Gucci Fall Collection: Making the Turban Fashionable?

Picture this, it’s Milan Fashion Week and Gucci’s fashion show is about to begin when out walks models wearing turbans. You might think what’s wrong with that? but the models of choice are white and wearing an item of clothing specific to the Sikh religion. It’s divided critics with the majority being against this choice, what would have been wrong with using appropriate models? If a Sikh model couldn’t be found or did not wish to be involved then does that not speak volumes?

Gucci Turban

Gucci may see this as being a homage to culture but the turban is significant in the Sikh religion as representing self-respect, honour, spirituality, courage and piety. Gucci is simply using it as disposable fashion, the turban is not supposed to be fashionable and seasonable. In religion it is supposed to fully cover the hair but as you can see from the male model in the centre his hair is visible so Gucci are not correctly adhering to the Sikh religion in any way.

Gucci Fashion Week

As a powerful fashion house Gucci could change the landscape of how religious clothing is perceived by using a vast array of appropriate models from different backgrounds and religions. A lot more education is needed for brands who feel it is okay to borrow sacred religious garments merely for fashion collections, the turban is merely more than a seasonal item portrayed here.

What are your thoughts?

Can brands get away with making religion fashionable?

*images sourced from Google

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Dissertation Preparation

Surving Your DissertationITS NEVER TOO EARLY TO START!

If like me you’ll be heading towards your third year this coming September then you too will be nearing the dreaded dissertation piece which your degree solely relies upon. The key to tackling such a large quantity of work is to plan your time efficiently and this post will illustrate how I plan to prepare for my own dissertation.

Step One: The Chosen Area

Picking the basis of the dissertation, as I study a joint honours degree in Film, Media and Cultural Studies I can opt to either base my work upon a film area or within media and culture, with such a wide area to choose from it isn’t proving to be an easy task!

The key to choosing your area involves jotting down ideas in which you have a genuine interest in due to having to spend months researching the topic, keeping a notebook dedicated to the prep is a good idea and helps you become more organised.  

Step Two: Research Research Research!

Research is of course a key area to the dissertation so once I’ve narrowed my ideas down to the select ones I feel appropriate then I will begin to research into the area, it’s important to find an area that you know has texts available to you, this will make it much easier to do when writing a literature review if applicable.

Always have a back up idea! One of my main interests is proving to have very little academic texts available to it or that I have struggled to find yet. to prevent stress ensure you feel confident in your chosen area.

Step Three: Conducting The Research Question

It may seem like this should be the first step but personally I feel you should know what’s available first before constructing your research question, the last thing you want to do is spend large amounts of time research a specific question to then change your mind about it once you find the texts to be limited.

Step Four: Don’t Panic

The large word count may seem incredibly scary but if you plan across the Summer and start to collect bits and pieces to use for future reference then it wont feel as overwhelming, whatever you do, don’t leave everything until you’re back at uni as you really will feel rushed into making decisions and may end up doing something you lack interest in.

Step Five: Internet Shopping

This step may seem out-of-place but purchasing books on Amazon and Ebay may be necessary if your library lacks the resources for your chosen area or if other students are researching similar topics then the books will become limited. A perfect time to purchase books would be ASAP, with students graduating they will be selling off books they no longer need which may be cheaper at this time rather than the end of the Summer when college students become aware of the university placements they have secured.

I’m not saying anyone has to start writing up their whole dissertation now, I certainly wont be! But ensuring you spend some time over the summer at least thinking of your discussion piece will be beneficial, I’ve already started writing down my interests which is a small start to such a large project and ordering books which may be of use.

If anybody has completed their dissertation pieces and have any tips then please leave a comment below 🙂

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

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

Halloween: Outrageous Mental Health Costumes

Halloween has always been a holiday I’ve enjoyed, the pumpkin carving, scary decorations and of course the excuse to dress up as whatever you like!  However In recent news supermarket giants Asda and Tesco shocked the nation with their ‘Mental Patient’ Halloween costumes, Asda’s version features the straight jacket covered in blood and a machete, the mask is pretty scary as well! Mental Health charities were outraged by the way the costume represents individuals with mental health disorders and deemed it incredibly bad taste.

mental patient costumesThe costume retailed at £20 has now been removed from sales, harmless costume or discriminating against mental health? That’s for you to decide. Asda has also decided to donate £25,000 to Mind a mental health charity.

