August 3, 2010

Beauty is for everyone…Sophia Bush Boycotts Urban Outfitters Over "Eat Less" Shirt

You may have heard that Sophia Bush is using her celebrity status to generate a boycott of Urban Outfitters over a controversial shirt that demands, “Eat Less.” In a letter to the company – which was previously in hot water over its decision to yank a shirt that said, “I Support Gay Marriage” despite keeping its political yet PR-perfect Obama t-shirts – Bush rightfully argued that the shirt is “like handing a suicidal person a loaded gun,” referring to the growing number of both young women and men succumbing to eating disorders.

While pursuing fine arts in college, I took two years of figure drawing classes. A living, breathing nude model is probably one of the best ways to learn how to draw the human body, but more than that, I was exposed to many different shapes, both male and female. Focusing on my technique, the bodies before me were never sexual, they were learning tools. Each body offered new challenges, new opportunities. I found that drawing fuller bodies was easier, with long, sensuous strokes, and that thinner bodies called more on my understanding of the skeleton. In this way I learned to appreciate the human body as a marvel of organic engineering. As an artist, I remain fascinated with the human form in space, and fashion photography is an extension of that.

I work for a sample sale site called 365Hangers, and while shooting our products for August last week, one of our models looked so stunning in this pink BCBG dress that I asked her for a couple more shots. She said, “I never thought I could wear a dress like this!”

All shapes and sizes are beautiful, and you should never let anyone’s standards prevent you from wearing a dress you want to wear. Your greatest accessory is your self-loving confidence, and it looks fabulous with everything.

Originally posted at 365Hangers, cross-posted with permission. Urban Outfitters image via The Frisky.

February 10, 2010

Do these shoes look good with my knee brace?

Whether we’re discussing the legitimacy of cultural traditions as in the age-old examples of Chinese foot-binding & the corset or the modern use of elective plastic surgery, the Muslim head scarf or the burka – fashion is a contentious and contradictory place for a feminist to find herself at play. I’ll admit to owning more than a few pairs of heels despite my knowledge about their not only misogynist, but classist and racist, history. They make my legs look long, lean and pretty. What’s the problem?

Well, according to your doctor, there are many including: osteoarthritis, knee injury, bunions, hammertoes, and let’s not forget one “health risk” listed on the always veritable Wikipedia (please note sarcasm ;): “they render the wearer unable to run.” Wow. I am compelled to write a blog simply based on why that is a health risk for women.

In an interview with the Australia based “Today Tonight” supermodel Abbey Lee Kershaw dismisses the interviewers’ questions about the industry standard of thinness. However, she does note that the excessive and dangerous use of extremely high heels has to change. Kershaw herself had to have knee surgery at the age of 21 due to a fall in a pair of these . The theme for the last couple of seasons has been an architectural design which has lead to some pretty outrageous and, needless to say, impractical footwear.

Despite my love of the illusion of long, fabulous legs & the art that is involved in creating said illusion, I think that it’s time we call for change in the use and abuse of the women in fashion. Even if that’s simply by choosing a nice pair of ballerina-style mary janes…..

January 22, 2009

Elizabeth Hasselbeck on Michelle Obama

January 21, 2009

Sizing up Michelle

Not surprisingly, there was a tremendous amount of scrutiny paid to Michelle Obama’s inaugural wardrobe choices and the “message” each outfit was sending.

In addition to the fashion police riding up her train, Internet discussions tackled the question of whether or not Michelle Obama is “hot” or not.  Case in point, the website The website has a series of “top” lists from that rank women.  There’s the “Top 99 Women: 2009 edition,” “Top 10: 2009 Top 99 Rejects” and “Top 10: 2010’s top 99,” to name a few.  But, you get the picture.

In each of these lists, there is very little variation and/or diversity.  Essentially, all the chosen women resemble one another and the women of color that appear conform to Eurocentric beauty norms.

Compare’s #1 pick, Eva Mendes, and Michelle Obama and the usual measurement of beauty and Michelle Obama’s departure and transcendence become clear.

Some of the comments to the questions posed, include:

Oi yiddo, you moron! She ugly as hell

OMG like a cow :-S

She kind of looks like a female version of James Brown. Anyone agree?

Baby got back, her hips are wider than my 60′ high def. She’s not even in the same ball park as Palin. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep, ugly is to the bone

Michelle Obama, as the new First Lady, is a female role model unlike most that we’ve seen before.  It’ll be interesting what the cultural conversation and cultural response will be time goes by.

Will we see cultural changes?  Will she inspire young women to move beyond the confined boundaries of femininity that have been constructed?  Will the conversation tackle the unequal definitions and expectations that have historically existed and continue to persist in terms of which kind of women are considered feminine and what that acts and looks like?

January 5, 2009

Who's a Bimbo?

The Miss Bimbo website made headlines back in March 2008.

A website that encourages girls as young as 9 to embrace plastic surgery and extreme dieting in the search for the perfect figure was condemned as lethal by parents’ groups and healthcare experts yesterday.

The Miss Bimbo internet game has attracted prepubescent girls who are told to buy their virtual characters breast enlargement surgery and to keep them “waif thin” with diet pills.

Healthcare professionals, a parents’ group and an organisation representing people suffering anorexia and bulimia criticised the website for sending a dangerous message to impressionable children.

In the month since it opened the site, which is aimed at girls aged from 9 to 16, has attracted 200,000 members. Players keep a constant watch on the weight, wardrobe, wealth and happiness of their character to create “the coolest, richest and most famous bimbo in the world”. Competing against other children they earn “bimbo dollars” to buy plastic surgery, diet pills, facelifts, lingerie and fashionable nightclub outfits.

The website sparked controversy when it was introduced in France, where it attracted 1.2 million players.

Dee Dawson, the medical director of Rhodes Farm Clinic, which treats girls aged from 8 to 18 who suffer eating disorders, said: “This is as lethal as pro-anorexia websites. A lot of children will get caught up with the extremely damaging and appalling messages.”

Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of Beat, an organisation that supports those suffering eating disorders, said that the website could make girls believe that weight and body size manipulation were acceptable.

The Miss Bimbo site was set up by Nicholas Jacquart, a French entrepreneur. He moved to Tooting, South London, recently and with a 30-year-old businessman called Chris Evans set up Ouza Ltd to promote the website in Britain.

From the way it looks, the site has managed to maintain it’s 1.2 million registered users or “Bimbos.” In fact, the site is offering several special promotions for 2009. Upon registering for the site, you can become a trendsetter, a socialite and find the perfect boyfriend. This allows you to become “Queen of the Bimbos.”

October 23, 2008

Campbell Brown calls out the double-standard

I appreciate Campbell Brown’s statement. Watch and listen.

September 11, 2008

Selling adult sexuality to toddlers

Filed under: Media,Sexuality — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 1:52 pm

High heels for infants have arrived! Heelarious was launched 14 weeks ago and has lowered the bar of female sexuality even lower. I can take a joke. The creators claim that they are in the name of good fun. I know these are suppossed to be charming, sweet and just plain heelarious (cough) but when stripper poles are marketed at Tesco in the UK and aimed at prepubescent girls and thongs are marketed to 6-year olds and the Bratz fill the shelves at toy stores, I can’t ignore the connection between these products and the larger cultural framework in which the hypersexualization of young girls is all pervasive.

For a complete reading, check out Durham’s, “The Lolita Effect.”