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Showing posts from April, 2019

Beauty and the (Beast) Over-40s

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‘I wanna look like I’m made of plastic’. So instructed my beautiful 40-year-old friend to a make-up artist in a well-known department store recently. Another 40-something friend tells me with pride that she spends £220 every month on painful laser facials. Yet another 40-something friend details her Botox and fillers regime to me. For myself, also in my 40s, I spend way too much on overpriced skincare creams and while I’m partial to a facial, I draw the line at needles and scalpels.

The media and academia abound with stories and reports about how susceptible young women are to the lure of beauty treatments and the negative effect social media are having on their self-confidence.  In my own research I have listened to a beautiful young 20-year-old woman share with me her desire for fat transfer using the more ‘holistic’ process of taking fat from the arse to use in the face (cosmetic surgery goes woke?). But by focusing almost exclusively on young women’s participation in beauty are we…

Young People’s Engagement with Social Media: The Case for Developing Adult Digital Literacy

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It is well established that young people make extensive use of social media. In the UK, 83% of 12-15 year olds have a smartphone, 99% go online for over 20 hours per week, and 69% have a social media profile. It is certainly apparent that social media is a key resource in the lives of contemporary young people and is a central space for the development of identities and relationships, as well as emotional regulation, self-expression, learning and much more. At the same time, many adults find young people’s uses of social media concerning. The dominant narratives that surround young people and social media tend to be associated with risk, and the potential for negative impacts, in areas including body image and body dissatisfaction.

The key challenge is that the contemporary digital world differs greatly to the childhood experiences of most adults, and this has inevitably created difficulties for the ways in which policy makers, schools, health and education professionals/practitioners,…

Here Come the Boys: Make-up and Masculinity

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I’ve become more and more interested in the advertisements that appear on my Facebook feed and what this seems to indicate about who Facebook think I am, what my interests and aspirations are. This has shifted recently from amusement at the back shavers, ear-hair clippers and baldness cures that it might be imagined would appeal to a bald middle aged man to (as the ads have become more specialized and targeted) a more critical thinking about the gendered and sexualized subject that the ad algorithm constructs and presents back to me, anchored very much around ideas of male beauty.

I’m discussing this in this blog because my targeted ads are currently overwhelmingly about male grooming and beauty products. This includes a number of advertisements for men’s cosmetics such as the brands Altr for Men and War Paint.  I find myself thinking about this after reading a BBC online article that asks us if men’s make-up is going ‘mainstream’. The picture that Bel Jacobs’ rather excitable article …