Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

That Kiss

This photo recently turned the world's attention to same-sex marriage in France. Rallies like these have been quite a trend lately as current President François Hollande wants to legalize same-sex marriage. At the moment France has civil unions for same-sex couples, but no legal marriage rights.
VICE reported that: "Throughout the protest, there was tension in the air and the occasional flare-up. At one point it became very heated when two women hopped the fence and began to make-out intensely. They were swiftly separated before the cops could break up the encounter."
I love the courage of these women; and I LOVE the faces of the women behind them. These two women had quite an effect.
Image via Jezebel.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Have you ever heard of the term? No? Well here's a bit of an explanation: describes Slut-shaming as: "Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used."

Apparently, slut-shaming is a massive deal in The States at the moment. It is so severe that it recently drove a 15-year-old teenager, Felicia Garcia, to jump in front of a moving subway - all because she was so intensely bullied. Two days before her death she even tweeted:  "I can't, I'm done, I give up."

She allegedly slept with four football players at a party. When she arrived back at school on the Monday, most of the other students heard about the orgy. Felicia was harassed in the hallways and in class by both guys and girls who called her a 'slut' and a 'whore'.

It was so severe that she could barely stand it. Did the guys who she slept with get bullied? No, they were praised.

I think that women are often a massive cause of something such as slut-shaming. Women often call women out other women, mostly in the form of gossip, but often to their face. Women discipline each other in this way, keeping each other in line with that which they believe to be right. For many 'sleeping around'is of course something which a woman shouldn't do.

For some reason it is 'better' for men to sleep around than women. So ridiculous.

Why the double-standards? Seriously I am so sick of this. Men might sometimes be called "man-whores", which I think they rather view as a kind of 'badge of honour' rather than an insult. I think we as women often look to men to stop their sexist ways.

Yet, I feel that when the majority of women start to encourage and support, rather than criticize each other for their choices and ways of dressing, then we'll start to see some real change.

Shall we start with us?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Living on One Dollar

Understanding extreme poverty

A recent documentary called "Living on One", follows four college students as they travel to rural Guatemala and live on only one dollar a day. What an amazing initiative. Check out the above trailer for more info.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The plastic surgery capital is...

...South Korea believe it or not. That is per capita they currently have the highest number of plastic/cosmetic surgeries. It seems that in South Korea, no facial feature is safe from the surgical knife. Why? Basically because more and more women are in want of 'the Western look'. Going for cosmetic surgery is apparently almost like visiting the dentist for most South Korean women.

Fashionista spoke to a South Korean surgeon who said: “having a more appealing face means there’s more chance to change that person’s destiny."

So, all of our destinies should be based on Western ideas of beauty?

Below is an excellent look at East meets West and how South Korean women are changing their bodies to conform to the beauty standards set by the West:

Will the West always be viewed as the best?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet controversial teen model, Ondria Hardin

The young model's name first received some buzz when she walked the runway for Marc Jacobs when she was a mere 14-years-old. Ondria Hardin (above) was also recently featured in Vogue China, even though she is under the age of 16. According to Vogue’s Health initiative, where they vowed to use models who are over the age of 16, the magazine crossed the line.

She's now 15 and most designers are saying that she looks much older than her years. One of these designers is Karl Lagerfeld, who doesn't seem to mind the young model as he said: “She doesn’t look 15. She looks 18 or 19.” He will be using her in Chanel’s spring 2013 campaign that will be shot in New York City.

If you want the 18-year-old look, then why not get 18-year-old models? Strange.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are only super-skinny models allowed to do high-fashion?

Earlier this year, supermodel Kate Upton was dismissed as a girl with 'the kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy,' by Victoria's Secret. She's also been called 'fat' by various pro-ano and thinspo blogs recently, which left me in a state of shock and disbelief.
The fashion world has often questioned whether she's high-fashion enough, playing her off as a 'Sports Illustrated' sex bunny. However, after landing the cover of ex-Vogue France editor Carine Roitfeld's first published issue of CR magazine, no one could call her 'high-fashion irrelevant' anymore.
Was she perhaps never taken seriously as a high-fashion model, because she's not super-skinny?
Kate has often said that she has no desire to be part of the super-skinny high fashion world. 'I don’t want to starve myself,' she says. 'I still want to hang out with my family and be a normal girl. You have to be confident, and that doesn’t mean starving yourself.'
She now plans to use her celebrity to be an ambassador for a healthy approach to body image. 'I think it’s important to look at magazines and think a healthy lifestyle is attainable,' she explains. 'Now that the fashion industry likes the idea of me, I’m happy if I can have an influence.'
I also like the idea of her. Who says you have to be super-skinny to do high-fashion, right? Okay, well most of the world. But this is starting to change, especially if we look at models like her and Robyn Lawley. One model at a time people.
 Images via Vogue.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fashionistas unite for Obama

