Thursday, November 01, 2007
Is One a Better Role Model Than The Other?
Many of us have a certain celebrity or supermodel that we look up to, inspire to be or want to dress like, whether or not the qualities that they portray are good qualities or bad qualities. It does not matter what type of qualities they have because we will still look up to that certain celebrity or supermodel. Some good qualities that we look for in a role model are intelligence, generosity, successful, courageous, strong, brave, inspiring, powerful, honest and happy with their selves in a non-selfish way. Bad qualities that we try to avoid in a role model are excessive partying, drug abuse, arrests, rude public behaviour, anti-Christ religious views and parental issues. Normally the bad qualities outshine the good qualities because they are more interesting to read about and are highly publicized. When choosing a role model it is a very personal experience, we normally choose someone that have similar qualities and goals as us and then aspire to be like them. But recently most celebrities have been getting themselves into a lot trouble whether is it personal or with the law. Where as a higher percentage of supermodels have mainly managed to keep themselves out of serious trouble. My question to you is who would you rather have as a role model a supermodel or a celebrity or since they are both famous does it matter? Keep on reading this article and maybe you will be able to make a decision.
Over the past 7 or more years there has been a drastic increase of celebrities that have been taking over magazine covers, which have replaced supermodels. This has had a huge influence of the celebrity becoming the new role model. Women of every age have been looking up to more and more celebrities since they have replaced supermodels on the covers of magazines. Posted by KylieW on August 14th 2007 on www.celebrity.org.au “Models, generally speaking, are paid to look good. Not to think. Not to have an opinion. But to look good. Their good looks sell products. Is that really the kind of person you want your kids to look up to? Someone with no opinions or thoughts, but who looks good in a bikini.” When reading that quote, KylieW makes an excellent point but now most supermodels have ventured into different business fields (i.e. acting, designing clothes, singing etc.), which have allowed them to get out of the supermodel stereotype. This has giving them more influence, respect and recognition across the industry. Most supermodels have managed to keep themselves out of the tabloids and the public eye in a negative way. This has increased the amount of girls looking up to them and calling them their role models. Do not get me wrong there still has been a couple of supermodels that have gotten themselves into trouble such as Kate Moss’ cocaine bust and Naomi Campbell’s abusive behaviour towards her assistants, to name a few. But, there have also been many models that have stood up to the tabloids such as the pictures of Tyra Banks looking overweight in a bathing suit. Which then created Tyra Banks’ “So What” campaign. Also, pictures and interviews showing off Heidi Klum's devotion to be a good wife and mother. These have had a major influence on women of all ages. It looks like the supermodel is going to be making a comeback. As KylieW stated Cleo Magazine will no longer be having celebrities on the cover of their magazines but will be reintroducing the supermodel to their covers. This is because even though supermodels are still in the public eye they are not as over exposed as celebrities, which will keep the supermodel as a top choice role model for a longer period of time than the celebrity.
With the lifestyle of a celebrity becoming more and more desirable to the average human being, more and more people are striving to be like them. But should being really good at something make them a role model? Absolutely not. As well as being good a something a celebrity also has to have some good qualities about them that will attract similarities between the women or girl and their role model. Take Britney Spears for example, she was a huge success by the time she was 16, which made her a role model to many teenage girls and young women. Then she started partying too much which involved heavy drinking and drug use and because of this behaviour many teenage girls and young women decided after all of her hard work and success she should not be a role model to women. Even though a celebrity starts as a huge role model to millions and millions of women does not mean that they will maintain that role model status throughout their entire career. Where as Mandy Moore, who started her career at the same time as Britney Spears, has managed to keep her morals and beliefs which have kept her out of the tabloids and that trashy category of young women that are in the spotlight today. You have to remember that celebrities are people too and that they do make mistakes and do things that are unacceptable, but it is the way that they handle it that makes them a good role model or not. A look at their past also helps make us decide whether or not what they did will reoccur or if it was just a one time mistake. Even though all celebrities and people in general all have good and bad qualities, their good qualities have to outshine or outnumber their bad qualities to be a good role model and stay at that role model status. Not all celebrities want or are ready to be role models but they have to realize that it comes with their job. It does not matter how famous or popular they are, women and girls will look up to them and aspire to be like them no matter what.
In conclusion both supermodels and celebrities have the ability to be a successful role model to millions of women and girls in the world. It is just how they act which determines how long that celebrity will be a good role model for and also how many women and girls will still consider them as their role model. Keep in mind your role model represents similarities in both your personality and attitudes. You should not just choose your role model because they are a huge celebrity or role model. So, when choosing your role model keep in mind their good and bad qualities and try to make sure that their good qualities outshine their bad qualities. There are a lot of amazing women out there waiting to be your role model; you just need to find the one that is right for you.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Is today’s young celebrity generation living too fast for their own good? Or are we just repeating history.
Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin. It used to be a miracle when a rock star would exceed the age of 27 years. “Dead at 27” still remains a saying that could be heard when a celebrity would pass away too early in life. In the 1970s it seemed as though it was a snowball effect, many young rock stars lost their lives to drugs, alcohol abuse and simply overdoing it. It has been a constant in Hollywood, ever since the early days of celebrity. Every generation has their own Marilyn, these days there is no exception, a lot young girls want to glorify her image, they want to live like her, look like her, and maybe even will end up dying young like her.
You see it everyday on television gossip shows and in rag magazines, “Britney loses custody of children again for drug use”, “Lindsay in rehab”, “Nicole going to jail driving under the influence”. These lines have become all too familiar. It used to be that celebrity gossip was about who’s dating who and who broke up with who, now a days its talk of rehab, DUI’s and who will die first as a result of living too fast. These young girls, most of them younger than me, have been in the media’s eyes since the age of 12 and are living the life of a 30 year old. In the world of celebrity and Hollywood, young girls grow up twice as fast as us regular girls, they begin drinking before the legal age, they mature much quicker and are more exposed to things that our eyes never even see. They are expected to still get an education, at the same time work a full time job. No wonder these girls live an older life, there often forced into it.
