Monday, July 16, 2007

Girls for Gender Equity

I'm pretty sure I've written about this before, but one of the things I absolutely abhor in NYC is street harassment. This story from NPR details a group of teens who decided to fight back w/ their own poster campaign and documentary, forming the group Girls for Gender Equity. Hopefully I can get a copy of the film, I'd love to see it (it's available on their website to purchase).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Seductive new links, plus... Benneton's Sisley has fun on the farm?

Just added another new link, to ad blog Ad Seduction. Ad Seduction covers a variety of ads, but what sets it apart from other blogs is its unique rating system: the ads are all judged based on different factors like Creativity, Degree of Sexploitation and Intelligence, or how Controversial they are, but each element is judged independantly of the others- thus, "an advertisement might be 100% creative while being 99% Sexploitative!" It's a good little system, and lets you know what the writer's thinking as they review and analyze. There are ads I've respected for their creativity, but find myself a little perturbed when looking at them from a feminist perspective. A system like this would solve those problems, but I'm probably too lazy to come up with one.

Checking out one of the newest posts on the site, and I can't help but share: Ad Seduction has some new print ads for Sisley, a division of Benneton's. I'm nearly floored by the way the women are portrayed, but an outside link to a picture of model Josie Maran takes the cake. In this image, there aren't any clothes even shown-- leading me to wonder if it's a real ad or what. After some searching, I found the full ad (the Flikr image was cropped to show only the raciest part), and have posted it below. Did the image really help push the brand?

Maran even got in trouble with Maybelline, a company she was a spokesperson for at the time.

"I was just having fun," says Maran. "I didn't think it was a big deal at the time."

The sight of moo juice dripping from Maran's pretty chin was more than Maybelline was willing to swallow. "That campaign definitely caused some drama in my life," she says. "Maybelline would like me to keep myself contained and ladylike and they're right. They let me get away with a smack on the wrist and I respect that very much. My mother keeps telling me to think before I do or say something, and make sure it's what I really want to project. I'm definitely learning." (full link)

Besides the cow/ejaculation image, there are other Sisley ads featuring more barnyard fun. I honestly don't know what to say. So many of the ads barely show any clothes- they're clearly more about creating the brand's feel than selling product. But is this a mindset young women want to buy into? Bestiality couture?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some new links and a Not-So-Hot BET Mess.

Added two new links today- definitely check them out: Jezebel, focusing on "celebrity, sex, fashion, without the airbrushing," and What About Our Daughters, a blog committed to combating negative portrayals on African American women in pop culture, particularly music.

What About Our Daughters is currently leading a pretty successful crusade against a new BET show, based on a website, called Hot Ghetto Mess. There's an open letter to corporate America on the site, and according to Yahoo Entertainment News, at least two sponsors have dropped the show from their ad time (State Farm and Home Depot). After checking out the site, I totally agree w/ WAOD-- it's incredibly degrading and encourages stereotypes. If BET is supposed to be for African Americans, can't they take the high road and support change, rather than perpetuating a cycle that encourages prison culture, pimps and ho's, and is anti-woman and anti-education?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Plastic Surgery or Photo Retouching?

Remember that really cool Dove commercial ("Evolution") from a few months back? Showing all of the airbrushing and changes that are done to models?

This site, iWANEX STUDIO, works to professionally "touch-up" and airbrush photos of top celebrities. It's incredible to go through their before & afters... really makes you wonder how realistic some of these images are and what's manipulated. Check it out, and think twice before comparing yourself to a magazine cover. I put some Before & After images here, but it's really best to go to the site- look at the differences in skin tone, hip size, waist size, etc. I don't mind lighting changes or small hair tweaks- that's just good photography and art, but when you start changing the actual person you're working with, in ways that only a surgeon could do, that's taking it a bit far, isn't it? Not only does it make people strive to live up to an unrealistic standard, but if I were retouched like this, I'd worry about living up to my fake cyber-self.

The blog Catwalk Queen has a good article about it too, dealing specifically w/ Kate Winslet. Evidently, a number of magazines just take the liberty of making changes without asking the stars they're working with. Jamie Lee Curtis worked w/ More magazine a few years back to try and shed some light on what real women's bodies look like, star or not. The article is now on Ladies' Home Journal site.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Young People who Rock

CNN has an ongoing series about Young People Who Rock- basically anyone under 30 who's done something incredible and makes the rest of us feel like we're lazy or not doing enough with our lives. This week's Young Person who Rocks is Adora Svitak, writer, poet, and humanitarian.

According to her site, Svitak uses her writing to reach out to kids and tries to inspire them: “Nowadays children are lacking in reading and writing skills, and they are saying things like ‘I don't like to read' or ‘ I don't want to write.' That hurts me very much.”

I too am hurt by all of this, but what's the difference between me and her? Over a decade. She's nine. While her achievements are definitely worth mentioning on their own, the reason I'm posting about her is that not only is she a published author, and "tiny literary giant," according to Diane Sawyer, but Svitak is also a nascent feminist, often "disappointed by the way girls are portrayed in books and movies." She's written feminist and gender equality themes into a few of her short stories, trying to create characters she'd want to read about herself.

After having a pretty crappy week at work, this definitely brightens my day. (It also makes me wonder what would have happened if I hadn't lost the original manuscript to Blaze, a ten page horse story I wrote in third grade.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Speeding: No One is Thinking Big of You

Just read this interesting article today from Newsweek- instead of guilt campaigns or shock tactics, road authorities in Australia are challenging a guy's masculinity. The PSA show young male drivers, who "are mocked by unimpressed women who wave their little fingers at the drivers in a parody of their manhood."

According to research done before launching the campaign, young drivers have become used to seeing gruesome car accident footage or other fear tactics. According to the article, "the campaign was produced by the Road Transport Authority (RTA) of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, where death and injury rates from speeding are highest among young men. 'More and more young people are not responding to the shock-horror kind of advertising,' said RTA Director John Whelan. "We are doing something different to get the message through. What we are saying with these ads is that speeding doesn’t impress anybody."

Do real men need to speed? I don't think so, and hopefully this clever ad campaign will help save lives and teach responsibility. Clearly, you're compensating for something-- if not a small dick, maybe a small brain?

Here's a direct link to the video too.