Cheerleading Tryout Poster Gone Wrong!

Cheerleading tryouts, or any tryout for that matter, is a stressful time. Not only do you have to learn a cheer and show off your skills, but you have to look presentable also. The University of Washington (UW) tried to be helpful by creating a flyer to show the dos and don’ts of tryouts. However, the flyer created an outcry because of the flyers promotion of negative body image and racial issues.

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Screenshotted from Click 2 Houston

This flyer was posted to the University’s Facebook Page a week before cheer and dance team auditions, and as a result, caused many people to withdraw from their audition. Many feel that this flyer reinforced racial and sexual stereotypes.

Some individuals also criticized the poster for focusing too much on Western beauty standards by stating girls who are auditioning should have a “bronze, beachy glow,” “false lashes,” and should have their hair, “down, curled or straight with volume.”

“One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate,” student Jazmine Perez told the Seattle Times.

Some backlash that the UW received on twitter can be seen below:

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One UW senior, Signe Burchim, told the Seattle Times, “I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much.” Such a message would never go out to men trying out for a sport, she said.

The flyer went up on UW’s Facebook page on Monday, April 25, 2016. By Wednesday, April 27, the flyer had gone viral, but by Thursday, April 28, the flyer had gone global.

Screenshotted from Paper Blog

News organizations, such as  Time magazine, People magazine, ABC News, NBC News, the UK’s Daily Mail, theNew York Post and the New York Daily News, all grabbed this flyer and talked about it.

UW officials responded to UW fans who had concerns over this flyer saying that a part-time staffer who wasn’t a coach created this flyer. In addition, they also stated that the flyer was never meant to be an official communication. The flyer was created in order to address the many questions that students had about cheer and dance tryouts.

After posting this flyer, it was taken off of the Facebook page the following morning, because the UW’s marketing department felt that the flyer was “inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and the department of athletics,” said spokesman Carter Henderson.

However, just because the flyer was taken off the Facebook page, doesn’t mean it was gone forever. Some individuals had saved a copy of the flyer and reposted it on social media, which spurred the outcry on social media further and caused news organizations to get on the story.

After seeing this post, Nancy Anderson, a UW cheerleader for two years in the 1960s, told the Seattle times, “It was a wonderful experience … now when I read about these ‘tips,’ I’m embarrassed to say that I was ever a Husky cheerleader.” She went further to call the tips on the flyer “racist, sexist and outrageous.”

UW Dance Team. Screenshotted from UW Huskies Dance Team website

Other individuals who commented on the UW post expressed their concerns over how the woman in the picture was white. Some felt that the image of the white woman was suggesting that the ideal candidate was a blonde, white woman.

Despite all the controversy surrounding the flyer, I think it is important to note that two other schools, Louisiana State University (LSU) Tiger Girls and Washington State University (WSU), did something along the same lines. Both of these flyers were almost identical to the UW’s flyer, and the LSU flyer also was removed from Facebook.

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LSU’s Flyer and WSU’s flyer. Screenshotted from NBC News

Having been a member of my high school’s dance team for all four years of high school, I would have to agree with the mass majority who feel that this flyer is promoting negative body images and what the “ideal” cheerleader or dancer should look like. At tryouts, there are so many other things that you’re worried about. You aren’t focused on looking like a model off the runaway at all times. You try to look at least presentable for an audition, but you’re there to show what you can do

Not every cheerleader, dancer or any other athlete for that matter look exactly the same. Each athlete has a different body type and overall look than the man or woman standing next to them. I think that tryouts should be focused more on what you can do and not about how you look or if you do or don’t fit an ideal because there shouldn’t be an ideal in the first place.

As I’ve shown in other blog posts on my blog, social media can drive debates and disagreements. Without social media, this post wouldn’t have gone global and wouldn’t have created the widespread debate about the body image and racial controversies that are shown.

Did you hear about this flyer prior to reading this post and what are your thoughts on the flyer?


New Social Media Campaign Takes Stand Against Trump

Presidential campaigns and political campaigns in general are full of emotions, debates and individuals on social media voicing their opinions supporting or taking a stand against a particular candidate. Donald Trump, candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in this years’ election, is one particular candidate who is a hot topic on social media, and one particular campaign encouraged women to not, “date, sleep or canoodle with anyone who’s a Donald Trump supporter.”