We all remember a time when Britney Spears was young and innocent, growing up the southern girl next door, she dated a member of a boy band and earned several million dollars for her lip synching. My have the tables turned and the innocent become the lost. She got married had 2 two kids, got divorced and lost her mind. These days Britney can be seen escorted around town in costume, wearing bright wigs and even wearing lingerie in the daylight. Britney is currently in the fight for her life as she is in the process of fighting for custody of her two young boys. It’s true what the say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and just because you have money and fame doesn’t mean you can be a good mother, or role model for that matter.
She’s been compared to Marilyn herself; Lindsay Lohan is this generation paparazzi queen. Starting her career at the age of 8, Lindsay grew up in front of the camera; she matured and developed in front of our very own eyes. In her teen years after filming such movies as: Freaky Friday and Confession of a teenage drama queen, Lindsay had high acclaim, she was voted one of young Hollywood’s one to watch. She did countless movies and films. Although she was making fortunes, rumors always circulated about Miss Lindsay, directors saying she was difficult to work with, that she would party till 4am in the morning and arrive on set intoxicated from the previous night. It was not a surprise to many when she ended up in rehab. After countless photos of her taken in very unappealing poses, Lindsay is no doubt ably one that is living her life is the fast lane, she’s been seen doing drugs, drinking underage, and driving while intoxicated, and let us not forget the countless car accidents she’s been in, on her account.
No doubt, as students, we are all under a lot of pressure; not only do we have to do well in school to get jobs and become successful, but most of us feel the need to fit in with our peers. It was difficult enough starting college and dreading gaining that infamous “freshman fifteen”, but, continuing into my second year, still fearing the same thing. According to the University of British Columbia in an article called Eating and Nutrition, Disorder eating, “A survey of UBC undergraduate students found that 51.6% of females are trying to lose weight.”
Social and cultural pressures seem to be getting heavier and heavier. Most of us are exposed to media images of what society deems as “sexy” or “beautiful”, but in reality are just unrealistic, photoshoped, mannequins. What’s more is that our younger counterparts are being exposed to these same images and thus feel the same pressures. “…Many teenagers feel the cultural pressure to be thinner than is required for good health, and may try to achieve this goal through poor and sometimes dangerous nutritional choices.” As reported in the article Dieting in Adolescence published by the Canadian Pediatric Society. The images that are polluting magazines, television and fashion runways are starting to take their toll on young Canadians. In the same article, the Canadian Pediatric Society reports that “Canadian cross-sectional data suggest that more that one in five teenage girls are ‘on a diet’ at any given time.” Another article titled Teens dieting to look like stars by Deborah Condon suggests, “…(teens) obsession with looking like famous people is leading them to make unhealthy diet choices.”
Within the fashion industry, however, these pressures seem to be the norm. It seems that within the past few years’ models waists have been getting smaller and smaller therefore affecting the clothes we see being sold in our local retailers. “Clothes have shrunk, too, sample sizes dwindling from a 6 to a 4 to a 2 and below.” reports Antonia Zerbisias in an article called Model vanishing act echoes cultural famine. The fashion industry, too, is starting to see the repercussions of their actions. “ Today’s models are literally starving. At least three have died from eating disorder-related causes in the past 18 months”, Antonia Zerbisias reports in the same article published in The Toronto Star, Oct. 20, 2007. We never see that part of it. Most of us only see the glamour, the parties, and the fashion. We don’t see the consequences of what a poor diet can do to our bodies.
What most of us are unaware of is how old some of these models actually are. They may appear as if they’re in their 20’s, but in reality are much younger. An up and coming model Chanel Iman, for instance, looks as if she’s in her early 20’s. Wrong, she’s actually only 17! The fashion industry is featuring some of these young girls in their runway shows and their ad campaigns that are geared toward an older market; thus sending the message to women that these are the ideals they have to live up to, when in reality it’s all just an optical illusion.
What’s worse is if you’re a fashion student, like myself, being exposed to these stick thin robots from watching fashion shows, or reading fashion magazines. This can make one feel as if they’re not trendy enough or even ugly. There’s always going to be that natural urge to better one’s self. However we must learn to draw the line somewhere in between what’s healthy and what’s downright disturbing.
At a time in society when stereotypes are common knowledge and portrayed heavily in the media, it becomes difficult to be an individual in the way we dress without judgement. On a day to day basis a true individual will be more than happy to have a non-chalaunt attitude about what other people think, yet when it comes to the office a punk, off the clock, turns into Donald Trump (bad comb-over included), on the clock. This begs the question, should individual style be welcomed in the workplace or should everyone be expected to dress similarly?
This does not include offices or professions with a clear cut uniform. By no means do I suggest a fire fighter run into a burning building in leather chaps and a Mohawk but in a daily office job many would argue that attire really doesn’t hinder productivity. Most business’ these days expect at least a business casual dress but often this does not leave room for creativity. Not everyone feels comfortable in a pair of khaki slacks and a button down shirt, so those of us who are more creative with our style feel the need to express it. Many jobs find this to be inappropriate. However style conscious modest clothing comes in all different shapes and designs. A professor for example, who has a distinctive urban style should be able to wear the clothes that make him comfortable. Often people feel most productive and positive about themselves when they feel that they look good, playing pretend in a wardrobe that doesn’t fit your style will not only kill your creative mojo, but also make the most honest people feel like a fraud. If pretend outfits are necessary in a job environment, are fake personalities also a must? Instead of just a strict dress code that states a shirt and tie, the dress code could instead state that the clothing must cover the elbows and knees in a modest way. This leaves plenty of room for creativity and more importantly personality in the workplace.
Many employers feel that a more lenient dress code could increase their problems with distractions and sexual harassment. This is a very good point if you think of the way a large portion of society dresses these days. For a celebrity on the stage apparently the new uniform is bare skin and not much else. Since celebrities are often people’s stylistic inspiration offices need to have some rules. But for the most part employees just need to know that coming to work ready to work is key, and not being able to bend over based on the idea that you will have a “Britney” moment does put a damper on the amount of work you can really do, as well as the amount of work the people around you can do.
