Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to introduce to you the inner workings of the mind of a beauty bloggers boyfriend. It a tough ride being repeatedly dragged from beauty counter to beauty counter, being asked to rate the merits of one pink lippie versus another and most importantly for this post, being made to view various countries version of Next Top Model.
Last night while watching Britain's offering, one of the models took a bit of a strop about her hair cut and decided it made her thighs look fat(!?!). Fras's immediate comment was 'This is not right'.
Over to you in the studio Fras...
It's true, that's a direct quote. What the quote doesn't convey is the tone of desperation in which it was delivered. Once again, a "Next Top Model" left me incredulous and disgusted with the values being foisted upon what i can only imagine, is a predominantly female audience. I don't particularly watch through choice though i find the show amusing in its own right, but with almost every episode i am aghast at the small mindedness and shallow attitudes that the show sets as its benchmark standards. It generates not only a negative mentality leveled at the wannabe models, but a similarly unhealthy one for the viewers at home.
The sight of a young woman reduced to tears at the prospect of a haircut was almost understandable (i spend a long time getting my do organised on an almost daily basis) but what upset her more than the idea of losing her locks, was how it would expose the seemingly endless repugnant qualities about how she was shaped. This was, of course, ridiculous. She's appearing on a show about being a MODEL, which doesn't promote any notions of acceptance for people with any digressions from the physical standards they establish as acceptable. Producers of the show have no doubt manipulated exposure for the current series to toot the horn of their open arms policy by having an openly anorexic contestant. I'm willing to bet she will survive the weekly cullings due entirely to her disease. This to me, is appalling, as while she is undoubtedly pretty, the show is openly suggesting that starving yourself to the point of frailty and illness will breed success. This girl is what YOU should look like, is the message being sent to impressionable young women at home, intelligent and self sufficient women who should know better but are being misled into doubting themselves by a program built upon shallowness.
In the previous 2 seasons of America's next top model, many things simply haven't added up in my mind. The inclusion of a transgender contestant who was later eliminated reeked of publicity stunt, turning a show about looks into a freak show, generating viewing figures entirely based on somebodies difficult life choice. Somebody who would be dismissed due to her physical "shortcomings" once the audience was in place. The fact that in the season prior to this, a big song and dance was made about a "plus size" model winning was even more heinous in my mind, as the production team are saying that this is the exception to their previously established rules, she is a freakish anomaly in their trend of winners. This is patronising to any woman bigger than a size 8 and smacks of crowd pleasing tokenism. This was confirmed by the success in the following season of an insubstantial waif with chiseled cheekbones, returning to the form the show had broken with their "curvy" contestant.
(In an aside in real time, any ideas that women are unhealthily objectified are supported by a balding middle aged photographer, pushing girls together in a faux-lesbian shoot declaring "Put your hands on her tits")
This show, and the double page spreads in glossy fashion magazines stand against the ideas that right thinking women and girls ought to have about themselves. It preaches that young women should annihilate their imperfections at any cost to conform to a near-untouchable aesthetic, a level of supposed perfection that borders on ill-health in order to achieve. It feeds on insecurities and lays itself open as a rulebook young women should follow in order to be successful. Girls with any curves are routinely told to lose weight in order to progress and their unhappiness is laid bare for the audiences amusement. With a number of female friends, and a truly beautiful girlfriend, i find myself disgusted with the ideas these shows promote. Thankfully, Steph doesn't seem to let these ideas affect her, and is reminded on a daily basis that she's endlessly beautiful precisely as she is, without having to dip into the unhealthy rulebook....(Steph:or i just like cake.) This is an attitude i happen to find refreshing and welcome, compared to the social standards that have been set.
Being the boyfriend of a beauty blogger means I'm often subjected to videos about makeup, beauty and hair much more than your average boy, to the point where i can now spot a bad foundation from the jawline mismatch, a well put together smoky eye or a winged liner job.
I wouldn't say in general that girls are overly obsessed with beauty and makeup, and judging from the blog topics I've seen, beauty can be found in so much of a beauty blogger's life. This is always great to see as it challenges preconceptions that people have today (such as whether or not guys prefer skinny girls, as I've just been asked by this blog's auteur) : Preference is subjective and highly individual, but barring individuals being shallow, guys generally don't love the skinny look. Real and attainable is what its all about for boys today I would reckon. I'm sure my insights may creep up here every now and again and over on my own blog, but hopefully they have been of some interest to this blog's female audience!