What is this campaign you may ask? #VoteTrumpGetDumped and it has been growing a social media following of 49,000 on Instagram, 48,000 on Twitter, and 13,000 on Facebook since its creation.

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Screenshotted from Huffpost Women

This particular campaign’s main issue with Trump is his apparent misogyny, which is defined as a hatred of women, according to Merriam-Webster.  The Vote Trump Get Dumped website states, “To cast a vote for Trump is to agree with his sexist, perverted, demeaning, backwards, offensive treatment of women.”

Chandler Smith and her husband, Blake, are the creators of this campaign and through it are basically saying that men who support Trump are also supporting his misogynistic views.

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Screenshotted from Vote Trump Get Dumped

On their website, the couple has featured some of Trump’s quotes in regard to women on top of a beautiful scenic background, similar to a motivational poster.

Individuals, through social media, are able to participate in the campaign by following three simple steps:

Step 1: Choose a sexist Trump quote

Step 2: Record a video of yourself reading the quote and end it by crossing your fingers

Step 3: Share the video or any related content with the hashtag #votetrumpgetdumped

Many people have done variations of these three steps through Instagram and Vote Trump Get Dumped has also promoted themselves through Instagram.

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However, other individuals have showed support for this campaign through Twitter.

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“A President Trump really freaks me out. I don’t want a sexist, racist, war-crime-threatening man leading my country,” Smith said. “If Donald objectifies women, he’s objectifying 50.8 percent of America and that’s not cool. So we’re doing something about it,” Smith told the Huffington Post.

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Screenshotted from Vote Trump Get Dumped

Vote Trump Get Dumped explains on their website as to why they feel they way they do about Trump saying that Trump degrades women to that of objects. In addition, that Trump feels that a woman’s value lies in her beauty and sex appeal.

“We had a hunch that the combination of humor, anger, and sex would be pretty shareable. We’re trying to get people talking about Trump’s inability to control his tongue, and what that means about his suitability to govern and to represent America to the rest of the world, Smith told the Cut.

One of the steps includes having a video or perhaps a picture of someone crossing their fingers, which symbolizes a women saying “no access” with their body, according to the Vote Trump Get Dumped website.

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Screenshotted from Vote Trump Get Dumped

Smith is doing her part to organize against a GOP candidate thorough the creation of this campaign and twitter profile. “This is meant to be a funny way to talk about serious issues. We’re trying to get people talking about Trump’s inability to control his tongue, and what that means about his suitability to govern and to represent America to the rest of the world,” said Smith.

However, Smith isn’t the only one trying to stop Trump. Our Principle PAC, run by Katie Packer Gage, who was Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, is one of the biggest efforts run by Republicans thus far. This PAC recently put out an ad of women reading sexist things that Trump has said about women over the last few decades. In just the first two days, it was viewed nearly 2.5 milli0n times.

Trump is apparently in some trouble when it comes to the women’s vote, with one poll by ABC/Washington Post suggesting that Trump could lose 21 points from women to Hillary Clinton. 21 points is very significant in the support for the party among women swing voters, according to The Cut.

This campaign is interesting to me in that an everyday woman and her husband are promoting their beliefs through social media. This is just a great example of how much power the social media has for us if we use it in the right manner. I also think this whole campaign, in general, is very humorous while also interesting in that woman are being talked about in this way. During the election season, many candidates are faced with negative backlash and when campaigns, such as this one, come out and gain a following, it hurts the candidate greatly.

Have any of you heard of this campaign? What are your thoughts on the the whole idea of it?

Affirmation Stickers Spread Body Positivity

You get on any form of public transportation in any major city and advertisements can be seen on the transportation themselves as well as on your route to the form of public transportation that you will be taking. New York is a great example of this, but some advertisements are accompanied by a sticker that is meant to promote body-positive messages within body-shaming advertisements.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 1.36.48 PM.pngThe company responsible for this growing movement is My Body Does, which “celebrate[s] the profound uniqueness and inherent value of all bodies,” according to their website. The stickers that are provided and can be purchased from their website are called “affirmation stickers.”

