Free Your Mind - En Vogue
Abu-Lughod, Lila. "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others."Feminist Frontiers. 7th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007. 484-92.

This article addresses ethnocentrism within Western feminism as well as transnational feminism. Because our project is about revealing the cultural imperialism enacted by Western society, this article is important because it addresses the historical contexts of colonialism and control, which underlie many of the problems we will discuss. It reminds us that “We must take care not to reduce the diverse situations and attitudes of millions of Muslim women to a single item of clothing” (488). It also alerts us to the ethnocentrism and recirculation of dominance inherent in many Western feminism schools of thought, which is important for us to keep in mind when discussing transnational women. We should always be “suspicious when neat cultural icons are plastered over messier historical and political narratives” (486). It provides a platform for us to work off of. The veil and Western conceptions of it can be one of the things we address in our posters and video.

Barriga, Claudia., Shapiro, Michael. and Jhaveri, Rayna. "Media Context, Female Body Size and Perceived Realism" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, <Not Available>. 2009-02-05<>

Women with larger body types are “underrepresented and presented negatively on television.” This article discussed the performance of two experiments that “explored the possibility that program context, specifically the roles women play on television, may influence judgments about the realism of various women’s body types.” It was found that “while the body type of an actress had little effect in a domestic setting, larger women were perceived as less realistic and less likely to get a television role in a professional setting.” This article is relevant to our CAP, as it provides data to back up our assertion that the Western ideal of beauty is very limited in its classification. With this information in mind, we aspire to alter the narrow-minded perception of beauty.

"Beauty and Body Image In the Media." February 2008.

This article discusses the unfair imposition of an unrealistic beauty standard on women "the majority of whom are naturally larger and more mature than most of the models". It discusses the benefits many companies achieve through the standard; such as billions of dollars in the weight loss industry from women trying to fit into an impossibly small mold. The article cites that over "three-quarters of the female characters in situation comedies are underweight, and only one in twenty are above average in size". This shows the need of projects like ours that fight to increase awareness of the uneven portrayal of body types in the media and work for portrayal of a wider array of beauty.

Chernik, Abra Fortune. “The Body Politic”. Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation. 1st ed. Emeryville, CA, 2001. 103-111.

In “The Body Politic”, Chernik chronicles her descent into and emergence from anorexia. She notes that she embraced the pop culture ideal of beauty and “learned about womanhood from fashion magazines, Madison Avenue and Hollywood” (104). Chernik notes that she was armed with diet tips from the media. As she shrank away her power, will and identity “society applauded [her] shrinking” (105). This article gives the account of a woman who let her sense of beauty and self-worth be formed by a media and society that prefers women “hungry, fragile [and] crazy” (107). Chernik writes that in her recovery she realized that in keeping the standard for a woman’s body impossibly small, society keeps women from the real issues of our lives and away from the power we have. She writes that we have to deny their message of “too big” and understand it to mean “too powerful” (111). Chernik's article shows the importance of diversifying the body types portrayed in the media, as there is a negative health effect (both physical and psychological) on young women.

"Face Forward." March 25.

This is a CAP project begun during the Spring 2008 semester. It shares a focus on alot of the issues that our project is trying to address; such as getting the media to "expand their portrayal of ideal beauty" and to raise awareness of beauty in different ethnicities and body types. Our CAP expands on this project by taking this portrayal of beauty in U.S. media and seeing how it has affected the portrayal of beauty in ethnicites around the world and calling attention to the white-is-best standard and " biases in media desriptions" it encourages.

"FDA Proposes Skin-Lightening Cream Ban." The Boston Channel 31 Aug. 2006. 25 Mar. 2009

This article discusses how the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter skin-lightening creams, as researchers have found that these creams, which claim to make users look better by erasing age spots and scars by lightening skin, may put users at risk. A drug in the cream called hydroquinone is potentially a carcinogen. It is found in 130 products in the market. The FDA became concerned after studies showed that the drug caused cancer in rodents. Because people with darker skin tend to use these creams for longer periods of time than their fairer counterpoints, they are at higher risk. This article is very relevant to our project, as fairness is something many women and men desire as a result of the prominence of the western ideal of beauty. In pursuit of beauty, people will go to great lengths, often risking their health in the process. This development about the potential dangers of skin-lightening creams strengthens our position on the homogenized Western ideal of beauty.

