Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Who Knew?

I saw these snippets in the Daily Mail in the last few days, and thought them interesting with the body image research. Some random facts that have been published as interesting statistics alongside articles.

How realistic is that figure, considering the average age expectancy is 81 years old for Women, 79 for men. That would be more than a quarter of your life trying to adjust your body weight, almost half. And as it is an average, it means that some people are spending a lot longer than 31years dieting.

 Stress effects our bodies more than a lot of realize, and the diet is one of the first parts of the body effected, whether it is over or under eating. I suppose you can only blame the TV for weight gain because you are sat for hours on end not moving.

 
Microdermabrasion, or advanced exfoliating of the skin, is second most popular cosmetic treatment for men. Fascinating. I can't say I have ever really heard of it, let alone know anyone who has expressed a wish to have it done.


The Ad Makeover


From the company who brought us the 'Real Body' Campaign eight years ago, using models of all shapes and sizes, comes a new campaign to tackle the body-negative adverts that parade are internet browsers.
Whilst the campaign might only be airing in Australia at the moment, the message of the advert is to encourage positive body image through using social networking site Facebook. The advert suggests that you can replace the adverts which encourage you to loose weight or alter your body, with message of love about your body.

Certainly a great idea to encourage positive body confidence, but here in the UK, and even in USA, we have to wait a while until we can spread Dove's body love on Facebook.


Links
The Ad Makeover on Huffington Post
The Ad Makeover on Facebook

Nuts, Barbie and Pink Stinks

Some interesting articles from a couple of websites seen over the last couple of days..

The Woman Who Edited Nuts Magazine

Terri White left Nuts 4 and half years ago. This article reflect upon her time at the magazine as editor and the regrets she has with the impact the magazine had on young women as well as the society we live in.

'...the culture they helped to create can still be seen in towns and cities all around the UK – from the Saturday-night porny perspex heels to the casual DIY sex tapes and still-held hopes for fast fame.'

It is worth reading through some of the comments on the article too, who don't believe that her regret is true.

Female Genital Mutilation 'offered By UK Medics'


'If a white girl is abused, police break down the door. If a black girl is mutilated, no one takes care of her.This is what I call racism.' Model Waris Dirie, Victim and opponent of FGM practices.
The Sunday Times has been investigating the FGM culture in Britain, finding some doctors and dentists offering to arrange operations or even willing to perform FGM themselves. In the UK, research suggests that up to 22,000 girls are at risk of FGM, almost a quarter of those in London. Whilst these figures suggest that FGM is taking place here in the UK, no one has ever been convicted of carrying out or arranging operations.


Real Life 'Barbie'


Valeria Lukyanova has become a sensation due to the fact she has rendered herself into looking like the plastic-fantastic Barbie doll. Questions have been raised if she is even real, and indeed how photoshopped her photos are, but ultimately, her online photo albums are fairly stunning. Her very slim figure, long blonde hair and most significantly her facial features certainly do resemble the look of the 53year old toy.
The poses in her photos are eerie,bordering really creepy, with her slim body in Barbie-esque wardrobe and bulging blue-eyed stare at the camera. Check out the really bizarre TV report that is linked at the bottom of the article too, which spoofs Valeria going into a surgery as well as into a wardrobe with a man...


Why Girls Aren't Pretty in Pink



Mentioned in a previous blog, Pink Stinks is a campaign run by twins Abi and Emma. After having two daughters, Abi was astounded by the amount of pink toys and steorotype presents that entered her house. The gender specific products led the sisters to start campaigning against the pink/blue divide with their site Pink Stinks.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cause & Effect

Love Social and Miss Representation (see previous blog) present a charming animation titled ' Cause and Effect: How the Media You Consume Can Change Your Life.' The two minute video has a charming visual, which almost takes off the edge of the data which is actually being presented. There is a shocking statistic, which is calmly enforced by cute visuals, of how much media intake a average teenage girl has, from tv, magazines to films.


Part of the animation.

I am yet to see the Miss Representation film that is circulating the world since its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival but hope to see it as soon as I can. The documentary is about 'how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.'
If anyone has seen it or knows when it will be available, please let me know.


Links

W.S.P.U

I love this image, I find it totally inspiring; it is strong and empowering.  It shows boldness and strong fighting spirit with the woman in suit of amour in a strong open posture.


The image was a cover for The Suffragette, a magazine to help spread information and updates about the suffragette movement , edited by Christabel Pankhurst, who was daughter of the infamous militant Mrs Pankhurst.

Fem Site

Today I found a very interesting feminist website, The F Word.

