Script and Initial Draft: Professional Context Presentation 2

Below shows the initial draft and script for the 2nd Professional Context presentation. I have prepared this in advance in order to run-through with my supervisor to ensure I am within time, conforming with feedback received in the last presentation and delivering relevant content. Following this run-through, I will edit the slides prior to the interim submission, and furthermore update and work on the script to ensure I feel confident and fully prepared ahead of delivering the presentation. I felt last time being overtime and being conscious of this, put me off slightly and made me feel quite nervous not allowing me to get across all of the relevant points as concisely as desired, and feel some of the key points of my current practice were missed out due to this. Therefore, I want to ensure these problems are alleviated prior to the the day.

SLIDE 1 – INTRODUCTION

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

My 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 been looking into and researching various theories coinciding with my current practice.

I have listed various theories, I have touched on during research in relation to my specific research question, however, for the purposes of this presentation 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.

 

SLIDE 2 – SELF-PERCEPTION THEORY

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Theorist Bem in 1972 noted that, the “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.” I found it interesting that Bem continued to state that we interpret our actions and the actions of others, therefore allowing our actions to be socially influenced opposed to be being completely self-led.

Bem also noted that, “according to self-perception theory, we interpret 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.” I found that this resonated with the 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 into 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, of how us the public, can use our aspirations and ‘ideals’ to shape our own identities and egos, which leads me on to the theory of Social Identity.

 

SLIDE 3 – SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY

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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. 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 at the time. Tafjel and Turner note that this could be groups such as sports teams or family, however this can also be said for the way that people now position themselves on Social Media, curating 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 fashion whereby perhaps they do not fit in the groups that are perceived as ‘normal’ by many. This can be seen in the image of the Harajuku girls, whom have accepted the social identity of which they belong and feel satisfied with their social identity.

This is reflected through the shown 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. ­

Tafjel and Turner also note how “individuals strive to achieve or maintain positive social identity” in order to feel accepted and confident. This is profoundly common on Social Media with many girls posting photos for aesthetic approval and the boost of their self-esteem.

 

SLIDE 4 – MALE GAZE AND THE SELF SURVEYING GAZE

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Furthermore, in seeking this approval, the idea of the “Male Gaze” is evident within theory especially from Feminist writers. Rumsey, a theorist, stated that, “Media help us to shape beauty ideas by showing certain body sizes [as] beautiful and desirable”. For example, a photograph of the original 1950’s Playboy Bunnies 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’. At the time, an ‘ideal’ for women to aspire to was, curvy in the right places and this was deemed as ‘perfect’ in the eyes of the media. Various theorists, such as Lacan, Berger, Mulvey, Heinecken and Frekrickson have noted the male gaze in their writings, however I found this particular quote from Shields quite interesting showing how women’s perspectives of themselves can change as a result of doing so –

“[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.”

However, as also noted by Shields, “media representations tend to include cultural norms concerning appearance which corrupt and confuse the expectation of beauty. This corruption, then, can cause the internalization of the male gaze, the self-surveying gaze to become overwhelming, and in turn, distorted”.

This can be shown in the right hand side image, whereby our perceptions of ourselves become distorted, not being able to recognise the ideal nor reality, adding pressures to look a certain way due to this new, internal influence. This image in particular also shows the pressures of modern day, with mixed messages on the ideal through a bombardment of photography and media. Furthermore, this also shows how eating disorders can be triggered through our altered perceptions and beliefs.

 

SLIDE 5 – OBJECTIFICATION AND SELF-OBJECTIFICATION THEORY­­

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In addition to the the Male Gaze and Self Surveying Gaze theories, Fredrickson and Roberts carried out social and psychological experiments which “asserted that women to varying degrees internalise an outsider view and begin to self-objectify by treating themselves as an object to be looked at and evaluated on the basis of appearance” adding the idea that women may perceive themselves as objects that are there to be looked at and judged accordingly.

Looking at the photograph of Sarah Gonzalaz, a Makeup Artist turned Instagram icon, evidence of this theory can be seen, with Sarah recognising the need to objectify herself as a commodity and marketing tool, knowing what the ‘outsiders’ want to see, internalising this and therefore becoming a walking example of this ideology.

Furthermore, a model was drawn up by Fredrickson and Roberts underpinning this theory, whilst in response two different theorists, Thompson and Heinberg commented on this stating that, “a socio-cultural model emphasizes that the current societal standard for thinness, as well as other difficult-to-achieve standards of beauty for women, is omnipresent and without resorting to extreme and maladaptive behaviours, but impossible to achieve for the average woman” showing how by undergoing such bodily changes in order to objectify oneself to the cultural and societial pre-determined ideals of beauty and physique, one can easily fall into the realms of psychological side-effects and health risks such as eating disorders and depression.

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

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(Sexual) Objectification and Self-Objectification Theory

This is working towards objective 1.

After reading the thesis by Klein, K (2013) as analysed and discussed on a previous, yet recent post, I wanted to look further into Objectification again, as well as the idea of Self-Objectification. I found both of these theories extremely relevant and resonant with both my current practice and my working research question, looking at how these noted topics can affect our self-perception and sense of body image – not only in regards to Fashion photography, editorials, campaigns and magazines, but also in the context of the Beauty industry and social media. Furthermore, objectification has also been noted in regards to the photography choices chosen for my Kylie Jenner zine, using photographs taken by Terry Richardson in order to highlight how she is being used as a commodity, or object to sell magazines and products for example, whilst also allowing the end-user to consider this in the context of which the photos sit.

