Sasha Fierce Aproves the F Word

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It’s a Sunday night when the all mighty Beyoncé struts her stuff on the Video Music Awards. Stain glass outfit, spotless appearance, and a voice that has often been compared to the angels above. The moment her performance ends, all we can see is her silhouette and the word FEMINISM lit up in ultra bright lights… The only time it’s appropriate to upstage the queen herself

What is this term?

Why is it so essential that it’s worthy of such glorified lighting?

Feminist: a person who believes in the social political and economic equality of the sexes.

Well if you ask me, a college student a semester away from entering the real world, feminism is an important empowering tool. It’s an opportunity to put some control in my life, not to mention a great foundation for killer confidence.

In a definition standpoint, it’s hard to disapprove such a movement that only wants great things in our society: A right to control our own paths, our bodies, and equal worth in the career world. Sadly there is a negative stigma that forces celebrities, Beyoncé being one of them in the past, to move away from the term.

However present day feminism shouldn’t be scary. Growing up in a liberal city like Santa Monica, feminism was actually encouraged. It all depended on the definition I set myself.

In this blog, I shall travel through the world of entertainment and showcase the everlasting  changes of female empowerment. The entertainment world is rapidly changing. Simply seeing the multiple female performances at the VMA’s, women are quickly becoming an influential role in our society. Every note, fashion statement, and career decision will ultimately influence millions of people. It only seem right with the help of feminism that they choose to own their own brand rather have the society control them.

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Add a comment September 28, 2014

Open Letter: On the Use of Image in Magazines

Dear American Women and Magazine Corporations,

It’s a gloomy rainy morning and there is nothing for you to do. There’s nothing on TV, no one on facebook, or anybody picking up their phones. So what do you do? You go under your bed and you pull out your beloved magazine collection of Cosmo, Seventeen, or (You fill in the blank). As you open a magazine, imagine the familiar puffs of perfume rise up from each color bursting page, sucking you into an entirely new world.

In many ways, reading a magazine is an experience, a time where you can escape from the real world and enter into a realm of glamour, fashion, sparkle, and not to mention a whirlwind of advice. From horoscopes, boys, all the way to beauty tips, it’s no wonder magazines such as Cosmo are known as the ‘Bible’. In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to call magazines a girl’s best friend, well that is until you flip to the photos of models and celebrities. At that moment, the world of happiness and fantasy come to an end, and a flood of insecurities rush into your head.

As a teenager, I completely understand this addiction to read all the time. After all, who wouldn’t want to read their monthly horoscope and the latest news on the latest seasonal fashions, but there’s a trade-off. As you flip page after page, you realize the several perfect bodies models and celebrities exude. What is their secret? One word—Photoshop.

After skimming through several versions of magazines in my life, I have noticed how over the course of the years, Photoshop has become a major component for every editorial. According to Self-magazine, the editor in chief, Lucy Danziger attempts to defend her magazine by insisting that retouching is:

“A form of editing, no different in spirit from using a flattering camera angle or kind lighting. It’s all about capturing a moment that shows her at [a person’s] best. This approach is meant to inspire women to want to be their best” (Bercovici).

Although I must concede at the great abilities Photoshop has to our appearances, I must disagree with Danziger. Seeing perfectly polished bodies without a single roll of fat nor a single wrinkle does not inspire women to look their best, in fact it pressurizes women to follow the norms these magazines set in beauty. After all, with over 346,571,912 (2009) readers buying magazines , the influences from each issue is bound to spread like wildfire, especially when corporations use iconic celebrities as models (Guardian).

Okay…I understand that magazines are pressured to present a perfectly polished product, but there should be a limit in how much magazines can alter a picture. According to an article titled,  “The Most Blatant use of Photoshop in Magazines and Ads” the author points out the several procedures done in on one photo alone:

“Whether it is heavy airbrushing, zapping zits, brightening those baby blues, contouring or more aggressively removing some unwanted back fat and pushing the eyes two inches apart so that the face appears more doll like–it happens” (Most Blatant Use of Photoshop).

Just reading this description alone anybody can see that magazine corporations are doing more than just hiding stray hairs and unwanted zits. Models are being put through an entire virtual session of cosmetic surgery to the point of unreconizabiity. And we wonder why so many young women are struggling with their self-esteem?

