Look at the following websites and then read through a typical popular beauty or ‘health’ magazine (e.g., Self, Shape, Women’s Health, Vogue, Glamour, Men’s Health, Mademoiselle, GQ, Maxim, etc.). How are the ideas on the websites manifest in the magazines? What are the images of beauty on the websites and how do they compare to images of beauty in the magazines? How do the images in the ‘health’ and beauty magazines affect your own self image? This project will be instructive to students as the exploration of the body itself is significant as the site where representations of difference and identity are inscribed.
Taking what you learned on the websites, critique an image from a ‘health’ or beauty magazine. Students will cut images from popular beauty and ‘health magazines’ and critique those images. Every paper must have one critiqued image, but you may put together a collection of images.
The students can also talk about who’s doing it right, such as NOW’s National Love Your Body campaign, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, and UM’s own Body Acceptance Resources & Education program.
You may site any information from:
NOW’s ‘Love Your Body’ website -www.loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/
Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign – www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx
To begin women are/have been constructed as aesthetic objects in a way that men have not been. We are awash in these idealized, unrealistic, adulterated, unattainable images of beauty. We should understand the toxicity of such images, looking at such resulting problems as body loathing, hopelessness, low self-esteem, unnecessary plastic surgery, eating disorders and suicide. There are a series of disciplinary practices that produce a feminine body and many women subject their bodies to the ‘tyranny of slenderness.’ Recent feminist theory has attempted to bring considerations of women’s agency into analyses of the meaning and consequence of beauty norms in women’s lives. This study is crucial considering the increasing rates of eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, and the general body loathing found among the (especially female) population.