“The Self in a Consumer Society” in ‘Identity’ by Bauman (2004)

My tutor advised me to look at the following essay by Bauman (2004) addressing ‘the universal elite’ in relation to self-perception issues, social media and consumerism. This is important in understanding how material objects and new content from magazines, brands and social media play a part in our self-hood, self-perception and our ability and expectations to be a certain way, look a certain way and conform to ‘ideals’ portrayed by such medias.

Notes have been made below from my findings:

  • We live in both a consumer society and a producer society, whereby social media platforms allow us to produce our own content opposed to simply viewing and consuming as that of magazines and brand-led content, for example.
  • We are judged by how well we conform and play out our ideal role/ideal in modern day society due to an influx of ideals and expectations which are imposed upon us; ‘the universal elite’, which only some can maintain and attain.
  • Consumerism and conforming is a desirable experience, along with acquiring new possessions and material goods.
  • Brands are constantly releasing new products, whilst magazines are releasing new content, similar to that of social media feeds, allowing for one to feel the need to be constantly exposed to ‘newness’.
  • Social status and the ability to consume dictates ones position and the freedom to be who one wants to be, and therefore how one is received and perceived by the public, friends and families for example.

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“Faces with Light Makeup Are Better Recognised than Faces with Heavy Makeup” by Keiko Tagal et al., (2016)

Below shows a scanned in annotated notes of a research study carried out by the Shiseido group (Tagal et al., 2016), regarding how faces are perceived or recognised in Japan with different amounts of makeup. I found this study interesting in relation to Western culture and how we strive to look glamorous and like our favourite ‘cultural or celebrity icons’ for example, often wearing lots of makeup and following the latest beauty and social media led trends. Whereas, this study examines how the opposite is more favourable in Japan; youthful, light makeup; as backed up by interviews (Vogue Japan and Nicole T) and findings from my Japan research trip.

Findings:

  • ‘Natural’ looking makeup is the ‘trend’ in Japan and seen as the native ideal look with results showing that attractiveness was rated highest for ‘light makeup faces’ shown in the study
  • The above contrasts to Western culture, and is backed up by research and interviews in Japan/UK
  • Light makeup in Japan is seen as preferable in Japan as it does not interfere with facial recognition and ones true identity; contrasting to the UK whereby we often use makeup to change our appearance in a bid to feel more attractive
  • The Equality Act in Japan was only derived in Japan in 1987, with claims that men and women were not equal in daily lives, therefore hindering the identity of women at times and therefore stemmed a natural makeup trend in order to be recognised and seen for who they really are as people; almost exposing themselves publicly in response
  • Results of 38 Japanese women used in the study concluded that facial attractiveness was judged greatest for faces with light makeup, followed by faces with heavy makeup, and then no make up at all in last place, acknowledging that wearing makeup was still favourable even if to achieve a ‘natural’ and ‘not there’ look opposed to not being worn at all
  • Acing has a negative effect on colouration of the skin, and formulations for skin-lightening products in Japan adopt this scientific knowledge to produce anti-aging products that decreased colour heterogeneity.
  • Wearing makeup affects women’s self-image in a positive light, through changing ones skin colour, texture and shape, (i.e. eye shape) as noted previously above, having a positive impact on self-perception, confidence, self-hood and self-esteem.

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“Semiology: Laying bare the prejudices beneath the smooth surface of the beautiful” by Gillian Rose (2012)

Below shows extracts of Rose’s “Semiology: Laying bare the prejudices beneath the smooth surface of the beautiful” (2012) book, looking at the relationship between Panopticism as founded by Foucault, and the ideology that brands depict scenarios and images through photography which are often seen and recognised as ‘real’ opposed to a set up scenario. This shows one how one can be influenced by imagery seen in magazines, social media and advertisements for example, and how this could possibly affect ones self-perception and the perception of others alike, in turn causing a tutored sense of self, relating back to Shields and Heineken’s ‘Self-Surveying/Internalised Gaze’ theory as discussed heavily in my research during Semester 1.