These stickers say things such as “My body is a source of joy” and “I am free to have a body that is unique to me.” Positive messages such as these speak to a more loving and accepting side of our bodies.

“We had this idea to have a body-positive community founded in being informative and inclusive and the stickers are our first project as part of that community. I had started thinking about the stickers, having been trapped in a subway filled with terrible advertisements, thinking, ’You know, I really wish I had some way to speak for myself in this space.'” -Jessica Andersen told MTV

The whole idea behind the stickers and My Body Does stemmed from two yogis, Jessica Andersen and Ashley Simon, and their interaction with an advertisement for Protein World last summer. The advertisement (pictured below) featured a large-chested women with a smaller frame with the question: “Are you beach body ready?”

From Mirror

Andersen and Simon, through the use of social media and the word of mouth, encourage individuals to place the affirmative stickers on advertisements that need some body positivity. Through social media, this whole campaign has gained a lot of traction and a following, with many individuals taking part in placing stickers where they feel is necessary.

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Anderson and Simon met each other in a yoga teacher-training session and from there, developed the My Body Does idea. Both women took the principles of yoga and incorporated them into My Body does.

According to Simon, “A lot of yoga is about creating really safe spaces for people. [Jessica and I] were in this training together and thinking a lot about that, about how important it is for us that our students — no matter what their ability is or what their size is — that when they come into a yoga space, they feel safe and they feel supported and they have a positive experience.”

From My Body Does

The affirmation stickers aren’t the only project that My Body Does is working on. On the My Body Does website is a blog that features a series of posts titled, “My Body Muse.” This series features individuals talking about their bodies and the stories that are built around them.

My Body Does also hosted a gallery exhibition that highlighted societal body expectations called BODY/Space: An Exploration of the Body Experienced Through Art.

Honestly, how cool is this movement that these two yogis started in New York? It’s so unique and awesome that so many individuals are spreading body positivity by placing a simple sticker over or near those advertisements that promote body-shaming attitudes. Individuals can place them literally anywhere and promote body positivity among society.

Someone’s body struggles can feel less of a burden when they come across these stickers on their way to work, on their way to lunch or on their way to see a friend. Everyone deserves to be told they are beautiful and that their body is beautiful. These stickers do this and so much more.

I have high hopes that we will be seeing more of these stickers in the future and I hope to see more around my hometown or in Morgantown, W.Va. Who knows, maybe I’ll purchase some and start spreading the body positivity? I mean they are only $2.50 for a set of four!

Have you seen these stickers in your hometown and after reading this, are you going to get some stickers to join the body positivity movement?

CK Creates Uproar Among Social Media

Calvin Klein has been all over social media in the past year with their #MyCalvins campaign that features celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Kendrick Lamar and others. However, beforehand Calvin Klein caused an uproar online of individuals debating model Myla Dalbesio’s classification as a “plus-size” model, which may have been unknown to many.

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Dalbesio is featured in Calvin Klein’s new underwear ad called “Perfectly Fit,” which was shot by Lachlan Bailey.

Dalbesio is a U.S. size 10 (UK size 14) and is considered “too curvy” for a standard size zero or two. However in the modeling industry, plus-size is  traditionally classified as a size 12 and up. Dalbesio is consider an “in-between” size. Landing a campaign with Calvin Klein, an incredibly iconic brand, is an amazing opportunity for any model, but it’s more so for Dalbesio, who is somehow breaking the stereotypical barrier of models are who seen as “perfect.”

It’s actually interesting how the term “plus-size” has changed over the years. Not too long ago, plus size models where a size 1o to 12. The number has since shrunk to a size 8, changing the window from sizes 10 to 12 ,to 8 to 12.

“It’s kind of confusing because I’m a bigger girl. I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating.” -Dalbesio told Elle

Seeing this campaign and being told that Dalbesio is considered a “plus-size model” caused the online world to respond. Some individuals directed their feelings toward Calvin Klein, despite the fact that the brand never alluded to Dalbesio’s size. Calvin Klein placed Dalbesion alongside other models that were considered “straight size” models in the fashion industry.