Maya. "Influence of Mass Media". March 2009. <>

This article is about the portrayal of women in mass media. It notes the fact that the average person does not look like a film star but that t"average women are not represented in mass media formats". The "idealized beauty standards" of society are what is present in the various form of media from music to television and film. This article notes the power that the media holds over how the perceptions of our youth are formed, seeing as it is the source of the majority of our information. Over-sexed and promiscuous or domestic and vulnerable are the choices that are presented to young women. This shows the need of a project like ours to combat this standards to give a healthier model for young women to strive for.

McIntosh, Peggie.“White Privilege and Male Privilege.” Feminist Frontiers. 7th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007. 12-18.

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 article discusses racial invisibility among women in depth, which applies to our project. While the oppression non-white women face is noticeable to them, it isn’t always apparent to their Caucasian counterparts.

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Penguin Group, 1970.
Pecola, the protagonist, is considered ugly by everyone, including herself. She believes that if her eyes were blue, she would see and be seen differently. Her life is further complicated by her abusive father, who rapes her, her aloof mother, and aggressive brother who runs away often. This book signifies how people have unreachable goals of beauty; racial differences make it impossible for everyone to be thin, tall, blonde, and blue-eyed.

Higginbotham, Anastasia. “Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds and Lost You Self-Esteem”. Learning Sexism: Part II: Becoming a Woman in Our Society. 87-90.

In “Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds and Lost You Self-Esteem” Anastasia Higginbotham writes about the ways young girls and women are affect by the images in teen magazines. She writes that most girls are alienated by the models in fashion spreads because the models are almost always “white, usually blond, and invariably skinny” (88). Higginbotham notes that girls’ self-esteem is often lowered due to “a series of catch-22s”(88) under the guise of helpful tips articles. This advice keeps girls bouncing between the poles of: flirt but don’t be too sexy, love your body but here are some exercise tips just in case you don’t, and it’s okay to look different but don’t expect to see that difference in the pictorials. This article shows the need for a project like ours that aims to add ethnic, cultural and body type diversity to images of women in the media.

Pozner, Jennifer L. “Reclaiming the Media for a Progressive Feminist Future”. 1-15.

In this article Pozner marks the ways that the feminist movement has been affected by the media. She marks the ways that the media has “dismissive coverage”(3) of feminist events has lead women’s rights may make many see women’s rights as “irrelevant”(3). She things that the feminist media must counter “countering sexist media content” (4), contacting media outlets to correct biased assumptions, and supporting independent media. Pozner stresses support of free, independent media in order to get out “a diversity of voices” (13) that are apart from the corporate “tiny handful of multinationals [which] own the vast majority of American”(9) media. These corporate media conglomerates often have motives which are antithetical to feminism and thus do not portray the movment accurately or comprehensively. This essay gives example for ways to support independent media. This important for our project as it gives us a list of independent media outlets that are more likely to portray diverse varieties of beauty and to portray women in a non-demeaning manner.

"Converging or diverging culture(s)?" TELEVISION & GLOBALIZATION - CRITICAL ISSUES. 05 Mar. 2009 <>.

This article looks at the effects of globalization on television worldwide. It discusses huge media corporations that own most media outlets and provides good statistics. "The global media system is now dominated by a first tier of five giants: Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion), Disney ($22 billion), Bertelsmann ($15 billion), Viacom ($13 billion), Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation ($11 billion)." This is useful because we are addressing how homogeneity affects women abroad. It also says, "Television programming has an especially important role in shaping such social meanings as communication content dictates the way local or global mass media systems will affect people's social experiences." By providing statistics on just how much globalized mass media is ubiquitous in society, we can then examine what homogenized image is presented, and how it affects women.

Rowland, Hilary. "Obsessed with Thin- Has the Media Gone too Far?" Hilary Sept. 2008. 25 Mar. 2009 <>.