Furthermore, I also see this in the sense of an object, and how an object becomes an icon and how an icon can be seen as an object respectively. This is what the Objectification and Self-Objectification theories pose, with Fredrickson and Roberts (1998) stated that, “women’s bodies are looked at, evaluated and always potentially objectified” allowing one to consider that a woman may not actually be seen as a human by some, and just a commodity to evaluate and objectify, allowing for women to “internalise an observer’s perspective as a primary view of their physical selves” suggesting that one may then “monitor” themselves and react to these perspectives, making them “socialised to view and turn themselves in objects”. This is also regarded as “self-perception”.

This is particularly resonant in regards to the current uproar in social media, allowing for one to be constantly judged by others, negatively or positively. Sometimes this can also be sexually, allowing for Sexual-Objectification to be thrown into this theoretical mix. Combined the pressures can allow for negative impacts to arise such as mental health issues, eating disorders and and self-perception issues, with one potentially viewing themselves from a third person perspective, opposed to a first person perspective, tainting their thoughts and therefore actions. This aim to change our bodies due to judgements, perceptions and objectification can alter the way we see ourselves hugely, with ’empirical’ studies showing that “women experience a discrepancy between their actual body and their ideal body” (Fallon & Rozin, 1984).

Examples of this theory being applied and analysed further can be seen in my recent research both in regards to Western Culture and Japanese Cultures, as well as in regards to practical projects, photography used, interviews/documentaries/social media posts and my 2nd Professional Context Presentation.

Objectification Theory:

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Self-Objectification Theory:

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Sources:
Fredrickson, B & Roberts, T (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. 173-176.
Noll, S & Fredrickson, B (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. 626-627

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Self-Surveying Gaze Theory

This is working towards objective 1.

After researching and analysing the Male Gaze theory in relation to my current practice and working research question, I came across the thesis of Klein, K (2013), and came across the “Self-Surveying Gaze Theory” which I wanted to explore and understand further in order to talk about this confidently in my 2nd Professional Context presentation. I found this extract from a book written by Shields and Heinecken (2002) in regards to this theory, which I found particularly interesting. I came across this book via quotes used in Klein, K (2013) thesis’.

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I took from the above extract that the Self-Surveying Gaze acts as counterpart and reaction to the Male Gaze, allowing for at times, one to become overly aware and critical of one’s gaze, going to extremes of fitness or diet for example to negate this into a visualised and socio-culturally accepted ideal, in turn causing mental health issues, negative self-esteem and a distorted sense of one’s self-perception and subsequent self-gaze. I also feel that this is resonant with Lacan’s Mirror Stage theory, allowing for one’s ‘gaze’ to embody their ego shapes through their self-surveying and surveillanced lifestyles and outlook in order to achieve an unrealistic, and in many case an unmaintainable ideal. I feel more now than ever, the Self-surveying Gaze is impacting women, and men alike in many cases more than ever, due to the use of social media, magazines and advertising for example.

It is evident that a range of external factors influence one’s self-perception, however I found that this theory showed how these can become internalised, allowing for one’s self-perception to be self-derived yet from the view of an outsider, due to accepting said external triggers such as advertising, celebrities and bloggers, for example, as well as the opposite sex as previously discussed in relation to theories such as the Male Gaze and Sexual-Objectification. This particular theory has been explored in further depth in a previous post for example, regarding Terry Richardson’s Photography and his ‘subjects’, i.e the ‘icon’ Kylie Jenner whom has had a pivotal role to my experimental works so far being an anchor point for a range of concise relevant subjects.

Source:
Shields, V & Heinecken, D (2002). Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image. USA: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 106.

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Article: “Social Media May Lead Women To Self-Objectify Their Own Body”

Below shows extracts taken from the article, “Social Media May Lead Women To Self-Objectify Their Own Body” which I feel are extremely relevant and resonant to my current practice, and research question, whilst also being inline with my Social Media Wellbeing Campaign in regards to how this growing form of immediate interaction with the fashion and beauty industries is affecting our self-perception and ideals of body image.

I found that not only did this resonate with my current research and practice, but also backed up my working research question in regards to evidencing that social media and manipulated images, for example, are one of the reasons why our self-perceptions are distorted overtime leading to negative and comparative behaviours, as well as a range of mental illnesses.

This particular quote really stood out to me in relation to the Self-Surveying Gaze theory as noted by Fredrickon and Roberts (2008) which I have also just been researching in relation to my research question and practice; “When a person  compares their own inner or self image to an image  that has been filtered on social media it can pose the threat  to self objectification and self absorption. When self comparisons take place that person looks at themselves as the spectator or observer.” ( Slater and Tiggemann (2015)  I found this extremely resonant due to the associated within self-comparisons (and the self-gaze) allowing for one to almost become the observer through their eyes therefore acting in anticipation or of expectation of pre-meditated ideals.

