Beauty Myth

LaPrincipessa's picture

The Portland Trail Blazers Organization is Blatantly Sexist

A Black Eyed Peas song is bumping and a group of girls swing their heads from side to side while they perch their hands on their knees. No one pays much attention, except maybe to glance the girls’ way while getting up to refill their micro-brew. The gyrating continues, going from hair swings, to hip thrusts, to a roll on the floor. The clothing comes off, shirts are thrown and a mascot saunters through the all girl orgy, his phallic tail bouncing. The women peer into the camera with pouty lips and coy , come-hither smiles. Some attempt their best sexy-face and boob shake for the Comcast NW spotlight. From a 300 level rafter seat, their attempts to appear sexy may succeed, but upon closer perusal, the desperate sexy-face looks and overdone, sexualized routines resemble an SE 82nd hooker approaching a potential customer after a slow night. The routine ends and the girls race off to the sidelines. A meek applause ripples through the 20,000+, Rose Garden Crowd.

On Monday the Portland Trail Blazers announced their next general manager will be Rich Cho, the first Asian American general manager in the NBA. Fans, internet posters and beat writers reported this fact with pride, some even applauding the organization for breaking down barriers and upholding Portland, Oregon’s rep as a diverse and liberal city. When it comes to the treatment of women however, the Portland Trail Blazers are as sexist and non-progressive as an organization can get. If the hiring of Cho is the Blazer equivalent to the American Public electing President Barack Obama, then the Blazers are on the same level as Republican David Vitter when it comes to the treatment and representation of women.

What exactly has me so up in arms over the BlazerDancers this time? The team has recently added a “vote” feature on its BlazerDancer page, allowing fans to vote on who is most attractive. With the help of an aggressive but ultimately futile attempt at creating a fan-geared site called, fans are now able to “connect” with the BlazerDancers much like they do in  posting  congratulatory messages on player's respective pages. Unlike the players however, the fans connect with the BlazerDancers by voting on their appearance.

LaPrincipessa's picture

Is True Blood Really Reinforcing Violence Against Women and Please Stop Talking About Skinny Girls

Last week , a particular blog that I happen to read almost every day linked to a photo of a mannequin that is skinny. The usual comments ensued, the gist of them going something like this: the skinny mannequin is reaffirming beauty norms; reinforcing the notion that in order to be beautiful, women must be skinny; there are no realistic sized mannequins anymore; and the mannequin is  portraying an unnatural and unrealistic form of woman.  This type of thing isn't new and I will consent that a conversation about the apparent size of mannequins displaying clothes to be sold to women is necessary. Critique of the fashion world, the media and our society is fruitful when we begin to realize that beauty norms are a form of control and many people, myself included, feel deconstructing and challenging beauty norms is valid and entirely necessary.

But the constant reiteration that somehow skinny is not natural or realistic is offensive to say the least and extremely  counterproductive.

For instance,  it is socially unacceptable to walk on the street and say to a person you think is obese, "you're fucking fat, go lose some weight". Yet, it is entirely socially acceptable to say, "that chick needs to eat, she's skinny".  Or worse, "she's got to be anorexic, or something". I don't blame the women's rights movement for this, but recently I have seen a prevalent  negative portrayal of women who are skinny, which suggests skinny women are somehow less real or less valid because they are perceived and conveyed to be conforming to "constricting beauty norms" or are sick with anorexia or another degenerative disease. In essence, women (and some good men) have been fighting the good fight, trying to deconstruct centuries old beauty norms that harm all women,  yet are simultaneously stigmatizing women who may be skinny.

LaPrincipessa's picture

The Correct Age to Start Enforcing Mainstream Beauty Standards Is.... ?

The Show: Toddlers and Tiaras. 

Offending Network: TLC (of course)

Gist: Little Girls Are Televised Being Forced Into Competing in Beauty Pageants.

Headline:  "Just another day in the life of a toddler princess!"

Is this show terrible? No doubt. For the sake of this blog I will risk typing what is   glaring obvious. A show following stage-moms (its always mothers who seemingly have no employment beside being stay-at-home moms- not that this is bad)  force their 3 and 4 year old daughters to perform in pageants while dressed in full makeup, hair, and other adult grooming measures, can't possibly be anything other than sociologically offensive and wholly sexist. What I saw today has finally convinced me  to say something about this terrible show.

