite as simple as she makes it sound.

For those of you listening who aren’t familiar with it, fanfiction is the practice of taking characters belonging to pre-existing works and then using those characters or that setting, or both, to write an original story. As an example, if someone wrote a story where the cast of Harry Potter worked in a coffee shop, to use a popular setting, that would be fanfiction. It’s a fairly common hobby; a quick search through the Archive of Our Own, which is a fanfiction database generally referred to as Ao3 by its users, will reveal over 4.6 million works in its archives as of April 2019, and that number is only growing. It doesn’t come without some recognition, either; at the time of this podcast, Ao3 as a whole is currently a finalist nominated under “Best Related Work” at the 2019 Hugo Awards. But despite a growing public awareness of fanfiction, very few authors actually seek monetary gain for their work, and there’s a reason for that.

That reason is copyright law. Some of you were probably thinking about this already; if fanfiction is written using the characters and settings of a pre-existing work of fiction, isn’t that a violation of the original author’s copyright? And you’re right, at least on a technical level, but the issue at hand is a little more complicated than that. See, copyright law has something called the fair use clause, which I’m sure everyone listening has at least heard of before, but I’ll run over it quickly to refresh your memories. According to Stanford University, “a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.” If this sounds a little vague to you, that’s because it is. The fact is, no one is entirely clear on what, exactly, “transformative” means in the context of fair use, or how different something has to be from the original work before it counts as transformative. There aren’t many things that are clearly covered under the fair use clause; reviews of media are covered, as are news reports, lessons, and relevant court cases, all of which require access to parts of copyrighted media, on the grounds that these uses benefit the public. Parodies are also covered, as pretty much the only clear example of a “transformative” work that we have available. Other than these five examples, though, the rules get a little less clear. We’re not here to talk about copyright law, though, so I’ll leave it at that for now. Just keep in mind going forward that there isn’t any clear legal precedent regarding fanfiction.

What is clear is that no one can make money from a product that doesn’t belong to them, and that’s where fanfiction can run into trouble. The stories themselves are usually original works; there’s a lot of variation on Ao3, and some works are more than long enough to be novels in their own right. Some authors online are popular enough that if they were being paid they might not ever have to work again. The trouble is, if they were paid it could get them into serious legal issues.

Original creators are usually happy to at least ignore the creations of their fans, if they don’t actively encourage them. There have been exceptions, of course, Anne Rice’s repeated threats of lawsuits being a fairly well known example, but for the most part there is a certain quiet understanding between authors and fans to at least tolerate fan-created content. This understanding has its limits, though; you might have heard of the video game company Blizzard making an attempt to get rid of all… mature, shall we say, art and videos made using the in-game character models from their team-based shooter Overwatch. It’s not entirely clear whether it’s the official game assets being used in these productions or the content of said productions, but the company has issued several cease and desist orders and is well within their rights to do so. As some people were as I mentioned using in-game assets in these productions, and some of them were making money off of their work, Blizzard could shut them down on the grounds that they were both defaming the brand and characters of a game which was supposed to be family-friendly, and violating the copyright in a way that could not be covered under fair use by making a profit off of characters that weren’t theirs.

It’s the second point that makes things difficult for fanfiction authors. The creators whose works they’re, well, working with may ignore the existence of free stories based off of their characters floating around the internet, but they’re unlikely to accept fans openly making money from work that isn’t originally theirs. In her article “Should Fan Fiction Be Free?” Abigail De Kosnik, an Assistant Professor at the University of California, argues that fanfiction authors should be paid for their work, and that the authors should organize some way to profit off of their work before entrepreneurs start doing it for them, and taking the lion’s share of the profits with them in the process. She compares it to hip-hop, a genre of music that often involves taking samples from pre-recorded tracks and sounds, as well as Japanese doujinshi, fanmade comics based on existing manga and frequently sold at conventions (Kosnik, 2009, pp. 118-124). De Kosnik’s argument is that fanfiction is less commercial because it is largely written by women, whereas fan filmmakers and game modders, two typically male-dominated industries, have a history of getting job opportunities through their fanworks and, in the latter case, occasionally succeeding in selling their work to the original developer. I would have to disagree with her assessment, though; fan filmmakers may get job offers from their work, but so can particularly successful fanfiction authors; Rivera cites Cassandra Clare as an example, and E.L. James got her start writing Twilight fanfiction. More on that in a minute, but suffice it to say that plenty of authors first got noticed for their fanfiction; it’s just considered less acceptable for authors to start with fanworks than it is for filmmakers or game developers, so they don’t always admit it even if that is how they got noticed. As for selling their work to the original creator, there’s a difference between hiring someone to add their work to your game and hiring someone to write your story for you.

The problem goes both ways, though; while the fans can’t make money off their work without the original creator’s approval, the creator can’t make money off of anything created by the fans. Author Marion Zimmer Bradley got hit by this in 1992, when she realised a novel she was working on involved themes that had appeared in a fanfiction she’d read. In the end, she elected to scrap the entire thing rather than risk being sued by the fan. It’s a story that remains in the minds of many authors to this day, with some banning fanfiction based on their work outright, while others ignore it but insist that the fans do not send them anything related to fanfiction.

It is a fact that people do manage to sell their fanworks; doujinshi are a great example of this. However, doujinshi are carefully monitored to ensure they aren’t going too far. In 2014 the American Journal of Comparative Law described two incidents where the copyright holders did press the issue; a Pokemon doujinshi author was prosecuted on the grounds that his mature works “were destructive of the Pokemon image”, and a Doraemon doujinshi author received a warning from the original creator as his unofficial ending to the manga, which had never been given a proper ending by the original authors, was deemed “so similar to the original one that some people mistakenly thought it was genuine” (He, 2014, p. 1014). I’m sorry if I’m mispronouncing any of these words, by the way. So yes, doujinshi are sold by fans, but in a strictly regulated manner, and with rules that fanfiction does not follow. Fanfiction usually relies on a system of gifting, where an author sets up an account on Patreon, Ko-fi, or a similar site, and the readers can send them money if they so choose. Since these payments are gifts, the authors aren’t technically being paid for their work.

If authors were being paid for their writing, they would likely have to give the original creator royalties, giving a percentage of their profits to the creators as payment for using their characters. This brings us back to Rivera’s point; if fanfiction authors are paying the creators, then they are still giving monetary support to those creators, which would defeat the purpose of seeking out alternative means of enjoying the works of problematic creators. It would render at least part of the purpose of fanfiction completely moot. Aside from the issue of paying the creator, there is also the percentages involved; Amazon’s attempt at commercializing fanfiction, Kindle World, only gives 25-30% of the profits to the author of the fanfiction, depending on the length. It’s not the worst percentage in the world for a first book, but the books themselves only cost $0.99-3.99, and the author can never use the story elements they use in published works outside of Kindle World (Bukatz, 2013, p. 122).

We’re not here to talk about Kindle World, but it does raise an interesting question: how much can a fanfiction author really expect to get for their work? Well, if your name is E.L. James, that number is well over a billion dollars.

It isn’t a secret that 50 Shades started life as Twilight fanfiction. Originally titled Master of the Universe, the series was posted on the website in 2009. When the time came to publish, E.L. James just went through a process referred to as “filing off the serial numbers”; she changed the name of the story and the characters and published it as a wholly original work. The question is, does it really count as wholly original? The story itself is hers, true, but it seems unlikely that it would ever have existed without Twilight. So we have to ask: was it legal for it to be passed off as entirely E.L. James’s work?

It’s not as difficult a question to answer as it seems. In most cases of filing off the serial numbers, the story is the same, and the setting and characters are changed. In this case, the characters stayed the same while the story and setting changed. While the former case has appeared in court before, such as in 2016, where Cassandra Clare was sued for copyright infringement by Sherrilyn Kenyon on the grounds that Clare’s “Mortal Instruments” series bore some suspicious similarities to Kenyon’s “Dark Hunter” series (Kenyon v. Clare, 2016), the latter case may well be a first.

The lack of any lawsuits suggests that, at the very least, Meyer doesn’t believe it’s worth the cost of making a fuss over the matter. So it seems that in this case at least, there weren’t any legal concerns about publishing. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons why 50 Shades shouldn’t have been published, mind you, but copyright concerns were not one of them. It makes sense why that would be the case, too; “Master of the Universe” did not take place in the original Twilight universe; it was set in an alternate universe where the characters were human and had a mostly unique story to tell. The only thing it really shared was the characters, and that isn’t so hard to change if you’re willing to sacrifice a few things to do it.

Still, the humble origins of 50 Shades have brought a bit more attention to the world of fanfiction. It probably isn’t the best introduction to the culture of fanworks, though. Speaking from my own experience, there are hundreds of stories that are infinitely more worthy of being adapted into published novels and movie franchises. I won’t go into details here, but let’s just say I’ve read more than my share of truly excellent romance fanfiction. The trouble is, some of the best are so tied to their original work that it would be all but impossible to separate them enough to publish.

Not commercially viable is not the same thing as illegal to produce, however. The Organisation for Transformative Works, the team behind Ao3, spends part of their funding on maintaining a team of lawyers who are, to quote their About page on Ao3, “committed to protecting and defending fanworks from commercial exploitation and legal challenge.” If you do decide to write fanfiction and find yourself getting into legal trouble, which I’ll be honest isn’t all that likely, there are people out there whose entire job is to defend you and everyone else who wants to write about their favourite universes.

The OTW doesn’t stop at legal help, either. Aside from running Ao3 and offering legal advice to fan creators, they run several other archives, all three of which are easily accessible. They’re all worth exploring if you have any interest in fandom. The first, Fanlore, covers the history of fandom in general, as well as the specific groups that came out of various works over the decades, Open Doors collects fanworks that are at risk of being deleted and keeps them accessible to the public, and they have their own peer-reviewed journal called Transformative Works and Cultures which offers information on fanworks and practices.

So if you want to write fanfiction and post it online, it looks like you’re in the clear on the legal front. And if 50 Shades was good for anything, it was making being a fanfiction author a little more socially acceptable. And hey, you might still be able to make a bit of money off of your work; fan creators do get commissions from other fans to draw or write for them, and fanmade zines, which collect art and writing based around specific characters and sell them to the general public, might pay you for your work, depending on which zine it is. I’ve seen more than a few looking for members in my time in fandom.

Fanfiction is a great hobby if you’re upset with a work or its creator, or even if you just want to explore the characters a little further. And, as I hope I’ve explained clearly in this episode, it isn’t illegal. At least, not technically. So go ahead; write the most shamelessly self-indulgent fic you’ve ever seen, or an epic adventure spanning over a hundred chapters. If you’re not the writing type, head over to Ao3 and find a couple of stories you’ll love. You won’t regret it.

Even if you’re not the fanfiction type, I hope this episode has taught you a little bit about fanfiction, what it is, and how it interacts with the copyrights of the original work. But at the end of the day, it’s all just a matter of opinion. Thanks for listening.




Works Cited

Bukatz, T. (2013). Amazon’s fan fiction store: opportunity or fandom-ination? The legal background to commercial and non-commercial creations from canon – Part I. Communications Law: Journal of Computer, Media & Telecommunications Law18(4), 122–127. Retrieved from

De Kosnik, A. (2009). Should Fan Fiction Be Free? Cinema Journal, 48(4), 118-124. Retrieved from

HE, T. (2014). What Can We Learn from Japanese Anime Industries? The Differences Between Domestic and Overseas Copyright Protection Strategies Towards Fan Activities. The American Journal of Comparative Law, 62(4), 1009-1041. Retrieved from

Jackson, G. (2018, May 16). It Used To Be Perilous To Write Fanfiction. Retrieved from

Kenyon v. Clare (United States District Court). Retrieved from

McKeand, K. (n.d.). Blizzard send a copyright notice to the makers of Overwatch lad mag Playwatch. Retrieved from

Mendelson, S. (2018, February 24). Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Tops $300 Million, Pushing ‘Fifty Shades’ Trilogy To $1.25 Billion. Retrieved from

Rivera, K. (2018, October 1). Fanfiction and alternative worlds. Retrieved from

Stim, R. (2017, April 11). What Is Fair Use? Retrieved from

What We Believe. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Recommended sources

Arai, Y., & Kinukawa, S. (2014). Copyright infringement as user innovation. Journal of Cultural Economics, 38(2), 131-144. Retrieved from

Cuccinello, H. C. (2017). Fifty Shades Of Green: How Fanfiction Went From Dirty Little Secret To Money Machine. Forbes.Com, 7. Retrieved from

Hetcher, S. (2009). Using Social Norms to Regulate Fan Fiction and Remix Culture. University of Pennsylvania Law Review,157(6), 1869-1935. Retrieved from

Lipton, J. D. . (2014). Copyright and the Commercialization of Fanfiction. Houston Law Review52(2), 425–466. Retrieved from

Rosenblatt, B., & Tushnet, R. (2015). Transformative Works: Young Women’s Voices on Fandom and Fair Use. In Bailey J. & Steeves V. (Eds.), Egirls, eCitizens: Putting Technology, Theory and Policy into Dialogue with Girls’ and Young Women’s Voices(pp. 385-410). University of Ottawa Press. Retrieved from

Transformative Works and Cultures. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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From Fanfiction to Novel: Full Podcast


Back in 2012, E. L. James sat down with every major publishing house in the English speaking world and was told they all wanted to publish her fanfiction (Bertrand). She had named it Fifty Shades of Grey, and it depicts the character Anastasia Steel in a supposedly romantic relationship with love interest Christian Grey. She signed with Random House for a seven figure contract, and the movie that came later made $94 million on opening weekend (Bertrand).

By all the conventional hallmarks of success, Fifty Shades of Grey was a success. It made money, and it has dedicated fans. The only thing that seems unusual about it is how started out as a fanfiction. At least, that seems unusual on the surface. Once you learn more about it, what’s really surprising is the story of how a fanfiction turned out to become a novel like Fifty shades of Grey. Once you know how fanfiction works, and how fans influence the mainstream, you start to realize how weird the story of Fifty Shades of Grey really is. There’s something going on below the surface here.

Something that’s actually pretty disturbing.

From Scratch Media, this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Samantha Thornberry, and in this episode we're talking about ...what happens when fanfiction goes mainstream.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people log on to websites and forums to read, write, and discuss fanfiction (Tosenberger). They discuss their favourite tv shows, movies, and books as though they were the evening news, and their lives depended on it. For fanfiction writers, this is an opportunity to flex their creative muscles and get feedback on their storytelling skills. For fanfiction readers, this is a chance to relax and spend more time with their favourite characters (Tosenberger).

So, hold up - what is fanfiction anyway?

Hayley Cuccinello, a writer for Forbes magazine, described it best as, and I quote, “fiction written by a fan that features characters from a particular mythical universe such as a TV show or book. Its cousin, real person fiction (RPF), portrays actual individuals—typically celebrities—such as Harry Styles from One Direction” (Cuccinello).

So, you can have characters from the TV show Star Trek visit worlds made up by fans and feature completely original aliens, or have Sherlock Holmes solve cases that are made up by fans. Sound strange? It isn’t really. In a lot of ways, fanfiction has become a part of mainstream storytelling. Tell me, when was the last time you watched an authentic Sherlock Holmes movie? If you take the word ‘authentic’ to mean it was written by the original author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, then the answer is never. The creator of Sherlock Holmes wrote 56 short stories and four novels featuring the iconic detective, and no screenplays (Wikipedia). Every new Sherlock Holmes story that comes out today is written by someone who is not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These stories are either new, or they are adaptations of the original stories. For all intents and purposes, these new stories are fanfiction. Even Stephen Moffat, one of the creators of Sherlock, a modern day TV adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, says that what he’s doing is basically writing fanfiction (Cuccinello).

Most fanfiction nowadays tends to be based on more modern work, though. One good example is Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a fanfiction called “Master of the Universe”. It was first posted on, a popular website that hosts a frankly absurb number of fanfiction stories, including fanfiction written for the ever popular vampire romance novel, Twilight (Bertrand). “Master of the Universe” was an adaptation of Twilight, in that it told a story using characters from the book, but put them in a completely new setting (Bertrand). In “Master of the Universe”, Twilight protagonist Bella Swan met billionaire Edward Cullen, and was promptly swept off her feet in a whirlwind romance. While the original novel featured vampires and werewolves, this fanfiction featured business, you probably already know.

It’s easy to see the similarities between Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight when you lay them out side by side. Anastasia Steel is clumsy and insecure just like Bella Swan is in Twilight, and Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey is the mysterious, wealthy love interest, just like Edward Cullen is in Twilight. The settings for the two stories are different, but these sorts of changes are pretty par for the course for fanfiction. After all, you can’t say you’ve written a new story unless some things have been changed.

The changes that fans make can be pretty dramatic too.

A few years ago back in 2015, on a day like any other, Twitter went wild (Tan). The cast for the upcoming stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had just been announced. For months people had been speculating online about who would be cast in the roles of three of the most beloved characters in the world. And when the news came out, there was one casting choice that had everyone talking. Award winning actress Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione, and she wasn’t white (Tan). It seemed everyone had an opinion on this, with reactions ranging from outrage to joy, but the reality is that this had been in the works for a long time (Bennett). For years, fans had been creating art of Hermione as black, wrote fanfiction of Hermione as black, and now, a black woman would be playing Hermione in the stage play (Pellot).

This was huge. It was huger than huge! For years, Hermione the character had been portrayed as white. Harry Potter, both the character and the series, was overwhelmingly portrayed as white (Bennett). A lot of people really thought that these characters were white, they were all white, and they have to be white. The UK is actually very racially diverse, but a lot of people had the opinion that to be British means to be white. These fans who drew and wrote Hermione as black weren’t just experimenting and playing with expectations; they were challenging people’s beliefs about race. And the result was Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione. This decision was more than likely influenced by the fans, making this a great example of how fans influence the source material (Bennett).

Fanfiction is all about transformation. It transforms established stories into something new, and many fans aim to make it somehow better than the source material (Berkowitz, 203). That’s probably why it’s so popular with minorities, especially women. When mainstream media is written for white, straight, cisgender men, then everyone outside of that category has to make do (Berkowitz, 204). Because of who the audience and writers are, fanfiction uses tropes that minorities, especially women enjoy and that are often absent from mainstream male dominated media, so it develops very loyal followings (Berkowitz, 204). Especially popular ones. Like “Master of the Universe” levels of popular.

“Master of the Universe” didn’t stay on for long. It had some really passionate followers, but some users felt that it was a little too raunchy for the site, and it got taken down (Bertrand). E. L. James still had it on her hardrive though, and she thought that she could still use it. She set up her own website called, and published her book with the Australian writer’s community called The Writer’s Coffee Shop (Bertrand). She changed the characters’ names and the title, so she was able to claim it as her own original work (Bertrand). If “Master of the Universe” had been popular, then this new Fifty Shades of Grey was explosive. Since the story was no longer tied down to the genre of fanfiction, a lot more people could read it and didn’t get hung up on the fact these were characters from Twilight, and not original characters that E. L. James came up with.

Other than changing the names, the book stayed the same. Fifty Shades of Grey started out as fanfiction. It is based on a popular teen romance that a lot of women enjoyed, uses tropes that women enjoy, that you can find easily in fanfiction, and it gained a large following of its own long before it was ever published. For an audience of women who weren’t used to being the target audience, Fifty Shades of Grey was like catnip (Cuccinello). It was irresistible. Their love for this book puts hardcore fans to shame. These women have told E. L. James that they’ve read and re-read it dozens of times, and that it got them through all sorts of hardships, even cancer (Green).

This passion has some similarities with the passion that fans of black Hermione have. Two groups of people who felt underrepresented, and whose passion came from fan efforts.

That’s about where the similarities end.

The thing is, having a black Hermione did a lot of good for minority representation in media. Alanna Bennett, a writer for Buzzfeed, described it as “healing a hurt” that the lack of black people in media had caused (Bennett). Noma Dumezweni’s casting changed the story of Harry Potter and made it more available for its black fans. There was a problem in Harry Potter, and making Hermione black helped fix it a little bit.

By comparison, Fifty Shades of Grey  is uncritical of its source material. Twilight was a very white, straight story, much like Harry Potter, but Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t challenge that at all. If anything, it confirms it (Lazaraspaste). Emma Green, a writer for The Atlantic, found the relationship physically dangerous and emotionally damaging (Green).

That last one is especially bad, because Christian Grey abuses Anastasia through the entire book. That’s not an opinion; when an expert on domestic abuse, Megan Walker, says so, that’s a compelling enough reason to believe it (CBC News). But the book and E. L. James think it’s romantic, and so do its fans (CBC News). And the publishing industry doesn’t care about the message they’re spreading with this book either; the book sells, and that’s all that matters to them.

There’s an industry for publishing fanfiction now, and why not? Fifty Shades of Grey did so well, so there’s clearly a market for it. But Fifty Shades of Grey has none of the fanfiction community’s good points. It shows very little creativity, and even less subversiveness (Barnett, Stanley). It doesn’t challenge the source material, or confront any of its troubling tropes (Lazaraspaste). Fifty Shades of Grey took the worst parts of Twilight and it magnified them (Lazaraspaste). And the worst part? The number of people who have read it, and internalised all of the harmful messages it has.

