Showing posts with label Teen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teen. Show all posts

February 18, 2018

Chinese Teen Idols Are Now Doing The Propaganda Which Makes it Easier to Swallow

Gone are the days when tough guys like Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen dominated the Chinese box office; and in their place, an array of young, fresh-faced, flawless-looking teen idols known to many as xiao xian rou (“little fresh meat”). While Ip Man and Police Story will forever remain classics, the power of this new generation of male Chinese actors is not to be underestimated.
Photo: CFI
Lu Han, a former EXO boy band member, has had over 100 million comments on a single post on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, breaking the Guinness World Record for most comments on a Weibo post; he even crashed the internet when announcing who his girlfriend is on Weibo in October.
Along with Kris Wu, Yang Yang, and Li Yifeng, the four are considered China’s most influential xiao xian rou actors, with a combined fan base of over 132 million people, most of whom are young girls between the ages of 12 and 24.
Beginning 2015, these young, attractive male actors started appearing on the big screen. Without prior acting experience, Kris Wu starred in Xu Jinglei’s Somewhere Only We Know, and despite criticism of Wu’s acting, the film grossed US$37.81 million within the first week, exceeding the director’s expectations.
Li Yifeng in The Founding of An Army. Photo: CFI
Shortly after the success of Somewhere Only We Know, another coming-of-age film, Forever Young, featuring pop star Li Yifeng, was released. The film received widespread negative reviews and was rated 4.1 out of 10 on movie review site Douban. Regardless, the box office reached US$38.5 million in its three-day opening weekend, five times the national average of other domestic films released in the same period. The same year, Li Yifeng won Best Supporting Actor at the prestigious Hundred Flowers awards for his role in Mr. Six, a drama crime film, which sparked controversy as Li was chosen among more experienced and qualified actors for the award, possibly due to his popularity.
It was no surprise that propaganda films eventually turned to these “little fresh meat” to tap into the unbounded market potential of China’s post-millennials.
When the 2017 film The Founding of An Army was released, it quickly became obvious that almost half of the cast consisted of popular “little fresh meat” actors, including Lu Han, Li Yifeng, Ma Tianyu, and Zhang Yixing. As a film commissioned by the Chinese government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the unusual casting choices were a clear attempt to change the way propaganda films are perceived – old-fashioned and non-mainstream – and engage younger moviegoers who have little interest in China’s revolutionary history.
Wu Jing directed and starred in Wolf Warriors 2. Photo: CFI
Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Andrew Lau, the film has been widely criticised for its casting decisions since opening last July, but the government’s official endorsement and the popularity of the actors still helped it earn approximately US$60 million in ticket sales.
However, the relative success of The Founding of An Army was soon overshadowed by Wolf Warriors 2, another patriotic film released on the same day which eventually became the highest-grossing film in China, with ticket sales totaling at US$608.6 million. Directed by and starring Kung Fu actor Wu Jing, Wolf Warriors 2 tells the story of a Chinese soldier as he embarks on a special mission in Africa.
It is inevitable that the two films would be compared, and the popularity of The Founding of An Army’s cast members made the success Wolf Warriors 2uncertain before the release. Director Wu Jing later said in an interview that he does not base casting decisions on an actor’s popularity, or their commercial value; he wants to find the right actors. Interestingly, while Wolf Warriors 2 did not heavily cast xiao xian rou, it did feature Zhang Han, a good-looking young actor who has starred in many idol dramas. In response to critics blaming “little fresh meat” actors for their poor performances in films, Wu encouraged industry professionals to educate the younger actors and be role models for them, instead of overly criticising their lack of professionalism and acting experience.
The unexpected success of Wolf Warriors 2 challenges the idea that films with a patriotic theme are less appealing, and do not have the potential to be commercially successful without the help of a star-studded cast. It also begs questions concerning whether casting “little fresh meat” actors has become a short-cut to ensuring box office success, how sustainable the strategy is, and what long-term effects it will have on the Chinese film industry. While having attractive young actors play important political figures is refreshing, is it the best way to educate the youth on the country’s most important historical events?
Read the original article at China Film Insider

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May 1, 2017

FB Secret Targeting and Possibly Exploiting Teens with Issues

Facebook's secretive advertising practices became a little more public on Monday thanks to a leak out of the company's Australian office. This 23-page document discovered by The Australian (paywall), details in particular how Facebook executives promote advertising campaigns that exploit Facebook users' emotional states—and how these are aimed at users as young as 14 years old.

