Hijabi Barbie

Since my post about ASOS’s advert for their range of little-black-dress Barbies got picked up by Sociological Images and Jezebel (thanks Lisa!)  Barbie, and all that she stands for, has been preying on my mind. So, I was happily surprised to see Barbie all dolled-up (groan) in a hijab and gracing the cover of Muslim Lifestyle magazine Emel (‘M-L’… geddit?!).

This issue of Emel takes a look at what it’s like to grow up as a Muslim in a world obsessed with body image. With incidents of anorexia on the rise for Muslim girls, and Iran becoming the nose-job capital of the world, Emel asks; ‘How can we stop Muslim women turning into little more than Hijabi Barbies?’

In her introduction to the series of articles around this global search for body ‘perfection’, Sarah Joseph writes;

Taking on the hijab made sense for a whole host of other reasons. The hijab for me was the antithesis of the beauty fascism that had surrounded me since birth. The hijab represented not just a religious injunction, but a weapon in the war against an industry that demanded women reach unattainable goals of beauty and weight. The hijab was the Muslim equivalent of burning the bra and cutting off the hair.

There are more interesting articles to read; Tahereh Hadian meets the Iranian women ‘paying through the nose’ for cosmetic surgery, Aisha Mirza explores what Barbie means for The Beauty Myth, and Sarah Joseph examines the new dolls looking to take their share of the Muslim market.

All fascinating reading, but these are all just online tasters. To read the full articles you’ll need to buy the latest issue of Emel which can be done here for just £3.50 and free P&P.

By: Sarah Barnes, 21.03.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I. Am. Terrified!

“My eyes! It buuuuurns!”

Such were the screams that could be heard ringing around the staff room as I idly flipped through Grazia magazine on my lunch hour and chanced upon this advert. With this double page spread of grinning Barbies, all dead behind the eyes, I had been plunged unwittingly into the valley of the dolls. But why did it freak me out so much? (more…)

By: Sarah Barnes, 03.03.2010 | Comments (3)
Tagged: , , , , , ,

Fashion and The Female Personality

I read with interest (and not just because she’s a friend, honest!) Esme Benjamin’s take on the new French Connection adverts. Writing over at the Fashion Editor At Large blog, where she and Grazia’s Melanie Rickey pour out their fashionable thoughts, Esme loved the brand’s post modern approach to winning over the public.

What I love about this ad campaign is that it cheekily mocks (and yet, still obviously loves) the pretension of editorials and the fashion image whilst simultaneously making us as viewers aware of the way the fashion ‘dream’ is delivered to us. And the most interesting thing, I think, is how that ‘dream’ is all tied up in defining a particular gender in a romanticised and precise manner. So, from the video campaign (that deliciously sends up French art-house cinema), we understand the Man is ’strong, virile, a brute’ and the Woman is highly desirable, yet independent.

What I find especially exciting about this campaign is that it gives a personality to the ‘dream’ woman in the campaign, and acknowledges that French Connection customers also possess personality… and a sense of humour! With this in mind, I was interested to read BitchBuzz’s latest fashion report that, when presenting their AW10 collection this London Fashion Week, Antoni & Alison chose to go over-the-top in their openness about the kind of woman they designed the pieces for.

As the lovely editor of BitchBuzz Cate Sevilla writes, the presentation (which had clothes for the writer, the country girl, and those ‘very good at maths’)was essentially about how Antoni & Alison have created a collection that tells women that they can do anything that they might deign to turn their hand to… or dress appropriately for. It’s an interesting idea. Is this fashion coming round to the idea that women actually have lives and do stuff when they are wearing clothes, rather than being passive clothes horses? Or is this yet more pressure for women to ‘look the part’ and play at dress-up (if she dresses like a martial artist, does it follow that she can perform the perfect judo-chop? Did she earn her black belt, or simply buy it?) I think the aim was for the former, and it was great to see Antoni & Alison picking up on the interests of women, and not simply labelling them ‘the sex-kitten’ or some other tired cliche.

Whilst the marketing idea of having a ‘Woman’ that a brand designs for has been around for donkey’s years, I think this new mini-trend for turning the notion on its head is a rather fascinating one… and I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more examples of it in the future.

By: Sarah Barnes, 24.02.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kinki ‘tache bleaching…

What better way to set off your Oscar De La Renta robe than with a smear of Jolen bleaching cream on your top lip?

This image, from German magazine Kinki, totally tickled me – and so I just had to smuggle the mag back from Berlin (that’s where I was this weekend, for all those wondering about the lack of posts from Fri to Sun!) and share it with you all.

The editorial is called Taking Pictures of Myself and the set-up (which is false, since the photography is credited to Filippo Del Vita) is that the model is idly messing about, dressing up and snapping away with a remote trigger. The style is faux-intimacy, with a feeling that these ‘personal’ images were never intended to be made public. Though it’s all a fiction, I still love this defiant daring of portraying, what is to many, an intensely private beauty regime.

The rest of Kinki is a complete visual feast; all sexy typography, delicious fashion and brave new art. And the smell! Oh, the smell! That thick paper sure has slurped up it’s fair share of ink. For Mag-Addicts like me, here are some choice Kinki cuts;

Read Kinki for yourself (if you can read German, of course) online here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 04.02.2010 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Whadda Doll!

Andrew Huang’s beautiful short film ‘Doll Face’ wonderfully captures the futile struggle for unattainable beauty standards set by the media. Spooky, in more ways than one…

By: Sarah Barnes, 07.11.2009 | Comments (0)
Tagged: , , , ,

V Magazine: No make-up was harmed during the making of this shoot

V Magazine No Make-Up

It’s a bit dated now, but I am still captivated by this amazing, if slightly unnerving, make-up shoot from V Magazine where no make-up was actually used. Seriously, I think I could watch it scrolling through the make-up metamorphosis for hours on end.

As V themselves say; “In the future everyone will be beautiful. Until then, photographer Mario Sorrenti captures a naked face, and master digital artist Pascal Dangin goes pixel by pixel to apply the makeup of our technological fantasies”

This project, worked on by the ‘retoucher’s retoucher‘ Dangin, takes the discussion around the use of Photoshop in mainstream media image preparation to a whole new, very interesting and perplexing, level. We’re not just talking about ‘bettering an image’ here; this ‘Make-Up story’ is a complete fabrication, the “make-up of our technological fantasies” is a total illusion. That said, all the products ‘used’ are listed  – from YSL’s 4 Colour Harmony for Eyes in lavender to DiorBlush in precious pink. It’s all been ‘digitally sampled’ you see…

V’s shoot can really open our eyes to how far digital re-touching can (and, inevitably, will) go. In this context – a high concept, high fashion mag – arguments about unattainable beauty seem slightly lost; This experiment is clearly an attempt to push boundaries, rather than an endeavor to create facial perfection (love those grimaces!). Still, the worry still niggles that if V can do this, what will other magazines do in the future?

Putting The Beauty Myth aside for a second, I can actually appreciate the innovation displayed here. But I can’t help but wonder if any make-up artists would share in my enthusiasm?

(Images taken from ‘Interface’ Make-Up story, V47 May 15, 2007)

By: Sarah Barnes, 03.11.2009 | Comments (1)
Tagged: , , , , , , ,