During the process of finalising my report, I met with Brittany Rhodes which allowed for objectives to be worked towards via new future plans, which I thought were crucial going forwards. In addition, an interviewee has dropped out, meaning several elements needed to be reworded and rearranged.
I feel much happier with my report in relation to my first draft, and feel that having feedback and input from my tutor really helped initially getting started on the right foot. I do feel however that there is still room for improvement overall, and upon reflection would of liked to include more literature, but feel as though the priority was relaying my meetings/interviews post-New Year, whilst also covering a range of research and activities to date. With so much to say, and having both presentations and feedback in regard to these also to consider, found that this enabled me to be more critical, concise and focused throughout the report.
With this taken into account, below shows my final report which I will be submitting after making amends post feedback from my tutor also, shown on a previous blog post in relation to draft 2.
Danielle Muntyan (dm92082)
Professional Context 1: Interim Report
Research Question: “A cross-cultural study designed to develop understanding of the ways in which social media and beauty publications in the fashion industry affect the self-perception of women aged 18 to 24”
This report aims to contextualise progress to date in regards to resolving my working research question, underpinned by a range of both professional contexts and theoretical perspectives.
As a Graphic Designer working in the Beauty and Fashion Industries on a National and International scale, I encounter ethical, social and cross-cultural issues such as, working with photography of objectified and emaciated female models. Such issues led me to investigate the ways in which messages being communicated may be perceived and internalised by the viewer, shaping my research question.
The Fashion and Beauty Industries are becoming more digitised through advanced technologies of Social Media and Beauty Applications, adding a different dimension to the media than magazines allowing for the end-user to be in curational control of their appearance and ‘live feed’ opposed to being dictated to by Editors. Therefore, I am interested in investigating how such platforms are affecting the self-perceptions of young females Internationally (18-24).
In regards to a cross-cultural and International context, I am particularly interested in Japan exploring, how young females (18-24) are both represented and perceived through social media and magazinesin response to the rise in blogger culture, and obsession with cultural icons, with 77% of bloggers being female, and 27% of those running fashion and beauty-led blogs (Vuelio, 2016, P. 3, 5). I am also interested in finding out the impacts of Western trends and brands dominating Eastern cultures, in relation to my research topic.
Research to date has worked towards answering my research question and learning objectives. This research has taken form of qualitative, quantitative, ethical interviews and critical-design led approaches that have shaped the direction of my current practice and methodologies.
My original proposal stated the following objectives in relation to my research question:
- To understand the ways in which Social Media and Magazines can affect self-perceptions and issues:
- A) With body image (Females, 18-24)
- B) With body image on a cross-cultural scale (Females, 18-24; Tokyo, Japan).
I am to speak with both Vogue UK and Vogue Japan, and aim to carry out questionnaire’s or interviews with at least 10 females from both the UK and Japan, in order to gain quantifiable data.
- To understand policies and guidelines within the Fashion and Beauty Industries currently encouraging positive body image.
- To work with and interview those both actively working in the Fashion and Beauty Industries, and those on a consumer/follower/user basis, to compare behaviours and perspectives in relation to body image and self-perceptions.
- To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of Social Media and Magazines on self-perceptions and body image, for example:
- Critical Design led Instagram posts
- Social media wellbeing campaign
- Promotional posters and packs
- Zines and publications
- To derive a National or International Policy for use within the Fashion and Beauty Industries, based on collated research, interviews and experiences throughout this project.
These are the objectives that I will continue to work towards throughout this project.
- Research Activity
2.1. Creative and Interdisciplinary Practitioners
Research to date has led me to a range of creative and interdisciplinary practitioners, whom resonate with my practice both in regards to theory, message and design, supporting the foundations for further research and exploratory prototype work:
- Dunne and Raby
- Luisa Omielan
- Terry Richardson
- Anna Potter (Top Girl Studio)
- Barbara Kruger
- Jessica Jean
- Toni Hollowood
- Bobbie Gastall (Bobbie Rae)
- Scarlett Carson
Dunne and Raby have influenced research and prototyping to date, utilising critical-design throughout my ‘Instagram Post’ project, allowing for “design proposals to challenge assumptions, preconceptions and givens” (2007, Web). This methodology has informed my practice, but also the direction of research to date using Instagram directly to engage with and gain feedback from the target audience.