Another concern for offices is that they want their company to have a clear business image which includes their employees. This has many people dressed in the khaki and golf shirt ensemble now referred to as a uniform. We creative types know that a uniform is an instant downer due to the lack of self expression in wearing literally what everyone else is wearing. The confused and disoriented feeling you will get is not nervousness for your job, but the idea that in the instant you put on those khakis your dignity went down the drain. Faking to be someone you’re not can cause people to feel distressed and feel the need to search for their identity more. They may show this with their jewellery or their makeup or hair. Sorry CEO, but a Marilyn Manson makeup job doesn’t really fit khaki heaven and you’re corporate image. Let people be themselves and they will have the decency to cover up and make you look good.
I recently witnessed the most humiliating thing I believe a young girl could experience, but to a grow woman. Anyone who went to a uniformed school remembers the finger rule. This is when your kilt has to be longer than your middle finger of your hands completely extended by your sides when standing. This used to be done in front of full classrooms or hallways when a teacher would see a shorter than appropriate kilt. Any young girl who has experienced this knows how embarrassing it is to be stood up in front of your peers and judged on your dress however as a grown woman I image in would be downright humiliating. I witnessed a grown woman be stood up in front of her boss as well as her peers and asked to try the finger rule and make sure her skirt was appropriate for the office. This woman was an electrical engineer, she was expected to build electrical plans for prisons and schools and parliament offices, yet she was not trusted to wear a skirt that touched the tips of her middle fingers. Her skirt being slightly too short did not interfere with her job nor with her fellow employee’s work. Although this case may be a little extreme, but bosses and CEO’s are cracking down on wardrobe for work and they are crushing egos and individuality in their destructive path.
A happy and comfortable employee works the hardest for the person who makes them realize they could have it so much worse. Is individuality really causing so many problems that a CEO can’t cut back on the dress code? Learning from and about each other through dress should not only be accepted but encouraged. The most competent employee could be hiding under the chains of that punk kid you keep telling to put on some slacks and take out that nose ring. Individuality is your right. Stop to think, what does your work wardrobe say about you?
There are many definitions as to what it means to go green. One definition according to Green-e is that going green means using sources that are renewable such as the sun, wind, and water. Using these natural sources are all better ways to save energy and make our planet safer by avoiding emitting harmful products into the environment and hopefully slowing down the effects of global warming. By going green we are trying to sustain our natural environment. Any effort that is going to help our world become green involves stopping the effects of global warming on our environment and living a healthier and more productive lives. This includes eating fewer chemically processed foods and wasting electiricty in our households, at work, and in the car.
Over the past few years there has been a huge increase in people eating organic foods. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic food can be defined as food being produced without using the most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. There are many people who believe in only eating organic foods. On the other hand, there are many sceptics out there that believe organic food is just another gimmick to get people to spend more money. There are many studies that show that because organic food is pesticide free, not only is it healthier for us to eat but it is also better for the environment. Organic food is also friendlier to animals and free of genetically modified fruits and vegetables and higher in essential vitamins and minerals. Even though pesticides have been linked to certain health risks and illnesses the government carefully regiments how much pesticide are allowed to be used so that our food is safe to be consumed. Some of the downfalls to organic foods are the expense that comes along with it. Organic food is much more expensive than buying regular food. Due to the fact that organic food is preservative free it has a lower shelf life and tends to not last as long as foods made with preservatives. According to the UK Food Standards Agency it has not been clinically proven that organic food is better for us than what we normally eat, so the choice is really yours.
Over the past few years there has been an increase in people using organic and recycled products in the apparel industry. According to All Natural, an article written by Bernie Broude, organic clothing is made without toxic petroleum based pesticides, herbicides and defoliants. Examples of organic fibres are organic cotton and wool, hemp, and bamboo. It has become very easy to harvest organic fibres, especially cotton and hemp. According to an article on the WWF website, the only problem with organic clothing is that it is difficult to produce high quantities. Therefore production is slower and more expensive for manufacturers as well as the volume of clothing made is not as high as using regular fibres. As well, many of these fibres, such as bamboo, may not be preserved if too much is used. In the end this may harm the environment. Organic clothing is aesthetically similar to all other clothing on the market but the price is considerably higher. If that does not bother you then organic clothing may be perfect for you.
As technology keeps improving the way we save on electricity and our ozone layer, more and more companies and households are starting to go green. L’Oreal Fashion Week, Ford, and even television shows such as Americas Next Top Model and Extreme Makeover Home Edition are all working on the same green initiative. Solar power is energy from the sun converted into a source that can be used for heat and electricity. There are many positives to having solar power run appliances but with all the positives come many negatives. Because solar power energy is run by natural elements it emits no pollutants and is sustainable so the energy will never run out. While solar energy will never run out, according to a recent article written on earth99.com by Sheila Bocchine, sunlight is not 24 hours, so at night you have to rely on stored energy or you may still have to use an alternative source. If aesthetics is a concern of yours, than solar energy may not be right for you. It can sometimes be an eyesore and takes up most of the space on your roof. Solar power does save you money, according to Sheila Bocchine’s article. After the initial installation that tends to be quite costly, your utility bills will decrease because you will be using little to no energy.
The idea of going green is still recent and new to many people. Many of the kinks are still being worked out and farmers growing organic foods, the apparel industry, the government, and many other businesses are making improvements to these green ideas. While saving our environment is on the top of many peoples priority list, there are still many alternatives on how to help than by eating organic foods and wearing organic clothing and using solar power to run your life and your cars. A little step goes a long way and many people do not believe that going green is the right way for them. So is green really becoming the new black? Well that is for you to decide.
To write or not to write, that is the Question?
