The Outcomes

I kept the outcome and theme of these mock ups very set: Matte covers and recycled, organic looking boxes and business cards: There is room in the box to fit other promotional awareness material aside from these two guides, if the package was to expand it’s horizons.

SONY DSCSONY DSCBusiness Card BackBusiness Card FrontEverythingThe BoxTomYum
All in all, I am pretty happy with the outcome.

Thank You for viewing this project, and I wish You well for the future.

G

The Brochures

After having finished the sketches, I had a rough idea of what I wanted from this project.

The main goals:
Sell veganism in a non pushy way
Create design that appeals to all ages, families – young and old
Outline the benefits

From this, I created a bunch of sketches to encompass the ‘bright & playful yet minimal’ theme I’m aiming for. These were created with a simple Copic marker – some made it to the final designs whereas others didn’t.

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I chose to use a bunch of the lines because they fit the vibe I previously explained – I then used photoshop’s layer mask to isolate them and create smart objects. After, I aligned them into the rectangular shape I’d envisioned as the ‘trademark’ page markers of the brochure:

Finally content with this, I began to implement it into my page design, as well as finding suitable images, quotes, facts, fonts and recipes:

I finally settled for the fonts “Verdana” for it’s bold yet somehow un-harsh appearance, “Baskerville” because of it’s soft serif and easy readability, “Daisy’s Delight” for the whimsical vibe and “Prestige Elite STD” to set the matter-of-fact tone when it comes to the facts.

Alongside the lines and ‘crayon’ appearance, I wanted something a little more easy on the eyes.  Vector art always looks nice when it comes to food – or to be more precise, food cut in half – there are many beautiful patterns that occur within the centre of the plant.

 

Above are the vector drawings, I had mixed feelings at first because I thought the contrast/opposition of the vector images mixed with the ‘crayon’ style of the lines would be too much.

I implemented these as such:
Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 15.27.33Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.37.11Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 22.38.30Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 01.07.27Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 01.08.42Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 01.08.56

I first began by figuring out sections ans colours for said sections, using both the vectors to mark a new section, using the ‘Polaroid’ to create variety and also the family friendly vibe.
Minimalism was key when designing this, at first I thought that so much empty space was bad, but then I came to like the space.
Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 13.14.17.png
Thank You for reading, next shall be the animal cruelty guide…

G

Major Project – Brochures

To begin this journey, I started by researching my ‘issue’ in society in my Planing for Major Project section, where in depth research was conducted to ensure I have a firm grasp on the topic at hand. Not only this, but I have a lot of personal feelings towards everything spoken about in this project, so this only strengthens my desire to create a good outcome that will do this topic justice. The issues were as follows:

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 14.47.35.png

If you have read my Planning for Major Project section, you will know that I completed my Presentation, leaving off at where I should be going with this project.

My initial thoughts were to create either an Ebook, Starter Pack, Infoguide or maybe even a deli/restaurant that is dedicated to helping people realise how our eating habits are destroying out health, the environment, the lives of animals and much more. Below is a picture of the notes I took while deciding:

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The Learning Outcomes of the project are below:

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I shall try to meet these criteria whilst creating my outcome, keeping these in mind, I will now begin brainstorming:

IMG_4489

The orange highlighted sections are the ones that hold my interest most, and after the mind maps, I figured that both the Mail Box, and the Restaurant Menu are of my choice.
Deciding between these two is hard, because they both fit my proposal equally as well by fulfilling everything I have outlined of this brief… only in different ways.
Whilst the restaurant is a very literal way of doing this (when it comes to the health side) because it contains only healthy, vegan food and special recipes, it lacks a little when it comes to the information part. Getting the information about cruelty, our poor health and dying world out there whilst selling food is a little counterintuitive, simply because while eating, this isn’t what customers want to think about. Then there is the ‘preaching’ part – whilst this restaurant will be great for those already educated when it comes to the animal industry, it will put off a lot of potential customers who are not inclined to eat this way because of their beliefs.

On the flip side, the Mailed Box acts kind of like a started guide for people who are both informed, and those who aren’t. It therefore has a broader audience to spread the word, while also containing every aspect of information I would like to convey – all this without the same drawbacks that the restaurant would have.

DECISION MADE…!
I shall be creating the Mailed Box… or brochure(s) But, how will people get to hear about this you ask? The idea is as follows:
Not only will this started pack have it’s own website, Crowdfunder and subscription system for those who are actively ordering and wanting to know about Veganism, but for those who are unaware, I have devised a ‘partner programme’. How this would theoretically work, is that my mailed box/brochure company will team up with various other businesses, such as clothing lines, supermarkets, online stores, jewellers etc, to send a free box along with any purchase a customer of this ‘partner’ makes. I think this is a brilliant way of spreading the word to those who do not know of the vegan lifestyle and animal awareness, also to broaden the business and therefore the possibility of more and more boxes being sent out to customers of partner businesses.

Now on to the brochures itself!
For the content, I have a rough list of what I feel would be beneficial:

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I think it will be beneficial to have a variety of content in separate form for all those who are interested in different aspects – also it will make the content look a little more ‘full’ – in addition to this, a freebie works as incentive (or good will gesture).

That is all for now – I shall be developing the company etc in the next post, so hopefully I will see you there.

G

 

Professional Development – My Identity.

After researching some other design agencies, I have gotten a feel for how the industry likes to market things… and sadly, what I had in mind is a little different.
Whilst the majority of these companies have very clean, white websites that leave plenty of room to showcase their work, I think that the website in itself can be a work of art, not simply a place to “paste” the portfolio. And don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful websites out there that use this method, as well as ones that have taken the “my website is a piece of art” very well also.

