body image

lilith land's picture

Making Peace with My Body

This afternoon, I experienced "the moment".

arvan's picture

Call for Abstracts and Presentations on Body Image and Body Politics

Breaking Boundaries:
Body Politics and the Dynamics of Difference


a Women's History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York
March 4-5, 2011
Free and Open to the Public

Keynote Speaker:

Marilyn Wann
Fat Activist and Author of Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty. This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies.

This conference will address these and other questions:

What are the dominant narratives and perceptions about beauty and bodies?

How do these perceptions affect public policy around issues of health, civil rights, education, and accessibility?

How do those whose bodies do not fit into the “proper” cultural norms challenge attitudes, laws and perceptions? 

How have they negotiated for and found power in unwelcoming environments, both now and in the past?

How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age and disability complicate prevailing ideas about embodiment? 

Are there and have there been communities and cultures that have welcomed those whose bodies are currently perceived as deviant in dominant popular discourse?

And, what is the relationship between promoting and continuing the dominant discourse and capitalist consumer culture?

We invite activists, scholars and artists in all fields to propose papers, panels, workshops, performances, and exhibits. Proposals for panels are especially welcomed, but individual papers will also be considered.

Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:

Representations of deviant bodies in popular culture
Social justice and fat and disability activism
Intersectionality:  race, gender, class, sexuality and the body
HAES: Health at Every Size
Stigma
Feminism and the body
Social construction of disability
Objectification and commodification of the deviant body
Fiction and the deviant body
Language and the body
Deviant bodies across cultures and time

Please email a brief abstract and c.v./resume to:

Tara James
Women’s History Graduate Program
Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY 10708
Email: tjames@sarahlawrence.edu
Phone: 914-395-2405

Deadline December, 3 2010

rabbitwhite's picture

The No Make-Up Week Experiment

 

http://rabbitwrite.com/no-make-up-week/ where you can see my nakedface photos

“Yeah, but I don’t wear much….”  were my first thoughts, when I thought of running this experiment. No Make-up Week:  the idea was good, I thought, but my heart raced a little as it sank in. “But I don’t wear much.”  And I realized I was a little quick to run to the defense of my palettes and powder.

It’s not about taking a week off  because make-up is somehow bad or because not wearing it is better. It’s that by taking a week off, I should be able to understand my relationship to cosmetics more clearly. Why do I feel I need to sketch on eyebrow pencil before going to the grocery? To shellac my face before seeing a friend? And if I am going to a networking event or party, can I feel comfortable in anything less than  contoured cheeks and caked on lashes?

When I think about not wearing make-up for a week, a voice inside of me screams, Noooooooooo! And this is exactly what I want to explore. I mean, the thing is this: Make-up is a powerful tool, it has the ability to transform, to incite imagination and creativity. But, when an option turns into a necessity,  I don’t know it it’s still a tool. At the least, it loses it’s spark.

And then, there are the social reasons that push us to wear make-up. A study online claims that 8 out of 10 women prefer their female colleagues to wear makeup and the same number of women said they would rather employ a woman who wore makeup than one who didn’t. Because of these expectations, I think it’s hard for any woman to have a good relationship to make-up.

For me, a good relationship with make-up isn’t a given, but it is something to work towards. Because of these strong social ideas about make-up, it seems most women could not naturally have a healthy relationship with our cosmetics. Whether you wear make-up or not, there is a story there. I often feel like I *need* make-up. And when there is not a real feeling of choice, this needs to be explored.

THE EXPERIMENT AND WHERE YOU COME IN

The experiment is to go entire week without make-up. To do the naked face to work, meetings, dates, networking events and all in between without a balanced complexion or darkened lashes. The idea is to explore why I wear make-up and my relationship to it.

I’m asking you to conduct your own experiment. To go a day or a week without make-up, to upload a no make-up photo online or simply explore the relationship through writing or whatever feels right. Make it your own.

I’ve asked some bloggers to make the experiment their own, but I want to shout from the rooftops that everyone is invited to join in, the more of us out there doing this, the better.

It should also be said this isn’t just for people who wear make-up daily, or who don’t wear at all. This is for everyone. I think everyone can find some personal depth in the question: how does make-up impact you? What personal care products do you use, why?

When we start unraveling the threads, we see a lot of issues are embedded. There is the input of our families and friends–we all have a history with make-up, some not as pretty as others. There is the feminist question of why and for who? Who are we trying to impress? And in many offices, it’s scary to consider, what the reaction would be if one showed up sans-make-up. There is also the issue of toxins in our make-up. Carcinogens that are laced into many mainstream products.

These issues and more are the things I’ll be tackling during No Make-up Week.

I am inviting you to explore your relationship to cosmetics. To explore why you wear it, what it does for you and maybe, to rediscover some spark about yourself, your looks and your cosmetics.

