Plus-Sized Lady Mocks American Apparel’s XL Model Contest – And WINS!

This post I’m reblogging was from about a year ago, but I just discovered it today, and now I’m in feminist love with Nancy Upton!!

Here is American Apparel’s sore loser response:

“It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge based on your personal distaste for our use of light-hearted language, and that “bootylicous” was too much for you to handle. While we may be a bit TOO inspired by Beyoncé, and do have a tendency to occasionally go pun-crazy, we try not to take ourselves too seriously around here. I wonder if you had taken just a moment to imagine that this campaign could actually be well intentioned, and that my team and I are not out to offend and insult women, would you have still behaved in the same way, mocking the confident and excited participants who put themselves out there?”

“Oh—and regarding winning the contest, while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.”

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After the story hit the blogosphere, Nancy and the friend who photographed her were invited to tour American Apparel’s plant and meet with the team who created the contest. You can read about it in her
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American Apparel’s XL modeling contest ended yesterday. There was a clear leader in the contest, but she was actually making fun of American Apparel’s belittling view of plus-sized models. Here are her entry photos.

American Apparel’s “THE NEXT BIG THING” (Emphasis on big, if you will.)

Think you are the Next BIG Thing?
Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up. Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL! Show us what you’re workin’ with!
 via Jezebel

From her tumblr: “My name is Nancy Upton. I’m a size 12 and wanted to show American Apparel my fresh face (and full figure). My good friend Shannon Skloss came over to take some “booty-ful” photos of me… but I just couldn’t stop eating.”

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Plus-Sized Lady Mocks American Apparel’s XL Model Contest.

Dina Goldstein’s Fallen Princesses

If you followed my blog in its earlier days, you know what I think about young girls’ increasing obsession with princesses, and how Disney Princesses distort their image and expectations of themselves, of life, of relationships, of their sexuality… Everything.

SnowySnowy ~

That’s why I was so thrilled to discover Dina Goldstein, my favorite photographer (today). I saw her Snow White photograph from her Fallen Princesses series on Facebook, sans credit as is common there. Today I finally put together the name with the photography, and what a discovery that was!

Here is Goldstein’s description of the project and some of the pictures from the series, but I truly recommend you browse her website. It’s gorgeous.

ariel11.
“These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues.
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Belle1.
The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney’s Fairy tales.  As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them.  The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one.  The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess.
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Rapunzel1As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of Fairy tales. I explored the original Brothers Grimm stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.

See my other Dina Goldstein post: In The Dollhouse.

The Scariest Shoes of All Time

We’ve seen many ugly shoes in our day, but a new pair dubbed “Scary Beautiful” is definitely the most treacherous footwear we’ve ever seen. The massive heels appear backwards on the foot, so the wearers feet point straight down the back, as if in ballet shoes, with their shin leaning against the front “heel” end of the design to balance. The shoes are a collaboration between artist Leanie van der Vyver and Dutch shoe designer René van den Berg, and serve as a commentary on today’s impossible standards of beauty.

The ugliest shoes of all time

Van der Vyver is South African, and recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. We spotted “Crazy Beautiful” on her website, cargocollective.com, and reached out to her for the inside scoop.

Imelda Marcos’ prized shoe collection is ruined

“After working in fashion for seven years, and therefore being well aware of the manipulation images in fashion suffer for a perfect result, I still compare myself to them and other current beauty ideals,” Van der Vyver told Yahoo! Shine exclusively. “My frustration with my own inability to overcome these feelings of inadequacy was what brought ‘Scary Beautiful’ into fruition. The shoes formed part of my graduation project that was a result of my thesis. The conclusion of my thesis investigation was that people are not satisfied with what they look like, and that perfection, according to the beauty and fashion standards, has reached a climax. Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.”

A model wearing the Scary Beautiful shoes.
Photo by Lyall Coburn

Unsurprisingly, Van der Vyver’s “Scary Beautiful” shoes were nominated for a design prize at Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Jury members Barbara Visser, visual artist and Xander Karskens, and curator of De Hallen had this to say about the shoes:

“The object created by Leanie expands the concept of a shoe into multiple new meanings. The beautifully made leather object is accompanied by a video registration of a girl wearing it. One observes the design forcing the wearer to develop a new way of walking, leaning forward while refining a painfully fragile balance. The jury applauds the way aesthetics, ergonomics and prosthesis merge into an awkward choreography. The craftsmanship and strong conceptual way of designing also show in another work, a ceramic tea set in which reference is made to a building in South Africa. Leanie succeeds in translating political consciousness into form and is considered by the jury to be a meaningful future designer.”

