Tag Archives: beauty

Eight Things I Learned in Indonesia

A little over a year ago I spent four months in Indonesia. I didn’t really travel across the country, at least not in the way you would expect during that much time abroad. Instead I had the great privilege to live in Indonesia, and see it from the inside. It’s hard to put to words all that I learned, and impossible to do justice to the people I met and the experiences I had. Here is my attempt to share are a few things I learned while I was travelling.

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1) Hospitality

The first notable quality of almost every Indonesian I encountered, and especially of my host family, was their hospitality. Within 12 hours of arriving my concept of generosity and hospitality had been put to shame. My hosts not only shared their home, they shared their family, lives, and friends with me. I was adopted into their social circle, taken for day- or week-long trips by their friends while I was there. I was honoured to be one of the first people to greet the family’s first grandson alongside the immediate family.

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2) Hijabs aren’t scary

This is a fairly potent topic these days so I won’t comment too much. Over half the women on Java wear hijabs, a head covering worn by Muslim women. When I asked why they wore them, all the women I asked answered with “I wear it because I choose to.” I began to recognize beauty and comfort in these headdresses, as well as freedom of expression. These women were neither ashamed nor pious in their religion, it was simply a part of their life.

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Socially Conscious Comedy Part I: 3 Important Feminist Issues That Amy Schumer Humorously Highlights

I realize Amy Schumer isn’t for everyone. She’s pretty crude, and some of her sketches shift suddenly from funny to uncomfortable.

She also hasn’t done the greatest job approaching intersectionalism through her humour. While she humbly apologized for racially inappropriate jokes that she made in the past, she recently missed the mark again with race jokes in her movie, Trainwreck. That said, I think Schumer offers some fantastic socially conscious comedy. She’s created a niche as a funny feminism, and has drawn attention to some really important women’s issues through her jokes. Below, I’ve outlined a few of the difficult issues that Schumer addresses on her show.

1) Rape

Rape is never funny. However, the way Western society often responds to rape is an absolute joke. Schumer has perfected the socially conscious ‘rape joke’, not by downplaying the seriousness of the violent crime, but by mocking the ridiculous social circumstances that allow rape to go unpunished.

In “A Very Realistic Video Game”, Schumer draws attention to the way female military officers rarely see justice after being assaulted by a fellow officer.

Similarly, her sketch titled “Football Town Nights” looks at the way athletes’ celebrity status has led entire towns to defend young rapists as though they were victims rather than perpetrators .

2) Internalized Misogyny

There are a lot of ways women police ourselves. We try not to be too cocky, or too naggy, or too loud and obnoxious, or too vain. We are taught to police these behaviours because they will make us less likeable, less dateable, or an embarrassment for our significant others.

Sketches like, “I’m Sorry” or “Compliments” draw attention to the pressure women feel to act coy, even in situations where their male counterpart would be encouraged to be confident.

Meanwhile, “I Have a Boyfriend” and “Hello Mi’Lady” highlight the way women can be manipulated into accepting unwanted advances, since ignoring or rejecting them is considered “bitchy” or “cruel”.

3) Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Schumer regularly takes on unrealistic beauty standards, especially those that target female celebrities.

Her parodic music video, “You don’t need make-up,” mocks (most) men’s misconception of what ‘natural beauty’ actually looks like.

Meanwhile, “Schumerenka vs. Everett” highlights the way women are expected to sustain a certain type of look, even in the athletic world. This is a problem recently highlighted by a racist/sexist New York Times article that framed Serena Williams as masculine, and even animalistic for her physical strength

With her recent rise to celebrity status, Schumer has also experienced her fair share of body shaming. At her first audition, for example, she was told to “either lose weight or gain a bunch of weight” in order to secure a role as either “the fat friend or the romantic lead.” She has also been targeted by Twitter trolls for being “too fat”. Recently, she dedicated an entire episode to these trolls, by having men on her show debate if she was actually hot enough to be on TV.

Rape, misogyny and beauty standards aren’t just ‘lady problems’, they are societal problems. These issues matter, and I’m glad Amy Schumer is drawing attention to them via her show. I’m also glad Schumer approaches these issues with a sense of humour. Humour has a powerful way of helping us self-examine ourselves, and think more deeply about problems we might have dismissed if they hadn’t made us laugh.

