Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘media influence’ Category

Have you ever felt as if you were being watched by an infant as their eyes follow you across the room or been fascinated with a child when you put your finger to your nose and they mirror your actions? A large part of child development is watching others, mimicry, and exploring their environment. Through these processes  children are learning how to become less dependent and more self-sufficient. Their minds are delicate and highly impressionable. Anyone that has worked closely with kids can attest to this.

If children are highly impressionable how are they interpreting the messages of beauty and health that are every where in our society? How much of our “adult” conversations about these issues do they actually hear?

I ran across a Newsweek article “Generation Diva” that questions whether our obsession with beauty is changing our kids. I can’t help but ask myself this question as I walk down the street and see young girls with their little mosquito bite breasts, faces painted, purses larger than their bodies, handkerchiefs for skirts, and hands clutching cell phones looking like miniature replicas of the Olsen twins giggling nervously. I’ve sat and observed them talking about boys, diets, and fashion as if they were read Vogue instead of Where the Wild Things Are at bedtime. I’ve often played a game guessing their ages only to realize they haven’t even reached middle school yet. I’ve listened to two mothers talk about watching their daughters dance and gyrate their hips in movements that it’s possible they, as 30- year old women, had yet to master. If children are impressionable, then where are they modeling this behavior and where are they receiving these messages?

Girls are growing up today with their ipods blaring Britney Spear’s “Get Naked (I Got a Plan)”, reading articles in Seventeen with headlines telling them about “Flat Tummy Tricks”  or  “Get Hot or Less,” websites where they post photos and peers rate their attractiveness,  watching American’s Next Top Model and people trading in their faces for ones that look similar to celebrities on I Want A Famous Face, or Dr.902010 and other numerous make-over shows which communicate that you can always achieve something more beautiful, and My Biggest Loser telling kids if you’re “fat” it’s just one more thing you should change.

Messages of transformation are every where in a young person’s world. The messages communicate to young girls that perfection, beauty, and popularity are attainable but also embedded in the message is that the little girl who stares back at them in the mirror without all the makeup and highlights is not beautiful. Especially if you have an ounce of fat on your bones.

According to market research done by Experian, 43 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss; 38 percent use hairstyling products; and 12 percent use other cosmetics. Compared with other market research that has been done in the past, the percentages have increased and the age of the girls has decreased. A example of this is the cosmetic craze in young girls where they pile in mom’s car and unload at spas that market themselves for girls between the ages 0-12! Here’s a video discussing the new spas for tweens:

Young girls are growing up faster with a beauty ideal that is increasing just as rapidly. The question is not only how does this affect their self-esteem, self-acceptance, and development but also what is the projection of the future generations as they hit their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s 60’s? The young people of today are the future of tomorrow. Are we slowly evolving into a society that no longer celebrates natural beauty and individuality but encourages perfection, taunts us that it’s attainable, yet always keeps raising the bar so it’s never quite within our grasp?

I believe it is important to be aware of the messages that our children are receiving and not to deny that they are affected by them. Let’s talk more with the little people in our lives and encourage their natural beauty, talents, and set an other example for them separate from the models they see in society.  Instead of the hyper-neurotic search for beauty, popularity, and perfection; let’s teach our children, the future generation, about the passion of living, loving who you are, and accepting others regardless of their looks, size, what their wearing, how much money they have, their race, ablebodiness, sexuality, or gender.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Watch this video from the Britain’s Got Talent Show 2009… Listen to your inner commentary. What is your reaction?

Read Full Post »

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

We have wrinkles, freckles, sunspots, stretchmarks, and spider veins. We have curly, wavy, kinky and straight hair that is brown, blond, red, black, and gasp!… grey. We have white, pinkish, brown, yellow, red, and black skin. We are short, medium, and tall. We have bubble butts and flat asses. We all have curves in different places. We are all shapes.

Yet you see people trying to tan their lighter skin darker. We airbrush dark skin lighter. We spend a fortune on highlights, foils, and dyes. We have a $40 billion plus diet industry, a $20 billion cosmetic, and a $12 billion cosmetic procedure industry (both surgical and nonsurgical.)

We just never seem satisfied with the bodies that we have. We are constantly trying to lose a pound, workout more, or save money for products that smooth, define, or promise miracles in a bottle. What about self-acceptance? What about encouraging all people to love their organic beautiful selves?