Alexander McQueen’s spring 2010 Armadillo heels.
Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/Getty Images

We find the clip shocking but also oddly moving. The shoes are obviously not practical, but as art they’re intriguing. We can’t help but be reminded of Lady Gaga trying to steady herself in the now-famous Alexander McQueen “Armadillo” heels in her “Bad Romance” music video. Major models like Abbey Lee Kershaw, Natasha Poly, and Sasha Pivovarova reportedly refused to wear the 12-inch McQueen heels out of fear, and were cut from the designer’s spring 2010 fashion show. In comparison, the “Scary Beautiful” shoes make the “Armadillo” heels look like sneakers, but we had a feeling the always-outdoing-herself Lady Gaga would give them a spin one day. Sure enough, Van der Vyver confirmed our suspicions.

“Yes, on request I did actually send them to Studio Formichetti for a Lady Gaga music video, but I could not get confirmation whether she actually used them,” Van der Vyver told us. “I did not charge for her to possibly use them. I would love to sell them to a gallery.”

We’re holding out for the “Scary Beautiful” shoes to appear in an upcoming Lady Gaga music video, but until then Van der Vyver is back home in Cape Town starting her own studio where she’ll continue investigating fashion and beauty. We’re anticipating her next creation.

Check out a video below of a model walking verrry slowly in the “Scary Beautiful” shoes.

via The Scariest Shoes of All Time | How To – Yahoo! Shine.

The Lady Manes

A self-portrait series by Rhiannon Schneiderman

From Rhiannon Schneiderman's photography blog:

The Lady Manes is a series of eight self-portraits. In each image I’m standing in your typical feminine pose in an outfit or article of clothing, and I’ve accessorized each outfit with its own unique, stylized ‘Lady Mane.’ A ‘Lady Mane’ is just a somewhat empowering pseudonym for a bunch of pubes, a “bush,” your “hair down there”… And that’s what the series was about for me: empowerment. I can’t really pinpoint any one source of inspiration for the project because it really was a culmination of so many things going on at the time; I’d moved to and lived in Daytona Beach, the armpit of Florida and possibly all of civilization, for almost two years (for school) during which time I’d witnessed and been subject to some pretty amazingly sexist ordeals. I was moving more into my hardcore feminist phase, which I think every lesbian in their 20’s goes through, and just so happened to have a hardcore feminist, fine-arts-major professor who had been giving me a semester of the most intense and life-altering class critiques I’d ever experienced. I’d been introduced to Cass Bird’s “Rewilding”, an amazing body of work that continues to influence me. All of these things, and maybe a few Lady Gaga songs, were inspiration enough to create a series that kind of laughed at conventional gender norms. I wanted to tell people that they were ridiculous, makethem uncomfortable for a change. I wanted to challenge femininity and the objectification of women that is still so incredibly prevalent in society. I guess it was my way of saying, “Fuck you. Enough is enough.”

read more 

What If All Sports Were Shot Like Beach Volleyball

Although this Olympics required some extra covering up, beach volleyball is one of those sports that not everyone watches for the game. Nate Jones, over at the Metro, had the insight to ask the question, “What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?” The results he found on getty images were entirely amusing. I guess it really takes a trained eye to take sports shots that look this good.

 Basketball

Diving

Gymnastics

Swimming

Track and Field

Wrestling

[Via Metro]

How wives should undress in front of their husbands, 1937 | Retronaut

How wives should undress in front of their husbands, 1937 | Retronaut.

HOW WIVES SHOULD UNDRESS IN FRONT OF THEIR HUSBANDS, 1937

“Ex-Burlesque stripper, Professor June St. Clair, sexily undressing as a typical wife clumsily disrobes next to her during a demonstration on how wives should undress in front of their husbands’ in the bedroom, for a class at the Allen Gilbert School of Undressing.” 

All images by Peter Stackpole
Thank you to LIFE Archive

Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon – The Atlantic

Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon

MAY 24 2012, 10:47 AM ET 12

Both male and female subjects in a recent experiment perceived near-naked men in sexualized ads as human beings, but could only see attractive women as objects.

PROBLEM: Women’s bare bodies are on display in billboards, movie posters, and many other kinds of ads. Though plenty of studies have looked at the ramifications of this pervasive sexual objectification, it’s unclear if we see near-naked people as human beings or if we really do view them as mere objects.

Women Are Much Happier When Men Feel Their Pain

Older Women Need More Sex Education Too

Why ‘Titanic’ and Other Tragic Movies Make Us Happy

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Philippe Bernard presented participants pictures of men and women in sexualized poses, wearing a swimsuit or underwear, one by one on a computer screen. Since pictures of people present a recognition problem when they’re turned upside down, but images of objects don’t have that problem, some of the photos were presented right side up and others upside down. After each picture, there was a second of black screen before each participant was shown two images and was asked to choose the one that matched the one he or she had just seen.

RESULTS: The male and female subjects matched the photos similarly. They recognized right-side-up men better than upside-down men, suggesting that they saw the sexualized men as persons. On the contrary, the women in underwear weren’t any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.

CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.