The word Graffiti comes from the Greek word graphein, meaning "to write." Many associate the idea of graffiti with vandalism and destruction of property, while many others see this ancient form of painting on public surfaces as an art. Graffiti is produced on many different surfaces from subway tunnels to bathroom walls, bridges and buildings; anywhere an artist can display their work. The first recognition of graffiti was in the '70s along the walls of the New York City transit system; people began creating artwork on the sides of subway trains. This movement was founded by a young kid whose “tag” name was TAKI 183 (tag, meaning a single-line writing, usually the artists, alias or signature). TAKI 183 formed what was called “New York Graffiti”. The writings on subway cars and stations became a sort of communication between fellow writers and crews in the surrounding areas. Writers in the area flocked to the subway stations to produce their pieces, eventually filling spaces top to bottom. Writers viewed this work as traveling galleries between each stop. In the late '80s the New York City Transit Authorities launched a campaign to free the subway stations of graffiti. The “No graffiti will run’ campaign ended the graffiti age; however this movement had already spread nationwide as well as around the world. The art of graffiti has stretched to include many different forms of art, from public art,to stencil graffiti,paste-ups,canvas painting, stickers,murals and even sculptures.
Today there are several different forms of graffiti other than personal messages. There is graffiti that takes a political stand, as well a social stand. These messages can be produced due to political changes as well as lack of resources the artists may have, such as media. Another form of graffiti is gang graffiti. This form is meant to distinguish enemy gangs, mark territory and create empowerment in certain areas. Gang graffiti is recognized to be the most destructive and feared. This use of cryptic codes and messages causes the most heat in the debate over defacing property versus a form of art. People fear gang graffiti because of the lack of knowledge about the writing, as well the presence of gang culture in their neighborhood. Graffiti is an ingredient in every cultured society, whether it’s accepted or not accepted. it’s a form of expression from those who have no other means of creating, art as well as a statement. Graffiti can express negative points of view such as hate and racism. On the other side it can express positive views such as love, unity, diversity and freedom.
Graffiti has always been linked to young, poor inner-city youths; however this stereotype is far from true. Graffiti art is produced by people of all ages, social classes as well as levels of education. Today graffiti has become mainstream and is recognized in many everyday aspects of life. Many recognized graffiti artists are hired by companies or individuals to paint murals on buildings as well as canvas. Many advertisers use graffiti-inspired work in ads displayed at bus stops, along subway lines, on billboards and in magazines. Another venue that displays the work of graffiti artists is art galleries and museums, which feature the work of these artists in an exhibition or showcase.
Some of the most renowned and known graffiti artists from around the world are Banksy from the U.K; Mr. Cartoon from L.A; Lady Pink from New York, and Fafi from France. All of these artists are well known for their craft as well as many more artistic ventures. Mr. Cartoon is also well a famous tattoo artist in L.A, with well known celebrity clients. He also produces his own artwork with classic L.A graffiti styles, incorporating Mexican and South American gang influences. as well as his own line of clothing called ‘Joker’, again influenced by the L.A gang phenomenon.
Fafi is a known artist who began her work spray painting buildings and walls in her hometown of France. Fafi is known for her provocative, curvy female characters called Fafinettes. Fafi travels around the world creating her art on walls and buildings, from Japan to New York. Fafi also has a line of Fafinette dolls as well as a clothing line inspired by this aggressive female character. Fafi’s work continues to grow and expand around the world. From her roots of spray painting to her worldly art, Fafi continues to spread the art of graffiti.
The acceptance of graffiti art has been questioned by many. Is graffiti vandalism and destruction of sacred buildings and monuments? Should this art be made legal? Is graffiti really considered art?. The real question is how we as a society see art. Is this act that’s created by many talented artists around the world wrong; should these so-called artists be able to showcase their work for everyone to see, or should it be banned? For many of these artists and writers, graffiti is the only means they have. So the real question is ‘To write or not to write’.
On a Thursday morning the Starbucks café is fairly busy with people as I rush in as quickly as I can to find an empty table with three chairs. Ready and waiting, the first beautiful tall, lean and dark-haired brother walks in, Daniel. Dressed in skinny black jeans with a leather bomber and underneath a khaki cardigan and black tee with brown Doc Marten-like boots to top it all off.
I wave him over; he politely says hi and proceeds to sit down. He tells me his brother is on his way. I walk over to the cash to put in his order; one tall hot chocolate with whipped cream. I’ve always wondered how models do that, whipped cream and all? Not two minutes later, sure enough, another gorgeous, tall, lean, dark-haired man walks through the door, Nicolas. Skinny dark blue denim jeans a white tee and a black cotton bomber with a Persian black-and-white scarf around his neck and dirty white chuck-like sneakers making the outfit complete. He grabs a seat. I chuckle as Nicolas orders the same drink as his brother.
“Women make more
money in two things,
in modeling and in porn.”
Twenty-one years old now, but starting at the age of seventeen with Mario Testino as their photographer and Zac Posen as the designer, they were quickly introduced to Vogue. They’ve also been in magazines like ID, Dazed & Confused, V Magazine and L’Umomo Vogue.
Now they’re walking the runway in Milan, Paris and Toronto for big designers like Yohji Yanamoto, J.Lindeberg and Bustle. Nicolas explains how it all started.
“I was waiting for my girlfriend... She came and met me… We stood there for a little bit. It was crowded… and this big guy, our agent, just kind off stopped and stared at me, I didn’t know what he wanted. After like five minutes he finally came up to me and gave me his card.”
Daniel and Nicholas Pilaprat were born and raised in Canada, while their father, with a French background, was born and raised in Morocco. Daniel tells me, “My dad came here to study with the intention to go back to France, but then he met my mom.” She was born and raised here but, with a Scottish background. And true love it was. They’re still together. Nicolas and Daniel are both fluent in French and English.
Comparing runway versus photography. Daniel says, “Honestly, runway is just fun”. Nicolas adds, “When we do it in Paris or Milan, it’s just huge. You go out and there are just flashes everywhere; you can’t see anything, but it’s just more glamorous. In Europe, the clothes are cool, it gives you the hype of being a celebrity.”
Daniel says, “I was nervous for my first run down and then you go on, and then it’s just adrenalin.” Nicolas adds, “You feel kind of like a rock star.” Nicolas tells me “magazines are cool too, usually the people are cool. You hang out kind of just for a day.” He tells me “It’s especially cool when you like the way the pictures turn out like the one we did for l’Uomo Vogue.
“I was nervous for my first run down and then you go on and then
it’s just adrenalin”…
“You feel kind of like a rock star.”
It has like an old feel to it (figure 1).” Paolo Reversi was the photographer.
