Tuesday, August 1, 2017

FeMEME Fatales

    The Internet's definition of a "meme" is relatively simple: it is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users. However, many of these satirical images do not do justice to the subjects they are representing, which in this case, is women. The 6 images above summarize the search results for "women in memes," and unfortunately hearken back to vintage, often sexist advertisements of the 20th century. 
   Many memes featuring women are bluntly sexual, refer to relationships, overreacting or domestic life, as shown in the collage above. These themes are stereotypical summaries of the daily life of a woman, as shown when an innocent image is paired with text attempting to portray a humorous message. The bottom right image is one of the few positive search results that I found out of approximately 300. Similarly, when a woman is shown in a professional or heroic position, such as the astronaut below, a critical or jarring comment against her success is made. 

Black Frame Fame

   Furthermore, many memes highlighting feminism are sarcastic and untrue, often portraying the woman as whiny and unattractive. Quotes such as "a man told me to have a good day. #Triggered" and "insulting men is okay. Insulting women is sexist" paint negative pictures on what feminism is based on, as well as how feminists look/act different than the rest of the population deemed more desirable. As a whole, the influx of negative memes about women may not stop due to society's idea of characterizing an innocent image with an apparently humorous message to relate to people's lives or the behaviors they observe around them. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Living A Double Life: How Social Media Affects Teenage Girls

Huffington Post

   While perusing the Internet and all of its social media platforms, I have come across a barrage of teenage girls' profiles, the majority of them being edited with filters. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram allow users to enhance their photos with contrasting light and various features for their faces. The animal filters on Snapchat add a new dimension of "cuteness" for girls to explore, while the floral, fairylike graphics provide a seemingly flawless appearance. According to Business Insider, teenagers adore social media because they are able to "make [their] friends jealous" and create virtual "stories" of images/videos that amplify their vacation's importance. Girls attempt to emulate celebrities with millions of followers, such as the Kardashians, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, by photographing themselves with everyday items that have a cult following, such as Starbucks. 


     Singer/songwriter Cailee Rae (pictured above) illustrates that an innocent activity like drinking coffee is worthy of documenting, along with a pair of sunglasses and flirty pose. This inspires girls to seek the same attention from their friends and feel like leaders when they mention the amount of followers they have, creating their own apparent fanbase. 
    However, in actuality, many girls who are obsessed with social media live a double life. The countless images and videos that characterize the life they want to market towards others only reflect certain moments of their day. An article on The Age website mentions how Camryn, a teenager famous for her Instagram selfies, "spends ages putting on make-up, doing a look, turning her head, pouting and twisting for the mirror and her phone camera." Another social media-famous teen named Vali appeared in an interview wearing a basic T-shirt, denim shorts and bitten nails, contrary to the flawless appearance she is known for. Therefore, social media may paint an unrealistic picture of its users if they commit to persuading others that their life is seemingly perfect. 

Celebrities engaging in Snapchat's popular filters


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Girls Just Wanna Have Sun - How Society and the Internet Builds Confidence This Summer

My Style Authority

   Pools, popsicles and sunglasses are keeping us cool this summer, not to mention the different trends in confidence-boosting swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. Stores such as Forever21 and H&M have added plus-size models of different races and realistic sizes in their online swimwear sections. This encourages young women to feel positive about their bodies during the summer months, where clothes typically show more skin. Today's average American woman stands taller and weighs more than previous decades, typically at around a size 14. Compared to models of a thinner body type who wear sizes 0-2, women with curvier body types such as Ashley Graham, are considered plus-size. In 2016, Graham modeled for Lane Bryant's new line of lingerie for full-figured women, including bras of a larger, more comfortable size than similar brands.

   "People like Kim Kardashian have a shape that we haven't seen represented so much before. The reality is that the average American woman is a size 14, and the fact that we haven't been representing her or talking about her is a huge smack in the face," Graham stated in an interview with The Daily Beast. Advertisements depicting women who are "beach body ready" often show figures so thin that Photoshop is the only possible way to achieve them. This is shown below, in an infamous ad from Protein World, a British weight loss supplement.


   Similar images have been present for centuries in various forms, beginning in the 16th century. Corsets constructed with curved whale bones achieved a voluptuous, hourglass figure that was popular in France, the fashion capital of the era. In the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley) faints from the corset that restricts her breathing, plummeting towards the water below. This silhouette is still desired, as it is thought to be a symbol of strength, confidence and beauty. However, fashion companies are becoming increasingly sensitive to their customers, who reflect healthier body types that are more common in society than the models portrayed.