The following clip is of a 10 year old girl getting her eye brows waxed. She's so terrified that she is  seen clutching onto the chair arms and her mother's hand; its as if she's in labor.

LaPrincipessa's picture

Dove Real Women Campaign Casting for Real "Perfect" Women


Not exactly a surprise that Dove didn't  really mean "normal" or "average" when they introduced the world to the  ground breaking media campaign to sell their beauty products (smelly soap is not a necessity, sorry). All Dove did was find the best, politically correct and non-conformative  way to tap into the fastest growing demographic of beauty product consumers- women between 35 and 65 that are buying "anti aging" products and the like- by appealing to "real women" like me and you, because we aren't super model thin and will better relate with women that look more like ourselves. 

This advertisement, which is selling a shaping/sculpting/anti-cellulite cream-basically a product to thin your thighs without exercise- on "real curves", is just rich. Using "real women" to say, "Yeah you got cottage cheese thighs just like this one did, but if you buy our cream and rub it on your ass every day, the cellulite will go away , bringing you closer to that thin , super model ideal ! "

Real Women, Psh.

LaPrincipessa's picture

CNN Thinks Reality TV Has "Normalized" Our Beauty Ideals

Yeah sure.

In this new piece featured on CNN's home page, the author goes on and on about what beauty ideals are, how they have been historically defined in Western culture, and how none other than Kim and Khloe Kardashian are part of( or cause..?) a shift of common beauty ideals.  

So I'm left to ask, is it such a good thing that ideals are no longer one thing and now another? Are "ideals" not by definition unattainable and therefor damaging regardless of what exactly they are comprised of?   This may be too difficult for the author to comprehend but I am just appalled at the absurdity of CNN's claims, that somehow beauty is no longer "skinny, blond and blue eyes" because the Kardashians ( who have admitted to undergoing extensive plastic surgery, sell diet pills, and are a size 2)  are now on weekly tabloid covers. 

LaPrincipessa's picture

Beauty Standards Imposed Upon Girls Beginning At Early Age

I was having a conversation yesterday about young girls (from infant to tween) who wear 2 piece bathing suits and I caught myself stating, "I just don't think it is appropriate for these little girls to be wearing such provocative clothing. "  How did I utter something so ...sexist ? 
It was a slip I admit, and upon further reflection I determined this way of thinking is normal within our society. The person I was speaking to didn't find any fault with my comment, she took it as a sign that she could trash young girls that are too "sexy"! 
The problem with my comment is that in entertaining the notion that young girls, tween girls, teen girls, young women, women, middle aged women and senior women should dress a certain way I reinforce oppressive beauty standards.
LaPrincipessa's picture

The Beauty Myth In Action

 There are innumerous scientific studies that set out to prove female beauty is not indeed a cultural/social construct, rather a biological trait; men will naturally be attracted to or find beauty in certain and specific physical attributes of women. It is believed by many today that this is the last institutionalized form of control over women remaining; one that began roughly 30 years ago and evidently still runs strong today.

Sarah Menkedick of found this study that contends men are naturally predisposed to be attracted to women with small waists. 

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Sticking it to the Man, in a Manner of Speaking

Today, on my lunch break, I decided to go browse for books at Chapters. I had no intention of buying anything, but when I got there I tried to find a copy of The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.  To my surprise, they didn’t have this rather popular title in stock. Actually, there were only three copies to be found in all of the Chapters, Indigo and Coles on the island of Montreal. Montreal’s a big city, you would think this book would be a little easier to find.

This omission in Chapters in-store catalogue no longer came as such a surprise when I went looking for the women studies section of the store, because what I found was a section called gender studies, which consisted of two very small shelves of an odd assortment of titles. Sure enough they did carry some interesting books that spoke to a variety of gender identities, but these tiny little shelves also contained such titles as The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss.

On a more positive note, they did have three copies of Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Three copies they DIDN’T have three weeks ago when I ordered the very same book from their store. I might be wrong in the assumption that my ordering CUNT was a key factor in the decision to make copies available for their in-store customers, but this made me happy. Sure, I’m sure this decision was purely fueled by the idea that if they were able to make money selling one copy they would probably make more money if they had it in stock. Nevertheless, I felt like the power I have as a consumer lead to a positive change in the world.

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