Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet for Girls, Rockin' for Boys

I've been doing a lot of thinking about our society's current view on women and women's roles lately. Fashion magazines have always been a good impetus to start my blood boiling about issues surrounding women and what it is considered to be appropriate in terms of how we look, how we dress, our body shapes and the sort of lifestyle and jobs we should have. I've also been examining lifestyle blogs lately, and how those are related to the current surge of neo domesticity in our culture, so there has been a constant swirling of images and text in my head that in so many ways does not seem different from media portrayals of women back in the supposedly archaic 50's.

Just the other day at work, my co-worker and I were angrily discussing an Instyle "Makeover" issue. In it, there were "tips" on everything from how to wear your hair to how to act properly on facebook—all of which seem like an updated version of those horrific books from half a century ago that instructed women on how to be proper, mostly to get a man (because this is, after all, the most important goal for a woman to have). The section on remaking your online presence had me spitting nails—did you know, for instance, that according to an online dating website, 60% of men prefer straight to curly hair? Racial implications aside, Instyle suggests that you should then only use pictures of yourself with straight hair, unless your aim is to go for that meager 40% of men. Also, a study done by Psychology Today suggests that 305 friends on facebook is the golden number, so you better start either weeding out the filler or asking everyone you've ever met to be your "friend," should you not have that number under your profile pic (of yourself with straight hair. Also: there were instructions as to how to pose in your online pictures...and of course they had to do with looking "coy."). You can check out more of these super tips here!

Most hilarious was a pull quote that followed this article by the apparently new "style icon" Rachel Bilson about how important it is for a woman to love everything about herself—even the bad parts!

Oh my bad, I just spent 60 pages reading about how everything about myself is wrong and should be fixed.

It isn't just grown women who are still being instructed as to how to act in order to ultimately get a man. As seen in the Holiday 2011 Gap Kids ad campaign, little girls are still supposed to be sweet! And, on the flip side, boys are ROCKIN'! Oh, and it is also all about how kids "want candy." Take THAT Michelle Obama! (NOTE: this is not the original ad I saw in the most recent issue of Lucky magazine. As it turns out, it is really difficult to find actual print ads online...but here is a promo piece with the message, as well as the photo that was accompanied by similar text in the ad I originally saw).

Just more reasons, I suppose, to make sure that I get to see Miss Representation sooner than later.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Farewell Ironing Board Collective!

I did my last post for the Ironing Board Collective on a rather contentious subject in the critical, feminist writing world—Jane magazine. Now,  I know that many had major grudges towards the publication, but I loved it, and miss it dearly. Sure it exhibited many of the insulting pitfalls that plague most mainstream women's magazines, but there was something about it that no other publication has been able to capture. Read about my further musings on the publication here.