MAS 104 – Australian media


Germaine Greer claims”People who like watching torture will tune in regularly to see a table dancer, an air steward, a hairdresser, a medical rep and a website designer struggling with the contradictions inherent in having simultaneously to bond with and betray perfect strangers. ” It seems that Greer was surprised that people with such mundane credentials could be interesting to others, and have celebrity potential. Secondly she failed to se that bonding and betraying is fascinating not because it’s contrived, but because it’s profoundly human – common in family, social and working lives.

The inherent conservatism of her repulsion at the spectacle of “ordinary” people appearing on the screen unsupervised by academic experts and highbrow documentary-makers is illustrated by her anti-feminist comments. Remarking on Sara-Marie she adds “If the Australian public continues with its policy of voting off the most foul-mouthed, ill-mannered contestants, the next one evicted tonight will be the tragically slutty stripper Sara-Marie… ” The clumsy slide between strip club manager and stripper speaks volumes.

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Occupation aside, Sara-Marie is condemned as a “slut” because she is honest about her desires, comfortable with her body, and unpretentious around men. However, suburban Australian girls around the country are undaunted by the bourgeois sneering that has been directed Sara-Marie’s way. There is little doubt that if it came down to a contest between a moralizing academic feminist and a twenty two year old in pink bunny ears, Sara-Marie would get their role model vote.

It can be seen that Celebrities are ordinary people like Sara-Marie rendered extraordinary through media coverage. However it takes more than coverage. The ordinary need to have some extraordinary qualities in order to win over the nation. While all of the participants received just as much coverage as Sara Marie, none were more popular. Sara-Marie’s emergence from the Big Brother house saw her transition from an ordinary Perth girl to a full-blown celebrity with a large fan base.

After leaving the Big Brother house, She became an icon and favorite celebrity for thousands of fans Australia-wide. She was nominated in a national television magazine as one of the ten “most influential women on Australian TV in 2001”. During 2001, Sara-Marie signed a deal with Harry M Miller personality management, marketing and sponsorship consultancy. This group would work as her agent setting up promotions with companies such as ‘The Capital Group’, who would organize tours of Perth during Easter.

Sara-Marie has written an agony aunt column in The Daily Telegraph, recorded the song I’m So Excited with the Sirens and selected music for Sara-Marie’s Bum Dance Album for BMG Records. She has appeared on countless television programs, and also starred in the Big Brother Pantomime, which raised over half a million dollars for the Starlight Foundation. Since leaving the house Sara-Marie has also produced a Sara-Marie pyjamas distributed through Holeproof, and written a top selling book, ‘the Sara-Marie Guide to Life.

‘ Sara-Marie is the proud Ambassador for the charity CanTeen and will again be the face of ‘Bandana Day’ this year. She joined the Ten Network in 2002 with her first assignment as a reporter for Totally Wild. Sara-Marie also returned to the Big Brother house that made her a celebrity to participate in Celebrity Big Brother for Charity for Network Ten. In addition to ongoing television appearances, Sara-Marie is a regular contributor to Total Girl magazine whose circulation is climbing to over 80, 000 copies and has only been on the stands since November 2002.

Sara-Marie maintains her huge appeal to the children’s market and has embarked on a new path in 2003 with an extension into youth related issues such as drink driving and a public health campaign. Sara-Marie is now truly living like a celebrity. Although the traditional celebrated figures were those who had a particular talent, achievement or extraordinary quality such as acting, singing or dancing, Sara-Marie has shown that even an ordinary girl from Perth can be a celebrity. Celebrities are people the public are interested in.

Traditionally the public celebrated those that had a particular talent, achievement or extraordinary quality. However recently exemplified in the reality television phenomena, celebrity status can occur simply from exposure. Sara-Marie went into the Big Brother house a strip club manager from Perth with high hopes, and can out to a large fan base, record deals, sponsorship, and a huge appeal to the women and children market. Sara-Marie has shown that ordinary people with extraordinary qualities can be celebrities.

Bibliography Websites:

http://www. smh. com. au/articles/2002/07/22/1027332344751. htm www. angelfire. com/movies/mypics2/ australian_big_brother. htm  www. geocities. com/sacchi_80/sara-marie. htm  www. hostultra. com/~bigbrotheronline/news. htm www. popmatters. com/tv/reviews/ b/big-brother-australia. html  www. theage. com. au/entertainment/ 2001/05/31/FFXFYKREDNC. html www. theage. com. au/articles/2002/ 10/07/1033538888888. html old. smh. com. au/news/0107/16/entertainment/ entertain21. html members. tripod. com/saramarie_fans/ www. angelfire. com/movies/mypics2/smbc. htm Articles:

Roscoe, Jane. 2001, “Real Entertainment: New Factual Hybrid Television” in media International Australia, No. 100, August 2001, pp. 9-20  Bell, Phillip. 2001, “Real New Formats of Television: Looking at Big Brother”, in Media International Australia, No. 100, August 2001, pp. 105-114  Turner, Graeme;Bonner, Frances and Marshall, P. David. 2000, Fame Games:The Production of Celebrity in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-23.


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