Body Image

The Best Lingerie-And Lingerie Models!- Come in All Sizes and Shapes

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Vogue’s latest bra shoot features five gorgeous plus-sized models. Shot by Cass Bird, the editorial titled“Give me a D! Give me an F!” Because Gorgeous Bras Come in All Shapes and Sizes” features well-known models Ashley Graham, Inga Eiriksdottir and Maquita Pring. Both high fashion and shopping mall brands are featured in the shoot, making the bras modeled accessible to all women. Most notably, high fashion brand L’Agent by Agent Provocateur is featured in the shoot. In the editorial, the models discuss how they have felt purchasing lingerie over the years, and how they feel about all different types of bras.

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This come at a time when the fashion industry is facing changes in the definition of plus size models. With the array of criticism that the industry is receiving over-photoshopped image and the health of sample-sized models, this shoot is refreshing.

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The best part of the whole shoot is that Vogue makes no reference to the women’s size, and instead focuses on the beauty of the clothes, just like they would if sample-sized women were used in the shoot. Vogue states, “when it comes to gorgeous undergarments, there is no such thing as cutting corners—and if the cup fits, why not make sure it’s pretty?” By treating these women like they would their normal models, Vogue is setting an important precedent. They are saying that all women are beautiful and deserve to be treated the same way. That is a concept that the rest of the fashion industry needs to grasp.

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All images courtesy of Vogue

Did Kim Kardashian Actually Break The Internet?

Break the Internet? More like Break the Photoshop Program.

Kim Kardashian recently “broke” the Internet with her Paper Magazine shoot. The images on the cover of the magazine were extremely photoshopped, to the point where it was ridiculous. As art, it makes a statement. As reality…not so much. The issue with the shoot is that girls who idolize Kim Kardashian will look past the Photoshop and believe this is how they are actually supposed to look.

Instead, they should be viewing the images below, the unphotoshopped, un-oil’d up, unretouched photos, that show Kim Kardashian in her natural state. Instead of comparing themselves to a computer generated image, women across the world should be focusing on making themselves as happy as possible and realize that they are truly beautiful inside and out.

enhanced-buzz-wide-8454-1415801126-18 enhanced-buzz-wide-338-1415801258-32The right image shows Kim Kardashian as she appeared on the cover (retouched), while the left shows her with a realistic waistline. These photos are speculation and have not been confirmed as the actual unretouched images.
Photos Courtesy of Buzzfeed

It is not necessary to “break the internet” to be beautiful. A photoshopped image including champagne and an enlarged behind isn’t critical to be pretty. Instead, what is inside, the things that make you unique- both inside and out- are what truly define your beauty.

Sexism and Halloween

According to Alliance Data Retail Services, Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday for consumers to spend money—next to Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. It seems everyone drops big bucks on halloween, the costume industry will make a wapping 2.6 billion dollars by the send of this halloween season. 65% of consumers will spend an average of 66 dollars on their costume. But this issue is, these costumes are increasingly sexual- at least, they are for women. As Mean Girl’s says “Halloween is the one night of the year where girls can dress like sluts and not be judged”. If you want to dress in a more provocative way, I’m all for it! More power to you! But there are little other options.

Below are a series of gifs (Courtesy of Buzzfeed) that show the progression of female halloween costumes, from adorable baby to over-sexualized adult.

The Devil:

Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Angel: 
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Bumble Bee:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Witch:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Unicorn:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Pirate:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
The Nurse:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Minnie Mouse:
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz 
Proof That Halloween Costumes For Women Become Painfully Sexy As You Get Older
Furthermore, these costumes are so much sexier than their male counterparts. The images below, all from Buzzfeed, show the major difference between female and male costumes. As you can see, the female costumes are always sexier, and show much more skin.
The comic below (courtesy of Hairpin) shows the ridiculousness of the costume industry!
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It is coming to the point where “sexy big bird” and “sexy pizza” outfits are the norm. Maybe Halloween Costume Producers can take a more feminist view on the issue, and provide a multitude of costumes- some sexy, some more modest- so that women across the world can feel comfortable and confident in their costume choices.

The Science of Beauty: Part 3: Photoshop & The Subconscious Standard Of Ideal Beauty

The Science of Beauty is a new feature on The Mirror Reflects. This 3 part-series will dive into the mathematics of beauty, what is considered beautiful, and how that is achieved in 2014. It looks to shatter the myths of conventional beauty and promote the ideal that everyone is beautiful. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here

In Original Ideal, editorial photographer Scott Chasserot works to uncover our subconscious beauty ideals through psychology, brain scans, and Photoshop.

