American Apparel Re-launches in the UK

Former cult brand American Apparel re-launched this week in the UK, the company has had a fully re-branded makeover and is staying away from overly sexualised images which saw the previous company director Dov Charney face many cases of sexual harassment. Here’s a previous post on their Controversal Campaigns. 

The new owners Guildan Activewear Inc, a Canadian-American manufacture have decided there’s nothing wrong with advertising the clothes in a ‘sexy’ way it’s just how that sexy comes across which is important, it’s not about sexualising the models it’s about empowering them.  It’s refreshing to see that they do not agree with how the company was formally represented, this is how they used to try and appeal to consumers with their Back to School Campaign.

American Apparel Nylon Tricot Cropped Tank Top

As before the models are ordinary people, not professionals and are from a wide background of different cultures, diversities and sizes. The photos are also unedited which is great because it means that there won’t be any photo-shopped images and shows a true representation of the products and people. It doesn’t matter whether you have stretch-marks or acne etc… it will not be edited out like it’s a problem or like ‘perfection’ needs to be put out there in order to sell the clothes.

“Our customer has never really cared about the ‘American’ in American Apparel because it was made in America. They’ve always cared about American Apparel because it stands for certain values of authenticity, diversity and ethical manufacturing and we keep all of those values now, even though we are not necessarily made in the US,” says Silvia Mazzucchelli, vice-president, direct to consumer. (Theguardian.com) 

American Apparel Denim Lace Back Dress

I am not 100% sure if that statement is true about the customers but in my opinion I thought it was great that the products were produced in America and boosted the job trade over there, far too many companies import now.  There is the option to purchase the American made version or globally made one, of course the global one is cheaper in price. 

Do you like how the company has re-branded?

Will it gain cult status again?

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/20/american-apparel-returns-as-an-inclusive-online-retailer

*Images from Americanapparel.com 

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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

Disney Goes Live Action

Beauty & The BeastAfter the incredible success of Maleficent comes the news that Beauty and the Beast is also set for the live action format, Bill Condon director of Breaking Dawn (Twilight) is said to have signed up for the project. Also up for the live action reinvention is Cinderella (2015) directed by Kenneth Branagh and staring Lily James (Wrath of the Titans)  Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau as well as The Little Mermaid.

CinderellaBeauty and the Beast is such a stunning animation so I personally don’t feel the need for it to become a live action feature, ive also seen theatrical versions of it such as a fully musical based one and a more dramatic piece without the musical factor and both were thrilling in their own ways, they weren’t trying to replicate the classic Disney version.  A postmodern version of the classic fairy tale has already been presented in the form of Beastly staring former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens.

Maleficent may have been a big success but this doesn’t necessarily mean that all future live action films will be, Disney may just be seeing dollar signs when it comes to the concepts of this and I hope that the production is actually well thought out, it’s great for classic Disney to continue to be recognised by newer generations but re-developing the stories aren’t necessary.

Maleficent

*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

Peaches Geldof Death Revealed

Peaches Geldof familyThe death of Peaches Geldof shocked the world on April 7th when it was revealed that she had died, she leaves behind children Astala Dylan Willow and Phaedra Bloom Forever and husband Thomas Cohen. The child of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates echoed the death of her mother when it was revealed today that heroin was found in her blood, an overdose also killed her mother in 2000.

Peaches has previously overdosed in 2008 and told the world how her ‘wild child’ ways were over when she settled down and had children, it’s such a shame that the star who was rumoured to be a new judge on Australia’s Next Top Model had turned back to the drug, now like she did her children will grow up without their mother.

Bob Geldof wants Thomas to remain close to the family so that the children will grow up knowing about their mother, the S.C.U.M singer has reportedly changed his name to Thomas Geldof Cohen to honour Peaches’ memory. It just goes to show that such a deadly addiction can haunt a family. It is not known why the traces of Heroin could not be found in her Kent home by the police or sniffer dogs and why  Peaches had turned back to the drug.

Peaches Geldof with Thomas Cohen

*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

James Arthur: The Pressures of Fame

James Arthur Album CoverSince winning the X Factor, champion James Arthur has appeared in the media negatively involving sex scandals, arguments with fellow stars and homophobic rants. The star’s new releases have even been blacklisted by radios meaning its virtually impossible for him to catch a break and hits have even failed to make the top 40.

This provides a perfect example of the pressure stardom takes on people, rather than being helped through his breakdown the star seems to face increasing backlash adding more impact to it all. The X Factor isn’t glamorous, being a successful popstar doesn’t mean that you will be treated fairly, as James has experienced as soon as you step out of line you will be out-casted faster than you can blink.  

In November 2013 an online row got out of hand when James labelled an unknown rapper Micky Worthless a ‘fucking queer’, he soon became branded homophobic and album refunds were given to fans he turned against him, another spat a month later came with fellow X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan who branded him homophobic and he retaliated by branding her an attention seeker, in all fairness who has heard about her since the X-factor other than on this incident?

It’s such a shame that his latest single Get Down was blacklisted by radio stations, on numerous occasions he has apologised for the homophobic label even telling audiences live from performing on the X Factor that it was a bad mistake and he had made poor choices.

James ArthurRecord label Syco owned by Simon Cowell has now decided to drop the singer after his latest song ‘Follow the Leader’ contains references to terrorism, it’s clear that the singer has been self-destructing since being pushed into the limelight, rather than being exploited by scandals he should have been given support by his record label, im sure Simon Cowell could have afforded to have done this than choose to drop him at his weakest.

The new rap lyrics “Wish I’d never let you in , to think that I was thinking maybe I should let you live, I’m gonna blow up your family like a terrorist” are the final straw for Simon Cowell who has decided not to release a second album. It’s in extremely bad taste but I don’t think anyone would intentionally reference terrorism so I feel it’s just a big cry for help.

It seems that the best thing would be for James to fade out of the limelight and feel normal again rather than being a media puppet portrayed as evil and allowed to be abused for poor mistakes.  Such a shame that someone so talented got caught up in the X factor circus and abandoned at his weakest, maybe in the future the public will allow the singer to start again and release new material that isn’t blacklisted but for now the first step would be to get rid of all the negativity surrounding him and for the Twitter abuse to stop.

 

*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

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