This article discusses how airbrushing promotes a very unrealistic idea of an ideal figure. Actress Jennifer Anniston claims that “the media create this wonderful illusion-but the amount of airbrushing that goes into those beauty magazines, the hours of hair and makeup! It's impossible to live up to, because it's not real."According to Prevention magazine, a "healthy weight" for a woman who is 5'9" is 129-169 pounds. An average 5'9" model's weight is somewhere around 110-115 pounds. A sort of domino effect has been created from the establishment of airbrushing as a regular method of editing magazine images: as the women on the covers look thinner, the models look more and more gaunt. Obviously this has a negative impact on the average woman, who can’t realistically look like these women. With this information in mind, our work towards the Western ideal of beauty seems to be more essential than ever. Our CAP directly addresses the Western requirement to be very thin, and this article confirms that the bodies that we see in magazines are unreasonable goals since hardly anyone actually looks like that.

Russell, Joshua. “Move (The Politics of Protest and Analysis”. 1-6.

This article is important for all CAPs because it advocates grassroots organizing, which is what CAPs do. But it is especially relevant to us because it addresses the ways people have gone wrong when confronting an issue. Russell writes, “The march succeeded in homogenizing a large mass of people to create easily digestible sound bites for the media to consume. ...The media still managed to mangle the intent of our demonstration” (3). Since our project is about media, homogenization, and globalism, we must always keep the media in mind and be aware that its goals will always be "antithetical to [ours]." Russell also writes, “Voting is largely a valve to relieve social pressure and political tension without posing any serious challenge to the structure of a society” (4). This reminds us that we must always think outside of the box when it comes to grassroots activism. With our posters we will infiltrate the college community, providing alternative images to the ones that the mass media provides. This article provides a good base for us to keep our activism rooted.

Tartaglio, Joelle. "Culture, Media Plays Active Role in Determining 'Ideal' Body Types". 2/26/08.<

This article is about the media's influence on what is considered attractive, more specifically what body type is considered the ideal that everyone shoudl strive for. The media's 'ideal' "plays a huge role in making us feel we're never good enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not pretty enought, etc.". The article talks about the many mental health problems that can result from being exposed to such an impossible standard. Tartaglio's article shows the importance of our project in combating the thin ideal that makes up part of the U.S. beauty 'ideal'.

Frye, Marilyn. "Oppression." 7-9.

This article is about how women are molded and reduced in order to fit into the image of the ideal women. Women are "caught in a bind, caught between systematically related pressures" (9). They are forced into lose/lose situation, even in simply things such as the way they dress. Frye argues that "The experience of one's life is confined and shaped by forces and barriers which are not accidental or occasional" (9). She believes that these things can be entirely avoidable. Our project deals with judgments and preconceived notations of women that are also very avoidable. The lose/lose situations that women find themselves in are often due to the media's opinion of how a women should look and act and our project aims to put a stop to this outlook.

Sévenier, Gaëlle. "American Cultural Imperialism: Gift or Threat?" Gaëlle Sévenier - Free Lance Reporter. 4 Sept. 2004. 26 Mar. 2009 <>.

This article about cultural imperialism helps define the term while exploring different opinions about it. Cultural imperialism is described as, "the spread of American values in the entire world is at the leading edge of a wave of spread of Western goods and consumerist culture. is a lot more subtle and less brutal than the European colonization: it is being done in the name of freedom of the market and freedom of expression." The author explores how cultural imperialism might be construed as something beneficial to people around the world. For example, "Some theories of globalization see, instead of cultural imperialism, the movement of products and ideas from across national and cultural borders in ways that produce real changes in cultures like that of the United States" so that the exchange of ideas in a globalized world goes both ways and the U.S. cannot help but be influenced by others. On the other hand, the article points to negative consequences of cultural imperialism because "cultural uniformity would lead to the extinction of cultures and it would definitely represent a great loss." A good example of this is that "90% of the information available on the Internet is in English, CNN is seen in 120 countries, Stephen King is the number one best seller in the world." This article is important for our project because it gives the viewer some background information by defining a key term and exploring arguments and questions brought up from people on both sides of the cultural imperialism debate. Our project benefits from our viewers' better understanding of the terminology we use. Furthermore, the questions that arise about cultural imperialism are important for us to examine as well.

Sandrasagra, Mithre. "Globalisation heightening gender inequalities." Third World Network. 26 Mar. 2009 <>.