According to a study called “Depleting Body Image,” after forty surveyed women were  told to read through several fashion and glamour magazines, an overwhelming seventy percent of the respondents sometimes or always had negative thoughts about their body (Depleting Body Image). Simply seeing these effects demonstrates how images can have a huge impact in people’s perception about themselves. But why don’t magazine corporations care?

When perfection is put in front you, artificial or not, we are bound as human beings to compare ourselves and see if we measure up. However the sad truth is since these elements of beauty are being generated by a computer, it’s even harder to achieve such norms, especially when even the model does not even look like her photo.

In a most recent photo shoot with Faith Hill two versions of the chosen photo was released to the public—the pre and post  Photoshopped photo. (See Below) (The Beauty of Photoshop–Faith Hill)

From thinner arms, a brighter smile, all the way to a youthful complexion, there is a drastic and obvious difference between the two. It’s drastic changes like these that alter women’s perception of what true beauty really is and moves them away from appreciating their own unique qualities. Even Faith Hill, known as one of the most beautiful women in America, has to be put through several digital alterations to be worthy enough for the cover of Redbook magazine. What has our world come to?

For those of you that are readers, please do not be mistaken by these artificial norms, if you find yourself envying a certain trait of a model, whether it’s a perfect complexion a small waist, or the absence of cellulite, chances are that’s all an illusion. I am writing this letter to warn female readers away from the temptations of trying to achieve such impossible beauty norms. As for the magazine corporations as a whole, they must find a way to get their act back together. While we as a society need to be resistant from the poisonous images of virtual perfection, magazine corporations need to realize the effect they have on women’s self-esteems, young girls especially. A magazine should be a bible for women in a way that will help women’s lives inside and out. With young women dealing with puberty, peer pressure, and life drama, life is hard enough. We as a society should want to help people live happier lives, so why can’t magazine become that helping hand again?

Sincerely,

Astrid Martin

_____________

Works Cited

” Most Blatant Uses of Photoshop in Magazines & Ads.”  Personalized Fake Magazine Covers – a Unique Gift from YourCover. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://www.yourcover.com/Articles/Most-Blatant-Uses-of-Photoshop-in-Magazines-Ads/&gt;.

” US magazines’ newsstand sales fall 9% | Media | guardian.co.uk .”  Latest US and world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian . N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2011.                                                 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/feb/09/us-magazine-abc-figures&gt;.

Bercovici, Jeff. “Magazines and Photoshop: When looking your best isn’t good enough – DailyFinance.” Business News, Stock Quotes, Investment Advice – DailyFinance. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2011.                                                          <http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/08/11/magazines-and-photoshop-when-looking-your-best-isnt-good-enoug/&gt;.

Chojnacki, Mary-Signe , and Christina  Grant . “Depleting Body Image:  .” SSCC – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jpiliavi/357/body-image.htm&gt;.

“The Beauty of Photoshop – Faith Hill  .” TheGloss. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2011.                                                      <http://thegloss.com/beauty/the-beauty-of-photoshop-faith-hill/&gt;.

Add a comment December 16, 2011

My Comments!

Student Blog Comments:

http://tawnyandersson.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/warning-dance-moms/#comment-7

http://jaclynhemphill.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/women-in-afghanistan/#comments

http://lynae93.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/make-up-in-the-work-place/#comment-7

http://crazycoverdude.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/barbie-body-common-beauty-standard-women-deal-with-during-maturity/#comment-11

http://mediagirlz.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/chapman-university-5th-hottest-dorm-in-america/#comment-29

http://tawnyandersson.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/where-performing-stops-and-family-begins/#comment-9

http://lynae93.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/the-handmaids-tale-tells-it-all/#comment-12

http://lynae93.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/airbrushed-beauties/#comment-13

http://seeherinthemovies.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/the-queens-belief/#comment-17

_________________________________________________________________________________

Professional Blog Comments:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7664797591515179228&postID=4284308643643716233&page=1&token=1320793257839

Wow, you are officially the embodiment of pure feminism. Not only are you a mother who is involved in your children’s lives, but you have enough time to do well in your career and enjoy your favorite hobbies. How do you ever find the energy? If any women would earn the Supermom award you would win hands down.