I LOVE this. Fashionistas like Sarah Sophie Flicker, Tavi Gevinson, Maximilla Lukacs, Tennessee Thomas, Leith Clark,Alexa Chung, Karen Elson, and Erika Spring teamed up to do a public service announcement to encourage women to vote for Obama. They lip-sync to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are we bum obsessed?

In light of our November issue, where we feature a story on 'Would you recognize your own bum?' (page 88), I though it would be interesting to chat about our derrières.
Every year Brazil holds an event called the "Miss Bum Bum" pageant. This contest of course judges the best bum of the year. "[Brazilians] definitely have a thing with butts," said Brazilian Graciela Murano,writer and editor for Oddee, noting that "bumbum" is the word most commonly used in Brazil to refer to someone's rear end. This is quite a strict competition and those who win are usually pretty honoured.
Millions of people voting that you have the best bum in the country? That sounds damn good, doesn't it?
Most of the world seems to be completely and utterly obsessed with bums, for example by always commenting on Kim K's every bumilicious outfit (above).
But the question is: Are we more obsessed with our bottoms that with other parts of our bodies? I don't really think so, especially since lately we seem to be hyper-sensitive about basically any mere bodily flaw.
Which part of your body are you most critical of? Why do you think this is?
Pics via HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Alexa Chung talks about her body and the media

Alexa Chung recently said that she feels the media and the public should re-evaluate the way in which they view women and their bodies. The fashionista has often received criticism for encouraging thinspo and por-ano blogs, especially after tweeting the below pic of her and her mom, with the media and the public commenting on her super skinny frame. Is this fair?

She told Vogue UK:

"I think it's about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect, like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight," she said. "It's not actually mutually inclusive. I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn't mean that I'm like advocating it and saying: 'I look great.' How do you know I'm not looking in the mirror and going: 'I wish I could gain ten pounds?' Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you're bragging that you're naturally thin, and you're not allowed to do that because even though it's not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well."

That is one of the reasons why we want you all to sign our 'Body Bill of Rights'. We should never say that only curvy women are 'real women'. All women are 'real women'.

She also pointed out a massive disparity between skinny and larger women, saying: "how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines saying: 'I'm really happy with my shape.' But if I was to do that, I'd be completely criticised and ridiculed. But why can't I be happy with how I look?"

Is it true? Are people ganging up on thin women?

I definitely think that this is often the case. It should be about health first and foremost. If a 'skinny' or 'overweight' person is unhealthily so, say because they are being pressured into it for their job, then I have a problem with it. Yet, if one is naturally super skinny or overweight, perhaps because of genetics, that is a completely different story.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The return of fur

Currently the $15-16 billion fur industry is up by 70%. That is since 2000. It's hard to believe that an industry that was once so heavily criticized is now thriving.

What happened? I remember the '80s and especially the '90s when people actually fought against designers and celebs who wore fur.

Remember those PETA ads? 'We'd rather go naked, than wear fur'. Models like Naomi Campbell posed naked, vowing that she won't ever wear fur again. Oh, and then she did an ad campaign for Dennis Basso, a furrier.

Where are the shocking visuals of animal cruelty, the fake blood being thrown on celebrities' mink coats and the protesters?

But what can we say when the most powerful woman in fashion, Vogue US editor Anna Wintour, absolutely adores and endorses fur wearing?

An industry spokesperson attributed the rise primarily to two factors. Firstly, designers who have incorporated small amounts of fur into a wider array of garments, making fur an option in warmer climates, and "a younger generation whose passion is not animal rights."

It seems like fur is here to stay, for the foreseeable future at least. Young people can convince designers that fur is so last season...