Furthermore, it is discussed that brand ambassadors, and the likes of modern day bloggers and vloggers whom have become cultural icons in themselves become the face of the brand therefore imposing an ideal and an image which can be unattainable and unmaintainable, however is aspired to as a result of advertising exposure. In addition, it is also noted that cultural and social differences should be acknowledged and understood when analysing advertising campaigns and photography, therefore implying how imagery can be perceived differently to a knowing eye; as seen in my Japan VS British/US research into the beauty and fashion industries, i.e. Shiseido and Vogue.

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“Visual Methodologies” by Gillian Rose, (2007)

The below is taken from “Visual Methodologies” by Gillian Rose (2007), and discusses the ideology of Panopticism and Surveillance as profoundly noted by Foucault, and how this translates to photography. My tutor noted this theoretical approach to me during a tutorial, which I felt resonated with the modern day world of social media and idea of ‘cultural icons’, whereby consciously or unconsciously we are under continuous surveillance of ourselves, and of other people, being monitored through photographs. Tagg further notes in regard to photography that photography has no real identity, whilst Foucault argues that most have the understanding that most see a photograph and depict this as ‘real’, opposed to an institutionalised process created through technology; as seen in magazines and social media using apps and filters, relating back to modern day and the surrounding issues of self perception.

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The Guardian Article: “Are you as fit as you should be for your age? This checklist might surprise you”

Below shows a quote from an article on the Telegraph regarding fitness and gym culture in the UK. I found that this highly resonated with my research topic regarding how self-perception and body image in women is affected between the ages of 18 and 24. I found it most interesting that those under 25 saw more aesthetic benefits to working out than those above the age of 25, possibly due to an impact of social media, whereby the fitness industry has also began to take over mainstream accounts, giving an influence and ideology of an ‘ideal’ for young women to aspire to.

“According to Virgin Active’s latest research, 52% of British women between the ages of 25 and 34 would rather look slim and toned in their holiday photos than be fit enough to run a marathon. Those under 25 claimed that ‘looking good’ was the main reason that they worked out. It’s not until we hit our mid-thirties that the majority of us are more motivated to hit the gym for our health.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/body/fit-should-age-checklist-might-surprise/

Last Accessed: 6/2/2017

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Conversation/Beauty Shopping with Nicole T (Beauty Blogger)

Below shows notes made from the audio recording of my meeting with Nicole T, a beauty blogger in Japan. I decided to produce a mind-map due to the audio recording being around 2 hours long, and felt it was unnecessary to transcribe. Instead, main points have been taken and noted under key headings of topics discussed. Nicole also took me beauty shopping in Harajuku, which is where the many images of Japanese beauty products was derived. Nicole explained each product to me, and it’s relation to their current and previous beauty trends, self perception and ideals, whilst also elaborating on the models used, for example, and why.

A recording of this will be submitted on a USB along with all other recorded interviews, whilst being noted in my appendices of my dissertation, with print outs of the notes featured below for reference.

This is also working towards the following objectives:

1. 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).

3.  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.

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Anonymous Research Questionnaire: Questions

In order to collate more primary research, I have produced a questionnaire titled, “self-perception and body image within the beauty and fashion industries”. The aim of this questionnaire is to help work towards understanding, if and how magazines and social media, affect self-perception and body image issues across 18-24 year olds.

By producing a questionnaire, this allows for anonymous participants to share their thoughts regarding such topics, in order to affirm or negate my other research and methodologies undertaken to take, whilst gaining a different perspective which can be used in my dissertation.

The questionnaire was written in line with the LCA Ethics Policy, whilst being checked by the Ethics Committee, prior to being distributed.

The questionnaire was available to complete online anonymously for 1 month.

This is also working towards the following objectives:

1. 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).

3.  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.

