Underbelly Women featured in Zoo Magazine

Another way in which  Underbelly objectifies the female television stars on the show is by placing ads in sexually explicit magazines.  For more info female stars in underbelly go to the “crime” tab of this blog in the header.

Inside cover of "Zoo" Magazine


Recent Television Trend for ‘Lesbian Kisses’

Over the past three years there has been a recent trend in lesbian sub-plots in the Australian Soap operas Neighbours and Home and Away. This trend has led to a great deal of controversy, however, I find it interesting that Australia’s two strongest soaps are continually adding lesbian sub-plots. I argue that the rising power of female sexuality on Australian TV is a reaction to the dominance of the masculine australian types over the past 50 years of television. Autumn Affair, an earlier australian soap,  featured women that depend on men for their  happiness. The introduction of lesbian scenes in Australian soaps, reveals the reversal of this traditional dependency. Below I have selected three clips (2 from Neighbours and 1 from Home and Away) that feature lesbian relationships.

1. Neighbours included a subplot where Donna kissed Sunny. (See Clip Below). Their kiss is led on by Donna complementing Sunny. When Donna gives her a “peck,” however, Sunny accuses her for taking her first kiss….The Drama continues…It seems as though the Lesbian kisses disrupt the a desire for attention from men.

The press flipped out about the Kiss. Australian Family Association accused this plot line as “normalizing” same-sex relationships on TV. Susan Bower, the executive producer of  Neighbours said, “If we were going to do a lesbian story – and “Neighbours” is not against lesbian stories – we would do it properly. This is a teenage romance story. There’s nothing sexual.” Furthermore, actress Margaret Robbie deny’s that the kiss even  “real.” She said, “It’s really not a big deal at all. It’s not an actual gay storyline, it’s just kind of an impulsive peck,” Robbie told the Herald Sun. “It’s just like another day on set really. I have to kiss other characters all the time and usually that’s real kissing.”

2. Neighbours also includes another lesbian subplot  between Rosie and Pepper. Their kiss in the clip below is set up almost identically to Sunny and Donna’s kiss . Rosie tells Pepper that she is beautiful and should be more self-confident. Pepper tells Rosie that guys just treat her like a “doormat.” This lesbian affection seen in the clip below, is the female backlash against Australian masculinity. In other words, way of dealing with Australian feminiity

3. Home and Away included a lesbian subplot between Charlie and Joey. Unlike the two clips above, Joey already identifies as Gay. The controversy in the storyline results from Charlie’s sister, Ruby, not accepting the fact that Charlie is gay. Furthermore, unlike the other plots, this storyline forces the actresses to really portray a lesbian love, rather than deny the lesbian sexuality like Margaret Robbie, Donna, did in the press following the airing of her kiss with Sunny.

To read more about this recent lesbian trend check out the following sites:



Diversifying Neighbour’s ‘White’ Image

In response to Neighbours criticism for being too white, Susan Bower, executive producer of Neighbours, decided to add an asian character, Sunny, to the cast in April of 2009. Part of Australia’s content regulations insist that Australian drama reflect an accurate portrayal Australian way of life and minority groups. In reality, Australia is made up of many different cultures, but often the media only represents “White Australia.” This is the goal of Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), to provide television for Australia’s ethnic community, however, I argue that all of Australia’s networks should do this. By only having one channel for “ethnic” purposes it segregates media for particular sets of people. Furthermore, adding just one ethnic character to Neighbours is not going to solve the problem,

Sunny, from Neighbours

I find it interesting, that  Neighbours also chose to have a minority character take on a lesbian kiss. I argue that this lesbian controversy and of critic’s dislike of Sunny’s contradictory role is  the reason why Sunny was not invited back to the show after a 6 month run.

Is there a chance that Australia will ever have a a successful Asian lead television actress that is not feature on SBS?

American Kath and Kim?

As an American, I find the US copycat version of Kath and Kim version repulsive.  I believe the format of Kath and Kim is non-exportable. The lifestyles of Australian suburban women can not be translated to the American life. Although both versions make the women dependent on men and materialistic, the characters on the Australian version are at least likable characters!

I also think the “dull” american accent also makes the show unlikeable.

A reviewer said, “NBC’s unfunny adaptation of the wildly funny Australian sitcom is arguably the worst idea for an import from the Land Down Under since Vegemite”. http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/us-kath-and-kim-worse-than-vegemite/story-e6frfmyi-1111117718888

Females in an “Australian Daze”

This article discusses how the enactment Australian national female identity in the tele-film  Australia Daze as a site of struggle.

How many different female types did the documentary Australia Daze portray? How did it contrast the masculine Oz types in the documentary?


Dame Edna, “Mrs. In-Between”

This article, Journal #3,  I wrote looks at the effects of Barry Humphries’ cross-dressing on the transnationality of  Australian Female teletypes.

How did Dame Edna, as a television character, embody the physical feminization of Australian suburbia? What are the implications of Humphrey cross-dressing for Australian masculine tele-types? Although, Edna refers to her Australianess in her contemporary performances, is her Australianess important to her international persona? How does Edna’s global “in-betweeness” reflect Australia’s contemporary and contradictory national identity?

Check it out!


Underpants or Underbelly?

Many have claimed that since the first season of Underbelly, the series has plummeted to the ground; substituting authentic plot for scandalous sex appeal.  A writer for The Daily Telegraph wrote, “The romance and sex scenes were over the top and I really do feel they belittle women altogether, not just those in the police force. ” In fact, some early Underbelly viewers refer to Underbelly now as “underpants”

The question is, why focus on sex? If Melbourne audiences are so intrigued by the drug “underworld”, why would they use underbelly to see porn when it is already readily available in other markets?

From: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/tv/underbelly-has-become-a-sex-show-says-former-new-south-wales-cop-roger-rogerson/story-e6frf9ho-1225864534336

In this clip below, look at how Underbelly uses the female body to attract what Laura Mulvey calls “THE MALE GAZE.”  The women are merely used a sex toys in Underbelly’s portrayal of the Melbourne’s drug economy.In other words, the show’s advertising depiction of the “naked” female body contributes to underbelly’s success.