On to the process. To begin with, I sifted through almost every photograph I’ve ever taken since 2012, and every piece of design work since I started almost 3 years ago. Believe me this was no easy feat – considering there are 44,500 files on my hard drive. What I found though, was interesting. Some things I had forgotten about, and some old images that I wondered why on earth I never used these in my portfolio beforehand. Next was the even more tedious part – reediting every image to a standard parallel to mine today, and then watermarking them all. To protect my identity and work, I have found that it is very important to mark all of my work, no matter how insignificant it may seem to me in comparison to other pieces. Below is a screenshot of the small mark I have used on all of my photography, and as you can see in the full sized comparison, it is rather small but does it’s job very well:

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The first step of building my site was building the portfolio, or “work” section.
I went through many different styles that my theme offered, but in the end I decided to go with the whole ‘more is less’ vibe, with a masonry look – and of course I had to spice it up a little by going back into each individual portfolio item and choosing a custom size (tall, wide, regular or tall&wide) to avoid the ’tiled look’. I also chose the meta to appear on hover with a slightly faded background seems though I have named all of the images:
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I was originally going to have just my work on the front page, though I guess my love for elaborate things and the need to fill empty space arose. And thus resulted the ‘site intro’ – which I decided to have just above the portfolio because having a separate page for all of this just looked like clutter.
Speaking of headers:

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I went for a central location for the actual pages, this is because I think the balance of my logo and the ‘side menu’ (which is actually a search, see below) looks really nice. Also, the black and red colour scheme kind of came on a whim after I created the main image of the website. I decided also that I should keep my original logo because it suits my personality very well and balances out the ‘hard’/’dark’ appearance of my brand:

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The header image is something that took me a lot of time to think about. I was so very close to going back to my old video background that I hold dear to my heart, though I stuck to my guns because it’s time for a change!
After much deliberation and photo-changing, I realised something… that my favourite ever project (Rebel/Corporate ID) reflected myself very much… I also have an inexplicable love for mountains which I am not even going to try to go into depth with, because it will quite literally turn into an essay that I’m sure you’d rather not read.
Anyhow!
I decided to go with a double exposure style image in Rebel’s signature colour – Red! Not only does this make my site intro eye-catching, but I think it stands out from the usual. Some of the images I considered (but discarded) layering are below:
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In the end I decided to go with the following images:
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(This one is actually what I opted for for my maintenance page, as I felt it got the point across)
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Both of these mirrored and layered for the double exposed effect resulted in the following:

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Despite this being rather ‘different’ for a design website website, I think it makes a small statement, it certainly appeals to me more than simply having work with nothing else. All be it a little narcissistic, I like the appearance.
After finally…. FINALLY making the decision on which image I was going to use (and after playing with parallax and hating it), I made it a full width background with some pretty bold text in the centre. It is full screen, but there is a small meta menu underneath for easy navigation of my portfolio, like so:

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I went for “I Am Georgia” instead of something like “I am a Designer” because I configured the SEO to say that I am a designer based in sheffield – also the site tagline says the same thing, so there are enough pointers. Back to the ‘statement’ thing… I like stating who I am and what I do, rather than just what I do.
First impressions aside, the next thing I did was the rest of the site:

Blog:
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Services:
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Contact:
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Team:
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And that is that! I made my site live, and started on Mardy Bums, which I showed you in the previous post, but here is it finished:

Homepage (Row 1):
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Homepage (Row2):
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Homepage (Row3):Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 01.04.23
Blog (Unfinished Content):
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Portfolio (Unfinished Content):
Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 01.04.47
Meet the Models:
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Contact (row1):Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 00.50.56
Contact (Row2):
Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 00.51.01

Third and finally, there is my first ever client. Literally the second I got my site up and running, I began asking every small business I came into contact with if they needed design, a website, photography, or knew anyone who did.
And then it happened! I found someone.
So!

First off, we spoke in person and via messages, going into detail about what she wanted, prices, etc. Then we went through a few mock-ups, did a photo and video shoot (whilst somehow ending up in the pictures, because a model didn’t turn up LOL that was interesting), and finally I got to work on her website.
Here are some screenshots of the whole editing process:


And finally, the finished thing:
Home(1):
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Home (2):
Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 01.31.35Services(1):
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Services(2):
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Book:
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About:
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All in all, my client was very happy with the outcome of both the photography and the website.
I feel that after just this one job, I have developed a lot as a designer – catering to someone else’s needs other than your own or the criteria is an odd feeling… though one I can get used to.
Hopefully this will continue.

Next up was researching Teacher Training Courses, and I won’t write a whole list of what I found out, but long story short there are 3 options I might take:
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Option 1: School based course with a PGCE included – this option is for secondary teaching.
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Option 2: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) – this option is good because it’s a 120 hour home based course which means you can teach anywhere in the world as long as you have a degree… Yes please.
Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 02.50.30.png
Option 3 I am considering is the Uni-based 1 year, full time course where you get taught how to teach (?) by University peers. This is probably my least favourite but I may still choose this option.

Last but not least is my technical skills – mainly in Photography. I ended up not doing as much as I’d hoped for this section, the main reason being me getting some freelance work, but I did look at one thing: Indoor photography.
This is something I have never done before in detail (apart from the odd portrait), so it was a little bit of a challenge. The results are below, and if you’d like to know more about how this was carried out/more of the images, you can see my Creative Practice:


After everything, I feel I have definitely developed both creatively and professionally in this module. It was fun to work with my first client, and also to see how my style of web design has changed since 2 years ago when the site was first made.

As always, Thank You for reading, and I’ll see you in the next (and final) module.

Lots of Love,

G

Professional Development & The Mardy Bums

To begin I am going to start looking at my Professional identity.

This consists of the list below:
. Adjust website
. Sell myself
. Pinpoint what I’m selling
. Personal Branding
. Update Content
. CV
. Make Separate blog for all my off topic/creative material

To begin this endeavour I have decided that first thing is first – research. Before I decide to reconstruct my site and sell myself as a designer, I need to know what I’m up against and what is trending currently in this market.
I have chosen to use the website www.awwwards.com to search for other creatives like myself, and how their marketing techniques work:
lookbook.slam.com
hassyadai.com
davehillphoto.com
www.caitlinworthington.com
x.prvrt.me
authenticff.com
www.doubleeight.it
thed4d.com
christopherireland.net
www.heg-jp.com
unimedia.co.jp
jetlag.photos

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The next sites are specific to Graphic Designers – I have had a gander around Google to see who came up, then selecting which ones I like:

www.bighorrorathens.com
www.wokine.com
mitchellbarton.com
weareangstrom.com
www.cappen.com
www.strv.com
www.valaire.mu
www.mrjmk.com
www.toyfight.co
www.jasminestar.com

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I have also explored some designers that are in Sheffield (where I live) – my two favourite are Side by Side and Peter & Paul.