Distribution:

  • Social Media: Instagram and Facebook, targeting 18-24 year old females and males, active within the beauty/fashion industry, as well as those who are interested in such industries. By promoting the questionnaire on social media this also allowed for an International, cross-cultural audience to be open to responding gaining a wider range of results to analyse and compare.
  • Circulated by my contacts in Tokyo, Japan, prior to my research trip, to allow for Japanese 18-24 year olds to participate in the questionnaire.
  • Universities in the UK with both British and Japanese students (discussed in Semester 1 and in my Professional Context report). However, unfortunately I have not heard back from those whom I had contacted.
  • Leeds College of Art Fashion Programmes (the following message was circulated, complying with the LCA Ethics Policy, whilst ensuring information was given to all regarding the subject and nature of the questionnaire, and what will be done with the anonymous results).

“Hi all,

I am a Fashion and Beauty-led Graphic Designer, and I am currently studying on the MA Creative Practice course.

I would like to invite you to participate in a research project building primary data for analysis surrounding my research question. I am interested in speaking with both males and females between the ages of 18 to 24, in order to gain understanding about how  magazines and social media, may or may not affect ones self-perception and perceived body image.

I am currently looking for participants to complete a short questionnaire, compiling data which can be utilised in my dissertation.

The research will be analysed as data and summarised in comparison to other studies and theories alike to aid this.

If you agree to take part, all responses will be kept confidential and anonymous. No name is required, however an email address can be left if you would like to do so.

Your participation is voluntary and you are in no way obliged to take part. You have been selected and contacted due to your active involvement in the Fashion Industry, with a view to that you may be interested in taking part.

If you are interested in taking part please click the below link to access the questionnaire:

https://surveyplanet.com/587561aabd736a23d9be24bd

Many thanks for your time, it is greatly appreciated.

Danielle Muntyan

MA Creative Practice”

 

Questionnaire:

Self-Perception and Body Image within the Beauty and Fashion Industries
Thankyou for taking the time to participate in this questionnaire.   PLEASE NOTE: Your name will not be used at all through design work or academic writing. Your responses may be read by a tutor or external examiner during assessment, but this will be confidential.  The aim of this questionnaire is to help work towards understanding, if and how magazines and social media, affect self-perception and body image issues across 18-24 year olds.

  1. What is your age?

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

I prefer not to answer

 

  1. Please select your gender:

Male

Female

I prefer not to answer

 

  1. What is your occupation?

(open)

 

  1. How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in regards to your appearance?

1 – 10 (scale)

 

  1. What platforms of social media do you use?

(multiple choice – different platforms)

 

  1. During an average day how many times do you visit social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram?

0 – 20 (scale)

 

  1. During an average day how many hours do you spend on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram?

(multiple choice – increments of hour from 0 to 4+ hours)

 

  1. What do you mainly use social media for?

(multiple choice)

 

  1. If you use Instagram, what types of account do you follow?

(multiple choice of categories, i.e. family/friends, celebrity, fitness bloggers)

 

  1. If you use Instagram, please give an example of 5 of your favourite Instagram accounts that you follow. If you do not use Instagram please state, ‘do not use’ and skip.

(open)

 

  1. If you post photos on Instagram, or other platforms of Social Media such as Facebook, do you edit them to ‘improve’ your appearance?

Yes

No

I prefer not to say

 

  1. If yes, please state with what application (i.e. Beauty Plus) or method (Filter), and why you do so.

(open)

 

  1. Do you read magazines?

Yes

No

Sometimes

 

  1. If yes, please select which magazines you read. If no, please select None and skip.

(multiple choice – list of magazines)

 

  1. Do you have a gym membership?

Yes

No

 

  1. How often do you go to the gym/exercise?

(multiple choice)

 

  1. Do you have a role model you aspire to ‘look like’ or ‘be like’, if so, whom and why?

If no, please state ‘no’ and skip.

(open)

 

  1. Do you watch makeup or beauty tutorials on YouTube or Instagram?

Yes

No

 

  1. Do you feel that social media has affected your self-perception and body image?

Yes

No

Not Sure

 

  1. If yes, why do you feel that social media has affected your self-perception and body image?

If no, please state ‘no’ and skip.