The problem here is, a story about abuse was put out there, and it is now setting troubling standards for what a relationship should look like. It is encouraging people to emulate it in their own lives, and to write it into more stories for other people to find. It’s no secret that the media we watch influences the way we see the world and the choices we make in our lives. When a story like Fifty Shades of Grey becomes huge, becomes huger than huge, it’s going to influence a lot of people’s opinions on what a relationship should look like. For a lot of women, that’s incredibly dangerous (CBC News). It puts them at risk of unknowingly trapping themselves in an abusive relationship.

With the way publishers are scouting for stories like Fifty Shades of Grey now, the fanfiction that people put out there isn’t just for fun anymore. It can get into the mainstream, and it can really hurt people.

Sadly, the story doesn’t end here.

A short time ago, Anna Todd sat down with every major publishing house in the English speaking world and was told they all wanted to publish her fanfiction (Rackham). She named it After, and it depicts Harry Styles, lead singer of the band One Direction, in a supposedly romantic relationship with original character Tessa Young. She signed with a major publishing house for a book contract, and coming soon to theatres is a movie (Rackham).

And who’s going to see it but a whole new generation of women.

Maybe it’s true what they say. Maybe history really does repeat itself.


Barnett, Laura (2012, April 13). Mommy porn?: Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James: review [Review of the book Fifty Shades of Grey]. The Telegraph. Retrieved from

Bennett, Alanna (2018, April 26). Seeing A Black Hermione In 2018 Is A Reminder Of What Fandom Can Build. Retrieved from

Berkowitz, Drew Emanuel (2013). Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education. The Journal of Media Literacy Education, 4 (3). Retrieved from

Bertrand, Natasha (2015). ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ started out as ‘Twilight’ fan fiction before becoming an international phenomenon. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Cuccinello, Hayley C (2017). Fifty Shades Of Green: How Fanfiction Went From Dirty Little Secret To Money Machine. Forbes. Retrieved from

Fifty Shades of Grey courts controversy with depiction of ‘emotional abuse’. (2015, February 13). CBC News. Retrieved from

Green, Emma (2015, February 10). Consent Isn’t Enough: The Troubling Sex of Fifty Shades. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Lazaraspaste. REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James [Review of the book Fifty Shades of Grey]. Retrieved from

Pellot, Emerald (2018, August 15). Artist Perfectly Reimagines Harry Potter's Hermione As Black And Beautiful. Retrieved from

Rackham, Annabel (2018). Anna Todd: From 1D fan fiction to feature film writer. BBC News. Retrieved from

Stanley, Alessandra (2012, April 2). Glass Slipper as Fetish [Review of the book Fifty Shades of Grey]. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Tan, Monica (2015, December 21). Noma Dumezweni cast as Hermione in new Harry Potter stage play. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Tosenberger, Catherine (2014). Mature Poets Steal: Children’s Literature and the Unpublishability of Fanfiction. Children's Literature Association Quarterly 39, 4-27. Retrieved from

Wikipedia Canon of Sherlock Holmes (2019, February 25). Retrieved April 2, 2019 from Wikipedia:


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Phase Three

Week 12: Producing a Podcast

The experience of writing and producing a podcast was so far away from writing an essay. I often felt as though I was lost, and floundering for something familiar for a long time. Still, by the time I was done, I actually sat back and couldn’t help but think that it was a pretty simple process.

I learned that when it comes down to research, it was important not to get too attached to any one source, or a particular line of sources. Even the ones that seemed important two weeks ago would end up being unimportant, or acted more as side notes than as a main point. You want to cast a wide net to begin with, before narrowing it down to a few topics that centre on the main problem. Even then, you need to keep an open mind. A few days before I needed to submit the podcast, I realized that there were a few facts that I needed to use for the narrative, and had to find them at the last minute.

I really came away with the sense that the narrative writes itself, and my job as the podcaster was to figure out how to tell it the best I could. While there were some avenues that I was attached to, the story itself didn’t care about them too much, and I had to cut them out for the story’s sake. While I was a bit disappointed, I learned that I was able to do it without much fuss when I was mentally prepared. So that’s why I say it’s important to not get attached. If I kept a bit more distance between myself and the research, I think that it would have spared me a lot of stress in the long run.

Week 9: Standout Sources

During my research, I have found both scholarly and popular sources that promise to be helpful. They either help me to explain fanfiction as a unique storytelling mode, or provide important information that I will need to use to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey.

“Mature Poets Steal: Children’s Literature and the Unpublishability of Fanfiction” by Catherine Tosenberger does an excellent job of exploring fanfiction’s different qualities, and especially is good for explaining what makes it different from the source materials that it borrows from. Since I will need to spend some time explaining the nuances of the community, this article will be a great help as a source. I can use it to examine Fifty Shades of Grey as a fanfiction, and how it stems from the community based on fanfiction’s unique characteristics.

Another article, “Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How the New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education” by Drew Emanuel Berkowitz is shaping up to be useful as well. This article spends some time discussing the commodification of fanfiction, which is essential for my topic as the sales of Fifty Shades of Grey is a crucial part of the book’s notoreity. I can use this article as a gateway for discussing the recent trend of selling fanfiction, and the ramifications of that.

As for popular sources, I have many that are good as supporting evidence for my claims, and a few that have interesting arguments of their own. “Fifty Shades of Green: How Fanfiction Went From Dirty Little Secret to Money Machine” by Hayley C. Cuccinello at Forbes further looks at the money side of things regarding Fifty Shades of Grey, and the commercialization of fanfiction. Meanwhile, “Fifty Shades of Grey courts controversy with depiction of 'emotional abuse'“ at CBC provides a picture of Fifty Shades of Grey’s romanticized abuse, which is the harmful aspect of the book that I’ll be criticizing in the podcast.

All of these relate to either fanfiction or Fifty Shades of Grey, although I plan on finding a few more sources for a periphery argument around the good that fanfiction has done that I have in the works.

A lot of these sources can be used as characters representing attitudes around fanfiction and Fifty Shades of Grey. Tosenberger and Berkowitz show attitudes that stand against the commercialization process, so they might be useful as characters arguing against it. The CBC article can be a character representing those people who find Fifty Shades of Grey deeply problematic, a concept that I will probably be dealing with in the podcast, as well as being a character that confronts fanfiction as capable of being problematic.

Being used to academic writing by now, I’ll admit that figuring out how to write sources as characters is challenging. However, it has made it possible for me to think about the podcast as storytelling, rather than persuading or arguing. If the sources have opinions, then I need to think about how they would tell their opinions best, and relate it to shifting through opinions to find the truth.

Samantha Thornberry

Phase 3

                                              Podcast Script -  Kate Lawrence

I am katelynne Lawrence Miss teenage Manitoba 2018, Canada 2018 and Miss teen supermodel. I was never much into pageants growing up I didn’t even know they still existed. I grew up into acting, singing, dancing and recently branched into modelling. I Have always loved volunteering and helping out my community and I always loved being on stage and preforming. Being from Manitoba it was hard to in quotes make it big. It isn’t a huge city and there are not endless connections you can get. One day I saw an add for the miss teenage Canada pageant, so I decided to look more into it. I never realized in this moment how much it would change my life. The pageant sounded like a great way to get connections and travel so I signed up. Lots of work went into the pageant, from working out and fundraising. As well as collecting sponsors. The time finally came and I packed all my things and went on a week long trip to Toronto to compete for the title of miss teenage Canada. There were so many girls there, all beautiful inside and out , who have all avidly made a difference in their communities. The representatives from each province where deservingly to be there. I was among some of the most inspiring, disciplined and hard working girls in Canada. The pageant was a week long and I made so many amazing friendships. By the end of the week I was so sad that it was over. MY roommate won highest fundraiser, raising over 2000 dollars for We Charity, my other roommate won miss congeniality meaning she was the nicest sweetest delegate, and my friend Alexa won m=the scholar award winning a scholarship for her post secondary studies. I was so proud and humbled to be crowned the new miss teenage Canada. Winning the title your work doesn’t stop there. I do community work every month, as well as appearances, and I am a spokes person for water ambassadors Canada. The title just gave me the platform I needed to be heard.

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Kate Miss Teenage Canada 2018, and in this episode we're talking about…Beauty pageants. First off I would like to thank Bells and Bows, and Mac cosmetics for being my official sponsors. Now. Lets get into it. 


What we are going to discuss today is beauty pageants. HMMMMM. What popped into your head when I said beauty pageant. Cosmopolitan asked men who have never seen a beauty pageant what they think it is about. These men said 1. Girls line up in prom dresses…close 2. The judges ask them questions. Yes this is true 3. They talk about how they would change the world, also true and lastly that there is a bikini contest. This is only the case in some pageants. During this podcast we will be going more in depth about beauty pageants and why they are a positive thing. There is a lot of stigma and controversy around pageants and negative views on them. It’s time you hear the truth about pageants from real titleholders and first hand experiencers. Gulf news states pageants should be banned because it teaches girls the wrong message. So your telling me fundraising and advocating for good causes is teaching girls the wrong message. Your telling me having confidence, and poise shouldn’t be celebrated? HMMM. Lets discuss shall we?


A majority of people have negative views on pageants why is that? This is such a controversial topic that can be displayed in tv shows very wrong. These people with a negative view on pageants have never experienced one first hand. Secondly, they believe what is being shown in toddlers and tiaras. Speaking from first hand experience there is so much more that goes into pageantry that audiences does not see. This starts with fundraising for the official charity. Miss World Canada raises money for kids to afford dance lessons, as seen on the miss World Canada site. In a recent article by Rappler on a Q and A with Catriona Grey who is miss universe from the Philippines it states there is more to her then just looks. Catriona is a mathematician, musician, and volunteers for young focus children Philippines. Research shows 1/7 kids in the Philippines do not have dreams. Catriona works avidly to support kids in knowing dreams can become reality. As well Catriona has been able to provide education to children who don’t have access. There is months of preparation and dedication going into the pageant by the competitors. Charity work is a huge part in preparation. For the Miss Teenage Canada pageant our official charity was Me to We and each delegate raised 1000 or more dollars. Each girl is also an advocate for a cause she was very passionate about. Yess pageant girls have brains and caring hearts. My platform was water conservation and mental health, one delegate was an advocate for animal rights, another was for childhood cancer awareness. The list never ends. Pageant girls are strong and fight for positive change. 


Interview of…

-Mahta (Miss Teen Newmarket 2018)

Hello Mahta, can you tell me a little bit about why pageants are positive experiences?

Hello Mahta here miss teenage new market and social media 2018. Pageantry where can I start! It opens many doors of opportunities of girls and women who want to be seen. Its a starting platform to gain experience and learn leadership skills. I personally improved on my personal interaction, self confidence, charisma, and speech. Coming in first runner up to beautiful Katelynne Lawrence and Miss Teenage Canada 2018 was a dream come true for me. Since then we starred in amazon prime video travel show and tv program getting to show beauties and endless possibilities of Toronto to tourists from across the world. We also got the chance to model in several important Toronto fashion shows including fashion forward together and individually. For an aspiring model like me and an experienced model like her theses environments allow us to be seen and expand our network of people in this industry. The connections we receive are limitless and are an ongoing cycle. From there everything else is on the upward climb. Many people have this negative assumption that pageantry is only stereotypical to pretty girls in bathing suits and fake tans and smiles. But thats far from the truth. Each of us girls work tirelessly to make a positive difference in our communities, provinces, and Canada as a whole. We get to raise awareness for causes we are truly passionate about and need to raise a minimum of 1000 dollars for the WE charity on top of other non-profits and charitable institutions. This is why miss world Canada international and miss teenage Canada needs to have beauty with a purpose. Us girls need to become the best versions of yourself before, during and after our reign. The crowns come with a responsibility and it is a symbol of women empowerment. On top of it all I couldn’t be more happy to have met and made friends with such inspiring, beautiful, and talented ladies who have been selected from the respective towns, and provinces from all across Canada. Participating in a good pageant system is the opportunity of a lifetime. I Loved every second of it. Thank you so much.

-Alivia Miss Teenage Kawartha Lakes 2018 

So Liv being a competitor in pageants what is your view on them? 

Beauty pageants give women of different culture and ethnicity all over the world the opportunity to showcase not just there beauty, personality, and potentials but also there intelligence at a local, national, and international setting. They serve as training grounds for women to gain courage, and introduce there different advocates. Especially those who plan to take on key roles in our society by engaging in social issues and problems. It is also a platform which helps them learn effectively how to express themselves, educate and influence people, and become the voices of hope. 

Bridget miss face of humanity contestant: 

Hi my name is Bridget and I am 18 years old and I have participated in one pageant so far, and I actually think pageants are positive because they help girls become confident. So when I participated in the pageant I saw myself become a little bit more confident  as it went on. So in pageants you need to have a talent and you need to develop that talent in order to showcase it and preform for a bunch of people. Preparing to show off your talent something that you’ve worked at a long time for and then going out and doing it really builds confidents because it tells you that hey I have this ability in me and I just showed it and people liked it and I am proud of that and I am proud of myself. And now I have that confidence in myself. So performance is a great way to build confidence. And showing off something you’ve worked on is a great was to build that confidence in yourself. Another think I liked about pageants is the ability to connect with other girls. So I formed really strong friendships withe the other girls in the pageant. I think a lot of girls have that same experience. Even though your competing for the same thing its about the journey, not the prize. Your here with a bunch of girls and your really talking with one another about your similarities and differences and you all have one thing in common that brought you together and now you use that to connect and learn about another person. There are a lot of different girls who take part in the pageant.They come from different backgrounds and perspectives on life. You can learn a lot about life through talking to someone who isn’t exactly like you. I met people form different cultures and I met people who were a bit older than me who have gone through different things in life then I have and it was something that really opened my eyes up talking to girls girls in pageants. Another thing that I like is that pageants you kind of learn to market yourself as the best you can be. I think thats really important for people to learn. Because is so easy to say oh I am ok at something but thats not what you wanna do you wanna tell people the good things about yourself. And once you learn how to market yourself to be the best way you can be that helps you later on in life say when your going to a job interview, or something like that and your in the interview room you really know yourself. You know how to make yourself look like the best version of yourself and you become the best version of yourself in that interview room. So I think pageants help girls realize who they are who they want to be and how to show that too the world. 


My experience as the current Miss Teenage Canada has been very positive and life changing. Because of Miss Teenage Canada I have been given the opportunity to travelling all over Canada and the world. I have been frequently visiting up north Manitoba and Nunavut to take part in charitable and community events. Recently I went to Thompson Manitoba to volunteer at community day. We had a bbq and bouncy castles for the kids. Another event I volunteered at was in sanikiluaq Nunavut. We made Christmas dinner for the whole community.  As Miss Teenage Canada I had the privilege to travel down to the Caribbean to represent Canada at the international pageant. Representing your country is a huge honour, that I will never forget. Wearing Canada across your chest on international television is the most surreal feeling. I have met girls from across the world I can now call my forever friend all because of pageantry. Taking part is pageants gives you a platform to speak your mind and be heard by a large amount of people. Not only that but they are a great way to receive academic scholarship, and further opportunities in the field of modelling, performance and travel. The idea is on beauty, brains, and substance quoted by Boreno Posts. Because of Miss Teenage Canada I am here studying at the York University. Pageants give girls so many opportunities from, travel and funding. Not only that but it also gives girls a platform to make a difference in there community. It gives you a voice. It gets you noticed and discovered. The opportunity gives you connections. Pageants leave you with limitless opportunities in the industry. Pageants pay a vital role in betterment of society quoted by Francisca Luhong. She quotes pageants brought out her self confidence, and gave her the platform to pursue her dreams. The Miss World Organization runs the Beauty with a Purpose program. Beauty with a purpose is a registered non-profit charity that raises money and participates in humanitarian projects across the world. There is a lot of controversy on the bikini aspect of pageants quotes Lehman a contestant of Miss World Philippines. She states how she likes it because you should be proud of your body, and being fit. Pageant girls work hard and deserve to show their body. The idea of swimsuit is discipline. Going to the gym everyday and working hard leading up to the competition. 


Beauty pageants are made to bring out the best qualities in women. It is a showcase of beauty and substance, a celebration of women. Pageants are a showcase of empowerment, poise, confidence and inner beauty radiating to the outside. Next time you hear the word pageant hopefully you will think of hard working inspiring disciplines women with beauty and brains. Pageants focus on stage presence, scholarliness, and community attribution. We celebrate strong women. Pageants are women empowerment and teaching girls to be proud of who they are and their achievements. It will get you noticed and give you a platform. It is a great way to meet friends, and gain confidence as well as get connections and promote yourself. 

What is the whole point of pageants some of you may still be asking yourselves. The point is for glamor, creative expression, meeting other people with similar interests, and more exposure quotes by Lana Lingbow, a former Miss New York.  A lot of the girls that participate in pageantry are models and actresses trying to get a foot in the door. Having a title makes it easier to have your voice matter. 

Quoting Priya Rajendran the true point to beauty pageants is empowering and supporting the women not only on the basis of qualification but also on her persona and intellect. 

Pageants are about well roundedness. You must be a good person and have strong passion for positivity and change. Why is there so much negativity around beauty pageants? I asked some peers and they believe it could be. They said it may be objectifying and harmful on the competitors mental health. I don’t think people remember the fact that in most cases women enter voluntarily. They want to be on stage, and love what they are doing. There is so much more to the pageant itself then what is shown on tv, these ladies are well rounded and I hope this podcast cleared that up for you. 

From scratch media, this is a matter of opinion. 

 References and work sited:,

“Are Beauty Contests Harmful to Women?”,

Avilés-Santiago, Manuel G, et al. “Cultural Anthropology: Ethnicity and Beauty Pageants.” Cultural Anthropology: Ethnicity and Beauty Pageants Research Papers -,

“Beauty Pageants Are Not Only about Looks.” Borneo Post Online, Borneo Post Online, 21 Jan. 2017,

“Beauty with a Purpose.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Dec. 2018,

Cosmo Frank. “11 Things a Man Who Has Never Watched a Beauty Pageant Thinks Happens in Beauty Pageants.” Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan, 6 Oct. 2017,

Desk, India Today Web. “What Is Manushi Chhillar's Beauty with a Purpose Tour about?” India Today, 19 Feb. 2018,

Frazer, Lani. “In Defense of Beauty Pageants.” Berkeley Political Review, 30 Jan. 2015,

Khutoretsky, Malkie. “Should We Cheer for Beauty Pageants or Call for Their Demise?”, 10 Sept. 2018,

“Miss Universe Home.” Miss Universe,

Ruiz, Rebecca, and Rebecca Ruiz. “In Defense of the Beauty Pageant.” Mashable, Mashable, 12 Sept. 2015,

Tabrez, Huda. “Should Beauty Contests Be Banned?” Gulf News – No.1 in UAE and Dubai for Breaking News, Opinion and Lifestyle,

“What's the Point of a Beauty Pageant?” Quora,

Bridget P. (personal communication) March 2019

Miss face of Humanity contestant 

Mahta G. (personal communication) March 2019

Miss Teenage Newmarket/social media 2018

Alivia C. (Personal communication) 2019

Miss Teenage Kawartha lakes 2018

Recommended Sources:

“Day 1.” Miss Teenage Newmarket,

“Miss Face of Humanity.” Miss Face of Humanity,

“Tag Archives: Miss Teenage Manitoba.” Miss Teenage Canada,

“The Search for Miss Teenage Canada.” Miss Teen Ontario,

“What's the Point of a Beauty Pageant?” Quora,

week 12

Creating a podcast is the hardest school task I have ever had to do. I have never experienced such stress. It was especially hard since it didn’t feel like we had a lot of classes. I also couldn’t ask my parent for help how to edit because they are so far away in Manitoba. I found it very stressful being that we didn’t know the final instructions till the Monday before it was due, I know personally for myself to make this run smoother I would need to start recording a month before the due date to keep myself on track. I recorded bits and pieces in the month leading up to the end of the course, but I ended up having to re record the intro because the “script” was posted. It is stressful for me having the due date be this Sunday and no possibility of extension because I am travelling for modelling all weekend. I am trying my best. This course has been hard for me but I am trying my best. My best never seems to be good though.I tried my very best on a topic I am very passionate about and I am so glad I get to share it. I have such strong positive opinion on pageants as they have really helped me grow as a person from being the most shy kid ever, to someone who is not afraid to talk. That transformation only took a few months all because pageants. I am so proud of how my podcast turned out. It feels like finally months of hard work and stress have payed off. This course has for sure been the most stressful for me. I am glad I learned how to edit. I have learned conducting research takes time and sometimes human sources and people as sources can be the most rewarding and best, even though they are difficult. I learned that changing our writing making it more natural less essay like and using rhetorics, makes for an easier listen. I learned how hard this type of communication is cause its all reliant on your voice. Its all reliant on your writing abilities and voice. 

Week 10/11

I am finding it hard to listen back to my voice. It doesn’t sound like me. Figuring out editing is so stressful, I feel stuck I have been re doing the same parts over and over again. Music helps however making it an easy listen I find. It makes it more interesting because it changes the sound from just being my voice. Also I think the use of interviews makes it more interesting and captivating the change in voice sounds nice. What I am finding hard is the background noise. It is so distracting and hard to edit out, but I live in residence so there isn’t much I can do to make it more quiet. I am trying so hard with this podcast, and it feels like so much research time and stress is finally starting to come together. Its just so hard because I never made a podcast, or done any type of editing, nor did I think I would ever have too. I am trying so hard, and have spent countless hours on this podcast. It is just hard making this podcast all on my own as I am away from home and cant just turn to my parents like most students. It has been so stressful but I am learning a lot. This editing skill is greta to learn.

week 9

The most helpful source that has come my way is the people I will interview. These are real life sources which put a level up to my podcast. They will be secondary characters in the podcast speaking on there own experience. Since they are real people giving real first hand experience they are important characters that are using there own voice. 

