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The Size Issue

6, 01, 2010

The 2010 issue of V magazine hasn’t hit the shelves yet but already it’s dominating headlines. Called “The Size Issue,” V magazine includes a high fashion photo-shoot featuring five plus size models, real plus size, not Lara Stone plus-size who is a UK size 8.

The size zero backlash has been brewing for a while but could 2010 be the year when it finally bubbles over?  The media first began to take notice of this sudden shifting of attitudes towards late 2009. It started with the Dove “Campaign for real beauty” but  really only began hitting the headlines when Mark Fast used three models ranging from a UK size 12-14 for his London Fashion Week show. Then German magazine Brigitte announced in October after hundreds of complaint letters from readers fed up of noticing collar bones rather than necklaces on models that it would instead use normal women. “It is not a question of them suddenly becoming models, they simply step out of their normal lives for a moment and present fashion for us as personalities,” said Andreas Lebert, editor of the 700,000 circulation magazine. Next U.S Glamour Magazine used a photograph of Lizzie Miller rolls and all. Then we had a preview of  Terry Richardson’s shoot for V magazine where Crystal Renn and Jacquelyn Jablonski pose side by side in identical looks and poses, “creating quite a sizeable comparison,” according to press releases. At the same time Australian Marie Claire featured former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins naked and un-retouched on its cover and today more photos from V magazine size issue were released.

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2010 could be the year attitudes shift but lets hope it’s not a shift from one extreme to the other. What fashion needs is variety and a representation of reality i.e. women of all different sizes. Crystal Renn herself a former size zero model and now a plus size 14 has said “I’d like to see everyone take on the attitude that there are women of all different shapes and sizes as ‘the beauty ideal,’ and that it’s not one type or another. There are women who are naturally a size 2–you can’t forget them, and that’s discrimination the other way. All women bring something different to the table and we have to appreciate them all.”

An important aspect of appreciating all different shapes and sizes is that the models must still look good to do their job i.e. sell the clothes they are modelling. The Terry Richardson shoot is a great example of this, the clothes look amazing and therefore so too do the models.

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However, often stylists take a plus size model and just because she has curves feel that they need to emphasize these, often in an unflattering way for example this: 

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Now I am not being “sizeist” I just don’t think this photo sells the swimsuit in the best possible way, yes it is showing a real woman but that doesn’t mean this swimsuit suits her say compared to this style: 

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I am all for the use of plus- size fashion models but they must be treated and photographed as fashion models not used as examples of what a wobbly thigh or stomach roll looks like.


Feel Fabulous?

4, 01, 2010

A brand New Year and thus a brand New You, or so the advertisers would like you to believe. Before Christmas, television viewing was interrupted by countless ads urging one to indulge, spoil and treat. Now January has dawned gluttony has been replaced by detox, discipline and restrict. The series of advertisements that grate my nerves the most are the Special K “Love your jeans challenge”, in particular this one:

I am all for the promotion of healthy eating but this is the promotion of pure yo-yo dieting. obviously if you stick to the challenge you will lose weight,  it’s replacing a meal with a 40g bowl of low-fat cereal. It’s not rocket science, it’s all about calorie intake vs calorie output. However, what happens when the 2 weeks is over, when you go back to how you were eating before buying countless varieties of Special K? It is a proven fact that those who embark on such dramatic weight loss regimes tend to put on more weight when they relax. What really gets on my nerves about this ad though is that the plan is only for those with a BMI of over 25 and thus overweight. Does the woman in the ad look like she has a BMI over 25 ? Does she look dramatically different from the image of her in her grey trackies to the image of her in her jeans after the challenge? Just how small exactly are those jeans she holds up to herself? I for one do not think she slips into those after 2 weeks. And what is with the other women applauding her weight loss. It’s like wow you are now thin again so you can join our group again and socialise. Imagine if this ad was subverted and all the women replaced with men, oh how we would laugh at them. So why don’t we laugh when it is aimed at us? Forget Kellogg’s and their “Feel Fabulous” slogan. It’s more like “Feel Fabulous but first let us make you feel fat.”

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2, 01, 2010

Lego’s latest advertisement  has captured exactly what children’s toys should be about – letting children use their imagination. 

 This advertisement grabs my attention so can you imagine what it must be like for a child? All those endless creations and possibilities.

 Just like when I was a child my ten-year old neighbour can happily spend hours building three-storey houses, fire-stations, restaurants and shops. The blue rug he is lying on becomes a lake and the chair legs giant trees. Bookshelves are daunting snowcapped mountains and windowsills ominous jagged cliff edges that drop to a choppy deep blue sea infested with killer sharks. Then the real adventure begins: armed robbers raid the village, taking two locals hostage and then make a run for the border. A police chase ensues, speedboats, cars, horses and helicopters! Chaos follows: animals escape and monsters attack until the day is saved by a giant half human half robot.  

Who needs a Nintendo Wii or DS-Lite when you have a box of coloured bricks? 


Twiggy lets her secret slip!

