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Friday, June 26, 2009

Mixed messages don't get more confusing than this

I just came across a Fox newsflash about a Shape Magazine article, called "Country's Leading Ladies Discuss Body Image, Confidence and Jessica Simpson!"

In this piece, Martina McBride, Julianne Hough, and LeAnn Rimes talk about their concern for young women who base their beauty ideals and self-esteem on "what they see in TV or in magazines." They also talk about how hard it is to maintain self-confidence and be a star under scrutiny.

But wait, yup, their photo on the cover of the magazine shows them in bikinis, looking teeny and flawless (next to other cover article headlines about losing weight and looking good). These women are famous because they are *musicians,* yet their appearance is just as important to their success as a model's. While they recognize that being ostracized over appearances can be really hurtful, they also contribute to the social norm that being worried about 'being beautiful' is important: “I’m 26 and I’m still a little self-conscious about my looks," Rimes admitted. "When I was a kid, I had psoriasis over 80 percent of my body. Luckily, I’ve found a medicine that helps control it, but I never know when it will stop working or if I’ll have to deal with it again. It’s still a struggle, but as you get older, I think your perspective changes."

So while the stars try to be candid and encourage women to feel confident, they are simultaneously icons on the front of a magazine who fall into the same shape and size as the prescribed ideal.

Is there any way for celebrities to break out of this mixed messaging? Is there any way for everyone else to stop our collective obsession with looks?

L'Oreal's hiring practices found to be racist

The cosmetics giant, L'Oreal, was found guilty of racist hiring tactics in their French market. Their fear that French customers wouldn't buy products sold by diverse models reflects the French cultural climate where anti-semitic acts seem to be increasing, a burqa ban is being debated, and so on. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the [social and cultural] beholder.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sex just keeps on selling...augh

Check out this "Social Media Roundup: Sex and Drama" by Allyson Kapin... Interesting as always to note who owns what and what goes on behind the scenes because of it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Poor response to rape on cruise ships

Wow. I have to say, even after years of thinking about women's issues, the issue of rape in the trapped space of cruise ships had never crossed my mind 'til I read this article: Melissa McEwan of Shakesville writes about the fact that cruise lines should step up their no-tolerance to rape aboard their ships.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Self care and respect: S.T.O.P.

Check out RespectRx's personal and truly helpful blogpost on self-care using the S.T.O.P. acronym.

I love that the author, Courtney Macavinta, points out that often we think self-care is about filling life with something fruity smelling or whacking down that credit card, but then we wonder why we still feel incredibly stressed and in need of quality alone time. S.T.O.P. stands for Savor, Talk it out, Opt-Out, and Pause, and the post really gets down to it about what respect means and looks like.

I love that Courtney is honest about how S.T.O.P. applies to her life, and that really has some meat to it; her post is neither a too-shallow advice column nor is it a too-deep pedantic "method" that makes for an ill-fitting overlay in real life.

Check it out. Really.

Women Rule in Business

Gee, turns out women running businesses is actually, well, great for business.

NYT article: "Women Will Rule Business"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Well said

Katha Pollitt writes on the inaccuracies and "house-dividing" consequences of the feminist wave labels. Right on, well-said, thank you for putting it out there!

To society at large, feminist in-fighting and blaming only serves to highlight women's demands as disorganized at best and hysterical at worst. As a relative young'un who has instinctively resisted the wave label (yes, Katha, I *don't* think pole-dancing is "empowering"), I'm finding many young women who, like me, are turning to collaboration and understanding as the way to change.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bingeing on Celebrity Weight Battles

From the NYT Fashion & Style section...
The tagline is: "The dieting sagas of the stars might be more frustrating than inspiring to overweight women"--and I'd add, to everyone, regardless of size. These stories are meant to inspire health but they promote self-loathing and an unhealthy obsession with appearance. How can we encourage a healthy weight for heart care, diabetes, etc. separate from unhealthy cultural standards of beauty?