I’m Sorry, but Keira Knightley’s Topless Photo Does Not Count as a Win in the War Against Photoshop

I consider myself a somewhat fit person. I try to do yoga at least once a week. I bike to school. I force-feed myself smoothies (I’ve almost convinced myself that I like them). I also think I’m a fairly confident person. The mental image I hold of myself is, if anything, a little too gracious.

Damn girl, you’re looking fine today!

That being said, after unwillingly encountering photo after photo of perfectly photoshopped women day after day, sometimes I start feeling pretty freaking ugly.

This feeling of inadequacy, directly linked to viewing altered images, makes a lot of people wish there was a wider representation of body types in the media. We want to see people who look like us on TV and in magazines. And we want to see those people presented as attractive, not merely as comic relief or as a foil to the attractive characters. Continue reading

Re: What Guys Really Think About Your High-Waisted Shorts

I’m not really sure how to preface this post. I suppose I could state that I am a straight male who is attracted to most women, but all that would really
communicate is the obvious fact that I am a human being who has his own personal preferences, just like anyone else. There are some things I like, and others that I don’t.

The article that I’m responding to, “What Guys Really Think About Your High Waisted-Shorts”, was written by Ashley Hesseltine, and I think it’s safe to say that she makes her opinion about particular fashion trends starkly apparent from the start. The people wearing the item of clothing she’s railing against are described as:

“Girls of all ages, body types, booty types, and textual orientations have been rocking these denim doozies with crop tops, fake flower crowns, and leather boots in 3,000-degree weather because fashion.”

Which, as I mentioned from the beginning, is more or less okay. We can have our own opinions about a number of things, and if one of those things is what Vanessa Anne Hudgens of High School Musical Fame [I wasn’t a huge fan of Bandslam, sorry] chooses to encase the lower half of her body then more power to you. Hesseltine admits outright in her second paragraph that she ” couldn’t care less which unflattering clothing items from Urban Outfitters females choose to wear in their attempts to be trendy-“. Then that sentences continues and fulfills the promise of the title:

“-but I was made aware that my male friends were NOT on board with this look. So I asked for their input, and as always…priceless.”

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Fame Day: Leslie Jones

Saturday Night Live is a very White show.

This isn’t news for almost anyone who has been watched the late night sketch comedy mainstay at any point in the last four decades. Still, this fact was made all the more apparent when they announced the six new cast members that would be coming aboard last September. In case you didn’t know, they amounted to five men and one woman, all Caucasian.

Given the fairly sizable [and reasonable] amount of outcry over this, Lorne Michaels and the powers that be ushered in Black comedian Sasheer Zamata. Given the speedy response to their complaints the internet quieted, content with SNL and how it was dealing with race for the time being. That ended, of course, this past Saturday.

While Zamata’s casting was lauded by many, something else occurred concurrently which was less publicized, though arguably just as important: LeKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, both Black women, joined the show’s writing staff. Ideally such a move would help the show to broaden its comedic range given life experiences that differ vastly from that of a White person, male or female, living in the USA. That particular perspective was showcased front and centre when Leslie Jones made her on-camera debut during the most recent episode’s Weekend Update-

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Watch the video here or here.

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The Human Barbie, Hairy Armpits, and Beauty Modifications

We’ve touched on beauty quite a few times here on CWR. We’ve celebrated when France banned beauty pageants for kids, dedicated a round table to discussing the idea of beauty and its changing standards, and, in The (Inner) Beauty Problem, even asked why we try to attribute beauty to everyone rather than giving more weight to other attributes.

So why does “beauty” as a topic come up so often? Well, probably because it’s a question that gets thrown at us every day through advertising. I for one, get this ad popping up on my Facebook every few days.

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Frozen: The Power of a Pretty Dress

I’ve been reading a lot about Frozen lately, and not even intentionally. I mean I watched it intentionally, but it was when I was having a slumber party with my niece. Okay, fine. You caught me. My niece is now a teenager and we were watching it in spite of not being the age demographic they were aiming for. Seriously though guys, why are Disney movies so appealing? There are so many things I can hate on in this movie. Like how it features ANOTHER typical white, skinny heroine whose eyes are bigger than her wrists.

Okay fine, I see you Jasmine… and Mulan.. and Pocahontas… and Tiana, but they’re still all skinny!

Or how the head of Frozen‘s animation shared about how difficult it is to animate female characters because you have to keep them pretty all the time.

Man that is tricky. I mean, they’re just all such unique characters.

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