I was also taken by the amount of time on average it is said most women spend on Facebook a day – 2 hours. This may not necessarily be at once, however is still a considerable amount of time a day on one social media platform/app alone, therefore disregarding Instagram and Twitter for example from this figure, showing how much time can be spent online via a phone, tablet, computer or even a smart TV. For me, this evidences how our self-perceptions can be altered sub-consciously through continuous streams of edited, manipulated and curated media.

Sage Journal, “Psychology of Women Quarterly”, Psychologist: Jasmine Fardouly:

“Given the large number of images posted to Facebook (currently over 250 billion images; Facebook, 2013), as well as the appearance-related comments they often receive from others, Facebook may well be considered an appearance-focused media type.”

“Alone women spend an average of 2 hours a day on Facebook.”

“Researchers  Slater and Tiggemann (2015) found that the amount of time spent on social networks was associated with greater self-objectification. Women have a long history of being objectified in the media from television, music videos, and print magazines, why would the objectification just stop at these mediums and not social media? And why are women self objectifying themselves? Some can argue  low self esteem, vanity, or insecurities. Women have been known to compare themselves to other women, whether short, skinny, tall, plus size, short hair or long hair. It’s just something women do—that is—label themselves in comparison to others. When a person  compares their own inner or self image to an image  that has been filtered on social media it can pose the threat  to self objectification and self absorption. When self comparisons take place that person looks at themselves as the spectator or observer.”

“Self-comparisons to images of a previous self might engender a greater focus on specific body parts, also contributing to self-objectification.””

Original Sources:

Author  Rick Nauert PhD, Young Women Compare Themselves on Social Media”

Author Rebecca Adams The Huffington Post “How Facebook Stalking Could Lead Women To Objectify Their Own Bodies”

Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P.C., Vartanian, L.R., Halliwell, E. (2015). ‘The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women’, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Sage Journal , p 34 doi: 10.1177/036168431558184

Article Source:
Inside The Girls Room. (2015). Social Media May Lead Women to Objectify Their Own Body. Available: https://insidethegirlsroom.com/2015/04/22/social-media-may-lead-women-to-objectify-their-own-body/. Last accessed 13th November 2016.

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ELLE Article: “Why Don’t I Look Like Her? How Instagram is Ruining Our Self-Esteem”

This is working towards objective 1.

Below is a summary of extracts taken from an article I found online whilst researching into Social Media, Self-Perception and Facts in relation to my well-being campaign project.

I have included these extracts on my blog as I felt that each indicated an element which I am looking into – the impact of social media, the beauty/fashion industries. I feel as though I have neglected researching into the impact of magazines as much as social media throughout this module, however through research have discovered that social media at present is much more evident and prominent and impactful looking at the stats and figures on usage, as well as taking into account that brands, designers and the noted industry are focusing much more of their attention on utilising these platforms to reach a larger, vaster audience without cost implications as a pretty good advantage. I have been using social media initially for an Instagram-led project, which allowed me to naturally see overtime that the reactions on social media were instant, along with feedback. In addition I also noted, that the target audience I have been reaching out to are more in-tune with digital platforms and social media than print, whilst being a better, immediate platform to promote and share my work, my idea, my concept, and my message of how these industries affect how we see ourselves in so many ways.

However, as also researched and noted as a focus, social media can also have a very negative impact on oneself and our mental health being the focus of my current project, a wellbeing campaign regarding these specific impacts of social media, therefore altering our perceptions. As shown below, it can also affect those who work in the industry, and this is something I am keen to explore through my interview-led research in Semester 2.

“Christina Caradona revealed to her 131,000 Instagram followers that she doesn’t show her “whole face” in selfies because she is “self conscious” of her “weird eyes”.

Jenny Albright admitted to asking her ex-boyfriend to delete a beach picture from last summer because “I didn’t like the way my body looked,” she said. “I was leaning over in a way that makes your stomach roll. It just wasn’t a good look.” Interestingly, I was also in this picture, and only remember envying how beautiful I thought she looked—radiant and tall with perfect hair—and thinking how short I appeared next to her.”

“Research from the University of Buffalo indicates that women who base their self-worth on their appearance are likely to post more pictures of themselves on social media seeking validation. In turn, they are also more likely to have a larger number of followers. Their pictures, which, before the advent of Instagram in 2010, were probably candid snapshots posted to Facebook with little or no thought, are now taken to reflect their best body angles, their best outfits, with their best facial features placed under the most flattering light. This can lead to a feeling of dread when a photo surfaces online, say, on another friend’s Instagram account, over which they had no control.”

“Dr. Pamela B. Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center at Fielding Graduate University and author of PsychologyToday’s blog Positively Media, explained that this anxiety stems from a tendency to concentrate on specific aspects of our looks rather than the bigger picture. “We focus on the things that we’re most concerned with, whether that’s the perception of a physical fault such as ‘my lips look too thin,’ or a temporary one like ‘does my sunburn show underneath my makeup?’ We tend to be much harder on ourselves than others are on us,” she said. “Whereas others take in an image holistically, noticing expressions of emotion and mood such as a smile, we are scrutinizing the minor details.”

“When it comes to self-perception on social media, selfies are, there is no better way to put it, the worst. Most people fall into two groups: You are either embarrassed to participate, tentatively posting one in fear of being ridiculed by friends (at least half of the women I interviewed for this story said they belonged to this group but will post selfies anyway, only to later question the image they chose, stewing over whether it really was, in fact, a good picture of them), or they are confident enough to post one, but will often add filters, or use retouching apps to erase ‘flaws.’ For the young, impressionable, and unaware, this could arguably be more damaging to self-esteem than an obviously airbrushed fashion campaign.”