However, the campaign elicited a negative response from the audience.Two of the most noteworthy responses came from two women below:

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But many other individuals responded to Hardman’s tweet supporting her views on the depiction of Dalbesio as “plus-size.”

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According to the CDC, the average American women is a size 14, but the sizes that are often seen in the fashion industry are 0, 2 and 4. Models who are a size 8 (which remember is considered plus-sized) are smaller than the average American women. What sense does that make? Clearly, we as a society don’t understand what an average American woman’s body looks like.

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Screenshotted from Elle

Calvin Klein released in a statement that the campaign, “…features models Myla Dalbesio, Jourdan Dunn, Amanda Wellsh, Ji Hye Park and the face of the brand, Lara Stone, in several styles. The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.”

While this campaign is great, it’s interesting in that not many people covered the issue of body image at play, not only among the actual campaign, but also among the online world.

Many of the recent campaigns that tackle the issue of body image come off as though they are the first campaign to try this. But what about this 2014 campaign? How many people remember this and how many people remember the issue surrounding this?

The whole idea of Dalbesio being  an “in-between” sized model just boggles my mind because she may be a size 10, but I agree with many of the online world that she is not plus-sized by any means. And to just bump her up to a plus-sized model is odd because in all honesty, it shouldn’t matter. Standard or plus-sized, it shouldn’t matter to the fashion industry.

Women want to see models who are relatable and are like the average sized women. With many of the campaigns that are floating around today, why have none of them acknowledged this original campaign that featured an “in-between” model, and made a small step in the right direction?

Have you heard about this campaign and the issues surrounding it?



Aprils Fools! The Aerie Male Campaign Breakdown

Recently on Facebook and other various social media sites, a video has been circulating that features a handful of men in their Aerie boxers speaking on the topic of body-positivity among males.

But APRIL FOOLS! This #AerieMen campaign thats be going around is actually a parody of Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign and the social media world is pissed.


Yeah, you read that last part right. American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie’s parent company, said in a press release on Friday that the parody was made to raise awareness about body diversity.

However, the public has spoken up about the apparent April Fools joke saying that body diversity shouldn’t be a joke. Male body diversity is a subject that should be taken and portrayed seriously, not be joked about.

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Whenever the video was released, Aerie received praise from various other companies for celebrating body positivity among men and including the male population in the ongoing conversation of self-acceptance. Prior to, Aerie had already committed to not retouching female models and also including women who represent various body types in their advertisements.

Though their intentions may have been positive, the public has taken a disliking to the video’s presentation. The video takes a light-hearted, comedic route, but the tone of the video doesn’t seem to fit the topic. Aerie somewhat teases their audience about male body diversity and body image. Men face body criticism like women do, and they deserve some coverage and campaigns that represent the male population.

According to a recent video by ATTN, 25% of average weight males feel like they need to bulk up due to the changing icons of males in the media. The male icon is now the buff guy that can be seen in various advertisements and movies such as Magic Mike, but the male icon is unrealistic in that every male cannot look like that.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.19.24 PM“We aren’t afraid of being bold in how we engage our customers, whether through a video that makes you think twice, or challenging the norm in how a brand markets to men,” said Chad Kessler, American Eagle’s global brand president. “We are an all-inclusive brand and we know our male customers respond to humor. We look forward to continuing to innovate and evolve the American Eagle Outfitters product offerings.”

Simply put, Aerie had one goal in mind: to get people talking about the issue of body image among men. Aerie did get the ball rolling and they showed us how far we truly have to go within the realm of body positivity for both males and females.

Aerie did make some positive steps in the right direction despite the backlash from the parody video. The company revealed in the release from Monday that they would stop airbrushing male models in underwear and swimwear ads by holiday 2016, which they recently stopped doing in their #AerieReal campaign for women.

Aerie also donated $25,000 to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), who gave Aerie the first ever NEDA Inspires ‘Seal of Approval’ due to their commitment to having un-retouched, natural advertising.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 3.33.19 PM.pngOne of the models, Brendon Williams who plays Doug in the campaign, actually landed a modeling career through this commercial, which was intended to be a gift to his wife.

“This has actually improved my self esteem. Not so much that I think I look better on the whole, but I think it’s more that I don’t have to be concerned about my flaws as much. I don’t think I have the greatest body in the world, obviously, but this has made me go a little bit easier on myself,”said Williams.