Anna Potter (2016) resonates with my practice, utilising underlying satirical tones and cross-cultural contexts derived from media, cultural icons and the Internet particularly supporting my exploratory project entitled, “What’s My Name Again?”, in relation to message, context and aesthetics.
Discussion and idea generation, led to a collaboration with Bobbie Rae, an interdisciplinary Leeds-based practitioner. This collaboration has both developed and strengthened practical ideas, working towards a resolved visual Zine entitled “How to be a Blogger”. Working with Bobbi has allowed for a different perspective of an original idea to be considered, whilst adding a different aesthetic and tone to the concept, deriving a stronger outcome.
2.2. Organisations Supporting the Creative Industries
Studio Spaces and Recruitment Agencies are part of my professional practice, however have not had to drawn upon these to date. It has been more relevant to draw upon my Industry contacts to secure interviews and meetings with individuals/organisations in an aim to work towards answering my research question and achieving my objectives.
- Industry Contacts/Links have secured Interviews/Meetings with:
- ASOS Corporate Responsibility and Design Team (ASOS HQ, London)
- Tam Dexter (Professional Model, Leicester)
- Zak Ahmed (CEO, Luxe to Kill and Runway96, Manchester)
- Toni Hollowood (MA Fashion Communication, CSM, London)
- Brittany Rhodes (Body Builder, Leeds)
Social Media has been invaluable in regards to feedback and local engagement, allowing for UI, further prototyping and idea development. I am hoping to engage with HE Institutions and various fashion programmes in the UK in regards to talking to both British and Japanese females (18-24), in order to gain comparative and quantifiable National and International insights, working towards objective 1.B.
- Social Media:
- HE Institutions:
- Leeds University
- Leeds Beckett
- UAL: Central St Martins (London)
- Manchester Metropolitan University
Self-promotion is a key-part of my professional practice, in regards to working Internationally and establishing a cross-cultural client base, however this has not been the primary focus of the International context of my work.
Instead, I have utilised various Self-Promotion platforms for publicising exploratory practical work in order to gain feedback, and share ideas with a critical-design led approach.
Self-Promotion Platforms include:
- Behance (www.behance.net/daniellemuntyan)
- Professional Website (www.daniellemuntyandesign.dunked.com)
- Social Media: Instagram (instagram.com/muntyandanielle)
In January (16th – 23rd) 2017, I will be visiting Tokyo in an aim to carry out cross-cultural field-research. To ensure research is carried out effectively to help answer my research question, the following research methodologies will be considered:
- Visual Research
- Comp Shopping
- Verbal Research:
- Focus Groups
- Publication (Magazine) Research
- Technological Advances
I had hoped to engage with HE institutions and various fashion programmes in Tokyo, Japan, with the intention of talking to Japanese females (18-24), in order to gain insight on how social media and Western Brands can affect self-perception and body image. I havehowever, been unable to make contact and now hope to consult Japanese females in the UK.
HE Institutions Tokyo, Japan:
- Bunka Fashion College
- Tokyo Mode Gakuen College
Conde Nast contacts recently confirmed a meeting with a Beauty Editor at Vogue Japan, to discuss the ways in which Japanese culture and women are portrayed in regards to both social media and print. In support, I have built links with a translator Yuko Watanabe located in Tokyo through a contact at Tokyo Disney, should the need for this service arise.
2.3. Recent Advances in Technologies
Advances in technologies have in, my opinion dictated, the direction of promotional media within the industry and therefore has taken priority through research to date.
“Media helps us to shape beauty ideas by showing certain body sizes [as] beautiful and desirable” (Rumsey, 2012, P.217) allowing for social media platforms and magazines to participate in this creation, which can, in turn, be damaging to self-perception, through the internalisation of idealised imagery and false reflections.
Photo-Manipulation, Filters, VR, Augmented Reality and Photo-Recognition technologies have allowed for advances in Application Design, UI/UX and Graphic Design.
- Shisiedo Magic Makeup Mirror:
‘Makeup Mirrors’ originally created by Japanese cosmetics brand, Shiseido, allows for one to try on makeup productsusing highly advanced facial recognition technologies and augmented reality, illustrating the positive impact of such advances. These generated images however, can also create negative perceptions in comparison to one’s true beauty and their actions – Slater and Tiggemann (2015) found that “when a person compares their own inner or self image to an image that has been [edited] it can pose the threat to self objectification and self absorption” (Fardouly, 2015, P.34). In summary, it is technological advances such as this, along with issues surrounding Western ideals of ‘icons’ and bloggers’, which has informed my decision to research Japanese Culture further.