However some important sources I have encountered online are actual pageant websites. The most important and main one that stands out to me is The information on here proves the point to pageants being more than just looks. This will be a character in my podcast. The character of “Miss Universe Canada.” The Miss World Canada  blog is also a very great source as well as it is the actual winner talking about what she is doing with her title. Its a great source for me as it answers so many questions I could ask miss world Canada without having to personally ask. The blog is first hand written by miss world Canada which will also make her a character in this podcast. 

First hand sources are the most useful and relevant and positive for me.


Phase 3: Coming to an end..

Recap of phase 2:

Week 5: Popular sources & keywords .. Week 6: Scholarly sources & different databases ... Week 7: Government & institutional sources .. Week 8: The outline of the podcast

Week 9: Useful sources & the characters they play.

Let’s say you want to conduct research about bananas. One article may answer why banana’s turn black after a while. Another article may answer how bananas grow on the tree. Each article is looking at different aspects of the same topic, bananas. They probably also both connect with each other in someway. You see this happening in the outline of my podcast where each question about Surveillance Capitalism is answered by different articles.

Usually, just one article will not answer all the questions that someone might have about a specific issue. It is important to make sure one’s research includes more than one article because different authors may have different explanations, different research method, different questions in their head that they want to answer.

The article Could pokémon go swing the november election? is a very interesting one because it allows me to transition to my second question of the podcast in a very smooth way. My first question was about Surveillance capitalism and second one is about the influence of S.C on elections. Some other articles that I have chosen play alot more of a character than this one does. For example, the NBC News video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifying Before Senate plays a great character. It allowed me to insert direct quotations of some of the senators speaking and as well as Mark Zukerberg responding. Adding news is a very powerful tool to not only explain what I will be talking about (as mentioned in the intro), but also to show relevance, explains a lot in a short time, keeps it interesting and sets a tone (explains why my tone was serious in most parts). The voice clip in the introduction compliemnts the whole episode as it leaves an open ending when it mentions “..they extract value in some other way”. So it is not directly saying that we are taking information from you, but also leaves the reader to think for a minute.

Shoshna Zuboff’s book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a great source, completely worth the 25$. The book speaks about the evolution, implementation, execution of surveillance capitalism. It looks at all of these from different perspectives such as the real world, virtual world and social world. It has opened up so much doors for me to speak about in this podcast. Even though I did not use a lot of her quotations, just reading it gave me the knowledge and confidence to speak about this topic. I can say that I have learned alot from this book. The sources in the end are also helpful and that is how I found one of my other articles.

Week 12: Reflection

What have you learned about your abilities?

Creating a podcast was actually one of the most fun things I’ve done this semester, but also the hardest. Having to find the right sources is very important to keeping the podcast credible and entertaining at the same time. Researching should be conducted over a long period of time and that is very important. Evaluating the sources is also very important. Citing the sources correctly is important, so I have followed a technique to cite a source as soon as I access it and decide to use ut. Also, the editing and production of the podcast is as hard as creating the script. It really takes a lot of time and effort, especially with audacity. I have used Adobe Premier Pro, and I find it to be somewhat easier.

In creating it, I have learned that I can actually do some pretty decent editing & that I should get back to working on my computer skills. It’s been too long. I do have a weakness and that is speaking without making it seem like I am reading off a script. Ofcourse, I had points written down but my podcast requires that I put in a lot of data from researches, articles & news so it was hard to speak everything off my head. I also noticed that I need to improve on my speaking, it’s not as fluent and clear and listening to my voice for more than an hour made me notice all the little mistakes. I learned that clear communication is important, in some parts of my podcast I pronounced the words differently. Part of that Is because English isn’t my first language but also because I was speaking with enthusiasm, it made me mis-pronounce some words

Overall, it was a great experience and the highlight of my semester. I truly enjoyed the researching, writing and speaking. The editing was tough and I will make sure to work more on that.

Thank you for joining me for the past 12 weeks,

Joud Senjab


Q: How is surveillance capitalism shaping our decisions?


Nearly every routine aspect of our lives today creates a digital trace. Wether it’s chatting with your friends, shopping online, collecting airmiles when buying groceries, exercising, or driving — technologies have became the root of the most intimate and the most common parts of our lives.

Listen to this short clip of senator Orrin Hatch speaking in the Facebook testimony from 2018. 

(NBC News, 2018) (3:00:00)

Senator : Some have expressed themselves as shocked that companies like Facebook & Google share user data with advertisers. Did any of these individuals ever stop to ask themselves why Google and Facebook don’t charge for access? Nothing in life is free

Joud: Did you ever ask yourself that? Nothing comes for free & you’re gonna have to pay for it, one way or another.

Senator: These websites don't charge for access, they extract value some other way 

Joud: From Scratch Media, this is A Matter Of Opinion, your guide through opinions to the facts, I’m your host Joud Senjab and on today’s episode we’re taking about Surveillance Capitalism. 

As a kid, I used to think that to solve a problem, you need to think outside the box for a solution. And I I thought that the new TV, Internet, or the SMART devices will unleash the new human potential. But what I didn’t realize was that none of these interventions are necessarily good unless they’re used in a prosocial way. 

  • We thought TVs would be for education, but that has changed

  • We thought Radio’s were to connect us, but they were used by Hitler to take over Germany. 

  • The internet that was supposed to connect us with our friends, family and people around the world, has become an intensive surveillance model. It has separated us rather than connected us. 

  • The problem was born as a result of corporate capitalism. Money and greed.

  • Companies that their soul purpose is to extract value from market places and consumers.

An article on the The Globe and Mail called [Nobody is Excempt from Today’s “spy-in-your-pocket” Technology] by Carl Rodrigues caught my attention. It speaks about an alarming issue in tech world about the selling and using of our personal data for the purpose of advertisement. I know that the companies extracting our information have a goal bigger than just advertisement, a goal to shape our behaviour to their benefit (Rodrigues, 2018).

In today’s show,  we are going to discuss the following questions:

1. How did surveillance capitalism start & evolve into games such as Pokemon Go.

2. Is there a relationship between the selection of our world leaders & surveillance capitalism?

3. The million dollar question, what can we do protect our data & freewill?

1. How did surveillance capitalism start & evolve into games such as Pokemon Go

So how can we define surveillance capitalism?

Surveillance capitalism  is the invasive electronic monitoring of people’s personal lives and the foundation framework of a surveillance economy. 

According to a Harvard professor, surveillance capitalists translate private human experience that could be something as our chats, friends, our location and our daily life routine consists of, and they translate it into behavioural data & sell it to companies that are interested in increasing their sales. The issue is that people are not really aware of that. (Zuboff, 2018)

Today we have a guest, Ziyad Mohammed. he is a professional in informational technology and app development and he has over 20 years of experience in this field. Please help me welcome Ziyad Mohammed.


So Mr. Ziyad, could you please tell us about how all of this started?


Um yea sure. I guess we have to go back to the early 2000s, right, the first .com bubble, how did this happen, and maybe if we look at this, we would more understand. At this stage, technology was still in it’s infancy and the whole online experience was really being shaped up. Investors at this point, because of the rate of growth that was growing in the market thought that they can double or triple their money every year. But  when did this didn’t happen at the rate that they wanted some of them started to pull out of the market and the .com bubble happened. Everything’s driven in a capitalist system. It’s all driven by greed and they need to grow in any way regardless of what ethical implications this will have. Companies had to come with other ideas. Google  as a search engine started to capitalize on the information it had, understanding the value of it and then later on, Facebook came, a company that does the same thing, and all of a sudden human information became a capital, or an asset, or a commodity, depending on how you wanna look at it, that can be sold in the market. 

Studies have shown the internet generates a tremendous of new data with every click, every website you sign up to, as well as every email that you send or receive becomes a data on a computer (Modahl,2000, p,137). Carl Rodrigues also mentions in his article that those interactions with the internet, allow cooperations to create a detailed profile about every single one of us. After this discovery, targeted advertisement began. Ads were no longer linked to what you search, but rather a “specific type of product” will be advertised to a “specific group of people”, it is almost like they are deciding what you should buy and where you buy it from. 

Nonetheless, we are not going to go into details about algorithms and explicit advertisement in this podcast, but if you are interested, then you should check out a podcast called “The Age of the Algorithm” by 99% invisible. 

(Link in the recommended sources below)

So what is google’s role in this surveillance capitalism?

Google was the main pioneer of surveillance capitalism in both thought and practice and the trendsetter in the experimentation and implementation. However, it is not the only company taking this path. Soon enough, Surveillance capitalism rapidly spread to Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, according to Zuboff, a Harvard professor. (Zuboff, 2018)

Now I want you to pause there for a second, and think about how much money google made out of this invasive and low-key method of information extracting and profiling. 

Did you guess? 

Okay here it is. Evidence shows that when it was still testing the surveillance system of theirs, like even before they even released it, their revenues jumped to $86 million. And 4 years later by 2004, their have exceeded a marking $ 3.2 billion dollars (Zuboff, pg.160).

Can you imagine that?

After the break, Pokemon Go and how it shapes our behaviour.


is a fun and harmless game .. or is it really harmless?

Why ‘Pokemon Go’ Is Taking Over the World | NBC Nightly News** (0:06 - 0:17)

How Pokemon Go Scored Big In Real Life - The Business of Going Viral (0:13 - 0:24) 

With access to a user GPS & Camera, and even the ability to  prevent the phone from sleeping, this game might be the most privacy intrusive system in the world. (EducateInspireChange, 2016)

They do mention in their privacy agreement that they MAY sell information to the third parties, most people are not aware of that, or even worse, not aware of how this breaches our right from surveillance. Our rights from surveillance stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights state that 

  1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence

  2. Everyone has the right to the protection against such interference or attacks

  3. (Barbaro, 2017)

You guys hear that? INTERFERENCE WITH OUR PRIVACY IS A GLOBAL BREACH OF HUMAN RIGHTS and simply stating it in your agreement does not make it O.K !

But anyways, back to Pokemon.

The creator of pokemon go, Niantic Labs describes it’s game Pokemon GO as : “Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own” (PokemonGo).

According to The Wall Street Journal reports, Niantic is worth just shy of $4 billion. (Good, 2018)

They do sell in-game products, but with the capitalist mindset in action, they could definitely make more money than just that.

Thru some research, I found out that the founder and CEO of this game, John Hanke, is actually someone that used to work in Google. Specifically, with the mapping and development of google maps and earth. An online article claims that John Hanky is a man who has worked with both the CIA and the state department when developing google earth.  (MacMillian, 2016)

These findings connected the dots in my head. What Pokemon Go is doing, is fairly similar to how Google’s business model works; Track Data & Sell it to Cooperations interests in our behaviour.

But the questions asks, why are cooperations actually interested in our behaviour?

Duhh, because they wanna make money!

Evidence suggests that countless restaurants, retail shops, establishments, bars are already unofficially using Pokémon Go as a tool to attract players to their business. This means that those businesses partner up with PokemonGo to create battle stops for people to battle each other and they call these stops “Pokestops” (Kirkpatrick et al, 2017)

News Report - While the commissioner might not be a fan, some local businesses are.

Well, they’re finding they can pump up their profits if they play Pokemon Go right.

Business Owner - We find that we’ll spend 51 cents to buy a lure, and 50 people will come running to catch the Pokemon,

News report - That’s right, for just a few cents, anyone can buy a lure module that can attract anymore.  

(York, 2016)

Video 2 ; (Cheddar, 2018)

One of the hundred examples of those restaurants, is McDonalds. Japan is the world’s third-biggest market for mobile games, says an AI, robotics and digital transformation of European business expert. Her article shows that over 3000 McDonalds in Japan were having battle locations which are aka “Pokestops”. Players will be notified that there is a pokestop or battle over there, and they’re all gonna come together to get what they call as a “reward” . Now, they’re will find themselves walking & battling around and inside McDonalds, and decide to buy a Happy Meal while they’re there. (Kirkpatrick et al, 2017)

 CEO John Hankle told The Financial Times that such businesses will be paying a cost-per-visit (O'Reilly, 2016), as google & Facebook charge a cost-per-click on their advertisements,

This is just another form of advertisements, but what is alarming is that the phones of the people playing Pokemon are the gold mines to all these behavioural data, allowing further predictions our behaviour.

The Harvard professor Zuboff explains that as competition for data surveillance increase, surveillance capitalist find that simply extracting human isn’t enough. (Zuboff, pg 47)

Intervening in our life to shape our behaviour, produces the most accurate data. And what she means by that is that those cooperations know exactly what we are going to do tomorrow and where we are going to do it! New protocols are going to be made to made to further influence and modify our behaviour and takes it to a more complex level. 

Politicians and capitalists also use Pokemon Go as a tool to influence political decisions. All that has to be done, is release a special pokemon on the election day. A media coordinator for the GOP Virtual Reality Comission,  says in a study that : ”If nine million young people are out there looking for a Pokemon Election Day, it could swing the election in either direction” (Joe Queenan,2016) which I am not surprised about.

This also takes us to our next topic, the Influence of surveillance capitalism on the selection of our world leaders. Stay Tuned till after the break. 


Earlier in the podcast, we began with the types of surveillance in the virtual and real world. This section of the podcast looks at the shift from the virtual world to the social world, where the society as whole becomes the new object of behaviour modification. (Zuboff, 49)

Now check this out, a general counsel in 2017 testified that 150 Million Americans saw political campaigning ads on Facebook (NBC News, 2018)

To better explain how this all happens in politics, lemme give you this example.

It’s election time .It’s election time. There are two main parties fighting to win. Let one party be X and the other party be Y. X has usually won the constituency, but with a low advantage. The Y party wishes to win this constituency but has limited resources to spend on campaigning, right What are they gonna do?

I mean you probably already know, but what’t they’re gonna do is they’re going to target the right population. A population of people who are likely to respond to the political campaigning’s attempt at recruiting people or raising funds. Meaning that these people will more likely vote for them, and/or donate to help with the campaign. So this is where Facebook data mining comes into play. The data collection softwares take into consideration both implicit and explicit information, meaning that even if you have not posted stuff about politics, but have friends who have, then you are categorized in that group.The pages you follow, the friends you have, the political spectrum that you identify yourself as, your age, the location in which you live in, and any factors that can play in narrowing down the population. You either might be seeing ads pop up, or they could send you a direct msg (David Wills and Stuart Reeves, 2009).

So this process, as a result, helped the party Y reach the right people without having to pay tremendous amount of money. 

Now, being able to identify voters and the issues that most likely concerns them (ex. unemployment, education, etc) makes direct marketing a very strong electoral and fundraising tool. This is done with the data analysis of what the users post on their social media. If someone identifies as “unemployed”, he is to be most likely to see an advertisement with a candidate that address this concern, which is not always necessarily true. And that is because false acquisitions against the other party is very common in this sector. We have seen that in the Barak Obama’s election and we have also seen that most recently in the Donald Trump’s election. This is also based on a  Marketing Week article that I was able to find online. (Marketting Week, 2008)

(NBC News, 2018) (3:05:30) 

Senator Cantwell: In the 2016 campaign, Cambridge Analytica worked with the Trump campaign to refine tactics, and were Facebook employees involved in that?

Mark Zukerberg - Senator I don’t know that our employees were involved with Cambridge Analytica, although I know that we did help out the Trump campaign in sales support the same way that we do with other campaigns.

A study showed that almost 100 Members of the Parliament have Facebook pages (David Wills and Stuart Reeves, 2009). This illustrates the relevance of sites and media in politics. Now, Facebook does actually say that they may use information, your information to better give you advertisement, and all of that and this might not seem to bad, but our information is way too precious to be shared with anyone, right? and I also see this as a way of behavioural modification because(becez) those cooperations are deciding what we see. The New York Times report describes as “the process as the distribution of *INCORRECT* news that causes confusion among people, and to alter people’s thinking to become more partisan or pro-government on various issues. They’re not showing you the full picture, they’re just showing you what they want you to see. 

There will be always be a party that will have more resources than the other, and the one with the most resources will most likely win. Not necessarily because they express better values, missions and visions of their campaign, but because they are able to control what you see about them and what you don’t. Its just pathetic, it’s almost like the selection of our world leaders is being determined before the election even starts.

3. AND for our million dollar question, what can we do to protect ourselves and our information. 

I want to clarify that I am not against technology in any way. It think that it is an amazing thing that has made our lives way easier and more efficient.

So what can Internet users do right now to stop tech giants, advertisers and unknown entities tracking everything you do online — and trying to join the dots of your digital activity to draw a picture of who they think you are? I mean one thing you can do is definitely move to europe, where privacy is a fundamental right, but if you can’t do that then I have solutions for you. 

Firstly, make sure that you read the privacy terms & agreements overtime you create an account or you download an app. Companies love to abuse the fact that they know that users skip the agreements and don’t really read them. And I was a victim of that.

2. Google and Facebook have location services and data-collection and sharing ON by default. In the interviews with the CEO’s of google and Facebook, they both mention that users have the option to opt of these services. 

3. Make sure that you use a private search engine  - meaning go in incognito mode so that your history and cookies are saved to further predict what you going to predict in the future 

4. Say no to always-on voice assistants. This could be anything from the iPhone X’s feature to detect the word Siri and start recording, or Google homes and Alexa play.

Once we understand the surveillance mechanisms, we can make laws to fight against them. Public opinion is important, we need to put pressure on elected members to make a change and save our future. 

Before ending this podcast, I want to give a big thanks for you guys for listening, and I want to thank my professor, and my guest lecturer Ziyad. Which have both helped me tremendously in providing you with an astonishing podcast about an issue that all of us should know about and everybody should know how to deal with it and how can they protect themselves. Thank you again for listening and I hope you guys have a great day!


Barbaro, M. (2017). Government Interference with the Right to Privacy: Is the Right to Privacy an Endangered Animal. Canadian Journal of Human Rights 6, 129.

Cheddar. (2018, April 06). How Pokemon Go Scored Big In Real Life - The Business of Going Viral. Retrieved from

CNET. (2018, December 11). Google's congressional hearing highlights in 11 minutes. Retrieved from

Czernich, N. (2012). Broadband Internet and Political Participation: Evidence for Germany. Kyklos,65(1), 31-52. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6435.2011.00526.x

Educate Inspire Change. (2016, July 26). Could Pokémon GO be the most intrusive surveillance system in the world? Pokemon GO conspiracy! Retrieved from

Freesound. (n.d.). Retrieved from [Pokemon noise, suspenseful music, $ sound]

Frenkel, S., & Fandos, N. (2018, August 21). Facebook Identifies New Influence Operations Spanning Globe. Retrieved from

Frenkel, S., & Fandos, N. (2018, August 21). Facebook Identifies New Influence Operations Spanning Globe. Retrieved from

Good, O. S. (2018, December 15). Pokémon Go maker Niantic now worth about $4 billion. Retrieved from

Hachman, M. (n.d.). Protect your PC from Surveillance. Consumer Watch.

Kirkpatrick, M. G., Tess, B. C., Goldenson, N. I., Jon-Patrick Allem, Kar-Hai Chu, Pentz, M. A., & Unger, J. B. (2017). Electronic cigarette retailers use pokémon go to market products. Tobacco Control, 26 doi:

Krueger, B. S. (2005). Government Surveillance and Political Participation on the Internet. Social Science Computer Review,23(4), 439-452. doi:10.1177/0894439305278871

MacMillan, S. (2016, July 29). Pokémon Go, the CIA, "Totalitarianism" and the Future of Surveillance. Retrieved from

Mochizuki, T. (2016, Jul 13). Nintendo pursues 'pokemon go' profit --- company's shares soar even as questions linger about gains from phone game. Wall Street Journal Retrieved from

National, C. N. (2016, July 11). Pokemon Go Takes Over the Real World. Retrieved from

News, N. (2018, April 10). Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Senate (Full) | NBC News. Retrieved from

O'Reilly, L. (2016, July 13). Ads are coming to 'Pokémon Go'. Retrieved from

Olson, P. (2016, July 20). Pokémon GO's McDonald's Partnership Points To A Promising Business Model. Retrieved from

Perils of political fundraising – Marketing Week. (2008, October 29). Retrieved from

Pokémon GO. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Queenan, J. (2016, Aug 05). Could pokémon go swing the november election? joe queenan speculates that the wildly popular augmented-reality game pokémon go could influence who wins in november. Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from

Rodrigues, C. (2018, March 22). Nobody is exempt from the impact of today's 'spy-in-your-pocket' technology. Retrieved from

Silverman, J. (2017). Privacy under Surveillance Capitalism. Social Research: An International Quarterly 84(1), 147-164. Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from Project MUSE database

Turner, F. (2018, March 30). The arts at Facebook An aesthetic infrastructure for ... Retrieved from

Wagner, K. (2018, April 04). Facebook rewrote its terms of service and data policies to better explain what data it is collecting about you. Retrieved from

West, S. M. (2017). Data Capitalism: Redefining the Logics of Surveillance and Privacy. Business & Society,58(1), 20-41. doi:10.1177/0007650317718185

Wills, D., & Reeves, S. (2009). Facebook as a political weapon: Information in social networks. British Politics,4(2), 265-281. doi:10.1057/bp.2009.3

Woollen, P., Woollen, P., Woollen, P., Woollen, P., Woollen, P., Woollen, P., . . . Joy, S. (2014, October 01). Perils of political fundraising – Marketing Week. Retrieved from

York, C. N. (2016, July 14). Businesses Love Pokemon Go. Retrieved from

Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for the future at the new frontier of power. London: Profile Books. (I purchased the E-book from iBooks)

Zuboff, S., & CBC Radio. (2019, February 28). Businesses paid to have Pokemon Go players directed to their locations, says author | CBC Radio. Retrieved from


"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Recommended Sources:

Hall, D. (2017, May 09). The Age of Algorithm [Audio blog post]. Retrieved from

Phase 3

Week 9

Throughout my research about the topics youth crime and mental health. I have found a number of sources but there are a few that I think is outstanding. Most of the sources represent the character that support my argument that there is a connection between youth crime and mental illness. The first source is a periodical article called “A Cure for Crime: Can Mental Health Treatment Diversion Reduce Crime among Youth?” written by Alison Evans Cuellar, Larkin S. McReynolds and Gail A. Wasserman. This source simply states that a high number of youth offenders who are in the justice juvenile system have mental illnesses. It gives examples of what kinds of mental disorders are considered to be the causes of delinquent behaviours for adolescents. It also gives datas that compare the number of samples who get re-arrested and have mental illnesses at the same time. This can be an evidence of one of the arguments that’s made in the opinion piece. I can also use this information in the podcast in the middle section where I will be explaining how mental problems link to delinquent behaviours.