Aerie is all about “being you” and embracing your body no matter what the media tries to tell you. But why would they joke about such a serious issue? Body image in regards to women and men is a huge issue and something that needs to be addressed on both sides of the coin. Men deserve to have campaigns that encourage a healthy body image and acceptance of their bodies just as much as women.

How do you all feel about this April Fools joke? Was it too much or do you think their approach was appropriate?

New Challenge Promotes Body Shaming

Let’s admit it. We as humans are always up for a challenge. Various individuals have tried the cinnamon challenge, the ice bucket challenge, the eat it or wear it challenge and the touch my body challenge. Well, a new challenge has taken the stage, the #A4WaistChallenge and this is one that many individual’s have taken a stand against.

This particular challenge originally started in China and has become a disturbing trend to show off the size of your waist in comparison to white piece of paper referred to as an A4 in the office supply world.

IMG_9742.PNG Women in China have been posting their responses to the A4 challenge on Weibo, which is China’s equivalent of Twitter.

When women hold an 8.3 x 11.7 piece of paper vertically in front of their waists, it appears as if they have no waist at all and in turn promotes an unrealistic beauty standard that many women feel pressured to meet. Holding it horizontally would make the paper 11 inches, but appears to be “too easy” and gives women “too much room.”

On Weibo alone, millions of people have been using the hashtag with their photo, and Instagram features 82 posts and counting.

The craze started in February and is similar to the belly button challenge that was popular last year where individuals would wrap their arms around their bodies while trying to touch their belly button. Another challenge that promoted the same unrealistic body standard was the pen challenge, which involved holding a pen under your breasts.

Though this challenge has spread in China and in other countries also, many individuals have taken to Twitter and Instagram to show their disapproval of this challenge by showing that a piece of paper being held up to your waist, doesn’t define beauty.

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With signs featuring sayings such as “Paper is all made to look the same, but we weren’t” and “You’re more than this,” individuals are showing that the ideal body is your body. It’s not something that society can define for us.

Individuals also showed their disapproval of this new trend on Twitter:

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One particular individual’s response has also gone viral because of her focus on her personal achievements, not what the size of her waist is.

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Other individuals have supported this original post saying things such as:

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According to Fox News, clinical psychologist Jenny Taitz stated that this challenge is dangerous for girls anywhere and could influence girls to develop an eating disorder. In addition, Taitz said girls who are vulnerable as well as impressionable are the most at risk of being influenced from the challenge.

Psychologists have actually proven that confidence comes from focusing on your talents and from knowing yourself.

After hearing about this challenge, my three roommates and I, who are all of a healthy weight, tried out this challenge in order to see how outrageous it is. Between the four of us, none of us fit the standards as laid out by the challenge.

I don’t know why such trends and fads take off like they do and promote unhealthy lifestyles among individuals everywhere. With the belly button challenge and additional challenges, girls, and also men, are always wanting to change something about their bodies and are left feeling bad about their bodies just because they cannot “accomplish” the challenge’s goals.

Girls and women are wanting a “thigh gap,” a flat stomach, a big butt and perhaps bigger breasts all because society and these challenges are making it seem like these aspects on a women are the definition of beauty.

To start off with, not everyone can meet those unrealistic body goals and having all of those aspects at one time can be very unhealthy and very challenging to achieve. As individuals, we should be more focused on being happy, healthy and confident with ourselves and our accomplishments. We shouldn’t let society define what the “ideal body” is.

Be happy with yourself and show off what makes you beautiful. Celebrate your accomplishments and don’t fall prey to these ridiculous challenges that celebrate you as an individual. How come challenges focusing on one’s accomplishments or beauty don’t exist?


Male Model Industry Joins the Body Postivity Movement

Meet Zach Miko, the newest addition to IMG Models Brawn, which is their first ever plus-size men’s division at a major agency.

Miko, standing at a height of six feet six inches (eight inches taller than the average American male) and having a waist of 40-inches, represents the more average American male and has become a spokesperson for body positivity for males.

