Monday, February 11, 2013

Hot Topics: Race, Gender, and Body Image in the Media.

Hello! I hope your week has been Gone With The Wind Fabulous! Today I looked like a teenage Dirtbag Rock Star. 

Alex and I went to a lecture this week hosted by the campus' Women's Resource Center about Body Image and Race in media. I spy a few miners in the back row!

This was the speaking panel. Only one was a graduate, the rest students. 

From left to right, Dominique started a feminist organization on campus to help women. Her issues with body image started because she is a belly dancer, and she knows that a large percentage of the audience thinks she's not fit. She overcame it for the love of the dance. Rachel, similarly, began at a dance academy when she was 2 which influenced her hate on her body. She feels she can give advice to others about being body positive, but can't take it. It's hard not to be affected in such a culture of body negativity. Next up is Meadow. She is an art education major and finds an interest in helping students feel more comfortable and diverse. She was anorexic when she was younger. Last, Shantel finds an interest in how the body is the center of the internet, advertisements, and social media. She felt self conscious as a young girl as a half asian half latina woman because no celebrities looked like her. Similarly, Dominique felt left out as a child because there were no barbies with afros or natural african american hair. It made her not like her hair and feel ugly. 

Throughout a lot of this lecture, I felt like this:

This topic is in fact a political issue. The media tells us not to worry about the way we look. If we worry and hate our body, we're self conscious and weak. If we love ourselves and are happy, we are vain and self absorbed. Society has a way to make you feel bad no matter what circumstance your in. cosmetic surgeries are rapidly increasing year after year because nobody seems happy with themselves anymore. Eyelid surgeries in Asia and skin lightening surgeries in Africa are among the top. As the opposite, tanning beds and bronzers and makeup helps white american women look and want to appear darker. Everyone is trying to look less and less diverse wanting the opposite of what they are. 

Body image is more than just people with an eating disorder. There are much more complex issues with body image, especially for transgendered folk. How can you tell someone to love their body when they feel they are born in the wrong one? This topic interests me because I try to change what society thinks is beautiful with my fashion and beauty photography. I don't exactly fit society's mold of a man and everything he needs to be. However, I am a man, and I like being a man. I don not want a sex change. Nonetheless, I do wear makeup and I do fashion. In the gay community, there are different categories of gays. Transexuals are individuals who have had the sex change. Transvestites are men who dress in women's clothing for sexual pleasure/fetish reasons. Drag queens are men who dress in women's clothes for performance purposes. I don't fit any of these categories. I'm a man who just likes to wear makeup and fashion. With my photography, I push the androgyny because I want to create a category for us men who like to dress this way just because that's how we want to dress/feel ourselves in. I know there are a lot of gays like me out there, and I know they are just as confused and don't know what to call themselves either. And if you don't have anyone to compare yourself to or call yourself to make your feel more "normal", that can lead to an identity crisis. If nobody creates this category, then I will!

Is it a man? 
Is it a woman?
... Do you care? 

See you next week!


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