The group of women who run the site are based in Vancouver, Canada and run their own Radio Show on Vancouver Co-op Radio CFRO 102.7FM. Along side their radio show, they blog about very interesting subjects from Burlesque, Samantha Brick to prostitution.The blog is well worth a read as it covers very strong opinions over so many topics and I will be listening in later today for a taster of their live show.

Listen to the show here (for people anywhere in the world) or even download their podcast.

Links

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Shape of a Mother

 Today I discovered one of the most beautiful and inspiring pro-body websites I have seen in a long time, maybe ever. 



Shapes of a Mother is a website was founded by Bonnie, a mother of two, who wanted to show to her daughter and indeed her son 'a balanced view of what women should look like.' Through the website, women are invited to send photos of their body to show what real women look like outside of the medias representation of smooth perfectly toned post-pregnant bodies.

'It is my dream, then, to create this website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret. So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery. I am asking for mothers to send in photos of bellies, bums, boobs or any other body part (even my lower legs and face show changes since my pregnancies!) to be posted on this website.'- Bonnie from Shape of a Mother website.


The stories and photos that are submitted to Bonnie are eye opening with honesty and natural beauty. Yes, there are stretch marks and sagging skin but that is some of the reality of post-pregnant bodies.Even me and my younger possess some stunning stretch marks on our bodies and we are childless women in our very early 20's! Bonnie's site is open and exactly what women of all ages need to see in order to realize that the media are portraying the female body as some ideology that we have to jump through so many hoops to achieve(which are expensive, time-consuming and painful). Why is there so much pressure for a women to have a tightly toned stomach so soon after pregnancy? The post-birth months should be purely dedicated to loving your new baby and enjoying every precious moment.


Love your bums, lumps and boobs!

Links

Sea Odyssey

If there is anywhere to be this weekend, it would be Liverpool for the Sea Odyssey weekend which includes three giant puppets walking the streets over a distance of 23miles.


Image from BBC.

The event, inspired by the letter of a little girl, includes a 30ft(9m) puppet girl, 50ft(15m) puppet of her uncle and 30ft dog which will roam the streets separately before meeting Saturday evening. Over 100 volunteers will help move the puppets with the use of cranes. The company behind the street theatre are Royal De Luxe, who have created giant spectuacles before, including the Giant Elephant which walked the streets of central London in 2006.

Giant Elephant in London 2006.
These photos, as well as the promotion video, are breathtaking, especially along side the massive crowds and the volunteers working the giant structures. The scale and detail of the puppets are incredible and I can only hope that one day I can capture the puppets performing another time.



Update 22nd April 2012.
A stunning photo from the final part of the spectacle with the three puppets leaving the city down the River.
Photo source: BBC
Liverpool Titanic Girl, a programme about the true story of the little girl whose letter inspired the production, will be broadcast on BBC One at 19:30 BST on Wednesday 25th April.

Links
Giant Spectacular Sea Odyssey Homepage
Royal De Luxe Homepage

Chin Chin Charee

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported statistics that revealed that there is a new popular cosmetic surgery. A new trend in America has seen a large rise in 'chinplants' which claims it as the fastest growing cosmetic surgery trend, growing more than botox, liposuction and breast augmentation combined!

Below are statistics of the number of people who have undergone chin surgery in 2011.

Overall: 20,680 (+ 71 per cent)
Women: 10,087 (+ 66 per cent)
Men: 10,593 (+ 76 per cent)
20-29 years: 2,750 (+ 68 per cent)
30-39 years: 2,587 (+ 69 per cent)
40-54 years: 5,075 (+ 77 per cent)
55 and over: 8,459 (+ 70 per cent)
SOURCE: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

The demand is reported to come from the rise in conference calls in the work place and a self-conscious market that want to make themselves better presented by reshaping their chin line. Available surgery includes either a 'mentoplasty, which decreases the size of a chin which 'juts out' or is perceived as being too large' or a 'maxillofacial corrective surgery which actually alters the jaw position.'

People are changing their looks because they are so self-conscious about how other people perceive them. We are now living in a world where cosmetic surgery is so easily available, with so many procedures being available that it would not be impossible to change your whole body identity into someone entirely new. Will it become the norm that everyone should undergo surgery to smooth out 'imperfections'?

There will always be demand for cosmetic surgery, with people constantly wanting to change their 'imperfect' bodies. There was a time many years ago where I said I would have cosmetic surgery to my feet to make them smaller if it were possible (I have UK 9/EU 43), but I could never really go through with it. It takes determination to go through with cosmetic surgery and have to endure an uncomfortable recovery and pay a costly bill (which from mild research, would actually cheaper in America than in the UK). It takes more than courage to accept your body for what it is, work with what you have got and love it.