16, 12, 2009

 “Olay is my secret to brighter-looking eyes.” Well, it would seem that’s not all Twiggy. After 700 complaints gathered by Liberal Democrat Jo Swindon in a campaign against air-brushing in advertising, The Advertising Standards Authority has banned Twiggy’s latest print ad for Olay Definity eye illuminator. In its ruling, it said “the post-production retouching of this ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve.’ However, it rejected the claim that the advert was “socially irresponsible” as 

“We considered that consumers were likely to expect a degree of glamour in images for beauty products and would therefore expect Twiggy to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photo shoot, and to have been photographed professionally. We concluded that, in the context of an ad that featured a mature model likely to appeal to women of an older age group, the image was unlikely to have a negative impact on perceptions of body image among the target audience and was not socially irresponsible.”

Proctor & Gamble which manufacture Olay have said that they have already replaced the ad with an image that has ” no post production work in the eye area.”

No doubt, everyone will be keeping a look out to see whether Twiggy does have “younger-looking eyes” or whether she too is susceptible to under eye bags and wrinkles. Mmmm I wonder!  Yes this advert is airbrushed but what isn’t now-a-days? Even university graduation photo shoots now come with an (more exspensive) option to have yourself and your proud parents/guardians smoothed, brightened and teeth whitened. What I want to know though is will people be happier with Twiggys non-altered image or will they simply criticise her for well, being natural? For not having perfect child-like skin, for having visible pores, for having crows legs, laughter lines and wrinkles? Will sales of Olay fall, not because Twiggy has lines, so therefore the product musn’t work but, because Twiggy has lines and therefore, the appeal of trying to achieve the impossible act of looking like perfection is lost. Because surely you must be mad to want to look errr normal?

Probably not the best built ad in the world?

15, 12, 2009

Toyota has been forced to pull the following advertisement.

The video made by the Brisbane based company “Play TV,”  won the online “Clever Film Comp” organised by Toyota in conjunction with advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi. However, the ad soon came under attack from critics on its Facebook page who called it “offensive and degrading,” “sick” and “ridiculous.”

Although the advertisement has been scrapped from television no doubt it will take full advantage of viral marketing and perhaps will get more attention than had it been allowed to air. It’s not the most “politically correct” ad but isn’t that the point. It is young, fresh and certainly made me laugh. And it’s for a Yaris, not normally a car associated with those three things.

“Cos the bad boys are always catching my eye”

14, 12, 2009

Rihanna features on this months cover of Glamour magazine with the headline “Why Rihanna still prefers bad boys.”

Now, in case you have forgotten it was June of this year that Chris Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna and was sentenced to six months community service. His assault left her bruised, bloodied with bite marks on her arms.

In November Rihanna appeared on the cover of the US version of Glamour magazine with the tag line “I’m stronger and wiser.” It included an interview in which she discussed the assault and domestic abuse “It’s one of the things we [women] will hide, because it’s embarrassing. My story was broadcast all over the world for people to see, and they have followed every step of my recovery. The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn’t heard. Now I can help speak for those women.”

Now, what kind of mixed message is Rihanna sending “those women” in the January issue of the UK Glamour magazine by stating that she “still prefers bad boys.”

Since when did a characteristic of a “bad boy” involve beating women up? In the interview Rihanna says the type of guy she likes is:  “Definitely the high-risk [men]. I don’t like cream puff, corny guys. Usually they are the nice guys, the ones that won’t hurt you. They’ll pull out the chair for you and the whole nine yards. Everything is perfect and boring…I like the risk, I like the edge. That’s the thrill for me.”

Does she mean she likes the risk of getting hurt? She likes the edge of not knowing what might happen? What type of mood he will be in, whether he might turn on her suddenly?  The magazine’s  headline and the above quotes from Rihanna combine to portray her as a very irresponsible role model. How can she say that she “represents a voice that isn’t heard” and then turn around and say that a relationship with a guy that treats you well is “boring.” According to  Women Aid 1 in 5 women  in Ireland have experienced domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner. Let’s just hope that the readers of Glamour understand that a boy who hits a woman is not a “bad boy” , a boy who hits a woman must be stopped, not assigned a label that offers to make  it acceptable in society.

Starve a Vampire!

13, 12, 2009

With vampire inspired make-up dominating the fashion pages of magazines and children and adults alike flocking to see the highly anticipated “New Moon” film, The American Red Cross looks to have taken full advantage of the current vampire craze.

The “Starve a Vampire. Give Blood Campaign” kicked off in August, with the aim of collecting more than 3,400 blood donations. In association with the  CW Network and Alloy Media + Marketing to promote their new show “The Vampire Diaries”, each blood drive would feature a refreshment area, free promotional material and of course a trailer for the new show.

Stephanie Millian of the American Red Cross  said “the target demographic for these vampire-related shows matches well with the Red Cross focus on the youth market and the promotion was just something these students could sink their teeth into.”

With an excellent play on an vampire’s constant need for fresh blood, this campaign shows that simple ideas can be the most effecitve. However, it’s a bit disappointing  to see the vampire stars of the show in such a classic “sexy” pose. Although, the female does catch your attention, which is what the campaign aims to do, it’s all a bit clichéd; girl in low-cut dress, legs on show provocatively pouting whilst lying between two hot men. Oh well, maybe it’s meant to help get peoples blood pumping!