SOURCE: The full study, “Integrating Sexual Objectification With Object Versus Person Recognition: The Sexualized-Body-Inversion Hypothesis,” is published in the journal Psychological Science.

via Health – Hans Villarica – Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon – The Atlantic.

Thursday Round-Up

Here are some interesting photo galleries, and everything you ever wanted to know about the mythical Obeast.

As always, many thanks to my beautiful and intelligent friends who continually broaden my horizons.

Obeasts

From MOCS, the Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies website:

Obeasts have been an important feature of the North American cultural landscape for tens of thousands of years, and yet little is actually known about these shy and endangered animals today. Artifacts have been uncovered in North Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and even as far north as New Brunswick Canada, which depict the obeast and its revered status amongst native cultures.

I especially like the Obeast Biology page.

A Squirrel's Guide to Fashion

An album from 1940a Life Magazine

Beauty In Ugliness

Photographer Lee Jeffries finds beauty and humanity in series of black and white photos of the homeless in various cities. Also here.


Flying Baby

Photographer Rachel Hulin took this fabulous series of photos, making it appear that her baby is in flight. Hulin says there was minimal Photoshop use, but won’t reveal the secret of how she set up the shots.

Thursday Round-Up

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A genderqueer love story; A 13 year-old girl who knows more about slut-shaming and why it’s wrong than almost any adult I know; Pink tanks;  Transgender Israeli man gives birth; Why you should buy girl scout cookies; Metonymy; Who’s the queerest of the queer?
It’s another Thursday Round-Up!
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From the Queer Blogosphere

Israeli Transgender Man Gives Birth

Yuval Topper-Erez is the first Israeli transgender man to give birth. Congratulations to him, his spouse, and their baby Lyrrie!

Girls Scout Cookie Boycott?

There are plenty of reasons why I’m not a fan of the Girl Scouts or their cookies… But right now, I want to buy a case!

This girl scout wants to boycott the Girl Scouts cookie fundraiser because some divisions allow transgender girls to be members. She attempts to find a basis in girl scout values like honesty — the thesis being that girls and parents are being lied to, and that transgender girls are actually boys who decided they want to be girls… Well, watch for yourself.

Edit: The video seems to have been removed — perhaps because of all the hackles it raised? I hope so! But you can still see who and what is behind it, and get a full nauseating look at their agenda at the Honest Girl Scouts website.


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Some good response videos here and here. And this one by a queer former girl scout →
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(And someone needs to explain to Huffington Post that transgender is NOT gay)

Queerer Than Thou

I love this comedy, which aims to answer the age-old question –
Who’s the queerest of them all? (Which is all eerily familiar…)

(“I’m so queer, I’m beyond identity politics…” :-) )

Genderqueer love story

A poem.

Discovery of the Week

Activist Language

I love learning new stuff. Here are two words I was not familiar with before:

Microaggression: The idea that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as non-physical aggression.

Type Definition
Microassault An explicit derogation characterized primarily by verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions.
Microinsult Characterized by communications that convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s racial/cultural/gender heritage or identity
Microinvalidation Characterized by communications that exclude, negate, or nullify a person’s psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality.

Metonymy: A figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, “Hollywood” as used to represent the American movie industry. Or, “The pen is mightier than the sword”, whereas “pen” represents the written word, and “sword” represents physical force.

While not necessarily a political/activist term, I learned it in this context. It’s dangerous to send me on Google searches to discover why a feminist-orientalist-activist-academician-Facebook-friend of mine used it in a political argument… I came up with a whole new way to look at how we use words in our political discourse. For example, this academic paper explores how the Bush administration used metaphorical and metonymical references to create solidarity (with “The American People”) and distance (from “The Iraqi People).

But you don’t need to delve into high-level academics to understand this: Just think about the automatic substitutions we do every day. Can you spot the difference in these (made-up) headlines?

  1. Russia Plans War With Japan
  2. Russian Premier, Sergei Doe, Opines That War With Japan Is Inevitable.

Think about how that changes our perception of what we read and hear.

Gender & Socialization

Fotoshop by Adobé

This video by Jesse Rosten has gone mega-viral, but just in case you haven’t seen it — it’s a must!

**This commercial isn’t real, and neither are society’s standards of beauty.**

13 Y.O. Explains Why Slut Shaming Is Wrong

I love this girl — I can’t believe she’s thirteen! Most adults I know cannot reason this well, and don’t know as much.

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MRI Scan of Female Orgasm

You know what it feels like… Do you know what it looks like? Really, science knows so little about it. Have you any idea how many sections of your brain light up?

To me — this is BEAUTIFUL.

 

Random 

And just because it’s fun – Art Cars!

Feminist Art Car — Vain Van

Peacenik Art Car — Ping-Pong VW

Make Afghans, Not War

http://artcar.blogspot.com/

http://www.braball.com/MoreArt/artcars.htm

……..