Victoria’s Secret: Perfect Body

Perfect Body Victoria's SecretThe ‘Perfect Body’ or bodies used in the latest campaign for the large American corporation Victoria’s Secret has caused outrage and backlash against many who feel they used a poor choice of words and models. Three UK students Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides & Laura Ferris have taken it upon their selves to get the advertisement re-worded or at least an apology from the company, this is through the use of a petition which currently has 20,452 supporters.

The #iamperfect campaign and Twitter handle has been created by those that want the company to change their views and come to the understanding that they are spreading an incredibly unhealthy message about body image.

If you are aware of ‘Victoria’s Angels’ which showcases models such as Miranda Kerr then you will know that this company frequently uses slim models in it’s campaigns, the ‘perfect body’ is no different and showcases 10 models with similar body types and emphasis that the perfect body is a slim frame with a push up bra… It has also been accused of airbrushing the models to make them look more desirable and ‘perfect’ which lets face it doesn’t exist, especially when airbrushing comes into the equation.

The students are brave for setting up the petition and taking on such a large corporations which has millions of female fans, it is their duty as a company to inspire females with their products rather than unleashing a campaign that makes you think in order to have the perfect body you must look like the models they specifically pick to front the advertisements.

The advertisements have been showcased across billboards and other means of marketing so there would be no avoiding the imagery, the models can also be shown with ‘thigh gaps’ which is a very dangerous thing which young females have tried to achieve so again Victoria’s Secret are promoting an unhealthy look which could lead to eating disorders if people tried to obtain it. This form of ‘body shaming’ is getting out of hand and can be frequently found across the media.

If you would like to sign the petition then click the link below!

https://www.change.org/p/victoriassecret-apologise-for-your-damaging-perfect-body-campaign-iamperfect

*Image sourced from Google

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American Apparel: Back to School Controversy

American Apparel as featured previously on my blog is yet again using shock tactics and sexualised images to promote their company and products. Dov Charney the founder who was dismissed previously for sexual allegations and misconduct has been re-hired as a ‘consultant’, surely the man who has various sexual harassment cases against him shouldn’t be re-associated with the company if they want to get away from the negative image which he has portrayed onto them.

American Apparel Back to School

The latest campaign which has caused outrage comes from the ‘back to school’ range and promotes a ‘School girl’ fantasy which can be linked to pornography, the image has reportedly been removed from the site now (I found it on Google) which leads you to think if it is just an innocent campaign then why remove it?

It can be assumed that the model is of the consensual age but it’s hard to tell when you cant see her face… Back to School is often aimed at under 16’s so it could be argues that this is promoting the sexualisation of children which cannot be justified. “Peter Bradley, from Kidscape, said: ‘It’s something we find abhorrent. It’s about using underage pornography to sell products and the sexualisation of children, which cannot ever be justified.”

We’ve all heard the expression ‘sex sells’ but that should never be used to promote anything to do with children or schools.

American Apparel- Schools Out
April 2014

Another advertisement taken directly from the American Apparel website was used to show that the school term had ended, the young girl in the advertisement can clearly be shown on a bed which again sexualises the image, I’m not sure what age the girl is but she looks too young to be objectified by a company trying to use sex as a promotion. If you look at the many other campaigns from the company or even of the products then you will see that the company like to use young models often wearing very little.

American Apparel- Vinyl Mini Skirt
July 2014

This image isn’t linked to the back to school campaign but again expresses the need the company feels to use young models whilst sexualising them, the product in question is of a ‘vinyl mini skirt’ which in itself could be linked to fetishism and pornography, again the girl is quite young and posing in very little. Considering the company are trying to sell a skirt why should the model be topless and have her legs spread apart?