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/11/no_women_on_bbc

http://thefbomb.org/2011/11/gaddafi-an-unexpected-advocate-for-libyan-women/comment-page-1/#comment-39940

http://letmeinyourspotlessmind.blogspot.com/2010/08/open-letter-to-fashion-magazines-er-us.html#comment-form

Add a comment December 9, 2011

The Finish Line: A Time to Reflect

With the semester finally coming to an end, I finally sit back and look at the work I have done as whole in my blog.  From the start all the way to the end, I have tried to view my blog as a place where I can express my thoughts about feminism and pop culture—yes two very different topics that usually do not go well together. One of he largest problems that plague this country is low self-esteem in women, especially in a world where entertainment plays such a large part of our lives. For this reason, I felt that it was essential to highlight the benefits of feminism by giving words of encouragement of how women can use pop culture to their advantage as a means of improving their perception of themselves, rather than hurting them.  Essentially, this was the purpose I had in mind as I continued through my blog, but how well did I achieve my purpose that is the question? Although there were several, posts where I offered a fruitful number of how feminism improves women’s lives, I must admit it took several posts for me to perfect this.

By the time I was three posts in, I realized I centered too much around the negative aspects of the media, instead of the positive portrayals of women and examples of feminists in the media. That is how I decided to analyze Belle’s feministic qualities in Beauty and the Beast. Ever since then, I have viewed my blog as a great balance between both positive and negatives aspects media influence has on women as a whole.

As for the rhetorical choices I created through out my blog posts, I tried to make this assignment as un-intdimidating as possible for both me (the writer) and readers alike. The way I tried to accomplish this was through my conversational tone of voice and fun pieces of media. This is also another reason why I chose the background I have today. The use of bright hues of pink and images of blooming flowers offered not only a fresh and friendly tone, but also provided a welcoming environment. In addition to the setup of my blog, I tried to make my blog as interactive, interesting, and relatable as possible by carefully selecting topic I know I would be interested to read if I was the reader. For this reason, I chose to focus on fun examples of media, such Disney movies, fashion, art, and even good old fashion 80’s icons.

However, if I was to look through each of my posts and choose a favorite, hands down I would choose “ Fashion Expression: Feminist Style” for several reasons. Not only did, I highlight how fashion can be used as a tool for feminism empowerment, but I also incorporated a good amount of outside resources as academic research. In my opinion, if I was to do this blogging assignment over again, the one thing I would have changed is the amount of research I could have used. Although I used several examples of media, respectable quotes form people, and book citations I still think it wasn’t enough.

All in all, I am very proud of the work I have done as a whole. I could only hope people enjoyed  reading my blog.

Add a comment December 9, 2011

Stuck in the Eighties: Tina Turner

Now that this blog assignment is coming to an end, I decided to surf through the net and browse through other people’s blogs. One that caught my attention was “Stuck in the 80’s” by Steve Spears. Okay I know exactly what you’re thinking? Why did I choose to write about a blog that was written by a man especially when my blog is centered around the idea of feminism and pop culture. Well, that is a good question. With my obsession for the eighties, I intended to peek into the blog for just a few seconds, until I saw an interesting post celebrating Tina Turner’s achievements and her 72 years of living. (‘ Turner turns 72: ‘This is Thunderdome, and death is listening’)

Tina Turner

From 80’s hair bands, all the way to great 80’s movies, it seems simply necessary for Tina Turner to be included into the mix. Although many remember Tina as the middle aged woman with the big hair and short outfits, this blog post celebrates Turner as not only an  influential 80’s icon, evident through Spears demonstration of one of Tina Turner’s famous performances as 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but also a successful  woman.  In fact, Tina Turner has been nominated for best female vocal pop performance. Not many people, let alone many women, can say this.

Despite how short and concise Steve Spears leaves each of his posts, I  was still able to understand why I love Tina Turner. Not only is she illustrated as a strong women of the decade, but Tina Turner is one of my favorite singers of all time, I’m emphasizing the word is because without fail she is still performing her active concerts for her fans, Not many 72 year old women are able to say this, let alone have the stamina to do so. The video below is evidence of that.

All in all, Tina Turner is a great example of feminism. No matter what age she is, or even gender in this matter, she allows herself to express herself through interesting forms of fashion and continue the one thing she loves-to entertain. Tina Tuner is one of the few entertainers that has able to spand her singing career for as long as fifty years. Talk about true passion, talent, and commitment.

Add a comment December 2, 2011

Gloria Steinem

Gloria  Steinem–one of the most influential  woman activists of the 20th century,  is more than the typical activist many read in boring history books– she was an active feminist that stuck to her guns.  From contributions as a media spokesperson for Woman’s Liberation Movements all the way to founding the Ms. magazine, there was no doubt that Gloria Steinem influenced the society  we are living today. However, Gloria Steinem did not necessarily start out this way.