My second significant source is also a periodical article, which is called “Youth with mental health disorders: Issues with emerging responses”, administered by John J. Wilson. This article also suggested that youths in the justice juvenile system are experiencing mental disorders. This article and the my first outstanding article supports each other’s arguments with slightly different evidences. Other than stating how a high number of youth offenders are suffering from mental illnesses, it also suggested strategies that the justice juvenile system has been working on or should be working on.

My third character source is a Ted Talk “Mental Health in the Age of Violence” by Dr. Elliott Ingersol. Dr Ingersol has talked about the connection between mental health and violent behaviours using a several perspectives. One topic that he focused on was the “word magic” which is defined by him as using words to give an illusion of certainty where in fact there is no certainty. For example, drug companies are using word magic to “brand” some of the mental disorders that they claim can be healed by the drugs they sell, in order to maximize the profit. "We're medicating the symptom but we're not getting to the root." This is a very good quote I can use in my podcast to talk about how youth mental health is not being treated right.

Phase Three: Wrap it Up

Post 1: Authors as Characters?

Utilizing sources as individual voices is a very interesting approach I have never considered until this course, and particularly, last week’s lecture. Three particular sources are standing out as the main characters which I would like to include in my final podcast. Linda Hutcheon’s “On the Art of Adaptation”, Robert Rozema’s “The Book Report, Version 2.0: Podcasting on Young Adult Novels”, and David B. Daniel and William Douglas Woody’s “They Hear, But Do Not Listen: Retention for Podcasted Material in a Classroom Context.”

Linda Hutcheon is a reputable individual who is a professor at the University of Toronto. She studies in the fields of literary theory and criticism, which makes her an excellent authority of my podcast. Linda’s piece written for Daedalus supports my viewpoints on audiobooks as adaptations, and her text was a chief contributor to my argument. Utilizing Linda’s piece as a supporting text for my arguments characterizes her in my podcast as a supporting individual. Her piece does not specifically allude to adaptations falling into one or a few categories such as television, plays, or films, but rather that forms of adaptations are themselves adapting to modern times, and we as the creators and consumers of these adaptations need to embrace them. Therefore, her voice is an excellent one for me to use when formatting my final podcast.

Two (three) secondary voices I will be using are Robert Rozema and David B. Daniel and William Douglas Woody. These characters are being grouped into a secondary category because their textual subject matter is very similar, and builds upon Hutcheon’s text by expanding the concept of adaptations to encompass the podcast, and audiobook. Daniel and Woody provide important knowledge pertaining to audiobooks and the use of podcasted material in a classroom. These characters are important when I consider audiobooks in a learning environment, and when interviewing my two interviewees.

Rozema is the final character in my podcast, as he circles all of the information back into one single and consumer-friendly text. His article focuses on learning, audiobooks, and podcasts, and is a great summation to my episode. His voice will be helpful to prompt further discussion, that being that audiobooks as adaptations move forth into podcasts.

Interestingly enough, my previous English courses have asked us to remove the writer from the text, “The writer of the text is not the narrator,” etc. etc. Having to return to texts as being the voice of the author will be a challenge. However, I feel that podcasting is a fun way to approach this challenge because we can actually verbally quote the authors and not just copy what they have written. Considering the authors of the above texts as characters allows me to produce an emotion for the texts, and position my quotes conversationally throughout my podcast, rather than just name dropping authors and quoting obnoxious sources. This characterization really helps to personalize the podcast, and create a relatable approach with my audience.

Post 2: Sound

Podcasts are harder to record and create than I at first assumed them to be. It took a while to get used to the sound of my voice, especially how to talk into a microphone. It was difficult at first as the microphone can’t be too far or too close, and I sometimes like to move around while reading, it was hard to ensure a stable sound. The biggest problem I had with my podcast was the sound clipping. I did my best to “normalize” the volume, but it often happened when I would breathe too loudly, not when I spoke.

I honestly, do not like my voice or audio persona. Many people do not like the sound of their recorded voice and I am definitely in this category. It was hard to adjust to listening to myself, and at this point I don’t care much anymore. I don’t find my voice as “cringe-worthy” but I am still not a huge fan of my voice.

I added some sound effects that I believe will enhance the podcast. Especially during the story-like narratives. There are perhaps a few gasps or other sounds that may detract from the podcast. However, I myself did not find this so, it could be possible that other people listening to the podcast would need the transcript in those moments in order to follow along.

Below is an audio clip of the introduction I have so far. I did my best to match it to Stephanie’s opening, especially with the musical timing.



Post 3: The Final Podcast

Sound effects: obtained from Music: "Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Podcast Transcription

Many people believe that audiobooks are “the lazy person’s way” of claiming they have a read a book. While some of you may be nodding in a agreement, this isn’t totally right.

From Scratch Media this is “A Matter of Opinion: Your Guide Through Opinion to the Facts”, I’m Natalia and today we’re talking about Audiobooks – The Surprisingly Deep New Medium for Consuming Literature.

Are audiobooks the same as reading the book?

“Yes.” “No.” “I don’t know.” “Yes.” “I don’t know.” “No.” “I do not know.” “Yes.” “Maybe.” “Maybe.” “Yes.” “Maybe.” “Maybe.”

For starters, many of us have no idea if audiobooks are the same as reading the book. Of the people I asked I received the “Maybe” answer about half the time. So what’s the truth? We have to separate opinion from fact, because what your opinion is, isn’t necessarily right or true.

We have to look at this question from many angles.

Picture this, you’re reading something, but all the words are right next to each other, there are no sentences or paragraphs, that you can see. Eventually you’d get lost, right? Maybe you’d try to keep going for a while, but ultimately, you would get frustrated and give up. Who wants to read like that, right?

Well, that’s one of Daniel T Willingham’s main points in his opinion piece titled “Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading it?” (Willingham, 2018).

He states that both text and audiobooks are “each is best suited to different purposes and neither is superior” (Willingham, 2018) however, he does make it clear that audiobooks ultimately, don’t support readers through difficult content, and that is because there is no visual organization. In other words, when you’re listening to an audiobook, you don’t actually see a paragraph structure, you don’t know where the quotes start unless your audiobook recorder actually used different voices to signal different characters, and you don’t really necessarily know where a sentence ends and were it begins. So it’s just like what happened earlier when I said that you’d get eventually lost if all the words were spilled onto each other in one page, right?

 So to quote Willingham “audiobooks add literacy to moments where there would otherwise be none,” (Willingham, 2018) but is that all they’re really good for?

Are you the kind of student, that actually needs to read and listen to something at the same time? For example, like Shakespeare’s plays, just like me? Well, I can tell you it makes it much easier to make sense of his writing, especially since the language is not always easy to follow. Recently, someone posed a question on asking what is the best way to study Shakespeare, and Marcus Geduld who is an Artistic Director of Folding Chair Classical Theatre in New York City, answered this question himself, the question specifically was this “What is the best way to start reading Shakespeare, whether reading works or viewing performances? If the former, what are recommended supplemental materials, and if the latter, what are the recommended versions?” (, 2017).

Marcus in his answer, explained that watching the play and reading it at the same time are an excellent way of studying Shakespeare, and to quote him he says “There are really good audio versions of the plays…You can find them on sites like and in many libraries”(Geduld, 2017). So clearly, there’s some kind of correlation for different kinds of texts, some of them you need to read and listen at the same time but for others it maybe not necessary. Hopefully, regardless of what you’re doing your experience is better than this audiobook I found of King Lear

“Sir, I am made of that self mettle that my sister is, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart, I find she names my very deed of love” (Shakespeare, Act 1, scene i).

Ouch. Trust me it was not fun having to suffer through that when I was studying King Lear, it was painful on my ears, and comically enough another YouTube user actually left a comment on this audiobook that I found on YouTube and they said “I got three minutes into this and couldn’t go on because they all sounded like variations of Kermit the frog” (Heyworth, 2016).


Ok, so now we know that audiobooks and text work well together, but what about separately?

David B Daniel an award winning teacher with a PhD, and William Douglas Woody Professor of Psychological Sciences Education and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado conducted a simple study based on this question “Students like the idea of podcasts [and audiobooks] but do they learn primary content as well from listening to it as they do from reading it?” (Daniel & Woody, 2015). Now I asked this same question to two teachers I know Kamilla Dollimore is a graduate of York university with a bachelor’s degree in English she teaches Jk through grade 8, yes elementary school I know, and she is currently teaching grade 6 –which is maybe even worse- and Ryan Dollimore is a graduate of the University of Toronto, he teaches philosophy and he teaches grades 9-12. So I asked them this same question “Students like the idea of podcasts [and audiobooks] but do they learn primary content as well from listening to it as they do from reading it?” (Daniel & Woody, 2015).

Kamilla: “My students in grade 6 learn primary content both from listening to it and from reading it, however, the majority of the things they listen to are also connected to audio-visual learning. So I would see they do need to read it in order to understand better.”

Ryan: “Most of the evidence, at least that I’ve heard of and that I’ve seen, is that the probably learn more from reading it. I think they’re more comfortable probably listening to it, because it’s a little bit more in their wheelhouse in terms of, you know, they way that they interact, and their sort of world view, but sometimes what you like and what is best for you, isn’t the same thing, and they don’t like it when I say that, but it’s probably true. So I’d say they probably learn better from reading it.”

Well, you heard it here first folks! That’s exactly how your kids learn too, and that’s how teachers have discovered that they learn.

And another teacher, named Robert Rozema, actually went so far as to explore this potential of using text and audio format together. When he was a high school teacher he had his students create their own audio and text formats, in other words, he had them create podcasts, and to quote his article “The Book Report Version 2.0: Podcasting on Young Adult Novels” he states, “This learning potential is most evident when students produce podcasts themselves…. I tell students to consider their podcasts as a book talk in audio for. It’s main objective? To interest adolescent readers in a particular book” (Rozema, 2007).

So maybe audio and text together are the best form of consuming literature?

Ok, back to our study. So what was the actual result of Woody and Daniel’s study that they conducted? Well, they had 48 students, 12 men and 36 women -not that that really matters- they were randomly assigned to either read a 3,330 word article or listen to 21 minutes and 42 seconds of a podcast, entitled “Mindful of Symbols” by Deloache (Deloache, 2017). At the end of the study they needed to write a quiz to demonstrate their knowledge of what they read or listened to.

I’m sure many of us, would think about reading over 3000 words, which is over 5 pages? Snoozfest, so audiobooks, right? Well, after two days of time to read or listen to the article, the 25 participants who read the article scored higher on the quiz, than the 23 participants who simply heard the podcast. Now, that’s a fairly close number, not really ground breaking. In other words, what’s the best way to learn? Is it books or is it audiobooks or is it both?

Well, imagine this. You are blind, or have trouble reading, audiobooks are the perfect solution for you right? Well, the total populations of Nunavut, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, and the North West Territories put together don’t even encompass the total number of the 500,000 Canadians that are blind or partially sighted (CNIB). But what about the 1 in 12 Canadians that consider themselves hard of hearing (CAD)? Or disabled Canadians or Canadians who require further assistance, what about our ESL students and immigrant families?

So, obviously, audiobooks aren’t a solution for all of these groups of people. But, they can be for some.

Audiobooks are more than just another way to read. They present the information on a written page to us in an audio format, and that format that stimulates a different part of the brain. When you’re reading only the Cerebrum, the large outer part of the brain, is being stimulated (John Hopkins Medicine), on the other hand when you’re listening, according Dr. Terry L. Levin, there are a bunch of portions of your brain that are stimulated. The most important? The Pre-Frontal Cortex, which receives information and puts all the information together (Levin,

In other words, when your mom tells you to do the dishes or your youngest child talks to you about their favourite animal, you are not just hearing the information. Your brain is processing everything, from their facial features, emotions, and even memories that can help you relate to the conversation. And when you’re listening to an audiobook your brain is doing that exact same thing!

So when you’re reading something, sure, you’re basically doing a kind of mental exercise, but when you’re listening to it, your brain is stimulated on a completely separate level. And that’s why, for some, it is easier to actually combine reading and listening at the same time, rather than just focusing one side of this binary scale.

So if this is the case, if each of us learn differently, absorb information differently, absorb material differently, why are we treating the audiobook the same way as a book in the first place? And why does this question even exist?

Well, I can’t tell you not to question things, but I can suggest that rather than focus on the opinions of the people who say audiobooks are for lazy people or books are for geeks, we can branch out and have our own opinion grounded in facts. And what opinion will that be? Well, that audiobooks are –drumroll please– Adaptations!

Not what you were expecting? Meh. I promise you by the end of this you will totally agree.

Audiobooks are just like movies or TV shows they are just adapted from the book, from the written word!

Picture this, you’re in grade 1, you just came in from recess, and as usual it is story time. Your class gets in single file, and you all walk down to your school’s library. The excitement is building. What book will you get to listen to today? You all neatly file in to the library, one or two of your classmates do a brisk walk to reach the favourite spots before anyone else takes them. You all sit down on the fuzzy carpet that has frogs or animals or the alphabet on it. And the library teacher greats you all happily. She pulls out the book from behind her back and it’s your favourite! “The Hungry Caterpillar!” (Carle, 1969) “Geronimo Stilton!” (Dami) Yay!

I bet you never realized that those reading sessions were kind of like live action audiobooks. So if that was so much fun and engaging and more fun and engaging than just sitting in a corner and reading a book, like you were told to do in later grades, why can’t we still listen to books just like we used to?

Now, I bet you’re probably thinking, why would I listen to an audiobook when movies and TV shows exist? Well, if you’re looking to actually consume a book and be able to say you’ve read it, you’re not going to compare the movie to the reading experience are you? Well, according to Linda Hutcheon, who is a professor with the University of Toronto in the Department of English, in her article “On the Art of Adaptation” she actually states, there is a “simplification that inevitably occurs in the transposition of literary work to the visual medium” (Hutcheon, 2004) That’s why reading a book is not the same as watching a movie, and that’s why we are so often left wondering why they cut out the house elves in “Harry Potter” (Rowling) or in “Game of Thrones” (Martin) *Spoiler Alert* why they didn’t include Catelyn Stark returning from the freaking dead in Game of Thrones!

But, there is hope if you’re not a big reader, audiobooks are an amazing way to read a book. Why do I say “read” when you’re not reading? Well it’s because under the definition of the word “read” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, only about 1/3 of the definition deals with looking at writing or studying letters. The rest deals with listening or as Merriam-Webster puts it, “to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing” (Merriam-Webster) and what do we do when we listen to an audiobook? We learn what has been written.

So, audiobooks aren’t just bedtime stories or something solely for learning they can be a “dramatized performance.” According to what most people don’t realize is that some audiobooks are actually cast like a play and there are narrators and voice actors reading each character. The result? Basically a movie playing in your head that you can fully imagine.

You might wonder, how can I be sure that what I’m listening is actually the true book?

Picture this, you are a young student. You’re trying to listen to an audiobook and read the text at the same time. But then you discover that the audiobook you downloaded is actually missing an entire chapter! Well, you might wonder, “how can this be?! All books when printed are the same right?” Well, how can you be sure, that what you’re listening to is actually the true book? If an audiobook is an adaptation, doesn’t that mean it could be full of mistakes? Consider this, when you’re reading something out loud or to someone, sometimes you blunder, you mix up a sentence, or replace a word with another word that comes to mind, right? So then, you couldn’t say the same thing happen with audiobooks? How can we be sure it doesn’t?

Listening Books producer and director Nik de Garis explains that, quote “Every single audiobook that is recorded in the Listening Books studios goes through a process of proof listening”(Listening Books Blog, 2019). What the in the world is proof listening? Well, just like a book has an editor, so do audiobooks. Once an audiobook is recorded it is listened to first by the recorder themselves. Not just once, but many, many, many times. And even when they think they’re done, the must do a final check to make sure it’s all correct! In other words, just as there can be pirated films and books there can also be pirated audiobooks, full of mistakes and clips and errors. So, watch your sources folks! And make sure you pay for your books and films legitimately this has been a PSA.

Audiobooks are great for other things as well, recently Alex Hammond a British television presenter, reporter working for Sky Sports News and At the Races, she recently Tweeted “Now back to my attempts to learn French #audiobooks” (Hammond, 2019).


So it looks like we’ve come full circle, audiobooks are adaptations of books, they help us to understand written text, they are a performance played out in our minds, and once again they are excellent methods for learning, and it looks like, for learning languages!

Adaptations of books and written things exist for everything. So the question is, could adaptations eventually have their own adaptations and we begin to exist in a never ending cycle?

Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. Sherwin is the Editor of The Art EdgeHe says It can be argued that art builds from one generation to the next... artists 'simulate' or 'copy' pre-existing attitudes, techniques, and so on -- OR branch out from them” (Sherwin, 2014).

So we are already in this world of adaptations becoming adaptations becoming adaptations becoming adaptations. Like an inception of art. At the present we are actually in the Information Age, so we have access to more knowledge than any humans that came before us, and access to more adaptations. And on top of that, because we have all these sources, we can create our own adaptations. Now, all that matters now is how you use this information, not whether the information you absorb is in the lazy way or in the “geekish” way.

Consider fire, fire is hot right? Now if somebody tells you fire is hot, that could be their opinion. But if you touch the fire, you know for a fact that it’s hot. But if you’re listening that fire is hot, or whether you read that it’s hot, it makes no real difference, right? Now if you listened to a fantastically cast audiobook of “Fahrenheit 451” (Bradbury, 1953) you may reconsider fire and its uses.

But that’s besides the point. Next time someone says they’ve listened to an audiobook don’t scoff at them –after all we just talked about this, audiobooks are just as valid as reading the book. And in fact, audiobooks are a form of reading.

Now time to crack open that book or download that podcast, because now there’s no excuse for not reading! Audiobooks can be listened to anywhere, and why not? Show off your book knowledge and don’t be left behind. You’ll be glad you spent your time listening to that book. It’s great mental practice and it’s good for your brain!

According to Western Libraries, we can improve reading accuracy by 52%, and comprehension by 72%, when we’re listening to audiobooks (Western Downs Libraries). That doesn’t even include the fact that we’re widening our vocabulary and increasing our reading speed! So you’re learning by having fun! What’s not to love about that?

So, are audiobooks the same thing as reading the book? Some would say, as I would say according to this podcast, that they could even be better. But ultimately, my best choice is to read and listen to the audiobook at the same time.

Thank you for listening, this has been Natalia, for A Matter of Opinion.

Now what audiobook are you going to listen to first?


AudioBooks, G. (2014, May 09). KING LEAR by William Shakespeare - FULL AudioBook | Greatest Audio Books (Dramatic Reading V1). Retrieved from

Blindness in Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Daniel, D. B., & Woody, W. D. (2010). They Hear, but Do Not Listen: Retention for Podcasted Material in a Classroom Context. Teaching of Psychology,37(3), 199-203. doi:10.1080/00986283.2010.488542

Geduld, M. (n.d.). What is the best way to start reading Shakespeare, whether reading works or viewing performances? If the former, what are recommended supplemental materials, and if the latter, what are the recommended versions? Retrieved July 25, 2017, from

Hammond, A. (2019, March 27). Now back to my attempts to learn French #audiobooks. Retrieved from

Hutcheon, L. (2004). On the Art of Adaptation. Daedalus, 133(2), 108-111. Retrieved from

Let's Have an Ar(t)gument: Does 'Original Art' truly exist? (n.d.). Retrieved from

Parts of the Brain Involved With Hearing. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rozema, R. (2007). The Book Report, Version 2.0: Podcasting on Young Adult Novels. The English Journal, 97(1), 31-36. doi:10.2307/30047205

Statistics on Deaf Canadians. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Western Downs Libraries. (n.d.). The benefits of listening to audiobooks are extensive... Retrieved from

What is proof listening? Our audiobook producer reveals all the secrets! (2019, March 28). Retrieved from

Willingham, D. T. (2018, December 08). Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It? Retrieved from

Recommended Sources

Deloache, J. S. (2007, June 01). Mindful of Symbols. Retrieved from

Doug Woody, Professor, Psychological Sciences, Education and Behavioral Sciences. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Heller, E. (2017, October 05). Full cast audiobooks are like a movie in your head. Retrieved from

Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from

How the Brain Works | Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center. (2018, December 03). Retrieved from

Information Age. (2019, April 03). Retrieved from

Linda Hutcheon. (n.d.). Retrieved from

List of Canadian provinces and territories by population growth rate. (2019, February 06). Retrieved from

Robert Rozema. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Phase 3 - Production

Cartoons of the Community: Full Podcast

Podcast Transcript


Like most other kids, I spent my younger years in school. There, I learned various riveting topics like Math, English, and Science. Occasionally we would learn about social issues, such as racial injustice and disability. And after a long day of school, friends, and homework, I’d drop myself onto the couch and watch TV. But looking back now, that didn’t mean I would ever take a break from learning.