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THE DESIGN:
The first step of redesigning my website for me is to create another one – one for me and my sister. Remember how I said I’d like to keep the design of my current site and use it for something else? This is the perfect opportunity – and seems though my sister also likes the layout and videos etc, it can be used and tweaked as needed.
The domain I’m going to edit first will be a travel blog/lifestyle/gaming website, purely for hobby. mardybums.com is the name.

Shots of my old website (georgiamay.co.uk):
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Shot of Mardybums template – unfinished of course:
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The first thing I did here was activate a ‘maintenance mode’ page so that when people click on both of my websites, they won’t see the mess of me experimenting:
Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 15.29.00.png

Now that this is over, it’s time to start work on Mardybums.
As I mentioned before, it will look very similar to my old site – I am not against this at all as I love my old website, I just need something more current and that will sell myself.
The video below shows how I began the building process… it’s not full length or it would go on for hours:

As the video shows, I built the site piece by piece, swapping and changing things until I was happy with the look:


I am going to stop this post for now. Reason being, is that I need time to take extra photographs for certain sections of the site (some of the sections you see above are simply filler images), to talk to my sister about what we can change and improve within the layout and finally there are some issues on the mobile display and a few other errors that I need time to go over, so for now the maintenance page is back.

I will be continuing this post some time in the near future.
Until then,

G

How we are Destroying Everything – Human Greed

Starting something is always the hardest part, so what better place to start than the issues our world currently faces? Hodai.org lists everything from Nuclear Warfare to Unreliable Software. Some of these issues mean more to me than others and likewise, I feel that a portion need more attention directed to their cause. The reason I have chosen to look into the current state of the world is because currency is very important, reaching out to the modern individual for help also needs to have an air or relevancy that will alert people to the topic I am going to choose. Charity is one way of solving these issues, though what seems to be the case with these issues is that if people don’t get something beneficial in return, they are reluctant to spend their time helping.

And thus, my research begins, starting with the website named dmoz.org.

List of possible Issues I would like to focus on:

  1. Unsustainable development
  2. Overconsumption of food
  3. Intensive farming
  4. Unsustainable agriculture
  5. Natural resource depletion
  6. Habitat destruction
  7. Species extinction
  8. Lack of access to clean water
  9. Plastic waste
  10. Organised crime and corruption
  11. Lack of access to justice
  12. Hunger/Famine
  13. Overfishing
  14. Inappropriate household waste disposal
  15. Child mistreatment
  16. Gender inequality
  17. Child labor
  18. Child marriage
  19. Human trafficking
  20. Animal mistreatment

As you can see above, there is a lot I would like to act on, now you may see how choosing one subject over the 19 others may make me look bias. Worries aside, I have marked some of these subjects red – the reason I have discounted these from the list is because I feel these subjects are already in plain sight, they are ‘overexposed’ in the world of global issues, and I am not by any means indicating that these subjects are lesser in any way. This leaves the less advertised topics.

To help myself along the way a little I have listed some of the effects each of these topics have on the environment and on ourselves:
IMG_3302.JPG
After some deliberation, I have chosen to merge the following topics as my subject matter (because of their similarities):

  1. Overconsumption of food
  2. Unsustainable agriculture
  3. Overfishing
  4.  Animal Mistreatment
    (there are also things like obesity and health costs to consider)

You may be thinking that there are a lot of issues to cover here, and your right, though it’s the solution not the problem I am going to be looking at:
Veganism

These are the topics that not many of the population think about when they sit down to their evening meal, if at all. In fact the only people I feel are aware of these issues is those who don’t have enough food to put on their plates, many of these cases are due to overpopulation and the overconsumption of produce in wealthier parts of the world where obesity rampages the population. Aside from human impact, there is also a very large portion of global warming that can be attributed to animal agriculture and over farming – but not only are we hurting others of the human race and our home, planet earth, but we are taking and destroying the lives of other sentient beings to sate out desire for meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey and other animal products.

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(More research here presentation <- So click the link to view) Constantly a hot topic for debate, Veganism is, believe it or not, a step in the right direction to curing many of our worlds ailments. I have compiled my reasoning for choosing this topic below, alongside facts and statistics to back up the claims:

  • Morning Sickness
    Not what you were expecting to hear right? 70-80% of pregnant women experience nausea and 60% actually vomit during their pregnancy. We have always taken it as a given that sickness comes hand in hand with pregnancy, but a new study shows that maybe this doesn’t have to happen at all. It doesn’t make sense that a woman’s body would discard all of the nutrients it needs to form another human being at this vital stage of life when nutrients are needed the most. The study explains how this is an act of self defence against certain bacteria found in most meats, cheese and other animal products, also it’s linked to the consumption of saturated fats, primarily in animal products. If no other animals get morning sickness to avoid certain bacteria, then this indicates us humans are eating a wrong or dangerous diet, so much so that our bodies actually discard valuable calories simply to protect the growing foetus from bacteria.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.10.02.png
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.16.01.png
    screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-09-19-26
    screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-09-21-36
    (www.livescience.com)
    (journals.llw.com)
    (journals.uchicago.edu)
    (collorado.journals.edu)
    (www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
    (www.jamanetwork.com)
  • Grass Fed Cattle & Environmental Damage
    We know that feeding our crops to animals is a huge issue, but I have noticed the recent rise in ‘solutions to our global warming issues’ in the form of grass rearing our cattle:
    screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-09-23-29
    screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-09-27-46
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.30.53.png
    My response? No. This doesn’t solve anything, and here is why:

    No matter what you feed these cows, they are going to produce a hell of a lot of Methane gas. And yes, grass feeding them may be a slightly better alternative than feeding them grain and crops that could be fed to humans, though this doesn’t erase the issue that pasture and valuable land that would be used for growing crops, is being consumed and exploited by this animal so we can eat it.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.32.03.png

    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.35.04.png
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    As time goes on the number of globing warming potential goes up, the highest I’ve seen been at 29 times.
    Over a span of 100 years Methane is much more of an effective greenhouse gas than C02, and the study above shows that grass feeding is doing nothing but cause deforestation (to make room for these farms) and produce more CH4 than the grain fed cattle. This also doesn’t include the fact that grass fed cattle grow 75% slower than grain fed cattle, therefore emitting this gas over a longer period of time.
    It is sheer fact that a Vegan diet uses 1/8 as much land as an omnivorous diet, not only that, we could use the 1/3 of ice free land that’s been used to raise cattle, and dedicate it to wildlife who’s habitats we have destroyed, and also to growing crops to feed our fellow humans.
    Not to mention that a farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.44.28.png
    (www.naweb.iaeg.org)
    (www.climatechange2013.org)
    (naldc.nal.usda.gov)
    (http://www.ucsusa.org/)
    (http://timeforchange.org/)

