Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When is a size 10 not a size 10 (appearance)?

NB. Tall mannequins: stock image (not TopShop)

Question: When is a size 10 not a size 10 (appearance)?

Answer: When it is placed on a 6 ft 2” mannequin.

Today Laura Berry twitted her outrage at the size and shape of a mannequin that she spotted in a Topshop store in Bristol.

Ms Merry stated (Facebook): "This mannequin is quite frankly ridiculously-shaped. Young women aspire to the somewhat cult image your store offers.
"Yet not one mannequin in your store showed anything bigger than a size 6.

"So today, I'm calling you out Topshop, on your lack of concern for a generation of extremely body conscious youth.

"I'm old enough and wise enough to know I will never be this size, but as we've all been impressionable teens at one point, I'm fairly certain if any of us were to witness this in our teenage years, it would have left us wondering if that was what was expected of our bodies."

"Perhaps it's about time you became responsible for the impression you have on women and young girls and helped them feel good about themselves rather than impose these ridiculous standards."

Interestingly, Topshop’s reply clarified that the jeans were not a tiny size 6 as Ms Berry hypothesize, but that it was based on a size 10. This being the case, why did the jeans appear so much smaller? The illusion was accomplished by the company’s decision to place it on a mannequin whose “overall height (187cm/6ft 2”) is taller than the average girl”.

Topshop’s spokesman went on to explain:

"As the mannequins are solid fibreglass, their form needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body.

"That said, we have taken yours and other customers' opinions and feedback on board and going forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin.

"The views of our customers are extremely valuable and we apologise if we have not lived up to the levels of service that we aim to deliver."


Thursday, July 23, 2015

External and internal focus on appearance

In our last blog we discussed Mail on Sunday’s Simon Walter’s interview (political) with Labour (Leicester West) leader candidate Liz Kendal and highlighted the fact that, during the interview, he compared her dress size to the Duchess of Cambridge’s and asked her how much she weighed.

Today we take the focus off external focus on a persons body size and shape and look internally ie. What a person sees, think and feel about their body.


New research* of 2,000 working women has found that:

A third of women feared their appearance will hold back their careers, with one in ten even admitting to calling in sick because they are having a 'bad' day.

20% felt pressured to always look good at work.

10% confessed to calling in sick when having a ‘bad’ day, which was often associated with their skin or hair. Of these 40% regularly have time of because they were unhappy with their appearance. The figure rose to 70% when the problem was skin related.

20% took longer to ready themselves for work.

Outside of work:

42% stated that their actual appearance had a direct impact on their overall self esteem.

66% said the pressures associated with appearance affected their self esteem in a negative way.

21% admitted to cancelling rendezvous’ with friends or romantic dates.

5% avoided public places.

*Commissioned by SEQuaderma


Monday, July 20, 2015


Labour leadership candidate Liz Kendall (Leicester West MP) recently made the news for reasons that have nothing to do with politics or the Labour party.

Mail on Sunday’s Simon Walter commented that Liz responded “f*** off” when, during an interview, he compared her fashionable attire and body size with the Duchess of Cambridge and went as far as to ask her how much she weighed.

Responding to a question about Mr Walters statements concerning her explosive response, Ms Kendall told the BBC:

"I just think it's unbelievable that in the 21st Century women still get asked such very, very different questions from men.

"Can you imagine the Mail on Sunday asking the weight of the prime minister, George Osborne or any other leading politician?

"I cannot wait for a world when women are judged the same as men and not by those kinds of questions."


Friday, July 17, 2015

When occasional behaviour becomes routine

Click here or on image to view enlargement.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

'If my skin ends up dark who cares, I certainly don't'

We are all intimately familiar with our own body; whether we like it or not. As humans we know our body will change in predictable ways like weight gain or aging and also in unpredictable ways such as illness or the effects of an accident.

This week I read a bizarre story (Yahoo News) that effortlessly grabbed my attention. It is the story about a man who had a liver transplant and soon began to notice a strange physical change; a change that he had not imagined possible.

The man at the centre of the story is Mr Semen Gendler, who is Russian (Caucasian). He underwent a life-saving liver transplant (he was diagnosed with hepatitis C and cancer); his donor was an African-American man.

Although the operation was successful and gave Mr Gendler what he describes as “'a new lease of life”, he explained that those close to him began informing him that his skin “seemed to be changing colour”.

“I have known my friend for years”, said his colleague Igor Atamanenko; “he has always been if anything extremely pale, and now for the first time ever he is becoming dark skinned”. He added that he assumed the reason for the colour change, was that Mr Gendler’s new liver had come from a dark skinned man.

“I could end up much darker than this to be honest”, said Mr Gendler adding “ I don't care. The main thing is that the liver works and I am healthy. It's incredible, I am now so full of energy … and if my skin ends up dark who cares, I certainly don't.”

A note of caution; Mr Gendler‘s assertions (with picture) and Mr Atamanenko’s assenting testimony is all the information that we have. No additional supporting proof e.g. medical has been provided.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Airbrush as a matter of course

When 20 year old Lauren Holsten, decided to have a professional photograph of her 18 month-old daughter Lexi taken; she hoped the resulting image would be a true likeness of the little girl.

Unfortunately, when Lauren went to collect the photograph, she was dismayed to discover that her daughter’s distinctive birthmark had been removed (airbrushed out) from the image. View photograph.

After complaining to the company Domingo Portrait Services Ltd, Lauren was given additional unaltered images of Lexi, free of charge. Interestingly, the company seems to remove perceived imperfections as a matter of course:

"We airbrush the pictures”, Domingo Portrait Services said. “Any customers who don't want their picture airbrushing, they let us know.

"The photographer didn't know it was a birthmark. If she had told the photographer before he did the picture that it was a birth mark and she didn't want it removed at all then he wouldn't have airbrushed it.

"She should have told the photographer it was a birthmark and she didn't want it airbrushed”.

Domingo Portrait Services has since conceded that this practise was wrong; they have stated that they will now seek clarification from parents concerning their children’s natural marks and other blemishes.

Lauren said:
"I want people to be aware of strawberry naevus marks so my daughter doesn't grow up thinking she is different.

"It's like that photography company was saying she's not perfect and she is just 18 months-old. It needs to change.

“I looked at the photos and thought 'where the hell is the birthmark?’

"I was really upset and I cried. I've never experienced anything like that. The other company [who previously took photos of Lexi] had never asked about it and never offered to airbrush it out”.

Lauren believes it is very important that her daughter’s birthmark is not removed, because she wants her to feel normal as she grows up.

View photograph.

The Mirror newspaper intervierws


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Beauty Companions – Happiness & Success

Most of us have said or thought: “if only I was … I’d be happier”, e.g. “if only I was taller …”” if only my skin was lighter ….”, “if only I was beautiful…., “if only I was thinner ...”

In Western culture the beauty ‘ideal’ is to be slim, have golden/milk coffee coloured skin, be muscular, hairless and youthful.

There are many who believe that if they could change their appearance that it would add to their overall happiness and well-being. For some the closer they consider themselves to be, to society’s beauty ideal, the happier they are. Conversely, the further away they perceive themselves to be, the greater their degree of unhappiness. Individuals who are unhappy with their appearance often reach the conclusion that they are unhappy in general, rather than with an aspect of their life (appearance)

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