Experiment: Part I- Introduction and Stacey

•May 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

I have talked about the effects of media on American women from a very objective, third person perspective. However, this time I wanted to make it more real and concise.

Experiment:
I sent an e-mail containing three different images of women to two women and one man who were born and raised in the United States. To protect their privacy, I have changed their names.

Controls:
Images- All three women were Caucasian and print models.
Reviewers- All three reviewers grew up in southern part of the United States, so their answers may deviate from others who are from areas such as New York or California. Their ages range from 20 to 28, which will help create a consistent generational view.

Instructions:
Please save the pictures to a paint program or something similar. Then, on the model please circle the area you are commenting on and place a number next to it. After, in Notepad or Word, whichever you prefer, please write the corresponding number and your comment next to it.

Results:
Because of the nature of the experiment, I will be breaking this down into 3 separate entries for the sake of clarity. Moreover, outside of typos, I have left comments in their natural unedited format.

First Reviewer: Stacey

Model 1

Comments:

  1. Her hair is a little dry looking, most likely from over coloring since I can see her roots. I wonder how she would have looked as a brunette in the same ad.
  2. Her ribs show a little too much. It makes me think of the extremely thin models that are now banned from the runway.
  3. She seems pretty fit.
  4. Is this a mole?
Overall:
Her skin is a good color – it looks healthy and not overly colored. Her face is nice, with an overall natural look. I feel that she is a little too thin, but as a model, she fits the standards that people in the industry look for.
Model 2
Comments:
  1. She has a slight wrinkle, which shows that she is an actual woman. Her eyes look genuinely happy.
  2. Her dimple is really cute.
  3. I didn’t notice this at first until I looked closely – it’s stretch marks. I know this is something that most women have to go through. As a model, this would not be liked. To industry standards, she is slightly over sized (sad to say), but I’m glad she is comfortable enough to show her skin.
  4. Her legs are in pretty good shape. From a health perspective, I’d say that she is pretty healthy!
Overall:
She looks genuinely happy and her make-up is much more natural than the previous woman. She’s also more tan – this may either be due to her genetic make-up or being tan to fit into the American culture. I believe people put too much time into tanning, which I don’t think is necessary. All her body parts are proportionate, which I like.
Model 3
Comments:
  1. Her face is very youthful. She has nice plump lips, and her eyes are also very beautiful.
  2. Her hair seems kind of dry – probably from the hairspray. It seems natural however, which is nice. I like curls in the hair – it is a very popular hair style to show sexiness.
  3. To industry standards, I would say that this is not attractive. However, I admire her for her confidence to show her body. I know that I would not be confident in showing my body. As long as she is in good health, she should stay herself!
  4. Her toe nails are good! Mi piace! I wish I had good toe nails– fingernails too.
  5. She has nice thick thighs. She looks like she keeps in pretty good shape!
Overall:
She has a lovely face and I can see the confidence in her. I feel as long as you are confident, you are lovely, regardless of what others say. My opinions may be skewed because I have a more optimistic view of beauty.
My Insights:
  1. Even as Stacey looks at these images, she makes personal references to herself like: “I wish I had good toe nails– fingernails too.” This supports the idea that women are influenced by media and by the women who surround them in their lives.
  2. Between the first and third models, the opinion of the models’ body shapes moves from the words “fit” to just “healthy,” which leads me to the questions, is there a difference between the two, or is it just a nicer way to comment on one’s size?
  3. These comments are very kind overall, but I imagine that if Stacey were commenting on herself, she would be much more critical of her own small flaws that others may not even notice: “I know that I would not be confident in showing my body.”
  4. She noticed very minor details like the first model’s mole. However, I did tell her to specifically look and comment on these images, so I have to wonder if she would still notice these details otherwise.
  5. While Stacey is in influenced by the media, I still feel like she at least can see the differences between industry standards and real life: “To industry standards, she is slightly over sized (sad to say), but I’m glad she is comfortable enough to show her skin.”

Next: Michelle

DIY Beauty Masks

•May 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

In the last post, I gave some tips on how a person can eat and drink her way to natural beauty. As a quick follow up, I wanted to post a couple of DIY recipes for facial masks that can lead to more hydrated and healthy skin.