“There are apps out there which can change everything: your eye color, the size of your eyes, slim your cheeks,” said 24-year-old model Iskra Lawrence, who helped put together the un-airbrushed 2014 charity calendar Model Kind, and says she hasn’t retouched any of her Instagram images—”yet.” “It is so much scarier than magazines,” she said. “At least most people realize that magazines and campaigns have been airbrushed. But young girls are looking at selfies on Instagram and they’re not realizing that some people are using apps to totally change what they look like.”

“Everyone I spoke to for this story, besides Iskra [Lawrence], admitted to retouching photos of themselves in some way—even if a filter was all they added. New Zealand-born model Emma Sanders, 24, and Human Gallery NYC owner, Rachael Yaeger, 27, both said they use filters to change the way they look on Instagram. “I use a filter to change the light sometimes because it can change the bone structure in your face,” said Emma, who now lives in New York. Yaeger, meanwhile, uses black and white filters on her selfies because it helps to smooth out her sensitive skin. “I notice [my skin] immediately, and think that’s the first thing other people will see,” she explained.”

Kamie Crawford, a 25-year-old model from Maryland, says she retouches her social media images “all the time,” however she says she is honest with her followers about it. “Ideals of beauty are so farfetched, it feels like every single moment you have to be perfect,” she said. “Usually I do underneath my eyes, dark circles or creases. I also use Perfect365, an app that can give me eyelashes because mine are really short,” she revealed, adding that as a plus-size model, she leaves her body alone. Mallory Blair, the 26-year-old co-founder of Small Girls PR, will retouch acne or bags under her eyes using the ‘blur’ tool on popular Japanese photo apps, and like Crawford, she hopes her honesty will shed some light on a phenomenon she says is simply “reality” nowadays. “I’ve retouched things that, honestly, if I had taken more time focusing on the angle, like where the light was hitting my face, I probably wouldn’t even have to use it,” she said. “But I’ll be like, ‘Okay I can just really quickly add blur to that spot and I’m done.'”

“Mark Zuckerberg wrote in 2012 that social media will lead to “the empowerment of people.” But by conditioning us to pick ourselves apart, minor detail by minor detail, is social media just sending society spinning down a rabbit hole of self-doubt? In her thesis titled “Why Don’t I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image”, Claremont McKenna College graduate Kendal Klein argues that the “ubiquitous and enduring nature” of social media has a more of a “detrimental impact to the body image concerns of college aged women than advertising or the media generally.”

“Curating the ‘perfect’ social media self extends beyond selfies, however. Instagram enables us to put an aspirational front on our lives, to create our own brand, in a sense, like a personal magazine, meticulously curated based on things we like, or more often than not, things we know other people will like—or be envious of. Instead of posting a photo of yourself because you want to share it with friends or family, it becomes more about the ‘brand of you.’ Last month Garance Doré touched on this subject in a post titled Instagram vs. Real Life, writing: “The thing with Instagram, it’s the difference there is between our real life and the dream life we post. Ok so we’re all supposed to know it and take Instagram life with a grain of salt, but let’s be honest, we all forget.”

Sources:
Fleming, O. (2014). ‘Why Don’t I Look Like Her?’: How Instagram Is Ruining Our Self Esteem. Available: http://www.elle.com/beauty/tips/a2531/how-instagram-is-ruining-our-self-esteem/. Last accessed 12th November 2016.

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“Why Don’t I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image” (2013) Theses by Klein, K/’Self-Gaze’, ‘Gratification’ and ‘Self-Objectification’ Theories

This is working towards objective 1.

I came across Klein, K (2013) thesis titled, “Why Don’t I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image” whilst researching various theories in relation to my working research question and current practice, and happened to be pleasantly surprised by such findings. The thesis covered a specific part of my research question, body image, social media and self perception. I feel my research has led me naturally to focus more on social media than printed publications due to the natural direction of the industries and the chosen platforms of use are becoming more digital overtime due to the use of apps for example, and feel the extracts taken from said thesis summarise theories of the Male Gaze, The Self-Surveying Gaze and Objectification in context, whilst also re-enforcing why social media in this instance can affect our self-perception and body image issues.

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  • Negative mind sets in relation to body image can encourages women to engage in ‘disordered eating’ habits and therefore derive subsequent mental health issues.
  • Poor body image and dissatisfaction are the “best known contributors” eating disorders and disordered eating habits.
  • Negative body image encourages negative and “obsessive behaviours” which are associated with ideals represented in the media in an attempt to fit in. This relates back to Tafjel and Turners’s (1979) Social Identity theory and the idea of in-group and out-group comparative behaviours.

 

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  • Body dissatisfaction is the “experience of negative thoughts and esteem about one’s body” (Dittmar 1) [judging] their body dissatisfaction on “the difference between an ideal body shape/size and perceived own body/shape” (Rumsey 30).

 

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  • As previously noted above, dissatisfaction can be associated with Tafjel and Turners’s (1979) Social Identity theory.
  • Negative feelings towards one’s self-perception is seen as normal across society especially in “young women” whom at the same time may be shaping or forming their identities (Rumsey 455).

