Posts Tagged ‘Media News’
Re: the Kelly Clarkson SELF cover kerfuffle.
Before I address SELF, to be fair, I want to refer to Lauren Collins’ article from the May 12, 2008 issue of The New Yorker entitled, “Pixel Prefect” because it has stayed with me since I read it.
In it Collins delivers the how-can-it-be news that even Christy Turlington isn’t Christy Turlington-y enough for fashion photography:
Pascal Dangin is the premier retoucher of fashion photographs. Art
Directors and admen call him when they want someone who looks less than
great to look great, someone who looks great to look amazing, or someone
who looks amazing already… to look, as is the mode, superhuman. (Christy
Turlington, for the record, needs the least help.) In the March issue of
Vogue Dangin tweaked a hundred and forty-four images: a hundred and
seven advertisements (Estee Lauder, Gucci, Dior, etc.), thirty-six fashion pictures
and the cover, featuring Drew Barrymore…Vanity Fair, W, Harper’s
Bazaar, Allure, French Vogue, Italian Vogue, V, and the Times Magazine, among others, also use Dangin.
We’ve come to expect this from magazines, but the layered irony of SELF’s message was too lush to pass up:
Irony One: You don’t even have to bring your self to the photo shoot. They’ll make you a fake one.
Irony Two: Clarkson is on the cover as The Most Inspiring Woman of 2009. For eating disorder inspiration.
Irony Three: The issue is focused on “Total Body Confidence.” Unless you have a real one.
Irony Four: The cover photo is the money shot. But since Clarkson is famous for her singing, off the shelf sales will largely be due to fans of her musical ability. Yet SELF takes the focus off her talent by making us focus on what they see as the money shot… a version of Clarkson that doesn’t exist. They don’t see the real woman as talented, pretty and skinny enough to bring in revenue.
In an interview on the Today Show with SELF’s Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger and the model Emme, the issue was debated. Emme suggested that because so many women are expressing outrage at all the retouching, we should use this as an opportunity to hear that women want to see a variety of body types represented in magazines. Danziger defended her position with illogical certainty:
“SELF says ‘Love your self’… We love [Kelly] for the confidence she exudes from within…You want a cover to capture the essence of you at your best so we’re saying to women, ‘Look: Everyone can love who they are from the inside out and want to achieve your goals.’”
What size is your essence?
As a therapist who works with women and men going through fertility treatments, and as a woman who went through them myself for ten years, I’m really pleased to announce the arrival of FertilityAuthority.com.
It can be an incredibly stressful and lonely experience to strive for a baby. For women and couples anywhere along the spectrum of IVF, donor egg, surrogacy, adoption or being child-free, FertilityAuthority is there for you as a resource.
It’s the only web portal dedicated to fertility, updated daily to provide you with information, news and insights. And while it offers educational information (much of it written by seasoned healthcare journalists and vetted by accredited Reproductive Endocrinologists) it also serves a more important purpose: connecting women and men to others experiencing infertility. FertilityAuthority has blogs, message boards and patient videos through which you can learn about others’ real-life experiences and insights.
Infertility has reached epidemic proportions (7.3 million women and their partners experience infertility in the U.S. alone) and FertilityAuthority supports women as they go through the process. It connects men and women with doctors, clinics and therapists, provides information to help them understand their condition, and keeps them abreast of the latest news and scientific advances in fertility.
Set in motion by an all-female team of seasoned media veterans, many of whom have experienced infertility, and with Alexis Stewart as its celebrity spokesperson, they understand what content they need to provide to empower women and men to be proactive regarding their fertility.
Since the site is brand new, more features will be added as it matures, and they want your feedback so you can have a hand in shaping it as it becomes even more tailored to meet the needs of its readers.
Something special happened in my community last weekend, and I’m posting this as an invitation for other communities out there to consider doing something similar.
Over an earlier dinner, some men and women had been discussing the truly surreal selection and ascendance of Sarah Palin, when cinematographer, Philippe Cheng, said he envisioned “a sea of women’s faces” standing in opposition to the current Republican platform. From there, collaboration began to actualize his vision.
