April 24, 2010

Body image bits

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melanie @ 9:19 pm

There was a lot of news this past week related to body image and beauty norms. This is my week end round-up of posts previously not covered at Feminist Fatale this week.

After reading about Kate Hudson’s alleged breast implants less than 24 hours after Britney Spears released unaltered photos for her new Candies campaign, I questioned the impact that unretouched and “curvy” photos have when, clearly, so many women are still dissatisfied. For every Britney, there are countless Kates. Some women wondered why Kate’s alleged breast implants had such an impact on me. Isn’t is just a personal choice? Paulina Porizkova’s post at the Huffington Post echoed my sentiments exactly (read full post here).

My issue here isn’t with Kate. If big boobs make her happier, then more power to her. The issue here, this fixing something perfect to something else perfect, is so much a sign of our times, and one that truly saddens me. The availability and ease of transforming our bodies is completely losing our identities and uniqueness. No one ages anymore, no one has imperfections of any kind anymore, all smiles are flawless and no one past 35 can express displeasure. Madonna no longer looks like Madonna: what started as a sexy, well shaped, and somewhat hairy Italian girl has ended as a cool Nordic blonde. It’s not that she doesn’t look great, she does. But she is starting to sort of melt away into the stew of the famous women over-fifty-high-cheek-boned blondes-who-cannot-frown.

On the Tyra Banks show, a woman reported spending $80,000 on beauty treatments for her children. Here are some of the comments this elicited on my post at Facebook:

arrrgggg….I saw that yesterday and was stunned speechless. Gross.

on beauty products? How about investing in your children’s education. Put all that money where it will make a real difference in their lives. Wow I feel really bad for those kids.

This is disgusting.

she’s nuts, right?

quintessential consumerism, image-oriented insanity/vanity. Sick. Can you imagine using money in this way when there is so much you could do to benefit others?

Then there was the Lane Bryant controversy. FOX and ABC refused to air a new lingerie ad for the company that caters to plus-size women. The Revolution of Real Women advocacy group went after this discrimination by posting several commentaries. See here: Fox and ABC’s blatant size discrimination and Which is racier? Lane Bryant vs Victoria’s Secret (one ad that was not shown and the other that was). The “family show” excuse looked awfully pathetic after NPR published an article with a series of pictures from Dancing With the Stars featuring dancers with barely any clothing…and they couldn’t air the Lane Bryant commercial during that show???

I’ve been blogging on pregnant and post-natal bodies recently. I’ve examined the added pressure imposed by the tabloids obsession with bump watching and celeb baby-bounce-back stories. (Remember my story from May 2009 on the Pretty Pushers that promises to keep women looking attractive and fashionable moments after birth?!) So, Jillian Michaels’ statement was interesting and unsurprising: I Won’t Ruin my Body with Pregnancy. Her candid statement is, sadly, not unique or isolated. I’ve heard many women echo that sentiment. In fact, if you’re wealthy you can hire a surrogate or adopt. This statement is an example of one of the ways that constant pressure on and endless scrutiny of women’s bodies manifests.

And, last: Calvin Klein reports that they will no longer use size 0 models.

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