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

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

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

H&M ‘Plus Size’ Model Outrage

Fashion retail giant H&M have recently brought out a plus size range (H&M+), this may sound idealistic and that fashion retailers are finally promoting healthy models of all sizes but take a look at the model images and see if you agree.

HM plus size modelThe above image is taken from the H&M UK website, the sizes start at 18 and go up to size 28, where would you place the model? I think she looks rather slim considering she is a ‘plus size’ model, I personally don’t like the term plus size as I think it just categories women that retailers and the media feel don’t fit the norm.  The model has either been photo shopped to an extent that she looks slim because of the editing or it’s simply that she isn’t size 18 or above.  

hm plus size jeansAgain the above image is taken from the UK site, the model here is promoting plus size jeans, had it not been under the plus size category on the website I wouldn’t have known that they were supposed to represent a larger size. H&M have taken a backlash from Twitter followers who are disgusted by their claims that these women are plus size.

Jennie RunkUS model Jennie Runk previously worked with H&M+ to promote a line of plus sized beachwear, the size 16 model (Us size 14) was a breath of fresh air to the modelling industry and was praised for her collaboration with the brand as it gave women a better perspective of body image. Not everybody is slim built so why feature models in campaigns that are usually size 6/8.

It seems that H&M have taken two steps back with their latest plus size offerings, the whole plus size term should be abolished to stop the diversity created around a woman’s weight and size.  Whatever your size you should feel beautiful and confident the way you are, don’t let media images make you feel bad for not being a skinny model or fit their new norm of a plus sized model which clearly is a blurred image.

 

*images from Google

Plastic Surgery Trends: 2014

Plastic surgery amongst celebrities is more common than a McDonald’s building! In Hollywood if you don’t have it, surgically enhance it so you can flaunt it.

Marilyn MonroeA top trend predicted is chin implants, this is to achieve the Hollywood glamour look after it was reported Marilyn Monroe herself had this surgery, the procedure leaves the client with a more defined chin. Since 2010 the amount of procedures has doubled and is set to continue throughout 2014.

Another trend for the year is the intimate surgery known as the labiaplasty or vaginoplasty, in the quest for women to have a ‘designer vagina’ this is know to be one of the UK’s fastest growing surgery treatment. The labiaplasty is designed to reshape or reduce the size of the labia minora (inner lips) of course this procedure isn’t just for medical reasons and can be purely for aesthetic purposes. The vaginoplasty is a treatment that tightens the area, a popular treatment for those that have given birth.

kim-kardashian75% of anti-aging treatments come from non-surgical treatments, this is popular amongst celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Botox, chemical peels and dermal fillers are becoming increasingly popular by people that want radiant ageless skin without going under the knife.  This is set to be the biggest trend of 2014 with boob jobs and reductions still being quite high.

If 2014 has such a demand for plastic and cosmetic surgery then will 2015 be any different? Growing old naturally seems to be taboo, with such a high celebrity influence natural beauty is becoming a myth. In 2014 even your vagina has to be designer so there’s little hope that natural beauty will make a comeback.   

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2529982/Will-YOU-having-lipotripsy-2014-Fat-melting-treatment-set-hot-year-alongside-chinplants-vaginoplasty.html

*images from Google

Miss Representation (2011)

Miss Representation is a documentary from 2011 exploring the media pressures put on young women in America, it more so talks about the limited political power that is given to women and how female power is under-represented in media influences. The documentary was quite a shock to how sexist the media actually is, it showcases women as being natural enemies to each other and generally bitchy behaviour, come on now women do get on with each other.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom narrates throughout the documentary the fears she has of her little girl growing up in the male dominated environment, if they aren’t subjecting women sexually they are undermining their intelligence. A wide range of shocking statistics are also used throughput to showcase how oblivious we may be to what is actually going on in front of our very eyes on a daily basis.

Shock Statistics

“Studies prove exposures to sexually explicit video games and music videos is linked to men’s acceptance of rape myths and sexual harassment”

“1 in 6 women are survivors of rape or attempted rape”

“It is estimated that out of the 8 million people with an eating disorder 7 of those million are women.”

“In 2011, only 11% of protagonists in films were female.”

“Women hold only 5% of clout positions in telecommunications, entertainment, publishing, and advertising”

Media influences may seem ineffective but they do shape how a society thinks, females are constantly sexualised which makes it seem that we are objects, in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto men can beat up female prostitutes and get their money back after ‘using their services’ it shows a complete lack of respect towards women and like this behaviour is acceptable and possibly even funny.

It may not be featured in the Documentary due to it being 2 years later but  Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is a primary example of how women are being overly sexualised constantly in the media. The models in the video are dancing around topless (explicit version) and the lyrics over exert sexual intentions and rape, the blurred line wipes out the answer no making it seem like the females are available and this is not acceptable, glorifying rape in popular culture formats will make it more accessible for audiences, women should not be portrayed as sex objects or even used just to boost a songs video hits.

