London Field-Research Itinerary: 7th – 8th January 2017

Below shows my initial itinerary for my London Field-Research visit in Jan 2017. I am currently in process of confirming interviews with ASOS and my model contact in London, whom for confidentiality reasons cannot name. I have also talked with a freelance client of mine, Milk and Honey, in regards to meeting my contact for a short interview as Milk and Honey are an online collective of female bloggers, targeting issues such as diversity, natural beauty and body image and would like to discuss their proactive approach to such issues opposed to endorsing them.

Furthermore, I also plan on undertaking a ‘comp shop’ prior to visiting Tokyo, Japan later in January, as I would like to see if visuals such as advertising campaigns are the same in comparative countries looking at what models and language are used for example, whilst also seeing what cosmetic products are available in the UK for skin lightening for example, whilst also noting the packaging of well known International cosmetics brands/campaigns to compare whilst overseas. I am planning on carrying out such activities in the same stores/brands also in Tokyo to see if the representation of women is different or the same as in the UK, hopefully helping to answer questions regarding why many Japanese want to ‘look more Western’, a topic heavily discussed and researched prior to this post.

By planning my time in London accordingly, I will be able to ensure that all meetings and comp shops are undertaken well and competently in the short amount of time allocated due to forward planning, whilst being able to alleviate any issues in advance in regards to travel times/meeting times. I am yet to confirm time/location for two meetings, however the itinerary will be updated going forward as necessary, and will be reviewed again at the start of January to finalise times, dates and locations with my contacts.

London Itinerary

Dates Sat 7th Jan – Sun 8th Jan 

Saturday | AM

 

[7:25am to 7:33am] Burley Park – Leeds Train Station

[7:42am to 9:51am] Leeds – London Kings Cross

[Travel to Accommodation to Drop off Luggage]

[Travel from Accomodation to Lunch/Interview location (location tbc) via Underground]

12.30pm – 2.30pm Milk and Honey Lunch/Interview with Contact

[Travel to ASOS Meeting at HQ in Camden Town via Underground]

3.30pm – 5.00pm (Time TBC) ASOS Interview with Contacts

[Travel to Oxford Street/Regent Street for Late Afternoon/Evening Comp Shop – Stores which can be looked at and visited comparatively in Tokyo, Japan – 16th to 23rd January 2017]

6pm – 9pm High Street Store/Cosmetics Comp Shop

  • Uniqlo
  • Topshop
  • Forever 21
  • H&M
  • Zara
  • Selfridges for Cosmetics: Kiehl’s, M.A.C, Giorgio Armani, Shiseido

[Travel to Accommodation via Underground]

Saturday | AM

[Travel to Model Interview Location via Underground – time and location TBC]

[Time TBC] Model Interview with Contact

[Travel to New/Old Bond Street for Afternoon Comp Shop – Stores which can be looked at and visited comparatively in Tokyo, Japan – 16th to 23rd January 2017]

2pm – 5pm New/Old Bond Street/Conduit Street/David Street Comp Shop

  • Burberry
  • Chanel
  • Prada
  • TOD’s
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Gucci
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Vera Wang

[Travel to Accommodation via Underground]

[Travel to London Kings Cross via Underground)

[7:35pm to 9:54pm] London Kings Cross – Leeds

[10:30pm to 10:39pm] Leeds – Burley Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VIDEO: “The Pressure to Be Perfect / Plastic Surgery SFX Tutorial” by Karolina Maria

This is working towards objective 1.


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I was sent this video in the past week twice by an old colleague, and another MA student Scarlett Carson in relation to my research question and current practice. Being on Facebook, I had not seen the video in it’s original context, however had noted that the video on Facebook alone had received more than 10M views, 49k likes/comments and over 79l shares. This told me alone how inspiring this video must be to of been shared and viewed so many times of to of received such an empowering reception.
The video shows a girl scrolling through her Instagram feed, viewing pictures of the likes of Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian, the focus of much of my research and practice throughout this semester, questioning her own appearance in regards to comparing herself to those icons noted on the screen. Following this makeup is applied, to change her appearance, and the same routine follows. This appearing to still not be enough, the procedure of cosmetic surgery is mocked through cosmetics in order to look like Kylie Jenner, finishing off with a wig and lip fillers. 
This video essentially embodies a huge segment of what I have been researching and have tried to showcase in the past semester through my practical work. My initial response to this video was, “wow, my research question in a minute” really resonating with me and highlighting to may key, relevant issues. The reason Kylie Jenner was chosen as a research point was a natural progression from the reception of my Instagram Post project, after realising how an icon has created an icon to represent herself when she cannot be represented herself, whilst gaining so much power and influence over the public, and societies norms, ideals and expectations that we forget who we are in an aim to be someone else due to distorted self-perceptions from the pressures of the media. This video summaries such in a short amount of time, and upon further research in order to embed this video on to this post, as it is not possible via Facebook, it was apparent that the video was created by a makeup artist/YouTuber whom has over 20k followers and often posts ‘beauty blogger-esk’ tutorials and reviews, posing the question as to why she created this video. Does she feel the pressure as a makeup artist as discussed in previous research when talking to other well known makeup artists turned Instagram icons, whom stated that the artistry dies and becomes a beauty competition due to ‘competition’. Does she feel the need as a makeup artist, blogger and Instagram user that she needs to change herself in order to fit in with those who are ‘most successful’, ‘most on-trend’ and ‘most popular’? This raises identity issues as noted by Bem (1972) where one may change groups to fit in, having an in-group and out-group perspective. Is makeup not enough? Do we need plastic surgery now to be beautiful and conform with ideals? Has working in this role affected her self-perception or is she still aware and in fact informing others, or has she been through this herself?
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Moving forward, I would really like to contact Karolina in regards to her video to see if she would be available for a short interview regarding how she feels the industry, social media and competitive nature of such work has affected her self-perception, and how she feels her occupation may affect others.