In today’s contemporary society, television and other media are becoming useful tools in teaching children. For decades, educational TV shows like Sesame Street, Arthur, and The Magic School Bus have taught children both practical skills like Math, English, and Science, and social skills like manners, tolerance, and respect between racial groups.

However, something that both school systems and the media have had trouble with for years is discussing LGBTQA+ topics. This is especially true now, here in Ontario, where the provincial government has replaced the 2015 Sex-Ed Curriculum with one from 1998, effectively erasing all discussion of LGBTQA+ topics.

The 2015 curriculum was reportedly repealed on the basis that some parents were worried the curriculum would be harmful to kids. Provincial Education Minister Lisa Thompson told reporters of The Globe and Mail that the provincial government planed to “implement a new one [curriculum] that is age appropriate and based on extensive consultation with parents” (2018).

Meanwhile, teachers and other educational authorities have criticized the 1998 curriculum for lacking inclusion and generally being outdated. Similar claims have been made about the current state of LGBTQA+ representation in children’s media.

This whole discussion is causing people to question what kind of affect LGBTQA+ topics can have on kids. What exactly is “age appropriate”? Is it a good idea to present LGBTQA+ topics in kids’ shows? What message will these topics send to kids?

There are a lot of assumptions and opinions revolving around LGBTQA+ topics in media, but one thing is certain; it’s kind of hard for something to affect you when its barely even there.

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Jonell Ebreo, and in this episode we're talking about teaching LGBTQA+ topics through kids’ media.

Before we go any further, here are some things to note. When I refer to children, I’m referring to ages 14 and under, as this is usually the age parents are most concerned about exposing their children to LGBTQA+ topics. When I discuss education, I am not strictly referring to school, but the simply teaching of anything. When I refer to media, this will tend to refer to prominent contemporary media forms, such as TV shows.

Section 1:

Now, in order to understand the effects of LGBTQA+ representation in children’s media, we first have to stop, take a step back, and ask; What is the current state of LGBTQA+ representation in Children’s media?

In Jill O’Rourke’s opinion piece, The Erasure Of LGBTQ Characters In Children's Media Goes Beyond Bert And Ernie she describes the media’s current situation. When it was possibly revealed that Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie might be in a relationship, the show’s media outlet Sesame Workshop released a statement cementing that they were not.

O’Rourke’s piece analyzes the public reaction to this announcement, with many people denouncing this Erasure of LGBTQA+ characters. However, O’Rourke laments that, throughout media history, most media outlets have refused to present children’s shows with LGBTQA+ characters.

I conducted interviews with people who grew up in the late 1900s and early 2000s, a time when contemporary media really began to present itself as a useful tool for representation. I found that many of these people admitted they couldn’t think of any instances where LGBTQA+ themes were presented;

Interview Recording 1:

Question: As a kid, did you ever notice any LGBTQA+ characters in the media you consumed?

Interviewee 1: Not that I can think of, no. Not of the top of my head.

Interviewee 2: Not that I recall of, no. There definitely was as much representation back then.

Even now, Journalist Nick Romano of Entertainment Weekly has reported that both fans and critics are pushing for greater representation in children’s media.

But why are media companies so reluctant and afraid to present LGBTQA+ topics? That’s just it; fear. There have been many external forces that have led media companies and creators to be wary of presenting LGBTQA+ topics. Parents and conservative movements are the biggest proponents of this fear.

In 2017, Journalist Nick Duffy of Pink News reported that activist group One Million Moms launched a petition against the show Andi Mack for implementing a storyline about a young gay boy. This group was of the belief that such themes should be kept to of children’s media, as they believed it was age inappropriate and imposed an ideology.

Even supporters of LGBTQA+ representation have led to fearful media networks. A sizable support for greater representation comes from older fans of children’s media, but appeasing fan culture has always been difficult for creators. Critics such as Lily Orchard know this all to well.

Orchard is a prominent YouTube-based media critic who is known to discuss the relationship between fans and creators. In her video Glass of Water - Fractally Wrong, Orchard quite frankly states that, often times, fans don’t know what they want.

When regarding fandom reactions after being given a highly demanded, more mature storyline, Orchard states that “… the fandom looked at this season, doing exactly that [being more mature], and turned up its nose immediately” (2018).

This attitude from fandoms has led to creators to be extremely wary about taking opinions and recommendations from fans, which includes calls for LGBTQA+ representation. The fact of the matter is that both opponents and fans, with their own opinions and ideologies, have made networks wary of showcasing content that may be received poorly.

Section 2:

However, this is where internal forces begin to cause this lack of LGBTQA+ representation. It is understandable why media outlets won’t want to produce content that could put their public image at risk. These are still companies with a service to provide and they wouldn’t want to do anything they would jeopardize their reviews or their view-count.

However, in more recent years, there have been a growing number of media networks willing to present TV shows with LGBTQA+ themes, such as the aforementioned Andi Mack. Unfortunately, many critics have claimed that most LGBTQA+ representation is still poor in quality.

But how does the LGBTQA+ representation that is there lack quality? Well, why did media creators begin to create their LGBTQA+ characters in the first place? For some creators, it was only out of incentive.

On September 3, 2018, the critically acclaimed children’s cartoon Adventure Time aired its final episode. It is this episode that finally confirmed two of its leading female characters to be in a relationship, something that had been hinted at for years. This move was initially praised at the time, but critics eventually began to cite this move as lazy and almost cowardly.

Lily Orchard explained in her video Glass of Water - Not Good Enough that “where you stow the gay characters is almost as important as having them in the first place… it’s equally important that gay relationships be allowed to flourish” (2018). Adventure Time did not give it’s LGBTQA+ characters time to flourish, instead opting to present LGBTQA+ themes at the very last moment before ending the show.

This prevented too many complaints from people for and against LGBTQA+ representation and allowed Adventure Time and its outlet, Cartoon Network, to gain mass media attention. Despite presenting what critics claim to be subpar content, Cartoon Network found a safe middle ground that avoided contradicting the ideologies of most viewers and appease countless others.

Poor-quality LGBTQA+ representation isn’t new to children’s media, as companies like Disney have used various underlying LGBTQA+ themes to influence their characters, specifically their villains.

One such villain is Ursula from The Little Mermaid, who was based off legendary Drag Queen Divine. When I asked interviewees if they realized that many characters they experienced as children might have been LGBTQA+, many were surprised, but also understanding.

Interview Recording 2:

Question: Did you know that Ursula from The Little Mermaid was based off a Drag Queen?

Interviewee 1: I had no idea but that’s pretty cool. That’s pretty awesome.

Jonell: Can you see it?

Interviewee 1: Yeah. Now that you mention it, yeah, one hundred percent.

Interviewee 2: That makes sense, now that I think about it. I didn’t know that at the time but I can definitely see that.

There is a growing opinion that young children are much smarter than they are given credit for. They’re able as they can understand more complex themes like trauma or racism through the media they consume. If this is true, there nonetheless still seems to be a limit to what they can understand.

As children, most of the interviewees didn’t understand the LGBTQA+ connotations to their favourite Disney villains. But when they thought back now, they could understand how these characters presented many of the cues and stereotypes associated the LGBTQA+ community.

When interviewing parents on how the media have taught their children, some parents have noted that their children don’t seem to understand some of the deeper context of what they see on screen.

Interview Recording 3:

Parent: Sometimes the characters they’re watching on YouTube, the way they talk, the way they act. They’re copying them.

For this parent in particular, her child copies some of the characters she sees in the media she consumes without understanding the context of their behaviour. She only understands what is explicitly stated.

Interview Recording 4:

Parent: I don’t think so, they can’t understand why the content or the meaning of why she’s screaming!

The child was screaming earlier for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, like many people’s understanding of LGBTQA+ characters, the understanding of context within media is developed over time, often taught. Meanwhile, implied LGBTQA+ themes won’t be as effective as explicitly stating characters are LGBTQA+.

Section 3:

The lack of quality LGBTQA+ representation in children’s media is unfortunate as contemporary media is now an important tool for educating children and could take on a useful role in teaching kids LGBTQA+ topics. Interviewees reported that they were never really taught LGBTQA+ topics, something that led to a lack of understanding with their LGBTQA+ peers, or vice versa. But how exactly does LGBTQA+ representation in education affect LGBTQA+ and non-LGBTQA+ students?

Despite the Ontario provincial government’s claims that LGBTQA+ topics are “age inappropriate” for students, many people say otherwise. The truth is, researchers like George L. Wimberly have stated that teaching such topics is not a danger and could be beneficial to students.

Wimberly is the Director of Professional Development and Diversity Officer at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and lead author behind the book LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda.

In his book, Wimberly describes the constant interaction and visibility of LGBTQA+ people in our society, and how “in a school context there may be children who have LGBTQ parents, students who identify as LGBTQ…, parents of LGBTQ students, and faculty… and other adults in the school context who are directly or indirectly affected by LGBTQ issues and concerns.”

This constant exposure and interaction with the LGBTQA+ community leads people who are both a part of and outside of the community to be forced to interact. However, the school environment allows teachers to help build understanding and tolerance between LGBTQA+ students and their peers. Melinda D. Anderson of the Atlantic reported how Black History month in schools has always been meant to build an understanding between the black community and other races.

Likewise, schools that teach other minorities topics do so to build understanding between the minority and the majority groups. In other words, LGBTQA+ topics are taught to build understanding and tolerance between LGBTQA+ and non-LGBTQA+ students.

This education of understanding is not simply restricted to the school environment. The Council on Communications and Media, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, are a group of Pediatricians brought together from all across the United Sates to discuss how media affects children.

In the Council’s paper Children, Adolescents, and the Media, they discuss both the potential positive and negative implications of contemporary media use in children. The Council’s paper discusses the “prosocial uses of media and the need for media education in schools and at home… and [how] the media can also teach empathy, racial and ethnic tolerance, and a whole variety of interpersonal skills” (2013).

The Council states that children’s media, like the school environment, can teach important interpersonal skills like tolerance and respect. Like schools, the media can also teach minority topics to build understanding between the minority and the majority groups. Here, it can be reasoned that LGBTQA+ topics can be presented through children’s media to build understanding and respect between LGBTQA+ and non-LGBTQA+ students.


It is completely natural for parents to be worried about their child’s well-being. However, it is also important for parents to help their children foster better relationships with their peers. Refusing to present LGBTQA+ topics in media is not only unnecessary, but it’s unwise.

No matter what your beliefs are about the LGBTQA+ community, the truth is LGBTQA+ people are a reality in our everyday lives. It is important that an understanding be built between those a part of LGBTQA+ community and those outside of it.

Children’s media has proven that it can help children learn such contemporary topics. Not only that, but people are willing to fight for better representation. Nick Romano reported that Daron Nefcy, creator of the cartoon Star vs. The Forces of Evil, set a rule for herself so that there would always be at least one gay couple in any scene with couples in the background.

Brian Silliman of Syfy Wire reported that the creators of Voltron: Legendary Defender apologized to fans after receiving massive backlash after mistreating an LGBTQA+ storyline.

Lily Orchard disclosed in her video Glass of Water - Not Good Enough that media companies and creators often get really nervous when people confront them and push for greater LGBTQA+ representation. This strategy often actually gets results. It’s even how Daren Nefcy got permission to put gay couples in the background of her show.

We’ve all made mistakes growing up where we might have offended someone from the LGBTQA+ community. I know growing up, I didn’t know any better and have said some things that many would deem homophobic. However, people are hoping that bringing LGBTQA+ representation will change that for later generations.

After a long day of school and homework, a lot of kids are going to go seat themselves on a couch, switch on the TV, and try to enjoy themselves. But this opens an opportunity to experience a different brand of learning from a medium they’ll enjoy. One that will teach them to have a greater respect and understanding of the LGBTQA+ community. Especially when school systems, like here in Ontario, fail to do so.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, kids still need a break every now and again. And after a long day of school and work, I think we can all agree that there are times we just want to sit back and be entertained.

1. References

Alphonso, C. (2018, July 12). Ford government scraps controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from

Anderson, M. D. (2016, February 22). Is It Time to Retire Black History Month From the Classroom? Retrieved March 27, 2019, from

Council on Communications and Media. (2013). Children, Adolescents, and the Media. Pediatrics,132(5), 958-961. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-2656

Duffy, N. (2017, October 27). One Million Moms launches hysterical Disney boycott over gay characters. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from

Orchard, L. (Lily Orchard). (2018, March 6). Glass of Water - Fractally Wrong [Video file]. Retrieved from

Orchard, L. (Lily Orchard). (2018, December 19). Glass of Water - Not Good Enough [Video file]. Retrieved from

Romano, N. (2018, August 22). From 'Steven Universe' to 'Voltron': The fight to bring LGBTQ characters to kids' shows. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from

Silliman, B. (2018, August 15). Voltron showrunner apologizes to fans following outrage over gay character's storyline. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from

Wimberly, G. L. (2015). LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

2. Recommended Resources

Bradley, B. (2018, September 05). 'Adventure Time' Finale Confirms The 'Ship You've Been Waiting For. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from

Cochran-Smith, M. (1995). Color Blindness and Basket Making Are Not the Answers: Confronting the Dilemmas of Race, Culture, and Language Diversity in Teacher Education. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 493–522.

Fisch, S. (2004). Children's Learning From Educational Television. New York: Routledge,

Gutowitz, J. (2017, March 02). Disney's 'Exclusively Gay Moment' Is Long Overdue. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from

Joannides, P., Psy.D. (2013, May 20). One Million Moms: Intolerance of Biblical Proportions. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from

John P. Elia PhD & Mickey J. Eliason PhD (2010) Dangerous Omissions: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage School-Based Sexuality Education and the Betrayal of LGBTQ Youth, American Journal of Sexuality Education, 5:1, 17-35, DOI: 10.1080/15546121003748848

McCollum, P. (1986). Diversity in the Classroom: A Multicultural Approach to the Education of Young Children, Frances E. Kendall. New York: Teachers College Press, 1983. Pp. xiv 111. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,8(1), 95-97. doi:10.1017/S0272263100005891

Orchard, L. (Lily Orchard). (2017, December 19). The Legend of Korra is Garbage and Here's Why [Video file]. Retrieved from

Platoff, K. (2018, April 09). J.K. Rowling's Progressiveness Is Only a Facade. Retrieved January 31, 2019, from

Thoreson, R. (2017, June 06). "Like Walking Through a Hailstorm" | Discrimination Against LGBT Youth in US Schools. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from

3. Acknowledgements:

I’d like to thank interviewees Mikhail Volpe, Alisa Stanley, Mary Ann Garcia, and Jocelyn Tibulan for taking the time to be interviewed and allowing their audio to be used.

Thank you, Giuliana Quinto and Evan Nott, for allowing me to reference ideas off you.

Thank you, Lily Orchard, for providing a unique insight into this topic of LGBTQA+ media.

Music Used: "Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Week 10-11 - Mic Check

Initially, I found line reading and developing a ‘radio voice’ to be one of the more difficult aspects of this podcast. Even when I wanted to present a conversational style, I found that I couldn’t present my voice in the way I wanted. This was especially difficult when emphasizing certain points or drawing attention to new ideas. However, after researching for the Genre analysis piece and doing further research into developing a ‘radio voice,’ I’ve recently felt more comfortable with the podcast voice that I use now.

As of the current development of my podcast, this is the voice I am trying to achieve. My goal is still for this voice to present a conversational tone, but also present myself as someone who is confident in their knowledge with the subject matter. I want to show that I am open to discussion, but also allow my voice to imply that this is a subject I am willing to defend. I found that many podcasters follow this mindset of confidence being key, as they do this to subtly persuade their audiences without sounding too harsh on the ears.

When regarding sound effects and music, I’ve also learned that many podcasters and even some youtubers try to be as minimalist as possible. Essentially, though creators may add some cool effects to a recording or video, nothing is there without a purpose. If something isn’t essential to a recording, you remove it. This strategy is how I plan on using sound effects and music. Not only will this make the editing process shorter, but it will also keep out unnecessary fluff from my podcast.

If I do end up using sound effects, it will only be to draw attention to important points. Music will be very useful in setting a tone for my podcast, with areas lacking music drawing attention and giving off a more serious tone. However, I have to use these effects sparingly. If sound effects are used to often, then can get annoying or begin to confuse audiences. If the music is turned off too much, then people may get comfortable with the silence.   

To summarize, I am comfortable with how my radio voice is developing thus far, and I hope to continue to improve it as well. When the time comes to edit my podcast, I understand the right strategies to optimize my podcast and how to add special effects without detracting from my podcast’s main message.

Orchard, L. (Lily Orchard). (2019, March 28). Glass of Water - 2019 Q&A [Video file]. Retrieved from

Varon, S., Simons, E. (YR Media). (2014, April 9). How To Find Your Radio Voice [Video file]. Retrieved from

Week 9 - A Source of Character

Throughout my research, I’ve found numerable sources regarding various topics related to my podcast, some with more distinctive pieces of information and some with overlap. However, there are a few sources that stand out enough to act as their own “characters” within my podcast. My podcast’s main topic regards LGBTQA+ erasure from children’s media, and a useful character source that I found was the book LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda, written by George L. Wimberly as a main contributor. Wimberly is the Director of Professional Development and Diversity Officer at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and his book delves into emerging research and concerns regarding LGBTQA+ topics in school and with students, teachers, and their families. As children spend most of their time in a school setting, and with media becoming a prominent tool in contemporary education, I found this source to useful when considering how LGBTQA+ topics in school could reflect its use in children’s media.

Another useful character source I found is a paper called Children, Adolescents, and the Media, written by the Council on Communications and Media, of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The Council on Communications and Media is a group of pediatricians who meet together for the sole purpose of communicating and understanding how contemporary media affects the lives of children. The paper Children, Adolescents, and the Media is a research letter describing both the potential positive and negative affects of contemporary media on children and adolescents, with one of the main potential positives being the media’s use as a tool for both education and representation.

The final character source I want to discuss is actually a series of video essay created by YouTube critic, Lily Orchard. Orchard has been a prominent critic amongst the themes and representation presented in children’s media, one popular enough that the staff behind the show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” made a caricature out of her in one of their episodes. Orchard prominently discusses various subjects regarding LGBTQA+ representation in her Glass of Water series, specifically the episode Glass of Water – Not Good Enough, which describes not only the lack of LGBTQA+ representation in children’s media, but also the lack of respect for the LGBTQA+ characters that do exist. All of these character sources have played a major role in my research thus far, and through further reflection they may prove valuable character sources for my podcast.

Council on Communications and Media. (2013). Children, Adolescents, and the Media. Pediatrics,132(5), 958-961.


Orchard, L. (Lily Orchard). (2018, December 19). Glass of Water - Not Good Enough [Video file]. Retrieved from

Wimberly, G. L. (2015). LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda. Washington, DC: American Educational Research


Phase 3



!!First recording lacked the first sentence for some reason, probably converting glitch! Fixed it:

Week 12: Reflection

Creating a podcast was a fun and educating journey. I came to really appreciate the structure of this course: weekly assignments that are essentially the steps needed for creating the final product are extremely helpful for procrastinators like me. If not for them, I would definitely find myself just starting my research a day before the podcast due date, stressing over everything and coming up with a really bad podcast. Hopefully, this experience will change my habits long-term, since now I see how everything goes calmer and smoother when you work on your project at least a couple of hours every week.

This is not to say that I am 100% satisfied with my episode – of course I see (and hear) things that could be improved. For me, the challenging part was to sound conversational. First of all, although I’ve completed a radio course in my previous school, I still find it hard to write for a talk-show format: I am very much into written journalism, so it takes a constant conscious effort to remember that I am writing a script that will be read out loud. Secondly, English is not my first language, so when recording myself talking for 17 minutes I really concentrate on pronouncing and intonating everything correctly – which results in my tone being a bit too tense.

Another struggle, which I believe we all share, was leaving stuff on cutting room floor and also making curated sources work together. I am not sure if I’ve accomplished that, but I’ve tried! When you immerse yourself into a certain topic and become almost an expert on a specific issue, it is a real challenge not to get distracted and all over the place, and just focus on what you think is essential for listeners to hear.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed digging deeper, finding unexpected explanations of human behaviour and putting all those pieces of a puzzle together to create a more or less complete picture of a wellness movement phenomenon. I hope it worked ;)

Week 9: Sources as characters

I believe that in order to work as characters, sources need to be dialogical, meaning that citing and discussing a source will dynamically move the discourse further. The following source, in its turn, will answer or deepen the questions posed by the previous one. This scheme mimics the dialogue between people, almost animating the texts with their authors’ voices and making them talk to each other.