This article defines globalization and discusses its effect on women. Globalization is defined as "a process whereby owners of capital are enabled to move their capital around the globe more quickly and easily... the removal of state controls on trade and investment, the disappearance of tariff barriers and the spread of new information and communications technologies." The article quotes Zhang Lei as saying, "The gains of globalisation have not been equitably distributed and the gap between rich and poor countries is widening." As a result, "globalisation is leading to increased inequalities between men and women." This article is important to our project because it defines a term for our viewers and it demonstrates a direct correlation between globalization and women's rights. Our project asks about the effect of globalization on women and this article helps answer our question--many women live in poverty and globalization makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

McLarney, Ellen. " The Burqa in Vogue: Fashioning Afghanistan." Volume 5 (2009): 1-24. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. JMEWS. Mar. 2009

This article is similar to the Feminist Frontier article "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” in that both addresses ethnocentrism within transnational feminism. After September 11th, the burqa was portrayed in US media as an veil of terror and a “Tool of extremists and the epitome of political and sexual repression” (1). Our society is too narrow minded to see a burqa as a representation of culture and religion or anything along the lines of what it really is. Instead our criticisms are that it “Inhibits movement, that it is an instrument of isolation, that it shames the face and closes off the sensory rhelm” (20). This article pushes us to realize the cultural imperialism of Western society, and the need for change. It helps us see other cultures and ways of life, realizing that there is no one way to look and no one form of beauty.

Stephens, Dionne P, and April L Few.. "Hip hop honey or video ho: African American preadolescents' understanding of female sexual scripts in hip hop culture." Sexuality and Culture 11.4 (2007): 48-69. Women's Studies International. EBSCO. 26 Mar. 2009

This article discusses the eight “sexual scripts” set forth by Stephens and Phillips (2003); and how African American preadolescents accept and use them. The eight terms are, “the Diva, Gold Digger, Freak, Dyke, Gangster Bitch, Sister Savior, Earth Mother, and Baby Mama.” (2) These terms are broadcast to the youth through easily accessible hip hop music videos which Stephens and Few dub “the most accessible providers of these sexual script frameworks.” This is important to our project because today’s media, such as music video’s, are teaching girls that they should look one specific way. In most of the rap videos on TV today, the main women who is pursued by the rapper has the lightest skin of all her friends, revealing the cultural imperialism of Western society. (4) They go on to argue that “…the acceptance and knowledge of sexual scripts, as frameworks for behavior within a specific racial context, are important for understanding the social structure of Hip Hop culture and African American preadolescent sexuality.” (13) The hip hop culture puts enormous pressure on women to be the right size and color.

Mazur, Allan. "U.S. Trends in Feminine Beauty and Overadaptation." Journal of Sex Research 22.3 (1986): 281-303. Women's Studies International. EBSCO. 26 Mar. 2009

This article argues that women face social expectations in regards to physical appearance and their social opportunities. Mazur states that “…women’s social opportunities are more affected by their physical beauty than are men’s, so that women are under more pressure to conform to an ideal of beauty.” (1) He places the blame on “Modern Institutions of advertising, retailing, and entertainment… [for] placing stress upon women to conform to the body image currently in vogue.” (1) This directly relates to our projects goal, to demystify the western stereotype of the “ideal woman.” We hope to focus on transnational women to show diversity and other forms of feminine beauty.

Onishi, Norimitsu. "Globalization of Beauty Makes Slimness Trendy." New York Times 3 Oct. 2002.

This article discusses the effects of globalization on Nigerian women and standards of beauty. In 2001, Nigeria chose a woman to represent them who fit the Western thin and tall ideal, rather than the Nigerian ideal. This woman won Miss World and was "the first African winner in the contest's 51-year history." This was clearly because, for the first time, Nigeria's representative was chosen based on the way she fit into the Western beauty standard. "In a culture where... voluptuousness is celebrated and ample backsides and bosoms are considered ideals of female beauty, the new Miss World shared none of those attributes. She was 6 feet tall, stately and so, so skinny. She was, some said uncharitably, a white girl in black skin." This article also discusses how now many women in Nigeria are altering their appearance to match this look because the Miss World winner made thin trendy. This article is important because it is more evidence for our project, proving that globalization is spreading the beauty ideals of the West.
Diversifying Beauty Community Action Project was created for
Professor Marcus's Intro to Women's Studies Course
College of William & Mary
Spring 2009