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Vogue Japan/UK Contacts

This is working towards objective 1, 2, 3 and 5.

I am currently in the process of confirming my research information sheet and consent form for participant use with my supervisor, and once finalised I will begin emailing contacts in regards to interview surrounding my research question both in the UK and in Japan. I have already contact a well-known model (confirmed), ASOS (pending) and various freelance clients (Milk and Honey, Runway96, Luxe to Kill, Doko) in regards to interview.

In advance of my research trip to Japan, I wanted to source a contact at HQ in Japan. I could not find a direct contact for Vogue Japan itself, however found contact addresses for Conde Nast’s International Offices both in the UK and in Japan. I will call the London office to both source contacts for my Japan trip, whilst also hopefully being able to source a contact or speak to someone in the Vogue office in London in regards to speaking with them in relation to the UK edition. I feel by contacting both and hopefully gaining an insight from both, I can compare, contrast and analyse their point of view from a working, professional background to that of the audience, and researcher, whilst also analysing in comparison to their ‘media kits’ which demonstrate their demographic details for example in regards to their target audiences. In addition this will ultimately strengthen my research for a cross-cultural study of the issue of self-perception and body image within the beauty and fashion industries.

In addition to this, I have also been using LinkedIn to connect with relevant employees of Vogue as an alternate route of entry. By using this method as a form of research also, I am able to see what experience contacts have to see how suitable they are for interview in regards to helping to answer my research question and support my research and practical work moving forward.

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Makayla Starr: 5 Year Old Instagram Beauty Blogger

This is working towards objective 1.

I have previously discussed children being objectified for the media in relation to beauty pageants as noted which analysing a video from an interview on This Morning with Sami Bushell, whom fake tan’s her 3-year-old daughter. I wrote that, “this [was] resonant with Lacan and Freud’s understanding of the ‘Mirror Stage’, whereby between 6 to 18 months old, a child becomes self-aware of their reflection in a mirror, and becomes concious of such reflection, even though at this stage of their lives have very little mental or physical abilities which are possessed by adults. This shows that whilst even though a child can not control how they look, they become aware, and become aware of what they see is normal, relating back to the Beauty Pageant and Saami Bushell’s daughter as noted above” (this post can be found here) and feel that this can also be applied in this context also. I came across the below child-beauty blogger whilst scrolling through Instagram (a source of research, feedback and self-promotion of work in regards to this MA) and came across a video re-posted by make-up artist turned cosmetics designer, ‘HudaBeauty’. The video can be seen below – a 5-year-old girl (Instagram: ‘Makayla.Starr’) flawlessly applying makeup, being charismatic and acting like any 20-something-year-old would do in the same ‘position’. The video was evidently reposted after watching all the way through due to one of Huda’s eyeshadow palettes being featured – an interesting form of objectifying advertising in my opinion, exposing a vulnerable child for ‘likes’ and ‘cute’ comments whilst inevitably boosting sales, and exposure of Makayla herself disregarding how this may affect how people perceive her and judge her at a young age, whilst also giving others the impression that this is ‘okay’ and ‘normal’.

Similarly to Bushell, Makayla’s Instagram page is ran by her mum, which raises a range of questions and issues which I feel should be discussed in relation to my working research question and current practice.

I personally find it quite troubling at a mother is allowing her daughter  of 5-years-old to take part in such adult activities, let alone publicly show this to the world. When I found this profile, Makayla had 191k followers as shown on the screenshot. A few days later when I have come to writing this post, her account has now reached 229k followers and a collaboration with “Glitter Injections” (the first photo on the Instagram screenshot) showing how quickly she is gaining a following, however along with a following comes scrutiny or praise which are reflected in the comments and ‘feedback’.

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Above Images – Screenshots of Video Tutorial

The above video is how I came to find Makayala – a video tutorial originally posted by Huda Beauty. This video shows Makaylya doing her makeup like a true professional, contouring and using a range of products as 20-something-year-olds-would. Also being professionally filmed, it is evident that this along with her other posts have been planned with her mum. I also found it quite disturbing that the caption is written like a true makeup artist or blogger, perfectly compiled and grammatically correct – more than that of a 5-year-old alone could achieve. To counteract the fact her mum has put together the captions for Makayalas’ posts are girly and cute emoticons to bring back down the tone and appeal to a younger, female audience.

I really, heavily disagree with this video in the sense that from a young age, 18-months as Freud and Lacan note in the ‘Mirror Theory’ stage, become aware of their reflection and subsequent ego, allowing for Makayla to recognise herself dressed up as such and perceive this as normal as she grows up. I also feel also though she is being heavily objectified as a marketing commodity promoting brands, and with other brands and makeup artists for example such as Huda Beauty, re-posting this video for likes, follows and to drive sales. Furthermore, as Fredreckson and Roberts (2008) point out in their Self-Objectification theory that “valuing one’s own body from a third-person-perspective” is more important than their own thoughts about themselves, recognising their value visually and physically opposed to emotionally and intelectually. I feel that this theory can be embedded into a child at a young age if placed in objectifying scenarios such as this, paginating or cheerleading for example.