 

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  • The “media helps to shape beauty ideals by showing certain body sizes [as…] beautiful and desirable” (Rumsey 217) insinuating that the media is responsible for choosing who and what is seen as the ‘ideal’, shaping and creating unattainable and unmaintainable aspirations for women.

 

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  • The ‘male gaze theory’ allows for women to be seen as objects of “the heterosexual man’s eye (Shields 74)” claiming that it is this awareness which allows for women to adopt different perspectives to see themselves through the eye of the third person, viewing themselves in this way opposed to how they actually see themselves, judging other women in the same vein also – through a male eye. By doing so one is put under constant pressure feeling the “gaze” consciously.

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  • The various representations of the ‘ideal’ which the media promotes can be said to confuse one’s self-perception and the understanding of what the ‘ideal’ is, and therefore what beauty is. This confusion and internalisation can lead to the “self-surveying gaze” which can overwhelm one and therefore will be no longer able to recognise her true perception opposed to her perceived self-perception. This can lead to eating disorders, disordered eating and issues with confidence and self-esteem for example.
  • Social media is said to have the same effects on ones self-perception as the male gaze, due to an internalisation of an ‘ideal image’.
  • Social media, networking and photo sharing can be said to have links with body dissatisfaction, disordered eating and mental illnesses.

 

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The above reflects and supports the comments quoted by Klein, K (2013) as Rumsey in a previous extract .

  • The “media helps to shape beauty ideals by showing certain body sizes [as…] beautiful and desirable” (Rumsey 217) insinuating that the media is responsible for choosing who and what is seen as the ‘ideal’, shaping and creating unattainable and unmaintainable aspirations for women.

 

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  • Ideals have changed overtime due to changing media representations of the ideal woman and shape reflected through magazines, advertising and campaigns, for example.
  • The changing eras can also change ones self-perception with Playboy models from the 80s loving their physiques, to now in 2016 disliking how they looked at the time due to societies altered perceptions of what is ‘perfect’ and what is the ‘ideal’ as this is what they were perceived as at the time of their original modelling success, not only by themselves but by others also.
  • This suggests that culture and social changes over time also can affect our own perceptions and opinions.

 

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  • Shocking facts regarding social media and user activity. For example, it is noted above by ‘Always Connected’ that 90% of 18 to 24 year olds will check messages/notifications on their phones within the first 15 minutes of being awake in the morning.

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  • Photo sharing platforms and photo-led applications allow for users to critique themselves, and the more these platforms/apps are used the more critiquing and self-evaluating may take place, altering ones self-perception due to internalising of a pre-determined ideal.
  • Photos posts on Facebook are 104% more likely to gain interaction than an “average comment post (Wishpond)”

 

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  • 575 photos are ‘liked per second (Wishpond) per day on Instagram alone.
  • 7.3m daily active users (Wishpond) on Instagram alone.
  • 81 comments are made a second (Wishpond) on Instagram alone.

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  • Klein, K (2013) notes that “social media makes social comparisons even more competitive” due to having likes, comments and followers to gage their self-worth and beauty from, in some cases establishing their level of confidence and self-esteem. The higher the number, the better ones self-perception is. The lower the number, the lower the self-esteem.
  • Hong  (340) notes that “perceptions are not shaped exclusively by what profile users disclose about themselves [but also…] based on others’ comments]”, being titled the “warranting principle … judgement from other-generated information is more influential than judgement from self-generated material” stating the same principle as the self-perception theory whereby we value and judge our self-worth and perceptions based on others’ opinions of ourselves opposed to our own thoughts, due to third person perspectives instilled through socio-cultural influences and expectations (Bem 1972).

 

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  • Objectification Theory was coined by Frederickson and Roberts in 1997.
  • This quote, “objectification functions to socialise girls and women to treat themselves as objects to be evaluated based upon appearance” (Roberts and Gettman 17-18) I believe summarises how objectification can damage ones self-perceptions due to being moulded to look a certain way in order to fit in with a certain pre-determined ideal.
  • Objectification of women is prevalent in mass media and can impact them subconsciously allowing for internalisation, evaluation and change.
  • Women are told and taught from a young age that in society one is judged based on appearance often known to reflect class or status for example, reflected in the modern day through uniform or designer clothing for instance. Again this heavily relates back to Tafjel and Turner’s 1979 theory of Social Identity, whilst also resonating with Freud and Lacan’s ‘Mirror Stage’ theory noting that from 18 months one becomes aware of their ‘image’ and subsequent ego.

 

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  • A model by Frederickson, 1997, representing the Objectification theory showcasing how objectification and observation can lead to Self-Objectification and therefore opens up for psychological issues and health risks such as shame, depression and disordered eating. This evidences that being judged on appearance through objectifying ourselves can lead to mental health issues and de-sensitivity from what is real and not real in regard to their own body image and identity. I feel this is often the case with celebrities and bloggers in the media for example whom have been branded with such titles before, however it can be argued that they choose to objectify themselves at first, allowing for doors to be opened for the internalisation of this curated image and received perceptions boosting self-esteem.