Turning the subject to male versus female modeling they tell me that females make way more money because there’s just a way bigger market for woman’s clothes. Daniel says, “Woman make more money in two things, in modeling and in porn. There’s just a lot more money to be made in woman’s fashion.”
For instance explains Nicolas, “A shoot we where doing for free once, another girl was getting paid three hundred bucks for. We’ve only been paid for a job once in Toronto out of the three years doing it.” Daniel says he did a job for Prada Sport at Holt Renfrew a couple of weeks ago that was pretty good; he said, “They paid me $600 for like five hours of work.”
They also volunteered for Mac Cosmetics for the AIDS campaign. Daniel tells me, “We where on Dundas square on the screen, and we did a TV commercial for it. For my dad, it was the coolest thing; he went down to Dundas Square and was filming the screens and stuff.”
Nicolas says the woman’s industry is a lot more competitive.
“The guys industry ranges, I mean we’re skinny and we still do well, especially in Europe. Prada, Dior, Burberry, they’ll all take skinnier looking guys. And then D&G, Versace and Calvin Klein will take bigger guys. So for guys they’re still more lenient. They’re not as demanding about your body type. Whereas with girls, it’s just you have to be this skinny.”
They tell me that models have been dying from eating disorders. Daniel also explains that girls have to walk the runway with a lot more attitude than men do and that he saw a girl on the runway at Toronto L’Oreal Toronto Fashion Week fall twice. He says, “Girls in Toronto don’t know how to walk, compared to girls in Europe. They suck at it. To them Toronto is their practice ground.” He tells me their agent taught them how to walk, and that it’s hilarious he teaches girls how to walk as well.
On another topic, they both want to go into fashion marketing and are currently both studying at York University Nicolas says, “If I ever start my own company, I know that I would want to start it with my brother, because we agree on everything, so it would just be easy. We have the same taste in everything. Except for women.”
Daniel says, “We’ve never been interested in the same girl; we’ve never had to compete over our girl, because, we don’t have the same taste really, I don’t think.” Nicolas adds, “I’ll agree that she’s attractive or that she’s cool, but I wouldn’t go out with her.”
At the beginning of their career as twin models, their agent wanted them to look the same. Now their agent says that they’re becoming more individual; Nicolas is the more muscular one and Daniel the more feminine. Who knows where this will lead them to.
As we left Starbucks, we said our goodbyes I thanked them heartily while Nicolas and then Daniel leaned in for a hug. Weak in the knees, I thought to myself; wherever their future leads them, they are certainly on the right track. And two is definitely better than one.
By: Heather Britton
Why has society become obsessed with ‘Obsession’?
Putting Calvin Klein’s famed fragrance aside, our society seems to have its own smell with the same name. Obsession: it’s the air we breathe…but does it smell good? Dictionary.com defines obsession as “the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.”
The compulsion of the North American society seems to have reached epidemic proportions. But did you notice? When and how it slithered into our garden is not defined by a single answer, but much like Adam and Eve, it has been our own choosing. In fact, it’s a concept that is so engraved into our daily routines that we haven’t really stopped to notice, raise, or discuss this issue. Or perhaps to decide on whether it really is an issue at all?
What ever happened to an idea, image, or desire being given the worth it deserves, and no more, and taking the time to appreciate it for what it is? It seems almost instinct in our society no matter the subject; to latch hold, run, make noise, with flashing lights and silly string. This may sound like exaggeration, but if we truly examine how society becomes obsessed over anything so easily, it is nothing short of the truth. The golden question: Are we really that obsessed with that which encircles us or have we just created for ourselves a strange obsession with being obsessed?
You don’t have to travel far to become infected by this mind game. Focusing on the 21st century, we come across obsession in money, food, celebrities, reality shows, clothing, and even topics as intangible as violence. You breathe it in every day.
It’s not surprising money makes it to the top of the obsession list. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the popular ‘money’ theme song from Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, was chiming through your head right now. In short, the reason we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, is to bring home the dough. We’re in a day and age where workaholics have become the norm, sleep is considered luxury, and you’re a nobody unless you can afford to wear somebody else’s name. What sense does this make? This is a land where The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is no longer a TV show portraying those opulent few. Today, with a little luck and a lot of hard work, anyone can make a million dollars.
In a sense, we really do eat, breathe and sleep ‘money’. If you’re not absorbed with thoughts about how to spend you’re money, then it’s how to pay back money you owe, or the money you want to make so badly. These thoughts seem omnipresent. Why? Although important, why do we let our money or lack thereof, define us as individuals and completely consume us? It’s not a secret that we serve money, but shouldn’t money serve us? Walking down the street, you can almost see the dollar signs over pupils and hear the cash register sounds as they speak. The cute expression has gone broke, because ‘A penny isn’t so pretty anymore’. Smells a bit like obsession.
Who would have ever thought that something as small as our mouth would be a floodgate to one of society’s biggest obsessions: food. A balanced diet is like a foreign language to the North American culture. There are only two ends to this scale: too thin and too fat. It may sound harsh, but that’s exactly what is happening in our continent – its all we talk about. Can you ever remember a time when someone you know wasn’t on a diet or that your restaurant portion size wasn’t ridiculously more than your stomach could hold? These different angles on food, affect us on a daily, and even hourly basis. We are constantly bombarded with this topic.
In the past couple of years there has suddenly been a realization of our extreme ends of the scale, with a new goal for healthy eating. It doesn’t take much thought to see that it has only amplified the obsession frenzy. We are hurled into new compulsions with oh-so-skinny models being banned from runways, and limited calorie snacks replacing impulse strips in our favorite convenience stores everywhere. Although it’s society’s attempt for healthier lifestyles, it only floods our minds even more, if that were possible. Somehow the calories that go through our mouths end up in our brain, and filling our sense of smell with obsession.
Celebrities and reality shows are different players, but they’re in the same game. Celebrities saturate the movies, television, consumer products, and are even a favorite lunchtime topic. Their presence is hard to avoid, to say the least. Why? Is it because we have a desire to be associated with these ‘VIP’? Do we want to be like them? Maybe a little, but is there really a reason to be this involved with people we don’t even know and will probably never talk to? The car-crashing paparazzi are only there to satisfy what society demands. Obsession is starting to smell ridiculous.