I feel that by posting videos as above, and photographs as shown below, it is apparent that perhaps she is unaware of how such exposure and objectification can and may affect her mentally in the future, and may also affect her self-perception due to “[interpreting] our own actions the way we interpret others’ actions, and our actions are often socially influenced and not produced out of our own free will, as we might expect[1]”, Bem (1972). I feel that this quote from Bem summarises that our self-perceptions are created by how we put ourselves out there, therefore curating a desired image. I believe that this is what will happen with Makayla, her perception will be curated by that of the image she puts out there but also with how this is perceived by others intern shaping her own perceptions. At a young age, I feel this cycle is dangerous and could lead to issues with her identity and mental health, for example as she grows older, whilst also opening up avenues for public shaming and bullying for example for those whom do not agree with what she is doing due to having such a public platform which appears, evidently to be growing at an extremely quick rate. In addition to this, I wonder how this image may affect others her age at school for example, or whilst having ‘playtime’ if this is her ‘image’ all the time. Does this make other children feel as though this is normal seeing not only their elders, people on tv, parents, peers and now friends with made-up faces and dyed hair. Will this make them feel less confident and insecure about themselves ensuing changes are made?

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In regards to the image shown and discussed above, I briefly noted how bullying and public shaming could come into play using social media as a platform to share her ‘looks’, however I have also noted many negative comments from those whom don’t agree which such actions. The below comments have been taken as screenshots from the above photo. I was surprised to see how many people asked about her age, disagreed with the actions of hair dying and cosmetics at 5-year-old and publicly shamed her mum for “showing [your] kid how to not love themselves for who they are… at a young age” (‘breezy hall’) and also criticised dental hygiene suggesting that the focus has been placed in the wrong place when bringing up a child. I particularly found this comment quite moving, “she’s so young to be learning about which insecurities to cover up” (‘alexis.emerald’) in regards to the truth to behind why women ultimately wear make-up; to improve their appearance and hide blemishes. No child of 5-year-old needs to improve their appearance or cover up their innocent, natural beauty which is the main consensus from the comments shown below.

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Above shows another screenshot from Makayla’s Instagram page, however this time appears to be a much more sexually-objectifying photo gaining a wide-range of comments and feedback, both positive and negative. I find this image much more alarming in comparison to the above in the sense that this has been shared on social media on a public profile being on 5-years-old. Opposed to objectifying her ‘beauty’ and make-up skills, this image sexually-objectifies her body in a way which causes alarm for many of the ‘commenters’.

The range of comments below show that of an inappropriate sexual nature, whilst many also comment on this raising the point that simply anyone in the world, anywhere can access this photograph at any given time. I feel this one comment from ‘melzy005’ summarises this concisely, “don’t u realise there’s pedophiles on the net! I would keep your daughters page private! Seriously mother look what that person said about posting the childs bedroom! There’s one right there! Also wtf she’s only 5!”.

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Upon further research I came across an article on Allure, which showed videos and photos of Makayla in January 2016, noting that “Lou Flores, a celebrity makeup artist who has close to 1 million Instagram followers, has been posting videos of her insanely adorable four-year-old niece Makayla showing off her hairstyles and makeup products” explaining how Makayla has reached such fame so quickly, whilst also explaining why she appears to be so good at makeup. This reveals to me that Makayla has most likely grown up from a young age as previously discussed, being aware of her ‘image’ and ego, whilst growing up watching a professional apply makeup to learn from has most likely had a huge influence on her, whilst most likely also being an encouragement. This evidences Freud and Lacan’s Mirror Stage Theory noting that from an early age Makayla has been exposed to such visuals, norms and ideals affecting her self-perception from a very young age, therefore now at the age of 5, most likely feels as though this is the norm and is considered socially and culturally accepted.

Below shows images of Makayla on Lou Flores Instagram page prior to having her own set up by her mum.

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In addition to the Instagram star Makayla Starr discussed above in regards to objectification, I came across whilst researching the topic the above image – a spread taken from Vogue France. “Quel maquillage a quel age” translating to “what makeup at what age?” boasts the headline overlaying an image a young girl holding a Tom Ford lipstick and glaring at her gaze intently in the mirror, being extremely aware of herself, her actions and objectification.

Fredericton and Roberts (1998) wrote that “objectification occurs whenever a woman’s body, body parts, or sexual functions are separated out from her person, reduced to the status of mere instruments, or regarded as if they were capable of representing her. In other words women are treated as bodies – and in particular, as bodies that exist for the use and pleasure of others” and feel even though the subject matter is a ‘woman’ the child in question on said photograph is being objectified in the same manner as that of a fully-grown woman. Even though the headline questions almost whether makeup at a young age is a good idea or not, the associative images are quite provocative and representative of a “woman’s body [or] body parts”. I feel it is such explicit imagery which could be taken as as more teen or adult which can damage expectations of beauty at such young ages not only for the child, but their parents also.