 

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  • As touched on above, exposure and Objectification can lead to Self-Objectification due to the “objectifying gaze (Frederickson and Roberts, 176)”. I found the 3 ways noted above by Frederickson and Roberts, in which external gazes such as social media or magazine campaigns for example can cause an internal influence to be extremely interesting and translatable to both my research and my current practice in regards to the message being shared on how these methods and interactions with social media can cause harm, and also to raise awareness on how brands and icons influence us using such noted methods.

 

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  • Created and acknowledged third-person perspectives can affect negative behaviour and body dissatisfaction due to “appearance [becoming of] central import[ance] to self-concept” (Rumsey 100). This can lead to obsessive behaviours and potentially subsequent disordered eating for example.

 

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  • Raacke argues that it is how we use media and social media opposed to the medium being the issue at hand, therefore implying the responsibility of such issues lies with the user and the brand for example. This is noted as the “Gratification Theory”.
  • Hesse-Buber (“The Mass Marketing” 216) argues that “[individuals] choose to expose themselves to the messages being conveyed through the media and how they act upon their chosen interpretations” implying that it again is the user, or brand for example responsible for the messages they convey and therefore the perceptions associated, expected and created.
  • Klein, K (2013) notes that, “[Gratification theory] does not assume a passive audience” but instead is “mediated by women’s sense of their own body image … if they feel good about their bodies, they may not be impacted as much by the thinness message” (Hesse-Buber “The Mass Marketing” 216) implying that it is ultimately the will and understanding of the audience and their interpretation of the visual for instance, opposed to the direct message from the originator. If one is strong willed enough and aware perhaps this exposure and attempted subconscious internalisation will not take effect, however for some objectification and self-objectification can take over unknowingly forcing change and comparative, competitive behaviours and intern gratify themselves and their audiences pre-set expectations.

 

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  • Women often seek to view images which will cause negative emotions and behaviours if one is already subject to internalising an external ideal (Klein, K, 2013).
  • Klein, K (2013) stated in relation to objectification and self-objectification theory that “if a woman is not satisfied with her body, she will typically internalise the thin ideal, compare it to her own body, and then try to change herself as a result of increased negative body image” showcasing how altering perceptions arise and can damage mental health and physical health also through bodily changes to reach such ‘ideal’.

 

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  • Those whom already have low self-esteem or body image confidence issues for example are most likely to be impacted negatively by social comparisons whether be in person, via social media or via magazines for example. (Hesse-Buber, “The Mass Marketing” 217″)

Source:
Klein, K. (2013). Why Don’t I Look Like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image. Available: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1749&context=cmc_theses. Last accessed 12th November 2016.

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Social Media and Mental Health Facts/Context

This is working towards objective 4.B and 1.

The below facts/quotes have been taken as research and potentially for use throughout the Social Media Wellbeing Campaign I am currently exploring and experimenting with. I found that these facts and quotes are resonant with my research question, understanding how and why social media, along with magazines for example, can affect our self-perceptions. This particular Campaign project also focuses on Mental Health issues which can come hand-in-hand with the over-use of social media.

I am hoping that I can take elements of these facts/figures to use in posters and informative booklets for example.

“In fact, in 2012 a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users, 53% of whom said social media had changed their behavior; 51% said it was negative behavior because of decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others.”

“A paper linking social media usage to the Freudian ideas of the id, ego, and super-ego cites many examples of positive psychological effects of social media. Perhaps one of the most important points is that social media doesn’t necessarily take us out of the real world. It can instead be used to revive and preserve relationships with other people. Research presented in the journal The British Psychological Society found that students who experience low self-esteem can take advantage of social media and its capability to bond them with others in order to pull themselves up from slumps in their mood.”

Source:
Unknown. (2015). 10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health. Available: http://blog.degreed.com/10-ways-social-media-affects-our-mental-health/. Last accessed 12th November 2016.

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Social Media Wellbeing Campaign: Initial Idea Development

This is working towards objective 4.C.

I stumbled onto the idea for my social media wellbeing campaign after researching the Barbie store in Tokyo, Japan. Whilst researching images of life-size Barbies in-situ came across a wealth of images via a Google search of ‘Barbies’ and was astounded by how many different Barbies had been around and are currently are for sale. It was at this stage that I began to note how various Barbies reminded me of different bloggers or well-known icons for example whom are representative of social media in particular which therefore sparked this idea. The image below reminded me of Sarah Gonzalez, the beauty blogger discussed in relation to Tarte’s Influencer trip to Bora Bora and the idea of ‘Natural Beauty’.

I thought that by using the Barbie dolls to represent real figures, and by placing them in their known contexts of social media, photography, photo-manipulation and their chosen ‘locations’, the message, facts and figures being relayed will be perhaps more resonant and coherent with the target audience understanding the link between visual and said message at hand highlighting how social media may affect ones self perception and in turn could affect their mental health.

 

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The barbie doll was then photoshopped over a beach background, giving a false aesthetic enhancing the message.

The same process was carried out with dolls representing a Beauty Barbie inspired by the likes of Zoella and a Fashion blogger Barbie inspired by enhanced, lavish and unattainable lifestyles of many extremely successful bloggers and icons for example showcased on Social Media and in more ‘highbrow’ magazine such as Vogue.

Quotes, facts and figures were added in based on the visual at hand and based on previously collated research prior to starting the visual process for this project. The header “#NotReal# stemmed from the build up of the idea and how this was generated, whilst being represented through a smartphone camera, represents a not real image whether it is staged or photo-manipulated intern affecting perceptions for personal gain.