  • Health issues
    Little does our nation know, a lot of our health ailments such as obesity, heart disease and many more can actually be related to, or even caused by the consumption/overconsumption of animal products. It has been shown in in many studies how a plant based, vegan diet can benefit the body:
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 09.54.31.png

    Eating eggs has been proven to clog arteries and raise cholesterol – in a study of 300,000 people, eggs and cardiovascular disease were proven to be linked.
    It is proven that animal protein is not as easily digestable as plant protein and contains carcinogenic bacteria, which means it can cause cancer.Not only that, but our oestrogen levels raise and testosterone levels lower after drinking milk, leading to all kinds of mood related and digestive issues.
    screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-41-19screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-41-05screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-41-31screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-41-38screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-41-47

    (www.atherosclerosis-journal.com)
    (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
    (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
    (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
    (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
    (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

  • Animal Cruelty
    When people picture dairy farms, they think of happy cows getting hand milked by farmers. Wrong. Cows born here suffer unimaginable stress and pain, enduring child abduction and slaughter, rape and much, much more, and no matter how people think they live a long and happy life, dairy cows are usually slaughtered at 4 years old or earlier, and if they weren’t, the farmer would have no space to keep them.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 10.28.14.pngcow-rape.jpg
    rape-rack.jpg
    calf_nose_ring.jpg
    (www.claramagsblog.wordpress.com
    (https://www.aphis.usda.gov)
    (www.milkproduction.com)
    Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 10.05.16.png
    No matter how harmless the dairy industry may seem, a lot of vegetarians don’t realise that for a cow to produce milk, it has to be artificially inseminated… ‘raped’ to you and I. This produces 50% male and female calfs and the farmers don’t have the pasture to fit all of these animals, so the half of the cows (mostly male) are slaughtered after a few days of being alive, and the other half after about a year or so for beef. Not only this, but in order for us humans to drink the milk of this mother, farmers have to make sure the baby isn’t drinking it, therefore ripping them away from their mothers to be raised in often confined environments, on grain or grass. From the diagram below, mother cows’ milk production gets lower and lower, thus making her less valuable so she is often sent to the slaughter after being exhausted to a point of collapse, her daughter (the baby cow that was taken away from her) taking her place as an artificially inseminated dairy cow to suffer the same fate.
    Disgusting, no? Well that is the truth.

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 10.04.00.png
Enough of Dairy, let’s look past the often considered ‘humane’ life these animals have lead, and look at their deaths.
Us humans believe that, because we are at ‘the top of the food chain’ and we have the ability to mass murder and incarcerate animals at will, that we are meant to.
There is extortionate evidence out there that animals suffer when slaughtered and no matter how you look at it, no matter how much you skirt around the issue – death is death. Murder is murder, and it is not our place to decide how an animal should life, and ultimately, how they should die.
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Eggs are hen periods, the unborn baby of a small species of bird often kept in unclean conditions. There is no room for males in the egg laying industry, therefore it is supporting the meat industry.
Dairy is drinking the breast milk of another species – like a dog’s or a cat’s for example. It contains puss, hormones and antibiotics.
Honey is bee vomit – and keeping them to farm honey is inhibiting their reproduction, therefore dwindling the already dying population. Oh and if bees die out, humans will too.
Meat is a dismembered carcass, maybe even processed and filled with filling agents to keep it from rotting before you buy and filled with the fear of death and the antibiotics force fed to the animal during it’s life. It’s the product of pain, suffering and abuse in a pretty package.Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 10.28.14.png

My point is, we are doing both ourselves, animals and our planet harm.

 

It is simply an excuse that going vegan or even vegetarian to help our world is ‘impossible’, ‘unnatural’, and gives you ‘malnutrition’. There are a lot of resources out there giving our population the information they need to take this step.

The issue of confronting individuals about something they don’t want to change as it doesn’t affect them is hard – in other words, we need a common ‘enemy’ to not only solve an issue that the consumer has, but at the same time making them aware of these issues that need facing. This selling point will need to make it sound completely in the consumer’s favour.

If the entourage of fatty animal products and processed, refined sugars is what’s making the nation obese, then why not fabricate a diet/lifestyle that not only helps the planet and to combat our 4 issues, but helps the waistlines and therefore the overall health of our population.

I have decided that the consumers themselves who choose to turn a blind eye towards a lot of these problems are the issue.
I have done a search on the different types of books, e-books, guides and online channels that tackle the weight loss issue and as you might expect a lot of these are fads or are so called ‘yo-yo’ diets that only leave you shifting between weight gain and weight loss.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 11.54.49.png
(www.amazon.com)
Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 14.59.49.png
(www.telegraph.com)

I’ve listed some of the diet trends that were most popular in 2016 below to get a bit of knowledge on what diets are out there and how they effect our environmental issues:

Ketogenic Diets:

The aim of a Ketogenic diet is to stray the body away from anything carb related, replacing this with high ‘good fat’ foods such as fish, avocados and olive oil.

The Paleo Diet
Or the ‘Caveman’ diet – consuming what our 2.6 million year old ancestors ate, they were named the Paleolithic Humans.

Juice Cleanse
Let’s juice our… everything! Replacing food with juiced versions of itself is popular.

(www.zliving.com)

I can’t help but notice that most of these diets function by cutting something out of what you eat, for example fats, sugars or the most popularly hated carbohydrate. This, to me seems to simply be starving your body of a certain type of nutrient and seems though our bodies function best with a variety of different supplements – this can only mean bad news. For example, those on a low sugar diet are starving themselves of glucose – a nutrient that is essential for our brains to function properly. While yes, they will most likely loose weight initially, the reason most of the diets above fail in the end is because of this constriction – your body is screaming at you to go grab some sugar so it can function properly, and thus, the binge was born. Once starved, your body will conflict your mind when it comes to food, while your willpower and results thus far will be telling you to keep going because you’ll lose more weight, your brain is urging you to grab those biscuits and crisps in the cupboard. This is why diets are known as hard endeavours, horrible things to keep up with… because they aren’t what our body needs. At all. Just a way for some company or fitness expert to make money by coming up with these temporary solutions.
For those who actually have the strength to keep up with these things, well done! But you may actually be doing yourself more harm than good. Don’t believe me? It’s story time.

