Lovely Links: 10/21/11

Quick reminder: If you haven’t yet, I’d be so grateful if you’d swing by and vote for me in the Hanes Looks to Love contest! (Details here, if you missed the announcement post.) You can vote every day, so if you’ve already voted for me, you can vote again! And THANK YOU.

The week may be winding down, but in case you missed the memo it’s Fat Talk Free Week this week! Also Wednesday was Love Your Body Day, though I hope both causes get your ongoing attention and support.

And on the fascinating flip side, Autumn shares her thoughts on how to achieve body serenity by letting go instead of fighting hard.

Look out world: Matchy-matchy is BACK. (Cheers Lyrebirdgully!)

Fit and Feminist explores cheerleading as a sport. Yes, a sport.

The amazing folks at NEDA have a new site: “Proud2Bme is a unique space where teens can connect with each other, get expert advice, and find inspiration to take action for change. It’ll cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.”

This tribute to the joys of close female friendship made me want to call everyone in my address book.

Jay Miranda shows off her gorgeous new raspberry suede DUO boots. Yum.

Aging but Dangerous has a fashion show coming  up, and the models are aged 50 to 81. See more highlights of their work in this fabulous article.

Cheryl looks utterly radiant in her high-low skirt and leopard-print heels.

Bare Minerals is the latest cosmetics company to use seemingly body-positive messaging to sell their wares. Says the ever-insightful Virginia, “Ad campaigns like these want you to believe we’re making real progress — but most of all, they want you to buy more makeup, and the same old restrictive beauty standards to go with it.”

Check out these marvelous tips on how to wear a petticoat. Maybe now I’ll finally be brave to break out my own!

Are you prepared to take the Body Warrior Pledge? I especially love, “I pledge to be the primary source of my confidence. I will not rely on or wait for others to define my worth.”

Vanessa recaps what she packed for an extended roadtrip, and proves that capsule wardrobes needn’t be all black and gray.

As someone who has trouble living in the moment – and feeling grateful for my body in the moment – I loved this piece on the practice of mindfulness.

In the realm of “things that made me livid” this week, we have this incident in which Tatyana Ali’s TV show “Love That Girl” grabbed a photo of actress Erica Watson and used it to make fat jokes on the air. Horrible and insulting on so many levels.

Isaac Mizrahi’s advice to us all: No face work.

Another amazing roundup of posts from the Feminist Fashion Bloggers, this time on youth and aging.

Must remember to pin a big silk flower to a bright belt as a fabulous way to add color to a monochrome ensemble.

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where the fashion industry encouraged us to ’emphasize’ our differences from one another, instead of trying to make us all look the same. If you were pear-shaped, for example, the advice would be all about highlighting that awesome booty and tiny waist and shoulders. Work that pear-shape!”

This flow chart about deciding whether or not to shave your legs was clearly written by my brain.

This Stella McCartney dress gives the illusion of an exaggerated hourglass silhouette. Naturally, the press is calling it “the Miracle Dress” because it appears to shave off two dress sizes. Beh.

This list of fashionable films from College Candy includes many of my faves … and a few I’ve been meaning to see.

Gracey is gorgeous in her muted floral dress and violet tights.

Girl with Curves gives her thoughts on the “real women have curves” controversy, and shares some great insights about body comparison.

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Please note that I am in the process of moving Already Pretty to a new web host. You may see some posts, comments, or content disappear or reappear.

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  • Miss T

    I love Isaac Mizrahi. He has terrific insights on design and style. In another interview, he talked extensively about the use of “irony” in fashion — what an ah-ha moment that was! On the other hand, I can’t think of a more overrated designer than Stella McCartney. Her entire line is a yawn.

  • Kaye

    LOVED your shaving flow chart!

  • Hi Sal –

    My violent tights and I thank you for the shout-out!

  • LOVE Isaac, he always puts a smile on my face. Hi Gracey – you look fantastic!

  • Becky

    I did vote for you and I won a hosiery pack! I’m so excited because I was just thinking that I needed more hosiery. I rarely when pantyhose so I forget to stay stocked with good pairs for when I DO need them. And one can never have enough tights, especially when one wears them every chance she gets!

    • Sal

      YAY BECKY!