Chasserot begins by taking a plain studio portrait of his subjects. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Chasserot said he selects subjects that he finds “facially very interesting. Or that have interesting stories. A few people on the website are transgender.”
Chasserot then creates 50 new images by making small manipulations to the original portrait in Photoshop. These alternations can include tweaking the size of a subject’s eyes, the tone of a subject’s skin, and the width of a subject’s nose and chin.
Chasserot’s subjects are then hooked up to an Emotiv brain scanner and shown the portraits in rapid succession.

Based on whichever portrait the individual has the most “engagement” with, Chasserot determines the subject’s ideal self-image and displays the altered portrait beside the original. Below are the results of the experiment. The photos on the right show the original subject. The photos on the left show the “ideal” alterations, as chosen subconsciously by the subject.

All Photos Courtesy of  Scott Chasserot 

 

Chasserot can remember the precise moment that inspired Original Ideal.

“What got me thinking was seeing a woman with four toes on each foot, from a congenital disorder. It was a hot summer day and she was wearing sandals. My gut reaction was: Wow, I would never. If I had four toes on each foot, I wouldn’t wear sandals. That vain reaction we all have sometimes.”

“My second thought was: She’s very brave. She’s intelligent enough to not care too much about what other people think of her physical appearance. It made me think about how much we project onto other people, even strangers.”

The project questions: “What do we find instinctively in the human face and how does this translate to self-image? What assumptions would be make about another person if we could see their ideal self-image? Original Ideal combines portrait photography and neuroscience to isolate the subjects’ ideal self-image, a cerebrally sincere preference obtained by circumventing conscience thought.

“The idea is to produce a set of variations that either conform to the canons of beauty that have already been established, or go against it,”saysChasserot.

He goes on to say that, “the real goal of the project is to get people to react in that way. To get them thinking about how much they’re projecting onto the subjects’ ideal self image.”

 What do we define as the ideal face, for both ourselves and others? How does our subconscious influence beauty standards today?

Our subconscious idea of what is beautiful effects every part of our lives. It reflects how you style your hair or how you do your makeup (for example, those who wish for bigger eyes might style their eye makeup in a way that makes their eyes appear wider or fuller). Next time you look in the mirror, challenge yourself to re-think the typical thoughts. Don’t just criticize your appearance. Understand that you are wired to appreciate a specific type of beauty. Learn to embrace that the beauty you see in the mirror is just as precious as the one you subconsciously desire.

Body Shaming Expressed Through Cartoons

The body-positivity thinking outlined in this cartoon:

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Is quickly replacing the the shame shown in this cartoon:
IMG_6746The second cartoon upsets me deeply, yet is has more notes on Tumblr than the first cartoon. To somehow insinuate that the skinny girl (removed of all the fluff) is somehow better than the girl in the first panel (still filled with all the fluff) is horrifying. It’s 2014, and girls should be able to look however they want to look without being ostracized or made to feel like they are less than perfect.

In all honesty, it isn’t even about how girls “want to look” it’s about how they “have to look”. Sometimes, our bodies are just made with a fuller waist or a larger breast size. There is nothing wrong with that. And, in some cased (depending on medications, heredity and numerous other factors) there is nothing that we can do about it. Our only choices are hating the body we are put in or embracing it. Many girls feel that their only choice is to hate it- and to perpetually try to change it. You can’t change hight, or eye color, or overall body shape. There are thousands of imperfections on each individual body that you can’t change no matter how hard you try. You can look in the mirror and desperately wish you look like Beyoncè, but it is not going to change anything. At the end of the day you are still you. You can rock Beyoncè’s confidence, but as hard as you try, you will never look like her.

Instead of chasing after ideals that aren’t achievable, women should be focused on loving the body that they are in. And as the media pelts them with numerous images of the “perfect body” every second, women need to be educated enough to realize that they are essentially being brainwashed into believe that they aren’t beautiful, when they indeed are a unique beautiful creature.

So, to everyone out there, remember that, no matter what others think or say, when you like in the mirror, remind yourself that you are beautiful.