As in my podcast I am looking into the issue of wellness cult from both sides – consumer’s side and industry’s side – my “character-sources“ will reflect that. Starting with the perspective of the industry, I will first introduce some statistical information about the amounts of money involved in the market (retrieved from industry reports), and then proceed with introducing my first character-source: an article Why Wellness Is the New Way to Look, Feel, and Act Rich by Marisa Meltzer. This article explores various business models that are implemented by wellness industry today, and it contains some brilliant observations. For example, Marisa compares modern wellness movement to a religion of sorts, and cleverly notices that everyone needs a priest when wellness is a religion. That refers to a market of personal couching, wellness-counselling, family naturopaths etc. The article also mentions the idea of “throwing enough money at the problem”, which refers to a way of believing that if you just spend more, your health and wellbeing will get proportionally better. This is basically the main market strategy of wellness-gimmicks, as well as the main consuming motive for laypeople. Therefore, the piece serves as a good transition from discussing industry to discussing consumer and his vulnerabilities.

Looking deeper into how do we fall into the traps posed by the industry, I will introduce my next two character sources: Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus by D.M. Khan (Journal of Risk Research) and On Pixels, Perceptions, and Personae: Toward a Model of Online Ethos by Todd Frobish.
The work by Khan explores how our cultural backgrounds affect our perception of scientific authority and reveals how people of different socio-cultural background perceive credibility differently.
Frobish outlines the basic principles of online ethos (which turn out to be not very different from classical Greek rhetorical principles). This source will help in discussing how the wellness cult representatives and proponents create personas that are trusted by people (even though they are often not health specialists at all), and also look into why actual experts often end up being mistrusted and dismissed.

– Victoria Arakelyan

Phase Three

Week Nine: Useful Sources and the Characteristics They Play

As I get closer to producing my final podcast, I have come across many great useful sources throughout that I can say have been my favourite, and that have helped me a lot throughout the research process. Having good sources when it comes to a big assignment like this one is so important. Good sources not only help with the assignment portion, they also really educate the person doing the assignment to learn more about the topic they are doing. My favourite part about this class was the fact that we got to chose whatever topic we wanted to make our podcast on. This was fun for me because I chose a topic that I not only wanted to make my podcast on, but one that I wanted to learn more about.

Some sources that were very useful to me were; Science Vs because they have many different podcasts that I can listen to and use as an example to help me with my podcast. I definitely listened to some of their podcasts and those examples helped me a lot when it came to learning how to create my own. Other sources that helped me a lot were articles such as the “UPMC Health Beat” which explains the five types of mental illnesses that exist, also the “Canadian Mental Health Association” article, the “World Health Organization” article, wikipedia, an article called “Help Guide,” and scholarly sources/ articles on stigma against mental health. All these sources really broadened my understanding and helped me understand more and more about my topic. I was always curious on this topic and wanting to learn more and I definitely learned so much through the research I did. I even became more and more fascinated by this topic and it made me want to help people and spread the word on the importance of bringing awareness on stigma against mental health.

Final Podcast Transcript

World Health says that, “Around 450 million people currently suffer from mental or neurological disorders and are not receiving the help they need.” From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to facts, I’m Nataly Roushdy and today we’re talking about “Stigma Against Mental Health.” On today’s show we are looking at ways to get rid of the stigma against mental health and looking at what happens when people suffering don’t get treated. Today we will be covering 4 important points: what stigma around mental health is? Why it exists? How we can challenge it? And what happens when left untreated? Before we begin, I would like to say that, if you are someone who suffers from mental health issues or knows someone suffering with mental health issues, then keep on listening. If you do not suffer from mental health issues and don’t know anyone suffering with mental health issues but would like to learn more on this topic because you are interested, then keep on listening. Let’s get started.

So, what is stigma around mental health? “The Canadian Mental Health Association” says that, “People living with mental health conditions are usually plagued by stigma and discrimination. Stigma is a negative stereotype. Stigma is the reality for many people with a mental illness, and those people usually report that the way people judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete, satisfying and freeing life. Stigma is different from discrimination. Discrimination is an unfair treatment towards someone due to their identity, which includes race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability, including mental disorder.” That is not all there is more to the word stigma and its meaning, let’s go further and get deeper. “Here to help” article says, “stigma originally meant a physical mark of shame. Now, it’s an invisible mark that sets you apart from others.” Another important point in this article is this, they say that, “The problem with the word stigma is that it puts the focus on the person’s difference instead of on the people who are setting them apart. Using the word stigma makes it seem different than racism, homophobia or sexism. It isn’t.” Wow that is a lot to take in. But before we move on let’s look at the definition of prejudice and discrimination and the difference between them because we will be talking about them next. Looking at the same article, “Here to Help,” they explain that, “prejudice is holding negative attitudes or beliefs about people who are viewed as different.” While discrimination is “acting on these ideas or beliefs.” Just like we discussed a little earlier. According to the same article, “here to help,” they explain that there’s layers of stigma, but what does that mean? Let’s find out. They say, “Many people don’t experience discrimination for just one reason. They may experience discrimination based on many different prejudices, like sexual orientation, gender, culture or physical disability. Discrimination itself can lead to mental health or substance use problems.” Let’s talk about this, basically if someone is different because of where they come from, for example, they will experience discrimination which is caused by prejudice behaviour from people around them. Then the person will begin forming mental health problems due to this because they will feel bad about themselves and they could begin experiencing anxiety for instance. Then we get into the stigma and that is how it all begins. It always starts from something small, could even be a problem a child’s parents are having that is causing their child to form a mental health problem having to grow up in a horrible environment at home.

A very important question that arises around this topic is: Why stigma exists or in other words what factors cause stigma? And that is what we will be looking at next. Obviously, there are lots and lots of reasons to why stigma exists and the cause of its existing, so let’s take a look at some of these reasons. In an article called, “Psychology Today,” they explain, and I am quoting in their words that, “throughout history people with mental health problems have been treated differently, excluded and even brutalized. This treatment may come from the misguided views that people with mental health problems may be more violent or unpredictable than people without such problems.” The article also explains how, “the medical model of mental health problems is itself an unwitting source of stigmatizing beliefs.” Basically, meaning that one, “it implies that people with mental health problems are in some way ‘different’ from normally functioning individuals.” Secondly, “‘mad’ people cannot function properly in society or can sometimes be violent.” All this goes to show in conclusion that when someone is labeled under having a mental health problem then they are different, and people need to be very cautious when around them. This also goes to show why stigma exists and what causes it to exist which are all of these behaviours people have towards an individual suffering with a mental health issues. Let’s get a little deeper and talk about more examples to why stigma exists. The “Canadian Mental Health Association,” explains that, “many studies have found that media and the entertainment industry play a key role in shaping public opinions about mental health and illness.” How has it done so is the big question, well the Canadian Mental Health Association says that, “News stories that sensationalize violent acts by a person with a mental health condition are typically featured as headline news; while there are fewer articles that feature stories of recovery or positive news concerning similar individuals. Entertainment frequently features negative images and stereotypes about mental health conditions, and these portrayals have been strongly linked to the development of fears and misunderstanding.” Now that I think about it, I must say that I absolutely agree with this. When I look back at every single moment I would turn on CP24 or CNN to watch the news, they would talk about a shooting that happened at a school in the United States for example, and that the person that fired and shot in the school had a mental health problem and that they were suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts. Not once did I ever hear positive news concerning recovery regarding that individual or anything in that realm.

The big questions that everyone asks regarding this topic and that I know everyone listening is wondering right now is: how can we challenge stigma around mental health? The most important thing to do is help someone suffering to feel safe and feel okay to ask for help. They may ask questions such as: “Am I the only one who feels this way?” and loved ones around them must ensure they understand that they are not alone and there are others that go through the same thing. In the article, “Mind for better mental health,” it explains that, “experiencing a mental health problem is often upsetting, confusing and frightening-particularly at first. If you become unwell, you may feel that it’s a sign of weakness, or that you are ‘losing your mind’.” Also, the article states that, “These fears are often reinforced by the negative (and often unrealistic) way that people experiencing mental health problems are shown on TV, in films and by the media. This may stop you from talking about your problems or seeking help. This, in turn, is likely to increase your distress and sense of isolation. However, in reality, mental health problems are a common human experience.” In the opinion piece, “Run, swim, cook: the new prescription for happiness by Gaby Hinsliff,” Hinsliff addresses how she talked with Ella Risbridger who is dealing with chronic anxiety. The article states that, “Ella Risbridger was at her lowest, sitting with a psychiatrist trying to explain why she wanted to throw herself under the bus.” How did she get through this low point in her life? Well the article states that, “Her mind was ‘looking for a puzzle’ to occupy itself, as she put it, something to take her outside the horrible thoughts she was having. And it settles, most unexpectedly, on baking.” This technic really helped ease her anxiety, it most certainly did not cure it, but it definitely helped her live through it and help ease those hard-stressful moments. Another example Hinsliff addresses is Bella Mackie’s story. For her the answer to her problem was running. The article says and I quote, “One foot in front of the other, settling into a rhythm, pounding pavements of the other, settling into a rhythm, pounding pavements to keep the dark feelings at bay.” As we can see here, these two girls deal with chronic anxiety and have learned techniques that help ease those hard moments they face. One girl used cooking as a method to ease her anxiety and one girl used running. Hinsliff also talks about how she interviewed many fitness influencers and found that many talked about how the gym and working out really helped all of them at, “keeping the black dog at bay,” as she states. A sentence Hinsliff mentions in the article that I really like is, “millennials’ greater willingness to be open about their mental health seems to be peeling the lid off a vast subterranean pool of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and often low level but chronic illness that was perhaps always there but never so openly acknowledged.” I love that she mentions the importance of talking about one’s self problems is the start to a freeing life of getting help and finding a cure to the problems one faces. Another part that she speaks about that I absolutely love is, “It should be said, too, that cooking, and swimming are no substitute for properly funded clinical services under which people don’t have to wait months for the basic forms of treatment.” This is an important fact Hinsliff is stating here, because these are simply hobbies that should be used a long side treatment from a professional clinic. We must also keep in mind that some of these hobbies work for some people and help them cope with their issues while not for others. In the end seeking treatment is always the right thing to do.

In an article called, “Mayo Clinic,” they discuss some very important steps people can use to cope with stigma. The first one is, “Get treatment” despite one being afraid to ask for help and admit they are facing a mental problem it is important and it saves lives. Treatment helps many people like the article says to, “provide relief by identifying what’s wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life.”  Secondly, “Don’t let stigma create self- doubt and shame,” like the article states, “stigma doesn’t come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it without seeking help.” One must always remember that like the article says, “seeing counseling, educating yourself about your condition and connecting with others who have mental illness can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment.” Thirdly, “Don’t isolate yourself,” this is very important because this is where bad thoughts can come to play, like the article says, “your family, friends, clergy or members of your community can offer you support if they know your mental illness. Reach out the people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need.” Fourthly, “Don’t equate yourself with your illness,” I personally really love this one because so many people often define themselves by their illness which is completely wrong. Like the article says, “you are not an illness, so instead of saying “I’m bipolar,” say “I have bipolar disorder.” Instead of calling yourself “a schizophrenic,” say “I have schizophrenia.” Fifthly, it is important to, “Join a support group” where you can meet with other people going through what you’re going through and where you can be further educated on what you are experiencing and to know you are not alone. Number six, “Get help at school,” every school has clubs for students with mental health and all schools usually raise awareness and try to bring students together who are experiencing issues so they don’t feel neglected or alone, and so they can feel safe in a great community. Lastly and most importantly, “Speak out against stigma,” each time when you speak out against stigma you bring awareness and break that stigma going around. This allows for a conversation to start which is so important.

Lastly before we end on today’s show I would like to discuss and emphasise the importance of seeking help and what happens when someone going through a mental illness does not seek help. First of all, there are major categories of mental illness according to the “UPMC Health Beat,” which are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, dementia, and eating disorders. I won’t get into further detail and explain each illness one by one because that will be discussed later on another show. However, what I will say is that each of these 5 illnesses are serious and require immediate attention. It can be very harmful for a person to not seek help when experiencing one of these problems because it can lead to the person doing worse things in order to cope with their symptoms, which is what I would like to touch on before we end on todays show. A lot of people that have a mental health issue and don’t seek help could start using substances and alcohol to help them cope with their emotions. In the “Help Guide,” article it says that, “when you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction is never easy, and it’s even more difficult when you’re struggling with mental health problems.” Despite that being the case, there is always hope. There’s lots of treatment centers that help people dealing with situations like this that are ready to help and get anyone struggling back on track and back to their regular daily routine. Now let’s discuss the link between substance abuse and mental health. According to “Help Guide” article, “In co-occurring disorders, both mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function at work, school, maintain a stable home life, handle life’s difficulties, and relate to others.” But that is not all, “co-occurring disorders also affect each other. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse. And when alcohol or drug abuse increase, mental health problems usually increase too.” This is very important to bear in mind and I hope everyone listened carefully to that, it is important to understand the risks of not seeking help and what people turn to in order to cope with their emotions. This is a very risky slope for anyone to go down and I hope that anyone struggling seeks help. Like I mentioned before, in the “Help Guide” article they state that, alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems. People often abuse alcohol or drugs to ease the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental disorder, to cope with difficult emotions, or to temporarily change their mood.” It is also very important to bear in mind that abusing substances causes side effects in the long run and can really deteriorate a person’s health really badly.

Alright let’s recap the four important points we talked about on today’s show. Number one we looked at what stigma around mental health is? Number two, we looked at why stigma exists? Number three we looked at ways we can challenge stigma against mental health and lastly, we talked about what happens when someone going through mental health issues doesn’t receive treatment. To conclude, I would like to say that like the, “US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health” says, “many people with serious mental illness are challenged doubly. On one hand, they struggle with symptoms and disabilities that result from disease. On the other, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. As a result of both, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people.” Luckily according to the “Annual Review of Sociology,” they state that, “social science research on stigma has grown dramatically over the past two decades, particularly in social psychology, where researchers have elucidated the ways in which people construct cognitive categories and link those categories to stereotyped beliefs.” If you know anyone struggling with mental health issues, always try to reach out and show them that it is okay to admit they need help and try your best to get them the help they need and deserve. Always bring awareness to the stigma because each time you talk about it you break the stigma and bring awareness. The “York Media Relations,” says “Overcoming stigma can be one of the primary hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness. #BellLetsTalk is leading the conversation on this front in an effort to reduce stigma and promote awareness and understanding.” Each year around the end of February or beginning of March, the #BellLetsTalk goes viral and one video goes viral about this topic. And whenever someone reposts this video, they raise awareness for mental health and some money gets donated to researchers to continue researching on mental health. Every year I see many people reposting the video and the hashtag all over Instagram, snap chat and twitter and it truly makes me happy and smile to see that people care and are raising the awareness. Anyways, that is all I have today thank you so much for tuning in, and remember to continue doing your research on this topic because there is still so much to discover and talk about.

Works Cited

Conceptualizing Stigma. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002, February). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. Retrieved from

Faculty of Health experts available to speak on mental health and stigma in youth. (2018, January 31). Retrieved from

Health, M. (2019, February 20). 5 Types of Mental Illness. Retrieved from

Hinsliff, G. (2019, January 04). Run, swim, cook: The new prescription for happiness | Gaby Hinsliff. Retrieved from

Mental disorders affect one in four people. (2013, July 29). Retrieved from

Mental Health & Stigma. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mental Health Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mental health problems (introduction). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from

Stigma and Discrimination Around Mental Health and Substance Use Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues. (2019, March 20). Retrieved from


"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Rosevere, Lee. “Let That Sink In.” Music For Podcasts, Happy Puppy Records, 20 March 2019, 

Week 12: Producing A Podcast

Now that I have made my final podcast, I can say that I had so much fun producing this. I have never in my life produced a podcast before, this was my very first time. At first at the beginning of the course I was very nervous because I underestimated myself and told myself, “Nataly what are you doing you don’t even know how to do this.” Then I was able to produce it and I am so proud of myself. I really hope the professor and anyone else that listens to it enjoys it because I put my heart and soul into it.

Not only did I learn so much on the topic I chose which is a very important topic, but I also learned how to put it all together through audacity which I also learned how to use. I also learned how to incorporate music with my audio which I struggled to figure out at first, but thankfully I was able to figure it out. Most importantly I had a lot fun and I feel so happy and satisfied with my work.

I definitely learned about the power of writing and how to conduct proper research through multiple different sources. I also learned how to properly cite my sources. I mean I always knew how to cite but I feel like I learned how to better cite my work that way I am certain I am not plagiarizing and using someone else’s work saying it’s my own when it is not. I also learned how to communicate my thoughts and my emotions on this important topic that I am sharing with everyone. Finally, I am so happy I took this course, despite all the times I doubted myself saying, “I can’t do it,” I can finally say now that I proved myself wrong and “I did it.” I am so thankful everything turned out well. I am also so thankful the prof was so generous, helpful and understanding towards the students. Thank you for a great semester.

Phase 3: Revenge of the Blog Posts

Podcast Transcript

In 2009, an online writer by the username of Snowqueen Icedragon (No, I’m not making that up), published a story on the site titled Master of the Universe. Now, you’re probably thinking of He-Man at this point, but you would actually be dead wrong. It was a story featuring characters from the popular Twilight series of novels that were out at the time. In it, everyone’s favourite borderline abusive couple, Edward and Bella, get even more abusive when they participate in some sexy time, which includes many forms of BDSM. 

So, why am I telling you all this? Because, Snowqueen Icedragon’s real name is Erika Leonard, but you might know her better as E.L. James. In 2011, she created a worldwide phenomenon by publishing the book Fifty Shades of Grey, in which a couple participates in sexy time, which includes many forms of BDSM. Sound familiar? Well it should, because she literally copied almost word for word her fanfiction, and then changed the character’s names around to avoid copyright. Now, the Fifty Shades series of novels and movies are some incredibly high best-sellers, with the first movie alone grossing $570 million worldwide. (IMDb, 2015) This right here, shows the power of fanfiction. 

(Show Intro)

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Mason Choffe, or you can call me Skullduke Archwyvern if that makes you feel better. Today, we’ll be discussing whether or not fanfiction can be described as a new form of criticism, and may turn out to be a more profitable and popular art form than films themselves. 

Or at least, that’s what Kay Riviera has to say. She briefly goes over this in her article for titled: Fanfiction and Alternative Worlds. (2018) Within this article, she talks about the history of fanfiction as a whole, and how it’s managed to come into the public eye so quickly. She also mentions how people write fanfiction not just to escape, but to also fix some wrongs that can’t be fixed by say, casting a black woman as Hermione in the stage version of Harry Potter. God knows that J.K. Rowling is attempting to do that. Next thing she’ll tweet out is that Dobby and Hagrid were secretly both werewolves the whole time. 

With Hollywood being filled with controversy nowadays, especially with things like the #MeToo movement, it’s not hard to feel like nothing will ever change or be fair. But with fanfiction, that can be different. She says that quote: “Fanfiction readers aren’t passive consumers but active participants in the creation of the content.” End quote. So what she’s essentially trying to tell us is that fanfiction authors and readers are different from most audiences of films or readers of regular books, because they simply care about the writing and wish to critique it so it can be fixed. 

Well, clearly this technique appears to be working, because as we mentioned earlier, Snowqueen Icedragon made over $500 million off of a movie based on a little side project she wrote. Which begs another question: is fanfiction becoming a new, profitable form of media? Well, in order to find out, we’ll have to explore the origins of fanfiction first. So, hold onto your keyboards, and let’s drop straight into this.

 Fanfiction, or fanfic, if you want to be short about it, is a bit difficult to really pin down in terms of origins. However, the earliest use of the phrase can be traced back to the late 1930s, when it was used as more of a derogatory term to distinguish between crude, amateurish science fiction works as opposed to more professional ones. (Tech Times, 2015) 

But, the first true fanfiction rise in popularity didn’t happen until the early 1960s, when a certain show about the final frontier inspired thousands of fans to write their own scripts and stories to hopefully one day be featured on the show, and were subsequently published in magazines related to the show. So yes, you once again have Star Trek to thank for starting the fandom craze. Wonder if any of those early fanfics had a Spock and Kirk romance. 

Believe it or not, I originally wrote that last part as a joke, but it was actually true! The first ever “slash” fanfic, which basically takes two characters that are often portrayed as heterosexual and place them within a same-sex relationship, was written between Kirk and Spock. Ah, those crazy Trekkies. 

Soon, as the decades passed, fanfiction became even more popular with a little invention titled the Internet. Websites like Archive of Our Own, Wattpad, and, where our good friend E.L. James would soon publish her own works, started becoming homes and outlets for thousands of writers to come and show off their writing to the world.

So, now that we know where fanfiction came from and what it means, we have to ask ourselves the question that Riviera poses: is fanfiction more than just a way of escaping? Well, on the one side, it certainly seems to have made enough to seem that way. We’ve already gone over how much money Fifty Shades of Grey has made within its lifetime of being in theatres and on DVD, but what about some other movies that are fanfiction-esque? I’m not talking about films based on actual fanfiction, like the upcoming film After which is based on a One Direction fanfiction starring Harry Styles. I mean more recent films that might, in all respects, qualify as fanfiction. 