Tesco’s orange jumpsuit deemed ‘Psycho Ward’ was a costume I didn’t see as too harmful due to it reminding me of Hannibal Lecter, famous in films and novels, again this caused outrage and the costume has been withdrawn from the site.

Hannibal LecterPersonally I feel Tesco only opted for this costume due to the rising popularity of the TV series Hannibal rather than considering the offence it may cause.

Female Costumes

Shockingly outrageous mental patient costumes aren’t only marketed towards males, even females have costumes aimed at them including ‘Anna Rexia’.

Anna Rexia CostumeIm not sure where this costume was being advertised but I feel this is the worse one of them all, Anorexia is a huge problem affecting a lot of individuals so why make it ‘gimmicky’ and into a costume, the costume even includes a measuring tape belt and choker, the fact that they’ve tried to make the costume sexy makes it seem acceptable to have the disorder.

Finally from Joke.co.uk comes the female mental patient costume, a hospital wristband is included to show the ‘patient’ has been committed to hospital. Personally this reminds me of a character you’d find in a Japanese horror film but it is still offensive to categorise it as a mental patient costume.  The doll I feel depicts the females fragile mind which could indicate she has a mental health disorder.

mental patient girlSo what do you think?

Are the costumes acceptable for Halloween?

Do you think they should have remained on sale?

Would you wear one?

It would be interesting to hear any views on the matter 🙂

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/26/asda-mental-health_n_3993652.html

*images from Google

Consumerism: The Beauty Industry

A consumer is an individual that has the power to choose what they themselves consume, they understand what it is they wish to consume and what effect it will have on them, be it for desirable purposes or for identity status. Consumerism can be determined by Marx as “The mode of production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual process of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being but, on the contrary; their social being determines their consciousness” (Hiebert, Ungurait and Bohn, 1991: 484).It seems that in order for individuals to consume then society must determine what is out there for them to do so e.g. mass culture. The consumer culture is saturated with the buying and selling of commodities which are dominating the society, the consumption can be determined by factors such as consumer status or the simply the pleasure that it may bring to them, consumption is pushed further than the essentials needed for survival such as food, drink and clothing.  Consumerism can be linked to mass culture, Dwight Macdonald states that mass culture is a “manufactured wholesale for the market” the consumer has no influence as to what is put out onto the market for them to purchase, corporations take little consideration over what the people want and will mass produce the products they wish to put out.  Mass culture or ‘Fordism’ is “an approach to the organisation of capitalist enterprise characterized among other things, by the large-scale assembly line production of standardized universally targeted goods”(Hodkinson, P, 2011, 289)“For each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aims, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universal valid ones” (Storey, 1998: 192)

Stating again Marx’s take on consumerism and the consciousness of a being, being determined on society, this can be linked to ideology  “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) Consumer markets can take advantage of impressionable consumers by determining what the ‘right’ way of thinking is, currently teenagers are under the impression that image is everything so companies can take this into account when advertising their products.  With capitalism the body is seen as an investment as well as consumption, it is treated more so as an object that can be dressed differently by what is currently being dominated in society.  A few years ago fake tan was quite popular, large consumptions of it would be taken by individuals in order to have the look that was dominating society, recently made more popular by the likes of television programmes such as The Only Way Is Essex (Towie).

Towie CastAlthough a consumer determines what they choose to consume with the underlying signs being possessed by the fashion and cosmetic industry it is hard for the consumer not to be fully happy with their selves, the signs which advertisements show for example for an anti-ageing cream is that you can be truly happy and look youthful if you use the product and if you don’t use it then you shouldn’t feel comfortable with yourself, although you can’t fully stop the ageing process the consumption of these types of products will make you feel like you’re doing so. The widespread image of a distorted body image is maintained by large corporations as well as the media, by simply watching an advertisement or reading magazine information is being consumed, it is up to the individual whether or not they act upon what they have seen.  This helps the understanding of the current media landscape as with press media consumers can be influenced by what they read, they would then spend their ‘leisure’ time trying to find the correct goods to change their identity.

