#Hashtag Nation

Tonight at work my co-worker, Arielle, and I got into a though-provoking discussion on the recent #hashtag campaign videos by women’s beauty products. The most recent being Pantene’s “Not Sorry #shinestrong” and Always’ “#likeagirl.”

While we both agree that these are important issues regarding not only how women are viewed by society but by themselves, it does seem like a competition between the beauty brands and to compete with the original catalyst for these type of campaigns with Dove’s ” Real Beauty #truebeauty.” What does a “hair so healthy it shines” tagline have to do with not being sorry? and what does the tagline “have a happy period” have to do with gender roles?

I don’t want this post to degrade in anyway what message these videos are sending because they are forcing society to react to this problem of how women are viewed. It is heartbreaking to watch grown women complete the actions given to them in such a ‘pansy’ way, while the young girls view themselves are strong, ready to take on the world-esque way. What happened between the age of the girls and women in the video? Why do we let society dictate how we view ourselves? What happened that we downgraded ourselves, puberty..bullying…what? Something is happening during that growth period that is really affecting how women view themselves in society and it absolutely needs to be addressed.

These videos are inspirational and I am glad that more brands are jumping on this band wagon at the same time it is hard to view oneself as strong and beauty when impossible beauty standards are being presented in their videos. Beautiful, young, skinny models. So while yes they are presenting flaws within our society, they are also apart of the problem which makes these videos in my opinion less credible than Dove’s.

Dove’s has always used the tagline Real Beauty and have made these type of video campaigns for years. They use real people of all body types and races to explore this idea of beauty and how we can change our mindset to not let society dictate how one views themselves.

I can only present on what was said during our discussion, it is up to you on how you feel companies are handling these issues.

Word Around Town

Happy Summer!

As I manage through the time honor tradition of having a summer internship,one of the many upsides of my internship is working with a bunch of other students who love trolling Tumblr and Buzzfeed. Everyday we have discussions on the “news” of our social media findings, and word around is that Buzzfeed is killing it. While looking at gifs of ’20 dogs having a worse day than you’ is entertaining, Buzzfeed also offers stimulating articles. These are the top three articles that I wish to share with you.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/global-beauty-standards

Journalist Esther Honig went on a quest to see if there is a global beauty standard. She sent her picture all over the world with 1 criteria “Make me Beautiful” While some standards of beauty were expected and minimalist, there are others that are straight up insulting. Whoever the artist was for the United States really butchered this girl. Is this what the standard of beauty is suppose to look like in America? This is where the article becomes problematic, there will never be a universal or global standard of beauty because these re-creations via Photoshop are from one particular point of view. A point of view that should be questioned and challenged. Is this how the artist really views beauty? Who are the artists? Are they strictly from a male perspective or is there female influence as well?

 

http://aplus.com/a/Identical-Twins-Chewing-Gum

Throughout my schooling it was taught that chewing gum makes us look garish and unprofessional, but is this stigma really true? A recent study was conducted using identical twins as the subject. The twins sat side by side wearing the exact same articles clothing, but only one was crewing gum. Then they would have different people of all ages, races, sizes, and genders come sit in front of them as a voice asked them a series of questions, “Who likes like they have more friends?”, “Which one has more imaginary friends?” etc etc. The results may shock you. The truth is gum require us to use the muscles in our faces creating a more relaxed, inviting expression. Who knew?  

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/copyranter/the-most-powerful-ads-of-the-world-wildlife-fund

Though I hate to end things on a sour note, this last article definitely leaves a lasting taste. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an organization that I knew vividly growing up as their US headquarters are in DC (close to where I live). The organization has made a tremendous impact all over the world. What I love most about this organization is not only their passion of conserving our wildlife but that they are subtle in their demonstration while still packing a punch to the gut. The article is a collection of their top, most powerful ads. Society often discounts, or ignore these ads as they seem ‘too extreme’ but we are at a critical point in Earth’s life and soon these realities that WWF are warning us are happening will soon becomes a consequence un-reversible. 

Bittersweet

” A Subtlety,” a collaboration between Creative Time and artist Kara Walker, can only be described as bittersweet. I was lucky enough to hear Kara speak at a lecture at Pratt not too long ago. Her work is an exploration of racial identity, gender, and sexuality. Her most notable work is life size/room size silhouettes depicting racial tensions in the South.  Her work is unapologetic, raw, in your face but with a beauty, and dare I say whimsical. A dark whimsy that sticks to the heart. Located on the East River in Williamsburg Brooklyn, the Domino Sugar Refinery was built-in 1856. Ships of sugar cane from all over the world arrived at the plant, and by 1870 more than half of the sugar consumed in the entire country was refined there. In 2004 the Refinery stopped operation, but became a beloved  historic marker to be gazed upon by all those who came to see New York City. Historic Preservation has become a quickly heated debate surround contemporary New York City. There is a desire to hang on to and preserve the past but also a pressure to be new and innovative. Unfortunately the Refinery has gotten hit in the crossfire. In March, it was approved that the Refinery would be turned into affordable housing reaching up to 55 stories. No longer can the public enjoy the East River Side views and literally smell the history of the Refinery.

