In last month’s Girlfriend Review, I outlined the disturbing findings of the magazine’s annual body image survey. Our young women still despise their bodies, despite GF’s own positive body image initiatives, which I’ve argued, never really went far enough.
So it was refreshing to see in May’s issue a strong case for exposing systems and structures which make girls feel bad about themselves – getting it off the individual girl and onto the zillion dollar global beautification industry which contributes to her feeling so damn awful.
In the piece titled ‘We’re all real women’ (‘Readers not models were used in this shoot’), journalist and blogger Rachel Hills writes:
“The real girl resurgency in recent years isn’t just a response to increasingly ‘un-real’ technologies used to create them…it’s about culture, politics and systems. And rather than taking that out on individual girls and women whose physical appearance might be more culturally celebrated than our own, we should direct our anger and activism at the systems that create those narrow images of beauty and privilege them over everything else.
“[the problem is] a culture that says girls who are all those things are cuter, cooler and more worthy of our attention than girls who aren’t – not to mention a culture that says even if you are all those things…you could still look ‘better’ if you had Photoshop to trim your waist, thicken your hair, enhance your breasts or straighten your nose…The point is, there is no ‘us’ verses ‘them’. Impossible beauty standards hurt us all, and the idea that the most important thing a girl can do is meet those standards hurts us even more.”
Of course, one article does not a revolution make, but it’s something. The cultural analysis approach is echoed in a separate piece examining ‘Sh*t girls say’ – looking at some of the negative things girls repeat, for example that they need bigger breasts. “Perhaps you should criticise the kinda society that says bigger busts is the key to happiness rather than actually supporting it”.
I would have liked to have seen this advice applied also to waxing of public hair in increasingly younger girls – in a section titled ‘Down low: The vagina’, removal of public hair is described merely as a “fashion choice” rather than something increasingly culturally mandated and part of the widespread shaming of women’s natural bodies.
And while we’re talking about ‘reality’, what’s with all the slang terms used to describe female body parts? With the trend toward genital surgery (thanks in good part to the influence of pornography) it’s good for girls to know “There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ vagina”. But can’t we avoid the porno terms (beaver, pussy, hole etc)? And the same for breasts. Tits, jubblies and tatas are the degrading terms used in lad’s mags – they don’t belong in mags aimed at building respect for girls and their bodies.
There’s a two page piece ‘Picture Perfect’ which explains photoshop and re-touching and where Girlfriend stands. “When we feature a retouched image, we’ll make you aware of it with a Self-Respect Reality Check”. Except you won’t see one of those on any ad, including the just-too-perfect faces for Rimmel, Maybelline and Veet, for example (don’t tell me that’s their natural skin). Girlfriend has talked tough against advertisers, but never really done anything to force them to change.
Despite evidence which just keeps growing on the harm of objectified and sexualized images on girls and women, the ‘Oh, Lola!’ Marc Jacobs perfume ad of a very young looking Dakota Fanning referencing Lolita in a girly soft pink spotted dress with the phallic perfume bottle between her legs appears here again.
We meet the finalists of Girlfriend of the Year. The photo shoot is somewhat one dimensional. Jamie Howell, 13, is profoundly deaf and wants to represent Australia as an Olympic track and field athlete. It would have been good to see an image of her training, especially given it’s what she seems to be doing almost 24 hours a day! Toni Daley, 17, is a horse lover and also wants to compete at international level. But there’s not a horse in sight. (She is wearing Sportsgirl shoes at $169.95 though). Sienna van Rossum,16, wants to help Aboriginal communities, (though it’s unlikely she will do so in the $149.95 dress she’s modelling). But these girls are doing great things and I hope that doesn’t get lost.
Important piece by Sarah Ayoub ‘I thought I was a fun party girl…But I had no sense of self-worth’ about how girls can self-sabotage through drink-driving, self-harming behaviours, violent relationships, unsafe sexual practices sex (chlamydia infection most prevalent in women 15-24) and drug abuse. “…risk-taking among teenage girls has hit an all-time high, prompting warnings from professionals who fear that girls just like you are damaging their health thanks to the reckless risks they’re taking”.
The article suggests other ways girls can experience the thrill of risk-taking, in less dangerous ways, e.g sport, rock climbing or taking on a socially risky cause which also takes bravery. “By chasing these highs, you’re learning new skills, developing talents, friendships and confidence, and preventing yourself from failing to a trap that you might eventually regret”. I’m hoping Ayoub will be given more space in Girlfriend’s pages in future.