Special KAccording to Baudrillard “The idea of leisure-time expresses a new puritan morality disguised as hedonism.  Time in capitalism is turned into private property, especially as leisure-time.  It is bought (through labour-saving devices) or earned (such as holidays), then consumed in an appearance of wasting it.” (Robinson, A, 2012) There is little meaning towards leisure time now as individuals are either worrying about their appearance and identity or are consuming more products. With the current body image representation being thrust at individuals through the media then during their free time impressionable teenagers could be altering their bodies through dieting and cosmetics, the powerful cosmetics industries make consumers challenge their appearance, they can’t truly feel comfortable with their selves without altering their bodies to fit in with society.   Although it may seem like free time to the individual consumer in a sense they are still working towards something which in this case would be to change their body.  

Dove Beauty CampaignIn postmodern society Baudrillard presents the idea that “the consumption of goods, images and fashions has become so all-encompassing that not only the economic base, but by any sense of an external or determining reality, disappears.  (Lister et al, 2003)  This idea is linked to hyper-reality and shows that beyond the commodity there is nothing else there, with a commodity such as body image it is hard to see what is real as all different messages are being consumed as to what consumers should strive to look like and changes as society progresses.

*images from Google

Bibliography

Bi, Y. (2012). The Political Economy of the Contemporary Media and Cultural Production. Asian Social Science. 8 (4), 36-39.

Fiske, J (1996). Understanding Popular Culture.  London: Routledge. 24

Hodkinson, P (2011). Media, Culture And Society: An Introduction. London: Sage Publications. 286.

Kellner, D (1984). Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism. California: University of California Press. 243.

Lister, M, Dovey, J, Giddings, S, Grant, I & Kelly, K (2003). New Media:A Critical Introduction. Glasgow: Routledge. 230.

Robinson, A. (2012). Jean Baudrillard: Critique of Alienation. An A-Z of Theory. 1 (3), 1.

Vampire Mom: Blood Drunk

Vampires have always been popular amongst movie goers since the classic Hammer Horror movies featuring Dracula. More recently becoming more popular amongst teenagers with the release of Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and many novels inspired by vampires and romance.

Julia Caples of Pennsylvania USA is a 45 year old mother of two with a strange habit, she enjoys drinking blood and claims it keeps her healthy and beautiful… The secret of this strange habit is kept from her 11 year old although he has his suspicions due to decorative items around the home such as gothic dolls and coffins. The oldest child 24 year old Ariel is worried about what this may due to her mothers health, how would you feel if you found out your mother drank blood?

JuliaAt nearly 2 litres a month the mom has been doing this for nearly 30 years, she meets her sources online as part of a sub-culture that explore vampirism, to make it less likely to catch diseases each ‘victim’ is required to take a blood test and to be met in person beforehand, I couldn’t imagine myself being open to a cult like that, each person is cut with a pagan style knife and then their blood consumed.  Should such websites exist where others can meet up to drink blood? If Julia is so certain on hiding her secret from her son then why is she doing it to begin with?

Julia is not the only one to emerge in such a strange habit, Michelle a 29 year old from California is a tattoo artist that cannot start the day without sipping blood,  she adds it to coffee, drinks it down like water and even cooks with it, unlike Julia she gets her blood from pigs and cows, without her daily dose Michelle claims she becomes irritated and cant be in a good mood without it.

Michelle“She calculates that she has drunk a  total of  1,000 gallons of blood since she first took up her habit ten  years ago, which  TLC notes is enough of the liquid to fill a bathtub 23  times.”

Should practices be put into place to stop other human blood from being drank or is it just a strange habit without any real harm?

This gives a whole new meaning to the fictional vampire characters we all know and love, drinking blood isn’t a habit I see catching on but it could still bring danger to those that ever do it.

*images from Google

http://www.bunitv.com/component/k2/item/2818-graphic-photos-drinking-blood-makes-me-strong-and-healthy-vampire-mom-shares-her-story

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2293871/The-real-life-vampire-Woman-admits-hooked-DRINKING-BLOOD-season-finale-My-Strange-Addiction.html

Sexualisation Of Females In The Music Industry

“In sociological terms, sexiness can be articulated on the basis of cultural values that are relatively dominant in a community at a given time and place”(2012) At present sexy in terms of cultural value is determined by the patriarchal society which sexualises women through the male
gaze.

Women, it seems, are queuing up to pander to male sexual fantasies, Levy and Walter argue, as can be seen in the case of the Girls Go Wild phenomenon, the mainstreaming of pornography as in pole-dancing classes for fitness, and the transformation of the ‘Playboy’ brand from pornography to consumer goods.  Take Britney Spears for example in her song ‘Hit me baby one more time’ she is dressed as a school girl made to look innocent with plaited hair, is this not playing directly to the male stereotype fantasy of school girls? would she have not achieved fame without playing to this fantasy?