American- Apparel Bon Appetit
April 2014

Another recent campaign from April 2014 shows a girl with her legs spread, the actual product she is supposed to be advertising is a ‘Fisherman’s jumper’ which I guess some people may not be able to tell as the large letters of ‘Bon Appetit’ and the fact she’s eating a large sandwich are quite distracting… 

The site actually sells clothes aimed at babies and young children so is it appropriate for them to sexualise clothing aimed at women? I hardly think so. If you take a look at their ad campains (link below) you will see that the male models aren’t sexualised so why should it just be women that ‘sell sex’, it just promotes objectification and misogyny and I think the company should stop listening to Dov Charney and turn their selves around before the company is run into the ground.  


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2718720/American-Apparel-resorting-porn-sell-Back-School-range.html#ixzz3AAcgOT7J

Previous Ad Campaigns: http://www.americanapparel.net/advertising/?search=1&type=0&year=0&keyword=&page=1

American Apparel: CEO Misconduct

american-apparelIf you Google American Apparel then you will see pages of images filled with sexually graphic content, it’s hard to believe this is a clothing company…

Dov Charney the CEO of controversial company American Apparel has been fired after coming under many sexual harassment cases, the 45-year-old who founded the company in 1998 is believed to have undertaken an unprofessional approach to his female employees, it is said he walked around in his underpants in front of them and even brought they sex toys as gifts. Although he has come under fire for many sexual harassment cases the company have always backed him and no cases have been successful, it has recently emerged that the company have let him go due to ‘misconduct’ it is not clear what he has actually done.

american apparel store openingSuch controversial advertisements like shown above prove that Charney has a lack of respect for women, previous employees claim he acted inappropriately during interviews and were even asked to masturbate in front of him, surely this should have rung alarm bells with the other directors and shareholders within the company? Whilst being interviewed by a journalist she claims he had a sex act performed on him whilst being part of an interview, this CEO clear should have been removed from the company long ago, just because he has ‘power’ within the company doesn’t mean he should abuse it and harass those around him.

Dov CharneyTo check out some of American Apparel’s controversial campaign why not read https://chasingtheimpossibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/american-apparel-controversal-campaigns/

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2014/jun/19/dov-charney-american-apparel

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/american-apparel-fires-founder-dov-charney-after-misconduct-inquiry-9547865.html

*images from Google

In the Name of Entertainment: Makeover TV

How to Look Good NakedReality Television is associated with different factors such as unprofessional actors, unscripted dialogue for the realistic effect, however in Snog Marry Avoid? Elements of the programme are staged in which the contestants are humiliated for their appearance, e.g. People talking behind their back as they walk past is often featured. The participants also appear to come off as quite dumb in order to add to the humiliation they are about to face. How to Look Good Naked also uses staged elements. E.G Gok Wan often destroys the participants clothing if it is ‘unflattering’ again this detracts away from realism as it wouldn’t happen if the cameras weren’t filming as well as the organisation of the catwalk in shopping centres where participants showcase their new transformation and are asked to appear naked at the end of the catwalk.

The success of makeover reality television shows are due to the increasing concerns of health and body image, in order to adhere to a certain set of standards set by society women are subjected to what Laura Mulvey calls the male gaze which, it can also be linked to ideology. Ideology can be defined as “a systematic framework of social understanding motivated by a will to power or a desire to be accepted as the ‘right’ way of thinking”(Lacey, 2009, p.100)The underlying systems of ideology within the media makes consumers feel that striving for the ‘perfect’ image is acceptable behaviour and that body image is extremely important.

Cosmo MagazineMagazine images of slim models and celebrity inspiration is constantly in the limelight which makes media consumers feel that they should look that way as it is the only body image being perceived, if celebrities put on weight or are photographed without makeup on then they are instantly criticised for having an unpolished appearance, this reflects on females in society as they are portrayed as being abnormal or unattractive if they have a curvy frame and skin that isn’t flawless.