To keep in-line with the previous works created throughout this semester so far stemming from the Instagram Post project, small illustrative marks have been taken and used as minor background detail, to add a pop of colour and to draw attention to the centre of the image. I wanted to keep this aesthetic and colour scheme going receiving a good reception whilst building a brand identity almost for this collective, series of work focusing on similar issues and contexts. This is also why Futura has also been used for the main copy keeping in-line with the initial Instagram posts, whilst working aesthetically with the tone of the work.

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Image Sources: Barbie, Beach

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Image Sources: Heidi Klum Barbie Doll, Papparazzi Background

Different dolls and backgrounds were experimented with in order to find combinations which work visually. Layout was also explored here as can be seen below, giving the option to include further text at the bottom of the poster (initial starting point for the campaign materials), however decided against this after re visiting my visual references and realising that most of the wellbeing campaigns are minimal in regards to text and simply feature a logo/caption and one sentence of to-the-point copy.

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Image Sources: Wall Texture, Moschino Barbie

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After initially thinking I would keep inline with the colour scheme of the “what’s my name again?!” I printed off the posters to see how they would look in print, and felt alongside my other series of work did fit in but also looked too similar, and felt that being associated with Barbie, perhaps going pink opposed to peach would change the tone and aesthetic, without changing typography or layout.

I felt much happier with this colour change, and decided to use tonal colours of one pink shade for the background, whilst using swatched colours from the “what’s my name again?!” theory based lipstick shade concept for the typography and illustrative details adding a subtle connection between both projects. These were selected again based on what aesthetically worked whilst keeping inline with the newly chosen and confirmed colour scheme for the wellbeing campaign which going forward would also apply to various other forms of digital media and printed collateral.

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Above: Beauty Blogger Barbie

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Above: Natural Beauty Barbie

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Above: Fashion Blogger Barbie

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Social Media Wellbeing Campaign: Photo Editing

This is working towards objective 4.C and 1.

The below quotes/facts/figures has been taken from an article written by Daily Mail, leasing with a Clinical Psychologist, Dr Vivienne Lewis in regards to body-dissatisfaction and self-perception issues, in relation to social media specifically. As this campaign is aimed particularly at young women, whom actively use social media, I thought that the below are key pieces of information which can be relayed back through the campaign materials.

Furthermore, I also found this article interesting in relation to topics previously discussed and researched, such as photo-editing apps and the impact that this can have on one how one perceives themselves due to being faced with “the expectation to use them”, as noted below by Dr. Lewis.

I also found interesting that Carli Alman noted that through the research of BeautyHeaven, it is apparent that there are “double standards when it comes to photo editing” noting often the criticism of celebrities doing so, however 57% of the women spoken to admitted to doing so themselves.

In addition to this, I also found that 18% of women noted that their social media profile pictures are not genuine representations of themselves in regards to being edited to enhance their appearances, whilst 2/3 of women would also need to ask approval from a friend before actually sharing such images online. This shows alone, that social media has a huge role to play in our changing perceptions of not only ourselves but of others. As noted earlier in this semester, with the Fashion and Beauty Industries going more digital in regards to publications and advertising alike, it is important to remember that social media is becoming a magazine such as magazines are turning into social media, therefore to me, it is important to notice how the impact of new technologies is altering and shaping our perceptions and ideals more, and more over time, and therefore why I am working on this project. I do not think that this has been helped by bloggers and vloggers also, whom like celebrities are all for the photo editing ways of life, and only post ‘perfect’ photographs throughout the day, again tainting ideas, norms and unrealistic nor unattainable expectations of women.

New research has shown that over two thirds of women interviewed “believe it’s wrong for magazines to edit photos before they go to print. However 57 per cent of these ladies also admitted to altering their own pictures before posting them on various social media sites.”

“18 per cent of the ladies surveyed admitted that the profile picture on their social media page is so heavily edited it’s a not a realistic representation of them. Further to this almost two thirds of women surveyed force friends to show them photos for approval before they’re posted online, and 60 per cent untag themselves from images they aren’t happy with.”

“‘It seems there are double standards when it comes to photo editing,’ Carli Alman, Editor of beautyheaven said of the research. ‘They’ve seen celebs like Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr looking perfect in their social media snaps, knowing many of these images have been edited and now there is a copycat effect.’ Carli added.”

“Dr Vivienne Lewis, a Clinical Pyshcologist at University of Canberra, who specialises in body image issues, said body image dissatisfaction is ‘becoming more and more of a problem for women. The thing is they’re constantly having to meet unrealistic standers of beauty, women in particular who are very concerned about their bodies can spend hours editing photos. Social media is certainly putting us under more and more pressure to look our very best, and that often falls in line with the sort of ideals we see elsewhere.'”

Dr Vivienne Lewis added that, “because there is access to photo editing apps, there is an expectation to use them. But she said women need to embrace the way they – and those around them – look. It’s the judgement of others that women get concerned about and comparisons to other women. It’s all about celebrating body diversity and embracing your own uniqueness. The more and more people who are able to accept others for what they look like.. the more likely we are to do it to ourselves”

Sources:
Noble, F. (2015). Double standards? More than half of women admit to editing their social media photos before posting despite over two thirds thinking it’s wrong for magazines to do it. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2948410/More-half-women-admit-editing-social-media-photos-posting-despite-two-thirds-thinking-s-wrong-magazines-it.html#ixzz4PZ3krcW6. Last accessed 10th November 2016.

