Category Archives: beauty

Do yourself a favor….

Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react

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Guest Blogger: Marcela Melara

There’s something wrong with this picture…

I had meant to write about this for some time. The reason why I say this is because I noticed a picture that was quite disturbing to me (to say the least) about 6 weeks ago, and I don’t think it’s gotten the attention it deserves… The photo I’m talking about is the front cover of this Ocotber’s edition of Elle magazine featuring Gabourey Sidibe:

Quite a lovely picture, and it’s nice to see that Elle magazine also decided to feature a heavier-built woman who also happens to be a woman of color. Just looking at this magazine cover, the image seems fine. But that’s not how I came about seeing this picture for the first time. Instead, I saw a far more shocking image (some of you may have seen it already, and I remember we touched on it for a little bit in our WMST 100 class):

Yes, it’s the exact same woman.

Who is Elle magazine to lighten up anybody’s skin? I have no idea what the picture editors were thinking when they did this, but I find it to be insulting and even immoral. This magazine cover is one of four 25th anniversary editions Elle magazine is issuing this year, and the other three cover-girls have nothing in common with Gabby Sidibe in terms of appearance and physiognomy. Here is an image showing all four magazine covers:

The other three women are clearly white and slender, so Gabby Sidibe just doesn’t quite fit in the way she is… “Well, we can’t change her weight on the picture, but we could make her skin fairer so it is slightly more in accordance to the other covers.” Is that what Elle magazine was thinking? And I’m sure many people will try to argue that maybe the lighting for Gabby Sidibe’s photo shoot was different, but the discrepancy between both pictures is just too large…

It bothers me that this picture modification hasn’t really made the news like other social issues have recently. There are still racial issues going on in this country and I feel like many people consider this to be a problem of the past. Well, it’s not, or else Gabby Sidibe’s skin wouldn’t have been lightened in the above picture. And another thing… notice how they abbreviated her name to a more English-sounding name; suddenly Gabourey becomes Gabby.

Just as a comparison, here is a comparison of Elle magazine’s cover with Ebony magazine’s cover also featuring Gabby Sidibe:

Elle magazine just wanted to be more inclusive, I guess.

17 Things Every Women’s Magazine Will Tell You (That You Should Ignore)

from The Huffington Post:

“Women’s magazines are expensive. In this economy, I can’t just throw five dollars out the window to read about eight discreet ways to have sex in public or what Lauren Conrad’s doing with her hair. Luckily, I’ve read enough of these gems in the past to describe every issue being released this fall.”

click here.

Guest Blogger: Matt Hursh

Women in Sports Media

Ines Sainz was just trying to do her job…well allegedly.

About a week ago, reports surfaced that Sainz, a female journalist for a Mexican television station, had been harassed while attending a New York Jets practice in pursuit of a story on Mark Sanchez, the football team’s quarterback. Allegedly, Sainz, and admittedly attractive woman, was harassed by Jets players in the team locker room and on the practice field. The <em>New York Post reported that a coach purposely threw passes that landed near Sainz on the sidelines and players made suggestive comments in the locker room directed towards Sainz.

The Jets public relations’ team unsurprisingly issued an immediate public apology to Sainz, which she publicly accepted. However, the issue did not immediately go away. A day later, Clinton Portis, a football player for the Washington Redskins, told the Washington D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan radio station the following:

You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of a sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman.

NFL analyst Brian Baldinger also threw this statement at Tony Bruno during his radio show on 97.5 The Fanatic of Philadelphia:

Listen, these are painted on jeans. She’s got a shirt that’s glued to her body. There is nothing out of place. If you want her to do an interview with Mark Sanchez, put her in a room with Mark Sanchez. Don’t take her through the locker room. I don’t think the Jets are wrong in any of this. I don’t think they have to apologize for any of this. And for her to make claims on harassment…I think she is just inviting it all upon herself.

Baldinger also said that Sainz was “just asking for it” based on the clothes she wears and her attractiveness.

