Sociological Images, a site I’ve linked to several times, just brought attention to an upcoming article in Shape Magazine. Here’s the teaser image:

Not skinny?If that’s the image of “curvy,” if that’s not skinny or seen as typically ideal, then I think I’m clearly confused. Kim Kardashian is no spokesperson for those who are fighting against the unrealistic body images. This is a photoshopping picture glorifying the current beauty standard, while the text tries to be empowering women to love their bodies at whatever size. This conflicting message is commonly seen in women’s magazines, and I think it’s important to remember the old adage at this point that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Yes, it is. Kimmy? Update: You are one of those skinny girls, with or without photoshop. She may not be a bone rack, but just because she doesn’t look emaciated doesn’t mean she’s not a thin girl.

Check out the article at Sociological Images here.

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A Diversity of Beauty

The Globe and Mail recently did a short piece discussing the overwhelming majority of white models in the fashion industry, and how it contrasts not only with the amount of racial diversity we see everyday, but with what research as determined is considered most attractive.

According to a recent study by Michael Lewis of Cardiff University, respondents found mixed-race faces more attractive than either apparently white or black faces. However, you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the fashion industry. The article quotes Elmer Olsen, owner of Elmer Olsen Models in Toronto, as saying, “I would say that 80, 90 per cent [of models today] are blond and blue-eyed.”

Check out the rest of the article here. It’s a quick read and starts to touch on issues of race in the beauty and fashion industry.

I hope to post more on this subject, especially as it goes completely unexplored in my book. I had wanted to talk about it, but I couldn’t find half as much information and I didn’t feel at all qualified to speak to the impact of the beauty standard on those in the non-white category. This obviously limits the book in an extremely important way, but I don’t think that it makes it inapplicable to girls of many different appearances. The beauty standard is intensely white and this has historically had an important impact on how people outside that category have experienced the pressures of this standard.

More links to come.

Take-Action Figures

Here is a cute youtube video about Bronte sister dolls, whose skills include kicking butt and getting their voices heard. The Bronte sisters all faced sexist publishers who refused to believe that women could write and publish books. As an author myself, I give a solemn nod to those who came before me. Thanks for the perseverance! The commercial for the dolls is hilarious. Check it out.

I found this link in several places, but Sociological Images also has a write up on it here.

Because I Am A Girl – Documentary!

photo from http://lisaraniray.wordpress.com/this-is-a-new-page/

Image from Lisa Ray's Blog, who's one of Four National Ambassadors for the ‘Because I Am a Girl Child’ Plan Canada Campaign

Plan Canada, a Canadian organization working for the rights and quality of life for children internationally, recently did a documentary focusing on the unequal treatment of girls around the world. I was interviewed this past October by a wonderful crew.

The final, total product is an inspiring and beautifully shot, short documentary talking to girls across Canada about the status of girls and what they are doing to make a difference. I’m the first young, full-length interview and so of course I want you to check it out, but the entire piece is amazing and I am flattered to be included among these other young women who have worked to make a difference.

Please check out the film and cruise around the site. There’s a lot of great content, from how to bring the tour to your school and how to get involved, to inspiring stories and blogs. And, of course, you can buy a t-shirt, seen pictured.

The film can be found here. Please take a moment to check it out!

Relationship Advice as Seen in Magazines

Recently, Cracked.com put together an image that sharply criticizes the messages sent by magazine covers of some of the typical issues we see on shelves or convenience stores. While the messages may be crude, it’s painfully accurate.

As someone who doesn’t really read conventional magazines, I just don’t get the appeal. All of these messages seem meant to sell magazines, not contribute anything to public knowledge or to a reader’s self-esteem. It sells itself by demanding that readers pay attention to their own anxieties. Sex sells these issues, but so does insecurity. This is a great critique and while it leaves me a little depressed that this is what mainstream customers are supposed to want, it makes me even more eager to speak about the importance of media analysis.