Meet my Dad.
Struggling at 23 stones (322 lbs), he was desperate to find a ‘diet’ that would melt away the pounds he’s slowly gained over the years. Then, he found the Atkins diet – a diet containing mainly meat aka protein rich fatty foods, whilst starving yourself of anything carb and sugar related. As you can see in the image below, the Atkins diet recommends 20g of carbs a day when the recommended guideline is (differing on the individual): “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.” (www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/)
As you can see, this is unacceptable for healthy functioning of the body, and once you have lost all of the weight from virtually starving yourself, your body begins to cry out and that’s when the binging starts and the weight gain creeps back on. Your body is in shock. It doesn’t know why your aren’t getting enough of this certain nutrient, so it’s response is the same as hundreds of years ago when famine and starvation were common: It stores more fat. Then more. And more. Resulting in you just gaining the weight back. This same thing happened with my Dad, he put all of his hard lost weight back on. After, he decided to go back on the Atkins diet, expecting the same results as the first time, but what he found was that he only lost 2 stones, then he put more weight on. The third time, he lost 1.5 stones, and so on.

Things began to change… let’s just say that nothing improved. One thing that kept occurring is that his breath began to smell and he went to the toilet less frequently (tmi, I know) – a couple of reasons being:

1. “A condition called “hypochlorhydria” or low stomach acid. Foods such as red meat require a relatively large amount of stomach acid and enzymes in order to be digested. When acid levels are low in the stomach, it can prevent proper digestion.”

2. “It’s definitely another possibility that the meat is getting stuck in the teeth and gums and causing odors”

3. There are sources pointing out our ‘omnivorous’ digestive tracts, stating that we have a longer digestive system, wherein meat remains for longer as opposed to our carnivorous counterparts. (see below)

carnivore.png
(wordpress.as.edu.au)

All of the above got me thinking – maybe we aren’t supposed to be eating things such as meat and dairy in large quantities?
Below are two screenshots of the official Atkins website showing their (rather limited and unhealthy) guidelines for weight loss.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.09.44.png

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.44.11.png
(uk.atkins.com)

This is a very current topic in society, as the problems are getting worse and the solutions are nonexistent. We are destroying ourselves and the environment. After seeing the array of fad diets doing more harm then good (much like the Atkins diet), I am convinced that people need to be healthy for themselves and the planet. Veganism is the solution, but getting this across in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m preaching will be a task. It sounds terrifying, I know. But this is what worked for me, and this is also the solution to all the problems I proposed, from overfishing to obesity, animal mistreatment and overconsumption of food.

For years I tried so many diets and failed so many times, so I am very passionate about showing others that it is possible to become the best version of yourself in a safe and healthy way that doesn’t involve starving your body of nutrients. It’s a given that young children learn off parents, and this can be a huge reason why ditching animal products is so hard – we are used to it and it’s what we have grown up as thinking is right.

For these personal reasons, I now know this is what I need to do – to educate and to help. A how-to guide, ‘starter pack’ if you like is going to be my response.
It is going to educate while helping the issues it causes. An eye opened – something that people can relate to without feeling pressured or preached to. 

img_9757

Please watch this trailer:
Cowspiracy
And here to find out more:
(www.cowspiracy.com)

Maybe you’ll agree.

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Introduction (Not Part of Word Count)

Scary title, scary concept.
We can do whatever under the sun, as long as it follows these loose guidelines: It must have a word count of 3000, represent the context of current professional, cultural and critical concerns and also it must have a 5-7 minute presentation of 1000 words.
And that’s all we have to go on. This is so broad that it could go in any direction possible. I am pleased about the freedom we have been given.

To see what direction this will end up taking, keep up to date with these posts and also the posts from my Major Project section.

See you in the beginning,

G

Bibliography

Practitioners & Theorists/Primary Sources (?)

Bibliography:

Research Links (NOT included in essay, though used throughout):

https://www.bustle.com/articles/69932-7-models-who-prove-that-your-flaws-arent-really-flaws-from-diandra-forrest-to-jacky

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-146021/Most-women-unhappy-bodies.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Look-Older-(Teenage-Girls)

http://www.beautyresource.org.uk/content/history-beauty-industry.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_theory

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/07/25/cosmetics-industry-driven-by-emotions/28016.html

Research Material/Reading List:

Daniel Todd Gilbert, The handbook of social psychology, 1998

Asch, S. E. Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1946

Rob McIlveen & Richard Gross, Social Psychology, 1998

Martin Barker, Ill Effects, 1997

Bruner, J. S. – Psychological Review, 1957

Caroline Basset, Media studies, 2009

Angharad N Valdivia, A companion to media studies, 2006

Martin Barker, Ill effects, 1997

 

The Quest for Perfection (Essay)

The Quest for Perfection

The media surrounding the Beauty industry is directly effecting our society, young adults and children.

Flip.jpg

Where did beauty start?

As far as we know, the history of cosmetics spans at least 6000 years back into our recorded history, beginning around 4000 BC in Ancient Egypt where women would use Red Ochre ground in water as a natural pigment for the lips and cheeks. Both men and women of this age ground kohl to use as an eye-liner of sorts as black lined eyes were considered desirable, amongst other natural beauty regimes ranging from skin softening to hair removal.

Many would argue however ,that the earliest form of cosmetics was in fact used over 100,000 years ago by the native African tribes who’s rituals included painting the body with markings and symbols. This again, was considered attractive.

No matter how far back into human history we search, where there was civilisation and a hierarchy in society (meaning the fight for survival was somewhat diminished compared to earlier homo sapiens), how one looked became a defining quality of everyday life.

Whether it be Ancient Roman bath houses, European women draining their blood to be paler or massaging your face with a Jade stone, one fact is clear: Humans love to be groomed. This behaviour is similar to that of many from the animal kingdom, take Apes for example, they groom themselves and each other for hygiene and social reasons.