According to the report, the selling point of this 2017 document is that Facebook's algorithms can determine, and allow advertisers to pinpoint, "moments when young people need a confidence boost." If that phrase isn't clear enough, Facebook's document offers a litany of teen emotional states that the company claims it can estimate based on how teens use the service, including "worthless," "insecure," "defeated," "anxious," "silly," "useless," "stupid," "overwhelmed," "stressed," and "a failure."

The Australian says that the documents also reveal a particular interest in helping advertisers target moments in which young users are interested in "looking good and body confidence” or “working out and losing weight." Another section describes how image-recognition tools are used on both Facebook and Instagram (a wholly owned Facebook subsidiary) to reveal to advertisers "how people visually represent moments such as meal times." And it goes into great detail about how younger Facebook users express themselves: according to Facebook Australia, earlier in the week, teens post more about "anticipatory emotions" and "building confidence," while weekend teen posts contain more "reflective emotions" and "achievement broadcasting."
This document makes clear to advertisers that this data is specific to Australia and New Zealand—and that its eyes are on 6.4 million students and "young [people] in the workforce" in those regions. When reached for comment by The Australian, a representative for Facebook Australia issued a formal and lengthy apology, saying in part, "We have opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight. We will undertake disciplinary and other processes as appropriate.”

Facebook Australia did not answer The Australian's questions about whether these youth-targeted advertising practices were the same or similar to those at other international Facebook offices. (The document's scope is actually more compliant with US FTC regulations, which apply to users 13 and younger, than with Australian ones, which apply to users 14 and younger.)

The Australian's report does not include screen shots of the document, nor does it describe sample advertising campaigns that would take advantage of this data. Two Facebook Australia executives, Andy Sinn and David Fernandez, are named as the document's authors.

Facebook’s ad platform will know who you are, what you buy, even offline

Facebook's ability to predict and possibly exploit users' personal data probably isn't news to anybody who has followed the company over the past decade, but this leak may be the first tacit admission by any Facebook organization that younger users' data is sorted and exploited in a unique way. This news follows stories about Facebook analyzing and even outright manipulating users’ emotional states, along with reports and complaints about the platform guessing users' "ethnic affinity," disclosing too much personal data, and possibly permitting illegal discrimination in housing and financial ads.

SAM MACHKOVECHSam has written about the combined worlds of arts and tech since his first syndicated column launched in 1996. He can regularly be found losing quarters at Add-A-Ball in Seattle, WA.

Originally posted on

August 27, 2015

Gay Teenagers are Not Getting HIV tested


Teens fear being recognized and don’t know where to get tested
Young men who have sex with men have the highest risk for HIV infection, but only one in five has ever been tested for HIV, a much lower rate than testing for non-adolescents, reports a new national Northwestern Medicine study conducted in partnership with the Center for Innovative Public Health Research.

The greatest barriers to these teenage males getting tested are not knowing where to go to get an HIV test, worries about being recognized at a testing site and — to a lesser degree -- thinking they are invincible and won’t get infected. 

“Understanding the barriers to testing provides critical information for intervening, so we can help young men get tested,” said study first author Gregory Phillips II, a research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator for the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Feinberg. 

“Rates of new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men,” said Brian Mustanski, principal investigator of the study, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Feinberg and director of IMPACT. “Testing is critical because it can help those who are positive receive lifesaving medical care. Effective treatment can also help prevent them from transmitting the virus to others.”

The study on low HIV testing rates for gay young men was published Aug. 26 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The findings suggest testing can be increased by providing young men with an easy way to find nearby testing sites via text messaging or online programs and by opening testing sites in high schools. 

“Providing in-school testing would normalize the process,” Phillips said. “If there is a constant presence of on-site testing at schools, testing would seem less stigmatized. It would also increase knowledge about the testing process and make it less scary.”

Online information explaining the testing procedure also can calm young men’s fears. Finger stick or cheek swabs are both options for testing, which teens may not realize.  The IMPACT Program at Feinberg created a video that shows young people what it’s like to get an HIV test.

Between June and November 2014, the study enrolled a national sample of 302 gay, bisexual and queer males ages 14 to 18 years into a text messaging-based HIV prevention program (Guy2Guy). Questions about their HIV-testing behaviors were included in the study. The researchers found only 20 percent of the teenage boys had ever been tested for HIV, a rate that is much lower than what other studies have found with adult gay and bisexual men. A 2008 national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored study of men who have sex with men found 75 percent of men ages 18 to 19 reported they had been tested for HIV, for example. 

Michele Ybarra, an investigator at the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, was the co-principal investigator on the study.
The article is titled “Low Rates of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing Among Adolescent Gay, Bisexual, and Queer.”
This study was supported by grant R01MH096660 from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.