Sources:
Jackson, R. (2016). This 4-Year-Old Instagram Star Is Probably Better at Hair and Makeup Than You Are. Available: http://www.allure.com/story/lou-flores-instagram-videos. Last accessed 20th November 2016.
Starr, M. (2016). Makayla.Starr. Available: https://www.instagram.com/makayla.starr/?hl=en. Last accessed 20th November 2016.
Noll, S & Fredrickson, B (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. P. 626.
[1] Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. Advances in experimental social psychology6, 1-62.
Dove. (2013).
Image. Available: http://objectificationofchildren.yolasite.com/resources/objectification%202.jpg. Last accessed 20th November 2016.
Fredrickson, B & Roberts, T (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. P.173.

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Sourcing ‘Glitter’ Perspex Acrylic

This is working towards objective 4.C.

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After creating the above badges using an ivory 3mm acrylic, and a 3mm sparkle acrylic, I posted the photos on social media and they received a really positive reaction. I also posted photos of the red/cream and red/sparkle combos, and again the pink sparkle remained the favourite in colour. I feel personally that this is due to being quite girly, fun and appropriate with the context in association with a young, female target audience. Furthermore, pin badges have recently in the past few months become quite a big trend, and therefore feel this is another reason why on Instagram did well. I appreciate this feedback as it allows me to make judgments going forward. I had 3 messages via Instagram asking if a badge could be purchased. Making prototypes at first, and not ‘by trade’ being a product-maker, had not considered making such products for sale, however thought going forward perhaps may be worth while considering as a hobby or even as a part of this project – by building a range of products for the “what’s my name again?!” project, at some point I could set up an online campaign site with an associate promotional merchandise store page selling such products, or could enquire about craft fairs such as at Belgrave, LCA fairs, The Corn Exchange, Makers Markets and Easy fairs which I could potentially hold a stall at. I feel that by attending one of the events perhaps in the future and trailing this out, this could also be a very good form of feedback and first hand research engaging with the public and seeing their reactions/noting their discourse surrounding the concept at hand. This would also share the message which I am striving for and the ultimate reason as to why this project was started. By showcasing products such as this on social media and on online stores/campaign sites/website etc, I would be reaching a local, national and international audience, opposed to a local audience as noted above.

In response to the above, I wanted to research into how much coloured sparkle acrylics are to create different colour combinations and to introduce totally new designs also if I was to go forward and develop this element of the project further.

I had obtained the pink acrylic when I was studying for my BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree and never actually used it. I thought to make the most of it would trial it not expecting such good feedback. I was aware that it did cost around 4 times as much as standard 3mm acrylic but did not realise how hard it was to source, especially in smaller, affordable sizes.

‘Sheet Plastics’ online store as shown below stock a range of coloured sparkle acrylic but only in large sizes at 1850 x 1250 inch and costs £291.67 excluding VAT. This is too expensive to buy for further experiments and would only be viable if mass producing products to sell.

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From here, I tried the official Perspex company whom design and produce a vast range of acrylics. Via there website found that they have a Leeds distribution office. I called and enquired in regards to the specific pink glitter acrylic needed at A3 size at the largest, and was told that they don’t have any stock currently however again only supply in large sizes and mainly to trade, i.e. for kitchen splash backs. However, upon a long discussion about the pink acrylic, the lady spoken to was kind enough to offer to send me samples of a similar Pink Pearlescent acrylic which she recommended as an alternative, therefore I can produce a sample to photograph and submit without a huge cost implication.

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From this I found The Plastic Shop, again whom have a local distribution centre in Leeds to see if they sourced the acrylic needed at the right size. The same as above was noted, being that there isn’t any in stock but alternate samples could be arranged. Due to it not being most popular, it is assumed that it is not produced and distributed as widely as more standard, primary colours.

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Following this I happened to stumble on to Hindley’s which is a UK supplier of acrylics and design materials, i.e. wood, etc, and happened to find the exact product I am looking for at a more reasonable cost and size, 60cm x 40 cm at £28.01 with VAT. Even though it took almost a day of phone calls and endless websites, I am happy to of found a supplier which can deliver efficiently in the UK, and which has the right product in stock at a reasonable price.

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Interim Submission: Professional Context Presentation 2

Below shows my second Professional Context presentation focusing on the theories surrounding my current practice in relation to my working research question.

I have applied feedback as noted on a previous post following a run-through in last week’s tutorial with my supervisor Anne-Marie, in order to make my presentation smoother in regards to flow whilst ensuring that the content chosen is relevant and concisely put across, allowing to keep within my time limit of 5 minutes.

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SLIDE 1 – INTRODUCTION

This presentation will cover the key theoretical perspectives in relation to my current research and practice.

I feel as though the media should be held accountable in regards to being responsible for promoting ‘ideals’ of women, leading to theorists to discuss and debate options as to why women’s self-perception can change through these external influences, triggering internal influences and critiques.

My working research question is, “a cross-cultural study in an aim to understand ‘how Social Media and Magazines within the Beauty and Fashion Industries affect our sense of body image and self-perception?” and have therefore listed various theories I have touched on during research in relation to my specific research question. However, for the purposes of this presentation I will cover several key theories, which I feel at this moment in time, are most relevant to my practice – Self-Perception Theory, Social Identity Theory, The Male Gaze and The Self Surveying Gaze, along with the Theories of Objectification and Self-Objectification.