Beauty is not the same around the world, but the foundations remain set that, if you don’t look a certain way (for example, wear makeup or have big eyes), you are not considered beautiful within the society you are present. This can be seen throughout many cultures, such as within the small South Pacific island of Tonga, where beauty is marked by one’s physical size, the larger the better. This is a direct contrast to the majority of our Western world, which has influenced other countries in it’s wake, Fiji for example was once a place that embraced it’s food, health and happiness. However since the arrival of electricity on the island and with it, Western TV, there has been a dramatic rise in eating disorders, displacing the traditions that used to encompass food. Though the Beauty Industry denies it’s roll in these events, only so much can be blamed on group thinking and ‘a change of heart’.

Throughout the 19th Century, there has been an astonishing growth in the seller to consumer ratio, and with it, the beauty industry has grown particularly prevalent in developed regions of the world. Some may attribute this to the release of television in the 1920’s and with it, the ability to spread information, news and advertisements faster and more efficiently than ever before.

As the population rises, so does the demand for food, clothing, housing and also for more menial possessions such as beauty products that are not a necessity, but are wanted for equally nonetheless. This leads to the conclusion that we, as a more privileged society value looking presentable and acceptable when in public (speaking for the majority of people, though not all of course).

Based on this conclusion, we can assume that the Beauty industry are using these factors of modern day society and social behaviour to their full advantage, both to grow and improve the industry, as well as the media surrounding it, proceeding to stem this media outbreak to a wider audience across the world.

This leaves us with the following questions: Who is the beauty industry aimed at and is it effecting others outside of their target audience?  What is in fact their aim? And why do us citizens, female in particularly rely so heavily on this vastly expanding industry as our source of ‘beauty’? That being said, do any of us even know the definition of true beauty.

Humans, by nature, automatically conclude that if an individual has a certain characteristic then they also possess another characteristic, this is based entirely off of assumptions, not a fact known to the observer but it is something that we do on a daily basis, whether we realise it or not. This is also similar to stereotyping, a word that was originally acquired from it’s use within the printing industry where a printing mould would be nigh impossible to change once cast.

Stereotyping is something that seems to plague our population, particularly for those who dress a certain way, or wear daring makeup as an example. But how would the implication of this subject benefit the Beauty industry? Simple. This industry thrives off of the idea that if one looks a certain way, people will perceive them as such. This is known as a ripple effect that branches its way throughout consumers, and thus, an ideology of how a person should look is born. If the fear of being subject to dogma for not fitting into a certain stereotype lingers in the back of ones mind when getting ready in the morning, then what is reinforcing this feeling in our daily lives? Whether it be the need to blend in or to stand out, without realising we are automatically setting ourselves up for stereotype, making the fear that lead us as a nation to hide our true selves in the first place, the new source of conviction and ideology. “Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.” – B.R. Ambedkar. This statement captures the truth of our instinctive behaviour, showing our reluctance to ‘join the crowd’, yet when it comes to beauty, we are unconsciously conforming to the mould the industry has set out for us.

As we walk down the street of a shopping district we are bombarded by billboards of beautiful women, baring their artificially airbrushed skin and surgically carved cheekbones at us – this unnatural portrayal of women is constantly before us, and yes, women do exist who have ‘won the genetic lottery’ per se, but parading this level of standards before the 99% of our population who are considered ‘regular’ really isn’t fair in some people’s eyes. The media is great at sending indirect subliminal messages, hinting that this crème makes your skin as flawless as the women you see before you, whilst this lipstick will give you the lips of this lady who’s spent thousands on cosmetic fillers, all the while reinforcing that something about you isn’t good enough, and they can help you change. Our views as consumers are warped by the very media that is selling us the products we value, using unrealistic beauty standards that a very slim portion of the population actually possess to feed us ideas that it is possible to obtain perfection. But on one condition. We must keep buying their products.

Some say that money makes the world go around, this is true in some instances. Instances that involve vastly growing companies who not only manipulate but rely on the social identities of their customers to trick their way to success, using the same subduing techniques to toy with their customer’s inner desires and emotions.

The media surrounding the Beauty industry is vast. Their goal, as with any media: entice potential buyers. This is understandable. Money is their key goal and it’s not that which is shocking in the slightest, it is the method in which they use their media.

The target audience of 99% of everyday cosmetic and makeup companies is women. Why? Because women want to look younger, they want to be pretty and will follow examples set by others they deem as ‘beautiful’ to reach this goal. An example set by the trend of Coco Chanel’s 1930 accidental sun-burning session in the French Riviera – tanning oils were first created as a means of women achieving the same, burnt look as the fashion icon. This collective behaviour is referred to as conformity, “yielding to group pressure” – Crutchfield 1955 and can come in many forms – whether it be persuasion, bullying, criticism or simply the desire to be like someone you admire or look up to. This term is often used to specify an agreement of thoughts via a social majority, be it for acceptance, a desire to be liked or to fit in and feel what the majority consider ‘normal’ or even ‘special’ or ‘different’. Though these are broad terms, everybody puts their own meaning and representations to the words and thus, we all have ideals of what we want to portray ourselves as. This is applied throughout our daily lives, surprisingly or not by the ones we love and who are closest to us who point out our flaws ‘lovingly’ in obedience to their belief of normality which has unbeknownst to them, been influenced by the media surrounding them.

For now we are compiling feelings of imperfection with advertisements and media of women deemed as ‘perfect’, this amounts to optimal influence over a large section of the population as 54% of women between the ages of 18 and 40 are unhappy with themselves, a further 80% admitting that the mirror makes them feel further distaste towards themselves (www.dailymail.co.uk – Most women ‘unhappy with their bodies’). Shocking, no? Either way, the Beauty industry knows the numbers and uses this as marketing information. If 54% of women are uncomfortable with how they look, that’s a market of 17.38 million potential buyers in the UK alone, not counting the women who are confident with themselves but who still want to ‘enhance’ the way they look. The media in charge of getting these companies the business they know is out there only reinforces the the feeling of insecurity by marketing unobtainable beauty standards to the already wounded public.

Some say the Beauty Industry has changed for the better over the past decade. An example of this is the use of models with ‘flaws’ in being signed to high-end agencies and used in prevalent campaigns. These are models with apparent ‘flaws’ such as: “Diandra Forrest – the first albino model to be signed to an elite agency”, “Brunette Moffy – A girl with crossed eyes represented by Storm Management who also represent Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss” and “Winnie Harlow – A model with a rare skin disease named Vitiligo making parts of her skin milky white, whilst other areas remain her natural colour.” (www.bustle.com). There have been mixed responses from the use of these ‘imperfect’ models, some react positively, saying that it’s great that a wider variety of women are being included in mainstream campaigns, whilst some react the opposite way, feeling that their appearance is just a facade by the industry to promote a sense of multitude and hide their strict requirements.