The Official Home for No Make Up Week is http://rabbitwrite.com/no-make-up-week/This is where I will be updating all  No Make up Week happenings and is a good resource to point people to, so check back often!

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Cleavage at the Work Place

Have you ever been told that your cleavage is inappropriate for work? I was told once during the course of a job interview that my cleavage was a little too expository  for the job in question. Sure, I admit it, I have big breasts. Moreover my cleavage is pretty spectacular. It’s the stuff of legend. Kidding, only I’m being serious. Anyhow, I wasn’t exactly showing off the goods for this particular job. It’s not like I was applying to be a waitress Hooters. I was dressed pretty conservatively in my opinion. OK, somewhat conservatively: flats, black opaque tights, v-neck black dress with tiny off-white polka dots, and a grey sweater/shrug thingy (which was left opened). The dress was from the Gap for crying out loud, not exactly a shop known for its slutiness.

Still the cleavage was there and it was hard to miss in all its silky smooth wonder. You see, my cup size is maybe one or two sizes bigger than the average Gap dress wearing person, so a dress that would cover all the right places on one girl doesn’t quite cut it for moi. I don’t mind, it looks nice. Feel free to revel in the wonder that are my boobs, but if there’s one thing I dislike is being called out on the amount of cleavage I’ve got happening (a truth that is not applicable to ALL situations, mind you). Look, it’s not like I don’t understand the concept of dressing appropriately for a variety of situations. I get the dress code etiquette. It’s all good.

James Turnbull's picture

Women’s Typical Poses in Advertisements: A Pain in the Neck?

 

( Source )

Something about Kong Hyo-jin (공효진) got me all hot and bothered last week. And no, I don’t mean her lingerie photoshoot for Calvin Klein.

Rather, it was her ads for Uniqlo (유니클로), all over Busan at the moment. Surely, I thought, the creative team could have anticipated how their ads would look on the side of buses, and designed something that didn’t look like she was literally squashed into them?

But then I caught a subway train on Line 2, every carriage of which was decked out like this:

And suddenly I realized that her squashed appearance wasn’t an accident:

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #49: Lee Hyori has an Asian Bottom?

Well, the bottom half of her body is Asian to be precise. But then she is Korean after all, so what on Earth does that make the top half?

Western, according to her. And while she’s happy with that at least, in contrast she’s quite dissatisfied with her Asian legs, claiming that she has to always wear high heels to compensate for them.

Despite my original shock at hearing that though, ironically I find myself defending her statements. No, really.

But first, the context. From the Hankyung:

가수 이효리가 “상체는 서구적인 반면 하체는 동양적이다”라고 말해 눈길을 끌고 있다 (source, above).

Singer Lee Hyori is drawing lots of attention for saying “While I have a Western top half, on the other hand the bottom half of my body is Asian.”

지난 20일 방송된 MBC ‘섹션TV 연예통신’에 출연한 이효리는 서구적인 상체를 가지고 있는데 반면 “동양적인 하체를 가지고 있다”며 “하이힐은 생명과도 같다”고 말해 주위를 웃음바다로 만들었다.

Appearing on the MBC show “Section TV Entertainment Report” on the 20th of August, she then said that “High heels are as important as life itself!”, which produced a sea of laughter in the audience.

이날 이효리는 “샵에서 효리씨가 입어주면 옷이 잘 팔린다며 옷을 공짜로 준다”며 “옷을 잘 입는 방법은 얼마나 자신의 체형을 잘 커버하느냐인 것 같다”고 설명했다.

She also explained that “When I go into a shop, the owners give me clothes for free because they will sell well if I wear them”, and that “How well you wear clothes depends on how much of your body shape you cover up.”

이효리에게 ‘숨기고 싶은 신체적 단점’에 대해 질문하자 “상체는 서구적인 반면 하체는 동양적이다”라고 말했다.

When asked what were bad points about her body she wanted to hide, she replied that “I have a Western top half, but an Asian bottom half”.

이어 동양적인 하체를 커버하기 위한 해결책으로 “절대로 하이힐을 벗지 않는 것”이라고 강조하며 “10cm 이하 하이힐은 쳐다보지도 않고 잠을 잘 때도 하이힐은 신고 잔다”고 말해 주위를 폭소케 했다.

Accordingly, she emphasized that the solution for covering(?) her Asian bottom half was “never taking high heels off”, and that “not only will I not look at high heels with a heel less than 10cm high, but I even sleep in high heels”, producing hysterics in the audience.

arvan's picture

Call for Participants: Size Acceptance Survey

(h/t Kate Harding)

This looks good.  Contact Michaela directly, for details.  -arvan

Hi, my name is Michaela A. Null, and I am a doctoral student in Sociology at Purdue University. I am doing a study about the embodiment of size-accepting fat women, with attention to the ways in which gender, race, sexual orientation, and body size intersect.