Before her glory days as a leader in the feminist movement during the late 60’s and 70’s, Steinem began as an accomplished journalist.  Believe it or not, her real entrance into feminism was an undercover look at the Playboy Club in 1963. This is why I love Gloria Steinem so much. Unlike our white powdered wigged leaders, Gloria Steinem was a women who acted on her beliefs in one of the most hilarious and adventurous way–dressing up as an actual playboy bunny. Ok before you make any negative judgements, I  must mention that Gloria Steinem  decided to go undercover as a playboy bunny as a way to go deep into the lifestyle behind the female bunny profession and prove to the world how degrading it really is.

Gloria Steinem is a great example of a feminist. Instead of moping around and doing nothing, Gloria Steinem is an example of what Feminists should be–active citizens

2 comments November 18, 2011

Artistic Feminist on Campus: Julianne Russo

When people imagine feminism, rarely do we picture our own peers, especially people close to our age.  I must admit, I myself am guilty of falling into this trap. However, this all changed on Thursday night as I browsed through The Panther website.

As I was surfing the website trying to inform myself with the recent events that occurred on campus, I came across an article about Julianne Russo, a Chapman art major. Reading this , I was interested in wondering what made her special  as a Chapman art student. I mean, there are so many other art majors on campus. What made her stand out from the pack? One word: passion.

Ever since she was a little girl , she was surrounded by many creative minds from her grandfather all the way to her scrap-booking loving mother. It seems only natural that she would catch the art bug sometime or another and follow a life of creativity .

In a society where our schools try to shape intelligent doctors and clever lawyers, we often forget about the importance of what art and creativity brings to so many civilians. After all, its ridiculous to believe that everybody was born to be either doctors or lawyers. Am I right? Despite this bias society, Julianne Russo was able to tune off these dream-breaking voices of the world and follow her own heart. For this reason, Julianne Russo is an embodiment of a true feminist.

However, it was not only her passion for art that makes her such a sparkling jewel on campus, but the actions she does with her passion for creativity. This is seen through her efforts of founding the Art Club in Chapman University. With this club, Russo effectively creates a artistic paradise where she can not only be able to share her appreciation for artistic expression, but also meet people with the same interests. Although many people would do this for the mere satisfaction to build ones own resume, Russo did it out of pure love of art. In The Panther, Russo is even stated saying, “I couldn’t imagine not doing this [painting] for the rest of my life,” says Russo. “I always have to be creating something.” From the sound of this, there is no doubt in my mind that Juliane Russo wont succeed in the professional art world. After all, what better way to work than to do something you love.

In my opinion, more people, correction more women, should follow Julianne Russo’s positive attitude. The feminism that Russo embodies proves to us not only on the idea that feminism is acceptable in any age group, but also the importance  of following your passion in life.  Forget about the money and the incentives certain boring jobs provide. If you follow your heart everything will fall into place.

_________

Hamilton, Jadai . “Student artist inspired by family and science – Online Exclusives – The Panther – Chapman University’s Student-Run Newspaper .” The Panther – Chapman University’s Student-Run Newspaper. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.<http://www.thepantheronline.com/online-exclusives/student-artist-inspired-by-family-and-science-1.2670871&gt;.

 

Add a comment November 11, 2011

Fashion Expression: Feminist Style

When people think of fashion, many imagine Louis Vuitton bags, skinny jeans, and signature perfumes. Never do they think about feminism. Well maybe that’s because many people envision hairy ugly women as feminists, but that does not have to be true.

Although fashion is seen as a conforming machine that enforces strict seasonal trends, fashion can be a means of self-expression as well…a way to stand out from a crowd…a perfect feminism tool.

Just as writers need a palette to express their thoughts and ideas, women need an outlet to express their inner empowerment. That is what our own unique style in fashion allows us to do. Forget about the rules about how feminists can care less about looks. Prove society wrong and use fashion as a means to liberate your inner self. After all, isn’t it time that we finally think about ourselves rather than what other people think of us?

According to a book titled The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil, state that, “The semiotic power of clothing, that is to say the capacity to convey messages… go beyond the material things to create their own personalities and interact with other people” In fact Riello and McNeil go as far to explain how “the idea that dress has the power to ‘to express,’…conveys meaning regarding who we are in terms of cultural attributes, education, and taste, is something that is relentlyly repeated in nealry all texts on fashion” (19).  With this in mind, one could understand the magnitude power fashion has in our world.

