Weekly Rewind: March 9
We've trawled the world wide web to bring you this week's weird & wonderful stories, from Barbie's 'Sheroes' to creepy cackling bots & Kim Kardashian's feminist emojis.
5. Harry Potter and the Mysterious Absence of Black Actors in Leading Roles
The 2017 #OscarsSoWhite controversy seemed like a wake-up call for the film industry, but one year on, there's still a paucity of black actors in films and TV shows. As reported in the Guardian, a London activist group, Legally Black, has been highlighting the issue this week with a brilliant fly-postering campaign, in which famous movie posters, including Titanic, Harry Potter and The Inbetweeners, were recreated with black people in the leading roles and stealthily stuck up around bus-stops in Brixton, south London. Although the posters were swiftly removed, the campaign gained huge exposure on social media - so fingers crossed this will help bring about a much-needed change.
4. Kimoji Kontroversy
In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, Kim Kardashian released a special edition of her Kimojis which included feminist slogans like “nasty woman” and “my body, my choice” in pink and red lettering. The message behind the campaign is the same powerful one that promotes gender equality and female empowerment that has been at the centre of the feminist movement over the past year or so. However, not everyone is on board with Kim’s newest collection.
As the BBC reports, the social media backlash has been swift, with many accusing Kim of cynically using the feminist movement as an opportunity to make money. Others think that the feminist message is a legitimate one, but their issue is with who is delivering the message; Kim is not the ideal role model, some say, and women and girls should be looking up to women at the head of social movements or women who overcame real struggles. Either way, all the kontroversy only looks set to boost sales and swell the Kardashian koffers...
3. McDonald's seizes golden marketing opportunity for IWD
Another International Women's Day ploy came courtesy of Maccy D's, which grabbed headlines with its simple but effective idea to flip the iconic golden arches upside-down. As reported in the Independent, the fast food giant turned its logo from 'M' into 'W' across social media, as well as at a physical branch in the Lynwood, California, in order 'to honour women everywhere'. Not everyone was impressed, though. One commentator billed it a "cheap PR stunt", while another asked when the chain was going to start paying its employees a living wage.
2. Alexa has the last laugh
While some owners of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices have been experiencing terrifying technical difficulties, the device itself appears to be having a grand old time. According to The Verge, the AI system has a glitch that can cause Alexa to randomly laugh, which has been frightening to those who own the system. Several reports emerged of people recall relaxing in their homes, only to hear an unfamilar, high pitched laugh coming from Alexa.
Amazon attributes the dysfunction to Alexa accidentally picking up conversation that sounds like the command “Alexa, laugh.” As a result, Amazon has changed the command to “Alexa, can you laugh?” which is less likely to be misinterpreted by the device. Amazon appears to have resolved the situation, but this whole fiasco has not done much to calm people’s fears about AI robots taking over the world, but that could never happen, right, Alexa? *cue eerie robot laughter*
1. Inspirational Barbie girls in a modern Barbie world
The brand that 'won' International Women's Day this year was most definitely Mattel, which announced the release of 17 new dolls with not a single big-bosomed, peroxide-maned, wasp-waisted bimbo among them. Instead, reports The Pool, little girls can look forward to playing with Barbies based on such inspiring women as Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, US Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin, as well as historical figures such as Frida Kahlo (already the subject of a lawsuit), aviator Amelia Earhart and mathematician Katherine Johnson.