When some of you hear the words ‘reality show’ you probably roll your eyes or have something to say, whether good or bad. Finally! An obsession that we are at least aware exists! A step forward, but still, the pit is too slippery. Despite awareness, reality shows continue to be cash cows. Maybe you brush it off by thinking it’s that 15 minutes of fame that seems to be an instinct desire inside of us. The infamous show Survivor is what started this barreling bandwagon. What happened next? The silly string exploded. Why do reality shows continue to horde the airwaves, and be so successful despite the declining quality? The only explanation is that it’s hard to extinguish a wildfire once it starts, and the smoke smells like obsession.
When did this disease grow? How did we let ourselves get so out of control? Why does society sabotage itself, taking the meaning out of everything? The smell is sickly and we certainly don’t want to obsess over obsession. Next time something fills your every thought, instead of acting out of compulsion, stop to consider your reasoning. Is there any reasoning at all? Will we continue to spray the air with obsession until we one day render ourselves completely senseless? Now it’s time for your answer: Are we really that obsessed with that which encircles us or have we just created for ourselves a strange obsession with being obsessed?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Eating disorders, low self- esteem, feelings of inadequacy; they are all interlinked with one another in more ways than one. All three of these issues are growing epidemics in today’s society for which we have yet to find cures. However, whose responsibility is it to solve these problems: our parents? The schools? Surprisingly, a large amount of the population seem to think that the blame for these severe problems should lie solely on the shoulders of the fashion industry, the media who promotes them, and the models who give them life.
Industry of Ideals
Someone like Tyra Banks would probably be the first person to tell you that the industry is mainly for those with thick skin and a fierce mentality. Unfortunately, what about those who are not in the industry? Not everyone is that strong-minded and equipped with a sense of invincibility. Most young women and men do have insecurities and are sensitive when faced with issues of appearance and the need for acceptance. This is where the problem starts. Many may feel like the fashion industry promotes that it is unacceptable not to meet the standards that are portrayed everyday in the media or those from the mouths of the industry’s experts. The industry, itself, has the responsibility of showcasing this idea of, “the glamorous life”, to their consumers and this is why it is such a lucrative business. Who doesn’t want to live the extravagant life and be beautiful? However, it is this dream-like quality that has the ability to draw in so many young, impressionable people. They clearly do not see the fashion industry as just a business because they are not exposed to that aspect as much as the finished products: beautiful clothing on beautiful people with a celebrity lifestyle. So, of course, they are going to believe that the only way to acquire this way of life is to be a carbon copy of the people they see on television by any means necessary. Although, majority of the time, the fashion companies’ main concern is usually just finding the best way to market and sell their fashions and beauty products.
Media, Models, & Malnourishment
These products are sold with the help of the massive tag team force of nature: media and models. This collaboration manipulates probably the largest percentage of our society. Whether it runway models or celebrities from other areas of the industry, they all play the same role of life-size dolls to the viewing public. Therefore, it is no shock that young children, especially young girls, are so obsessed with these stars and how they look. With the help of the media, these images of these celebrities are flooding our television and movie screens making it impossible to ignore. These obsessions, though, can become increasingly dangerous if not monitored. A current study stated that, “the average height and weight for a model is 5'10" and 110 lbs., while the average height and weight for a woman is 5'4" and 145 lbs”. With statistics like these, we can see where most of these problems evolve. Even when there are models that are a little closer to the average size of a woman, they have to have the term “plus-size” attached to their title; this tends to carry a negative connotation with it. Due to these extreme differences, the average young woman or man almost feels as if they have no choice but try to obtain the more “ideal” body type. This is where the eating disorders such as: Anorexia and Bulimia rear their ugly heads. Young people have a tendency to do anything to receive the same admiration and acceptance that is given to their idols on a daily basis. Some would use the example of “Canada’s Next Top Model” winner, Andrea Muizelaar.
Although she was deemed the winner and given the opportunity of a lifetime, she was far from happy. It was only after she had left the fashion industry indefinitely that she felt inclined to share her story about how she had acquired an eating disorder. She had been living with Anorexia for about five years. It began before she was ever on the show, but she candidly admitted that it was fuelled by the notion that she could potentially make it as a model. From that point on, her disorder grew; in the midst of it she still made it on the show without any questions asked. In her own words from an interview, her anorexia “was hidden due to the fact that well, skinny is modeling and it is really okay for this business.” That quote alone shows that there is, in fact, a problem within the industry and with the expectations of a typical model.
Industry professionals, however, would argue that the job of any model or celebrity who happens to be wearing a designer gown on the red carpet is to sell the idea of fantasy and fantasy is not supposed to reflect reality. The models have to look a certain way to make the outfits as appealing as possible, even if no one else looks like that particular model. This is true, unfortunately, the little girl or boy sitting at home does not know the difference and would just love to be looked upon as the symbol of beauty just like any model because they are treated like modern day goddesses or gods and loved by everyone.
The Blame Game
This is a debate that could go on forever, and probably will because we all know that the fashion industry and the media’s images go hand in hand. Yes, the media along with any model or celebrity has a responsibility to ensure that what they are sending a positive message to their consumers. However, does it stop right there? People seem to forget that, even though the media is something that surrounds us constantly, the parents and other authority figures should be around just as much if not more. Keeping this in mind, the fashion industry does seem to be making some strides to distance themselves from this negative stigma. For instance, the issue that arose in Madrid when many models were banned from the catwalk for being too thin was the first stand of its kind that the fashion world has taken in such a situation. This may have been just one occurrence, but even one difference helps to show that thin is not always in. It showed everyone that it is not the whole world that feels the same way about the industry’s portrayal of beauty. By parents also paying more attention to what their children watch and how they view themselves in comparison to what they are seeing consistently on their televisions or in their magazines, the world and our young people growing up may obtain a different and healthier outlook on reality. So, society may need to take a long look at itself and think twice before being so quick to point a judgmental finger at what seems to be the easy target.