Man is there a lot to say here, but I’ll try to keep it relatively short. While Baldinger’s remarks were obviously misogynistic and ignorant, he makes a sensible point in saying that Sainz should not have been allowed in the locker room. Locker rooms are a private situation that is teeming with testosterone, and allowing an attractive reporter into that setting seems to be inviting trouble. It’s not a case of restricting the rights of women reporters (she can still do her interview, but in a different setting), but is rather a case of sensibility. Women reporters don’t need to be in that particular setting to do their job well, just as men that cover women’s sports shouldn’t be allowed/don’t need to be in women’s team locker rooms as well.

As for Baldinger’s statement that Sainz was asking for it based on her appearance, I cannot possibly defend that opinion. While any reporter should be dressing professionally, it’s hard to draw a line there that can be agreed upon by everyone. No one is in any place to tell Sainz what she should or should not wear, as long as it is professional and respectable.

However, this brings up the question of whether women are afforded equal opportunity in sports media. What does everyone think?

Guest Blogger: Claire Criniti

Why is it that appearance has become such a central focus in America’s society? Across the world beauty is not defined by one look or one body type or one generation. The United States has a rigid definition of what constitutes as beautiful for both men and women, and that definition has tight boundaries that exclude diversity. The media, and superficial ideals of have drastically shaped our culture to be centered on looks. Celebrities are the new standards Americans use to compare and critique themselves.

Magazines are a huge media source that plays up this idea of beauty in America. Almost every pop magazine has articles on loosing weight, keeping healthy skin, tools to looking younger and top 10 ways to be better in bed. I just read a women’s health magazine that promotes healthy ways to loose weight, healthy exercise tools to tone your body, and healthy recipes to satisfy you without “packing on the pounds”. Yet in this magazine there were at least five advertisements for diet pills, plans, and supplements. What kind of message is this sending? A magazine that promotes healthy lifestyle is also feeding into this beauty industry that excludes 90 % of Americans. In addition, the models used in these diet advertisements are skinny and toned, which thus supports this standard of beauty America has.

There are severe consequences that are coming from these ideals. I looked specifically at weight issues and the diet world. It is estimated that 8 million Americans have a form of an eating disorder, and furthermore eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. It is also estimated that roughly 140,000 weight loss surgeries occurred in 2004 and 3.5 billion dollars were spent on weight loss surgeries. I would say we our idea of beauty is pretty distorted when the diet industry in America is estimated to be between 40 and 100 billion dollars.

What is beauty and how we define it does not need to hold one definition. I feel that beauty is an all-encompassing idea that doesn’t have boundaries or standards. The consequence that our socially constructed definition of beauty is having on our society is outrageous. What ever happened to the saying, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”?

One day, my prince will come!

It always amazes me how many responses I receive on a blog post that mentions the Disney Princesses. My only guess is it’s because so many of you grew up watching these films at a time when Disney really started marketing the princesses as something aside from the actual film. When I was younger, the characters were not marketed nearly as much as the film, itself.

Given that the first Disney store opened in 1987, many of you were about to hit your toddler years just as the store’s influence and number was kicking it into high gear. Thus, these characters became a huge part of your childhood.

So to offer equal attention to the Disney princes, I found this little gem this morning:

June Bride on a Feather Bed

I attended art school in Atlanta. This introduced a Cleveland-born-and-bred girl to a world of southern sayings. Some of my favorites:

Hotter than Savannah asphalt.
Higher than a Georgia pine.
Hornier than a ten-peckered owl.

And my absolute favorite:

Prettier than a June bride on a feather bed.

It’s such a loaded phrase. And it was on my mind all weekend. ‘Tis the season, you know. June Brides will be filling the salons and the Target Wedding Registry kiosks.

Let’s track this frenzy, shall we? It starts with the wedding porn, you know.

There is an entire section of bridal magazines at your local Borders. And brides-to-be need to buy these magazines new and not used because well, who wants outdated colors at their wedding? And all the effort into finding just the right cake

And bridal party gowns that will never be worn again

and making the choice between the veil or the tiara or both and how the hair should be worn

all moving toward the excitement of finding out that any bride—or those that can afford it—can wear a wedding dress just like a Disney princess!

Because, if you learn anything about weddings, you must learn this: It is all about the dress.

So this whole June Bride thing really hovered over me this past weekend. I drove out to Jersey to see my 8-yr-old niece receive her First Communion. For those of you that are not catholic, this is a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. It’s when Catholics accept their role in the church as a parishioner and as a follower of Christ by receiving the Holy Eucharist.

