Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cheryls roses tattoo


Cheryl Cole recently unveiled her latest tattoo; dark red English roses that took 15 painful hours to create and months to heal. The image starts on her lower back and extends over her bottom and down one thigh. As soon as the tattoo was revealed, media outlets, social sites and the blogosphere erupted in heated debate.

At the heart of the impassioned deliberations, explicitly stated or implied are two questions:

1. Self expression or self harm?

"I have personal meaning behind it but English roses are my favourite flowers," explained Cheryl. "People are entitled to their own opinion. Personally I've never really concerned myself with other people's body parts!" she added.

"This is nothing short of self-mutilation" Mail Online's Amanda Platell

"Congratulations to @CherylCole on her new tattoo. The first woman to successfully ruin her own a***". Mark Robinson ?@robboma3

2. Beautiful or a monstrosity?

"Not gonna lie I actually heart @CherylCole new tattoo!". Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan.

Last week 22% of the Suns 12500 readers awarded Cheryl Cole the 'tattiest tattoos' award.

I’ll end this blog by posing a third question, one that almost everyone is asking and in many cases intuitively providing their own answer. Reminiscent of, “I’ve read the book and I know how it ends."

Will it be a case of “repent at leisure”?


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The dark side of modeling

The article ‘Dark Side of Modeling’ by Tess Munster (a plus size model) is an interesting and heartfelt blog post that is well worth reading.

Excerpts : Dark Side of Modeling Source: theplussizelife

Since I last wrote, I'm another year older & I've been reflecting a lot lately. It's also approaching the 3rd year anniversary of when I first started modeling professionally, which always means taking a look back for me. My career has been such a blessing, but in some ways a curse. …

For 6 months last year (and part of this year) I was suicidal, and thought everyday that there was no way I could deal with another day. I didn't really tell anyone because I was embarrassed.. my life looks so glamorous sometimes, and here I am barely able to get out of bed. Still to this day, I'm told what I 'should' look like, how I 'should' dress, what I 'should' or 'shouldn't' be eating, basically how I need to be living my life....

The internet in general is breeding a generation of young girls and guys who think their worth is based on their looks and how many likes they get. … All of a sudden, we go from 'inspirational' to 'fat', and it HAS to stop. If you are reading this, and you are guilty of doing this, I'm telling you, the models behind your venomous words have feelings. We see what you say about us, and it hurts. ….

Read Post


Friday, August 16, 2013

Body image quiz results

During the summer term we delivered our Body Image Workshop to over 800 pupils.

In each workshop we asked pupils to complete a body image quiz.

We then analyzed a random sample of 200 forms, to determine the answers to the question that asked them to list '3 things that they loved about their body'.

Results (things they loved about their body):

0 (zero)

69 pupils (34.5%)
Most common: blank or Nothing

18 pupils (9%)
Most common: Eyes, height and hair

21 pupils (10.5%)
Most common: As one above plus legs.

92 pupils (46%)
Most common: As 2 above plus body, weight and looks.

With only 56.5% of pupils identifying 2 or 3 things that they loved about themselves and over a third (34.5%), not listing anything at all; there is clearly more body image related work for us, parents and schools to do.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Selling the weight loss dream

The objective of any diet is to achieve the dieter’s desired weight (goal) and successfully maintain it.

I am sure most people, particularly those who like myself have tried multiple diets over the years, know that diets don’t work.

In episode 1 of The Men Who Made Us Thin (BBC), presenter Jacques Peretti looked at several diets, including Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast and the Dukan diet.

The diet industry is an industry that generates enormous profits and many of the brand names are owned by food manufactures:

- Weight Watchers was bought by Heinz in 1978. It was later sold to investment fund Artel. They paid £735 million and to date have made £ 3.8 billion in profits.
- Sim-Fast is owned by Unilever.
- Jenny Craig is owned by Nestlé.

Normally one equates commercial profits with success, but in the case of the diet industry the opposite is true i.e. failure (dieters) grantees business success. Weight Watchers typifies the diet industry reliance on failure.

Following his analysis of Weight Watchers own statistics, Dr Carl Henegan an expert in clinical trials (Oxford University) concluded that Weight Watchers was not effective. After 2 years only 20% of Weight Watcher dieters (best examples) had managed to maintain their goal weight. After 5 years the figure falls to 16%.

“After 40 years of dieting”, said, Dr Henegan, “When are people going to wake up and say that ‘this is not the answer’ ”?

