Tag Archives: Double X

Israel Bans Underweight Models — So Who’s Hiring Them? [Slate / XXfactor]

Slate XXfactor Israel Bans Underweight Models by Virginia Sole-Smith

I’m back on Slate’s XXfactor blog, with a piece about what these bans on underweight models might do to the models themselves. Of course the hope is: Allow them to keep working, now at a healthy weight. But that assumes the fashion industry will all fall neatly in line and start championing the health of their young workforce — which is pretty much the opposite of what’s happened so far anytime anyone has attempted industry reform thus far. (See Marc Jacobs refusing to check for underage models last month for the case in point.)


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Standards, Fashion, Glossed Over, Government Watch, Modeling, Press

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Pinning Things Down

Virginia on Pinterest

Hi, my name is Virginia and I’m addicted to Pinterest. (If you’re already confused, click here to find out what it’s all about.)

My friend Amy got me hooked way back in September 2010. I’m fairly sure it’s the only thing we’ve ever early adopted! Since then, she’s pinned a reasonable 268 items. Meanwhile I’ve pinned 839 things.

Ahem. That total actually went up to 845 pins since I wrote the first draft of this post.


Filed under Beauty Standards, For Extra Credit, Happenings

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Pretty Price Check (04.09.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday roundup of how much we paid for beauty last week.

Photo from National Go Topless Day Campaign

  • 24: How many women marched topless through the streets of Portland, Maine to try to normalize the presence of female skin in public. A noble mission, perhaps – but I gotta agree with Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams, who notes that women have to put up with enough ogling as it is, and asks “Who wants to be the bare-breasted canary in that coal mine?” Also, the photo above from the campaign’s headquarters, GoTopless.org, is relying pretty heavily on size discrimination to make its point. Last I checked, most people would rather see the boobs of the perfectly toned, bikini-clad lady than those of the obese man. Aren’t I supposed to be more concerned about moms being able to breastfeed in public, even if we catch sight of a nipple or two, without being harassed?


Filed under Pretty Price Check

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It’s Time for a New Beauty Backlash.

Beauty U goes on winter break tomorrow, so I’m gearing up to take the next 12 days off from blogging for Christmas, New Year’s, and the plentiful eating of real chocolate. It’s all good — we’re gearing up for advanced facials after break, and my skin needs some rebound time after a class effort to extract every comedone (that’s spa speak for pimple) currently erupting on my face.

But before I go ice my face, I’d like to direct your attention to “The Beauty Standards Backlash,” Amanda Marcotte’s fantastic post over on Double X. She argues that our culture’s current obsession with Brazilians and Botox (and pore excavation and everything else I’ve been obsessing over here for the last two months) is a backlash against the feminist movement:

Those of us who came of age in the ’90s apparently grew up in a feminist paradise in which you could totally be considered hot while not being on the brink of starvation. Body hair was only considered a problem if directly visible (and even then, armpit hair made a small comeback), comfortable clothes were the norm, make-up was applied sparingly and for artfulness rather than deceit, and natural hair became completely normal. The slovenliness of the grunge era has given way to sharp dressing, but it’s still done with a minimum of discomfort. And I swear to you that by applying a relaxed beauty norm, we were able to train the men of my generation to be sexually aroused by women who didn’t need to show suffering for beauty. Indeed, many men I know in their 30s and 40s recoil at the idea of finding waxed anorexics with plastic parts to be sexier than someone unafraid to wear a pair of sneakers on the right occasion. Or perhaps they’re flattering me for reasons I don’t understand, though their choices in partners tend to uphold their claims.

All of which tells me that we’re in a backlash period, much like the 80s as described by Susan Faludi. Which means that the oppressive beauty standards are a response to feminism, but also that we don’t have to give up hope.

Remembering the 1990s as a “feminist paradise” might be a bit of a stretch (water bras, Biore strips, the flip side of grunge being Kate Moss skinny/heroin chic), but you need only compare the original cast of 90210 (which first aired in 1990) with the remake to see Marcotte’s point. It’s not just the lack of mom jeans — thighs and eyebrows alike have been downsized.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Standards, For Extra Credit

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Pretty Price Check. (12.04.09)

The Pretty Price Check: The Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

  • No, your razor does not need to be pink to work on your legs. But Consumer Reports research shows that drugstore products aimed at women cost 50 percent more than equal-but-cheaper goods marketed for men. (Via Bitch.)
  • That New Baby Smell shouldn’t be due to the fact that a new Environmental Working Group study found fragrance chemicals (and over 200 other synthetics like Bisphenol-A and flame retardant) in the cord blood of minority newborns.


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