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Monday, 26 March 2012

Fotoshop by Adobe

Been busy lately, so I thought I would leave you guys with this funny video, claiming to advertise 'Fotoshop' by Adobe. I think this is a great video for awareness about the beauty industry. It does a good job of describing the truth behind the face presented in advertisements.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Serial #'d Vaginas

So, a new law proposed by Republican Debbie Lesko (called HB2625) was recently endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6 - 2. What does this law propose? Arizona wants to give employers the right to fire a woman for using birth control to prevent pregnancy. Yes, that's right. If you're not using birth control for "non-sexual" reasons, you can kiss your job goodbye if your employer so desires it. The article at Jezebel wraps up a lot of the points I'd like to make quite succinctly here (in of course a vulgar and well-versed manner) but I just want to voice my own outrage.

Why the fuck does the US seem to be hell bent on making unwanted pregnancy a reality for every underprivileged sexually active woman. Why the hell should insurance not cover birth control? It covers vasectomies. It covers cancer. If republicans are so pro-fetus and anti-abortion, why raise the rates of unwanted pregnancy, and therefore the 'horrible sins' of a well thought out abortion?

Oh I get it! The idea is, if women might get pregnant, they'll wait until they're on their marriage bed before even considering in engaging in the foul act of sexual intercourse. Are they fucking retarded? I try to keep my opinions from being vulgar, but this is just ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I am outraged and very happy to not live in the US right now. I pity women of the US for having to put up with the state seeking to regulate their bodies in such a foul manner. Come off your high horse and realize that you can't force a largely religious opinion on an entirely nonreligious person. Such bullshit.

That's not to say that Canada doesn't have arguments over abortion, we do. Our government is conservative and I worry everyday that one day I may not receive the support if something does go wrong and I find myself with an unwanted pregnancy. It's like the government assumes women run around having unprotected sex just to cost the state money. How can people be so ignorant?

It all goes back to the roots of feminism. My body. My choice. If women aren't property anymore under law then how does that give the government the right try and control these bodies? What happened to the supposed separation of Church and State? Seems like just a bunch of vacant words right now.

Line up ladies, pretty soon they'll put serial numbers in our vaginas.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Skincare without the price

Look 439412347 years younger!
Yea, you've probably heard that before, and host of other slogans that skincare 'experts' use to coax you into buying their products. Personally, I don't employ a rigorous skincare regiment to keep my skin in the shape that I want it to be in. And while I can't stop consumers from spending umpteen dollars on products (because yes, they can work it's just they probably won't do all that they say they will) I can however advise you on how to keep your skin clean naturally and without breaking the bank.

1. Hormones:
 Sorry young men and women, you're hormones are raging and you're probably going to get acne. It's the way of life. Everyone gets it and it sucks. I know it does. Yes, some products work, but it's going to cost you. In extreme cases, prescriptions are sometimes given out by doctors. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can really do about your hormones but ride it out until your skin clears up.

2. De-stress:
Holy crap! The number of times I have gotten pimples from exam week! Stress is personally my number one cause of pimples. My recommendation is that you take some time to de-stress and you WILL see the results.

3. Sweat:
Yep, sweat is not only your body's way of controlling its temperature, it also keeps your pores clean. Next time you feel a breakout coming on, go for a good cardio workout. It's not only good for your overall health, it'll help keep your skin clean too.

4. You are what you eat:
Foods high in anti-oxidants are great for your skins health. These foods include berries, red grapes, tomatoes, and whole grain foods (just to name a few). Not only are they great lifestyle choices, they also help fight signs of aging and keep skin clear.

5. Swimming in Salt Water:
Swimming in salt water, while terrible on your hair, actually promotes moisture in your skin and keeps the pores clear. Not all pools are salt water, so you should probably check before doing this regularly because it can actually result in negative skin effects if the water is chlorinated.

6. Sunblock.
My mother is a sun-worshiper and her skin has been destroyed by the sun. She has had skin cancer 17 times and her skin looks like it has been through a warzone. Put some sunblock on or seek the shade. I know a tan looks good but too much tan can literally kill you.

8. Wash your fricken face!
This is probably the most important one, to be honest. The number of friends that I have who wear lots of makeup and then just don't wash it off before they go to bed drives me insane. If you're not going to wash your makeup off, don't complain about acne and a bad complexion. It is the easiest thing you can do to promote healthy skin.

When it comes to picking products for my skin, I try to avoid ones with a high price tag because that usually means I'm just paying for their massive marketing campaign rather than the quality of the product itself. I use a generic liquid soap on my skin because I find that products high in chemicals like those blackhead removers and fancy face washes actually cause my skin to breakout rather than prevent it.

One other important fact I'd like to mention is MOISTURIZER. Doesn't have to cost a ton, just pick the stuff that's right for your skin. I personally use a cheap, generic moisturizer with SPF 15 to help stop the sun from aging me beyond my years.

On a final note, your skin is the largest organ in your body. You know those commercials that say "use this get healthy looking skin!"? Personally, I'd prefer if the largest organ in my body didn't just look healthy, but actually was healthy. Also, nobody has perfect skin. Don't worry if you have imperfections, the commercials are all airbrushed anyway.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Where the real problem is at ...

According to a new study that Marketing Week recently published, women want their cosmetics to work harder. They want a simpler, faster way to achieve the look that they want, (ie. instant pimple zapper, one step foundation, one step acne cream, etc.) and they want it to work fast. While the full (rather long) article can be read here, I'd like to put my own 2 cents in (again).