By doing this, they are already setting a standard for what are considered as ‘imperfections’,  It’s almost the same as saying, ‘Hey, you have crossed eyes, they are a flaw. Your Vitiligo is a flaw. Your freckles, a flaw. Your wide hips, a flaw. But we have to represent a wider variety of people, so one in a 7,475,112,438 people with your flaw is going to be represented by us.’ (www.worldometers.info) By pointing people’s unique characteristics out as fault or a blemish, they are creating grounds for more insecurity and standardisation… or empowerment, depending on the individual.

Beauty hasn’t always been the same, and based on our nation of conformity, we have seen many trends come in and out of being throughout our past. The aim of all trends are to improve one’s social identity and physical appearance because we as humans want to be better. But why? The answer to such behaviour is within our DNA. We desire acceptance, compatibility and the ability to ultimately bare a child for a potential mate, but first of all to attract said mate – one of the beauty standards that exposed this concept to the general public in it’s rawest form was the mid 1900’s ideology of women’s beauty. Taking the controversial ideal of raising the population via sexual appeal and introducing it to their audience is a scary prospect, but they did it in a way only the beauty industry knows how – parading women of a certain, healthy (optimum for birthing) body in front of them, announcing it as the ‘new beautiful’. Us as the conforming society we are, caught on within weeks. Using marketing techniques such as the the tag-line ‘don’t let them call you skinny!’ and ‘If you want to be popular… you can’t afford to be SKINNY!’ to assure women this was the way to go, while shaming all of those who possessed a certain, more slender body type. Beauty of post-wartime was arguably directly sexual, flaunting women’s curved hips, pinched waistlines and voluptuous breasts in swimsuits. As expected, the trend was approved and so, women young and old adopted this new ‘attractive body type’ and rosy makeup to entice their potential mates – particularly after the war when the population had dropped some – only to be revived by the resulting baby boom after the soldier’s return. This too could be attributed to the healthy, plumper appearance of women upon their return in comparison to their previous, post famine bodies from rationed food, which is not what one would call the optimal birthing body, or ‘motherly measurements’ as described in a few vintage articles.

A dramatic turn of events occurred when wartimes were over and all had healed, with the arrival of stick thin models such as Twiggy in the Sixties, the look to go for was then dramatically shifted to super skinny, inducing an epidemic of mental illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia to achieve these standards. This reinforces how easily humanity is swayed.

Ashmore, R. D., & Tumia, M. – Sex stereotypes and implicit personality theory

Feminism began post-wartime when women had proved they can work hard, being more than housewives, firmly kicking off in 1963 with the release of Betty Friedan’s best-seller, The Feminine Mystique. From then on everything Beauty was controversial, including the rapid rise of borderline starved models. This period kicked off the foundations of the modern era, things were changing rapidly and from there on, beauty had become a formidable authority of sorts, perhaps governing more effectively over females in our modern era than most authoritarian figures. This brings the question many feminists argue is true – are advertisements indirectly sexual, just as they were over 50 years ago? Even more so, are they sexualising and objectifying and women? Because if this was the case, women would have surely acted upon this by now, rebelling against this concrete cast of beauty expectations. For some, beauty in the form of cosmetics, treatments, surgery and supplements is the only beauty they know – because they have been told their wrinkles are bad, that their skin shouldn’t be ageing, the beauty industry has such a grasp on people that this is the belief. But why do women want to look young?

It seems a reverse psychology attached to youth has developed, the contrast between old and young differs tremendously with age, all in all young girls (between the ages of 11 and 17) want to look older and women between the ages of 25 and onwards want to look younger. Whilst the internet is practically swimming with tips on how to get younger skin (any number of them being potentially dangerous quick fixes or home remedies), only in the recent decade or so has there been a dramatic increase in the amount of videos and how-to’s on how young girls (particularly teenagers) can look older be it for the benefit of getting into a club, buying cigarettes or alcohol, or simply to enhance their own features and blend seamlessly into the adult world. There is even a WikiHow article titled “How to Look Older – Teenage Girls” in which it suggests young girls “Upgrade your hairstyle”, “Try some makeup”, ‘Get your eyebrows done” or “If you are used to covering up, wear slightly more revealing or figure-flattering clothes” All the while claiming things like: “stabbing pieces of metal through your earlobes will do wonders for your apparent age” (www.wikihow.com). I can’t help but notice that most, if not all of these suggestions are shallow, skin deep and quite frankly, not what I’d want my daughter doing at 13. The fact that these things are even out there is a direct link to how both adults and children are effected by the media around them, wanting to look certain ways and change themselves and even their physical bodies in the process.

Who really sees and is influenced by the beauty industry? Though the industry is aiming at the vulnerabilities of young women and adults, like horror movies, children can’t help but happen upon them and thus, be affected by it’s consequence. Due to the media surrounding this industry and complete overexposure of commercials and the like, children cannot hope to be shielded by this stigma carried both by it’s audience and the thing itself.

Children are at the heart of a lot of media effects debates and looking into the angle of beauty from a child’s perspective, it begins very young. So young in fact, that you probably don’t remember the first time you watched a your mother put on her lipstick, played with a Barbie or groomed the hair of your first life-sized doll head. Little do parents realise, their young girls are idealising the unrealistic plastic perfection that is their Moxie Doll, their Bratz Doll or simply their favourite slender, makeup wearing princess from a Disney movie at an extremely young age, exposing them to things that were only made for adult comprehension. As a child it may seem like nothing to them, just harmless fun and games, but the minute they want to start wearing makeup like their mother, pluck their eyebrows like their sister, or wear eye shadow like Elsa from Frozen it can become somewhat of a dangerous ideal to have planted in your head whilst growing up. Children have ever evolving social identities, they are not yet the version of themselves that they will become later in life, and everything they do and experience in life could have an effect on their growth as a human, Implicit personality theory strengthens this once more. Just like a child’s mind cannot comprehend certain meanings or situations, they are also hyper sensitive to external stimuli and will follow examples set by those they idolise and look up to, for example their parents. Common misconceptions and false words can accidentally (or intentionally) become gospel for these undeveloped minds, for example:

. Bulging eyes are a sign of extroversion

. Thick lips means gluttony

. Intellectuals have bigger skulls

. Stretch marks mean your fat, or have once been fat

These are the menial myths us as adults can dismiss easily, creating our judgements in relation to how true each statement is. Children on the other hand, lack the capacity to compare and evaluate truth and fiction, they may tackle one of these statements by asking an adult if this is true, or simply believing it.