My Learning

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beauty over body rights?

Image result for body rights for women

     What we learn today will prepare us for tomorrow. Yesterday's lessons and plans are part of the future. Everything we do is getting us ready for what we want, need, and will have earned in that time. The future of a woman's body is changing. From the advanced surgeries and preventions techniques/methods to perfecting the body to unrealistic goals is unimaginable. Living in a world that is focused on looks is disappointing. Looks change, emotions change, and ultimately we as humans aren’t perfect human beings. It’s funny how no one says anything about a woman who gets a boob job and flaunts it for the world but when a breastfeeding mother is feeding her baby the world goes crazy. The importance of inner happiness surpasses the ideal images we have collectively as a society pressured on women. No matter the issues women face today it will not be the last struggle to conquer.  
     As an individual I express and share my views through social media platforms. Advocating for women to have rights over their own body no matter the country, race, or religion that is in jeopardy over a basic human right. It’s not just about looking good but the things that happen to women who go through instances in their life that feel the need to use medical or other measures to take control over their life physically in appearances. Looks aren’t the main concern in society as it used to be with the boob jobs being normalized and even lip injections are a thing now. However, a more concerning issue is the right of abortion or women’s birth control access through organizations like Planned Parenthood are an ongoing debate in this political climate. It’s not just here in the US it’s in other countries across the globe fighting for women to have the right to choose what to do with their body. Women are allowed to change/enhance their appearance with few issues in terms of backlash but an abortion is a sensitive topic that boils some people's blood.
     Every situation is different and I believe it should be treated that way. Having a justice law or ruling to follow as a guide but it should be handled with compassion and understanding. It is complex but can be simple with more discussions that plan to take action and use trial-error methods to find the best possible solution to this madness. Share your thoughts on what you think and discuss it more with friends or family members. Opening and engaging the dialogue will only lead to better solutions/ideas.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Aging as a Woman

        Is age a thing anymore? Does a number matter? We see beautiful talented women who are older like J.LO with younger men talked about in the media. We constantly talk and gossip about women more when they are older and doing things we “expect” from younger women. It’s absurd the whole subject. I don’t think it’s a cultural issue more so than a world wide society problem because it is a constant topic spoken about in mainstream media. Once a woman is considered “old” and does things like wear certain clothing or is dating again it’s like she is not supposed to do those things once she is a certain age. I don’t understand why people care. Why it bothers them? Someone enjoying their life in a healthy, happy, successful way it has nothing to do with you so how come you talk about it like it’s affecting you? Okay enough with the questions, for now but on serious note it’s concerning these mind-sets some people have. Aging as a women is rough already with hormones, menopause, and just everything in between. Adding others unsolicited opinions and suggestions on your life is annoying. Sure as a female I can ignore those comments but it does affect one’s personal thoughts, decisions, and actions.
        As women we are always going through these stages in life where society says we have an “expiration date” or a “deadline”. Oh and my favorite “your time is ticking or almost up”. I understand that no one is the same age forever or we don’t keep the same energy, body, and even same mind-set that we have in our youth. It’s the way of life. What I don’t like is others telling women we need to hurry up on things that don’t need to be rushed. Men do not always get these pressures and a spotlight like women. They don’t feel the pressure. Is it about gender or just age? Do men get pressured eventually on matters similar to women like getting married or settling down having a family etc.? Sometimes I think men do have similar experiences but overall a woman is likely to have her age be the talk of the town compared to a man. I still have “time” but with social media displaying women having their “life together” it puts a indirect pressure towards women. On a physical aspect of the body, face, and features. Looking your best is great but everyone doesn’t have money for lip fillers. Aging causes one to reflect on life. I personally do  not want to reflect on my life remembering all the times other people told me how to live my life. I especially do not want other women to feel that way no matter the age or stage they are in life. Age should not stop or interfere with one's goals or plans in life. Do what makes you feel comfortable, confident, and happy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A sense of fashion

