Fading - The Veronicas

Our film will aim to open people’s eyes to how the dominant, Western ideal of beauty has affected their daily lives. We hope to shed light on how these standards have been ubiquitous, yet invisible to most of us. Two main components will be featured in our video: a series of interviews featuring William and Mary students, and a presentation of national and international commercials, television shows and movies that promote the slim, fair woman as the image of beauty. By focusing on William and Mary students, we hope to make our project more relevant on campus. Once the student body realizes how much of a global effect western beauty standards have, they will be more willing to participate in our campaign.

The interview portion will represent the majority of or original footage in our film. We think that this part will be of great importance because William and Mary students (our primary audience) value the thoughts and ideas of their peers, and this issue will therefore seem more relevant to them. We wish to get in contact with multicultural organizations such as Hillel, South Asian Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Hispanic Cultural Organization, Filipino-American Student Association, and find students who are willing to speak with us. We feel that our project influences both males and females, so we will request to speak with people of both sexes. We plan on asking them the following questions: What is beauty to you? What is the standard of beauty in your native country (If your native country is not the U.S.)? How has your country’s idea of beauty been influenced by the U.S. and Europe? What is your daily beauty regimen? When do you feel beautiful? When don’t you feel beautiful? Would you feel comfortable dressing in the traditional clothes of your native country on a regular basis? Before performing the actual interviews, we will refine and edit our list of questions to make the interview as interesting and purposeful as possible.

Potrayal of a women in the media-- beautiful only to the standards of a dominant man.
We also plan to use international commercials to show how US cultural imperialism has resulted in imposing the Western ideal of beauty on other countries. Commercials for American products are shown the world over. These commercials nearly always feature the tall, thin, blond pale woman as the lead. Traditional, cultural standards of beauty have been replaced by the thin, pale, harmless woman as the ideal, as portrayed in Western media. We want to use commercials from other countries to show how the pale ideal has taken hold, excluding most of the women in those countries from beauty.

Television is shown all over the world and the Western ideal of beauty is portrayed in the characters of these shows. America’s Next Top model has had many international versions including Mexico and China’s Next Top Model. After being picked for the show, the models show a change in appearance, looking much whiter then their original photographs. We are planning to use the opening for China’s Next Top Model to show this change and explain how U.S. Cultural Imperialism has spread to other countries. Another TV show we will use is Baywatch. This program has been said to be the world’s most popular television show around the world. It stars a blonde, thin, white sex symbol and has almost no cultural diversity. We will also use Sex and the City and take a closer look at the four leading characters. This show made being single look “cool” for the first time ever. In short clips we will show how else this made women look and how the only expectable image was white, skinny, and beautiful. As television continues to embrace a large number of nations, America’s image of the perfect women persists as well. This image is hard to find even in the US and almost impossible to find internationally. When women everywhere turn on the TV, even to the most popular seemingly harmless shows, they see an impossible image that can be damaging to views of their own self worth.

Along with the interviews, commercials, and TV show clips, our video will feature clips from movies. One movie we will use is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The Goblet of fire is one of the highest grossing films of all time worldwide. It is therefore necessary that we address this film to see what messages it is sending to audiences. We will place narrative text on or around the clip so the audience can see our analysis as they watch. We should address what it says about sexuality, gender roles, and the beauty ideal. Another movie we will use is The Little Mermaid. Disney is the world's largest media corporation and its products are consumed around the world. This specific Disney movie has an all white ensemble, presents traditional gender roles, and has impossible-to-attain beauty standards. By looking at which films get lots of viewers and attention, we can see what messages predominate globally.

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