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Like Ashley Graham, who has been featured various times on my blog, Miko is starting to shift the conversation and he hopes to encourage those men who struggle with body issues. Alongside that, Miko wants to put an end to dangerous body-image thoughts that men may be having.

One-fifth of straight men and 25 percent of gay men report having negative feelings toward their bodies. Just like women, men also say they feel pressure from the media to fit an unrealistic body that is seen as attractive by society. These statistics show why body positivity for men is an important movement and Miko is certainly doing his part.

“We need more and more men to stand up and say they are truly happy with the size and shape they are and be genuine. Not some false machismo bravado but truly be happy and proud of who they are.” –Miko told Mashable

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.35.47 AM.pngMiko is striving to change the male model industry’s vocabulary and hopes to see the word “big” change from an insult to a term of power and strength.

However, in trying to do so, Miko isn’t trying to change or replace his male model counterparts that are seen as “chiseled.” His main focus is on changing unrealistic societal norms among the male community.

By introducing a plus-size category for male models, similar to that of women, IMG is making a big step in the right direction. Men suffer the same body-shaming and pressure from the media that women also do. However, this new step only covers part of the ongoing conversation, but with time, the ball may get rolling within the realm of the male community and the issue of body-image.

Many individuals have shown their love and support of Miko on twitter:

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One individual even commented on the fact that Miko is the only plus-sized male model he has heard of, adding that such a fact is sad.

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“I spent my whole life feeling bad about my body. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. One body is no better than any other body. It is all about how you feel about it. Be proud of who you are, because who you are is awesome.” –Miko

Barbie has revealed three new body types for that of the female Barbies, but what about Ken? Ken is seen as the toned and handsome male doll that represents some portion of the male population, but what about the average male body? What about the “dad bod” having males of America and those males who look more like Miko? Perhaps Ken should be altered also.

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IMG’s Brawn division specializes in those men who have a 39-inch average waistline like that of many American males. Brawn not only is the name of the new division, but the term has been tied to masculinity and those pressures that society places on men. According to the Greatist, the term “brawn” represents strength, confidence and is the male equivalent of the word “curvy.” Brawn is a body type that is more realistic and is still ideal for many American males.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.35.56 AMPrior taking the male model industry by storm, Miko was pursing is acting and comedy dreams in New York City. Last year, he appear in a Target campaign and caught IMG Model’s President, Ivan Bart, eye.

“IMG has been at the forefront of changing the conversation about beauty with their message of diversity, inclusion and evolution,” said Miko “This is the first time a major agency is signing a plus-sized man. It shows that [there’s] not only the change in society and the change in the industry, but that these major movers in the fashion community believe in the change.”

When I saw the news about Miko, I was genuinely happy because now the male community is having a spokesperson for them in the body-image realm. Men too also suffer from the same media pressures as we do with advertisements that feature the male models with six packs and huge muscles. In having the same pressures, males also deserve someone who will represent them and stand up for them, like Ashley Graham does for females.

A round of applause goes to both Miko and IMG Models, who are working together to change the conversation of body-image in the male model industry and for males as a whole.

2016 Pirelli Calendar Captures Body Image

This year’s Pirelli Calendar, which is a limited edition art item released by an Italian tire company every year, captures the ongoing issue of body image in their 2016 edition by featuring comedian Amy Schumer and tennis star, Serena Williams.

Both Shumer and Williams have two different body types, but they are celebrated within this calendar in addition to their social media accounts.

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This year’s calendar is a year of firsts for the magazine! Instead of featuring nude or barely clothed models, the calendar has chosen to feature 12 studio portraits of women who are well known in their specific field. The fields include sports, philanthropy and art. The women within the calendar also represent different body shapes and beauty standards.

The women seen in this years calendar are Serena Williams, Yao Chen, Patti Smith, Amy Schumer, Yoko Ono, investor Mellody Hobson, director Ava DuVernay, artist Shirin Neshat; model Natalia Vodianova and one of her young children.

However,  out of the women, Williams and Schumer are the only ones in their underwear.

Schumer is seen wearing lingerie and heels, while holding a coffee cup with a lipstick stain. While the idea behind the photo was, “…that she was the only one who had not got the memo about wearing clothes,” said Annie Leibovitz, photographer of the shoot, her photo was one of the emblems of body image.