    Now more than ever have we become more accepting to women in particular with their fashion choices. It still needs more work but it has progressed and that’s worth talking about. Today, one could go out in the world and see two things: 1. A woman wearing barely anything and 2. A woman covered or dressed modestly. Interesting that both will be judged no matter what path they chose. Both are happy with their choices. However, why does both woman be considered oppressed by their societies they are in? Why does their even have to be a standard dress code for women? Oh, because our way of dressing will catch a man's attention and God forbid he can’t control himself seeing some skin or anything attractive? It doesn’t matter what women wear something will always be said. Might as well do what makes you happy.What’s it with a piece of clothing that makes either a fashionable statement or a political/controversial one that gets everyone talking? The way women are dressing today compared to 30 years ago has change tremendously. We don’t even think sometimes we just dress the way everyone else does sometimes just to fit in. Avoid the gossip but people still find a reason to talk. Questions are always being raised on the appearance of how a woman is dressed more than a man's appearance.
    The important message women are sending to the world speaks through their fashion sense or choice of clothing. Currently the fashion industry is leaning toward modest fashion wear due to a high demand from religious groups. From swimwear to even baby wear it’s available. Usually we see less fabric on clothing but now we are working to meet the needs of everyone. Because we all got to wear something. This new turn in the industry is receiving positive feedback and consumers are happier. Having more options of what to wear is always a good thing. It gives self confidence and more importantly choices for women to feel in control of how they want to express themselves. This shows how women are taking control of a male driven industry. Working to design, distribute, and connect with women by women. Girl power is strong and it’s continuing to grow. The important take away is to remind yourself to not worry about what others say or think as long as you feel comfortable, confident, and content with you choice of clothing nothing else matters.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A woman's mind beyond her body

     Living in a generation that is becoming more accepted to the roles women are taking in society is major progress. Seeing women being authentically and unapologetically themselves in everyday life is inspiring. This may be controversial topic but intended to be a focus on something many brushed off their shoulder/thoughts that is important to be addressed. Recently I just watched the Netflix series of the O.J. Simpson trial. The trial of the century as we all know but something interesting about the series is the real raw portrayal of the prosecutor Marcia Clark. In 1995, women were just becoming more recognized through career advancements. A woman prosecutor is not easy as it was a male dominated field. However, Marcia Clark despite losing the case has changed the views of many Americans nationwide on showing a woman's mind can go much further than what her body can take her. It’s a biased mentality our society has instilled within us. A cultural issue that women are only as good as they look. This is a toxic way of thinking. Teaching young girls and women that their mind isn’t enough but it is. Marcia Clark may not have dressed well or have the expectations society placed on her but she was driven, determined, and did a hell of a job at stopping some critics. Her focus was the trial and reaching a wider audience by showing what a woman is capable of accomplishing. Her determination to end domestic violence before it reaches to unimaginable ends such as Nicole Simpson.
     Being a lead prosecutor is an important role and it was admirable to see this on national T.V. during that time and it continuing to be spoken about. Clark was not treated fairly during the trial even by women. It is astonishing to think that just because she is a woman she didn’t deserve the same treatment and respect as the other male lawyers/colleagues in that court room. No matter what was thrown her way she persisted and stayed strong because she knew this wasn’t about her it’s more than that. Marcia Clark is a leading example on how a woman's mind is far better than physical/visual aspects. It’s the inside that always wins. I encourage those who plan on watching the series pay close attention to Marcia Clark and even watch the real court recordings. Both are similar but her portrayal in the series shows a different side of her based on true events. It’s worth the time to watch and think about why she was treated that way and would it have been different if it were a man? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Appalled Graphic Designer Shows Girls’ Life Magazine What Their Cover Should Look Like

REPOSTED FROM Women You Should Know
A couple of weeks ago we ran a piece about an image that was posted on social media and went viral. It was a side-by-side shot of this Girls’ Life magazine cover (left, lead image) next to the cover of Boys’ Life magazine that served as a harsh reminder of the stereotyped messages that, even in the year 2016, are STILL marketing to girls. We weren’t the only ones ticked-off by the image. After seeing it posted on her Facebook feed, Katherine Young, a graphic designer, took matters into her own hands and decided to show Girls’ Life what their cover SHOULD look like.
“When I saw the post I was just in frickin’ shock,” Katherine said. “Can this be real? Is this photo fake? After Googling current issues of these two magazines I found them to be real. I was just appalled.”
Putting her graphic skills to work, in just a few minutes, Katherine swapped out the cover girl for Olivia Hallisey, the 2015 Google Science Fair Grand Prize winner, and photoshopped in some new, inspired and empowering headlines. The result? A magazine cover that offers girls better alternatives to tips on how to “Wake up Pretty.”
Katherine was motivated to change the cover so that others will be more aware of the messages they are sending to girls. “We can do better. I hope this cover inspires us all to do better every day and be more conscious of the imagery our children are bombarded with,” she said in an email to WYSK. “I hope this sparks conversation with both girls and boys. They all need to know that girls are more than a pretty face.”
Girls’ Life… are you listening?