I am currently looking for individuals who are interested in volunteering to participate in my study. If you are interested in volunteering to participate in an interview, I ask that take an electronic informational survey, which will take approximately 5 minutes. Please go here and complete the informational survey. After all survey data has been collected, participants will be selected for interviews, which will be conducted in-person, by phone, or via internet chat, and will last between an hour and an hour and a half.

Participation is voluntary and participants must be at least 18 years old.

This project has been approved by my university’s Institutional Review Board, which protects human subjects of research. I will provide confidentiality to all volunteers and participants will be referred to by a pseudonym in all research documents.

If you have any questions regarding this study, you can contact me at mnull@purdue.edu. For more information on me, you can access my university
profile here
. You can also contact Professor Eugene Jackson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, at jacksone@purdue.edu.

Sincerely,

Michaela A. Null, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, Purdue University

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Photoshop Disaster #6: I like it hot, strong, and black!

( Source )

Do men pay more attention to men’s chests than women?

As a gym addict 10-15 years ago, I read somewhere in a newspaper that they do. And with my self-confidence back then wholly tied to how much I buffed up, it certainly matched my own experience.

Unfortunately for the sake of objectivity though, it’s been difficult not to remember that every time I’ve seen a topless man ever since. One look at Changmim of 2AM half-naked and holding his crotch in a coffee ad then, and all I could think about was the large, firm package that used to be the weekend edition of the New Zealand Herald.

Naturally enough, most commenters at allkpop and Omona! They Didn’t focused on the one that Changmin was allegedly holding in his left hand instead, and I’m going to take a wild guess that most of those were heterosexual women. Perhaps that explains why so few noticed the appalling photoshop job on his chest?^^

James Turnbull's picture

Reading “The Lolita Effect” in Korea: Part 1

There’s so much raised by Kim Hyuna’s (김현아) performance of her infamous “pelvic dance” (골반댄스) on last week’s episode of Quiz That Changes The World (세상을 바꾸는 퀴즈) below, that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Probably most notable however, is the surrealism of having observers explicitly acknowledging the dance’s sexual nature, only then to implicitly deny that nature by their subsequent actions. For while the men whoop and comically feign arousal while watching it, looking for all the world like they’re in a strip club, actually the heterosexual women display a similar enthusiasm, and later a mixed group goes on to parody it. Finally, a 12 year-old girl in the audience is brought on stage to similarly thrust her crotch at the camera, much to the delight of all.

Naturally, I’ve already discussed the issue of the media projecting, exploiting and yet simultaneously denying female sexuality like this many times before, but after recently reading the The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It by M. Durham (2009), I realize now that I was rather naive in ever thinking that that was unique to Korea. Nevertheless, there are some features of the Korean media and social landscape that certainly exaggerate the phenomenon here at least, such as the slave-like contracts musicians have with their entertainment companies (did Hyuna want to dance because it was “empowering” in a sexual and/or feminist way, or because she felt compelled to?); “sexy dances” being synonymous with Korean talk shows, overwhelmingly by 20-something women; stereotypes of married and/or 30-something women as asexual; a huge prostitution industry; and so on. With the “Lolita Effect” being so extreme here then, in this series I’d like to use this episode of the show both to pass on Durham’s arguments to a wider audience and to gain some greater understanding of Korean media and sexuality in the process.

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #45: Modernizing Traditional Korean Clothes

( Source )

For all my love of Korean culture, I’ve never really understood the appeal of modern hanbok (한복).

Primarily, because of their impracticality: after performing the ancestor worship rites known as cha-ryae (차례) in mine at my parents-in-laws’ house on various Korean holidays for instance, I find it very difficult to eat the traditional breakfasts that follow with such baggy sleeves getting in the way, especially at the low tables that most Koreans use. It also has no pockets, no zipper, and can get uncomfortably hot very easily, especially during Chuseok (추석) when the weather can still be quite warm. And my wife has similar problems with hers too, adding that women also seem to find their slightly more elaborate version more uncomfortable than men do theirs.

For those reasons, I fully expected the Wikipedia article on hanbok to mention that despite popular perceptions, only the small elite known as the yangban (양반) ever really wore them historically, who were notorious for being resolutely opposed to performing anything that smacked of physical labor. Was Koreans’ pride in their “national dress” a little misplaced then, and just another invented tradition like the kilt in Scotland?

Alas, it doesn’t say, although it does seem reasonable to suppose that practical considerations were undoubtedly more important for the bulk of the population. But what the article does demonstrate though, is that the hanbok has as rich and varied a history as, say, the Western suit (it was naive of me to be surprised at that), and the frequent changes in the various forms and usages of the garment over time indicate that its role as a signifier of class, status, and occupation was much more complicated than I first thought.

Still, I can’t think of a more unflattering garment for women.

Syndicate content
Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system