Although what I’m talking about might seem confusing, film critic Drew Mcweeny wrote an article for HitFix after seeing the newest Muppets movie that came out in 2011, and called it quote “The greatest single piece of fanfiction he’d ever seen.” End quote. He went on further to state that mainstream media is slowly beginning to let filmmakers do this more and more often, letting their creative and fanboy juices flow when creating films. Quote “Spielberg has talked about how his frustrations at hearing that only English filmmakers could direct James Bond movies led to the creation of Indiana Jones, and Lucas was working out his love of Flash Gordon when he created Star Wars.  Those are healthy ways to work through your love of something, and absolutely make sense as important pieces in the creative process.  What’s scary is how these days, filmmakers wouldn’t bother with that last step, the part where you take your inspirations and run them through your own filter.  Now, instead, we live in an age where we are simply doing the source material again and again and again, and where original creation seems to be almost frowned upon as a “risk.”” End quote. (HitFix, 2011)

Perhaps original ideas in films are becoming more and more out of date and old-fashioned, but every adaptation like these can technically be seen as an original idea, changing the source material slightly in different ways to show how the filmmakers want to see things. The similarities between Flash Gordon and Star Wars are pretty clear, but they both still stand tall as their own, unique films.

So it’s pretty clear that filmmakers are being allowed to create films of their own design. Indeed, films like The Muppets, Indiana Jones, The Avengers, and in an ironic twist, J.J. Abrams Star Trek, bringing it all back to where fanfiction began. They may be seen as a tribute to the originals that they came from, or simply as a way of the filmmakers expressing how they wanted to see things happen. But this may not always be the best thing.

Remember that movie After I mentioned earlier? As I said before, it is based on a story that was written on Wattpad by a 24-year old mother of two named Anna Todd, where a girl falls in love with Harry Styles of One Direction fame. The story itself did well, earning publication by Simon and Schuster for a large sum of money. (The Daily Edge, 2018) Obviously, for the movie and book, they had to change a few things to avoid legal action. (Although it’s not that subtle, the boys name is Hardin.) But, when the film version was released, people were in an outrage over it, as it portrayed not-Harry Styles pushing the main female protagonist into doing drugs and drinking alcohol, as well as engaging in several sexual acts.

Now in todays wonderful society, I’m sure that everyone understood what the author was originally intending to do and loved the story for what it was. So yeah, after Twitter exploded like a bonfire of firecrackers after the first trailer was dropped, people began hating that their beloved Harry was associated with a story that basically glorified toxic and abusive relationships.  A love story that turns abusive and unconventional romances into acceptable ones? Where have we heard that before?

Obviously, the connection between Fifty Shades and After is clear as day. But this just shows the pitfalls that any adaptation of fanfiction can fall into. People on the internet can have a very different idea to what love is rather than most normal people. The BDSM community is a large one, and if you give people an outlet to publish their works privately, that’s fine. But when a very popular story featuring prominent scenes of BDSM gets published and turned into a worldwide phenomenon, that is when the line is crossed for most people. 

So, the question remains: should fanfiction be considered a profitable franchise? My answer? Yes, to an extent. 

As we’ve mentioned, fanfiction can be defined as many things, from an adaptation of an old source material, like a reboot or a remake of an old film or TV series, or an adaptation of a straight up book from the internet. When it’s the former, it’s considered to be an event, where it has the potential to become a blockbuster hit. But with the latter, there’s always the chance that the amateurish side of things can slip through the cracks. People like E.L. James and Anna Todd aren’t professional screenwriters, and they never intended their books to be films. But, the numbers don’t like with films like Fifty Shades

So, I suggest this: making films out of sources like these is fine, as long as you know your audience. Market it towards them so they know what they’re in for. I’m sure a lot of people are expecting After to be your typical romance film to take your high school girlfriend to, not knowing the controversy behind it. If you don’t market your film right, it can mean the difference between success and bombing hard at the box office. I don’t know about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of middle-aged, buff dudes weren’t lining up to watch their favourite Twilight fanfiction on the big screen.

Now, the second part of Riviera’s article mentions how fanfiction is used to right certain wrongs that have been taking place within the film industry, or just with the source materials in general. Mainly, she cites the series of Harry Potter prequel films, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. In the most recent film in the series, The Crimes of Grindelwald, one of the characters is a female named Nagini, who later in the main series of Harry Potter books and films, is transformed into a snake which is the pet of the Dark Lord and main baddie, Voldemort.

However, in this film, she is played by Claudia Kim, a South Korean actress. She says that this is a prime example of tone-deaf racism in Hollywood, since the only Asian in the entire cast plays the henchwoman to a villain. She also goes on to mention the recent sexual scandals and allegations that have been made to many different prestigious actors and producers in the industry, such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen, Dustin Hoffman, the list goes on and on.

With these influential creators and popular actors being accused of bad deeds left and right, it’s hard to consider what exactly is considered a more popular or acceptable source of entertainment. The debate of art vs. artist always rages when it comes to things like this, and can sometimes send the internet into an uproar. Is it better to be judged for who you are, or what you create? I think that for certain people, the legacy you leave through film or media is sometimes better than the one you leave in real life, and they should be remembered for that more than their actions. 

Returning to Fantastic Beasts, there was controversy when Johnny Depp was cast as the main villain of the film, Grindelwald, despite the recent accusations made by his former spouse, Amber Heard, about the abuse given to her by him. Even though there was an outrage from the public, filming continued, and J.K. Rowling expressed her approval at the casting of Depp.

From Rivera’s point of view, this problem is easily fixed with fanfiction. Imagine if someone rewrote the entire script of Crimes of Grindelwald and published it as a fanfic online. Some things would probably be changed. The casting of Depp would probably be the first to go, and would be replaced by someone like, say, Benedict Cumberbatch or Joaquin Phoenix. Fanfiction authors have the power to change what they wish about the subject matter they write about, and often do. However nowadays, Rowling seems to be doing that herself with her own books. 

With her recent revelation in an interview which stated that Dumbledore and Grindelwald used to be in an intense sexual relationship with each other, the internet has gone crazy over this new trend, spawning hundreds of rants and memes, some too NSFW to talk about on this podcast. But, she appears to be changing her own work in order to do the same thing that most fanfiction writers do: try and make things more diverse and more culturally acceptable. 

Is it wrong to change your own work after it has been published in order to make it more relevant and updated? Or should it be left to those on the internet? I think that there is a certain line to be crossed. Revealing certain backstories about a character is easy, anyone can do it. I could publish a story about how Hermione used to be a boy, and I’m sure someone would consider it canon in their minds. But when the actual creator reveals something like that, it automatically makes it canon for everybody who follows it. 

Fanfiction more uses this technique as a way of criticizing films and letting other people share their opinion so they can change it. However, we can’t exactly take a PDF of the first few Harry Potter books and edit them with Rowling’s newest additions to the canon, then republish them. So, either leave it as it is, or let the internet do their job. But, don’t let it be said that Rowling never recognized fanfiction. She actually read a fanfiction online that was a prequel series about Harry’s father, James, and pretty much considered it canon. Perhaps the internet is more influential than we previously thought. 

So, we’ve been through a whirlwind tour throughout the world of fanfiction, but what have we learned, exactly? We’ve learned that fanfiction has been around for longer than imagined, we learned that remakes and reboots are simply a new form of fanfiction, and that changing the canon can sometimes be affected by fanfiction. Truly the internet is a wonderful place. Even though the dark and ugly cracks can seep through sometimes, it will never change what it is at its core: a place for people to share and comment on ideas that may someday change what they are. Who says that nerds don’t know how to write? Thank you very much for listening to my podcast. This is Skullduke Archwyvern signing off.

Week Twelve

As the podcast construction is beginning to come to a close, I find myself taking a look back at what I went through to get to this point, and how creating a podcast was actually easier and harder in some areas than I previously thought. One of the first things that immediately popped into my head when I was creating my podcast was the fact that I had almost no idea how to run Audacity or edit audio, but when I actually took some tutorials and got used to the program, it was actually pretty easy to run, and didn’t require as much complex thought as I previously predicted.

Also, I’ve managed to find a lot of different methods to researching information for my topics. Namely, using keywords that are essential to any research I place within my podcast in order to search for it. Because of this, I can accurately find the exact research I need rather than just using fluff pieces that more fill up space rather than actually lending any information. For any person who is just starting their podcast, and for those who want to conduct research when it comes to professional writing, I think that I am well-equipped to handle anything that comes in the future.

Week Nine

As I construct my actual podcast, many sources have begun to stand out to me as useful concerning sources of information as well as allowing me to make sure that all of the information I use is correct and relevant to the topic at hand. One of them that I use extensively is Science Vs. It is a great example of how to run a podcast, and most of my podcast outline and template is based off of it. As a form of sources, I have constantly found that Forbes magazine and Entertainment Weekly both have several different articles on my topic, as well as how to actually run a podcast. I have cited these several different times when I’m planning out my actual script for my podcast.

Using these sources as so-called “characters” in my podcast could be done by simply citing them when I’m talking through my script. Introducing these sources, and then calling back to them later in the podcast would give the audience a sense of continuity as they listen to the podcast. Citing them through examples such as statistics that is given on their articles or through other cites lends to their credibility, and lets the audience know that they can trust them.

PHASE 3- The Final Countdown


Online transcript with reference list found here

Have you ever wondered what films like Black Panther do for today's society? Does it fade like a newspapers headlines, make a sequel to make more money, or does it inspire change for a better world where discrimination and injustice can no longer prosper? On today’s episode on Sherlock Uncovered, we will find out.

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Jessica Copetti, and in this episode we're talking about Hollywood’s Inclusion crisis through the blockbuster film, Black Panther.

When I was a much smaller nerdy kid, I used to go to the library every Friday after school to read comic books.

I would read Iron Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, The X-Men, even the not so popular Fantastic Four stories, you name it, I read it.

The library is a pretty cool place to escape reality, but for some people, it's just not that easy.

When Black Panther came to theatres on January 29, 2018, the world went bananas.

Everyone was talking about it: Marvel fans, talk show hosts, movie lovers, Chadwick Boseman lovers, male, female, black people, white people, EVERYONE was talking about it!

Black Panther spoke volumes to each and every person who feels alone in this society. Whether be a black person living in the the Bronx, New York or a white person living in Woodbridge, Ontario. Black Panther empowered millions of people to be a better, stronger individual.

And yet, has this film been perceived as just a film? Or a movement that has sparked change within people, artists, and the Hollywood industry itself?

Shanita Hubbard, a writer for The Huffington Post said in her article that “With ‘Black Panther,’ Disney and Marvel delivered much more than just a movie — they gave birth to a movement that’s still ongoing. We’re still celebrating its success, we’re still applauding its cast and crew and we’re still fantasizing about residing in the fictional utopia.”

I remember when the credits began to roll on the screen, as the lights turned on. The crowd cheered in applause before finally getting up from their seats.

In that moment, I realized Black Panther was not like any other superhero film. It touched more than heartstrings, it touched topics that may or may not have been fully dealt with. For instance, Hollywood's inclusivity crisis.

For years, Hollywood has been known for its “whitewashing” of roles.

From white actor Mickey Rooney’s yellowface role as a Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's to Johnny Depp playing a Native American in Lone Ranger.

Hollywood has been widely known for its traditional ways of making a film.

In 2015, a year after 12 Years a Slave won for Best Picture at the Oscars, the Academy received much controversy over their lack of black artists recognition.

Will Smith’s role in Concussion was a hot topic of discussion since his wife Jada Pickett Smith took to Instagram to call out Hollywood for their lack of inclusivity for not nominating her husband in the film, or even acknowledging his work in 2015.  

During the award show, many presenters made comments on the seemingly never-ending issue.

Amma Asante, the director of 2013’s period-drama Belle, stated in an interview after the show: “We've seen what have looked like breakthroughs in the past and they haven't been – what they've been is industry fads.”

Times like this resemble the 1988 Oscars where comedian Eddie Murphy gave a speech about black lives and the importance of recognition.

He said, “I’ll probably never win an Oscar for saying this – although the way it’s been going we’ve been winning one every 20 years, so we ain’t due one until about 2004 – I just feel that we have to be recognized as people. I’m going to give this award, but black people will not ride the caboose of society and we will not bring up the rear anymore. I want you to recognize us.”

Hollywood has quite a tough time finding common ground, and even some common sense, on the representation of vastly diverse backgrounds on screen.

In the article “The Globalization of Hollywood,”  Scott R. Olson suggests a way to break this tiring status-quo. In simplest of terms, to work in the industry one must do the following:

  1. Go into every project with an open mind.

  2. Work with people who are vastly different than you.

  3. Think before you produce.

The art of inclusion is truly a process that can’t seem to afford to skip any steps.

Like in the Forever 21 controversy; back in late December, the company used a white model to pose in a Black Panther sweater. Ouch.

Now to someone who believes in a perfect world, they would see nothing wrong with this.

However, many did when they took to social media to complain. It went viral and even had Forever 21 make a public apology.

If people can comment, spread their opinions, and eventually get a response as quickly as they did with this apology, perhaps the film itself sparked this sudden change in activism?

Hollywood in 2019 has become a place that no longer writes too white stories.

We live in a world where movies like Black Panther and BlakKklansman take center stage opposite of Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born.

Not one film is seen as better or more worth spending money over, as each film is critically acclaimed with their own hidden messages.

As said in the article “Hollywood's Appeasement of White Guilt,” writer Terri-Lynn Brennan expresses how the film industry enjoys glorifying real events to stir emotions and thoughts from their audience.

If we connect this to Black Panther, we can determine that the film plays on how black slavery and discrimination against the black community affected, and how it still affects, black families.

The film touches on topics that may be uncomfortable for some, but remain important in history as a learning opportunity for youth today.

As said in Variety magazine: “I think we’ve turned the tide,” Jordan Peele, the director of Get Out says in an interview. “It’s becoming clear that the country and the world is ready for protagonists and stories and ideas and points of view that haven’t been seen before.”

Now to get an outsiders opinion, after the break we will speak with a huge Black Panther fan and see if he believes the film's movement is still moving. Stay tuned.

Jess: Hello everyone and welcome back to Sherlock Uncovered, I am Jessica Copetti and I am here with Curtis Copetti, my interviewee. He is also my brother and a huge Marvel fan. Hello Curtis, how are you?

Curtis: I am doing pretty good, I am happy to be here.

Jess: Awesome, so before we start to cit chat I am going to ask you a few questions. I am going to start off with this one: So, while you were watching Black Panther in cinemas, the first time, sitting in your seat, watching Black Panther on the big screen, did you feel anything different? Was there anything that struck you halfway through the film? Any thoughts, feelings, motivations, anything at all?

Curtis: Well halfway through the film I was just thinking how amazing of a movie it was. One thing that really stood out was just the fact that even though the entire cast was all black, it didn't faze me at all. It was just another Marvel film and it was still just as amazing.

Jess: So the fact that you have this amazingly talented group of artists with different racial background, that didn't faze you at all.
Curtis: No.

Jess: You just saw them as regular artists in Hollywood.

Curtis: Exactly, they all made the movie really great; just another movie, another Marvel film basically.

Jess: Ok, so just another Marvel film. Some people may have something different (compared) to your opinion. I know personal friends who were when they saw the film, took so much empowerment. They haven't really seen this type of cast of different race or colour, they didn't see these kinds of actors in this style of film. This is a superhero film- action-adventure, sci-fi, very different in 2019, they really went into this film, going out of it thinking: “wow, the film industry is really upping their game.”  Did you also feel this way? Or did you see this as just a superhero film?

Curtis: Well I still felt that this was just another Marvel film. I thought, more than anything, that it created a more powerful movement for the fans and the future of Marvel. I thought this movie also creates a more step forward for future Marvel films. As for now, we can have more black and white artists in future films which will be just as amazing.

Jess: So you can say Marvel is trying to be more inclusive with their roles their giving to Hollywood artists.

Curtis: Yeah, absolutely.

Jess: Perfect, so moving on to the next question, after the movie, did you think this film would remain on this high of a pedestal as it still is now? Did you think this was going to be a movie where a lot of people are going to be talking about for a very long period of time?

Curtis: Well of course with every Marvel film that's released, there is always big hype that surrounds it, but I think for this film in general, I think just because it was a cast full of blacks as before it would be all of whites, this one, in particular, would create more, as I said before, a positive movement for any future films. Which I think is the best thing for Marvel in general, ‘cause now it's including a bigger, wider variety for the fans and for allowing them to think “Oh well this is a step forward for Marvel and for the future.”  

Jess: So before we move forward, I’m noticing that you keep referring to the actors that portray these characters as “blacks,” now would you say that they are different or do you think they are the same; I am human, and I personally believe that we all have our own individuality, but we are all connected through humankind. Now you’re saying “blacks,” would you like to expand on that, is there any thoughts or opinions you’re releasing to that?

Curtis: Well personally I think that everybody has their own opinion on that matter, but what I believe is that yes, we will all be looking at it as blacks and whites on screen, but once the movie starts, we all look at them as superheroes. We all look at them as “one” in general. And I think that is the biggest thing for these films that Marvel produces, we don't look at them as a race, we look at it as “oh these are the superheroes for Marvel” and that is what we all should be looking at it as, not as one specific race but a hero in general.

Jess: I agree with that, I know I have been in discussions where, with friends, and they are very political and they are discussing where it was Black History Month in February, and the film was playing in February, and that in itself had this huge impact in modern culture where we have this film, a cast of black actors, during black month, here it is, let's talk about it. Do you think this was its own secret weapon where it was able to discuss these vulnerable issues in terms of racial discrimination, slavery, incoherent messages between the typical white privileged make/female versus the middle-class black African American, do you think this film was a way to open up those discussions that some people found it hard to talk about in modern culture?     

Curtis: Well, for sure as a Marvel fan there is always a message in every single film that is produced and for many in the past, unfortunately, it has been surrounding all whites and you see that in those films. But in this one in particular released in February, Marvel knew exactly what it was doing and released it to the fans, and they knew they had a bigger community out there and used a black cast, and that was what they were trying to prove. That everyone in themselves are heroes.

Jess: And just a last question before you go, would you say this film sparked a cultural movement?

Curtis: For just Marvel in general?

Jess: No for Black Panther, do you think this film sparked something?

Curtis: Absolutely, I believe that this movie, has; we have seen what this movie has done, the awards speak for themselves, and so does the community as much as they have promoted this film. I also believe this film has created such a movement that is also inspiring young actors, and that we don't see each other as one particular race but as one, and that is the most important message this movie has produced in terms of the positive movement it has done.

Jess: Do you hope to see more films where they have such an impact as Black Panther? Where they include different orientations, racial background, religions, to go really in-depth with the diversity?

Curtis: I believe this movie was a step forward in the right direction for sure. I believe that in the future there will be a broader creation of the races in these films where they don't just have blacks and whites, but having all the races come together in the future of Marvel movies.

Jess: How about Hollywood, do you think Hollywood as well?

Curtis: Hollywood probably would, because Marvel is just as popular and will continue to create movies like this in the future.

Jess: Thank you so much for your time, Curtis.

Curtis: No problem.

Alright back in my studio, that was Curtis Copetti, my brother, thanks again Curtis for coming.

So to conclude with this lovely podcast, I just wanted to quickly discuss Black Panther with you, the listener. Black Panther is yes a superhero film but it is more than that, it is a movement, it is a call for change to impact youth today. Gone are the days where we used to bash an eye to someone who didn't look like us, or have the same opinions as us, or had the same thoughts as us. No, this year is 2019 and it's all about inclusivity and this movie, as amazing and as impactful as it was, was a calling for action. I believe Hollywood has noted this response and just as we talked about, is aware of this amount of love that has been received through this film, through Marvel fans, and through people who just wanted to see someone who looked like them on screen. This film is going to change the way we look and critique films. I really hope that this also be continued in future years, making crucial and critical changes that many may or may not have been aware of before. Again, this film is all about digging deeper and discovering was it be uncovered. So that wraps up Sherlock Uncovered, this podcast this evening, thank you all so much for listening, and I wish you all a powerful day tomorrow, and forever and ever. I am Jessica Copetti, and this is Sherlock Uncovered.

The End


(WEEK 12 )

Producing a podcast is harder than it looks. I am in no means a technology lover, and found this project quite challenging. To edit in audio for my my podcast was the most fun I’ve had during the process. I enjoyed researching and listening to good instrumental music that would best accompany my discussions. Likewise, I loved interviewing and trying to get the answers I wanted from my interviewee. I would write down suggested questions I knew I wanted answered, but as the conversation went on, I would think of new questions and ask those instead. The art of staying present and being in the moment really shined through during this project, and encouraged me to go with the flow while staying true to my centred topic. I learned that staying concise in my transcript is crucial for any podcast/audio work. To be as clear as possible is necessary for your audience and listeners to understand. My abilities as a writer were tested during the process of creating my transcript, and I have learned to always try to edit down a sentence to be as natural and unbiased. Overall, I learned so much about myself through the creation of my podcast, and have come to appreciate the artform more now than I ever thought I would have.


As I am beginning to get ready to record my podcast, I am going over the sources I find useful to include. Some of these sources I have always had since the first phase of this project, and some I have recently discovered.

The first source is an online magazine article from Variety Fair titled Despite Dollars in Diversity, Hollywood Still Averse to Making, found at This article examines how Hollywood is treating black films, like Black Panther, and questions if it truly receives the same treatment as a white film, like A Star is Born. The article connects to my podcast through the questions the writer (Lopez) asks the reader. For example: Is Black Panther enough to change the way Hollywood makes its films? In my podcast, I want to answer this question as clearly as possible, drawing on the Forever 21 controversy over a white model wearing a Wakanda sweater and how that small act impacted many fans/the black community. This article I found at Cosmopolitan, titled Forever 21 Just Apologized for Using a White Model to Sell a 'Black Panther' Sweater. Retrieved from I also want to answer this question using a fan’s voice; what a fan of the movie thought about the message the film was trying to convey, and if it was enough to cause a movement.

