Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Naked confidence

Yesterday, we received this email:

Hi,  I am emailing from ****** [national women's magazine] as we have a feature that someone who is part of Body Beautiful may be interested in taking part in.

We are looking for a mother and daughter of an ethnic background for an interview and photo shoot about body confidence. They would need to be happy to pose naked - however it will be shot in a very stylish way and in black and white. We can position them to hide parts of their body etc if they would prefer.

If you could contact me if you have anyone who would be happy to take part.
Kind regards

The email was the catalyst to long and thoughtful discussions. Why does the mother and daughter need to pose naked? Does showing your naked body in a 'stylish' way, with 'hidden parts' portray body confidence? If the mother and daughter were dressed, would this mean they were not really body confident?

Taking the discussion further and looking at the topic in a wider context. Where is this growing trend for public nudity leading? Over the last 3 years we have had the following programs that focus on nudity:

1. How to Look Good Naked (Ch4)
2. Miss Naked Beauty (Ch4)
3. Dawn Gets Naked (BBC3)
4. The Great British Body (ITV)
5. Naked News (YouTube))

There has also been numerous naked celebrities and would be celebrities filling the pages of a multitude of magazines.

Just this morning we learnt that three members of McFly have posed naked as a reward to their fans for helping band member Harry Judd win Strictly Come Dancing. Reward?

What effect is nudity in the media having on society at large? Is it public exhibitionism or evidence of our societies relaxed attitude towards nudity? Is it right or wrong? Should we support or oppose it? The debate rages on.

No one in the my Body Beautiful team wanted to take part. Naked confidence? No thanks.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Black women's well being

A team of researchers from 3 US universities* analysed data on how obesity is perceived by women. The research, that took place between 2000-2010, found that there was a marked difference between black and white women.

While most obese women are unhappy about their weight, black women reported higher self esteem and a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight.

Black women were more concerned about adverse physical rather than mental or emotional issues associated with being overweight.

Tiffany L. Cox (lead researcher) believes that an overweight black women’s perception of having a high quality of life, was working against their genuine need to lose weight.

From my own research, I know that it is not simply a case of perceived ‘well being’. Past studies have concluded that social norms and a greater acceptance of a diverse range of body shapes and sizes, play a significant role in forming a black person's body image.

*University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo


Friday, December 16, 2011

Value as sex objects

A report published by the NHS Information Centre, has found that:

     - 27% of females have sex before the age of consent.

     - 1 in 10 young people aged 16 to 24 have
       had 10 or more sexual partners.

     - 26% of women and 32% of men aged 16 to 24
       say they have never had sex.

     - 27% of men and 44% of women aged 16 to 24
       have been tested for the sexually-transmitted
       infection Chlamydia, compared with 6% of men 
       and 12% of women in the 45 to 54 age group.

     - In their lifetime across all age groups, men have
       typically had 9.3 female sexual partners, while
       women have had 4.7 male partners (average)

     - Almost 1:4 of all women (24%) have only ever 
       had one sexual partner, compared to 17% of men.

     - 13% of women have had 10 or more partners of the 
       opposite sex, compared with 27% of men.

Shadow health minister Diane Abbott said: "The rising numbers of girls having under-age sex is alarming.  It is not a cost-free phenomenon. It poses public health policy challenges and social challenges. The underlying cause must be the 'pornification' of the culture and the increasing sexualisation of pre-adolescent girls.  Too many young girls are absorbing from the popular culture around them that they only have value as sex objects”.

My body beautiful have a ‘sexualisation of society’ module within our body image suite of workshops.

NB. The workshop program has ended.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

With a pinch of salt

We knew about the extensive use of air brushing, particularly in magazines, to create unreal unattainable perfection.

We knew about the use of auto-tune technology in the X-Factor, that alters a contestant's natural voice.

We even knew that clothing retailers like H&M  used  "virtual" model bodies, with the face of a real model, in order to sell clothing online.

This week, we learned that the Frozen Planet's amazing  "natural" scenes, which the BBC presented as taking place in the wild, was actually filmed in a zoo.

It now seems prudent to take all digital imagery and acoustics with a pinch of salt.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Body image - A wider perspective

This months article is titled 'Body image - A wider perspective'


'If your body image is causing you concern, try to take a wider perspective of your life. One way to improve body image is to look beyond your body and to focus on building self esteem.

What aspects of your life have the effect of enhancing your self esteem? Start taking pleasure from such things as having a close knit family, healthy children, trustworthy friends etc. Begin focussing on the positive relationships and associated experiences that you have. e.g. rewarding work or an enjoyable social life etc'.

Read article


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

From bullying to anorexia

Here is a moving and inspiring story about one teenagers struggle with bullying and anorexia.

Annabel Norris was bullied at school about her ginger hair and weight e.g. being inundated with emails with comments like ‘fat ginger cow’.  In response, she almost starved herself to death.

At 13, obsessed with her physical appearance, Annabel survived on 50 calories a day and mammoth 3, 000 sit-up workouts.

Happily, we can report that Annabel has now turned her life around and she is healthy.

Read her story


Friday, December 02, 2011

Size diversity in fashion

PhD researcher (Judge Business School, Cambridge University) and model agent Ben Barry has released some preliminary findings from his research:

“In my research featuring 300 women in Canada, the US and UK, equally segmented between 14-65 years of age, over 90% of women between 40-65 increased purchase intentions when the advertisement featured models reflecting their age and size. Women over 40 possess more overall spending power than any other age group, and they spend more on women's apparel than younger market segments. Moreover research has demonstrated that ageing does not reduce fashion interest among individuals.”

Campaign group All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, have responded:
“It’s official! Diversity can positively contribute to business. We know that since women of all ages are influenced by what they see on the catwalk and in fashion magazines, our industry could be vital in the promotion of healthy ideals and consumer well being. This news gives creative’s and retailers concrete evidence to act.”

All women, whatever their age, want fashionable clothes that fit comfortably and compliment their body shape. Anything that promotes this gets my vote.