(open)

 

  1. Do you feel that magazines have affected your self-perception and body image?

Yes

No

Not Sure

 

  1. If yes, why do you feel that magazines have affected your self-perception and body image?

If no, please state ‘no’ and skip.

(open)

 

  1. How do you feel about the following statement, ‘social media and magazines encourage negative and comparative behaviours at times, which can impact on self-perception and body image issues’?

(open)

 

  1. Do you feel that beauty and fashion bloggers are a positive or negative influence on self-perception and body image? And, why?

(open)

 

  1. Have you ever changed your image, or ‘look’ purposefully as a result of influence or content from social media or a magazine? i.e. celebrity diet, cosmetic surgery, makeup regime. If so, what and why?

If no, please state ‘no’ and skip.

(open)

 

  1. Do you feel that ‘celebrity culture’, influences our self-perceptions and body image? If so, how?

If no, please state ‘no’.

(open)

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Refined Objectives for Semester 2

Following my research trip to Japan, I feel that my objectives have changed slightly, specifically relating to Objective 5:

  1. 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.

In regard to this, I feel that from speaking with various models, bloggers and editors at Vogue Japan, that this objective will be extremely hard to produce after finding out that each country and subsequent culture, has a defined ‘ideal’ or body type, which would mean that standardisation on a International scale would be almost impossible. I m still interested in various policies surrounding this objective, but do not feel that this is the emphasis of my practice going forward, and feel my focus has shifted now towards making those interested in/active in the beauty/fashion industries of such different ideals, cultures and expectations opposed to trying to standardise them.

In addition, I also feel in regard to Objective 4 (noted below), that design work will now take a publishing based approach opposed to social media-led, due to research findings. Without both beauty/fashion cultures in the UK and in Japan being similar or comparative in regard to blogger culture, and social media use, and without an already existing large platform to work on that a digital campaign to highlight body image and self-perception issues, as suggested and experimented with in Semester 1 would not be viable. Instead, as noted above, I would like to produce a publication showcasing trends from both Western and Eastern cultures, particularly the UK and Japan, in order to highlight the differences between industries and how these themselves can impact upon self-perception and body image,

  1. 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.

Therefore, the objectives which I will be working towards throughout Semester 2, can be found below:

Objectives and goals:

  1. 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).

 

  1. To understand policies and guidelines within the Fashion and Beauty Industries currently encouraging positive body image.

 

  1.  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.

 

  1. To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of cross-cultural beauty/fashion trends on self-perceptions and body image.

 

 

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Vogue Japan Interview: Mind-Map

Below shows notes made from the audio recording of my meeting with Vogue Japan, in Tokyo. I decided to produce a mind-map due to the audio recording being around 2 hours long, and felt it was unnecessary to transcribe. Instead, main points have been taken and noted under paraphrased questions which I asked during the interview.

A recording of this will be submitted on a USB along with all other recorded interviews, whilst being noted in my appendices of my dissertation, with print outs of the notes featured below for reference.

This is also working towards the following objectives:

1. 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).

2.To understand policies and guidelines within the Fashion and Beauty Industries currently encouraging positive body image.

3.  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.

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Sourcebook Aesthetic/Visual Inspiration

This is working towards the following objectives:

4. To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of cross-cultural beauty/fashion trends on self-perceptions and body image.

 

80s Fashion | A Decade of Trends by Danielle Muntyan

This magazine has been produced and published as a source book of 80s fashion trends and history.

Designed in mind for fashion students and fashionista’s, it contains everything you need to know about the influential decade; history, social issues, cultural changes and influential icons who shapes the fashion industry at the time.

96 pages / Perfect Bound / Matte Cover / Gloss Inners

Available at: http://daniellemuntyandesign.dunked.com/80s-fashion-a-decade-of-trends

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Zuni Creates

A range of fashion digital and print-led collage and editorial works.

Available at: http://www.zukii.uk/company-magazine

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A-Collage

A range of socio-cultural led digital and print-led collages, hinting at identity issues and cultural confluence.

Available at: http://www.a-collage.com

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