The devastation of losing the landmark sparked an opportunity of  magic. Despite groups advocating to “Save Domino,” the decision has been made so why not send off this beloved treasure with a bang. The combination of Kara Walker’s art and the demolition of the Refinery is bringing in crowds by the droves to say goodbye  and to pay homage to a slice of history.

The artist statement reads, “At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected: A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the can fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.”

Constructed entirely of sugar this exhibition is haunting beautiful. The aroma of sugar hits you instantly. Burned statues of children carrying baskets and sugar canes allow an emotional connection to be made from a time that has easily been forgotten. The Sphinx which is the largest piece of pure white sugar is an act of immortalizing a dark time in our countries’ history.

At the moment, I am still recovering and letting the message sink in. I  do not wish to write more as it may overwhelm and influence the viewer. Everyone will make their own interpretations. To those who will not be able to see the work in person I hope you are able to see more pictures online so that we can all share in the discussion. The job of an artist is to initiate discussion on topic that some may shy away from. This work is no different.  I saw the exhibition with a friend and we could not stop talking, about the implications of race not only in the past but the present and our own experiences with race, from the moment we walked in to the platform of L train going home. It is vital that we discuss such topics if change is to happen. Though I haven’t lived in Brooklyn for long I am proud that I was able to witness the bittersweet ending to the Domino Sugar Refinery.

For more information and a look at how the statues were constructed check out the website  http://creativetime.org/projects/karawalker/

 

 


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How much is technology affecting our interpersonal relationship? My previous post titled “Selfie-Disease” started looking at this current “epidemic.”

Sherry Turkle a  professor at MIT published her book ‘Alone Together’ The book illustrates how the Internet weaves together the virtual with the real, in terms of communication between individuals. The problem with such experimentation is that is conditioned almost entirely by online reactions, often reactions of strangers.

 

She points out how important privacy is to dissent, for if one does not have a place where he or she can think, individuals tend to build a wall. The individual’s identity becomes fragmented.  For Turkle this fragmented identity that technology allows one to create is negatively affecting communication between individuals.

 

“We recreate ourselves as online personae and give ourselves new bodies, homes, jobs, and romances. Yet, suddenly, in the half-light of virtual community, we may feel utterly alone. As we distribute ourselves, we may abandon ourselves. Sometimes people experience no sense of having communicated after hours of connection. And they report feelings of closeness when they are paying little attention. 1

1Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print. Introduction.

Gary Turk, London-based writer, director, and verbal projector recently posted “Look  Up” a spoken word film for the online generation, exploring this aspect of technology and alienation.  (video above)

Is technology’s effect on individuals so severe that we may miss out on possible love connections or opportunities? You decide.

 

 

 

Indo-Chic

As my thesis comes to a close, I look back on the preliminary photographs that sparked my passion for this topic. My thesis explores cultural hybridization in America by looking at three Indo-Chic commodities henna, hatha yoga, and Holi powder.

This is a highly stylized, fashion digital photograph. Model: Mei Cheng Wang

To view the rest of the photographs go to the website here:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/East-meets-West/10323843

“Selfie” Disease

http://www.thewire.com/culture/2014/04/david-foster-wallace-predicted-our-selfie-anxiety-in-1996/360323/

This morning I did the inevitable, I took a selfie. Did I do it knowing that my hair looked good today? Yes. Did I almost post it on Instagram so that everyone else could admire it? Yes. We have become a vain society, a society so vain that there is now an ‘after-sex’ selfie trend.

One could argue that although it is vain, isn’t it a positive thing that people are feeling good about their body image to want to show it off to the whole internet sphere? The problem is even with the vast amount of selfies we all have in our album people are still not happy with the way they look. Filters on Instagram warp the original image to look ‘cool’ allowing our imperfections to be altered. The article above deals with this new ‘selfie culture,’ that is was actually something that Novelist David Foster Wallace predicted in the late 90’s. The article describes apps such as Skinneepix which allows you to lose the pounds that the camera puts on. The fact that we have an app to make ourselves skinnier is frankly disgusting, and is only promoting anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disease, etc. We are promoting a facade. While on the internet this is fine to those who have never met you, but once the interaction becomes public a lot of the times people are displeased as one did not look like their picture. 

There is nothing wrong with feeling good about one’s self but to put it bluntly the selfie is a disease growing at a startling rate within youth culture. I, too, am being consumed and consuming the selfie, and I wonder how this will affect society in the future. From where I am sitting this future is a scary thought. 

I came across the gif for this commercial on TUMBLR and had to share it.

At first it seems to be a powerful message directed towards street harassment but then you realize that this commercial is for Snickers. Snickers tagline is “You’re not you when you are hungry. Snickers really satisfies.”
Construction workers aren’t themselves by saying encouraging words to women?
Now this is either a really messed up version of a PSA or is being misunderstood?
What if this commercial is really directed towards men as a wake up call. That not even Snickers can fix street harassment that it is the men themselves that need to take an inward look.

Even if this was true I am not sure if I would want strange men to tell me to have a productive day or if that color is really working for me, but that’s just me.

What do you think? Is it commercial taking a stance towards street harassment or is eating a snickers going to satisfy their misogyny?

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