My personal favorite is a honey mask that I use once a week. It has natural anti-microbial and antioxidant properties that help keep the skin hydrated and prevents it from drying. In fact, women from ancient civilizations regularly applied a mixture of honey and milk to the face to keep the skin radiant.

Honey Mask


Ingredients
• 3 tbsp. honey
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 6 tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions
Combine honey, olive oil and sugar in a small bowl until it forms into a paste. Then, rinse with water.

Here is a second one:

Cranberry Facial Scrub Mask


Ingredients
• A handful of fresh cranberries (raw or frozen)
• 2 drops of vegetable or almond oil
• A pinch of sugar
• 1 drop of orange essential oil
• A sprinkle of oatmeal

Directions
Combine ingredients and mix in a blender. Apply to skin and let it sit for a while. After, rub it on your face using the tips of your fingers; then rinse off with water.

Eating and Drinking for Beauty

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Even though I have focused on the idea of beauty from the perspective of its symbolism and history, in this post, I wanted to include some of my personal thoughts and DIY recipes that not only make me feel more beautiful but make me healthier.

As a woman, I can’t help but feel self conscious when my daily life is bombarded with images of beautiful, tall, thin models with absolutely flawless skin. However, instead of looking at it from a negative perspective, I try to think of ways to enhance my looks not just for physical appearances but for my health. Because in the end, I believe that living a healthy and balanced life is the best way to maintain a person’s youth and beauty throughout her lifetime.

Food Habits and Vitamins- You are what you eat

A lot of people tend to focus on the amount of fat, carbs, sugar, and calories that are in food, but I believe that if you just eat in moderation and increase the intake of fruits, veggies, and water– the natural glow of health will shine through. Nonetheless, I also realize that while people know that fruits and veggies give you necessary vitamins, it is not really clear how these equate to beauty.

Vitamin B2:

  • Helps with: Growth, skin, nails, hair, eyesight, the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrates
  • Sources: Milk, liver, yeast, cheese, green leafy vegetables, fish
  • Recommended daily amount: 1.6mg

Vitamin B6:

  • Helps with: Preventing skin conditions, nerve problems, helps the body absorb protein and carbohydrates
  • Sources:Fish, bananas, chicken, pork, wholegrains, dried beans
  • Recommended daily amount: 2mg

Vitamin D:

  • Helps with: Strong bones and teeth
  • Sources: Sunlight, cod-liver oil, sardines, herring, salmon, tuna, milk and milk products
  • Recommended daily amount: 5 micrograms

For more information go here.

Now that you know more about these vitamins and how they can help you, how do you eat better?

  1. Include at least veggies or fruit in every meal you eat during the day. Even if you’re running late, a piece of fruit or pre-cut carrots will work
  2. Write down what you eat- it’ll make you more conscious of your food choices
  3. Eat slowly and chew your food more thoroughly- it gives your stomach the time to tell your brain that it’s full
  4. Eat regularly through the day- this prevents binge eating

Those are only a few tips to help you eat well, but what about how to drink well?

Water- drinking for your youth

As stated in the previous post, the skin care industry makes many, many billions of dollars each year selling women on the idea of clear, youthful skin. At the same time, many people are also told that they need to drink 64 oz of water a day, which is about 8, 8oz glasses. Yet, I know many more individuals who would rather pay $5-$10-$20-$50 for a skin care product than drink free (or relatively free) water. But why? Water has been scientifically proven to help skin stay hydrated and moisturized. Nonetheless, drinking 8, 8oz glasses of water is slightly daunting, so here are some other ways you can increase your water intake.

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies- they contain a ton of water; in fact, 20% of your daily intake of water can come from your food
  2. Carry a water bottle around with you- it might be a bit of a hassle, but it’s certainly worth it
  3. Keep a glass of water next to you as you’re doing your work or eating dinner
  4. Add some type of natural flavoring like lemons, limes, or mint, which can give some variety
  5. Replace your daily soda or juice with water

Voila! By following a few of these tips, it can help your body both internally and externally.