Schumer posted the photo on her Instagram and Twitter with the following caption:

“Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!”

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The un-retouched and candid image has generated the most discussion from this year’s shoot, with many individuals showing support for Schumer’s photo.

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Photographer Leibovitz worried that Schumer may feel self-conscious about her photoshoot, but Schumer stated, “I felt I looked more beautiful than I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt like it looked like me.”

Leibovitz also stated that, “I’m a great admirer of comediennes. The Amy Schumer portrait added some fun. It’s as if she didn’t get the memo saying that she could keep her clothes on.” Schumer’s photo in the calendar, then, can be seen as capturing the issue of body image as well as showing her comedic side to the issue and the calendar as a whole.

In addition to Schumer’s more comedic take on the issue of body image, Williams’ shows her strength through her highly toned body. William shows off the definition in her bare back and thighs in her Pirelli calendar photo.

Williams’ photo shows that strong is also beautiful!

“Pirelli came to me and told me they wanted to shift this year to something different.I made the suggestion that they do women performance artists or women comedians, almost a takeoff. I just thought of women I admired and I didn’t let anyone in the studio from Pirelli. It became a very strong set of very simple portraits. No one was supposed to look like they tried in these pictures.” –Liebovitz

The lack of clothing in the Pirelli Calendar may suggest that women should valued for what they think, do, and create rather than the shape or attractiveness of their bodies. This new direction of the calendar is pointing toward a culture that is unknown to the Pirelli Calendar. Instead of focusing on attractive and thin models, women who are of various body shapes, from various career backgrounds and various racial backgrounds are being featured in the calendar.

I personally have never heard of the Pirelli Calendar before, but after doing some research and seeing the past years’ calendars, the 43rd calendar is taking a different direction and is celebrating women’s accomplishments and their varying body types.

Take a look at the behind the scenes video to get a closer look at the calendar!

Body Image Meets Artist Jody Steel

Facebook is home to various videos that our friends and family share on a daily basis. Some funny, some serious and some artistic, which is the case for this time-lapse video that depicts the issue of body image beautifully.

When I first saw this video, I was in awe of the amount of work that went into depicting the twisted mid-section. Granted, I am no artist in any manner, but just the pure talent that Jody Steel, the creator of this video, has is amazing in itself. However, it’s great that another aspect of our everyday lives has incorporated the growing issue of body image.

The idea of the “perfect body” that is shown throughout the various forms of media that we interact with on a daily basis places pressure on individuals to attain this “perfect body.” Whether it’s wanting to be shorter, slimmer, curvier taller, feeling good about our bodies is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. These images of the unrealistic body make the struggles we face with loving ourselves even harder.

Steel noticed and understood these struggles and as a response, created the time-lapse video to illustrate her own struggles she has faced with her body.

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Within the video, Steel, a U.K.-based artist, creates an illusion using paint and a marker that her abdomen is being twisted into what appears to be a tight know. The video takes viewers step-by-step into how Steel created the illusion, but viewers are left with the vivid, tightened stomach at the end.

“There have been times I’ve look (looked) in a mirror and wished for a perfect figure.Once I realized that naturally, I don’t have a Coke bottle figure, or long and thin legs, I began to let go of the pressures I’ve felt to fulfill an image that our society has deemed the pinnacle of beauty.” –Steel

This video has already earned 41 million views on Facebook within 24 hours of Steel posting the video.

Many of the individuals who commented on her video were supportive of her speaking about the issue of body image that is common among women and men. Many even thanked her and some have even shared their own personal stories.

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Despite all the positive comments, her video has also been subject to some individuals saying that she is trying to “justify being unhealthy” along with other negative comments.

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Overtime, Steel began to realize that happiness won’t come from trying to fit the body mold that society and the media has created. Instead, she expressed her change in feelings by saying, “I like to adventure and I love to try new foods — especially if they’re spicy. So let go of your demons and learn to enjoy the things you love in life. You can be healthy and happy. I’ve had this idea for a long time and I’m glad I finally did it!”

With the ongoing conversation surrounding body image and the various campaigns that are circulating in the media, Steel offers a different perspective on the idea of body image. Not only is her art work amazing, her video leaves an impression on you. I know after seeing this video all I could think to myself was “wow.” Her video has a lasting effect and has an awe effect if you will.