Self-Perception is integral part of my current practice shaping my practical work to date, being the anchor point of my research question, whilst the other noted theories are of importance due to underpinning the links between context and graphic design.

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SLIDE 2 – SELF-PERCEPTION THEORY

It is said that “Self-perception theory is counterintuitive. Common knowledge would have us assume that a person’s personality and attitudes drive their actions; however, self-perception theory shows that this is not always the case. In simple terms, it illustrates that “we are what we do.” We interpret our actions and the actions of others, therefore allowing our actions to be socially influenced opposed to be being completely self-led. I felt that this resonated with the current trends of social media surrounding the beauty and fashion indsutries, whereby we often see whose whom actions and appearances are ‘socially informed’ opposed to produced from freewill.

This demonsrated with two images shown – one of Kim Kardashian, and one of Makeup Artist/Instagram Icon, Amreezy – both show that they are practically holding the same pose in similar attire, with similar postures and facial features. Does this example alone represent how social media has affected our self-perception, allowing us to feel it is okay to perceive ourselves, or see ourselves in a similar way to others in order to attain positive appraisal? This is one example, shows how us the public, can use our aspirations and socio-culturally accepted ‘ideals’ to shape our own identities and egos, which leads me on to the theory of Social Identity.

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SLIDE 3 – SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY

Henri Tajfel and John Turner in 1979, and stated “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” acknowledging the fact that people act different, and at times look differently also depending on their social situation.

Tafjel and Turner note we belong to ‘social groups’, however this can also be said for the way that people now position themselves on Social Media, changing their identities to ‘fit in’, whilst celebrities often featured in weekly gossip magazines, do the same. This can also be said for alternate groups of people also, especially within the fashion indsutry whereby perhaps they do not fit in the groups that are perceived as ‘normal’ by many, and may not necessarily fit in with the mainstream trends.

The image of the Harajuku girls has been selected as this ‘group’ have accepted the social identity of which they belong and feel satisfied. I feel this image is really important as it is a huge contrasts to the imagery shown from Japan Vogue in my last presentation whereby Japanese women were told that they had to change their to ‘fit in’ and be accepted by society, with Turner and Tafjel stating that “individuals strive to achieve or maintain positive social identity”.

This can be seen represented in the Social Identity Theory model, which shows how ones personal identity and sense of self, is formed through their acceptance or non-acceptance into a social group, and the retrospective intergroup comparisons. ­

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SLIDE 4 – MALE GAZE AND THE SELF SURVEYING GAZE

In seeking social acceptance and aesthetic approval, the idea of the “Male Gaze” theory is prevalent. Rumsey, stated that, “Media help us to shape beauty ideas by showing certain body sizes [as] beautiful and desirable” summarising how the fashion and beauty industries alike can affect our self-perception and perceptions of others due to a pre-determined ideal which is embedded in our subconscious.

For example, a photograph of the original 1950’s Playboy Bunnies on the left shows how women knew they were objects of male attention and the male gaze, proudly wearing their corset-based uniforms, in turn becoming the ‘ideal’ and subsequent ‘sex symbols’.

Many theorists have noted the male gaze, however I found this particular quote from Shields quite revealing showing how women’s perspectives of themselves can change as a result of a male eye, viewing themselves from such view point instead of their own allowing for one to ‘appeal’ –

“[the] ‘male gaze’ transforms women into objects of the heterosexual man’s eye …
advertisements and other images of women are shot in such ways that encourage female audiences to adopt a certain perspective when looking at other women and themselves” therefore internalizing the male gaze and the medias pre-set ideals triggering, “the self-surveying gaze”.

This is represented via the right hand side image, whereby our self-perception becomes distorted, not being able to recognise the ideal nor reality, adding pressures to look a certain way due to this new, internal influence.

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SLIDE 5 – OBJECTIFICATION AND SELF-OBJECTIFICATION THEORY­­

In addition to the various theories discussed, I believe Frederickson and Roberts’ theory of Objectification is key to understanding how women are portrayed in the media, suggesting that women may perceive themselves as objects or commodities that are there to be looked at, and judged accordingly.

It is said “objectification occurs whenever a woman’s body, body parts, or sexual functions are separated out from her person, reduced to the status of mere instruments, or regarded as if they were capable of representing her. In other words women are treated as bodies – and in particular, as bodies that exist for the use and pleasure of others”

Looking at the photograph of Sarah Gonzalaz, a Makeup Artist turned Instagram icon, this theory can be seen, with Sarah recognising the need to objectify herself and her body as a commodity and marketing tool, knowing what the ‘outsiders’ want to see, internalising this and therefore becomes an example of self-objectification. Furthermore on the right hand side, an editorial from Vogue France can be seen whereby a young girl is being objectified through the use of her body part’s, being separated out as commodities of influence, holding a seductive glare and being vary aware of her ego, encompassing many of the theoretical perspectives considered throughout this presentation.

To summarise, Fredrickson and Roberts define self-objectification “as valuing one’s own body [from] a third-person perspective, focusing on observable body attributes”.

Combined I feel this short overview of key theories, shows how powerful both social media and magazines can be within the beauty and fashion industries, especially when regarding our perceptions, not only of ourselves, but of others also, encouraging change for external pleasures, approval and acceptance.

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3D Workshop/Metal Workshop/Wood Workshop: Badge Experiments

This is working towards objective 4.C.