The Beauty Business- L’Oreal

•March 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

First, some statistics*– Analysts at Goldman Sachs estimate that the global beauty industry makes:

  • Skin Care- $24 billion
  • Make-up- $18 billion
  • Hair-care products- $38 billion
  • Perfumes-$15 billion of perfumes

And the industry is growing at up to 7% a year, more than twice the rate of the developed world’s GDP*.

L’Oreal, the sector’s market leader, has had compound annual profits growth of 14% for 13 years*.

*Source: http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=1795852

L’Oreal is the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company and is based in Paris, France. It began in 1907 and was founded by Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist. His original product was an innovative hair-colour formula, and since then it has grown into over 500 different brands of beauty products including: hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skin care, cleansers, makeup, and fragrances.

In 2009, the company made 17.47 billion Euros, but with the promises that they make in their commercial it’s easy to see how they did it.

Another 20’s Icon- Coco Chanel

•March 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Individuals were also able to make new lives for themselves during the changing times of the 1920’s- especially the women.

The greatest example of this is the story of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, or Coco Chanel.

She was born in a peasant village, but through her own hard work and success, she became a fashion pioneer and was the only one in her industry to be placed in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century. Coco strongly believed in equality between men and women, and this was seen in her menswear-inspired fashions. In her eyes, women were supposed to dress for themselves and not for the men.

1920’s- The Feminine Liberation Movement

•March 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

From 1920-1930, the socio economic position of women in society shifted dramatically from the previous century. While women were considered delicate, fragile, and unequal to men in mind before, this quickly changed after World War I. Women were strong and independent and deserved the same rights as men. In fact, it was during this period that they gained their suffrage rights; finally, both men and women could vote based off of their political beliefs.

Similarly, this freedom extended to their ideals of beauty and the idea of Flappers were born.

Flapper [flap-er]- Noun.

A young woman, especially one who, during the 1920s, behaved and dressed in a boldly unconventional manner.*

*From dictionary.com

With the new dress and social changes came a new outlook for women:

“The flapper attitude was characterized by stark truthfulness, fast living, and sexual behavior. Flappers seemed to cling to youth as if it were to leave them at any moment. They took risks and were reckless.” Jennifer Rosenberg

Anorexia- Misplaced Perfection

•March 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As I mentioned before in the first entry, I would like to do a comparative view of beauty of the past versus the present. In this entry, I would like to cover how the misplaced search for beauty affects millions of girls through Anorexia Nervosa as well as the battle that Remuda Ranch, a treatment center, fights each day to help groups of girls overcome this obstacle.

Even though Twiggy introduced the ultra thin look in the 60’s, circumstances have only worsened. In 2006, two super models died of Anorexia including Ana Carolina Reston.

Died for Beauty

With the increasing pressure from the media to be thin and beautiful, many girls have turned to severe dieting or severe exercise to achieve an unattainable look. While it may began with a woman’s physical appearance, it is also very psychological. Controlling her eating habits is the equivalent of being in control of her life. While I am only covering Anorexia, there are also other debilitating eating disorders such as Bulimia and Emotional Eating.

First, a definition:

Anorexia [an-uh-rek-see-uh] – Noun.

An eating disorder characterized by markedly reduced appetite or total aversion to food. Anorexia is a serious psychological disorder. It is a condition that goes well beyond out-of-control dieting. The person with anorexia, most often a girl or young woman, initially begins dieting to lose weight. Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is thought to be secondary to concerns about control and fears relating to one’s body. The individual continues the endless cycle of restrictive eating, often to a point close to starvation. This becomes an obsession and is similar to an addiction to a drug.*

*From MedTerms.com

A few statistics (from http://www.anorexianervosatreatments.net):

  • In the US there are 500,000 deaths a year due to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
  • Other statistics show that an average of 5 to 10 million girls in the US have serious eating disorders
  • Out of this number, 3 out of 20 die as a result

However, there is hope as groups band together to help fight this sickness.

Remuda Ranch began in 1990, and since then, the program has helped over 10,000 women. The group believes in a “mind-body-social-spiritual framework,” which will provide a long term solution instead of a temporary one. The video below is made by one of its patients:

If you know anyone who is suffering from this- please speak up and help this person before it’s too late.