I’m always pleased to see pieces by young non white/non Western women talking about surviving hardship most of us just cannot image. ‘Life with Kony’, tells the story of Grace Arach who at 12 was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. For the next six years she suffered every depravity and violation before escaping and finding protection with the World Vision Uganda Children of War Reception Centre. She is now involved with CAP Uganda (Children/Youth as Peacebuilders). “My dream is to help my friends who’ve been traumatised by the war so that they can become productive and live meaningful lives…”
Hinch employs an argument relating to male divers and their brief bathers. I pause then say I had hoped for a sensible discussion on the issue. Undeterred, Hinch presses on, at his blustery best. I respond: are male divers pulling each other’s bathers off? Do they have to sign contracts agreeing to accidental nudity? Are we watching them in action because we hope their bathers will fall down around their ankles?
Having dispatched the divers, I’m then faced with Warwick Capper and his footy shorts. I am not making this up. How can I stand up in the face of such compelling, blistering arguments? Warwick Capper wore tight shorts (and a mullet, but that’s not important right now), therefore women playing porn sport is fine. Put your sunglasses on or you will be blinded by the logic.
Trying to get Warwick Capper’s shorts out of my brain, onFriday I see the following twitter stream from journalist Latika Bourke capturing an exchange at Senate Estimates between conservative Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and Minister for Sport Kate Lundy over this piece she wrote, critical of the LFL.
Wish Senator Bernardi had done some homework beforehand. Er yes, they are running around in their lingerie actually. That’s the whole point. And I understand why he would wish to score points against a political nemesis and to point out what he believes are hypocrisy on other issues, but would he really be “delighted” to attend a game to learn more about it?
We spoke on the phone. While Bernardi said he is on the “same page”, he compared lingerie football to male wrestling. As Jan says when she’s inspecting the dinner in the oven while her bored and half starved guests wait, in an episode from The Office, “not even close”.
What I am realising is that many men who make these arguments think that we look at male sportsmen the way they look at women. Surely we are hoping to get a closer look at the bulge in a sportsman’s shorts/bathers/wrestling attire? Surely the skin shown by a male wrestler has the equivalent effect of women dressed in lingerie with garter and suspender belts? It’s the same male sexual lense focus applied to Stonemen underwear.
We don’t see promotions for True Fantasy Diving. Or True Fantasy Wrestling. That’s how lingerie football is promoted. Women in sex industry wear, getting hot and sweaty with other women on a sports field, catering for male fantasies.
As I’ve argued already, this game sets back the cause of equality in women’s sport.
And according to sport’s blogger Cleveland360 (see interviews with ex players here) there’s many other reasons to condemn the game Mitchell Mortaza is now about to export to our country:
• Mitchell Mortaza subjects players to verbal abuse
• Players have to pay for their own health insurance but the LFL do everything to stop injured players making a claim on the insurance fund
• Mitchell Mortaza rumoured to fix LFL games, and one coach has quit because of this
• Players have to submit regular pictures of themselves and are put on ‘fat watch’ and suspended from play if they are suspected of gaining weight.
• Mortaza uses ‘fat watch’ to rig games by benching key players
Please sign our petition at Change.org. Tell the sponsors including including the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Allphones Stadium Sydney, Telecafe, Seven Yahoo, Yahoo Sports Triple M and Fuel TV what you think.
And please, if you can, spare me from any more arguments invoking men in speedos and Warwick Cappa’s shorts. I’d be eternally grateful.
…So what’s the solution? Zip our lips and refuse to engage with the lowlifes who joke about rape, commodify the female body, and portray women as morons?
Much as I sometimes would like to, I don’t believe that’s the answer. Taking the high road can’t mean simply ignoring what’s going on in our culture.
Sexism and misogyny have become joke-worthy subjects in such an insidious way that people are now failing to even identify them any more. Imagine if racist or anti-semitic ads were popping up online every other day and were defended by those calling protesters “oversensitive,” labeling any objections “political correctness gone mad’ and telling them to “get over it.” Would we be told just to turn a blind eye and not give such companies the oxygen of publicity? More likely, we’d be calling for the heads of the responsible marketing executives on a plate.
Sexists’ favored method of shutting down feminists is to call them humorless, and accuse the men who support them of being emasculated and brainwashed. Well, it’s time to stand up and say that there’s nothing deficient about not having your laughter button pressed by the degradation of women. Anyone offended by misogyny needs to keep speaking out about it, even if it runs the risk of giving the perpetrator free advertising. Plus, there is such a thing as bad publicity-or Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have shed 50+ advertising sponsors after recent online outrage at his misogyny.
Reputations can certainly be tarnished, and refusing to keep quiet about sexist advertising can achieve that. Read full article here
More female flesh to sell products for men: send Stonemen back to the cave
Underwear brand Stonemen has launched an interactive video featuring a woman masturbating to an image of the viewers in Stonemen jocks. Well, actually the viewer’s face superimposed on the body of another man in the jocks. (No, I won’t be linking to it, but it’s not hard to find).
The social media campaign invites users to upload a photo of themselves, which then appears in the video.
According to Mumbrella, this is the censored version. Of course that could be part of the spin, given the full version doesn’t seem to exist anywhere on line including You Tube. See how the boys at Arnold Furnace and Stoneman market vouyerism as a thing of beauty.
“Making a film about a woman who gets naked seemed like a fruitful place to start… said Tom Spicer, joint national creative director, Arnold Furnace.
“”The high production values of the film reflect Stoneman’s own obsession with quality. To print a seamless 360 degrees image on a pair of undies has been a labour of love for us and we wanted to bring the same level of craft to the film. It’s rare that virals have this aesthetic and adding an interactive element is a genuine marriage between beauty and the kind of fun you like to have with your mates,” said Marc Debnam, director, Stoneman.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re George Clooney or George Costanza, to know that you have the potential to make a woman whip her clothes off simply by wearing a certain brand of undies is a very powerful and compelling piece of information. I’ve got Monday through Sunday covered with Stonemen underpants”, said Paul Fenton, joint national creative director, Arnold Furnace.
Tom Spicer’s opening sentence pretty much sums up attitudes about what women are good for in advertising: “Making a film about a woman who gets naked seemed like a fruitful place to start…” As if this is clever and original…because that’s the best use of a woman in advertising, strip her down.
“Porn….what a great start to Monday” was the response of one man on viewing the ad. He didn’t comment on the ‘aesthetic’ qualities of a naked woman moaning. It was all porn to him.
“The kind of fun you like to have with your mates” – what, participating in vouyerism together? Perving on a porn-themed flick featuring a masturbating woman and fantasise that she wants you?
And such delusion: “you have the potential to make a woman whip her clothes off simply by wearing a certain brand of undies…” The idea is that a man can get a woman to do what he wants just by wearing these stupid undies. Many men may be disappointed.
This is such a male-centric version of female sexual response. If she sees me in my jocks – even if it’s just my head on another man’s body – she will go crazy for me, she won’t be able to control herself and will even have to take matters into her own hands. Pathetic.
The ad attempts to reverses the traditional roles of porn use. Imagine an ad for lingerie using a man wanking to an image of a lingerie model. Unlikely you’d see it. But a woman masturbating – well, let’s face it, the way this ad is constructed it’s not really about her.
The ad positions females as best naked, and existing primarily for male peeping. Surely this clip shows them they’re being sold silly versions of male fantasy dressed up as reality? Do any men feel insulted by being treated as such idiots?
Stoneman? Cavemen. Backward, unoriginal, send them back to the cave.
WHEN a man plays gridiron – or American football – he is dressed for maximum protection to ensure safety in a game known for its raw physicality. His body is covered, with little exposed flesh, to minimise injury.
It’s not the kind of game a man would consider playing in his underwear. That would just be dumb, right?
But it seems rules are different if you are a woman playing for the Lingerie Football League (LFL).
The less clothing the better. In fact, it’s a requirement of the game.
The US LFL began as half-time entertainment for regular NFL games on Super Bowl Sunday. Now it masquerades as a serious event in its own right, complete with garters, suspender belts and skimpy underwear designed for maximum exposure.
Now the LFL is exporting its special brand of sporting sex-ploitation, with promotional matches in Brisbane and Sydney in June and July and an official launch in 2013.
And the whole family is invited! Brisbane Entertainment Centre and Allphones Arena Sydney are offering family tickets for two adults and two juniors aged two to 12 years. Never too early to teach children what women are good for.
Players have to sign contracts agreeing to “accidental nudity”. There’s nothing accidental about it: flesh exposure is virtually guaranteed. The contract states: ” … Performances hereunder may involve accidental nudity. Player knowingly and voluntarily agrees to provide player’s service … and has no objection to providing services involving player’s accidental nudity.”
If they wear any additional items of clothing under the lingerie they will be fined $500. Apart from All Star matches, they are not paid. And they are at serious risk of injury. In fact, the league brags about all the injuries suffered by female players.
It is a mix of voyeurism and violence.
League founder Mitch Mortaza proudly states the game is “brutality, sport and entertainment combined into one”.
For entertainment, read getting an eyeful of female flesh and hot and sweaty girl-on-girl action.
Mortaza admits “the only reason this league is getting so much attention (over other female ‘sports’) is because of the outfits”.
One male sports blogger says LFL is “the closest we will get to live stadium porno” and admitted: “I just would never go to a game to watch their athletic talent.”
Martin Winquist, writing at The Sheaf, says: “Both the lingerie and the padding (consisting of modified football shoulder pads, optional elbow pads, knee pads and hockey helmets with half-visors) are minimal enough to ensure none of them obscure the usually ample cleavage of the athlete. If you’re an ass and legs person though, don’t fret; the booty shorts and required garter make sure the girls’ (breasts) don’t monopolise one’s ogling.”
The LFL doesn’t seem to think women are talented enough to play sport fully clothed.
Tampa Breeze Florida player Liz Gorman told CBC Radio earlier this year what it is like to wear uniforms designed for maximum flesh exposure:
“Oh. Well … well, honestly … I don’t like it. I’d rather wear full clothing. Because when you fall, it literally rips your skin. I’d love more clothing, but at the same time like any sport, the players don’t get to choose the uniform.”
But some fans want even more: “Nude football would be better – make it happen bastards,” wrote one.
And another: “The LFL sucks now. It used to be the girls wore ‘Booty Shorts’, meaning they, ya know, SHOWED BOOTY. It seems that they made the bottoms way more conservative. Just saw the LFL Bowl and there was virtually no ass-cheek showing.”
This exploitation of women’s bodies for profit undermines real sportswomen. Mainstreaming stripper-style representations of women – including in sport – sets back the cause of equality and fair treatment.
CONTINUING to depict women in sexualised roles – including on the sports field – dashes our hopes of growing a generation of empowered young women. It reinforces the notion that if a young woman wants to play sport she has to bare her flesh and be publicly sexual. Already many girls avoid playing sport because of body-image concerns.
The Australian Government Ausport website acknowledges this: “While sexploitation is most commonly associated with elite athletes, the matter cannot be completely divorced from community and amateur sport. There is undoubtedly a flow-on effect.”
It sends conflicting and confusing messages to the community and to other athletes. It also undermines the efforts to achieve equal credibility for all women athletes.
Fortunately, the Australian Sports Commission does not recognise lingerie football. It says the LFL does not adhere to the “core principles of sport in Australia – fairness, respect, responsibility and safety”.
However, it can’t do anything to stop it.
That’s why we have to. There’s a campaign against corporate sponsors including the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Allphones Stadium Sydney, Telecafe, Seven Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and Triple M.
Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy is also being lobbied to intervene. Tell these companies that trading in the bodies of underpaid semi-naked women who risk injury for male entertainment does not constitute sport.
‘Time had the opportunity to explore motherhood and the individuality of each parent-child bond, to validate the mundane and empower women who make countercultural parenting choices. Instead, the editors chose to cash in on cookie-cutter sexploitation and mum-vs-mum sensationalism’
Time magazine threw fuel on the fires of the Mummy Wars last week, with its controversial feature story on Attachment Parenting. Or – and probably more to the point – with its controversial cover picture, featuring 26-year-old Jamie Lynn Grumet posing somewhat cooly while her almost four-year-old son stood on a child-sized chair and fed from her exposed breast.
The magazine cover, of course, went viral, sparking conversation and debate all the way from the blogosphere to the mainstream print media. Many were wondering about attachment parenting – and if breastfeeding chair-standing man-children was really part of the deal and if it’s what you have do to do be ‘Mom Enough’?
While standing up isn’t my preferred method of feeding my babies, I am committed to attachment parenting including extended breastfeeding. But I’m afraid the authentic message of this style of baby raising is being drowned out by TIME’s controversial cover.
According to Dr William Sears, pediatrician, father of 8 and founder of the modern Attachment Parenting movement,
“Attachment parenting is an approach to raising children rather than a strict set of rules. Certain practices are common to AP parents; they tend to breastfeed, hold their babies in their arms a lot, and practice positive discipline, but these are just tools for attachment, not criteria for being certified as an attached parent. So forget the controversies about breast vs bottle, crying it out or not, and which methods of discipline are acceptable, and go back to the basics. Above all, attachment parenting means opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby and letting your knowledge of your child be your guide on making on –the-spot decisions about what works best for both of you. In a nutshell, AP is learning to read the cues of your baby and responding appropriately to those cues.” (The Attachment Parenting Book)
Breastfeeding children past infancy is all about bonding. Breastfeeding, says Dr Sears, “is the prime example of the mutual giving at the heart of attachment parenting, since both babies and mothers benefit from breastfeeding.”
And therein lies the rub. The benefit of breastfeeding to a baby is, to most, without question. But mothers? Surely breastfeeding is not for the benefit of the mother, beyond the self-sacrificial joy of providing for her little one? A burden, of sorts, gladly borne, but primarily for the sake of the beloved child. Weaning is liberation, from baby and from home. And with formula and cow’s milk so easily available in the West, the choice to continue breastfeeding once that child no longer physiologically requires it is baffling to many.
But extended breastfeeding is a choice, and a valid one at that. For some women, it is a choice pursuant to attachment parenting. For others, it is easier to allow a toddler to continue nursing than to enforce weaning. And for some women, probably more than will admit, breastfeeding is a source of pleasure, one which they themselves are unwilling to relinquish until it is absolutely necessary.
The notion of maternal pleasure in breastfeeding is one of the great taboos of Western culture. Because everyone knows that breasts are instruments of beauty, lovely sexual orbs manifested primarily for the enjoyment of men and the advertisement of Lynx deodorants. To enjoy breastfeeding – or for that matter co-sleeping, or popping your baby in a sling instead of a pram -is nothing less than socially deviant behaviour.
Look no further than a 2009 poll of Australians, which revealed that nearly a third of Australians felt that women should not breastfeed their babies beyond six months and that young adults aged 18-24 were the least supportive of a woman’s (and baby’s) right to breastfeed in public.
It should be of no surprise, then, that of the four families photographed for Time’s cover story, it was Jamie Lynne Grumet who was chosen for the cover image. Jamie Lynn Grumet, conventionally attractive young blonde, tightly braless as her camouflage-pants-clad preschooler stared down the camera instead of up into his mother’s lovely face. Jamie Lynn Grumet, sexpot MILF who just loves to nurse.
By sexualising the cover image for their Attachment Parenting feature, Time hit the viral media jackpot, and affirmed the relevancy of print media in an e-world. But did anyone read the story? Time had the opportunity to explore motherhood and the individuality of each parent-child bond, to validate the mundane and empower women who make countercultural parenting choices. Instead, they chose to cash in on cookie-cutter sexploitation and mum-vs-mum sensationalism. A sadly predictable choice, but one which ultimately does neither women nor motherhood any great favours.
Nicole Jameson is an Adelaide-based mother of two and Collective Shout activist. While completing her Master of International Public Health she developed a keen interest in maternal and child health. She would have breastfed her three-year-old while writing this if he hadn’t gone and self-weaned nearly two years ago.
I’ve been asked my opinion on the Time magazine cover depicting a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son. My view is that women should be able to breastfeed for as long as they wish and be supported and encouraged to do so. However Time Magazine’s cover of Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her three-year-old son, does more to sexualise breastfeeding than to promote it (could it even put some women off?). Most breastfeeding mothers cuddle their children in their arms while feeding. Here, Time has Grumet standing up (a better view of the breast perhaps?) and, somewhat unconventionally, depicting her child accessing her breast using a small chair. Both are staring at the camera in an impersonal image devoid of warmth – hardly the best advertisement for attachment parenting. Then of course there’s the headline ‘Are you mum enough’? which sets women up for competition and judgement. Mothering is challenging enough already, thinking they might not be ‘mum enough’ contributes to feelings of inadequacy.
Bitch Media echoes my thoughts on this image. And on three other magazine covers as well – two from Newsweek and one from Foreign Policy – in this May 10 piece by Kjerstin Johnson.
