In 2006, we About-Facers saw an amazing array of news stories that really got us thinking. Or angry. Or inspired. Or all three. At About-Face, we’ve always just traded e-mails about newspaper, web site, or magazine stories that get us going within our little circle, and after some yelling at our computer screens we talk about them, understand them, and put them away (the “understanding” part really helps).
But this year, we decided it was time to expand that circle of a few to a circle of many, and we’d like to invite YOU to the circle. Yes, you.
We know you probably agree that American media is negatively affecting the way women and girls feel about themselves — to the point that we diet ourselves silly, obsess about food, talk about our bodies endlessly, ogle thin women enviously, and buy products desperately hoping they will solve our problems. In most cases, these actions aren’t just superficial — they are mentally and physically unhealthy. And you know what? It’s not getting any better.
That’s why we’re hoping you’ll help us start a community with our new blog. One made up of women and girls who have something to say. Who want to be conscious consumers of media and plain old stuff. Not to mention feel better about themselves while doing it.
So, want to talk about what that latest Skyy vodka ad or latest show on MTV means? How you felt last time you finished reading Allure magazine? Or just get something off your chest about your body image? Come on back every Sunday and Thursday nights, when we’ll have something new to say, and we hope you will too. Let’s work together to stop this train heading toward our ruin. You know, create an about-face.
Andi, Jennifer, and Alyza
And now, the top media stories of 2006 (which you’ll read more about in depth throughout January)! Drumroll, please!
| Ashlee Simpson vs. Marie Claire|
|Ashlee Simpson told Marie Claire Magazine how important it is for girls and women to embrace their natural beauty. One month after this infamous interview, Ashlee Simpson reveals a new nose. Can anyone say mixed messages?|
|Spain’s Ban on Thin Models|
|It’s about time a large body of authority lay down the law (literally) and focused much-needed attention on scarily thin models! Let’s hope this is just the beginning and that one day we’ll be able to look at the runway and see women who look healthy.|
|Competition Sells: Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston|
|When it comes to selling anything, advertisers and the media choose stereotypical roles, finesse them to fit modern times, and start a contest. Unfortunately, it also sets up an unhealthy environment where women and girls belittle one another rather than appreciate and learn from each other. In the instance of Jennifer and Angelina, it is easy to set one up as the victim (Jennifer) and the other one as having her life together and winning the man (Angelina). But why must one successful woman have to compete with another successful woman?|
|Nicole Richie’s extreme thinness|
|This year brought out another strange trend — putting women with eating disorders (or at least disordered eating) on display on the covers of magazines with cover lines like “Too Thin!” The idea is for us to say, “Eew, gross! Look how thin she is!” But then you turn the page and see an ad for Weight Watchers. What’s up with that?|
|There’s nothing new about women going on nutty diets, or celebrities being spokespeople for them, but in 2006 they seemed to be the new Fendi bag. Victoria Beckham bragged about her Water Diet, Mariah Carey raved about her Morsel Diet, and Beyonce told of her maple syrup, water, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper diet. All lost weight, but at what cost? Their integrity perhaps? Way to set an example, ladies.|
|Stars overexposure, literally|
|Thanks to various celebrity gossip magazines, web sites, and blogs, we’re able to catch a glimpse of the private life of a lot of stars such as Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and Paris Hilton. However, thanks to an apparent panty ban in Hollywood in 2006 we caught a glimpse of the private parts of celebrities as well. We hope that this trend doesn’t catch on, and that they don’t catch cold.|
|Calling all girls!!! Instead of playing with dolls dressed as scientists, journalists or social workers, play with half-naked fashionistas! Equipped with big eyes, smalls skirts, and an in-your-face image, Bratz dolls have been giving Barbie a run for her money since they came out in 2001. In 2006, MGA Entertainment thought it would be a good idea to market a line of Bratz dolls inspired by the Pussycat Dolls. You know, the vampy burlesque group that romps around in lingerie singing lines like “don’t you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?” Hmmm…wonder why that one didn’t take off.|
|Dove’s Real Beauty campaign|
|Ah, finally! A breath of fresh air! Images of women who aren’t perfect, looking happy. Or the variation, women without perfect hair in a shampoo ad. While the cynic in us says, “This is still just marketing,” and “They are selling cellulite cream!” the overall feelings of these ads are positive. Just look at those women smiling at you from that billboard!|
Did we miss any great stories? Let us know by clicking Add Comment below!