In How to Look Good Naked, the female participants are unhappy with their looks and it is hyper-emphasized with close up camera shots on the body parts which they find ‘unconventional’, e.g. stomachs and thighs are frequently the parts which females tend to dislike about their selves. “Knowing that she is to be subjected to the cold appraisal of the male connoisseur and that her life prospects may depend on how she is seen, a woman learns to appraise herself first.” (Bartky, 1990, 38) In both Snog Marry Avoid? And How to Look Good Naked the reasons for the contestants wanting the makeovers are often more deep rooted than simply wanting to feel good about their selves, it is also influenced by how they feel they should look. Quite often the contestants lack confidence in their bodies and feel that they need to change in order to attract a partner or what is more relevant for How to Look Good Naked is the desire to feel more feminine after having children, having had their body shape change prior to and after giving birth the female lacks confidence in herself, as Bartky illustrates the female must learn to love her body first and maintain it in societal standards in order for it to be appealing to the opposite sex and even in the instance that elements of her life may depend on her appearance which could be career related.

Ok MagazineAlthough the purpose of makeover programmes is to change the lifestyle of participants it attracts it’s audiences by adding in entertainment aspects at the costs of humiliating those who have taken part in the programme. According to Dovey (2000) lifestyle television is “filled by voices proclaiming and celebrating their own “freakiness”, articulating their most intimate fears and secrets” (Biressi and Nunn, 2005, p.96) In How to Look Naked participants prior to their makeovers have an image of their body projected onto a large building in a public place, wearing only unflattering lingerie as strangers are exhibited to their humiliation.

Barbie Twins In Snog, Marry, Avoid? Before their appearance is changed the participants have over eccentric looks, little clothing and large amounts of make up on, they are quite often ‘bullied’ over their appearances by what members of the public have to say about them, another reason why they want the makeover is to feel confident in their selves after being subjected to bullying in the past which is what makes them cover their selves in makeup and fake tan as a sort of persona in order to hide their true identity.

Conboy et al (1997) argues that the body is constantly in the process of change, without the changes linking to societal requirements the female form will always be considered grotesque or undesirable, this links into makeover programmes such as How to Look Good Naked and Snog Marry Avoid? As stated previously females feel they should change the way they look in order to fit the standards rather than to accept the way they already look, this is a reflection of body image and vanity in contemporary culture due to the increasing pressure to look perfect.

Freak Show PosterMetaphorically the lifestyle programme is like watching a freak show, the female is exhibited in front of an audience who can laugh at her expense because of her unconventional appearance.

In conclusion reality television is constantly using entertainment factors in order to make their shows more appealing to consumers, although it takes away the realism with its use of staged scenes it still makes lifestyle shows such as How to Look Good Naked and Snog Marry Avoid? Successful. The freak show format allows audience to laugh at the expense of others and feel better about their selves which allows the programmes to legitimise the female body in the name of entertainment, if the body doesn’t fit societal standards showcased by the media then it isn’t acceptable so why not laugh at it? This is what the makeover programme offers, the humiliation and entertainment of others whilst they try to fit the norm and adhere to what they think they should look like. It’s the shocking dress and makeup choices that participants in Snog Marry Avoid? Wear that makes the show more appealing, they essentially humiliate their selves on a daily basis with the poor choices of thick layers of tan and little clothing so adding it into the reality format makes the show more entertaining and acceptable to laugh at others as it isn’t something that you could do in real life. It essentially showcases the female body for bullying/humiliation if it isn’t perfect and calls it entertainment.

Bibliography

Biressi, A. and Nunn, H. (2005) Reality TV: Realism and Revelation. London: Wallflower Press.

Conboy, K, Medina, N and Stanbury, S. (ed.) (1997) Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory. New York:Columbia University Press.