We have one life to live and one body to live it in so we mind as well learn how to love it.

So let’s appreciate our bodies and each others bodies. Let’s celebrate all the colors, shapes, and textures that make up this beautiful world we live in!

I found the article below by Debra J. Dickerson. She is a political activist and author of The End Of Blackness. Her work appears in The New Republic, The Washington Post, Talk, Slate, Salon, Essence, and Vibe, and has been featured in Best American Essays. She has also won the New York Association of Black Journalists’ first-place award for personal commentary.

Black (and Brown) Can Only Be Just So Beautiful

Kim Kardashian got airbrushed lighter, smoother, and thinner for a photo shoot. Happens every day in Hollywood, I know. I don’t know if she was in on it, but I know I wasn’t when it happened to me.

A while back, my hairdresser asked me to be photographed for a black hair magazine. Trust me: we sisters LUV those things. I was beyond psyched. Until I saw the photos. I threw the magazine away in disgust, so I can’t show it to you, but they’d airbrushed me at least five shades lighter and gave me gray eyes. Gray!

This was a totally black-run operation. They wanted my kinky hair (checks my twists on this page), but not my actual blackness. How pathetic.

When I first started doing TV, the makeup chicks (I’ve rarely had a non-white one) would cagily, carefully, ask me questions about what kind of foundation I wanted. “Whatever matches…?” Were these trick questions?

I figured there was something special about being made up for TV that a newbie like me just wasn’t hip to. Finally, when they figured out that I wasn’t going to go off, they told me that often blacks wanted to be made as light as possible. You’d be amazed at some of the names, but I ain’t going there.

Pathetic.

Here’s the Kim Kardashian:

Read Full Post »

34x25x36blogtop2

We live in world where we can design our breasts, lips, ass, calves, nose, cheekbones, pecs, feet, labia, and penis. We believe in body hair be gone. We whiten our teeth, suffer chemical peels, and use plenty of potion-n-lotions that claim to have ingredients taken directly from the fountain of youth (despite the small print: effective only when used twice daily for the remainder of your days on earth.) We are constantly adjusting our styles. We get on our computers and exist in another reality where we build an avatar that is a few years younger and has a smaller waist. Actually, the only thing similar between our true self and our avatar is that we stuck glasses on them. Gotta’ have some resemblance right? We are constantly seeking transformation to a thinner, more muscular, and “healthier” us. We are in a giant pressure cooker for perfection.

This transformation phenomena does not just exist within Westernized cultures. I just finished reading a new book by Susie Orbach Bodies and was shocked to learn that Korean girls get westeren eyelid inserts and Chinese girls get 10 cm rods in their upper legs for an extra bit of height while Scandinavian women break and shortened their legs so as not to be as tall. Um… Ouch!

Where is this global idea of beauty coming from?

The internet allows us to send messages and interact with our world at instantaneous moments. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the same magazines are consumed in all countries across the globe. I am concerned that the dissemination of one uniform culture will affect the diversity that makes this world such a colorful place to live. In twenty years will the cultural lines be erased and we will cease to exist as automatons? Just one long boring mannequin parade.

Check out the video 34x25x26 below. It was created by Jesse Epstein from Brooklyn, NY. She is an impressive filmmaker that has a voice and a vision that demands to be heard. Her videos are on cultural identity, body image, and media.

Read Full Post »

The linked video Sex, Lies and Photoshop is from the NYTimes website.  It’s an awesome follow up to last week’s post.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/03/09/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

How many perfected images do we see in one day?

You don’t just have to read magazines to see perfected images. They’re everywhere. Images are on billboards, T.V, movies, newspapers, and the internet. The bigger the city the more submersed you are in images. Think you’re untouched by images? Just think…

The U.S. Census Bureau projected in the 2007 Statistical Abstract that adults and teens would spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) during 2008 watching television, using the internet, reading newspapers, and listening to personal music devices. Other estimates state that the average American watches four hours of T.V. a day which is still two months per year.  2-5 months?! These stats are not even including reading magazines, watching movies, or simply walking down a busy street with all the billboards.