Britney Spears“It’s the women who are driving this. It’s all changed. Once glamour modelling might have been about some fat sinister guy with a cigar tricking young girls into taking their clothes off, but now women are queuing up to do it.” (Phil Hilton, former editor of NUTS, cited in Walter, 2010: 20) Again this suggests women are empowering their selves but is glamour modelling not just playing into the hands of patriarchal society, males are clearly the audience for this.It is stated by Lady Gaga that “Every artist plays on sex. It’s just the context….I’m a free woman, so I play on sex freely” (Lester 88). It is in quite a few videos by Lady Gaga that she plays on sex, for instance in Poker Face she frequently references bisexual urges, as she states as an artist she can freely use sexually references if needed as it isn’t taboo in this culture to do so but is their need to play on sex for almost all her videos? In Bad Romance she dresses provocatively and is sexualised in a manner in front of a male audience, in Love Game she references ‘disco stick’ as a phallic symbol.

More female artists are sexualising their selves for the purpose of the male gaze, in California Girls by Katy Perry she is shown to be naked with only clouds covering her modesty, in the image below she is clearly pulling a suggestive face for the male audience, but with young teenagers that could be fans isn’t this setting a bad example as a role model? Her first hit ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it’ is again another male fantasy so why are female artists subjecting their selves too this?

katy-perry-california-gurls-03It seems that the media is subjective to sexualising females be it in films, television or music videos, is their need for so much of it to be exposed to us daily, young people could come across inappropriate music videos by accident and feel that its okay to expose yourself as it’ll either make boys like you or make you popular. young people don’t understand yet the pressures which are being thrust from the media to look good and have the perfect body image. Do we really want children to only be subjected to role models that represent sex and nudity.

In the video P.I.M.P by 50 Cent women are shown to wear next to nothing (depending on which version you see) with what appears to be dog collars around their necks which shows how much lower they are than men, this is degrading to women and gives a representation of them being just objects to men so why are so many stars playing out to the male fantasy?  

*images sourced from Google

Distorted Body Representations In The Media

Ideology is a media concept that individuals don’t even realise is taking place in everyday life, it is a concept that isn’t going to completely disappear due to the daily heavy consumption of media.  The definition of ideology varies between different theorists but the definition which I find more simplistic is with ideology being 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) With the above message from Kate Moss it is no surprise that the ‘right’ way of thinking is starving yourself.

Ideology can be applied to the current issue of body image as it is a major factor of representation within the media, consumers of mass media are exposed daily to advertisements using slim models or images of celebrities with the ‘perfect’ body, the images and the underlying messages represent the super skinny body images as being perfect. It is also a false representation as a lot of the time airbrushing is put into place especially in magazine photo-shoots.

The above image of Britney Spears is an example of how this false representation is used to sway us, it is somehow socially unacceptable to present her true self to the world so fans that try to emulate her figure are striving for the impossible.

Small changes have even been made to this photo of Megan Fox, personally I don’t see why the changes have been made, but its another example of manufactured Hollywood.

Another bad representation of women is being spread through the media as young teenagers are striving for an unnatural thigh gap which of course first spiralled from the media.Social media is being used by teenagers regularly to share ‘thinspiration’ images and to inspire other young women to strive for the thigh gap look; I found many of these images on the popular image sharing app Instagram, users can easily upload images onto this app using hash tags such as #thinspiration, #thighgap and other eating disorder keywords and girls can easily view these images to be encouraged and motivated to starve themselves too so that they have this popular thigh gap, a wide range of the images will be users showing their frail bodies, the body which they wish to have or words of encouragement such as ‘eating won’t make you thin.’ Not enough is being done on social media to prevent this.

The hypodermic needle theory can be linked to this current behaviour as “This theory equates the influence of media with the effect of an intravenous injection: certain values, ideas, and attitudes are injected into the individual media user, resulting in a particular behaviour” (Fourie, 2007, P.294)The current values within the media is that young women should have a thigh gap as it is perfectly normal and is a step closer to the perfect body, women are sharing the images of ‘inspiration’ as it doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with doing so when it is spiralling out of control and resulting in young women suffering from eating disorders.