Realistic Swedish Mannequins Showcase Diverse Body Types

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The above photos are from Swedish department store Åhléns. While they have been incorrectly linked to H&M, the mannequins are unique to this department store. This story first broke in October 2010, by Rebecka Silvekroon on her blog Becka.nu. She states that the story is important because “we need to change the way most super skinny mannequins look! Walk in to any fashion store around the world and you will see mannequins with a tiny waist and flat stomach. That is not how normal people look! Let us try to change the way retailers think when they are about to purchase new mannequins. And let’s try to change the way mannequins are produced by manufacturers. Simply put, let us try to change the world of fashion, one small image at a time!”

Then, the Facebook page “Women’s Rights News” posted a picture of the mannequin to Facebook and generated a tremendous response from social media users.

“It’s about time reality hit … ” one of nearly 2,500 commenters said. “Anybody saying these mannequins encourage obesity or look unhealthy … [has] a seriously warped perception of what is healthy,” another shared. “I guarantee the ‘bigger’ mannequin in the front there represents a perfect BMI.”

Mannequins have been criticized by many for their unhealthy-looking frames. In 2007, a British health official demanded that high-fashion London stores ditch the stick-thin figurines for mannequins that represented a wide range of shapes and sizes, Yahoo reported.

“We have the same kind of doll in all our stores”, says Ann Almqvist, store manager at Åhléns City, Malmö to Sydsvenskan. “We are the only chain in Sweden that currently have them”.
“Since several years back we have mannequins in different sizes, because all our customers are different,” says Therèse Johnsson Sundberg, deputy CIO at Åhléns, to Aftonbladet.
“For us, it is quite natural, we try to reflect how it looks in society “. Our customers look different and therefore we use mannequins in different sizes. We actually sell a lot better with these dolls, says Monica Hultgren, Communications Officer at Åhléns to DN.
Silvekroon’s hope is that the unexpected uproar will give other retailers the courage to challenge stereotypical “size 0” depictions of women. “It would be nice if it got retailers to start using real, beautiful women in their commercials, catwalks and stores,” she says.

What we need is a mixture of different heights and widths of mannequins in our shops to reflect the reality of peoples’ different shapes, sizes and build.

Although the mannequins in the majority of retailers’ windows are a size 10 they are generally taller than the average woman and with the addition of heels create an unrealistically long and lean image. According to the Chicago Tribune, most mannequins are 6 inches taller, and 6 sizes smaller than the average person.

These images are unachievable in the main and can provide unhelpful pressure causing women to compare their own bodies unfavorably.

“Well done to the department store [Åhléns]”, said feminist author and founder of Endangered Bodies, Susie Orbach.

“There’s too much focus on one image. We all come in different sizes, shapes, colours and heights, and thank goodness for that!”

Sophie Bennet, spokesman for women’s rights charity, Object, added: “Women and girls are constantly under pressure to worry about what they look like.”

“Advertising, the media, music videos, video games all perpetuate the myth that, for women, to be beautiful is to be young, white or light-skinned, able-bodied and thin, pressurising women to define success by how they look rather than what they have achieved.”

“This has a negative impact on women’s self esteem, promoting the idea that women are valued only on the basis of their appearance.”

“The introduction of more diverse mannequins would be a positive step forward in challenging sexist representations of women and the sex object culture which promotes them.”

Natural Beauty Includes Armpit Hair

Women are always held to unrealistic beauty standards. London-based photographer Ben Hopper, however, has taken a small step towards dealing with some of these problems by creating a simple and elegant photo series that turns our ideas of feminine body hair and beauty upside down.

For this photo series, which is fittingly called “Natural Beauty,” Hopper asked models and actresses to grow out their body hair and challenge the idea that hairy women are in any way unattractive or unhygienic.

As Hopper explains on his website, “Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that? For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal. By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.”

Before 1910, natural body hair was considered normal. But after the first shaving campaign, women were convinced that shaving their body was the way to go. Body hair is natural and normal men are always allowed to have hair, while women are considered “unfeminine” if they do not shave. The photos below prove that women can be feminine and have body hair. For many the photos with the natural body hair makes them uncomfortable but that is purely because they are not used to it. If women restrained from shaving everyday, then society be fine with it. Throughout history, many women have refrained from shaving to prove a point. During the hippie movement of the 1960’s and the feminist movement of the 1970’s, women refrained from shaving their armpits to protest the conventional beauty standards that society places on women. They used not shaving as an symbol of protesting the oppression and sexism that women have to deal with.

Check out the amazing pictures below:

natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-1 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-4 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-7 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-2 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-5 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-9 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-7-1 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-10 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-3 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-6 natural-beauty-armpit-model-photos-ben-hopper-11All Photos Courtesy of Ben Hopper