(Image 1 – Shisiedo Makeup Mirror, Tokyo Flagship Store)
Through research, policies and guidelines set by various organisations, charities and establishments have been found, that encourage fair practice, social responsibility and ethical issues surrounding body image, model welfare and mental health within the media.
- B-EAT (UK)
- Model Alliance (US)
- UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG)
B-EAT (UK) and the Model Alliance (US) for example, can support, advise, promote and encourage fair and ethical practice in the media howeverthere is not, a binding set of guidelines that enforces all retailers, magazines and brands to follow to proactively promote positive body image. This allows for different ‘ideals’ to be portrayed by the media, causing mixed messages and perceptions for the viewer.
- ASOS Model Welfare Policy/Social Responsibility:
The Social Responsibility team at ASOS founded the ‘Model Welfare Policy’, the only brand enforced guidelinesensuring that models have a healthy BMI and have no known mental health conditions, for example. I am interested in investigating whether such policies would be beneficial on a National or International scale, corresponding with Objective 5.
- Parody Law:
Parody law is described as “[the] copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work” (Stem, 2010, Web) and allows for entitlements as a designer to work with creative freedom commercially. In relation to my current practice, I am working with parody and satirical perspectives in relation to the cultural icon, Kylie Jenner through the mocking of her branding to represent a range of key theories and issues that surround self-perception, body image, and the media.
(Image 2 – Kylie Cosmetics Logo, 2016, Instagram: KylieCosmetics)
(Image 3 – Exploratory Project Work “What’s My Name Again?”, 2016, Instagram: MuntyanDanielle)
2.5. Theoretical Perspectives
Various theoretical perspectives that underpin my current practice have been researched in order to find the most relevant to my research question:
– Social Identity
– Male Gaze & Self-Surveying Gaze
It has proven evident that the main theories associated with both my practice and that of relevant creative practitioners are Self-Perception and Social Identity.
Self-Perception is key to my current practice – shaping my prototyping work, whilst being the anchor point of my research question, understanding that, we interpret our actions the same way that we interpret the actions of others, therefore being socially opposed to produced from choice (Bem, 1972) highlighting how our self-perceptions are created from third-party perspectives in order to feel accepted.
Social Identity supports the Self-Perception Theory stating that one’s personal identity and self-awareness, is formed through their acceptance or non-acceptance into a social group, and the respective intergroup comparisons, being relative to social media and comparative behaviours with perceived ‘ideals’ (Turner and Tafjel, 1986).
In regard to the media, it is argued that “status is not considered here as a scarce resource or commodity, such as power or wealth; it is the outcome of intergroup comparison” (Turner and Tafjel, 1986, P.19), highlighting how the media for example can trigger internalized negative self-perception and intergroup comparison also in order to feel accepted.
This project has begun to encompass the groundwork of theory and contextual understanding in relation to my research question and objectives. I aim to continue to contact Industry Professionals, Bloggers and Brands in Tokyo ahead of my field-research trip. In support, I plan to research Japanese culture, socio-cultural ideals and expectations in further depth. In addition, have arranged a field-research trip to London (7th – 8th January 2017), whereby I plan to use the same methodologies as noted in 2.2b, in order to understand how International brands affect self-perceptions and body image on a cross-cultural scale.
Industry links have secured a meeting with ASOS’ Social Responsibility and Design Teams, through which I will be discussing the ASOS Model Welfare and Positive Body Image policies further specifically in relation to objective 2 and 5. I plan to speak to CSM MA student Toni Hollowell, whilst interviewing an International Female Blogger Collective, Milk and Honey, and Brittany Rhodes to gain different perspectives into issues noted in my research question, whilst working towards objective 3. Workshops on Positive Body Image have also been discussed with Brittany Rhodes, which may run within the local community within in Semester 2. I am also currently in discussion with Vogue UK regarding a comparative interview for quantifiable data working towards objectives 1A and 1B.
Word Count: 2199
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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.
Slater and Tiggemann (2015). Psychology of Women Quarterly. The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women. P. Unknown.
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Last Accessed: 4/12/16
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Presentation 1 Bibliography:
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