With people trying to achieve happiness, confidence or eternal youthful perfection, the cosmetic surgery industry will sadly continue to grow.


Links
Chins New Boobs at Daily mail

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Listen.

The lovely @Headlunging linked me to a fascinating audio piece about body image with 4 different stories including Wannabes, by Kath Duncan, exploring people who feel abnormal in their bodies and voluntarily disable themselves. A very chilling story of a man who tried to chisel off his toe. Another story is an excerpt of Elizabeth Threlkeld's Young At War, where she 'found two girls in Iraq for whom body image and plastic surgery have become extremely important, albeit for two very different reasons.' The sound piece comes from Chicago based Third Coast International Audio Festival, who collect and share audio stories from around the world.



An amazing hour long piece that is so very interesting to listen to. Give it a go.

Link
Body Image Show at Third Coast International Audio Festival

Monday, 16 April 2012

Diaita

The word diet derives from Diaita, the Greek word meaning a sensible way of life, a definition which seems highly ironical in an age of pressures to look and feel good.

'Yo-yo dieting doesn't work: you might lose 5% to 10% of your weight but you almost always pile it back on.'

Today I found an interesting article by Louise Foxcroft at the Guarduan history of dieting including various techniques that have been encouraged to help you loose weight.

Dr Lulu Hunt Peters, 15st 10lb at her heaviest and the best-selling author of calorie-counting diet books, castigated her readers, telling them it was an absolute disgrace to be big.

Of all the recommended techniques over the years, there were such ideas as smoking to starve off hunger, eating potatoes soaked in vinegar followed by sweating it out in layers of clothing and the ever so familiar calorie counting. A lot of us might believe that dieting is a modern fad in the last few decades, but has been around for a lot longer, effecting the bodies of both men and women.



'Determine what your natural "set point" weight is (and learn to like it), make small differences (use stairs not lifts), record your weight loss, plan strategies and share success or setbacks with others. Keep it simple, ignore novelty diets and the weight of judgment, and take a good look at the ancient Greek philosophy of diaita.'

Links

Friday, 13 April 2012

Too Big, Too Floppy, Too Hairy, Too Brown.

Hurrah ladies- perfection is on the horizon yet again!

Another product designed to change your skin colour to make you more acceptable to the man in your life as well as society in general. This product is specifically to whiten(bleach) your genital area, and aimed at an Asian audience. 

  

I still find it quite bizarre that as a western culture we are encouraged to tan to look more 'sun-kissed' whilst eastern cultures try to look more pale- such a bizarre attitudes to our bodies. Even dark skinned celebrities such as Beyonce and Rhianna have been criticized recently for looking too light in photos- presumably digitally enhanced or purposely over lit studios.Why is it is so hard to accept our skin as we are born?

But fret not gentlemen, the article where I discovered the vagina bleaching product also has a solution to your darkened willies too!! 'Penis bleaching is all about hygiene and feeling good. Whitening your penis not only makes you look good in bed but it also increases your self-esteem.' Cream! (Please not the overly photoshopped people at the top of the page)
This cream is available too..

What a load of bullshit. Cosmetic surgery is one massive extreme to change your body, but to bleach a sensitive area of your body to look 'better'. What absolute rubbish and unnecessary bullshit. I have never met a man who would feel pressured enough to need to change their body so subtly and yet so dramatically just to 'please' their woman or indeed themselves!

These products just need to fuck right off.

Links

I'm Not On My Period Just Because I Voice my Opinions.

An amazingly successful Facebook campaign, with currently over 5,500 likes on their page to date. Their aim is simply to encourage being a feminist is a positive thing, and not seen in the usual stereotyped manner.

'Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. Perhaps a certain charming radio talk show host will label you as a “Feminazi” or “slut.”' 

 'In order to change this perception on campus, we have launched a PR campaign for feminism. We aim to challenge existing stereotypes surrounding feminists and assert the importance of feminism today.'

  
Their message and images are strong, with men and women uniting to support feminism. The images they have used, are people showing their support by explaining why they need feminism, with many interesting and amusing answers. Lets hope that they spread word further from campus and around the world with their simple but effective campaign.
 
 Men supporting the cause.

 Amusing photo posted on Facebook group!