What resulted a week later was a gathering for a video shoot of more than 425 women of different backgrounds — women in their 80s, little girls and girls in their teens, and every age in between — standing together in support of Obama. Some mothers brought their sons, and many men participated in one way or another.
The video will appear on YouTube soon to help gather steam for the Obama campaign in these final weeks, but in the meantime, here are some photos that capture the spirit.
Photo credits: Francois J. Bourdrez (first three), Bastienneschmidt.com (all others).
Through the momentum of the East End Women for Obama shoot, women became even more determined to participate in being agents of progressive change. They signed up to volunteer locally; to phone or travel to swing states; to help college students register to vote through Vote Today Ohio ; to take action with www.women.barackobama.com ; and to announce or create the latest local fundraising events — including yard sales and functions accepting any contribution from $1.00 and up.
I felt honored to be in this sea of women, especially women older than myself, who helped make the quality of life I enjoy possible. And I felt a sense of community in raising my daughter among these women as she gradually becomes aware that she’ll inherit this responsibility to vote, to nurture her country, and to protect her own mind, body, and voice.
So I was driving into Manhattan yesterday, approaching the Midtown Tunnel, minding my own business, and making my way past the barrage of billboards that thickens as you slow down. Actually, slow is an optimistic word here. Depending on the time of day, or funky traffic conditions, you could easily devote an hour to sitting still, under quiet billboard assault.
I’d just cleared the towering Larry Flynt Hustler Club sign featuring a woman wearing a lot of lip liner and what I believe to be a cowboy hat, when I was confronted by a brand new billboard. This one highlighted a naked woman lying down, her head tilted back toward all of us on the Long Island Expressway, with bold copy above her that read: “GREAT HEAD EVERY KNIGHT.”
In somewhat less bold letters in the corner it said, Knights Head Premium Brew, and in even fainter print you could see the word “beer” above an insert carrot indicating to the reader that, as an afterthought, “beer” should be squeezed in between GREAT and HEAD, thereby reading GREAT beer HEAD EVERY KNIGHT.
The naked woman was on her back, cupping a breast in each hand, with her legs crossed and bent at the knees. Next to her was an iced bucket of twinkling long neck beers grazing her thigh. There was a bizarre and relaxed elegance to this woman, who appeared to maybe be waiting to surprise her fella when he came home.
I started to wonder who thought up this ad campaign. Was the owner of Knights Head Premium Brew an independently wealthy 14 year old boy? Or had an adult CEO used his power to defy any naysayer who might have advised something like, “You might want to rethink this”?
Then I wondered if someone from an ad agency had pitched this idea to Knights Head, and how that might have gone. I thought about the looks cast members on The Office give Steve Carell’s character when he makes sexist and racist comments. What kind of facial expression do you make as your colleague pitches you the selling points of fellatio and beer? And what do you do when the guy with the juice to green light it says, “I LOVE it! It’s PERFECT!”
I thought about school buses full of kids on Broadway matinee field trips, stagnated outside the tunnel next to this ad, and what I could only imagine to be the ensuing teetering and gender programming.
But then I thought to myself, I’m making the assumption men did this. It could have been women. And from there, my mind went straight to Annie Leibovitz and Tina Brown. And I got bummed.
I like Leibovitz’s photos, and think her nudes have helped expand our culture, like the Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore pregnant, or her intimate portraits of her partner Susan Sontag, especially the ones revealing the ravages of her cancer. But a partially nude 15 year old girl draped in a bedsheet for Vanity Fair’s adult demographic, knowing full well it would also go straight to the internet?
And then there’s Tina Brown, who I don’t know much about, but do know managed to briefly serve as editor of The New Yorker, arguably the greatest magazine ever. She said in a quote in New York Magazine with regard to the Miley Cyrus photos, “There goes Annie again, driving up sales. I saw her tonight and congratulated her. I said ‘Great job. Put one of those out every quarter. It’s terrific for the newsstand, and it gets S.I. [Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast publications] off your back.’”
Well, at least the Knights Head model looked old enough to drive.
This Equal Opportunity Exploitation can’t be what Wollstonecraft, Sanger, Stanton, Friedan and Steinem had in mind for the year in which we had our first female presidential candidate.