  • I’m not sure I understand why Bare Minerals is bad for wanting us to buy makeup. We know Companies want us to Buy Stuff. Right? Am I missing something? In the same article, a comment mentioned Dove being exposed for body-positive(something) washing? I use Dove sensitive skin soap because it truly does work for me. I went from painful acne to absolutely perfect skin and while I believe it was primarily hormonally related, the Dove was the only thing that didn’t seem to make things worse. Ditto Bare Minerals. I quit wearing makeup to get my skin clear but I can wear Bare Minerals when I feel like it and not break out.
    The Dove website http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/Our-Partners/ lists three partnerships. At first glance the Bare Minerals website doesn’t appear to be promoting the “only skinny white girls can be models” esthetic. And I wear their makeup because I really do want to be prettier. I’m an artist, I like pretty. I’m good at making myself look good. But I know that for every 300 photographs I take I’m only going to get maybe five I really like. The Glossed Over article just confused me. I am pretty. I got lucky, I felt ugly when I was little but I’m 39-ish now and I don’t even have wrinkles. My students think I’m in my 20’s. Am I bad for wanting to be pretty? I date a wonderful man and I truly want to glow, because he’s amazing and I’m lucky and I want him to feel lucky to be with me. Am I stupid because I don’t get why she’s annoyed with industry? Am I not really a feminist because I don’t believe the same way she does? Does she just not get the concept of advertising? So many questions.

    • Barbra

      Some people desperately search for a soapbox and jump on whatever they make think will get them blog hits or attention. Wear what makes you feel good. People will find a way to complain about anything that they haven’t made on their own from their own gardens.
      Congrats on finding what makes you look and feel good. Don’t worry about the detractors. They’re usually just self-promoting…

      • Sal

        Awwww. Luckily it’s a big, wide-open Internet and everyone can choose to read and believe whatever she wishes. And not-read and not-believe whatever she wishes. Isn’t that grand?

    • Sal

      Several beauty products companies have attempted to jump on the positive body image bandwagon and create PR opportunities around “making women feel good.” The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has done some amazing work with their outreach programs, but they only want certain women to be a part of their actual ad campaign: http://jezebel.com/5573505/craigslist-ad-hints-that-dove-wants-real-women-but-only-if-theyre-flawless The point is that they’re trying to make advertising look like altruism, and that smacks of dishonesty. The Bare Minerals campaign is similar: It seems to be encouraging women to accept their natural beauty, but it’s really telling them that Bare Minerals products are what they need to BECOME beautiful.

      Finally, this isn’t personal. No one was trying to tell you that wearing Bare Minerals is wrong, or that wanting to look pretty is wrong, or anything of the sort. It’s the companies’ motivations that are being examined in Virginia’s article. Not sure how you felt your own feminism was being called into question.

      I’ve asked Virginia, the author of the linked-to post, to respond as well. If you’re really interested in answers to the questions you’ve listed above, you could also contact her directly.

    • I’ll throw my two cents in on this since Virginia quoted me in her piece: My problem with Bare Minerals is that they AREN’T selling us a product, or at least that’s what they’re trying to tell us. They’re trying to tell us that beauty comes from within, but HEY just in case you don’t really believe that you can buy our product too. It’s no more or less manipulative than other advertising–I mean, hey, it exists to sell us products, and clever advertising tries to sell us something beyond a product so that we’ll then buy the product to hold onto that feeling. When we’re talking about self-esteem, “inner beauty,” and makeup, though, my hackles get raised because it co-opts the issues feminists have been highlighting about the beauty industry. I happily wear makeup and while I’m conflicted about it, I also don’t think it’s antifeminist to do so, and I wouldn’t judge any woman’s feminism by her makeup or clothes. But from where I’m sitting, when a company takes a core message that feminists have been sending and uses it to their own means, I want to be cautious.

    • Hi Lauren,

      You’ve got so many questions — I’ve got so many answers!

      First up: I am all about the fact that beauty companies want us to Buy Stuff. I think that’s fine and dandy and why God made shopping malls! Beauty companies make pretty products, I like to feel pretty. Ergo, I want to buy products that aid in my pretty feelings. We’re all good there.

      So here is my issue with this new advertising trendlet (the key examples of which are Dove, CoverGirl and now Bare Escentuals): Instead of just straight-up saying “we make pretty products, you should want to be pretty and buy them!” like cosmetics companies have been doing (quite successfully!) for eons, these companies are disguising that straightforward sales pitch with something a lot murkier, and frankly, hypocritical.

      They’re trying to sound like they AREN’T trying to sell you products. When in fact, they are.

      The language used in these campaigns makes it look like they’re just trying to empower women and boost our self-esteem — when of course, they’re doing what all cosmetic companies do: Sell products. Some of which aren’t all that empowering or self-esteem boosting.

      I do get the concept of advertising, but I don’t like deceptive advertising or preachy advertising. These campaigns are both deceptive and preachy because they’re preaching this “love yourself! embrace your inner beauty!” rhetoric without actually meaning it one whit.

      Now of course, there are many feminist interpretations of these campaigns, so I promise, disagreeing with me doesn’t revoke your membership card. You may have other information about the companies involved that has convinced you that they aren’t being deceptive and practice what they preach — the feminist values espoused in their campaigns aren’t just lip service. If so, I’d be very interested to hear your evidence.