There is a lot of symbolism in receiving the Eucharist, as with many religious ceremonies. But I am only going to focus on one thing here. While receiving First Communion is a sacrament within the Catholic Church, for many female Catholics: it is all about the dress.

Which is why June Brides were on my mind all weekend.

You’ll notice in this picture that the little boy is wearing a suit—not a tux. But the little girl is wearing something very akin to a wedding dress.

The shoes, the tights, the dress—and yes, the veil—is a huge focus for the female First Communicant. They even parade them down the church aisle like little brides linked with their male partner. At my niece’s ceremony, the church even played Pachelbel’s Canon, a song quickly becoming the most popular of wedding hymns.

(This happens again for nuns, btw. When they receive their vows, they essentially are “marrying” God. They even begin wearing a gold wedding band on their ring finger.)

My niece was so excited about her dress that it was a huge focal point the whole weekend. Her cousin, who received her First Communion the weekend before, belongs to a parish that is economically diverse so all Communicants wear a white robe—church provided—for their ceremony. But my sister-in-law’s sister told me that most of the girls had communion dresses on under their robes, anyway.

There is no way any female catholic is going to be cheated out of a chance to wear that dress and veil. My mother made my communion dress. It was the highlight of my entire second grade year—it had a baby-blue ribbon braided into the bodice and on that day, I felt like the most beautiful girl on the planet. Because that’s what we tell our brides, right?

Us girls. Always wanting to be the bride. Wonder where that comes from?

Vajazzling

First off, do I need to say that this is not really a post that we should be sharing with our community partners? I am giving you the heads up now to close the screen should you choose to take a peek at our blog while our community partners are in the classroom.

So there is a trendy new body beautification process that is getting a bit too popular for my tastes. It’s relatively new but has gotten press in the last month or so due to Jennifer Love Hewitt’s admission of her own Vagazzling experience.

They call it “vaginal adornment.”

With all of the sadly stupid things women feel they need to do with their bodies to be seen as “feminine” or “pretty,” this has to be the most problematic.

Due to its popularity, investigative reports have been researching Vajazzling in a fine, journalistic manner:

I Got Vajazzled (and had a camera crew)

Yep, like real journalism, they filmed the experience.

I can spew all kinds of reasons why I think this is problematic but you hear me spew about all kinds of stuff like this in class. So it’s up to you. Anything you would like to say about Vajazzling?

‘Cuz folks, there is a lot to say. Really.

Blue Ribbon Winner

So I am watching this week’s episode of Toddlers and Tiaras. No, this is not going to be a post about this TV show. But only because I already wrote about it last semester. You can read that post here.

What I want to talk about is competition. I think competition is healthy. I think it teaches us to strive to greater things and push us past our limits. Having someone (or something) as a goal for comparison, to not only reach but also to surpass, gives us a sense of accomplishment, which I don’t think enough of us are able to achieve often enough.

This is the season for competition. Super Bowl XLIV is coming up in just one week.


[Are these not the corniest pics ever? I felt like I hit the jackpot on this google search!]

And this weekend is the Miss America Pageant.

[yes. Equally as corny a pic. If not cornier. LOVES it!]

And registration for the SAT is due in only two weeks. You remember what chaos that caused in your life those last years of high school, doncha?

I am not sure that competing without an actual base of comparison can be defined as competition. For example, you might remember this incident from the 2002 Winter Olympics:

Bradbury won this race. I don’t mean to totally negate this athlete’s ability and all his years of training—I mean, he made it to the Olympics fer cryin’ out loud. But c’mon. He won the gold medal because everyone else wiped out. So is this a true competition? The reality of it is that he was the last in the pack and would have had the slowest time had the fools in front of him not crashed into each other.

It makes me think about how competition among children today has changed so that each child receives either a trophy or ribbon of some sort just for participation. I am not certain what this teaches children. Because the reality of it is that in life, there are winners and losers.

This also makes me think about the student that thinks they deserve “at east a C” because they at least “did do the project.” But that’s a completely different argument. Right?

I offer the topic of competition for discussion since, well. You know what begins on February 12.

Just getting you all prepped and ready.