Assignments due dates appearing rapidly, the subject of my current radio project, Benjamin Thomas Watt, known on Wikipedia as “The world’s first openly gay boxing judge”, became an interesting development within finding a news story on my street. After this week’s lecture with guest speaker, Kirsty Johnston from NZ Herald, my take home note was to dig deeper into national affairs, as in Johnston’s experience, her best work has come out of finding stories that the government has tried to hide. Jervis stated, “News is what someone, somewhere wants concealed” (Burns, p.19).
In this, I decided to dig deeper into Benjamin’s story. Being the first within the sports panel to be openly gay, I examined how his honesty actually affects preconceptions within the sport. Where hegemonic masculinity has claimed the sport as its own, Watt challenges these prejudices by expressing himself fully and introducing women into the sport through his promotion company, BTW Promotions, (Born to Win). Why is it that in a society of ever-changing gender norms and expectations, it is only just recently becoming a regular thing for different genders to participate in activities as they please? Does the media have an influence on what we see as acceptable in society?
Creating a news story based on this, how mass media portrays gender identity in New Zealand, could call for further investigating. But regardless, Benjamin gives me hope that somewhere within this little nook that I live in, there will be another story of someone who throw’s these norms back in humanity’s face.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Thomas Watt