Lacey, N (2009). Image and Representation: Key Concepts in Media Studies. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mulvey, L. (2009) Visual and other pleasures. 2nd ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

 

*images from Google

Josie Cunningham: Abortion for Fame

Josie CunninghamDespicable mother Josie Cunningham who sparked outrage when she received a £4800 boob job for free continues to kick up drama wherever she goes. The mom who was set to sue the NHS over her boob job which apparently made her unhappy because her glamour model career didn’t go to plan also received another free Botox operation to  sort out her condition hyperhidrosis which causes excessive sweating.

The latest scandal to reach the news is that the mother of two who is now pregnant with her third child (father unknown) wishes to have an abortion just to go on the reality TV show Big Brother, she claims producers approached her before the pregnancy but because of her condition they don’t wish to continue the contract. After the modelling career failed Josie turned to the escort life for ‘easy money’ she is unaware if the father is a client who paid her £1000 for sex or whether or not it was a casual fling with a friend.  Maybe instead of chasing fame and free operations off the NHS she should focus on the children she already has.

This new scandal has caused outrage for so many reasons:

  • She’s already claiming to have free dental treatment whilst she’s pregnant
  • She’s glamorising abortions 
  • She’s a fame hungry mess
  • She should focus on her own children

Josie Cunningham PregnantMany people who have suffered the loss of a child will be affected by this vile act, for those who cant have children for medical reasons will not want to know that someone out there who has the opportunity to give the gift of life will give it all up just to try and become famous. Fame isn’t everything so maybe Josie should get that into her head before deciding to abort a life, abortion is a hard decision and shouldn’t be considered for vanity reasons.

If she goes ahead with the abortion and does land on Big Brother does she really think the viewers will back her and launch her into stardom? The glamour model career didn’t exactly go to plan so why would anyone want to see her become famous for all the wrong reasons. She gives Britain a bad name and people should stop feeding the troll.

*images from Google

The Sun: Sexualised Media

Nicole NealThe Sun came to a shocking new low today with its ‘Under boob’ trend being modelled by Page 3 girl Nicole Neal, the trend like the ‘side boob’ sported by celebrities consists of part of the breast being exposed, in this case the curvature of the bottom of the breasts. The above look was described as being a festival inspired, personally I find it far too much and don’t see how anybody cause possibly leave the house so comfortably when showing off so much skin. As for ‘festival’ just because she has flowers in her hair doesn’t mean it’s a festival trend. also people usually go to festivals to see live music not women wearing very little.Miley CyrusIt come’s to no surprise that controversial stars such as Miley Cyrus is not shy of the side boob trend, especially considering that she wears very little on stage. But is the under boob and side boob really a trend that people should be following or is it just an excuse for females to be sexualized even more?

Gender inequality is certainly far from being solved when the media splashes images across the world of ‘side boobs’ and ‘under boobs’ like it’s a perfectly acceptable thing. Would you really want to see your children or relatives walking around like this because they’ve seen it in magazines or showcased by celebrities?

Considering The Sun is now linked to the breast cancer charity Coppafeel, you would think that’d be more respectful to the female body but obviously not, previously they held a contest against Ex Big Brother and Apprentice ‘star’ Luisa Zuissman and model Helen Flanagan to see who had better breasts. Is this really important and ‘news’ I think not but the paper is so misogynistic that it couldn’t possibly stoop any lower.

Helen FlanaganRather than showcasing women as just something that can be looked at The Sun should showcase talented women and show there is more to us than just breasts, rather than pitting two ‘celebrities’ together to see who has better breasts, fake vs natural, this is the kind of content you’d expect to find in lads mags, especially when they have their top lists to determine which female is sexier.  Page 3 is outdated yet they wont listen to the public and scrap it, instead it seems that more female bodies are showcased and very little news is actually reported so is this still a ‘family’ newspaper or just another lads mag that has articles in to deviate from the fact that often enough large images of bikini clad women take centre spread.

As young females grow up they shouldn’t feel like they are only worth what their body looks like, females should grow up not feeling like their body counts for everything and that boob fashion trends are the norm but with such sexualized content publically showcased then gender inequality is looking less likely.