Links
Who Needs Feminism Facebook page
Who Needs Feminism on Twitter

Samantha Brick

Samantha Brick, writer for the Daily Mail, was a fairly unknown name, even to myself as a frequent reader of the British newspaper. That was until last week of course, when the media went crazy for the scandal that was Brickgate.

Whilst doing my usual scan through the paper on April 3rd,pre-media hype, I noticed the infamous article title and broad smiling face, but browsed past after a small scouff and mental note to read it later.  Little did I realize how the world was going to react to the article, entitled:



A woman who is confident about who she is and her appearance, a rare media occurance, which has actually turned rather ugly.


Samantha wrote about her experiences of being a beautiful women; men paying her travel fares, sending her complimentary drinks and female acquaintances not approving of their partners fancying fair-faced Samantha. The feedback on her article grew fast, spreading worldwide like wildfire through twitter as well as on Radio and TV, and the majority of the backlash was horrid.
However the way Samantha wrote her article unfortunately portrayed herself as an arrogant women bragging about the men who fall at her feet(none of them actually being her husband). And this is why she has suffered with so many negative comments, and will continue to do so for many weeks, or even months, to come if she doesn't change things pronto. Whilst I think that Samantha is a pretty women, she has tried to be too honest and writes about experiences not many women can actually relate to. I certainly do not know many women that have had an unknown man be so gentlemanly and kind as to pay for train tickets or to send them a bottle of champagne on a flight. One flaw which nags at me is that Samantha fails to acknowledge the beauty of others, and that it takes more than beauty to make a person human. What she discusses is being treated a certain way because of the ways she appears, which could suggest that men are trying to buy her affection and win her over(reminding me of Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal.)

After less than 24hours after the first article was published online, Brick retaliated to the thousands of tweets, comments and emails that filled her Blackberry phone. However, I think some of the comments she makes towards her fellow womankind are out of place and not doing herself any more favours. Some key quotes:

'While I've been shocked and hurt by the global condemnation, I have just this to say: my detractors have simply proved my point. Their level of anger only underlines that no one in this world is more reviled than a pretty woman.'

They do not hate you for being pretty, they hate you for showing off that men grovel at your feet. Real working class, everyday women cannot empathize with a woman who is showered with presents from complete strangers for no reason. At a recent wedding I attended, a friend was over-whelmed by the kindness of others with weddings gifts, given to her for being a kind and great sister, daughter and friend; presents were not bestowed upon her just because of her beauty, but deservingly as a beautiful person.

Without doubt, this is a gender issue. For not only is it mostly women who are attacking me, it is also because I am female that I am being attacked for acknowledging my attractiveness.

I agree that she is being attacked for acknowledging her attractiveness, but it is because she has presented herself in the wrong way for people to empathize with her. We live in a culture where women of all ages hate their bodies- from their spots, breasts, height, wobbly bits, sagging bits etc- and for someone to write about their beauty without any mention of negative thoughts towards themselves comes across as unnatural in our media today. We all have parts of the body we dislike, even hate, and it seems so bizarre for a woman to stand forward to claim men fall at her feet and not to share her secrets of her cellulite rump or sagging breasts. There is a slight lack of humanity.

I'm the first to give out compliments when someone I know looks good or has made an effort. I don't understand why other women don't do the same.

We do compliment each other. And if we don't, it is because we are too worried about our own body and image imperfections to compliment others on their beauty.

While I was tearfully dealing with the emails and calls outside the supermarket, a young man approached me, offered to park my car and even get me a coffee.
He could see I was having a tough time — and yes, my looks had helped me out again.

There is such a thing in this world called being kind. This gentleman helped a very distressed woman, irrelevant of what she looked like. The hatred that Samantha has attracted has been because of statements similar to these, where she cannot acknowledge that some people are kind to others no matter who you are; there are more important things than being seen as pretty or beautiful.

Today, Samantha wrote another article, again about her beauty and why she has such confidence in herself- all thanks to 'Daddy'. Her understanding of why she stands tall and proud is thanks to the praises of her father from her childhood and growing up as being his no.1 girl(of 5 daughters). I think this article is just dragging out the media sensation that was scandalous arrogance and self acknowledgement and most likely her career peak.

I admire her courage to talk so confidently about being 'pretty', but lets face it, we live in a society where we would rather she moaned about her sagging breasts and muffin top. If Samantha carries on to acknowledge herself only by her appearance('beautiful' and 'pretty'), she will continue to receive nasty comments from people. She is obviously a somewhat smart woman who unfortunately does not realise there is more to life than having a pretty face; a personality, kind nature and a sense of humour always win the hearts of women and men alike.

Links

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Juddernaut

"Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted."