A second source I found very helpful was discovered on JSTOR, titled Hollywood's Appeasement of White Guilt at The online book touches base on Hollywood facts, interviews, analyzations, and budgets from past films to show the lack of diversity in the industry. In the book, the writers argue that 21st-century films have come a long way since How to Kill a Mockingbird, where the film industry produces black stories and has more black representation through actors, writers, costume designers, lighting designers, directors, and so forth. The book connects to my podcast well, as it examines what has been done in the past and how that affects the future of filmmaking. In my podcast, I will examine how much of a shift the movie impacted the industry- using another JSTOR article I found titled, The Globalization of Hollywood ( ventures-of-huckleberry-finn) to back up the JSTOR book’s information. The Globalization of Hollywood is an article that proves Hollywood films make big impacts on people’s lives, depending on what stories are being told. It is in my podcast that I will try and prove that Black Panther is a film that has made such an impact on the black community, as well as helped Hollywood become more inclusive.

Some of my sources will stand out as a secondary character in my podcast. Through the information I will provide for my readers, will highlight these articles/opinion pieces as the source of where I am finding my conclusions. I will introduce every source I use to prove my argument by stating the article’s title, author, and where I found it. Through introducing my findings to the listeners, will prove that I have done the proper research and make myself credible to my thoughts. Sources, in my opinion, are the key to new (self-made) discoveries. Without sources, we will never come up with our own opinions that are inspired by these concepts. The writers who come up with their own arguments/thesis through writing are just as credible as a speaker saying their opinions to a crowd of people. Sources are a secondary character when used in a podcast, and with the right introductory and transition from one source to the next, will prove to be successful.

Phase Two

Week Five:

When it comes to finding sources to use for an assignment or project, there are different types of sources you’ll come across. One source you’ll find is a “popular” source. In comparison to a scholarly source, this source wasn’t written with the projection of being used for scholarly purposes and was created more so for the purpose of popular consumption. “Popular” sources can range from journalism, social media, and independent blogs. Even though popular sources aren’t intended for scholarly purposes, they can be found useful as they are easy to find, typically user friendly, provide the opinions of others and not all are unreliable.

With any source such as a “popular” source, you need to use effective methods to evaluate the credibility of it and one method would be to use the PARCA test. This test makes you question and evaluate the purpose, authority, relevance, accuracy and currency of a popular source which in the end allows you to make a conclusion on if it's credible or not.

A keyword can be defined as a word or concept of great significance. In the context of sources, using a keyword helps you identify the main concept of your topic, and becomes the main focus of what your search results will bring up therefore providing you with research that is based around solely what you are looking for. Some keywords I’ve been utilizing among multiple search engines for my blog have been health, wellness and others based around that.

Week Six:

Trying to find scholarly resources about my topic has proven to be quite difficult as it's such a broad topic that not many people are discussing in scholarly articles. Many of the resources that i've been able to find have been mainly either people trying out wellness trends and their results, or the discussions/debunking of these trends and how they usually aren’t actually improving your life and health quality, but, they aren’t scholarly.

As I mentioned earlier, finding scholarly resources which are sources that are written by experts in certain fields, has proven to be difficult, but I did manage to find two.  My podcast will be mainly focusing on how damaging many of these health trends are, and how people fall for them with the use of celebrity influencers such as Gwyneth Paltrow etc. By using keywords such as Gwyneth Paltrow and wellness I was able to find my first source. The first one I found is a journal called Wellbeing, a macro lens,  written by Anni Hood, and it covers the growing trend of wellness, the industry as a whole, different types of trends etc. This has proven to be useful to me because it shows me more of the industry side of the wellness trend rather than the biased opinions of others.

The Second scholarly resource that I found was a case study by Keerthana Kesavarapu, Mitchell Kang, Jaewook James Shin, and KennethRothstein, where they wrote about detox teas in their case study Yogi Detox Tea: A Potential Cause of Acute Liver Failure.  In the case study, they follow a 60 year old and her symptoms after taking a detox tea that was unregulated by her health physician. This source is rather important to me because it talks about detox teas, which are almost seen daily in today’s society due to the growing wellness trend. I Was able to find this source on google scholar by using terms such a detox and teas.


Hood, A. (2018). Wellbeing – a macro lens. International Journal of Spa and Wellness, 1(1), 100-105. doi:10.1080/24721735.2018.1438570

Keerthana Kesavarapu, Mitchell Kang, Jaewook James Shin, and Kenneth Rothstein, “Yogi Detox Tea: A Potential Cause of Acute Liver Failure,” Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine, vol. 2017, Article ID 3540756, 4 pages, 2017.

Week Seven:

A few weeks ago while doing research for my podcast, I actually came across many of these types of sources, mainly industry and institutional, and found them to be quite useful. Many of these sources focus mainly on statistics and numbers, aka quantitative data, which has helped me grasp certain details about the wellness industry such as how large it actually is, how much money it brings in etc. I believe these types of resources really help strengthen and support your claims as utilizing statistics makes it hard to argue against and makes you more believable which in turn makes the listener trust what you’re saying and further helps prove your points.

During my research I came across the global wellness institute, which is basically an online database solely surrounding the wellness industry. It has a vast amount of reports varying from wellness tourism, wellness communities, etc. The reports I chose to focus on mostly were those about the wellness global economy. From this report, I was able to find statistics and graphs such as:

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 3.52.33 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 3.59.06 PM.png

These types of statistics would be helpful for me to give an idea to my listeners how big the wellness market actually is. This website also has an area dedicated solely to the types of wellness trends that are emerging seen in the photo below:

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 4.04.50 PM.png

In my final podcast, I will definitely be using sources such as these to further support my claims and arguments thus giving them some strength and credibility. Sources like this shouldn’t be overlooked as they add a lot of value to your final product.


Week Eight:

Podcast outline:

Phase Two

Blog 5 - What The Heck is a Primary Source?

From what I know, a popular source is a credible source that has not been published for scholarly purposes and has not undergone peer-review. What separates the popular sources from the scholarly is their inherent bias that can go unchecked by the average reader. As with anything commodified, popular sources have an idea that is being sold. Therefore, the average researcher has to be aware of these biases going into their analysis of the source. With this in mind, I set out to find some books at my most recent trip to Indigo.

I know what you’re thinking: why buy a book? My answer to you is two-fold: buying the books helps support Indigenous authors and shows a consumer demand for Indigenous literature. Since I had the means to buy the books, I was more than happy to purchase! Also, I am a literary goblin who owns way too many books. Naturally, this means I’m always happy to add more (and more, and more… and more) to my collection. Anyways, I digress.

The Indigo at Yorkdale had a small shelf showcasing Indigenous authors. While a great deal of the books were fiction or children’s books, I found two great popular sources for my podcast topic: My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle and 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph.

My Conversation with Canadians is a collection of essays that recount conversations she’s had with real Canadians over the years. It begins with one question Maracle heard in 19__, and the many ways she has tried to answer it over her years as a writer and speaker. This popular source has given me insight on the Indigenous experience and how Indigenous people relate to settlers like me.

While I may not have had the chance to read 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act yet, it was written by an industry professional who’s life’s work is to create space for Indigenous people in the work place. This source is extensively researched, therefore I plan to use it when I mention the Indian Act in my podcast. I know I can take the information in this popular source at face value and use the bibliography to find other helpful sources. Speaking of credibility…

You can establish a source’s credibility in variety of ways. One helpful way I have checked a source’s credibility is by reading credible reviews on it. If the reviews are from reputable publications such as the Washington Post or the New York Times, it is likely that the source has some merit in the public sphere. Another method of establishing credibility is by searching a source for references: these can be in the form of a works cited/bibliography, hyperlinks or footnotes. You can also research an author and see what critics have mentioned about them, as well as investigate their area of expertise: a great place to find out some of this information is at the back of the book.  Often times, authors will write an “About Me” paragraph and have links to their respective websites and social media.

With these ideas in mind, it is also important to scan popular sources and research them with keywords. “But what is a keyword?” you may ask. Fear not, because I have a vaguely coherent definition that will make sense of it all. A keyword us a word or small phrase of importance that allows a researcher to navigate databases for specific information. In my research, some of the keywords I have compiled are:

  • Indigenous culture

  • First Nations

  • Indigenous

  • Reconciliation

  • Tangible/Intangible culture

  • National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

  • Treaties in Canada

  • Indigenous law

  • Colonizer

Blog 6 - Sources of the Scholarly Persuasion

I have found two helpful scholarly sources/databases for my research: the York Libraries Research Guide on First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Canada and the Windsor Secondary Research Guide on First Nations Cultures in Canada. I came across the York libraries guide based off Professor Bell’s walk-through in tutorial, and was thrilled to find an extensive section on Indigenous Studies. It was actually through this York guide that I found the Windsor Secondary Research guide.

My experience with searching with keywords opened my eyes to the importance of the right database. I chose the keywords “culture” and “reconciliation.” I used the “and” boolean operator to make sure the sources that came up pertained to both these subjects. Then, I set out to find a good and a bad database.

I checked the York Libraries Research Guide and found the Bibliography of Native North Americans Database. When I put my keywords into this EBSCO database, I got articles that pertained to my podcast. Some the themes I came across in the articles were residential schools, social impact, theraputic work and apologizing. While I haven’t had the time to dig into these articles, the key subjects outlines in the abstract worked for what I was looking for.

After finding this gem, I used EBSCO to find another database. I came across the Historical Abstracts database, which sounded like a broad yet relevant choice for my topic. However, what I found was far from my topic and heavily-biased towards the colonizer experience. The articles varied in their topical country; I saw articles about Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile and Japan to name a few. However, they covered topics such as the post-WWII relationship between Japan and Germany and the “forced” democracy of Chile. This database seemed heavily biased towards the North American depiction of history, leaving the Indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada out of their narratives.

Blog 7 - Digging into Sources

I can think of many uses for institutional, government and industry sources in my research for my podcast. For my own reference, I am going to break down the subcategories of the question and explain where I can go for what kinds of information.

Government Sources

One of the most useful government sources for any kind of cultural research is Statistics Canada. There are two major uses for statistics: to extrapolate from and make your own claim, or to back up claims from a popular source. An example of how this information has helped my research is when researching Indigenous language in Canada. Upon examining recent censuses of households in Toronto, I had tangible data to help me prove how scarce Indigenous language is in the cultural landscape of a “multicultural” city.

Institutional Sources

There are a couple of uses for institutional sources that I would like to explore. The first source I would like to look into is the Ontario elementary school curriculum regarding Indigenous peoples. As we discussed in class, Indigenous peoples are often described as tribal people of past. We are taught from a young age to think of Indigenous culture and peoples in the past tense, and it would be of great interest to my podcast to see how the school curriculum outlines the depiction of Indigenous Canadians. The other institutional source I plan on using is York’s very own website. I have already scoped out the Indigenous Studies faculty page and found a professor who can provide valuable insight into my topic. According to her bio, Dr. Maggie Quirt’s research focuses on “Northern residential schools; reconciliation and restitution; human rights of Indigenous peoples; legacies of settler colonialism”. Since she is well-versed in my topic, I am going to reach out to Dr. Quirt and see if she can point me in the direction of some good resources and advise me on some key points I should hit in my narrative.

Industry Sources

In the context of my opinion piece, the industry pertaining to my topic would be the culinary/food industry. These sources could provide an interesting launching point for me to begin talking about issues of Indigenous culture. Since food is deeply connected with culture, investigating sources such as Culinary Trends Magazine or Bon Appetit magazine can help me illustrate the types of erasure and regulations Indigenous cuisine is under. According to George Brown College, these magazines are reliable trade magazines that outline current trends and information in the culinary profession. From there, I can expand on the topic of Indigenous cultural erasure by using food as the tip of the iceberg of the myriad of issues surrounding the topic of Indigenous culture and its portrayal in Canada.

Blog 8 - Episode Outline

Find the episode outline here

Sources are here

Phase 2

WEEK 8: Episode Outline


Sexual violence cases in the criminal justice system

Opinion Piece:

Survivors of sexual violence are let down by the criminal justice system – here’s what should happen next by Simon McCarthy-Jones

Focus Question:

What are the effects of the criminal justice system on sexual violence survivors?


Unfortunate as it is, sexual violence is rampant in our society today, and has been for centuries. Now that it is possible for justice to be served, action must be taken in order to ensure that sexual violence survivors are treated fairly and sensitively in the criminal justice system. Assault is incredibly traumatizing, and it should make no difference whether the victim is a child, adolescent or adult, or whether the assault produced physical injuries or not. Assault is assault, and the statistics recorded of sexual violence cases that go unreported are high enough to make it clear that there is an evident issue in the way these cases are treated in the criminal justice system, and the negative effects it is having on survivors as a result. 

Counter argument- What about the victims who lie, and innocent people are sent to prison because of it. Why should the system be amended to benefit liars and risk the lives of the innocent. 

Episode Breakdown:

Topic 1: Discusses the way victims are treated currently in the justice system (especially adolescent) and defines re-traumatization, etc. Mentions specific cases (such as girl who had her under garments used as evidence in court as proof of her “consent”)

-Mainstreet with Bob Murphy; interview with law professor Elaine Craig (author of “Putting Trials on Trial”) about revicitmization and retraumitization in the criminal justice system 

Topic 2: Discusses why many cases are not reported (focus on initial reporting (problems with officers bias i.e. “real rape”)

Topic 3: Interview with anonymous sexual violence survivor, explains why she decided not to enter the criminal justice system with her case

Topic 4: Solutions… there may be hope yet, i.e. new idea of “restorative justice” for certain offences such as sexual assault/ new mentalities for officers in relation to the ways in which they define sexual violence.

Topic 5: Conclusion, leaves listeners with something to think about (ie problems with the system and brainstorming of ways it must change)

Work Cited

Feeney, Hannah, et al. “Do You Wish to Prosecute the Person Who Assaulted You?: Untested Sexual Assault Kits and Victim Notification of Rape Survivors Assaulted as Adolescents.” Victims & Offenders, vol. 13, no. 5, July 2018, pp. 651–674. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15564886.2018.1426668.                       

 Greeson, Megan R., and Rebecca Campbell. “Coordinated Community Efforts to Respond to Sexual Assault.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 30, no. 14, Sept. 2015, pp. 2470–2487. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0886260514553119.

 Keenan, Marie, and Estelle Zinsstag. “Restorative Justice and Sexual Offences: Can »changing Lenses« be Appropriate in This Case Too?” Monatsschrift Fuer Kriminologie Und Strafrechtsreform, vol. 97, no. 1, Feb. 2014, pp. 93–106. EBSCOhost,   

 Kennedy, Kieran M. “The Relationship of Victim Injury to the Progression of Sexual Crimes through the Criminal Justice System.” Journal of Forensic & Legal Medicine, vol. 19, no.6, Aug. 2012, pp. 309–311. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2012.04.033.

 Kerstetter, Wayne A. “Gateway to Justice: Police and Prosecutorial Response to Sexual Assaults against Women.” Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, vol. 81, no. 2, Summer 1990, pp. 267–313. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/114 


Taking a closer look at institutional sources such as York’s academic calendar as well as government sources are definitely useful for this particular project. Not only are these sources credible, it is also a great starting point to gather more information on my topic and possible directions to proceed in with my podcast episode. It also highlights information available to the public that some listeners may already be familiar with. Using the knowledge of such available information and expanding on it in order to educate listeners further on the topic is an effective use for these types of sources.

As for my topic for this assignment, while I do believe that government and even institutional sources may be helpful resources, I think industry sources such as statistics would be the most essential sources when attempting to prove a point to a listener. Using a logos approach by stating facts is definitely an effective method when it comes to the episode I want to produce and achieving its goal. It is easy to provide listeners with an opinion and talk at them about such views, but at the end of the day using credible sources and providing them with reputable facts that they can’t deny is the most effective method of ensuring they reevaluate their opinion of the topic by the end of the episode. 



In a world where everything is at our fingertips, one thing that is available to everyone is something called a “popular source”. These sources are in the forms of social media, journalism, and even blog posts like the one you’re reading now. The great thing about this sources is that they can be find by anyone, and useful to anyone. Just because they are popular sources does not imply that they are unreliable, but they are not necessarily meant to be used for scholarly purposes. For our uses with this podcast, I believe that popular sources are a great way to start collecting information about a topic and then continuing onto scholarly sources to expand our knowledge and create a great episode. 

 As for evaluating a sources credibility, there are many methods. One method is called the PARCA Test, which can be found very easily through York’s website. This test helps to evaluate a source based on a series of questions regarding it. And conveniently, the questions are related to the words in the PARCA acronym; Purpose, Authority, Relevance, Currency, and Accuracy. When it comes to a sources purpose, we should ask ourselves about why the resource exists, and if the author(s) have any sort of bias or intentions that could possibly make the source less useful to us. As for authority of a source, this questions both the author and their qualifications to write about the topic, as well as drawing attention to the publisher of the source. Relevance refers to whether or not the information in the source is even related to the topic, and if so what viewpoint it provides. Currency is important as it refers to how recently this source was published, and if it is a true depiction of the topic and up to date on all current findings. Lastly, accuracy, important for any source. This refers to evidence that the source includes to back up their viewpoints, as well as searching to see if the source is peer-reviewed and grammatically correct. 

 Keywords are incredibly important in the research process in order to find the most suitable sources for the topic. A keyword is what we put into search engines in order to efficiently find the best source for our purposes. For my topic, key words are very important in order to sift through the loads of broad information about sexual violence in the justice system. Without the perfect key words, we waste valuable time looking through sources that will never be what we need them to be, no matter how badly we wish they were. Taking time to brainstorm the right key words will save us effort and frustration in the long run. 

Phase II:

Week V: The Source Awakens

In lecture, Professor Bell touched on four different types of sources from which we could accrue information. As she mentioned, a popular source is generally written for the consumption of the public, be it to inform, persuade, motivate or otherwise. Popular sources come in various forms including but not limited to Blogs, Organization websites, Social media, Popular books, etc. Popular sources are not originally intended for use by academics for scholarly purposes. This, however, doesn’t mean they are always unreliable or unfit for use as a resource for academic researchers, like us.

The PARCA method -which stands for Purpose, Authority, Relevance, Currency, and Accuracy- helps evaluate a popular source’s credibility. Acknowledging the biases of the author, the platform and the company they represent is a good way to establish the credibility of a popular source. A good way to ensure that you are getting a complete and thorough look at an issue you are researching is to use multiple sources of different types.

When used efficiently, keywords -terms with certain relevance to a topic- optimize the results that search engines can provide us. Sources that have an abundance of keywords relevant to your topic are helpful as a starting point to research as you build upon your piece and to verify credibility. Some keywords I have used whilst working on this podcast topic are: genome editing, Bio-hacking, bioethics, CRISPR CAS/9, and eugenics. This particular piece benefits from investigation into particular people who are heavily involved in the field, I have used their names as keywords in my research as well: Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna, He Jiankui, Josiah Zayner and Aaron Traywick.


Ash SK

Phase 2

Week 6

Two scholarly sources that I have found useful during my research are Copyright and the Commercialization of Fanfiction by Jacqueline D. Lipton and How Christina Lauren Went From Fanfiction Fame To 14 Bestsellers by Hayley C. Cuccinello. The former discusses, as the name would suggest, copyright law in relation to the commercialization, and offers a lot of background information on fanfiction (especially commercial fanfiction), copyright law, and the fair use clause, as well as how fanfiction interacts with copyright law. As an article published in the Houston Law Review, I can be sure that it has accurate information on the legal side of things. The latter is a summary of a pair of authors’ (Christina Hobbes and Lauren Billings, writing together under the pen name Christina Lauren) journey from Twilight fanfiction authors to professionals, which offers some insight into what it’s like for the authors who do manage to publish their fanfiction commercially, as well as what leads fans of a series to write fanfiction that changes elements of the source text to suit their image of what should have happened. Both sources have been very useful into putting together arguments both for and against fanfiction as a concept, as well as the purpose behind it.

Depending on what criteria I put into my searches, I found everything from articles on copyright law to actual fanfiction, the latter of which… really isn’t very helpful as a research tool. I’ve learned you need to be very careful with your search terms, or you’ll end up with articles you really don’t want!

Until next week!

Kate S

Week 8

Topic: Fanfiction

Opinion piece: Kay Rivera; “Fanfiction and Alternate Worlds”

Focus question: What is the purpose of fanfiction? Is it legally defendable under the fair use clause?

Significance/so what/stakes: There are currently authors making huge amounts of money by publishing fanfiction; if this is not covered under fair use (and also goes against the purpose of fanfiction) then these authors are in fact committing crimes.

What is the story I’m telling? The opinion piece discusses fanfiction’s use as a means of working past issues with the creators as people, or disappointing canonical material. Both of these topics are things that almost anyone who is a fan of anything or anyone has dealt with at one point or another, and will be able to understand the feelings of those who decide to take matters into their own hands, so to speak.

Major and minor points:

-        An example of the issue; EL James’s profits off a fanfiction with the names changed

-        What this means: Is this the purpose of fanfiction? Is it even legal to make money like this?

-        A description of what fanfiction is

-        Anecdote of my own experience with fanfiction

-        What is the general public opinion on fanfiction? What purpose does it serve? Is it legal?

-        How will this effect fans and authors in the future?