In the programme Jacques Peretti discussed the financial success of Weight Watchers with the companies former Financial Director Richard Samber, who held the role for 25 years (1968-1993). During those 25 years Weight Watchers turnover increased from $8 million to $300 million.

Question (Jacques Peretti): How effective is being on Weight Watchers long term?

Answer: “It’s hard. You have to follow the diet and there are a lot of distractions. Just look at all the food in there”, he said indicating the restaurant.

“You have to be motivated to get to your goal. If you drop out …maybe something happens and you come along and try again.

“You play the lottery ticket. If you don’t win you play again; maybe you will win the second time”. He laughs.

Question (Jacques Peretti): “Even using Weight Watchers own statistics …its sought of total ..failure. And I wonder just how on earth a business that is so huge can be based on blatant failure?”

Answer: “Well…. it is successful because the other 84% have to come back and do it again. That’s where your business comes from”.

“I have to take my hat off to you”, said Jacques Peretti. You have a business where if it actually worked the business would be over”.

“That what they said!” Laughed Mr Samber.

Diets don’t work for individuals (vast majority) who want to permanently lose weight.  However, if you are selling the dream of weight loss, huge current and future profit (worldwide rise in obesity levels) is certainly possible.


Friday, August 09, 2013

Black beauty and Bond

Last year, Britain's foremost secret agent film franchise, James Bond (007), celebrated it’s 50th anniversary.

From Dr No in 1962 to present day Skyfall, the films are a renowned success and global phenomenon.

Throughout the years, we have seen a small number of glamorous actresses that have had the enviable opportunity to star in a Bond film and become a member of the very select Bond Girls club.

Naomi Harris has been an actress since the age of nine, she is best known for her roles in Pirates of the Caribbean , 28 Days Later and the Bond film Skyfall.
Naomi said that the biggest challenge she faced, once cast as Eve (Skyfall), was “getting over the awe” surrounding the role.

In the documentary Bond Girls are Forever (2012), Naomi explained that the role of Eve was extremely important to her , both as an actress and as a black woman:

“When you are growing up as any form of ethnic minority, you are not represented generally in books, in movies, in popular culture….. as beautiful. So it takes a long time to work out that you beautiful in your own way; in your own special way.

For me, it was really meaningful to be cast as a Bond woman and be representing beauty … black beauty … in a film of today. And to know that it would be seen by my peers and my brothers and sisters who are younger than me and that it was going to have a real impact on their lives. So I felt an extra sense of responsibility in that sense and also an extra sense of pride about it”.

She is not the first black actress to be cast as a Bond girl.  She follows in the footsteps of Gloria Hendry, Grace Jones and Halle Berry.


Monday, August 05, 2013

Body image negativity is highly contagious

Body image negativity is highly contagious and it is often acute. You can easily catch it and once it has incubated in your mind, and spread it’s poison, a significant percentage of you thoughts will be contaminated with negativity.

It works like this. Someone says something negative about themselves, you in turn say something negative about yourself, in an attempt to make them feel better (i.e. they are not the only one with problems). Before you know it the conversations spirals downwards, getting more and more negative as everyone begins to list the things that are wrong with their body.

The process reminds me of a clip from Mean Girls. In the clip 3 characters Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), Gretchen Weiner (Lacey Chabert) and Regina George (Rachel McAdams) are standing in front of a full length mirror.

“God my hips are huge!” Complains Karen.

“Oh please … I hate my calves, ” states Gretchen.

“At least you two can wear Halters. I’ve got man shoulders,” exclaims Regina.

Read Article


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Kate's postpartum tummy

July has ended and it now possible to name, what for us was, the picture of the month.

Less than 30 hours after giving birth Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (and Prince William), stood in front of the world’s press and presented their newborn son.

Catherine, whether planned or incidentally, also presented a real postpartum tummy bump.

The Royalist (blog) proclaimed: “Kate’s Unabashed Baby Belly Busts the Last Taboo of Pregnancy…..Kate Middleton stood up for new mums everywhere when she walked out of hospital (Tuesday), completely unembarrassed by her postpartum tummy.”

Before the birth, OK! Magazine had firmly jumped aboard the commercial bandwagon that was full to bursting with those wanting to use the royal birth to promote their own brand/services.

OK’s offering comprised of a “post-baby weight loss regime” article. The magazine had also set the expectation that “super-fit” Kate’s stomach “will shrink straight back,” found itself on the back foot, when it became clear to all that their comments were unrealistic at best.

I hope the Duchess will focus on enjoying her son, Prince George, without feeling unduly pressurised to regain her slender figure in weeks rather than months as nature intended.