It’s not new, but it’s the biggest craze in showing off what you believe and making a statement. Wearing shirts and accessories to show off your belief. Some statements are bolder than others, well some hit really close to home. Think of the Breast Cancer Pink. People wear it to show their support and to remember those who have been lost to the disease. In Buddhism, the colour yellow represents humility. Since it resembles the colour of the earth, it symbolizes a certain oneness with the earth. So what’s the latest colour belief trend? Red t-shirt Fridays.
It’s actually pretty well known, even if you’ve never heard of it. Basically, wearing a red t-shirt on Friday is a way to show that you are thinking of the soldiers in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) and believe in what they are fighting for. Things like democracy and a safer lifestyle for Afghani civilians. Sure, the red t-shirt isn’t for everybody. Just walking from the Dupont subway station to the front doors of George Brown College, you see ten to twenty posters trying to rally people to get the troops to come home. Also, you may be asking how wearing a shirt can support people who are overseas. It’s not about showing them, but showing their family, friends and other supporters that you are thinking about them. Some places have made a rather big deal about it too. The Kitchener Oktoberfest parade had a whole section of people wearing their red t-shirts carrying signs that say Support Our Troops. Not to mention, all of the GTA’s emergency crews have taken to showing their support for their fellow men and women.
Along with the red t-shirts has been the yellow ribbon. The same ribbon the emergency crews have stuck in their window, on their trucks, cars and vans. The yellow ribbon that mothers and fathers of the Canadian soldiers have tied to trees and pinned to their blouses. These people don’t just wear the red and yellow, they believe in it. They go to support meetings and sell the shirts to fellow supporters; they participate in parades and help each other get through the hard times.
But maybe red and yellow aren’t your colours. And maybe you don’t think that we should have soldiers overseas right now. There have been several other ways people have shown their “true colours” through clothing. Look at the homosexual community. Ever been to a Pride parade? Personally, I haven’t, but I’ve seen several pictures. It’s all about the rainbows. What does that rainbow represent anyway? The red means life, orange is for healing, the yellow is for sun, the green represents nature, the blue means harmony and the purple is meant to show spirit. That’s a lot of information to take in. However, the people who wear these rainbows believe in what all those colours stand for. They show them proudly as shirts, belt buckles, bumper stickers, and even flags outside their homes. They’re not ashamed, and they take their pride seriously.
Orange in this next example doesn’t mean healing. It was actually a political statement in the Ukraine. The back-story is this. There was an election in November of 2004 that was incredibly corrupt. Basically the people chose one guy (Viktor Yushchenko) and the authorities rigged the election in favour of a guy named Viktor Yanukovych. So, to protest the people chose the colour orange, in the form of headbands, shirts, pants, etc. to unify themselves and used several variances of protesting. From sit-ins to strikes to just general acts of civil disobedience, they protested for several months. In the end, they got their way, and Yushchenko was inaugurated in January of 2005. Some people still wear the orange to remember the times. And orange has popped up a few times in the past and since then. There was even a movie made about the entire event, The Orange Revolution.
Speaking of revolutions, let’s go back a few hundred years to the invention of something called a cockade. A cockade is “an ornament, such as a rosette or knot of ribbon, usually worn on the hat as a badge” (www.dictionary.com). Basically, it’s just a circle in several colours that dates back to the pre-revolution years of France. They started out white to support the Bourbon dynasty of Great Britain. They slowly turned to different colours to support different beliefs. However, the most commonly known one is the tricolore of France. You may remember it. It’s a circle made of the colours red, white and blue in that order from the outside in. They represented the allegiance to France. Several different loyalties used several different cockades to show their commitment to whatever flag or country the cockade represented.
See, wearing colours to show your belief isn’t lame. Nor is it uncommon. It can be traced back to the early 1700s straight through to today. Some people look in their closet to find a shirt to compliment their skin tone. Others go looking for a shirt that represents their “true colours”. These people may just wear the shirt to bring what’s on the inside to the outside. However, others wear it to spread awareness to others. Whatever the reason, whatever your belief, don’t be afraid to wear it on your sleeve, or belt or bumper. And if people ask, you should tell them. Spread the message and share the news.
I wear my red t-shirt on Fridays. In fact, mine is usually emblazoned with the yellow ribbon screen printed on chest. When people ask, I tell them why I’m wearing my shirt. That doesn’t mean that they are going to agree with me, but I leave knowing they have a new opinion of me. Whether good or bad, if I know I have informed just one more person that makes all the difference to me. Next time you go to your closet to choose your outfit for the day, ask yourself one question: what colour is your belief?
What is the real cost of a good bargain?
As technology advances, our hunger for the new and exciting item grows. Society has developed a form of “fashion ADD” and it seems that our appetites just can’t seem to be satisfied. With new seasons being created just to keep up with the pace of a never-ending demand, the competition has become fiercer than ever before. Not only have we become seekers of constant change, but also seekers of the lowest price; to compensate, of course, for the fact that there is so much more to buy. So, at what cost really is that great deal? What do we really pay for the ultimate cheap and chic find?
It is no secret that the majority of the clothing, accessories, and even food we buy are manufactured overseas. It is also no secret why. It’s much cheaper. The average North American makes no less than five dollars per hour, and that is not even close to the Canadian minimum wage, whereas in China employees make less than a dollar. The working conditions are primitive in relation to what we consider acceptable in the West. The factories are small, the hours are long and the employees are forced to live far below poverty, simply because it’s better than nothing at all. There have also been numerous accounts of abuse, including physical, verbal, and even sexual. All qualities we would not only never subject ourselves to on this side of the world, but our government as well as various other organizations protect us from such standards. While the labourers suffer, the economy of countries like China benefit from such transactions, gaining control of the international market and creating more companies and more jobs.
By paying these minimal fees, companies are able to make more products at much lower costs, drastically improving their profit and giving us the bargain we hunt for. There are many sides to this debate, especially when it comes to the fashion perspective. The retail industry is one of the leading industries in outsourcing production of its goods. It is also one of the most competitive industries with the most drastic demand for constant change in products. For example, we do not expect the food industry to import oranges from a new country every week, we do not expect a new flavour of ice cream every month, and we do not expect (and probably couldn’t afford) to buy the latest television every few months. When it comes to fashion, however, our demand changes on an almost weekly basis. New clothing companies are popping up at an increasing speed with clothing that costs less and less. We are also quickly bored, and will call an item dated almost as fast as our produce expires.