The article mentions that consumers are looking for three key things when it comes to beauty products and brands; multipurpose products, detailed information, and genuine celebrity endorsements. What intrigues me most here is the last point. What is it about celebrities that garners enough trust that we are willing to let them shape our decisions when we do everyday shopping at the store? I must admit, I'm guilty of trusting people I've never met (ever heard of Mike Holmes from 'Holmes Inspection'?) and I'm sure that I've let a celebrity shape my choice of product, but I honestly can't rationalize why. This got me thinking that if I can't rationalize why I do something, then why do I do it? When you think about it, what makes a celebrity different from a regular person that enables a person to put unearned faith in them?

The study briefly touched on the reasons people believe that they need these products, and it wasn't just the obvious:
According to 67% of respondents, being beautiful “helps you to get more out of life”.

I just had to bold that quote and put it all on its own, and not because I find it ridiculous. Guess what? It's borderline true. I have read so many studies that prove that physical attractiveness (for women in particular, but men too) enables a person to get a higher position at work, a better mate (duh) and helps people to feel more content. No wonder the beauty industry has such a hold on consumers! Its advertisements are simply a manipulation of an idea that society (and even Darwinian ideas of genetics) has enabled to become truth.

This got me thinking... to change the marketing of the beauty industry, we need to change what we have allowed to become truth. And to change that, we need to change the way our very society thinks and makes decisions.

That's one hell of a task.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Red Means Ready-to-Go According to Study

So, I recently read an article on the revelation of the colour red and the responses it produced by men when women were styled in it. You can read the full article here, but I have a couple of thoughts on this shocking revelation (as always).

First of all; interesting, but kind of obvious.

What man wouldn't sexually advance on that? Hmm?
This study says the reason for men's interest in women in red was because these women seemed "more receptive to sexual advances." I'm sorry, but what? I literally laughed out loud. This study just used technical words to say they think you'll be easy. Why? Because you're wearing a colour that has been sexualized by the media (think the elegant woman with the red lipstick on the white collar) and the beauty industry alike. Not to mention it's association with red-light districts (look it up). And while I'm not gonna lie that red's a show-stopping colour, you can't deny iconic images of the women with the red pouty lips and the long, matching red dress. This colour has been sexualized over and over again.

With this study, we obviously need to consider how the women were styled in red. Was it done in a seductive manner? I know the article says it was the changing of a shirt, but I've seen some pretty revealing shirts in my time, and also some not-so sexy ones. I'd be interested in seeing if the study produced different results with different styles of shirt, personally. I mean, if I came dressed up like Nicki Minaj (see right) to a bar I wonder what kind of attention I'd get?

Also, we see the colour red everyday. It psychologically grabs our attention. What colour means STOP? What colour means McDonald's? The point is, I don't know why we needed a study to figure this out. Just look up next time you stop.

Happy Belated International Women's Day

I know I'm a bit late, but I just wanted to say Happy International Women's Day... why? I don't know. I honestly don't see the point in an 'awareness' day that is supposed to promote equality when the fact that the day exists is truly unequal. Why? Where is International Men's Day? Don't get me wrong, I support Women's rights, but I think it's a bit backwards of the cause to have a day dedicated to women and not men if the ultimate goal is equality. Furthermore, while I think that awareness about a cause is a great thing, what about action?

And it is obvious that action is still required. Still, in 2012, women are paid less than their male counterparts for the same position. You can read more about the Gender Pay Gap (Ontario-specific) here. Despite the fact that it's actually against federal law for women to be paid less than men, it still happens.

The article linked above cites the following reasons for the pay gap:

  • women choosing or needing to leave and re-enter the workforce in order to meet family care-giving responsibilities, resulting in a loss of seniority, advancement opportunities and wages
  • occupational segregation in historically undervalued and low-paying jobs, such as childcare and clerical work
  • traditionally lower levels of education (although this is becoming less of a factor as more and more women graduate from all levels of education)
  • less unionization amongst female workers
  • discrimination in hiring, promotion and compensation practices in the workplace
I have personally experienced the last billet on this list. Living in Oil and Gas country, many of the 'decent paying' jobs are male-oriented, and it is very difficult for women to be hired into any of the industries. Women are hired, but usually for trade-specific or office jobs. I have personally been turned down by companies, or offered wages less than male counterparts of the same qualifications by companies in the area.

Overall, it's disheartening to think that the world is celebrating how far we've come with this inherently unequal awareness day for women when the facts are we still have such a long, long way to go.

Beauty Seduction

I recently read an interesting article on the emotional appeal of advertisements in the Beauty industry. It explains that certain colours and combinations trigger an emotional experience when interacting with an advertisement. You can read the full article here.

Well, I've known this for some time, like how the colour red triggers hunger (think McDonald's and Arby's) but honestly hadn't thought of the way that this applied to the beauty industry. Colours such as green (think Garnier) imply natural ingredients and that the company is 'good for the earth'. I personally have never heard of Garnier ever doing something for the earth's preservation, have you? In the article, though, a participant stated that Garnier is "committed to using natural resources". Hmm...
Another participant, when speaking of Dove products, said that "Social mission means they strive to do something good". Uh, what? That social mission is the Campaign for Real Beauty, a marketing scheme that while it may do some good things is not inherently designed to "do something good," it is designed to maximize profits.

This study just reminds me (and hopefully you) of the need to be aware of the way that things are being marketed to us. We need to be conscious of not only what we're buying but why we're buying. So that brings me to my questions; what appeals to you about your favourite beauty brand, is it emotional or quality based? Do you maybe think it's about the quality, while it is truly an emotional opinion? It is both? Discuss in the comments below or contact me on twitter.