Friday, July 11, 2014

#StopTheBeautyMadness



Marie Southard Ospina introduced me to #StopTheBeautyMadness, a new media campaign meant to attack the exclusionary beauty ideals that govern women's lives. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but American culture violently judges the bodies of marginalized women. These infrequent covergirls and oft-targeted victims include (but are not limited to) fat women, women of color, transgender women, women with disabilities, old women... and especially women who fall into more than one of those categories. Even those of us who conform to the general mainstream ideal are taught that we can always be skinnier, have better skin, bigger boobs, etc. It really does a number on your self-esteem.



There's nothing wrong with being pretty, or wanting to be pretty. The problem arises when 1) the only consideration is other people's aesthetic pleasure, and 2) the definition of "pretty" reinforces oppressive standards. Erin McKean's essay "You Don't Have to Be Pretty" says it all. (See the rest of the ad campaign here.) And now, I want to end on a positive note: I mentioned that marginalized women are rarely featured on the front of a prestigious magazine like Vogue. Fortunately, that's not always true!

Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of Vogue magazine

Definitely pick up this issue at the grocery store, or read the profile on Vogue's website. Lupita Nyong'o is an actual princess. I can't believe that I still haven't seen any of her movies... 12 Years a Slave just sounded so heartrending; I don't think I could take it. But, like, I need to join the zeitgeist!

6 comments :

  1. Such a wonderful and timely post! I read an article this morning about J.Crew's new clothing size 000, which doesn't make any sense.

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    1. Seriously though. I'm surprised they haven't just opted for negative numbers...

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    2. It's vanity sizing's fault. J. Crew and other retailers use irrational sizing that ends up putting me in the XXS/XS category when typically I'd be more like a S/M. If it wasn't so important to feel like you're wearing a 2 when you're really wearing an 8, this wouldn't be a problem. It's part of our culture's thin obsession.

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  2. So pleased to see Lupita on the cover of Vogue! :-) It seems trivial, or frivolous, but there's so much behind the scenes with covers like that - so many layers of meaning.

    Also, with regards to the above: there's a size what now? I consider myself to have a fairly modest figure, and a check of size conversion tells me that I am a US size 2 ish (probably a shade larger). 000 actually boggles the mind. I mean, some people are naturally very petite and fine, but...three zeros? I feel like I need a chart with actual measurement numbers on it to get a sense of that...

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    1. Yes, hooray for Lupita! The article was great too =D And seriously, this 000 business is nonsense.

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