You are your own canvas. Use this powerful weapon to your advantage.

As geeky as it sounds, after learning the history of the flapper girl, I was in awe at the idea of how much young women of the time used fashion to reflect their new status in society. Since women were allowed to vote, women felt the power to move away from the constraining hands of society and change their entire look. This meant goodbye to their constraining corsets, pantaloons, and luscious locks, and hello to revealing ankles…gasp. The one person who is responsible for this change is the one and only Coco Chanel–the embodiment of feminism fashion!

After reading the blog by Adrinarose titled Woman in Fashion, I was inspired at how Coco Chanel started a whole new trend for women simply by following her philosophy of simplicity, elegance, and comfort. Rather than clothing women in the typical layered petticoats, she felt that it was necessary to demonstrate women in a better light. From this day on, women are still wearing her “legendary Chanel suit and little black dress.” The idea that  Coco Chanel breaks the mold in the fashion world makes her the embodiment of not only a feminist, but also a woman who eludes feminism in her fashion trends.

Each one of us have the potential to do the same if we just believe in ourselves. But just remember rather than feeling empowered about the attention you get from men, find your own style to impress yourself. Otherwise you are falling into the trap of what feminism is against–conforming into our superficial society. Trust me, being unique and satisfying yourself is enough to call you a feminist!

_________

  1. Riello, Giorgio, and Peter McNeil. The fashion history reader: global perspectives. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2010. Print.
  2. Woman in Fashion

Add a comment October 28, 2011

I’ll Make A Man Out of You

After hours of studying for midterms, I opened up ITunes to listen up to a few of my favorite songs. I wasn’t expecting to think about any of my classes for these few five minutes of peace, but when the song “I’ll Make a man Out of you,” popped up on my computer I couldn’t help, but  to take a deeper look into the Disney song’s lyrics.

Although, I must admit, I am is a fan of the upbeat song, I had a problem with the line “I’ll make a man out of you.” I understand that the character, Shang, is trying to push his weak soldiers to their limits in hopes to make them stronger warriors, but why does acting like a man necessarily mean strength? Masculinity may  translate into toughness and muscle power, but women are just as capable as men.

Despite this sexist line, the fun twist that I liked about the actual movie was the idea that almost all the men, including Mulan, were unable to find the stamina to complete the hard military-training tasks n the beginning. This is especially apparent when Mulan’s male counterparts sang:

 “I’m never gonna catch

my breath

Say good-bye to those

who knew me”

Overall, the idea that Mulan was eventually able to persevere and keep up with her training with her male counterpart  proves to society that women are  just as capable to protect  a country. Men are not the only ones that can be strong, both genders have to work equally as hard if they have the motivation.

____

Mulan

4 comments October 21, 2011

The Disney Princess that Breaks the Mold

Beauty, romance, riches. Although these luxuries are great to have there are better things to life than the physical.

Knowing that I have been lately focusing on the negative aspects of how the media portrays women I felt  it was necessary to follow a more positive route this week. The best way to do this is to talk about my favorite childhood movie–Beauty and the Beast.

While many people my age wanted to become firemen and teachers, I wanted to choose the less traditional route—a princess.

Okay, now that I re-visit these memories I start laughing. After all who would say no to a world of lavishes, beauty, and romance. Fortunately for me I had Belle’s character to whip me out of this materialistic ideology and preview me into the magical world of female empowerment.

Unlike Sleeping  Beauty and Snow White, damsel distresses hopeful to find love interests, Belle was portrayed as an independent and free-spirited women ready to break out of her society’s expectations.

Not only was Belle portrayed as an intelligent women, as seen through her obsession of books, but the idea that she wanted more than “this provincial life,” as she famously sings in the clip above, demonstrates her feministic qualities. Seeing an influential character turn down a man like Gaston, the village stud, taught me that  there was more to  life than to meeting your prince charming, getting married, and starting a life.

Although this traditional route sounds great for many women, I myself know that I wanted to do something more influential than just becoming a mother and a housewife. Plus, who would want to be stuck with a man like Gaston. Not only is he rude, but he is short-tempered and self-centered. Although many women in Belle’s town would be flattered by such a request,  Belles’ unconventional choice immediately teaches young children, especially young girls, the importance of judging people’s personalities rather than their looks.

No longer will we be a society that judges people, especially women on their looks and their place in society.

________

Beauty and the Beast

5 comments October 14, 2011

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