We live in a world saturated with images of beauty. I always believed I was not affected by images but now I am curious just how powerful are these images? The NYTimes video was sent to me by my lovely friend Denise who is a professional photographer. I felt it was a shockingly great follow up to my last post. The best quote was from Ken Harris the professional photo re-toucher,

Every picture has been worked on some 30-50 rounds…they are perfected to death. Just look at the magazines, all that is there is to alter your mind, alter your perception of what physical beauty is and what the possibility is and means of attaining it are.

..and these words are from the mouth that feeds us, the professionals behind all the colorful glossy beauties that stare at you everywhere you go. Makes me wonder.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

What is sexy? Personally, I love a passion for life,  a good sense of humor, adventurous, absurdly smart,  compassionate, creative, and confident. However, finding all that out takes time.  Most of our interactions with others and how we present ourselves to others throughout the day are just millisecond glances. So what’s happening when I pass someone on the street and turn around to take another glance?

It’s the second glance that makes me ask, “What does sexy look like stripped of personal characteristics?”

I thought we all had different ideas of what sexy is. Or do we? Recently, I have been curious at how much, if at all, magazine ads influence what I believe to be the beauty ideal for women and men. I have always believed I was not affected by these images. However, as I watch them objectively I cannot help but wonder how they could not be influencing my ideals of beauty for women and men… and how they are influencing the way I evaluate my own beauty.

The videos below have ads that show up in W,Vogue, Vanity Fair, V, Elle, In Style, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Esquire, Maxim, GQ or any other glossy print you find yourself thumbing through…yes even sports and travel magazines. Before watching the videos, set aside the idea that you’re unaffected by magazine ads. Try to watch objectively and think of how the ads have potential to influence everyone’s ideals including your own…

Oh, to be beautiful! Curves…but in all the right places. Soft smooth skin, long legs, tight-defined thighs, small ankles, defined arms (but not too muscular), a firm stomach with a crease down the center, athletic (but not too much,) big eyes,  small nose,  high-cheek bones, full breasts, silky hair, a smile full of straight white teeth.

Unfortunately, the video below had an awesome soundtrack of  I am Too Sexy by Right Said Fred that was disabled.

Handsome men are…chiseled. The angles of the lower abdominal and hip region, a square jaw, high cheek bones, athletic, not too hairy, tall, a strong defined back, muscular arms, a wide-squared chest, big hands, a full head of hair, abs you could wash your clothes on, and straight white teeth with a fabulous smile.

Did you notice a reaction to the videos? How do you think magazine ads might be contributing to our beauty ideals of women, men, and within ourselves?

I couldn’t help myself. Here’s Right Said Fred the You Tube dub dance version.

Read Full Post »

body image n.

  1. The cerebral representation of all body sensation organized in the parietal cortex.
  2. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and reactions of others.

Too bad the dictionary does not offer instructions on how to have a realistic perception of our bodies or a colored centerfold “10 Ways to Celebrate Your Body.”  Instead we are left with a vague definition. A definition that has a critical influence on our life. The concept of our physical appearance and how others perceive us affects our attitudes, behaviors, cognition, and emotions. Body image affects our sense of self and identity which inevitably influences how we interact with others. Body image has become part of our routine existence yet as individuals we claim not to have issues with body image.

We continue to worry about wrinkles, hate the way we look in jeans, get frustrated with the loose skin that jiggles under our arms, worry about cellulite, are concerned about the tightness of our muscles, and we run an extra mile not because it feels good but because it burns a few more calories. However, we still claim that we are not affected by body image. We each claim that the other woman next to us might struggle with “those issues but I don’t… In fact I love my body.” We have become desensitized to its effects. It has become so normal to engage in our language of self-hatred we can no longer identify what is looks like. The beauty ideal has become a subliminal message… and we all believe we are not affected by it.

In order to deconstruct the invisible guidelines for our beauty ideal it is necessary to look at what influences body image.  Investigate what internal and external forces are creating these subliminal messages.  In the following series of posts over the next month I would like to begin the deconstructive process. I have started with the external forces such as media. Please know that I sincerely believe body image is multifaceted and media is not the only factor nor do I place any level of importance on any one factor that contributes to body image. I also invite you to comment on any of the posts or any comments made. It would be awesome to open a dialogue where you can share your thoughts, perspectives, or experiences.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: