B-EAT: Policies and Media Guidelines

This is working towards objective 2 and 5.

I wanted to look more into B-EAT’s Policies and Media Guidelines as a National Organisation and Charity working with a range of media and healthcare professionals to ensure that Eating Disorders are dealt with compassionately, accurately and factually.

By having a range of Media Guidelines, which can be seen below, this allows for brands, organisations, individuals, multi-media organisations and reporters for example, to be aware of good practice regarding such sensitive topics. B-EAT are known to of assisting ITV write storylines in Emmerdale accurately, to ensure that the Nation, and International countries where the show is aired, receive an accurate interpretation of the illness to sympathise and empathise accordingly in a delicate and relevant manner.

The policies and guides cover topics from Media Myths, Facts, Figures and Statistics, Copywriting Assistance, Interviewing and Reporting, Data Protection/Confidentiality and Image Use to ensure fair practice.

I feel that as a whole this is very important for anyone working with such topics within the media, be it TV, Advertising Agencies or Local Councils to ensure that fair practice is carried out nationally, whilst ensuring that the most recent information and up-to-date data (facts, figures, statistics) is accurate.

I do feel however that under Image Use more could be said regarding outlining a guide for appropriate sized models, and BMI of models that should support the fashion industries for example. This is something which some Fashion Weeks and Brands enforce independently nationally and internationally, however introducing this on a national level I believe would be very beneficial in regards to helping to alleviate self-perception and body image issues but to also support the recovery of eating disorder patients, opposed to discourage it via using ‘thinspiration’ as noted in the policy notes below. I do understand however, that being a national organisation and charity, they have to legal rights to enforce such ‘laws; per say and can only help, and advise.

Furthermore, I feel the information below along with other information on B-EAT’s website will really help with research, factual information and data when I begin working on my ‘Wellbeing Campaign’ project.

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Source:
B-EAT. (2016). Media Guidelines. Available: https://www.b-eat.co.uk/assets/000/000/072/BeatMediaGuidelines_original.pdf. Last accessed 23rd October 2016.

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Debut Magazine: Graphic Design Work Submission

I have always considered promoting myself and sharing my work with others extremely important, as noted in my previous post on ‘Organisations, Policies and Exhibition Spaces’ and actively look for opportunities to do so within the right context and niche. One of the magazines I read which supports my practice of being a Graphic Designer within the Fashion and Beauty magazines is Debut Magazine. Debut is a relatively new UK based magazine, featuring articles and work from Women in the Creative Industries, and furthermore falls in the line with the type of work I do, the sort of clients I work with and the aesthetics of my designs. I also find that as this magazine appeals to women, and my work is very feminine and currently heavy on female topics per say, I am hoping that this will stimulate and engage Debut’s audience with my work/designs.

Debut in their last edition of the magazine put out an open call for work submissions. I therefore emailed the Editor as instructed with a blurb about myself, my practice and the works being submit.

I decided to submit several of the Instagram posts I have currently been working on as part of my MA practical projects to date. I chose this project in order to not only promote my most current work, but the work which at the moment is most relevant to my practice and my studies, whilst sharing this with a national audience, spreading the messages I am sharing and creating, the visual work itself, and links to follow new pieces of work. I also hope that this would engage with an extremely relevant target audience to what I am currently working on – women – and to those perhaps with similar thoughts or interests working within the same/similar fields and practices. I feel also sharing with other women in the industry could lead to interdisciplinary discussion between other creatives and myself, and lead also to potential collaborations or work in the future.

I am waiting to hear back from Debut, and will update accordingly as I hear anything regarding my submission.

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What is ‘Natural’?

This is a question I have been asking myself recently in regards to posts I have seen on Instagram, in-store beauty campaigns, articles and documentaries I have watched whereby people still regard changing their bodies to create a achieve a better visual/or a photograph in some cases, is ‘natural’.

I personally feel that ‘natural’ is an unchanged entity, in its natural form it was created at. 1

The Oxford Dictionary states that, the definition of NATURAL is: “Existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.”

The term ‘natural;’ however is now being used to promote ‘looks’ for example which appear ‘natural’ but are still made up of excessive beauty products, or to promote body figures which have undergone tremendous exercise routines to a achieve a desired outcome, yet still claim that due to no cosmetic surgery or permanent changes, it is still ‘natural’. This is a topic which at the moment I am finding very frustrating to research to due to lack of people’s understanding of ‘natural’ due the changing perceptions of this overtime due to various forms of media, such as photoshopping and manipulating imagery, and fashion/fitness magazines. These preconceived images of what ‘natural beauty’ looks like is so far removed from what we see as natural ourselves, that I feel overtime promotional campaigns and magazines surrounding the industries have influenced this a lot, in conjunction with new technologies, apps and social media platforms.

I have shown several examples of today’s use of ‘natural’ below.

Fitness and Physique (taken from BBC Documentary – Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image post):

L: I’m currently in about 5 or 6 magazine articles a week at the moment. It’s all because of this [holds up phone]
A: And, taking your top off and posing for a shoot is that different from just an Instagram?
L: Very different. The diet you have to do up to the shoot is very, very tough.
A: Like what?
L: It’s very unhealthy but it er, it, it’s up your water to an unhealthy level, and then once you get close to dispute, you cut the water, your body keeps rejecting the water, so you get very, very dry. You’ll then have a lot of carbs and sugar, it will fill your muscles, all that together if you time it right, it, it’s amazing what your body can do.
A: Is it worth it, all that?
L: Yes, it is, because you’re representing an image. If, if –
A: – It’s a false image.
L: It’s it’s not, it is an image you have achieved naturally, and just altering my diet to get the image a bit better for the shoot.
  • What I took away from this was the denial in that what they are doing, particularly Lanon is ‘natural’. A topic which has raised several times throughout the documentary, and has also arisen both in my research and readings of ‘Barbie Culture’, by Mary F. Rogers, and conversations around the idea of a ‘controlled natural look’ whereby one uses makeup in a minimal manner and still denotes this as ‘natural’; whereby actually, natural would be wearing no makeup at all. In this particular instance, Lanon feels that his body is natural through not permanently changing his looks, and has only changed his diet and exercise routine. However, in my opinion and in that of Oxford Dictionary, ‘natural’ in this instance would mean that he hasn’t gone to the gym, nor changes his diet, and would be simply how he has always been without permanent or non-non-permament change.

Tarte Cosmetics and Instagram:

I found this interesting as Tarte Cosmetics state that they are a “natural beauty” brand, however have been showcasing bloggers, vloggers and influencers over their Instagram account regarding product promotion and brand promotion in Bora Bora as noted on previous posts with Samantha Ravndahl and Sarah Gonzalez. However, these influencers, along with Jamie Genevieve as shown below, a Scottish beauty vlogger, is known for her enhanced lips, and has been seen to have botox at the age of 22 on her YouTube channel – video is shown for this below – as well as a breast augmentation. Jamie has become quite a big ambassador for this “natural beauty” brand along with Samantha whom has had a breast augmentation, botox and lip fillers, and the same with Sarah. All 3 however, always wear full-coverage makeup even if the look is meant to be seen as ‘natural’.

In this particular case with Tarte Cosmetics, they have used a photo of Jamie on their Bora Bora trip to promote, one of their new products and brand with the hashtags “naturalartistry” and “rethinknatural”. Both mention the work “natural” when nothing that the brand nor Jamie promote/endorse is natural. By using the terminology “re think natural” this makes me question how the followers will perceive this – is this what Tarte define as NATURAL? Is this how we should look NATURALLY? When evidently, this is not natural, nor achievable naturally in any way.

I find this contrast incredibly frustrating and confusing as a consumer also. Yes, the products may be created using ‘natural pigments’, but how does this contrast with a very enhanced influencer promoting ‘natural’ products, with then the brand using her as a spokesperson for their ‘natural’ and ideal look? This highlights instantly the rise of pressure to look good and conform with ideals. In addition, using female bodies to promote ‘natural’ beauty is also wrong in my opinion when the women used do not appear to ‘everyday women’ and instead appear to conform with societies expectations – augmented boobs, slim noses, perfect curves and Kim Kardashian butts. Images of this have also been posted below, and can be found annotated with notes in my previous posts on vloggers, bloggers, influencers and self-perception.

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Further images and analysis on the above image, the idea of ‘natural’, cultural icons and Sarah Gonzalez can be found here on another blog post.

Boots and Instagram:

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The above image was posted by Boots on Instagram 4 weeks ago now, and I remember when I originally saw this thinking to myself, ‘she isn’t natural’ in the sense that she still still wearing makeup, and not only that encourages user-interaction and engagement by asking followers to post selfies using Boots’ hashtags. Both women are wearing makeup, albeit being ‘real women’ have been used here opposed to models’, however brow products have been used to create a ‘natural’ look and a more ‘defined’ look. Again using cosmetic products to recreate ‘natural’ opposed to simply being natural as noted also with Tarte Cosmetics shown above.

I find it quite sad in a way that even if we want to be ‘natural’ in how we look we are still expected to wear makeup. If I don’t wear makeup, sometimes people say I look tired or pale, making me conscious that maybe I need to actually wear something but not enough to feel like I’m dressed up. Therefore, I can understand how people may react to such things and therefore always feel the need to coverup their natural beauty and recreate their own version of their natural self, which overall is what I feel all of the people above have done. One is not happy with their ‘natural’ look, and changes this to give themselves a new, but ‘naturally altered’ base work with. But does this change their identity? Do we feel we have to do this to fit in and not be judged? I feel this is what is happening within the beauty industry, ‘natural’ is not accepted because there are so many mediums, be it surgery or cosmetics, to change how we look everyday in order to feel like ‘the best versions of ourselves’. However, I do also strongly feel that if we promoted, real NATURAL beauty, opposed to made-up natural beauty, more people may be accustomed to seeing ourselves for who we are, so we can feel confident in our non-altered skin. But again this highlights how impactful, influential, powerful and persuasive social media, brands, cultural icons and celebrity can be in regards to altering our sense of self-perception and body image.

Source:
BBC One and Anne Robinson. (2016). Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b080byvs/britains-secrets-with-anne-robinson-3-body-image-secrets. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.
Oxford Dictionary. (2016). Natural: Definition. Available: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/natural. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.
Tarte Cosmetics. (2016). Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BL3Oa7VDD0r/?taken-by=tartecosmetics&hl=en. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.
Tarte Cosmetics. (2016). Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLmlI7tDoWp/?taken-by=tartecosmetics&hl=en. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.
iluvSarahii. (2016). Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLt6h0WDU2S/?tagged=trippinwithtarte&hl=en. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.
Boots. (2016). Available: https://www.instagram.com/p/BKoK0OTgYCM/?taken-by=bootsuk&hl=en. Last accessed 22nd October 2016.
Jamie Genevieve. (2016). LIP FILLERS & BOTOX?!. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIKSENtM1SE&list=PLYmBZyqc30UtHm97MxDH5xxQvLkTipS71&index=4. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.

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Tickets Booked: Luisa Omielan – What Would BEYOND Do?!

This is working towards objective 2 and 3.

Following watched the BBC ‘Body Image Secrets’ documentary, and researching further into comedienne Luisa Omielan whom was interviewed by Anne Robinson during the show regarding her powerful voice of sharing the message of self-love and standing unto issues of self-perception enforced on us by the media.

Upon further research and watching her show, “Am I Right Ladies?” online, I found out that she has her next stand-up show on December 5th in Leeds, and have therefore booked a ticket to see her newest stand-up show, “What Would BEYOND Do?!”.

Luisa Omielan is a stand-up comedienne from London.

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I feel even though Luisa is a comedienne, she is spreading the message about self-perception and body image, through satirical and light-hearted, yet serious ways resonating with my own research studies and practical projects I am currently working on. After watching her first stand-up show online, I really felt she would be empowering and inspirational to see. I also would be interested to see if it would be possible to talk with Luisa after perhaps for a short interview regarding my research topic.

By going to this event, I am hoping that I will be inspired with ways of tackling my practical work, engage with topics of current interest in a ‘real’ and engaging manner.

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I have also posted a video below showcasing Luisa’s performance focusing on body image, international judgements on women and trends which I found very powerful, funny, and extremely relevant to the serious side of my research question, even though posed in a light-hearted, yet brave and honest manner like my own current work. This sketch is taken from her show, “Am I Right Ladies?”

Source: Luisa Omielan. (2015). Thigh Gap… What Thigh Gap Bitches?. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2MskQOinwE. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016.
BBC One and Anne Robinson. (2016). Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b080byvs/britains-secrets-with-anne-robinson-3-body-image-secrets. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.
Luisa Omielan. (2016). Available: http://www.iloveluisa.com. Last accessed 22nd October 2016.

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Social Identity Theory – Henri Tajfel and John Turner (1979)

This is working towards objective 1.

The Social identity theory was originated from two British social psychologists – Henri Tajfel and John Turner in 1979, and states that “part of a person’s concept of self comes from the groups to which that person belongs”.

After watching the ‘Body Image Secrets’ documentary on BBC as noted on a previous post, I had questions regarding ‘what natural is?’ and how our ‘identities’ allow us to either fit in, or not with a social group and by change our identity we are more likely to be accepted within said group, and society. This was prevalent with the gym enthusiast couple, Millie and Lanon for example., whereby the every move, was tailored to becoming a certain person and looking a certain way for the approval of others and an increased following on social media platforms such as Instagram.

I wanted to look more into the Social Identity Theory as this was only previously touched on lightly beforehand, and made me question how many of us nowadays do change our identities, whether consciously or unconsciously to ‘fit in’, whether this is changing our looks, how we speak, how we act and what we wear, for example. This was highlighted by Eve, the makeup artist spoken to by Anne Robinson in the BBC ‘Body Image Secrets’ documentary, whereby she noted that she sees images of ‘plumped lips’ and knows that she needs hers done, but is not sure why. This striving to fit in with ideals, celebrities and cultural icons has really made me think about the relevance and the importantance of the Social Identity theory going forward.

Social Identity Theory

“Tajfel and Turner’s social identity theory explains that part of a person’s concept of self comes from the groups to which that person belongs. An individual does not just have a personal selfhood, but multiple selves and identities associated with their affiliated groups. A person might act differently in varying social contexts according to the groups they belong to, which might include a sports team they follow, their family, their country of nationality, and the neighborhood they live in, among many other possibilities[1].”
(Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, 7-24.)

I found the above quote particularly interesting, whilst Turner and Tajfel continue to state that once a person perceives themselves as part of a particular social group, then they are “in-group”, in comparison tho those who do not identify with such groups, therefore becoming “out-groups”, denoting where the “us” and “them” concept comes from in retrospect to this. I found this applicable with much of the research I am currently undertaking, looking at bloggers, vloggers and celebrity icons for example, and how followers become “in-group” changing their identities to certain extents to ‘fit in’, be accepted within the group or community and feel good about their social positioning, where as those who tend not to follow the trends, fads and idealisms of society, form the “out-group” members. Perhaps the “in-groups” feel better positioned as individuals if associated with an identity and a ‘group’ of belonging, following the likes of Kim Kardashian, as Eve noted on the ‘Body Image Secrets’ documentary previously analysed (previous blog post).

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Turner and Tajfel note that there are three main “processes that create this ingroup/outgroup mentality”:

  • Social Categorisation: Recognising people in order to understand and identify them for example, and therefore defining whom we are via groups that we ‘belong to’ or situate ourselves with.
  • Social Identification: Changing our identity to further identify with the people of the group we are longing to be apart of.
  • Social Comparison: Comparing of groups/members of the group via looking at “in-groups” and “out-groups”, which often tends to help with self-esteem and confidence via compliments and encouragements from within the same “in-group”, however also highlights where negativity and poor self-perception issues can arise from.

I feel that the above resonates very heavily with the research carried out regarding social media icons and their following, particularly the comments posted expressing their desire to become “the icon”. I have also posted an example of this below for reference. It also made me realise where the negative comments at times may come from, or the comparison to oneself – social comparison – which may affect self-perfection, self-esteem and confidence and allow for paths to open for identity change in order to feel apart of the “in-group”.

I found the above extremely relevant in regards to identity and social media more than anything, especially in the current climate of use from both the general public and ‘the influencers’, highlighting the differences even more between the “in-groups” and “out-groups” and how this social categorisation has a lasting impact on todays society and cross-cultural communities, leading to social identification changes to begin to take place.

I feel this also links in heavily with the idea of ‘cultural icons’ as noted by Mary F. Rogers in ‘Barbie Culture’ whereby these are the current “in-groups” of todays society, along with models for instance, allowing their followers to be “out-groups” whilst feeling the need to be constantly striving and working towards that standardisation and acceptance amongst a group or community.

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This is further supported with the quote noted below by Turner and Tajfel (1986).

“The reconciliation of social status as tempted earlier needs now to be made more explicit. Status is not considered here as a scarce resource or commodity, such as power or wealth; it is the outcome of intergroup comparison”.

I really resonated with this regarding social groups and communities on social media, particularly Instagram in that in-group members flock almost to one member making them the leader, the ideal, and boosts their social status. I also took from this that social status has become the outcome of social media and the relevant social groups – this can be seen by those whom are taken on sponsored brand trips, such as that to Bora Bora by Tarte Cosmetics. These have reached the ultimate final outcome in regards to intergroup comparison whereby this overtime and the subsequent encouragement as caused their iconsim and therefore their identity.

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My notes below also depict various topics discussed by Turner and Tajfel (1986).

  • There are two types of people, those who are not affected by their social groups, and those that are.
  • Through intergroup comparison overtime one person in the group, as discussed in further detail above, become the leader for others then to identify with and compare themselves and each other too.
  • “Individuals strive to achieve or to maintain positive social identity” – this is particularly prevalent in social media, whether it be ourselves, friends, family, bloggers, vloggers, brands, celebrities, cultural icons, public figures, etc. Nobody wants to be seen in a negative light, and by selecting what we share we can showcase our identity in a positive and accepting manner within our chosen social groups. This is seen throughout images of bloggers, vloggers and celebrities on my previous research posts. This also makes me think about the self-aware and narcissistic side of social media.
  • If we don’t find in a certain social group, we have the ability to move. This is often seen through career changes on Instagram, from makeup artists to YouTube vloggers, and also by celebrities whom release product lines, participate with endorsements and interviews for example, to tailor the audience they are associated with and the social groups they then perceive themselves in and fit within. This can be seen on Instagram via the use of hashtags, and also can be taken from the interview I had with Samantha Ravndahl. As your career and following grows, it appear that you, your social groups and intersocial communication and comparisons change too.

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Source:
Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, 7-24.
Unknown. (2016). Social Identity Theory. Available: https://www.learning-theories.com/social-identity-theory-tajfel-turner.html. Last Accessed: 22nd October 2016
BBC One and Anne Robinson. (2016). Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b080byvs/britains-secrets-with-anne-robinson-3-body-image-secrets. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.
Unknown. Social Identity Model Image. Available: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/484770347367805958/. Last Accessed:13th November 2016

 

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Organisations, Policies and Exhibition Spaces

Today I have been reflecting upon my professional practice in regards to organisations and polices which support my practice as a Graphic Designer, as well as looking at various exhibition spaces whereby I can show my work and further promote myself also.

I have always found it very important to self-promote, and by doing so across a range of platforms (website, portfolio, networking events, social media) I have built up a client base surrounding my freelance practice, however, over the duration of the course I would really like to use this opportunity to engage more with local organisations as well, in addition to collaborating with interdisciplinary artists to encourage and share new ideas with new audiences. I have already been in conversation with several fellow MA students about potential collaborations in the future – Bobbi Rae, Harriet Spowage and Scarlett Carson. Each has a very different practice, however through conversations with them to date have already established various common interests or links between disciplines we would like to explore. I feel this would really be a new and exciting challenge as working as a freelance Graphic Designer is quite an isolating practice unless working on a photoshoot, for example.

I have noted a list of possible Exhibition Spaces below which are in the local Leeds area which I would like to look more into at appropriate times throughout my MA studies.

I am also signed up to newsletters about such venues so I am also aware of upcoming events and exhibitions, allowing for meeting further interdisciplinary contact and collaboration too.

  • The Gallery at Munro House
  • Lady Beck Studios and Project Space
  • The Brunswick
  • The Old Red Bus Station
  • The Bowery
  • Sunny Bank Mills
  • &Model Gallery
  • HEART
  • Leeds College of Art Exhibition Spaces
  • Belgrave Art Fairs

I have always been aware of the Exhibition Spaces in Leeds due to living here several years and attending many events, however, due to the nature of working in studios and agencies for several years, and then now freelancing within an Industry which is going more digital, I have found digital galleries a much better place to curate my work, brand and promote myself, whilst showcasing my work. I have found this to reach a larger audience, working with clients all over the world (Sydney, Saudi Arabia, LA, New York, Florida, Las Vegas, Kuwait, for example) and due to the international nature of fashion and beauty trends have found this to be personally much more effective to my freelance practice. However, I would like to try using ‘real life’ exhibition spaces to see how this can not only advance my professional practice, but to also showcase with a new and intimate audience.

  • Instagram
  • Behance
  • Twitter
  • Personal Website
  • Blog
  • Adobe Portfolio
  • The Dots
  • Big Cartel Shop

The following organisations are local, national and international, and are relevant to my practice as a Graphic Designer regardless of working within Fashion and Beauty Industries. Each in it’s own right has its own policies, regulations and rules per say which allow for fair competitions, equal rights within advertising and industry standard design training to take place. Even though not all of the below are relevant to my practice at this moment in time, nor am I always active in competitions for example, but I am always aware of what is happening incase a viable opportunity of interest arises, such as the D&AD Exhibitions and Fashion-related Competitions. I have also worked inline with some of the policies of Clear Channel whilst working with previous employers, ensuring that advertising is fair, contains the correct terms and conditions and also that the content complies with national and international standards further ensuring fair practice.

  • D&AD
  • YCN
  • ISTD
  • International Design Awards
  • Clear Channel
  • Penguin Posse
  • AIGA
  • ioc-D
  • Design Council
  • Creative Guild

In addition, I have also found that there are various magazines and websites which I find very relevant to my practice of Graphic Design, as well as within the context of the industries I work within, Beauty and Fashion.

  • Grafik
  • AdWeek
  • i-D
  • Debut Magazine
  • Drapers
  • The Business of Fashion
  • WGSN

I find the above much more useful at times than the organisations listed above as they apply specifically to my professional context, and also showcase other practitioners on an International level, whilst also allowing myself to be constantly aware of the newest technologies within the industries, ‘hot topics’ within advertising campaigns, career prospects and vacancies, as well as press releases and articles about industry collaborations, product launches, trends and advances for example.

Furthermore, based on my research question I am aware of other policies surrounding issues such as model welfare, social responsibilities, government regulations and awareness strategies. I am hoping over the next few months through further research and talking to my connections (ASOS for example) about these topics, I can understand how they fit in with Graphic Design, Fashion and Beauty and how this could potentially be applied to my own professional practice, by constructing a set of my own personal guidelines based on my ethics and beliefs.

  • ASOS Model Welfare Policy/Social Responsibility
  • Model Alliance
  • British Fashion Council
  • B-EAT
  • EDAW – Eating Disorder Awareness Week
  • UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG)
  • Government Equalities Unit
  • Equalities Ministers Advisory Group
  • Clients – do they have any policies in place?

The issue of clients and policies is sometimes an issue within my practice, often with start-up businesses or small/local/national brands using in my opinion, models whom are too thin, showcasing their collections, and have often found that in comparison to ASOS many haven’t considered such topics/issues. I do think sometimes this can push the boundaries of what I am comfortable and not comfortable working with, however feel that it is interesting when comparing to international brands such as ASOS in regards to how regimented they are and to if a brand or not has policies set in place.

This itself can be a controversial topic, as start up brands often do not want to limit themselves or their audience, nor want to be seen to have too many rules and regulations making them ‘awkward’ to work with as this can stipulate the people they can access or book for instance (models and photographers) or could challenge opinions, due to having a pre-determined style, even if a healthy one. For myself however, it can be a hard decision to make as a fairly new freelancer as to whether I would set up my own policies now due to the need to build a client base, and not wanting to ‘scare’ anyone away with a bullet pointed list of do’s and don’ts. Therefore, I would like to potentially test this idea if at all possible, and research into more brands whom have policies to see how they work, and if they are effective for the business but also if it benefits the end user.

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BBC Documentary – Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image

This is working towards objective 1.

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Programme Description:

First shown, 8pm, Thurs 20th October 2016.

“Anne Robinson looks good for a woman of 72, but she works hard at it. She’s been on a diet for most of her life, has had a facelift, goes on an expensive biannual detox, exercises nearly every day, has her hair done once a week and spends lots of money on her clothes.

But aren’t younger generations under even more pressure to look good than ever before? She meets the make-up addicts who spend more time getting ready for a night out than on the night itself, a couple of gym obsessives in pursuit of Instagram followers and a young man going under the knife in the hope that he will be ‘perfect’ one day.

Anne wants to know why we’re all so obsessed with our appearance and what’s wrong with being ugly anyway? As a counterpoint to those who are obsessed with their looks she meets some people who very definitely aren’t – from the naturists who let it all hang out, to the young comedian speaking out against body shaming, to outspoken actress Miriam Margolyes who tries to coax Anne to eat more than a lettuce leaf over lunch. Anne also dons a niquab for a day to experience the rare feeling of what it’s like to not be judged on her looks at all.

She also gives two men the chance to delve into each other’s grooming routines. Alex hides his insecurities by wearing up to ten beauty products at a time, while Danny’s idea of grooming is washing his face with water and brushing his teeth. What can they learn from their very different approaches to maintaining their appearance?”

My Notes:
Couple 1 (Lanon and Millie)

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  • Lanon, 22, Personal Trainer
  • Millie, 20, Aspiring Fitness Model
  • Below shows several short transcriptions which I found particularly interesting and resonated with in regards to the influence which social media has upon this particular couple. I found it very interesting also that it was more so the male, Lanon, whom seemed to care more about his image, highlighting a rise in male interests in their looks and self awareness. The amount of control involved in their diets, exercise routines and lifestyles is evidenced heavily the in the documentary, and shows the input required to gain ‘likes’ on Instagram.
  • Another point I took away from this was the denial in that what they are doing, particularly Lanon is ‘natural’. A topic which has raised several times throughout the documentary, and has also arisen both in my research and readings of ‘Barbie Culture’, by Mary F. Rogers, and conversations around the idea of a ‘controlled natural look’ whereby one uses makeup in a minimal manner and still denotes this as ‘natural’; whereby actually, natural would be wearing no makeup at all.
  • The desire and need to be deemed as attractive and ‘accepted’ also came into context during the dialogue below, whereby 10k followers allows you to be ‘rated’ better as a model, or whereby you have to gain your boyfriends approval of your in order to be happy with your body yourself.
  • I also found it interesting that Millie noted that since she has focused more on her body, she has become more critical, self-aware and conscious, stating she would ‘do anything to cover up’ parts of her body she didn’t like.
  • Social media has become a daily part of their life – using the Boomerang app to create loop videos for Instagram, and taking “hundreds” of selfies everyday.
  • Overall, the main key point I took from the conversation Anne had with this couple is that, social media has had a profound affect on what they think they need to achieve physically in order to achieve their career goals, be happy with their bodies and get noticed for magazine articles. Ultimately, both were aiming for fame, and quite clearly playing the game, manipulating their bodies and endorsing social media to their advantage.
03:17 – 04:58 mins
Anne: When you saw Millie in the restaurant what was the first thing about her that you noticed?
Lanon: Well, her looks. I didn’t know her personality then. I imagine she wasn’t wearing much.
A: Would it of mattered if she was slightly overweight?
L: I have a type. The size i am attracted to whether its from promotion and magazines but it’s something I have grown up with, so I don’t know. It’s just a slimmer build.
[Anne talking to Leonard about his figure – what he wants to achieve from the gym. He talks about his current shape]
L: 45inch chest, 27inch waist … which is very, very small
A: Who else would have a 27inch waist?
L: A 15 year old girl?
A: Can we have a look at your waist?
L: [goes shy after bragging and covers his stomach with his arms] oh, please, I mean you can follow me on Instagram, that way you’ll see. Follow my social media.
A: Why are you reluctant to show it to me?
L: People, people are desperate to critique.
[Anne talks about his 130k following on Instagram during VT]
05:59 – 07:00 mins
[Anne talks about how his Instagram following has recently landed him some modelling jobs in voiceover]
L: I’m currently in about 5 or 6 magazine articles a week at the moment. It’s all because of this [holds up phone]
A: And, taking your top off and posing for a shoot is that different from just an Instagram?
L: Very different. The diet you have to do up to the shoot is very, very tough.
A: Like what?
L: It’s very unhealthy but it er, it, it’s up your water to an unhealthy level, and then once you get close to dispute, you cut the water, your body keeps rejecting the water, so you get very, very dry. You’ll then have a lot of carbs and sugar, it will fill your muscles, all that together if you time it right, it, it’s amazing what your body can do.
A: Is it worth it, all that?
L: Yes, it is, because you’re representing an image. If, if –
Anne: – It’s a false image.
L: It’s it’s not, it is an image you have achieved naturally, and just altering my diet to get the image a bit better for the shoot.
07:01 – 08:40 mins
[Anne in Voiceover VT: Millie is equally desperate for a flawless physique that will allow her to be a fitness model]
Anne: How many photos do you take Millie?
Mille: I take hundreds. I want it to be like, perfect and I want to make sure that I like it, and that takes a very long time for me.
A: Because you’re striving for perfection?
M: Until i’m happy.
A: Yeah
M: Bikini photos, do get more, get more likes.
A: Is there a certain amount of Instagram followers that gets you a better rate as a model?
M: They say that 10k followers, your rate doubles.
A: What are you at the moment?
M: 2k followers.
A: So you have 8k to go?
M: Yes I ha-, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
A: The flip side is that, each time either of you put something on Instagram, it’s an opportunity for somebody to criticise you?
L: Absolutely.
A: Who is it to approve of what you’re doing? [to Millie]
M: Probably Lennon, yeah, I want him to be proud of me and to be attracted to me.
L: I’m visually honest.
M: Yeah, he’s very honest.
A: And, who’s important for you in terms of approving of your photographs? [to Lennon]
L: It is, me, I make the decision on what I like or not.
[whilst cooking]
A: [to Millie] are you happy to show off your body?
M: Now i’m paying more attention to my body being in the fitness industry, I feel like my confidence actually is less.
A: is it?
L: That’s, that’s –
M: Yeah. I’ll see something that I don’t like on myself still, I will do anything to try and cover it up.
09:10 – 09:21 mins
A: Would some people be right to say that you might be a bit obsessed?
L: If you put it like that than yes, but, it’s a lifestyle.
A: Would you mind being ugly?
L: i would rather be better looking.
A: [to Millie] would you mind being ugly?
M: Er, I, I’d work with what I’ve got.
A: Okay.

 

I decided not to carry on transcribing from the documentary as it was taking too long to content I would want to talk about, so from here on have paraphrased and included short quotes if needed.

 

Miriam Margolyes:
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  • 75, English Character Actress and Voice Artist.
  • The main point taken away from this conversation between Anne and Miriam was that, Anne said she is “always on a diet”, whilst Miriam notes that she isn’t, and enjoys food, however watches certain types of foods due to health concerns, but is not actually concerned with what she looks like in comparison to Anne, whom chooses to control this aspect by her food choices. This made me think about the prolonged effects of the media and influence, causing eating problems and therefore in some cases eating disorders – “The Costs of Eating Disorders – Social, Health and Economic Impacts report, commissioned by Beat and produced by PwC in February 2015, estimates that more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder “
  • Miriam notes that she feels she enjoys life more because she doesn’t have the constant worry about her body image. This I can relate to being a recovered Anorexic patient for 4 years, and know that now I feel freer without the constant pressure to conform to societies standards and ideals.
  • Anne notes that “we all have some sort of Barbie doll wish, somewhere, even the most intelligent of us have some sort of strange dream about looking differently”, again going back to the idea of ideals, standardisation, confirmation, perfection and the idea of success which Mary F. Rogers notes in ‘Barbie Culture’ and Naomi Wolf’s ideas of the ‘Beauty Myth’ and the undefying male gaze which perhaps subconsciously or consciously affects us as noted above in the conversation with Millie and Anne (Couple 1) about how she reaps acceptance.
  • I found Miriam’s approach to body image and self-perception interesting and refreshing, not wanting to conform with societies ideals and instead lives her life for herself, not for a curated Instagram stream or a ‘Barbie Doll figure’.

Three Ladies Getting Ready to Go Out in Liverpool:

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  • Anne introduces the new scene discussing how the content and covers of magazines filled with celebrities, footballers wives, etc, has had an effect on how we see ourselves and what we do to change how we look to feel good and to ‘fit in’.
  • “Liverpool is the Glam Capital of the UK … people in Liverpool will spend 3 times more on average, on looking ‘good’ than anywhere else in the country” – Anne
  • Three ladies are out shopping prior to getting ready, with rollers in their hair and state that before they even go out will spend around £100 each on makeup and clothes before they go out – getting their makeup done at a professional salon – showcasing alone how consumerism is feeding the beauty and fashion industries more and more due to social media and celebrity influences.
  • Ladies discuss their surgery endeavours – botox, lip liner tattoo, eyebrow tattoo, lip filler. The makeup artist, Eve, states that at one point of her life she was so self-conscious of her lips that she would cover them up when out on dates due to lack of confidence and not liking her appearance. This led on to Anne asking her about whom her influences are in regards to her lip shape, and eyebrow shape, this was her response which resonated with all of my research I have done so far in regards to influence from celebrities, in particular ambassadors of trends such as Kim Kardashian; “I think Kim Kardashian has definitely been a big influence in my life … I’d love to look like her” showcasing again how cultural icons and celebrity can have such influence on everyday peoples perceptions, lives, thoughts and actions.
  • In addition, when asked if any of the girls have had breast augmentations, one said she had, and the other said she hasn’t but, “would love too” and Eve expressed that living in a city with so many models, WAGS and celebrities, and where “fashion is such a big thing, it is all you are looking at. Image, and body image and you should look like this and that, it all gets on top of you, subconsciously I think more than anything else as well like, you’re just looking at it thinking my lips need to be bigger, and don’t think why they need to be bigger” evidencing the points made previously in my research regarding the influences of social media and the likes of cultural icons such as Kylie Jenner, almost enforcing rules and standardising women (and men to some extent) to become a representation of them and what they have become, in turn showcasing their power, status and iconography as a celebrity, or influencer. I found this response from Eve very honest, and found that it is the truth behind the research question I am currently undertaking – admitting the issues, undergoing, or undergone the changes needed to standardise oneself and idolising women such as Kim Kardashian as the modern day ‘ideal’.

Morta Helhah:

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  • 27, Luton, Dresses in Traditional Islamic Clothing
  • States that the garments are loose to cover the sacred parts of ones body which are for oneself and to be shared with family. States she thinks people who don’t cover their bodies are more likely to be more conscious, than those who do as allows for less judgements and allows for one to be judged on personality and intellect. This is an idea which I hadn’t thought about too much previously, however on a cross-cultural level it is interesting to see on the documentary how badly received this traditional, religious dress is in the UK even though by those whom wear it see it as a positive, empowering and ‘right’ by their cultural standards and ideals. I feel this highlights the ignorance of some in the UK, but perhaps this is due to lack of understanding, education and exposure in the media in a world and country specifically whereby we are now so multi-cultural. Perhaps if this changed, in the same was as a more diverse range of models were used in fashion campaigns, there would be less issues, mental health troubles, perceptions, negative connotations and ignorance.
  • It also stands out relative to Identity theories such as Social Identity noted by John Turner (1986), whereby, “a person’s sense of who they are depends on the groups to which they belong”. This also however, stands true to all of the above analysis and conversations noted from the documentary. Each person interviewed strived to change their looks and therefore their ‘identity’ to conform with a certain lifestyle.
  • Many argue the use of this conservative dress in debates surrounding feminism and female oppression, however this is down to personal interpretation and opinion, but to many is a positive in a highly demanding world.

Luisa Omielan:

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  • 34, Stand-up Comedienne
  • Discusses how her work allows her to be brave, bold and daring using humour as a way of sharing her ideas on how society has shaped itself – trends regarding ‘thigh gap’ fad, and how this is the ‘ideal’ look went viral online with 40m views. Luisa states you have to be brave enough to say, this is what my body is like, I am happy with it and so should you. Doing so through comedy allows this to be tackled in a light-hearted, yet honest way.
  • I found her approach refreshing and humorous and resonated with the satirical approach I have been using with my practical experiments, posters and Instagram posts to date.

Source:
BBC One and Anne Robinson. (2016). Britain’s Secrets with Anne Robinson: Body Image. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b080byvs/britains-secrets-with-anne-robinson-3-body-image-secrets. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.
B-EAT. (2016). Statistics. Available: https://www.b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/information-and-statistics-about-eating-disorders. Last Accessed: 21st October 2016.
Turner, J. C., & Tajfel, H. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. Psychology of intergroup relations, 7-24.

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Article: Kendall and Kylie Jenner Talk Self-Perception, Young Men and Forever New Line (2016)

This is working towards objective 1, 4.C.

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I came across this article whilst reading about Kylie Jenner and her issues with low self-esteem online. I found this article interesting in a sense that it continues on almost from the ideas of self-perception and technologies as discussed in previous posts in detail.

Media or various forms, has projected the Jenner sisters into stardom, without having much of a choice. Below are quotes taken from the article along with questions written by the interviewer.

I found it interesting in particular, and extremely relevant that Kendall, now a Fashion model, notes that there isn’t an ideal, however through her career choices she becomes an ideal and becomes a ‘cultural icon’ as discussed previously by Mary F. Rogers. I also found her choice of wording in that “it’s not a genuine living” intriguing as this almost depicts the sense that she is aware she doesn’t live necessarily, ‘in the real world’ and therefore even if she didn’t intend to create a well-wanted image, it would of happened naturally anyway due to the media.

In relation to Kylie’s comments about being ‘natural’ I found this perplexing as even disregarding her ‘non permanent lip fillers’, she is know to wear makeup, have her own cosmetics brand and go to the gym/work out to achieve and maintain the body she wants, therefore making her quite the obvious. But in relation to the company she most likely surrounds herself with, being all she knows in the ‘real world’, she probably is actually quite ‘natural’.

For all their popularity and consideration on their looks, how do the Keeping Up With the Kardashians stars manage the steady investigation?

“It’s so weak,” Kendall said. “Particularly in this world, everybody takes a gander at you with an amplifying glass.”

“I imagine that that is simply idiotic in light of the fact that nobody is flawless,” Kendall told News Corp Australia.

“I know probably the most wonderful individuals out there and … I know they’re not immaculate, whether that is on the outside or within. Nobody will ever be flawless, so it’s only moronic to put somebody’s face on a magazine spread saying, ‘this is the thing that you ought to resemble.’ It’s sort of my occupation yet it’s not genuine living.”

Good examples

She has OTT lips, continually evolving hair (she’s been a blonde, brunette and had blue and green bolts) and general ‘I couldn’t care less what anybody supposes’ state of mind.