*images from Google

Check ‘Em Tuesday Campaign Controversy

check em tuesday coverPage 3 as we all know features topless models for unnecessary purposes, boobs aren’t news and shouldn’t be featured in a ‘family’ paper, a while ago now I signed the petition to have the Page 3 content removed as well as 161, 823 more people so I am quite disgusted and concerned as to why David Dinsmore has decided to use sexualised women to promote Breast Cancer awareness.

Check ‘Em Tuesday will now run every Tuesday to remind women to check theirselves for any signs of Breast Cancer, using a popular newspaper is a great way to promote cancer awareness but using sexualised images is not the right way to go about it! Coppafeel the charity working with The Sun feel it’s the best way to alert people of the dangers rather than aimed at sufferers.

I have nothing against the charity and hope it succeeds before I am seen as being against cancer awareness, I just feel that it seems like The Sun has used a tactical move, they know about the vast amount of support for no more Page 3, even MP’s want it gone, so promoting a deadly disease to keep the content in place is a disgusting move.

check em tuesdayThe above image has been used to ‘promote’ the campaign, had you not seen it before would you be aware it’s promoting breast cancer awareness? Breast Cancer is a serious condition and I personally feel that The Sun isn’t taking it very seriously, it’s nice that they want to promote it but they are going the wrong way about it.

Go CommandoGo Commando is the male equivalent of Check ‘Em Tuesday but there was a very large difference between the promotion of both campaigns, Page 3 models were given front page and a large spread in the paper, Go Commando used ordinary men and only had a small feature in the paper, the majority of the space on those pages was covered with advertisements. What does that tell you?

Cancer is deadly serious no matter what gender, age or ethnicity you are, yet The Sun seems to think that female models in their early 20’s is the way to promote it and older white males (with one exception of a 24 year old) will attract readers. In the article it has the cancer stories of the men who have suffered, and again Coppafeel features to the side of the story but to promote the symptoms of breast cancer rather than having a male guide on cancer symptoms.

If you don’t agree with Page 3 and think it is outdated then why not sign the petition? or follow the campaign on Twitter @NoMorePage3

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-dinsmore-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3

 

*images from Google

Bodyshockers: My Piercing Hell

Katie Piper and EmilyThe second part of the Bodyshocker’s documentary series was based upon body piercings and plastic surgery elements, Emily shown above as you can see is a piercing fan, with numerous piercings such as snakebites, smiley and a stretched septum you could say its an addiction however this former metal fan wants times reversed after a night out found her ear lob was snapped by a random passer-by.

Ear stretching has became popular in recent years and isn’t uncommon amongst teenagers, however there are dangers to over-stretching your ears like Emily found, her stretched lobes were referred to as the size of ‘coke cans’. Ear elasticity can go back to it’s natural size if you stretch it to around size 12 or below, again it depends on the individuals elasticity.  In Emily’s case she had to have her ear lobes sewn back up, surprisingly though the results were really well, I was surprised at how normal her ears actually looked after the surgery, she also had laser surgery on unwanted tattoos.

My Piercing Hell JodieBeautician Jodie is also a piercing addict, with numerous piercings across her face and body she has no plans on stopping, she tells us that it’s the attention she craves when sporting a new piercing. Attention is not the right reason to get a piercing or a tattoo as you can regret it which a lot of the people on this programme has done. Jodie is on the programme because she wants a ‘Dermal Punch’ piercing, for those of you that don’t know of this procedure then its basically having a hole punched in your ear and fitted with a tunnel like ones you can get for ear stretchers, the piercers who do Jodie’s piercings actually describe the tool as a ‘apple corer but on a smaller scale’  now doesn’t that just sound delightful?

Dermal Punch ToolDermal Punches can be made in different sizes as shown with the image above, however it cannot be reversed so if you ever think of getting one then take careful consideration instead of getting it on a whim. If you see the programme then it will most likely put you off because it wasn’t the easiest thing to watch.