I had previously noted on previous blog posts that I wanted to create badges as part of my “what’s my name again?!” project, and had previously experimented with Fimo and card stocks, and had enquired with Leon in the Metal Workshop at college about different ways to do so.

This week I spent 3 days using various workshops – 3D, Metal and Wood – in order to create a range of prototype badges which could be taken forward in the future/further development of this project.

I experimented with a range of processes and materials, i,e, wood, pewter, copper, brass, acrylic.

Pewter Badge Prototype:

To create the pewter badge prototype, a mould had to be made from silicone in order to set the molten pewter. To do so, a laser cutting was used with ply wood in order to gain solid accurate shapes to create a mould from. Getting the same accurate was important in order to be consistent with the project aesthetic, branding and other using of the ‘lips’ icon, and having issues previously with using Fimo thought laser-cutting similar to die-cutting will ensure for a perfect shape to be re-created.

This was my first time using the Metal Workshop at the college and my first time using metal in any way so the entire process was a learning curb and a challenge which I really enjoyed.

  1. Set up .ai file on laser cutting software ensuring cut-through options and material set-up have been correctly selected.

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2. Laser cut shapes are created. Looking back I would of used MDF due to the wood grain showing on the silicone, however this is something I have learnt through trial and error.

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3. The laser cut shapes were set in silicone being supported by a clay-bed. This process was created for both laser cut pieces in order to create two moulds.

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4. Below shows the silicone moulds with the wooden pieces. This is when I realised I should of used MDF opposed to Ply Wood, however for prototyping I did not mind the slightly textured grain and also did not have the time available to recreate another mould.

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4. Pewter has a low melting point, so sets quite quickly, allowing for inserting the pin back to be quite tricky. It was also quite hard to ensure that the pin back didn’t tilt or sink too deeply into the pewter to ensure that the cover can be applied.

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5. The bottom layer worked very well, however due to being a slightly awkward shape and the surface level not being flat the pewter on the second mould over-ran meaning that this would need to be cut off using a coping saw, and sanded down, opposed to being the shape as desired straight away. This defeats the point of the mould however understand that through trial and error in this experimental stage of the process, this can happen as a learning curb whilst also allowing for me to learn how to rectify something should it go wrong.

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6. Below shows the cut out and sanded down shapes. The front and backs and have also been sanded down in order for the two parts to sit flat when soldered together.

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7. Soldering the two pieces of pewter together was a quick processes using a heat torch and a flattened silver wire to solder between the two objects. It was important throughout and particularly at this stage to wear PPE.

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8. Below shows the soldered and finished pewter badge. Looking back I should of used the smaller laser cut lips to use as moulds opposed to a larger shape, as the final product is quite heavy and would really need two pin backs to hold weight on a garment and feel if this process was to be repeated then I would trial this as the next experimental process. However, overall I am happy with the object produced but do not feel it is as clean as I had envisioned nor being as aesthetically pleasing. I feel that this perhaps would be a cost effective way of producing badges should they be smaller and a larger mould is produced perhaps with a series of badges inset opposed to simply one, to also make this process more time effective as overall took around a day and a half with waiting for the silicone to set and cool.

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Copper and Brass Badge Prototype:

The next process and materials to try were hand-cutting and finishing copper and brass. I really liked the colour contrast and felt this lifts the aesthetic, gives a clearer sense of what is is and is more resonant of the icon used throughout my project and in respect of the source of inspiration, Kylie Jenner.

This was a new process to me so I feel as though I really learnt a lot in the metal workshop and was able to apply this is prototypes I am happy with and could further develop.

  1. Sheets of 0.5mm copper and brass were supplied to draw my designs on using a thin marker pen. These shapes would then be carefully cut out using a coping saw and wax to protect the blade, ensure it doesn’t snap and to also ensure it cuts through the material smoothly. PPE is worn here to protect hands and workbenches are used to ensure the materials are steady and that you have concentrated light and focus. I found the drips quite tricky to cut out snapping a blade, however through trial and error eventually got the hang of the best angle to cut at, 90 degrees and managed to finish without snapping any elements or being too far off my original markings.

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2. The slides were sanded down slightly on a band sander and using very fine sandpaper, before using hand files to ensure the curves on the inner drips are smooth. Fine sandpaper and water is also used across the front and back of both pieces until clean and shiny – this ensures the solder works to the best of its ability as the Flux only takes to clean surfaces. I learnt throughout this process that good preparation ensures for a better result.

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3. Once happy, flattened silver wire again was used and cut into fine pieces and mixed with Flux – a crystal salt which acts as a binding agent when soldering. These pieces are then places on to the copper where the brass will be soldered.

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4. Using a soldering gun and wearing PPE, the pieces are heated until soldered together – this can be seen when soldering as the brass drops slightly when heated. Once soldered together, the material is cooled in water.

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5. Once cooled, the material is dropped into the acid bath until clean of any residue caused from soldering.

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6. Once clean, the material is again sanded down with fine sand paper and water, and then polished using the machine below which spins the material in a bath of hot water. Once finished the material comes out clean and simply needs buffing or polishing.

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7. Once polished, the pin back can be glued on using a strong adhesive called, Evo-Stick.

Final product images can be found below.