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‘The Male Gaze’ Theory and Feminism

This is working towards objective 1.

After looking into the new Barbie Doll line-up for 2016, this resonated with theories of Feminism and the Male Gaze theory which were slightly touched upon, and are extremely relevant to my current practice and research question, therefore wanted to look into these more intently.

The Male Gaze:

“The male gaze is the way in which the visual arts and literature depict the world and women from a masculine point of view, presenting women as objects of male pleasure. The phrase male gaze was coined by feminist film critic Laura Mulvey in 1975.”

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In addition to this, John Berger in ‘The Ways of Seeing’ stated that, “according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome — men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.”

Furthermore, theories by Lacan surrounding the idea of “seeing oneself and seeing the ideal” can be noted in related to both theories of Mulvey and Berger in the sense that each relays back to ones self-perception as an impact of external influences and triggers, such as the Male Gaze for instance, in addition to the pressures of the media in the 21st century. Perhaps that this can be said especially in relation to Lacan is the difference between looking at a still photograph and that of a ‘real’ person allowing for a comparative nature to take over. In addition in regards to the Male Gaze, this is evident across the media with magazines such as Vogue to those such as Playboy, for example, amongst many other forms of print and digital based media.

Furthermore, as times have changed and women have become more conscious of how one and another perceive themselves, be it in real life, or on social media for example, Mulvey also notes that the ‘Female Gaze’ is the same as the ‘Male Gaze’ stating that women see themselves through the eyes of men, therefore influencing our choices on what is perceived and deemed attractive by the opposite sex, or the ‘male gaze’. Again, this is reflected though the likes of Playboy models whom tailor their appearance purposely to obtain such roles and careers.

Feminist Perspectives on The Male Gaze:

“A good deal of feminist criticism has been focused on eighteenth-century philosophy because of the many influential works on beauty, pleasure, and taste that were written at that time and that became foundational texts for contemporary theories. “Taste” refers to the facility that permits good judgments about art and the beauties of nature. While the metaphor for perception is taken from the gustatory sense, these theories are actually about visual, auditory, and imaginative pleasure, since it is widely assumed that literal taste experience is too bodily and subjective to yield interesting philosophical problems. Judgments of taste take the form of a particular kind of pleasure—one that eventually became known as “aesthetic” pleasure (a term that entered English only in the early nineteenth-century).”

“The phrase “male gaze” refers to the frequent framing of objects of visual art so that the viewer is situated in a “masculine” position of appreciation. By interpreting objects of art as diverse as paintings of the nude and Hollywood films, these theorists have concluded that females depicted in art are standardly placed as objects of attraction (much as Burke had lined up women as the original aesthetic object); and that the more active role of looking assumes a counterpart masculine position. As Laura Mulvey puts it, women are assigned the passive status of being looked-at, whereas men are the active subjects who look (Mulvey 1989).”

“Theories of the gaze reject the idea that perception is ever merely passive reception. [The approach] assume that vision possesses power: power to objectify—to subject the object of vision to scrutiny and possession. The male gaze has been a theoretical tool of inestimable value in calling attention to the fact that looking is rarely a neutral operation of the visual sense.”

Naomi Scheman states: “Vision is the sense best adapted to express this dehumanization: it works at a distance and need not be reciprocal, it provides a great deal of easily categorized information, it enables the perceiver accurately to locate (pin down) the object, and it provides the gaze, a way of making the visual object aware that she is a visual object. Vision is political, as is visual art, whatever (else) it may be about (Scheman 1993: 159).”

“Since the turn of the last millennium there has been a veritable explosion of interest in beauty among philosophers, artists, critics, and cultural theorists–feminists among them (Brand 2013: 4-6). While some of this work continues to consider the general traits of beauty in art and nature, quite a lot of it focuses on the norms of appearance of the human body, and the “violation” of “standard” norms according to race, disability, age, history, and variant sexual morphologies. Such standards govern not only artistic depictions, but also the way that real people shape and reshape their own bodies to conform to reigning standards of attractiveness (Devereaux 2013; Wegenstein 2012, 2006). Feminists and critical race theorists have been especially mindful of diversity and suspicious of general norms and the harms that they can occasion.”

Sources:

Mulvey, L. (1999). Woman as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look. In: Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Film Theory and Criticism : Introductory Readings.. New York: Oxford UP. p.837.
Unknown. (2016). Male Gaze. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_gaze. Last accessed 9th November 2016.
Berger, John (1973), “Section 3”, in Berger, John, Ways of seeing, London: BBC Penguin Books. p.45.
Sturken, Marita; Cartwright, Lisa (2001), “Spectatorship, power, and knowledge”, in Sturken, Marita; Cartwright, Lisa, Practices of looking: an introduction to visual culture, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, p.81
Sassatelli, Roberta (September 2011). “Interview with Laura Mulvey: gender, gaze and technology in film culture”. Theory, Culture & Society. Sage. 28 (5): p. 123–143.
Korsmeyer, C. (2012). Feminist Aesthetics. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-aesthetics/. Last accessed 10th November 2016.

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