Blurred LinesWith women’s small contribution to media services it means that the patriarchal society will continue to grow, males will continue to undermine a females persona and focus more on her looks, with the over exposure of slim models and celebrities and shaming those who gain weight then it will make it seem like your looks are the most important factor of life.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom illustrates that when auditioning for roles she was advised not to mention her educational achievements due to it being potentially intimidating, what’s wrong with having a degree? Women aren’t dumb which is constantly a media stereotype e.g.’dumb blondes’ but it seems that if you do have good educational traits then you are an outcast and you should focus more on your looks rather than studying. A good example of this is Mean Girls, this isn’t mentioned in the documentary btw, it’s a film that everybody has either heard of or seen, when Cady remotely shows any intelligence she is instantly looked at like she is a freak by the ‘Plastics’ but then you slowly see her consumed by the beauty obsession and bitchy personality.

If more female power was allowed in the media then changes could be made, young girls wouldn’t feel self conscious about their looks at such a young age and the ever growing increase in depression and eating disorders wouldn’t be such a high risk. Everyday females aren’t like those constantly showcased in music video’s, Miley Cyrus may walk around in next to nothing and twerk but it doesn’t mean that every girl wants to act like this.

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - ShowMore statistics and information for the documentary can be found on it’s official site, it can also be viewed on Netflix (UK)

http://film.missrepresentation.org/statistics

*images from google

Niccole Sisters: Walking Advertisements For Dad’s Surgery

Brittani and Charm Niccole adopted daughters of plastic surgeon Dr Michael Niccole have both had procedures done by their dad, the girls in their twenty’s have both had boob jobs and regular have Botox jabs and chemical peels in order to keep their skin looking youthful. At such a young age would they really need all these skin smoothing procedures? or is it just a case of using a short cut because their dad will happily operate on them? 

Charm’s first surgery came at a shocking age of 10, her belly button was re-shaped from an outie to an innie, at age 10 should it really matter what your belly button looks like? Personally I wasn’t aware that such a procedure existed but does 10 sound like a safe age to have it done? I personally don’t think so.  She also has Botox jabs to stop her sweating, this is fair enough if she has a condition that causes excess sweating but it cant be determined if this is the case.

Sister Brittani had her boob job at the legal age of 18 and claims it was the best day of her life, at 21 she also had a nose job, shouldn’t her parents have told her when she was growing up to be comfortable in her own skin? Penny her mother has always been against the procedures but has always backed down after constant begging.

It’s understandable that in the USA  body image seems a top priority but more should have been done to prevent the girls from wanting so much surgery, plastic surgery addiction isn’t uncommon and with all their ‘youthful’ treatments it seems they aren’t far off addiction.  When questioned about his work on the girls he simply defines it as ‘maintenance’ it hardly seems surprising then that he is happy enough to continue working on them.

Are the girls just a walking advertisement for their fathers work? In some ways yes, yes they are but it’s a choice they’ve made and if they decide one day to stop having surgery then I hope their dad will be fine with it rather than potentially using them as a way to showcase his work and gain more clients.  

*images from Google

Salon ‘Fat Tax’ Worth The Cost?

Wax potFat Tax, sounds like a joke right? Well evidently not! A salon in London ‘MM Bubbles’ has the audacity to charge women with a dress size of 12 and above extra for treatments such as leg waxing.

Women dress size 12 and over are charged an extra £5 and £10 for those above size 18, why? simply because the owners believe they should do this to cover the cost of using extra materials, personally I find it quite insulting and don’t see wax products breaking the bank for them but its a policy they have firmly set into place.

The national average dress size of a British women is  size 16 so why does this particular salon believe size 12 is ‘large’? The treatment itself before the price increase is £21 which isn’t exactly cheap let alone adding an extra 5-£10 on top of it.

For some women this could be a blow to their confidence, especially for those who aren’t comfortable with their bodies due to the media forever emphasizing tiny frames and portraying curvy women as being unattractive compared to the model ideal.

Do you think this is a fair ‘tax’?

Id love to hear your thoughts.

Women Get Real: The Ideal Body Shape

Balloon chests and tiny waists are now being rejected by women for a softer curvier body shape, gone is the idealistic ‘porn’ body favoured by men, women still favouring this look are models such as Katie Price and Pamela Anderson, who we all know have had a lot of cosmetic surgery to achieve their look. 

Women now feel that model Kelly Brook has the ideal shape, a soft body with curves and no enhancements, gone is the reality that being as thin as Kate Moss is the shape that must be achieved and attained by women, personally I’ve never found her that appealing and don’t see her as a good role model for young women. Have you ever thought that being skin and bone is attractive? Well not anymore as the rise of curves is coming, move over size zero.

Kate Moss“However 92 per cent of girls  reported they felt ‘under pressure’ to keep up with the latest body shape ideals, despite many women once again embracing a more natural look” Ladies should feel comfortable no matter what their size is! Don’t follow the trends or worse the silly celebrity diets such as ‘The Maple Syrup Diet’, embrace your body and dress to accentuate it. If you constantly worry if your the right shape or size then you wont be living your life to the full.

Marilyn Monroe was a healthy size 14 and im sure she never worried about being a size 6!  So whatever your size feel comfortable in your own skin or if you wish to lose a tiny bit of weight do it in a healthy way and not starve yourselves purposely or consider surgery because you feel its a quick fix.

Although the porn body may seem like every guys fantasy do you really think they’d want to settle with someone obsessed with their looks and surgery? Barbie is a doll for a reason she can easily be manufactured differently and women shouldn’t even try to achieve that ‘perfect’ plastic look.

marilyn_monroehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2451153/Porn-body-backlash-Jordan-pornstar-look-womens-desired-shape.html

*images from Google