Talking about the issue of body image is one thing, but illustrating it is something completely different. Through Steel’s video, individuals can see the “perfect body” that the media and society has shaped for us. It’s very unrealistic and is twisted in that not only is her artwork a twisted abdomen, but also that it’s twisted that society would want everyone to have a perfect body.

Being healthy and loving yourself is much more important than molding to the unrealistic body image that has pressured many individuals throughout their lives.

Have you seen this video yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the video as a whole and how it contributes to the conversation of body image?





Speak Beautiful

Have you ever heard the saying that we are our harshest critic? Well, this saying is true when we are talking about our own self-esteem and body image. In fact, 4 out of 5 negative beauty-related Tweets come from women who are talking negatively about themselves.

Dove, in collaboration with Twitter, is working against this statistic by developing a new technology called the #SpeakBeautiful Effect. This new technology collects data documenting the role physical appearance plays in women’s social media activity all by retweeting Dove’s Tweet. Dove looks at your tweets over the past six months just to see how positive your Twitter has been.

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Naturally, I felt it was only right to test out this new technology myself. Here’s the run-down of how this whole process works: individual’s first retweet the post on Dove’s Twitter. Dove then automatically responds to the retweet stating they are measuring your #SpeakBeautiful Effect.Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.52.16 PM

Dove then sends you a tweet with a link that displays your personal Twitter data as a chart and how your negative tweets stack up to other women.

This new tool, released on March 12 at South by Southwest, has four main components. First is the Beauty Quotient, which tracks language on our social media to determine our emotional expressions related to beauty. Defining Beauty compares our own language to how other women speak about beauty and themselves. It’s Time To #SpeakBeautiful tracks the time of day that women talk about beauty. The last component,  Let’s #SpeakBeautiful Together, brings your analysis fully circle by showing a map of the United States with a total number of how many body-positive tweets are out there on the internet with a breakdown across regions.

Within five separate screens, the Beauty Quotient, Defining Beauty, It’s Time To #SpeakBeautiful and Let’s #SpeakBeautiful Together are displayed for Twitter users.

My results are shown below, and if you’re not an avid twitter user or use your twitter for more professional means, then you may get a similar response back.
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According to Dove’s own research, 95 percent of women see negative comments on social media, with 72 percent of girls saying that they are criticized weekly. Dove also cited research showing that 62 percent of girls wish social media would help them boost their body positivity rather than encouraging a negative body image.
Check out some of the other statistics that Dove tweeted to show the amount of body-negativity that is seen on social media.

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Many individuals on social media have tried out this new technology on Twitter to make themselves aware of their negative body comments and in order to change their language.

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Dove focusing on Twitter with this technology isn’t a random choice. Dove, after looking at various social media sites, found that Twitter contained the most negativity surrounding body image.

“That was one of the places we felt we could have an impact,” said Jennifer Bremner, Director of Marketing for Dove. “It’s been more than 10 years that we’ve been trying to get women and girls to develop a positive relationship with beauty. And one of these places we know this conversation is happening is on Twitter.”

“We want to rally one of the most digitally savvy and socially conscious audiences to join the conversation. Body shaming has sadly become a normal part of today’s online interactions, but sometimes we do not realize the role we are playing in that conversation.” –Bremner

However, this campaign and new technology is expanding on Dove’s long-running initiative to encourage a positive discussion of body image. Dove is asking social media users to think about what content they are posting and to avoid judgmental language within their posts.

This campaign is just a really great example of how a company such as Dove can collaborate with a social media platform in an effort to change the way that individuals are talking about body image. In order to change the conversation around body image (ours and towards others), Dove has to first open our eyes to how negatively we tweet. Going six months back and seeing how much someone may have tweeted about their body after a slice of cake or the week before spring break and presenting it in the manner Dove does seems to be effective.

Personally, I can’t even remember when I have tweeted negatively about my own body and I’m sure many individuals are in the same boat. Dove has created a new technology to bring awareness as well as to shift the conversation in a positive direction.

Have you tried this out yet? You may be surprised how much you’ve tweeted negatively or positively about body image.