The speed of our taste is greatly reflected in our ever-changing, rapid-paced society. After all, we in the West like to consider ourselves as being advanced. We are the “free” people. We are the hungry, the rich, the powerful, and we want it all. No task is too great and nothing is inaccessible. This mentality defines the way we live, think, and act. Despite the great rising in social consciousness, our constant desires are hard to contain. We do want to save the world, but only after we pop in to H&M for a quick browse, and possibly a purchase. We want to fight AIDS in Africa, so we buy a “made in China” t-shirt from the Gap. It is a vicious cycle, especially when one is on a budget.
So, what can we do, and are we ready to do it? Without the use of overseas labour, prices would drastically rise. Potential quantity of production would also probably decrease. This is assuming that it is even a possibility. Without a nationwide agreement to end, or control, outsourced production, capitalism will inevitably prevail. The action would have to be made at a global level, so that there are no loopholes and no possibility of any company indulging in cheap labour, which would discard all positive action. Or, companies can pay higher wages to overseas workers. This option opens up a whole new plethora of questions and debate. How will the country react/be affected by such a change. And, why would they not then hire workers in their own country? Are we helping other countries by supporting, though minimally, their economy? Or, are we abusing other countries and taking advantage of the low-costs they provide us?
Ultimately it is up to us (the people, the fashion-lovers, the citizens) to decide for ourselves where we stand on the subject. Though it can often be easy to judge and point fingers, it is a complicated topic with no quick solution. We want to save the world, we want justice and freedom and equality, but we have a price limit. Creating a global change and a “perfect” society takes a lot of personal sacrifice, but we live in a world where we are raised and trained to look out for number one. We have gotten used to the luxuries of the Western world, and it is sometimes easier to turn a blind eye to the problems seemingly far removed from us when it conflicts with what we want. On the other hand, just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. These problems are real. Unlike Santa or the Easter Bunny, unfair working conditions exist. Everyday people are exploited to support the increasing demand for profit. As much as we may hate to admit it, sometimes when the dress is that cute, it can be really easy to ignore that tag that reads, “made in China”.
Fame, Fortune or just plain old Fantasy,
What will life on a reality show really get you?
Reality shows have taken over the prime time airways of our television sets, popping out instant professionals on a weekly basis. Shows like Project Runway, Americas Next Top Model and Hell’s Kitchen create instant celebrities out of ordinary people who have yet to make a name fo
The term “Reality Television” is a very broad name given to television programming, according to Wikipedia.org it‘presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors.’ Reality television can then be broken down into several genres of reality programming. There are eight different categories of Reality shows. The two most prominent being Documentary-style shows, and Elimination/Game shows. Documentary style shows are then broken down to programming that includes special living environmens, such as the Real World; celebrity reality shows, such as The Osbournes or The Simple Life; and Professional activities, examples being Cops, LA Ink and The First 48. These types of reality shows basically follow the lives of the characters in the program, and use the entertaining bits captured on film to create a series. Elimination or Game shows use compitition to draw in their audience. There are dating based competitions, as in The Bachelor, or Average Joe; fear-centric games shows such as Fear Factor, and there are job search shows, which are the variety of reality television that produces their version of career celebrities, as in America’s/Canada’s Next Top Model, producing a spanking new supermodel, or Project Runway, which produces the ‘next big thing’ in the fashion design circit.
How does being a contestant on these types of programs prepare a person for the full time career of not only say, designer, but also the celebrity of being a television star? During the months of taping these productions the participating contestants are given a number of tasks to complete, and challenges to surpass. These challenges are meant to simulate problems that may arise in the day-to-day of a careered person in that chosen field. The winner to the challenges is awarded a luxury prize to reward their winning efforts and the rest of the contestents are left with a feeling of self-doubt and lack of worth. Each week a contestant is removed from the competition, and the chance of winning the grand prize, generally being a contract with a top company in the field, exposure in a popular media source, and funding to help jump-start their career. With the offering all of these great gifts for the winner, its a sure bet that these people will be successive, Or is it?
Project Runway Winners, Jay McCarroll (season 1), Chloe Dao (season 2) and Jeffrey Sebelia (season 3) have each gone on to produce post-Project Runway collections, however for Jay McCarroll, it was on his own budget, with his own contacts, and with proceeds going straight back to his wallet. McCarroll decided post-show not to accept the offer of the gifts, when he found that there was ‘a contractual clause stipulating that the Project Runway production company would own a 10% stake of all his professional ventures in perpetuity.’
Chloe Dao and Jeffrey Sebelia took the gifts and are now working on expanding their own businesses, although Sebelia admits that once he paid off the debt he had aquired by creating his clothing label, Cosa Nostra, his winnings were gone and he was flat broke. Currently he is making a living by creating costumes for the children’s movie, Bratz. Something he is fairly embarassed to admit to, but one that pays the bills.
This is just one example of the results of a reality television program, there have been records of success being achieved from these shows, such is the case of ‘The Bachelorette’, Trista Rehn, she went on to marry her Bachelorette co-star Ryan Sutter, and the couple has recently welcomed their first child. Another example is Canada’s Next Top Model, Rebecca Hardy, who can be seen walking all of the hottest runways, and lining all the most fashionable magazines. All of this being post-reality television success. It seems that the end result of these shows can generally be narrowed down to the following: The Fantasy of a career jump-start due to the exposure of the person’s talents performed on the reality show, while also boosting their popularity and reputation within their career’s community. The Fortune they dream of being able the earn by the masses and masses of people who will be interested in the services they provide; and the Fame, being the popularity the show will allow them to enjoy as they soar leaps and bounds above the competition by using dramatic character plots and multiple personalities. Out of these three conclusions of a reality tv show, not a single one seems to hold up much longer then the air time of the programming. Leaving contestants broken and loathing in self pity, trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered careers. So heres my question: Where is the real in the reality?