Saturday, November 27, 2010

Misleading beauty campaign

Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Mick Jagger's and Jerry Hall, is the latest person to front a controversial and misleading beauty campaign. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled on this week that Rimmel exaggerated the benefits of their 1-2-3 Looks Mascara, by getting Georgia to wear false eyelashes in the ads. As well as banning the TV and magazine ads, the ASA also complained Rimmel's associated research had only been conducted on five women.

Rimmel's said it had used false eyelashes "to ensure a consistent and aesthetic lash look" , not to present an exaggerated or unachievable look. A small print below the ads stating "shot with lash inserts" should have been enough to alert the public to the use of false eyelashes, the company added.

But the ASA disagreed, saying the warning was too small and that using the false eyelashes distorted the impact that could be achieved by the product.

Please with the ASA's ruling, the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence, said: "The beauty industry has a long way to go in promoting honesty in the content of the pictures it uses, rather than presenting totally unachievable aspirations of beauty and faked images."

A number of celebrity ads have been banned or caused controversy in the past five years for deceiving the public:

- Procter & Gamble - airbrushing Twiggy in Olay Definity eye cream ad.
- Rimmel's - mascara ad banned for digitally enhancing Kate Moss's eyelashes.
- L'Oreal a) claims for a wrinkle cream promoted by Claudia Schiffer were banned. 
             b) Penelope Cruz wearing false eyelashes to promote mascara and 
             c) Cheryl Cole promoting shampoo while wearing hair extensions.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love me love my face

Last Thursday BBC 3 broadcast the very moving  programme 'Love Me, Love My Face'.  It documented the inspiring story of 26 year old Jono Lancaster who was given up for adoption hours after his birth, because he suffered from Treacher Collins syndrome.

Treacher Collins syndrome a genetic facial and hearing disorder that affects to one in 10,000 babies in the UK. It left him without cheekbones, resulting significant drooping of his eyes and hearing problems.

Jonoís story is one of sadness, perseverance and courage that thankfully ended happily. During the programme we learnt  that he gave sweets to children in the hope that they would like him,  overcame depression and loneliness as a teenager and "ended up doing stupid things"  so that people would talk about him for a different reason than what he looked like.  He admitted he hated seeing his face " I didn't like to go out unless I had to. I'd do things like cut my own hair so I didn't have to look at myself in a mirror."

He currently works as a team leader with adults with autism and would also like to help families in similar situations to him.

Happily, Jono eventually found love and self acceptance. In response to a question about why he hadnít chosen to undergo further corrective surgery Jono stated "I'm proud of who I am; Treacher Collins made me who I am today."


Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't call me fat!

Earlier this week, 'The Wright Stuff' reported the findings of a survey which found that 67% of US women would prefer to be called stupid, rather than fat.

In a similar vain, a couple of days ago I told my 8 year old 'no', when she requested a second slice of apple crumble. 

"Why not"? She asked.

"You've had enough for today", I replied firmly. To my consternation,  her bottom lip started trembling and eyes filling up with tears. 

"Are you saying I'm fat"! She exclaimed.

This morning, I saw this statement posted in a forum that was also discussing the survey, "If that's what they believe, then quite possibly they are stupid". 

While this response makes logical sense, like most things, it's not that straight forward. Our society associates very negative connotations to the word 'fat'. These include being unattractive,  unsuccessful, lazy and lacking self control.  Unfortunately, the programme didn't provide any other information about the survey, so we were unable to determine the respondents age group or other classification factors.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Measuring happiness

From Nov. 25 (ongoing), the Office of National Statistics will attempt to estimate Britons' psychological and environmental well-being. This will be achieved by adding questions to the government's existing household survey. It's hoped that this action will provide a subjective assessment of the British populations level of happiness, alongside more objective data such as whether or not we are achieving our "life goals." The new data will be published at regular intervals and will also be used to inform future government policy.

This sounds very soft and maternal in nature, but it's more substantial than it initially appears. Its in fact an attempt by the government  to broaden our understanding of economic progress away from narrow economic measures like GDP and toward quality-of-life indicators such as health care availability and environmental sustainability.

So . . . what will this all mean for UK citizens? The jury is currently out, but this is exactly the kind of questions that policy-makers will need to tackle if they're going to keep both the economy and the population happiness on target, by implementing effective policy.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby weight

Yesterday, it was reported that 6 in 10 new mums said that the celebrity culture, in which celebrity mums get back in shape within weeks of giving birth, makes them feel pressurised to do the same.