The underlying systems of ideology make media consumers feel that striving for the deemed perfect image is the right way of thinking as it is the only body image being perceived within the media currently, celebrities are slated if they gain weight or are curvy so this is shown as an incredibly negative body image to have which is why young woman are striving for the perfect size zero body.Marxist critical theory would define thinspiration as a false reality created by a distorted vision with individuals unaware of the underlying ideological system.

The Frankfurt School links pseudo-individualization to the construction of an artist’s style, through their distinct image and identity. (Hodkinson, 2011, p.109-110) This is a relevant observation as a celebrity is famed by their image and must maintain it within the public eye and young women/teenagers often take into account a celebrity role model and are influenced by them.  Currently model Cara Delevingne is the role model that teenagers are following, she is a catwalk model that a slender frame and thigh gap and teenagers are trying to emulate her, it because of her distinct slim image that she is currently in the media eye, and if her image changed then teenagers would find a new role model to emulate.

According to the Daily Mail it was said over Twitter that in order to get this slim look users would deny themselves food as they are that desperate to copy the model.  The chief executive of the eating disorder charity B-Eat had this to say “Hardly anyone has a thigh gap without being underweight or not yet fully adult” the message is quite shocking but it is being ignored due to the new vanity inspired culture, ideology will never completely disappear but the message would change if the trend was to change, if a healthy body image was promoted then individuals would strive for that.  With the increase in mass culture being accessible through social media with the message of size zero being the perfect body image then individuals will always be exposed to this negative message, they will always believe with the use of ideology that it is the right way of thinking and until the message changes then the distorted vision will stay in place.

With her curvaceous body Kelly Brook doesn’t have a thigh gap yet she is still considered stunning which shows that you don’t have to be stick thin to be beautiful, she feels comfortable enough in her body so why shouldn’t everybody else? Personally I find her curvy body more appealing than Cara Delevingne’s and think more girls should reconsider striving for an unnatural thigh gap and just feel comfortable in their own skin.

*images sourced from Google

Bibliography

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2274227/Teenage-girls-obsessed-celebrity-thigh-gaps-starving-achieve-super-skinny-look.html

Hodkinson.P (2011). Media, Culture And Society an introduction. London: Sage. 109-110.

Fourie, J, P (2007). Media Studies Volume 1: Institutions, Theories and Issues. 5th ed. South Africa: Juta Education. 294.

Lacey, N (2009). Image and Representation. 2nd ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmilliam. 100.

Thigh Gap: Psychological Trap

thinspoA new dangerous trend amongst teenagers is starting to occur, it’s called the thigh gap and has been inspired by catwalk models and celebrities such as Amanda Bynes (She’s the man, Easy A) this new trend involves losing so much weight that your thighs don’t touch leaving this desired gap. I state teenagers as the audience as teenagers are highly influenced by the media and they are at the age most likely to develop an eating disorder.

What’s most worrying about this trend is that it is glamorising eating disorders and weight obsession. Individuals wanting this desired look are spreading the trend through Tumblr and Instagram, they share images of their progress and images of thinspiration and what they strive to achieve. What seems to be shown less often is the negative effects of an eating disorder, due to the celebrity culture thin is the only way in. If there were less pressures in the media to be so slim then individuals may start to accept their selves no matter what their shape or size may be. Instead they truly believe that in order to be ‘perfect’ or beautiful they must suffer until they have tiny waists and a thigh gap, this will just lead to health problems until they begin to recover.

I believe that the pressure to be perfect will continue and more and more people will suffer from an eating disorder whether they suffer from one naturally or choose to do so to follow these mad trends. A lot of people will call their selves fat and others around them when they aren’t at all, besides what is wrong with being curvy? It shouldn’t be frowned upon or even alienated.

Body pressure isn’t likely to die down until the media changes it’s approach to it, social media makes is so accessible to spread the word of thinspiration and inspire others to not give up until they achieve the fragile state. It also allows others to potentially bully those that are considered to be fat when they most likely aren’t.

What should be approached more is the negative affects of anorexia, bulimia and eating disorders, it should be educated more in schools, colleges and university. Magazines and television adverts should promote charities and support outlets to help individuals beat their problems, otherwise it could lead eating disorders being developed at a faster pace and at younger ages.

thigh gap

*images from Google