After years of being slammed with accusations that they are projecting unrealistic body image ideals onto women, Vogue magazine has finally decided to do something about it. The 19 editors of the magazines around the globe have collectively made a pact that has the fashion industry giving them a standing ovation. The move has even been hailed as marking “an evolution in the industry.”
With such hype surrounding it, is this the revolutionary change we’ve been promised? Only by a perfectly blow-dried hair’s breadth.
The move is in a bid to help promote a healthier body image, but with a declaration as ambiguous as this, it’s easy to see why the fash pack is pleased, and why the rest of us have been left wondering what it actually means.
Firstly, are our standards really so low that showcasing models who “don’t appear to have an eating disorder” is actually considered groundbreaking? Shouldn’t that be a given? And secondly, you cannot tell that someone is sick by simply giving them a quick once-over. Bulimia, for example, is extremely hard to detect because many of the signs and symptoms are not visible to the eye.
The ABC’s Dubravka Voloder also questioned this, asking Australian Vogue editor, Kristie Clements, how exactly does one police an eating disorder? Clements’ answered:
I think you just have to make a judgement as to whether the girl looks healthy, whether she’s glowing, whether she has energy. You know, that there are not bones sticking out. I don’t think you can do a BMI like a body mass index. That is sort of cookie-cutter stuff. You can’t weigh people and get the tape measure out but I think from the general demeanour of a girl and the way she presents on the page you can see whether that’s a healthy image.
Clements’ answer only raises more questions. What is a “healthy” body? What does it look like? And is not having “bones sticking out” really the most accurate measure of health they can offer?
As for the healthy glow and energy Clements’ mentioned, that can be attributed to something that was completely overlooked in Vogue’s pledge: photoshop. Across all its publications, Vogue has become notorious for its liberal use of the digital retouching program. They’ve lightened dark skin , wiped out limbs, removed all expression from models and celebrities, and even children aren’t safe – somehow in postproduction of the US September 2011 issue, several fingers were erased from a child’s hand. Plus, let’s not forget the incident where US Vogue put musician, Adele, on the cover (who represents a more accurate version of the average woman), only to whittle her down a few sizes . What kind of message does this send? That “healthy” and “average” are acceptable standards, so long as any trace of normalcy is obliterated?
Finally, Vogue’s promise has ignored a key factor in promoting a healthy body image: diversity. Aside from the token plus-size editorial spread once or twice a year (which so far have been overhyped and over sexualised ), the magazine has shown next to no variety in the shapes and sizes of women. If we were to look at the covers of Vogue US, UK and Australia from the last two years as an idea to what the average woman looks like, we could only draw the conclusion that “normal” equates to skinny and Caucasian.
The closest thing to an average woman Vogue Australia has put on their cover is Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr while she was pregnant, in their December 2010 issue. And although they have previously featured indigenous supermodel Samantha Harris, and Puerto Rican supermodel Joan Smalls, on their covers , that’s still only two women to represent culturally diverse society across two years. As for the US and UK publications, a Photoshopped Adele, and 62-year-old Meryl Streep is all they have to offer.
It is true that Vogue’s decision not to use models under the age of 16 is commendable, and the move not to use girls that look like they have an eating disorder is a lot more than the magazine has done previously in the name of promoting healthy body image. However, as author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty , Audrey Brashich, told the UK’s Daily Mail, this pledge is merely a “tiny baby step of progress.”
“The cynic in me feels like they are simply grandstanding while really just throwing a bone to an audience that is getting ever more savvy and tired of the tricks of the trade,” Brashich said.
For as significant as it is that it’s Vogue, with all its class and taste-making connotations, making this announcement, it’s also a double-edged sword. If the go-to reference for the absurdity of the thin imperative has always been Vogue, and then Vogue says it’s switching up the game, we’ve suddenly lost our reference point. Yet the referent still exists. Models are going to remain far thinner than the average woman, fashion images will continue to do their job of creating longing and desire, and otherwise sensible women will keep doing the master cleanse. All that has changed besides models’ labor conditions is that Vogue gets to seem like it’s doing the right thing, and those who have been agitating for body positivity get to feel like we’ve made progress. Vogue is doing nothing truly radical to change the thin imperative, and to pretend otherwise is to silently walk in lockstep with the very system that put us in this situation to begin with.