Overall I am really happy with the final outcome to say that this was my first ever experience in the metal workshop and feel particularly through this process learnt so many new things from the qualities and properties of metal to how to execute a product beyond my usual capabilities. I do not feel though however that producing these for many promo packs would be viable due to cost and time of producing each one by hand, however as a new process and experimental piece feel it was worth pursuing and feel very proud of the iconic and distinct outcome.

I do not feel as though it is perfect and feel the shape could of been cut slightly more accurately and perhaps been sanded more prior to polishing however feel for a first attempt as though it was a success and can learn from these errors going forward if I was to work in this way again.

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Acrylic Laser Cut Badge Prototypes:

 The final process used to make prototype pin badges was laser cutting using 3mm perspex acrylic. After using the laser cutter to cut out plywood shapes for my silicone mould experiments, I knew that this process would be time and cost effective if set up correctly. Therefore, as shown below in order to not waste materials, I would essentially ‘mass produce’ the shapes in order to produce different coloured prototypes. I also decided at this stage to add in the idea of producing key rings and necklaces which could be used as alternates in the promo packs, by cutting additional shapes with a 2mm hole for findings. I thought this would be a time effective way of producing a range of promotional goods from the same materials, at the same time.

  1. The ai. document is set up on the laser cutting software ensuring the cut-through and material set-up is correct.

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2. This process was repeated several times with various coloured 3mm perspex acrylics. The cut out shapes can be seen below.

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4. Once all cut out Evo-Stick was used to stick the badges together after being informed at Tensol 12, an adhesive is made of very strong chemicals ‘known to cause cancers’ and not really recommended for use by students in an open environment (a needle is used to apply this to ensure it doesn’t get on your hands). Eco-Stick was also used to attach the pin backs to the reverse of the badges also.

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Eco-Stick can be seen below – 2 equal parts are mixed together prior to using for a fast-setting adhesive which can be used on most materials.

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5. Below shows the finished products prior to attaching findings for keyrings/necklaces. Finished badges can also be seen below in poly bags.

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6. Below shows 3 badges which were discarded due to using too much glue on one allowing for seeping adhesive to be seen on the red lip, the silver mirror acrylic is 6mm not 3mm so makes the badge bulky whilst also the backing slightly melted whilst being laser cut due to the heat distorting the mirror effect in places, whilst Tensol 12 can be seen dried over the glitter acrylic badge which went wrong prior to swapping to Evo-Stick.

I had already ordered a 3mm gold mirror acrylic prior to experimenting with these badges as it did not deliver on time, however would like to attempt this again and speak with Johnathon the wood work technician about the settings to see if anything can be done to successfully use the acrylic without damaging it hindering the final outcome.

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Above shows examples of a range of final outcomes. I found these really easy, quick, enjoyable and cost effective to produce with a small amount of materials being needed. By planning before hand, I had all of the materials ready and simply needed to book a laser cut slot. I feel going forward out of the 5 or 6 processes experimented with in regards to the promo badges, I feel visually this has been the most effective. I have since posted images on feedback and received positive feedback, particularly in regards to the pink sparkle badges. I also really like h0w laser cutting allows for each product produced or shape that is cut to be exactly the same allowing for accuracy and little waste. Pink sparkle acrylic was used to tie in with the prototypes created using card, and vinyl tote bag experiments whilst also adding a bold and feminine visual dynamic to the project.

I plan on creating card backs for the pin badge as seen with the card prototype badges to improve the aesthetic of the poly bags, making them more presentable for photographing and recording for this project, portfolio, development and submission boards really allowing for the product to be seen in a commercial context. Furthermore, I would also like to photograph these products being worn/in-use.

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Tutorial Feedback: Professional Context Presentation 2

I have scanned in the feedback written on my presentation slides below in order to document going forward and for future reference, what needs to be improved/re-worked etc prior to the interim submission.

For the presentation, I wrote too much to say aurally, and didn’t feature much text on my slides and feel this is one of the reasons I went over the 5 minutes allocated, whilst also knowing now that I should of been more selective with my content. However, this was the reason why it was asked if I could run-through my presentation with Anne-Marie prior to delivery and submission.

The feedback received has been noted in bullet points below for clarity:

Slide 1

  • Good opening structure re-capping on research question, and re-visiting context of previous presentation.
  • Drawn upon key theories in breadth, whilst then narrowing this down to key, most-relevant theories to my current practice to talk about, analyse and critique in more detail.
  • Give more examples in relation to my current practice whilst referencing slides and visuals.

Slide 2

  • Review citations – am I referencing quotes and facts correctly? (check throughout remainder of slides also)
  • Note Social Media and Fashion – rise of prominence of social media via brands, celebs, icons, bloggers and stores for example – to ensure relevance to current practice and research question
  • Objectification Theory could also be noted here briefly if desired due to relevant imagery, whilst being associative theories of Self-Perception and Objectification working hand-in-hand.

Slide 3

  • Harajuku girls in relation to identity theory, give an International Context to both my current practice, research question and noted theories. Ensure when delivering presentation to talk about relevance of research trip to Tokyo, for example.

Slide 4

  • Citations to be reviewed.
  • Related Mental Health and right-hand side photograph to previous presentation, eating disorders and organisations such as B-EAT for example as currently discussed and critiqued.

Slide 5

  • Citations to be reviewed.
  • Talk about quotes specifically in relation to key research on blog/research question/current practice/recent projects/photo on slide.