Would you ever wear fur?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IKEA photoshops women out of Saudi catalogue

Say what now? Yup, it's true. IKEA is being heavily criticized for removing women from their catalogue which is published in Saudi Arabia. IKEA is a furniture and lifestyle store, which is synonymous with Stockholm, one of the most gender equal cities in the world. So how could this happen?
The retailer apparently said that they regret their decision: "We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the IKEA Group values."
I'd say.
I think that when a multi-billion Swedish krona company such as IKEA feels the need to compromise their values for a country that does not share their views on gender equality, that they should NOT even be opening stores in that country. That is if they want their customers to believe in what they stand for.
What is your take?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reverse airbrushing is not cool either

All we want is an accurate representation of women as they are, right? The above image of model Karlie Kloss recently got a lot of attention when it was revealed that the picture was retouched. That is to make her look less skinny. The picture was published in Numéro magazine.

The photographer of the pictures, Greg Kadel is not pleased that one of the images he took, were altered to hide the model's ribs.

"It was Greg's desire to represent Karlie as she naturally is . . . slender, athletic, and beautiful," a statement from Kadel's studio reads. "That is why he released the images as he intended them to be seen by the public. He is shocked and dismayed that unbeknownst to him, Numéro took it upon themselves to airbrush over his original images. Greg stands by his original artwork and cannot stress enough that he not only was unaware of the magazine’s retouching but also finds the airbrushing of Karlie unacceptable and unnecessary," said

Reverse airbrushing is not okay, it's more about the lie than anything else. All magazines retouch images, but doing it to such an extent that the model's body is completely transformed, be that to make it look skinnier or bigger, is not right.
Karlie was also recently criticized for her Vogue Italia shoot. Which ended up on several pro-ano and thinspo sites.

I know, I know she does look very skinny. But so what? This is probably just her normal physique. You know those people many of us hate, because they have such fast metabolisms? She's probably one of them.
The only time I have a problem with too skinny or too overweight models is when they are purposely starving or overeating themselves for the sake of fashion. It's an issue of health. It only matters whether or not that model is being pressured to be super skinny or not. Whether she is starving herself to look mega thin. If this is not the case, and Karlie Kloss is just being herself. Then all is cool.
What do you think?
    Pics from here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are these D&G earrings racist?

Dolce & Gabbana recently got a lot of flack for their Spring/Summer 2013 collection when they featured these ‘moorish’ earrings, burlap-sack dresses and fruit cornucopias. Many people criticized them for being racist. They recently sent out an ‘explanation’ on their site,, saying: “You might have seen them in some villa or restaurant or hotel in Sicily, dominating the table: colourful head-shaped ceramic vases filled with beautiful flowers. The head is inspired by Moorish features. Moorish is a term used to define many peoples throughout history. Medieval and early modern Europeans applied the name to the Berbers, Arabs, Muslim Iberians and West Africans, although it has to be said that the term ‘Moorish’ has no real ethnological value. In Sicily’s case it defines the conquerors of Sicily.” “Behind the Moor’s head vases there is a legend that is as interesting as its real history: they say that around 1100 AD, when Sicily was ruled by the Moors, a beautiful girl was living in seclusion and spent her days cultivating flowers on her balcony. One day a young Moor passing by saw her, decided he had to have her and entered the house so to declare his love. The young girl, surprised by such a gesture, reciprocated him, but just when she got to know him he had to return to where he came from, to his wife and children, she waited for the night to come and as he fell asleep she cut off his head and used it as a vase for her flowers and put it on her balcony displaying it to everyone. This way his love was forever hers. Since then, flowers grew lush in the vase and the neighbours, envious, built vases shaped like a Moor’s head.” Of course this has a very significant place and part of history, yet I’m worried about the context in which the blackamoor was reincarnated. Should we be seeing this as a celebration of Sicily’s history or are they showing black women in a dated, stereotypical and offensive way? I think that most people won’t be offended by this at first glance, maybe thinking it’s pretty and colourful. Yet, once you start to think a little bit further, you’ll realize that when you take something such as this chapter from the colonial era and make it part of mainstream fashion, then you basically trivialize the impact this time had on the people who lived through one of the darkest times in Western history. What is your take?