So although the pledge is a slight nudge in the right direction, what the magazine really needs is a solid sartorial kick. The fact still remains that at its core, Vogue is a business. It is trying to sell a product. In order for a business to survive, it has to listen to the needs of its consumers, yet all Vogue has offered is an implied guarantee. The models will not be hired under the age of 16 knowingly. The models will not be used if they appear to have an eating disorder. The models are not getting healthier, just seeming to do so. However, one definitive thing this move shows is that change is in fact brewing. For after all, a magazine cannot live off ambiguous declarations alone (and neither can its models).
While there appeared to be more ‘retouch free zones’ in this issue of Dolly (you may recall I said I’d like to see more of these), there also seemed to be even less body diversity. I couldn’t see one girl who didn’t fit the mould.
Dolly has so many pages of fashion and shopping I stopped counting. It’s the bulk of the magazine.
There’s a feature interview with Jennifer Lawrence, (also Dolly’s cover girl), Hollywood’s “latest It girl” who is Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy. She’s “freaking awesome”, apparently.
“Crush Crib Notes” tells girls how to “get” the boy they like. Stealth ways (i.e lying) include: ”Tell him you’ve lost your phone and ask if he wouldn’t mind calling it so you can find it”, “If you’re friends on Facebook, private message him saying, “I’ve lost the homework question and my laptop charger is broken…can you text it to me? My number is 1800AWESOME”. (Nothing like a bit of modesty to get the man of your dreams).
You can also “Text him: ‘you were in my dream last night.’ It’s sure to get him curious”. It may get him more than curious. Surely this will be read as a come-on? (bear in mind 11 and 12-year-olds read Dolly). There’s also 5 tips for how to make eye contact.
Justin Bieber’s new perfume Someday (“NEVER LET GO with the new fragrance for her that gives back” huh?) is scattered through the magazine. Yep, a 16-year- old boy with his own perfume line. Perhaps it’s the lingerie line next?
More useful is a two page feature on not comparing yourself to others and how to stop procrastinating. Even more timely is a feature called “Bullied to Death” about Sheniz Erkan who tragically took her life just short of her 15th birthday as a response to extreme cyberbullying. The piece cites a recent Australian report revealing that 52 percent of 13-14 year olds and 29 percent of 15-16 year-olds are victims of cyberbullying.
Joanna, 17, shares a personal account of two years with The Esther Foundations’ development program which helps out troubled young women, following bullying induced depression and self- harm. The piece also provides helpful advice on what to do if you are the target of bullies.
Another important piece is about the harms of marijuana ‘The Real Deal on Marijuana’ . According to the article, 21.5 percent of teens aged 14-19 have tried cannabis. Sandra, 16, shares how she saw the life of her best friend destroyed through marijuana. “…losing your friend to pot is the scariest thing – it’s a way more dangerous drug than you might think.” There’s a breakout box on ‘How to say No to marijuana’.
There’s a few pages on boys ‘extreme hotness’, ‘model of the month’, ‘homegrown hottie’, ‘hot factor’ (‘Did someone say T.A.S.T.Y?’)…You get the picture.
First person accounts from Dolly readers include a 17-year-old Speedway driver, a teen mum, an 18-year-old fighting to protect sharks from poachers, a 14-year-old athlete with an artificial leg, an 18- year-old ballerina, a girl with a “mystery illness”, another who survived an earthquake and a 14-year- old who stars in Nine’s ‘Tricky Business’.
Last month I wrote critically about the revival of Dolly’s Model search. This issue we meet past Dolly model search winners. Even a quick glance at the cover images from the 80’s and 90’s show just how much airbrushing and photo-shopping have changed the images we would see now.
Next issue we’re going to meet the state finalists of the Dolly Model Search. Guess I’ll have more to say then.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
“As you read, be prepared to feel both grief and rage.” Robert Jensen
“These accounts are among the most unsettling you will ever read.” Steve Biddulph
“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, and the new Wise Guys for the combined discounted price of $250.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Whether it is problems with friends, worrying about how you look or just feeling a bit down in the dumps – these books are written especially for you – to help you in your journey. Purchase all four together and save $18.50 on postage! Author: Sharon Witt
In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
“Overflowing with incisive understandings…a comprehensive and in-depth guide.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist
Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
Purchase the Ruby Who? DVD and book together for only $35 saving 10% off the individual price.
“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.