      Or, you may feel that even if the current campaigns ARE just lip service, it’s a step in the right direction and one we need to encourage if we’re ever going to get the beauty industry to embrace a broader, more inclusive definition of beauty and stop selling us an unrealistic, unattainable ideal. If so, I see the logic of that argument — though I’d like to think there are ways we can push for that without settling for this kind of hypocrisy as a compromise position.

      So as Sal says, this isn’t personal. I’m not disputing the quality of these products, whether they make you look prettier, or whether they’re good for sensitive skin. I’m pushing for truth in advertising and corporate responsibility — even from companies that make great products we all enjoy. If anything, those are the brands we should get to hold to the very highest standard because they’re the ones who get the bulk of our beauty dollars.

      • Hmm, well I’ve never had a conversation about beauty product advertising before. I read all these replies yesterday and thoughts popped into my head but none of what my brain thought up sounded very qualified. I’ve never taken a feminism class. Today my children and I are out of school and we’ve been cleaning the apartment up, so I had plenty more time to think, but don’t expect too much, I’m doing really good not to spill coffee down my shirt. I asked my 9, 10 and 15 year old sons for their opinions too. The younger two aren’t sure, they’re busy with Legos. My oldest is sitting beside me listening to Dubstep on Youtube.

        I went back to re-read and look again. Virgina writes of beauty ad campaigns, “There’s no call to action to get you to actually change your personal definition of beauty. Nobody is going into schools to help young girls understand that their self-esteem stems from more than just their appearance.” Right beside these words on her blog is a picture of a mannequin, a measuring tape, and the words “Feminist Fashion Bloggers”. I now know this is where I got the impression the article represented the feminist point of view, which appears to be that companies are responsible for empowering us or understanding our self esteem. So that might be the answer to my question.

        People may assume companies, or bloggers, represent something, based on the imagery and words depicted, and it does become personal in a way. I personally have never understood the choice of products that advertise for big corporations. It would be silly to have a big “Chevy” or “Monster” sticker on my car, none of my clothes say “Chanel” not that I could afford even the knock-offs. But some people really do embrace a brand or brands as their personal style. TV, magazines, companies base their depiction of beauty to appeal to the most people, on what they’ve noticed sells more stuff to more people. The people buying the stuff are choosing it because it is represented in a way that is appealing to them. Somehow the people are also taking these representations to heart.

        Over and over again today I wondered why corporate entities would accept responsibility for forming anyone’s definition of beauty. I really don’t want them to change my definition, I made it up myself. Beneath Virginia’s article is a video ad depicting a pale, blonde, manicured figure being born from a sparkly fabric cocoon, wearing spike heels. A thin arm reaches thru the fabric as a sexy voice whispers Unzip X repeatedly. I watched it twice with my 15 year old son and neither of us “got it”. (For the record he didn’t think the voice-over was “sexy” but that’s how I labeled it in my head) So then I asked him, do the ways beauty is depicted in advertising have much to do with your self-esteem? “Well I do want to look good,” he said. Then I asked, “does that go the same for girls?” and he replied, yes, girls will look at pictures on TV and magazines and say, “She looks pretty.” His girlfriend sometimes pouts that she feels fat (so do I!) but he likes the way she looks.

        From my own experience, I spend a lot of time teaching hundreds of young people a week. In class the teachers are coaching them on kindness and respect for each-others differences. I’m not sure I want a corporation going into schools and telling little girls what to think either. That’s not their job, why would we give them that power?

  • Katie

    Oh, the flow chart . . . gotta love it!

    I wear knee socks throughout much of the winter for this exact purpose 🙂

  • Sally, thank you for the link! And thank you for so successfully summarizing what I was trying to get at: “how to achieve body serenity by letting go instead of fighting hard.” That’s just it, and I wished I’d had that phrasing at hand when I was writing it!

  • stephanie l.

    Cheerleading IS a sport. My daughter has been doing it for 7 years and has learned teamwork, respect for authority, perserverance, personal accountability and has worked through pain and injury to achieve a common goal. If that isn’t the definition of an athlete, I don’t know what is. I don’t give a damn what the uniform is, that is totally secondary to the time, commitment, effort and determination that goes into the work these girls do. And for anyone who questions the feminist aspect of cheer as a sport, while she does cheer for Pop Warner football (and her brother plays football for the same team….his division has TWO girls playing this past season), she also cheer for her middle school and they cheer basketball and football. That means she cheers the boys AND the girls.

  • thanks so much for including me in your link round up this week! a flower pin is truly a versatile accessory, don’t you think?

  • Wow, I’m fascinated by that post on not thinking so much about loving our bodies. I’m big on body loving, but I can’t deny that her perspective makes a lot of sense, too! I guess I always figured that loving your body eventually brings you a place to where you just don’t think about it anymore. Very interesting read!