Showing posts from September, 2017

Sunbeds: Are they simply an 'irrational' compulsion?

It’s 2017, and according to health officials and the media (the main informers of the British public), Sunbeds are BAD - an ‘irrational’ form of consumption.

Nowadays, the ‘rational-thinking’ individual should associate sunbed consumption with their negative effects… Redness, burning, peeling and blistering of the skin – risking skin cancer (melanoma) in the long-runAn unsustainable dependence on shallow compliments for self-esteem.Costly maintenance, inconvenient/awkward secrecies, and time wasted travelling.An undesirable association with a ‘Tanorexic’ identity. The stigma attached to ‘obvious’ sunbed users is not favourable. Katie Price? Kat from EastEnders? Not to mention many politicians …. And in horror films a ‘Tanorexic’ habit may result in being cremated alive … With such stigma in mind, how has this industry, worth millions of pounds, both persisted and thrived for over thirty years? And why do over 3 million Britons continue using them every year? The popularity of the indu…

Shoe Stories

In Footnotes on Shoes, an interdisciplinary group of writers reflects on the cultural meanings of shoes and, in particular, women’s fascination with shoes – something which it seems has existed through the ages and across the globe.  The editors Shari Benstock and Suzanne Ferris (2001) note in their introduction that there is an Imelda Marcos lurking in each and everyone of us, referring to the infamous wife of the Philippine dictator who amassed more than 3,000 pairs of shoes during her lifetime. Women seem to have an insatiable lust for shoes.
Feminist scholars have had plenty to say about this female obsession with shoes (Wilson, 1985; Wolf, 1990; O’Keefe, 1996; Bergstein, 2012).  Initially, they viewed women wearing high heels as the victims of male oppression. Stiletto heels were the ultimate symbol of female subjugation, reducing their wearer to the position of sex object, crippling and deforming them in the name of male-defined beauty norms, and preventing them from being able…

No filter needed – ‘Insta’ diversity

A couple of weeks ago, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, up popped a picture of Alexandra Shulman, former editor of British Vogue, in a swimsuit; undoctored, natural, highlighting all of her 59 year old self.  It stopped me in my tracks, mainly I think becauseit was in stark contrast to the homogeneous representation of beauty that the magazine she was at the helm of for 25 years propagated, and was consistently met with criticism for.
There is a sense of melancholy in how an undoctored picture of a 59-year-old in a bikini is seen as an act of revolution. For women in Western cultures, the mass media tends to portray slender or thin bodies as attractive and associates them with success, youthfulness, or social acceptability, in contrast to overweight bodies, which are often linked to a lack of control or laziness, leading women to be dissatisfied or pressuring them to either lose weight or be thin (Grogan, 1999: 6; Mask & Blanchard, 2011:54).
Social cognitive theory of mass…