Dimple Surgery CherelleThe final shock I will leave you with is Cherelle who had ‘Dimpleplasty’ surgery which created rather large dimples in her face which was made with flesh which was cut away, she told Katie she is a huge fan of dimples especially on stars such as Cheryl Cole, the procedure took a total of 20 minutes and cost £3000. In a crazy bid to look beautiful has it really came to having flesh cut from your face in order to feel confident? Yes dimples can look cute but if you aren’t born with them naturally would you really pay £3000 to have holes put in your face?

Again the series is available on 4OD and is well worth a watch.

*images from Google

BodyShockers: My Tattoo Hell

Katie PiperBodyshockers: My Tattoo Hell is the first of I believe three shocking documentaries on Channel 4 focusing on body modification, the second focuses on piercings and then the third and final documentary goes back to tattoos.

Tattoo’s are never perceived in a positive light it seems, previously Channel 4 had a show focusing on poorly executed tattoos and tattoos done abroad on drunk holiday makers, why can they not focus on credible artists for a change?

Katie Piper meets different people with tattoo regrets ranging from a new mom to a Johnny Depp impersonator, the most shocking tattoo of the show to me was one on a mans eyelid, what a strange and painful place for a tattoo! This man purely got the tattoo to out stage his brother who has a camel tattooed on his toe, the man in questioning had ‘Japs’ tattooed on his eyelid with is just bad taste and racist. He claimed to have gotten it whilst on a drunk night out not thinking about his decision, what the show didn’t highlight it that it is illegal to tattoo somebody under the influence. He takes the painful and dangerous route of tattoo removal.

Merlisa My Tattoo HellNew mom Merlissa had a large chest piece done to rebel against her grandparents, at the tender age of 16! Again not mentioned on the show that this is again illegal. Getting a tattoo for the shock factor is never a good idea, Merlissa undertakes the decision to have the piece removed as she feels self conscious around other mothers at they playground, she states it was part of her past and no longer wants the piece as a reminder, this is why tattoos should have large amounts of thought put into them before they are inked permanently.

I don’t want to detail the whole show as it is worth a watch so i’ll leave you with the trailer! Documentary is available on 4OD

 

*images from Google

American Apparel: Controversal Campaigns

It’s no surprise that the store fronting mannequins with full pubic hair is a store that also printed a t-shirt of a menstruating vagina just last year, the store of course is American Apparel.

Controversy is the forte of this store, with previous advertisements bordering pornographic (photos to come shorty) Women are constantly sexualised by this brand so this latest stunt to grab attention doesn’t come as a surprise with the use of female mannequins.  The mannequins are fronting full pubic hair and realistic nipples shown in see through underwear, but what is the point to this campaign? Does it make you want to go in store? It’s certainly been a good way of publicising their selves as many stop and stare at the displays as well as talking about it worldwide.  

american-apparel mannequinsThe pubic hair campaign is for a Valentines Display, I fail to see it.

An advert which features a model wearing just sports socks with hand placements to look like masturbation is another example of an extreme advertisement they have previously used and had banned. You would think a clothes shop’s primarily focus would be to sell the clothes and not to sell sex.

american-apparel-ads-2011-mainAnother shocking advert for the company which features sheer pants showing off more pubic hair, why is this company so obsessed with pubic hair and vagina’s?  Personally I don’t find the adverts to be that clever or appealing but their sales tactics appear to be sold on controversy and shock alone.

american apparel store openingThe finally shocking advertisement is the one above which is for a store opening, funny how the store details are in small print and barely noticeable. The owner Dov Charney clear has no respect for women otherwise why would he sexualise them to such an extent just to ‘sell’ clothing although very little is worn in advertisements.  Another issue I have with all this is that the models always look quite young, sexualising young women gives off such a terrible impression, it makes them look like objects rather than human beings.

*images from Google