lol2.jpg



If I Were A Boy - Beyonce -

Our project is based on disseminating the traditional western ideal of beauty that has permeated both our own country and much of the rest of the world. Throughout world history, a culture’s beauty ideal varies greatly with time and place, but for the past fifty years, what is considered “normal” female beauty has morphed into the same image of the young, tall, skinny, blonde, blue-eyed, Caucasian, heterosexual woman. Most white women don’t fit into this beauty stereotype, and anyone who isn’t Caucasian certainly finds this impossibility. The College is certainly not made up of girls who fit this stereotype, and we feel that it is time to draw attention to the beauty of all women on campus, every size and shape and color. Why is this necessary? Because every woman should feel beautiful in her own body, is beautiful in her own body, and it’s time that real women put out images of real beauty, and don’t just accept the media’s decisions about what is and is not beautiful.

doratheexplorer.jpg
Dora the Explorer got a makeover to look older. She used to be a boxy tomboy and is now a slender tween. This transformation represents the homogenization of appearances that we have been discussing.

Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting or imposing one culture’s ideas, values and expectations into other cultures. It is usually the case that the former belongs to a large, economically or militarily powerful nation and the latter belongs to a smaller, less important one. Cultural imperialism can take the form of an active, formal policy or a general attitude. Western nations are responsible for imposing their cultural ideals and values on the rest of the world. Beauty standards around the world clearly exemplify the effect of cultural imperialism of Western countries. Globalization, which has allowed for the circulation of Western media outlets (magazines, television programs, advertisements, etc.), is responsible for the homogenization of the idea of beauty.


Above is a spread from a Japnese magazine which shows the adoption of the Western ideal of beauty. As first glance the Japanese model would appear to be a white woman.
Above is a spread from a Japnese magazine which shows the adoption of the Western ideal of beauty. As first glance the Japanese model would appear to be a white woman.
Our course materials have focused on different aspects of society’s interpretation of the ideal woman. We are told from a young age that to be perfect we must be white, thin, and heterosexual— never challenging men or speaking our minds. The obsession women have with fitting this image is an “extension of the hurt we suffer at the hands of patriarchal society, a society that convinces us to hurt ourselves, so that we are kept from the real business of our lives" (Valdes 31). There is an extreme need to stop the brainwashing of women, which generally starts in the media. Demanding that people embrace difference is necessary to stopping the idea that women all need to look the same.

Most of our readings have focused on different aspects of society’s interpretation of the ideal women. We are told from a young age that to be perfect we must be white, thin, and heterosexual— never challenging men or speaking our minds. The obsession women have with fitting this image is an “extension of the hurt we suffer at the hands of patriarchal society, a
saved_by_the_bell.jpg
One of the most popular TV shows of the 90's featured only one black character. Most shows, along with the rest of the media, have almost no diversity at all.
society that convinces us to hurt ourselves, so that we are kept from the real business of our lives" (Valdes 31). There is an extreme need to stop the brainwashing of girls, which generally starts in the media. Demanding that people embrace difference is necessary to stopping the idea that women all need to look the same.

In “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” McIntosh sees that Caucasians, being the majority of America, are privileged in a ways that multicultural women are not. She calls this Privilege the “invisible package of unearned assets" (10). She lists a number of situations in which race would only play a part (and a negative one) if she were multicultural. White women “can easily buy posters, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of [their] race" (11). This is something that is hard to notice unless you are victim to its injustice. In “The Master’s Tool Will Never Dismantle the Masters House,” Audre Lorde says that “advocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformist. Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like dialectic" (111).






Shrek is the 68th highest grossing film worldwide and Shrek 2 is 10th (highest grossing films). Many people around the world are viewing films originating in the US. It is important to critically examine what messages these films are sending. In this film, while Fiona does not end up as a white human princess, the marriage ideal is perpetuated. Fiona has "an array" of choices--she can marry one man or marry the other. Rather than providing examples of lifestyles outside of the marriage norm, this film promotes the Western ideal of the white wedding.


anorexic_mirror.jpgOne of the biggest components of the ideal image is the weight and body type of a woman. Chernik, in “The Body Politic” describes the condemnatory voice of society as saying “Don’t eat too much, don’t talk too loudly, don’t take up to much space" (110). Girls today think that if they can’t be as skinny as women in advertisements then they are not trying hard enough, increasing eating disorders. Lamm also addresses these issues in “It’s a Big Fat Revolution” asking “When will we start realizing that fat is a totally normal and natural thing" (139). Our project will challenge others to make this realization.

We also address sexuality and intellect, looking at how both are portrayed in the media. “Teen Mags” by Higginbotham along with Pozner's article “Reclaiming the Media for a Progressive
kim_kardashian.jpg
Complex Magazine edited this picture of Kim Kardashian, taking inches off her waist and lightening her skin. The only thing that remains the same is her bust. Kim is known for her curves, and yet this magazine makes her look thin and flawless, promoting an impossible image for most women to achieve.
Feminist Future” to support this idea. Education in these areas is necessary to stopping the stereotypes and false ideals that lead to so many problems for women. “The more we ignore these aspects of ourselves, the more shameful they become and the more we are expected to be what is generally implied" (Lamm 138).





Diversifying Beauty Community Action Project was created for
Professor Marcus's Intro to Women's Studies Course
College of William & Mary
Spring 2009