Kylie Jenner doesn’t bow to desires despite the fact that she’s a good example to young ladies.

“I don’t feel like insane weight in light of the fact that I generally stay consistent with myself,” Kylie said.

“I generally attempt to empower young ladies that admire me … to, as, not have any desire to be precisely like me. I would prefer not to urge young ladies to have blue hair and do whatever I do. I need to urge them to simply thoroughly act naturally on the grounds that that is the thing that I’ve generally done.”

Source:
Unknown. (2016). Kendall and Kylie Jenner Talk Self-Perception, Young Men and Forever New Line. Available: http://www.fashiontob.com/relationships/kendall-and-kylie-jenner-talk-self-perception-young-men-and-forever-new-line/. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.

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Social Network and Self-Perception Presentation (2015) by Bronte Mcmillan

Whilst researching Kylie Jenner and her self-perception issues, I stumbled across this presentation and found it very interesting to read and extremely relevant to my research question, in particular Social Media.
The main points I took away from the quotes/extracts shown below, are that, Social Media ultimately is a platform which allows us to share images of oneself which are desirable to others, and project an image which we want to convey. I also found Wong’s (2012) point that, we only present ourselves in a manner that we want to be seen – “our desired selves” – once again hinting at a narcissistic world of self-awareness, self-obsession and self-branding. This is further emphasised by technologies, as noted by Kraut et al., (1998) whereby a world of curated galleries on Instagram for example will allow the above to happen autonomously, naturally and distinctively in a world where “Internet usage in particular, will continue to transform economic and social life on a global scale”.

“The social comparison theory was first discussed by Leon Festinger (1954), he described it s the instinct that humans have to assess their abilities and opinions. When we are unsure about our abilities and opinions, this theory states that we establish our own personal and social worth based on how we compare to others (Psychology Today, 2015).”

“Information and Communication Technology is rapidly becoming an accelerator of political, economic, social and educational globalization” (Agbatogun, 2012).”

“Self-presentation among people tended to lean towards their desired selves and away from their undesired selves” (Wong, 2012).”

“Primary motive for presenting oneself on the internet sites was aimed to convey desired images to the others” (Wong, 2012).”

“Economists, social scientists, and technologists believe that the rapid advances in technology, and the huge
increase in Internet usage in particular, will continue to transform economic and social life on a global scale
(Kraut et al., 1998).”
Social comparison:
Social comparison divided into 2 factions:
1. Upward social comparison
2. Downward social comparison
Can be divided into positive and negative:
1. Positive = drive to succeed
2. Negative = social isolation, negative thoughts
Upward Social Comparison
1. Positive: makes you feel better about self/ self enhancing.
2. Negative: bullying
Downward Social Comparison
Split into positive and negative:
Twitter
Avatar Comparison
Identity tourism
Linked to self-concept
When less appealing compared to others, act bad.

Source:
Bronte Mcmillan. (2015). Social Network and Self-Perception. Available: https://prezi.com/ve5wnunhbqof/social-network-and-self-perception/#. Last Accessed: 20th October 2016.

 

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Further Postcard Development and Mockups

This is working towards objective 4.C.

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I decided to further develop the single postcards into a perforated postcard book, whereby the cards can either be used as prints on a wall for example or shared and sent amongst friends and family for instance, sharing the message on how the beauty and fashion industries affect our sense of self-perception and body image, whilst also attracting engagement and interaction from the user in the same way that on social media one would tag a friend in a post which may be of interest or relevance to them too.

I plan on producing mockups of these to test the functionality, binding, perforation and stock.

Below shows the process of producing the prototypes.

  1. I have used my Silhouette Cameo die-cutting software and tools to produce perforated postcards. Below shows the setting up and drawing out of the A6 cards with 1cm bleed – solid lines are cut lines, dashed are perforated. I really enjoy using this process as is methodical and very accurate, allowing for the books to look professional but at a low-cost of production. The outer covers of the books have also been drawn to ensure that the cover fits accurately and conceals the spine.

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2. Below shows the paper on the cutting mat, which has been inserted into the Silhouette Cameo allowing for a blade to cut the paper. I find die-cutting a better way of cutting paper than laser-cutting as it does not burn nor leave marks on white paper in particular. The only thing to consider is that the blade is sharp and new to ensure that no pulls are made when the paper is on quite a fast cutting setting.

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3. Below shows the cut edges and perforated tops of the landscape postcards. These have not been cut out to scale, and have been simply cut to test which orientation works best when bound together in regards to aesthetics and sturdiness. The excess paper has been removed below also to show the cards which are all exactly the same size.

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4. The next step is the perfect binding of the books. To do this I have used glue strips, and my Therm-A-Bind machine. The strips as shown below are placed down the spine, covering the inner pages protecting them from curling from heat and glue. Once heated for a minute, the glue binds to the spine and then cools solid. It is important at this step to ensure the pages are all inline and secure with no fallouts, as well as ensuring that no glue has seeped between the edges, which ensures for a professional finish. After this, the excess glue strip and backing is cut off leaving a simply bound book. I found that the portrait book had less pages and therefore didn’t finish as neatly, or ‘perfectly’ as I’d of liked in comparison to the landscape book. This is something in the future I would improve on and include 20 pages opposed to 15.

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5. The outer cover is cut and then wrapped and securely glued at the edge, leaving room for a fold line at the 1cm bleed in order to ensure the cover folds up and allows the perforated postcards to be removed individually. This is shown below.

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Overall I am really happy with these perforated books, and think the next step is to produce a mockup including full colour postcards.

At this stage, I realised once I looked at the prototypes above and that I now needed 20 postcards, I need to develop more. These are shown below – an expansion of previous designs keeping inline with concept, aesthetics, theme and idea.

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