On Monday, an article was published by thedailybeast.com which spoke of the puffy look that actress Ashley Judd has been sporting whilst promoting her newest TV series in the USA. What makes this article unique and why it is getting lots of attention is that Ashley wrote it. After so many years scanning through trashy magazines, websites and newspapers I have personally become fed up of the media bitching about other women's appearances - clothes, make up, lack of make up, wobbly bits, post-pregnancy bodies, cellulite etc-  who happen to be photographed and picked on because they are famous.


What Ashley has written is an open article about how she deals with the media writing about her due to the numerous comments that came off the back of her promoting Missing in an interview. The media are vicious, poking out any flaws from the tiniest weight gain/loss or new pimple on the forehead. What the media then encourage is the idea that we, the readers, should be poking flaws in all the women and men around us, making us all self-conscious that we might be judged for our smallest imperfections too.

Ashley writes confidently and maturely to defend her critics about any flaws that they have picked up from watching the same interview, including weight gain(even though she still has a beautiful healthy figure) and having surgery (which she has not had). More women and men that are frequently in the limelight and endless trails of paparazzi need to stand up and speak out about how the media effects them mentally and physically. The way that magazines picks out the most natural flaws, sometimes just from an unflattering picture, makes them bullies and making other people insecure about themselves, let alone what it does to the poor bullied celebrity in question.

What we should take from Ashley's media-arse-kicking-article is this fabulous quote mid-article:

"The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself, my personal integrity, and my relationship with my Creator. "

Lets take Ashley's spirit and stop fretting over what other people might think about ourselves and love our bodies for what they are!

Links
Ashley Judds Article

Mullins & a Dozen Legs

"From an identity standpoint, what does it mean to have a disability? Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do. Nobody calls her disabled.” - Aimee Mullins

Amiee Mullins is an inspiring woman, an athlete, model, actress and TED speaker. In her most recent talk, for she has presented a small few now, she discusses her freedom with her choice of a dozen pairs of legs since her legs were amputated below the knee when she was a year old due to fibular hemimelia. Her speech is inspiring with her determination and passion flourishing as she talks about how she makes the most of her changeable lower-half prosthetic's.









 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Super Natural Models

After a picture has been snapped and released of three lovely ladies posing in their bikinis, a very interesting article has popped up about models baring their flesh without makeup nor digital improvement.


 From the written piece are links to other similar articles, including casting photos taken for Louis Vuitton's Fall 2010 catwalk show. The photos of the models have been placed against a photo of the model with full make up and digital enhancement- the differences are quite astonishing and worth a peek here.

Links

Monday, 9 April 2012

Secrets Worth Sharing

I have followed Postsecret.com for years, a project started by Frank Warren from America. People are invited to post their own personal secrets on the back of a postcard, which has resulted in numerous books, touring America with talks and gracing TED with a talk too. A good introduction to a very emotional project.










Link

Sunday, 1 April 2012

#Lovingmytum

Last month I blogged about Love My Tum Twitter campaign to accept a part of the body for what it is, no matter how much you hate it! It was started by Body Gossip campaigner Ruth Rogers(@BodyGossipRuth) and I helped support her by showing off my tum. I only managed a week as I got distracted by work amongst other things, however I managed to be slightly creative and amusing my sad self.

Supporting Ruth on Day1 with a rounded belly and muffin top!
 Friendly
 International Women's Day

 Pre-night out!
Amusing myself...
During these photos, I also came across this wonderful display at Debenhams, which seemed to support our cause!

Love your bums, tums, boobs, scars and all those other bits too!

The Body Gossip campaign was featured in the Daily Mail this weekend, with ambassador Zaraah Abrahams discussing 'Thinspiration' as well as Louisa Lytton talking about being self-conscious of her body image from growing up in the public eye.

@BodyGossipRuth on Twitter

The Patch Project: Update

A week after setting up the project, I have received my first patch in the post for The Patch Project from Felicity(who I blogged about here). The project is aimed to get women opening up about loves, hates and experiences of their bodies by making a 4inch square to express themselves. As well as the patch, the contributors are asked to write a small bio (anonymous submissions welcome) on a 4inch piece of paper which will be displayed with the patches.(Patch Project blog and brief)

 I have also set up a Facebook page for the project, so anyone submitting or interested, please head over now to: https://www.facebook.com/ThePatchProject

Photos will be uploaded as more arrive as well as other developments! Please spread word to women, ladies and girls you know of all ages, experience and locations and thanks to all those so far who I have spoken to.

Link
The Patch Project Blog Post
The Patch Project Facebook