Celebrities such as Mylene Klass, Denise van Outen and Heidi Klum have all appeared in public, mere weeks after giving birth, at or very near their pre-pregnancy weight.

For most new mothers, it can take many weeks or, as in my case, months for their bodies to return to normal.

A poll of more than 6,000 mothers, carried out by the website Netmums for the Royal College of Midwives, found that most think the NHS should offer more advice about diet during pregnancy, with 3 in 4 saying the NHS should run classes on how to eat and manage weight during pregnancy.

Sally Russell, co-founder of Netmums (who carried out the poll), said mothers are being left with low self-esteem because of a lack of support.

She said many described their bodies as "disgusting", "elephant-like" and "fat" when pregnant and admitted to feeling down about how they looked.

Sadly, at what should be a joyful time, only a few women said they were "happy and proud" of their bumps.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ethnicity Interview - Part 2

In this month's article, we document part 2 of an in-depth interview with a black 38 year old married mother of two. She was adopted by a white family when she was 4 years old. In this and last months article, she poignantly tells the story of how she came to terms with her ethnicity and true self.


"Of course I’d been around black people before, but I didn’t understand them e.g. the food was all very alien to me. When I went to black households I felt a bit daft. e.g. I couldn’t understand my friends parents accents and they use to laugh at me and my brother. My friend would talk about food, prominent black people, whether they were associated with music or notable people from history perhaps … I knew nothing about it. I just felt even less black, because I didn’t understand the food, language or culture…I was a complete misfit".

Read Full Article (Part 1)  Read Full Article (Part 2)


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Premature sexualisation of children

Amid the doom and gloom concerning the economy, national debt, public sector cuts and growing unemployment, we found a morsel of good news.

Yesterday, David Cameron publicised the coalition governments plans for the next few years.  Along side plans for each government department, he announced the launch of an independent review to address the commercialisation and premature sexualisation of children.

This is good news. Speaking as a mother of young children, I hope it will result in a ban on all sexualised commercials and products aimed at children and teens.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Bankruptcy statistics


As a busy working mother, just one of the thousands of women who have to juggle family life and work; I was saddened to read the latest bankruptcy statistics.

Disappointingly, the number of women aged between 35 and 54 who are being declared bankrupt (or another type of insolvency) is rising faster than any other age group.  The finger is mainly being pointed at divorce/ break-up and the fact that many have young or school age children.

Having children, who are almost always cared for by their mother,  usually means that they need part time or flexibility work, which are limited in number. Many women are left with little option, but to take less skilled and consequently lower paid jobs such as the  ‘five Cs’ – clerical, catering, cleaning, caring and cashiering. Unfortunately, the brave few who opt to set up their own business instead,  are also becoming victims of  insolvency.

Women have always had to fight in order to overcome challenges, and we will also win this battle in the fullness of time.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Spiralling waistlines

Britain's largest suit, with a 64 inch chest and 60 inch waist, hit the High street this week. The XXXXL suit designed for the growing number of obese men is 22 inches wider than the average suit.

The fact that XXXXL can be found on the High Street, (previously only available through specialist suppliers) alongside plus size school uniforms (introduced earlier this year) clearly evidences the UK's spiralling waistline.

“This is horrifying", said Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, "and it just goes to show that we have a huge problem.... Clearly so many are reaching this weight that clothes to fit them are available on the High Street alongside normal sizes...The public health implications are very worrying". The market for plus sized menswear has grown by six per cent to £1.9 billion in the last five years.

It not just males who are getting larger. There is a growing market for girls clothing that extend to an adult size 18. Meanwhile, sales of plus size clothing for women has soared 45 per cent in just five years to £3.8 billion a year. Approximately, one in four women (6.2 million) are now size 18 or above.

Clearly we have to provide clothing for people of all sizes. However, the need to provide ever increasing sizes does force us to confront the fact that simply increasing the sizes available doesn't solve the problem of rising obesity. Currently, obesity costs the NHS £4.2 billion a year.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Janet Jackson - True You

True You

Janet Jackson has admitted to 'The View', that she suffered from body image issues as a child. It steamed from being told, at the tender age of 11, that her breasts were "too big" for her role on 'Good Times'. To resolve the problem her breasts were bound. "I was developing early", she said. "It made me feel that the way that I am, it's not good enough".

Janet is now following a healthy lifestyle programme and has documented her issues, with body image and food, in her new self-help book "True You."

"Everyone wanted to know about the weight loss", she added, "the weight gain, how do I do it.... Instead of just writing about the nutrition and the work-out regimen, I decided to go a lot deeper... I also wanted it to appeal to kids."

True You" will be published in January, 2011.