Marla Paul

March 8, 2013

Olympic Skater Andy Gabel Involved in Underage Sex Scandal

 Skater Brigid "Bridie" Farrell Had Affair as Teen
sports Olympic Skater Andy Gabel Snared in Underage Sex Scandal
Olympian Andy Gabel (inset) has been outed for having under-age sex with speed skater Brigid “Bridie” Farrell.
Andy Gabel, an Olympic speed-skating champion and major figure in the International Skating Union, has become embroiled in a sex scandal. Speedskater Brigid “Bridie” Farrell charged that she had underage sex with the 48-year-old Olympian when she was 15-years-old.
Farrell, who is know 24, and still competes in speed-skating events, said she decided to go public with the allegations to save others from going through the experience.
The relationship was consensual, but Farrell said Gabel, who was then 33, used his position in the Olympic sport to seduce her. She said she knew the relationship was wrong but was “star-struck” by Gabel’s attention. The affair lasted several months. She now wants him banned from the sport.
Gabel has apologized for the affair in a public statement saying he “displayed poor judgment in a brief and inappropriate relationship with a female teammate,” according to the The Saratogian newspaper in Saratoga Springs, NY.
The former speedskater has resigned his position with the International Union and his board seat on the National Speedskating Hall of Fame as a result of the revelations.
Gabel was chairman of the ISU’s sort track technical committee, which oversees the sport and skaters such as Apolo Anton Ohno, the nation’s most decorated winter Olympian. The organization is investigating the claims.
Gabel competed in four Olympics as a short track skater. He won the silver medal as part of the U.S. relay team at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, according to his bio.
The scandal is another blow to the Olympic world. South African para-Olympic and Olympic competitor Oscar Pistorius is facing murder charges in his native South Africa, for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He claims the shooting was accidental.
The American team is currently training for the upcoming Vancouver Games.

November 4, 2011

Glee Will Deal ‘Delicately' with issue of teen and gay sex for the first time


Ratings have dropped on the once unstoppable Glee, but next Tuesday sees the Fox show push boundaries that could bring many viewers back.
In an episode that has been previewed positively, Gleeks will get to see not one, but two, of their favourite couples take their relationship to the next level and have sex.
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Chemistry: Lea Michele and Cory Monteith - as Rachel and Finn - will have sex in next Tuesday's episode of Glee
Chemistry: Lea Michele and Cory Monteith - as Rachel and Finn - will have sex in next Tuesday's episode of Glee 
In keeping with the progressive nature of the show, a gay couple's teenage love is depicted alongside that of straight lovers.
The episode, entitled appropriately enough, The First Time, sees Finn and Rachel then Kurt and Blaine consummate their love affairs.
Pin-up Lea Michele (Rachel) and Cory Monteith (Finn) will sing and dance their way through the maelstrom of teenage angst that leads to this big moment while Chris Colfer (Kurt) goes through parallel emotions in his relationship with Blaine (Darren Criss).
Progressive: Chris Colfer and Darren Criss - as Kurt and Blaine - will also take the next step
Progressive: Chris Colfer and Darren Criss - as Kurt and Blaine - will also take the next step 
According to previews, it's all 'handled very delicately,' and the treatment of the teenage gay relationship has been singled out for particular praise.
Entertainment Weekly described the plot line as 'incredibly moving' and lauded the show as 'one of the best installments ever.', meanwhile, write that 'it's the best work we have seen from both Lea Michele and Cory Monteith.' 
Courtship: Monteith and Michele will show how to make the sex decision in a sensible fashion
Courtship: Monteith and Michele will show how to make the sex decision in a sensible fashion 
And according to E!: 'Though sex is certainly the word of the day, the episode gives both couples more depth of emotion than we've seen so far this season, and a few lines will take your breath away if you are a fan.'
And while the show's team are no doubt braced for the controversy that will follow an episode involving gay sex, premarital sex and underage drinking, there is apparently no sensationalism here.
The show is said to highlight the importance of safe sex, emotional preparation and a healthy discourse.
Praise: Previewers are heaping praise on the show's handling of this gay teenage relationship
Praise: Previewers are heaping praise on the show's handling of this gay teenage relationship 
It will go some way to appeasing fans who believe that Glee creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk abandoned the beloved Fox show to concentrate on their new FX hit American Horror Story. 
That's running amok with scares on Wednesday nights at 10pm, while The First Time airs in Glee's regular slot, Tuesday at 8pm. 

Romance: There is nothing sleazy about this sex special
Romance: There is nothing sleazy about this sex special
Romance: There is nothing sleazy about this sex special 

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