Overall I feel more confident and positive in regards to this presentation opposed to the first, and really feel that this is due to having a slightly different set-up in the tutorial acting as a mini presentation and assessment itself to ensure I am the best prepared I can be in order to alleviate problems as noted above prior to delivery next week.

Furthermore, I feel I have not been critiqued that heavily on my content which I feel is a positive and feel reassures me that I am working in the right direction, in regards to collating research to both answer my research question, and to strengthen my practical work and concepts.

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Social Media Wellbeing Campaign: Instagram Post Development/Facebook Mockup/Advertising Mockups

This is working towards objective 4.B.

After working on the initial idea for the social media wellbeing campaign, I wanted to develop further collateral to support this and form a fully developed idea with visual references. A real campaign would be formed of more than posters, and being a campaign focusing on social media, I feel that social media is a platform which should be utilised in regards to reaching the right target audience – those who follow bloggers, icons, celebs and trends, and those that use social media on a daily basis specifically those who are actively following and engaging with beauty and fashion-led accounts.

It was at this stage I asked for feedback on my concept and initial work, and asked both Scarlett Carson and Bobbi Gastall from the MA also individually for feedback.

Scarlett noted that, “they’re great! So much better than just photos, with them in-situ (social media) plus the stats makes it all really poignant” whilst Bobbi agreed but added that I should include a slogan/caption which summarises the concept to tie in with the fake barbies and the idea of what is real vs what is fake/not real. This is where the copy, “don’t let them tell you what’s real” came from, and has since been applied to the posters accordingly.

In réponse and in relation to the social media aspect of the campaign in regards to collateral, I began to work on ideas for social media posts, whether be on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for example. As a start I took the posters and began working with layout and composition on a 600 x 600 px art board to create such artwork. This can be seen below.

I did not feel the typography below worked aesthetically with the composition and decided against this alternate layout, and kept more inline with the posters allowing for visual balance. Even though very similar to the poster designs, I felt that this layout was the most effective due to at times having long sentences which suit a more linear approach.

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In regards to the poster designs which have previously been created, I decided to mock these up on various platforms where if in real life may be situated to be seen by the associated target audience.

The posters have been mocked up in everyday places such as the underground and bus shelters allowing for a wide range of people to see such campaign materials, which also being in ideal locations for young females to see whether going to school, to work or out shopping in the city for example.

I feel it is important to consider ‘real’ advertising spaces opposed to just social media, as the effectiveness of a campaign is only as effective as how much it is seen and engaged with, and if people don’t search for the hashtags used for example, or are not aware of such campaign to search, follow, like and share for instance the campaign will not be effective therefore different platforms need to be used.

Going forward I would use social media handles on the printed campaign materials such as posters, however at this stage want to focus on the idea as I do not have time to fully develop the concept and all aspects of the social media campaign in order to do so accurately and effectively. I would also like to gain more feedback before rolling out across all social media, and feel for now focusing on the concept of this campaign is key, opposed to rushing all of the collateral prior to hand in. I would rather wait and develop this idea further in semester 2 when I can fully consider all options.

This is also why I will not be able to develop the booklet and other printed leaflet collateral for example at this stage due to time constraints and the need to prioritise. This however is something again I would like to revisit in semester 2.

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As noted above, I feel as though due to time constraints I do not have time to fully develop ideas or set up social media accounts in order to effectively apply handles to my works and feel by doing so now would be misleading anyone who sees the development of this project throughout feedback and feel it is right to wait until I have time to develop such platforms properly before applying this to my work. This being said as an initial prototype, I have mocked up what a cover image and avatar could look like, however do not feel as though this is the best it could be and feel as though more time, and thought needs to be put into this side of the campaign before moving forward.

Again, this is something I wish to revisit in semester 2 as I feel I have a strong concept and initial idea which needs to be built on and further realised through working social media accounts to engage with the target audience to be effective and in order to gain real feedback, thoughts, options and therefore also gaining practice based research strengthening my research question and current practice.

I previously noted booklet and leaflet based collateral as part of the printed campaign materials, and again feel before launching social media effectively should have enough research to have supporting campaign materials and feel without such materials can have a working and most-effective campaign.

Overall, I feel as though I have a clever idea which perhaps needs refining in regards to execution in order to be the best and most effective that it can be.

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Research: Draft Consent Form and Information Sheet/Ethics Policy

This is working towards objective 3.

Below shows an initial draft of a consent form and information sheet for primary research purposes. This is my first attempt at creating such documents, and have tried my best to do so alongside the LCA Ethics Policy. I am awaiting feedback on these from my supervisor, to ensure that they comply, and if not to give constructive feedback so going forward I am fully aware and competent in regards to using and being aware of this in relation to my practice. Following this feedback I will make necessary amends before starting to apply these to my research.

It is important to apply such policies to my research in order to ensure fair practice, whilst protecting not only myself but the research participant/interviewee for example. This ensures topics such as confidentiality, data protection, storage of data are covered to ensure I am working and researching fairly, and using the data in the consented manner, whilst also ensuring that topics of discomfort for example are also disclosed to ensure that the participant is comfortable taking part, and with the questions that will be asked, for example. I am considering sending over questionnaires/interview questions to consented participants prior to taking part along with the consent forms to both ensure they are comfortable with taking part, whilst also giving more clarity on what is being asked of them.

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