Sometimes I look at the pieces of my chemically-straightened hair that are scattered around my bathroom floor, and I wonder what it would be like if things were different. What if relaxers were never invented? What if having afro-kinky hair was okay?
I’ve been getting my hair chemically straightened since I was around eight, and before then, I got my hair pressed with a straightening comb each week. I have no idea what my natural texture looks like besides from what I can guess from childhood pictures and the tiny bit of roots that grow out before I straighten them again. My hair is at my shoulders and will not grow past them because of breakage.
The answer to my dilemma may seem simple: just go natural! But here’s the …
Magazines, T.V. and Disney: The Negative Portrayal of Beauty in the Media
From a young age, I recognized a pattern in the movies I frequently watched. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White – their major goal is to find Prince Charming. Being young and impressionable, I too started dreaming of my prince charming I would one day come to meet.
As I got older, around my pre-teen years, I developed a collection of magazines due to my interest in style and fashion. I’d flip through so many each day, and without even noticing how and why, I began to feel less and less confident in myself. And more and more self-conscious about the way I looked. Pretty soon I felt as though no guy would ever want me because of the way I looked. I began to think I’d …
Elena Rossini is a film director, cinematographer and editor from Italy. She’s also a really awesome woman who is working on multiple feminist projects, including a documentary about the manipulation of women’s bodies in our culture (The Illusionists) and an awesome blog (No Country for Young Women) that works to connect women across generations (that I happen to have been featured on). One of my favorite works of Elena’s, however, is her short film “Ideal Women” which was commissioned by ARTE/the Louvre Museum’s project “4 Semaines” and which I was lucky enough to see at the Endangered Species Summit. Enjoy!
Endangered Species Summit: Our Generation and Body Image
The Endangered Species Summit – an international movement focused on improving the way women around the world view and treat their bodies, in the media and beyond – took place last month. There were branches in London, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Sao Paul and New York. I was lucky enough to be involved with the New York branch thanks to the incomparable Courtney Martin, who is a goddess (and who flawlessly planned the NYC summit). I had the daunting task of representing our generation on the Intergenerational Panel, which also included such amazing women as Jean Kilbourne, Erica Watson and Rachel Simmons. So, you know. No pressure or anything.
Needless to say, it was an incredible experience, but more than talking about my impressions, I figured I’d share …
We don’t live in a vacuum. Our ideas, our lexicon, and our beliefs are shaped by outside forces like society, culture, environment, and religion. Fields like sociology and anthropology prove that.
Words matter. You said something heterosexist because your parents / the media / your religion told you; you weren’t born a bigot. Forces like that reflect and shape your ideas. When people, especially celebrities, say transphobic things they fuel transphobia and other people think it is ok because their ideas aren’t challenged. Their bigotry is reinforced every day by outside forces like that. We are conditioned to say things that hurt other people, but we don’t change it because it seems like it doesn’t affect your reality.
That’s where privilege comes from. If the dominant culture constantly puts out …
I honestly don’t think that the message Cover Girl Culture promotes can EVER be told to girls (and boys) of my generation too much. We need to start combating the seriously messed up body standards our culture holds us to, and we need to start NOW.
Cover Girl Culture: Awakening the Media Generationis an award winning feature length documentary. From posing in pages of magazines to exposing magazines comes documentary filmmaker Nicole Clark.A former Elite International fashion model turned champion for young girls and their self-esteem, Nicole gets in the face of the media and advertisers calling for responsible media for our youth!We must act now to save an endangered species – empowered girls and young women!
Cover Girl Culture explores how the worlds of fashion, modeling, advertising and celebrity impact our teens and young women. Who sets today’s standards for beauty and how are these standards affecting individuals and society? Who is responsible? Are there ways this can be changed? If so, who can/will change it?
Shocking interviews with fashion editors from major NY magazines. Eye opening interviews with top agents, designers, models, advertisers and many more. An important issue addressed is the sexualization of young girls in the media/advertising. Most importantly it focuses on SOLUTIONS. (this film took 4 yrs to complete)
I have a friend. Let’s call him Finneus. Finneus is a well known flirt at my school. The fact that he’s pretty much had a girlfriend consistently since the beginning of 6th grade does not disuade him in what can really only be called a flirtatious personality trait. He’s as consistent with his flirting as he is with dating – he will flirt with pretty much any female, and has been known at times to cross over and flirt with guys as well. Which is weirdly a way to show off his masculinity as long as it’s all in jest. This aspect of boy culture still eludes me.
Anyway, I used shrug off Finneus’s flirting, thinking, “Hey, he’s a teenage boy. It happens.” I couldn’t really get mad at him …