death by paper cut

{August 25, 2007}   Get Real!

a week ago, a bunch of girlfriends and i attended the get real forum organised by women’s forum australia (WFA).

the forum ran for about three hours. however it wasn’t a draggy speaker session because firstly all the thirteen speakers posed a variety of different, albeit overlapping concerns and secondly because they’ve done thorough research and presented their finding concisely and convincingly.

detractors to the forum, if any, should also know that this forum is not the latest fad of feminism in vogue staged by a bunch of dissatisfied left-on-the-self-spinsters. most of the speakers are married, have families of their own, well-adjusted and concern themselves not so much about their own affairs, but the situation of the younger generation of women battle with.
of course, above and and beyond the strength of the panel, i profess to have a keen interest in women’ welfare and wellbeing.

like what the subheading of the forum indicates, it is held to raise awareness of issues plaguing the contemporary women, in particular the projection of their own self-image, as well as to launch scholarly findings that convey its healthy alternative messages in a glossy magazine-friendly cover.

(click on picture to enlarge) 

as you can infer, the target audience of this “journal”, aptly titled Faking It, is the average girl on the street, and especially those who might be vulnerable to the self-depreciating effects of fashion magazines that project the perfect-as-norm image of and for women.

the discrepancy between the idealized and the realized was highlighted by a speaker who is herself a model. she pointed out that a picture of her on the cover of a fashion magazine has been highly ‘photoshopped’, much to her chagrin.

as a case in point, check out this site that offers such touch up services for celebrities and ‘normal people’ alike. click portfolio, enlarge the thumbnail and mouse off and on the enlarge image to see the before and after effects of these extreme makeovers – see eva, kelly and beyonce as you have never seen them before.

i think the root of the problem is that women, more than men, allow themselves to be sold into the notion that they are deficient as it were, and therefore having a need or defect, are being timely “rescued” by a miracle product designed just for them. actually, i might have just described the core strategy of the advertising industry.

come to think of it, isn’t it false advertising for such celebrities to endorse beauty products that espouse a unique miracle ingredient when the miracle ingredient is in fact photoshop?

so since we all know this, where do we go from here? first of all, i applaud the move of some players in the beauty industry such as dove in their endeavor to campaign for real beauty. i’m not sure however, if the singaporean version is as successful in identifying the average woman. secondly, i think there are more programmes in the media like ugly betty exposing the superficiality of the fashion/beauty industry.

i call this the shrek transgression.

although ugly betty is a spin off of the devil wears prada, the latter is unlike its progeny in that ugly betty does not shed her “ugliness” to fit in.

people, especially women, should be told that they are loved as they are. any alterations they want to see in themselves should be an end in itself rather than a means to measure up. the best agency for this to happen is you. shower your girlfriends and friendgirls with the love and respect for the gem that they are.

kabluey provides other insights.

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