This can be translated to the following beauty standards:

. Long eyelashes

. Plump, symmetrical lips

. Straight, white teeth

. Perfect, blemish free skin

If children believe these are the standards of beauty, whether they’ve passively received these messages from the actions of others, or being exposed to media and beauty influenced products, this could potentially create a ripple effect, influencing many of their decisions in later life, especially when it comes to defining their social appearance.

So does the media see their audience as an undifferentiated mass? Why has nothing been done about who sees their campaigns and how it effects viewers? The answer is simple – if you censor it from one social group, you have to censor it from all social groups. This includes children too – if the advertisements are aimed at adults, there would be no point in having these adds in the first place if they don’t reach their target audience, which they wouldn’t be able to if they decided to protect children from the media. There is always the question of whether children are passive viewers or not, but they are learning, evolving and soaking up the world around them, therefore soaking up what the media has to offer too. To start exploring what children make of these advertisements/images and how it may effect their development and innocence would take years. Is the real issue here the parents or the media itself? Have parents abandoned their responsibilities in an age where technology seems to complete many jobs for us? Or are they protecting their child from being “too innocent”, warding off the danger that somebody else’s child will be more up to date than their own? For example, some parents see TV as a bad influence for others apart from themselves, therefore stating their immunity to media effects, though this is not entirely true. They are effected just as much, the only difference is that they possess intellectual capacity to distinguish between reality and the reality the TV offers to them, when the child they are responsible for may only see what they wish to believe as accurate which in turn, effects their behavioural and emotional state.

Be it passive or direct, the beauty industry has influence upon many platforms, even in children’s marketing, but even this widely recognised and well established industry has an ugly side, and when it bares it’s teeth at the unsuspecting consumer, things can get far from beautiful. There was a time where popular media sought to lift our spirits, though this has worn away over time, replaced by the manipulative content we see today that aids in the art of stereotyping. But this can be argued as a normal cognitive process because we, as intelligent Homo sapiens, make assumptions based on instinct much like our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in our brains.

According to Bruner and Tagiuri (1954), our perception of others is not based on what those others are really like, but our own general theory or expectations about them. We essentially ‘fill in the gaps’ of what we don’t know, based on what we know.

Within the mix of who sees beauty related media, young and developing teenagers who define part of their social identities via the media’s influence are within this category. They have their developing judgements on social media & the media every day through conversation and their own experiences with their personal experimentation with products (Asch, S. E. Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1946). This will soon become a vital part of their social role and identity. Pubescents are often triggered and mentally wounded by the opinions of others, often feeling the group pressure to be ‘approved’ by others and to fit in, the feeling of being different makes some thrive, though for others it only aids in the easy transition from being confident to being insecure. “it may take different forms and be based on motives other than group pressure” – Mann 1969. The idea that something about them must be changed is the basis of this, the fact that they are not adequate is constantly around them and this can be a lot to bear as a teen, and suddenly looking a certain way or altering their appearance becomes the solution they resort to, hiding their discomfort.

Why are children becoming adults faster? They seem to look older and act older, as I’ve covered previously, the rise of ‘beauty gurus’ on sites such as Youtube may be partially the answer as they preach their findings and techniques, all the while hidden behind their own mask of makeup. If putting on makeup eyelashes to keep up your good looks is so much of a hassle, the pros must outweigh the cons, for most this is the feeling of confidence and worthiness to face the world’s assessing gaze but are looks addictive? Whether it be the short burst of dopamine released in the brain upon receiving a compliment connected to one’s appearance, or the feeling of completion while staring at finished makeup in the mirror, this makeup becomes the one thing that’s easily accessible and gives the wearer a sense of superiority or accomplishment.

“our perception is determined by the ecological context in which we exist our religious beliefs, political and social ideologies, ideas about right and wrong, and scientific theories are for the most part defined by the social context in which they occur.” – this is true to a certain extent. For adults, that is. For children and developing teens however, not so much. Having such a heavily influenced upbringing from the beauty industry, to the rise in social media all piles up to ultimately make children want to grow up faster, and as consequence, want adult things too. This pretty much answers the question of ‘is beauty sexualising children?’ Yes, yes it is. In some ways directly, for example the use of 9 year old supermodel Kristina Pimenova in overly sexualised campaigns has been a topic of dispute, quote: “The attention – both positive and negative- is likely to wreak havoc on a child’s psyche” – Mark Shryber Jezebel. In some ways, indirect sexualisation is occurring more frequently, something as simple as wearing makeup can make girls look years older, exposing them to scenes and sexual attention (particularly from older guys thinking they are not their real age) that young, developing women really shouldn’t be exposed to under any circumstances. This side of beauty is seen as inappropriate or even child pornography – but the beauty industry is worth 17 billion and employs 1 million nationwide, so it seems even the more obvious cases of child sexualisation are ignored. The issue here is that industry itself is far too broad and formidable, and the media are unfortunately seen as either enormously powerful or effectively powerless, by some – the grey area in between is what blinds people to the obvious truth. In my opinion humans are impressionable creatures – our minds are easily wavered to think a certain way by external stimuli – take Hitler for example, he brought a nation to it’s knees based on a simple jealousy that resulted in the unlawful slaughter of millions of people. Little do we, as a society realise, but this iron grip already has us, and social media is only propelling it further into our views.

All in all, children and young adults impressionable, they are victims of manipulation, lead by their role models into a society where standards end expectations are already laid out for them, a world far to intricate for them to interpret correctly. The influence of variables such as age, gender and social class undermines any generalisations about children as a homogeneous social group, and therefore overlooks the naivety of their cognitive ability to process meanings and information, leaving them vulnerable to their own subjectivity. Adults and Elderly are no exception to these effects.

So where does beauty end? Where did it begin? What in fact is beauty? In my opinion, nothing is perfect yet everything somehow is in it’s own way, and allowing oneself to become swayed by the imaginary laws of a single industry will do only harm.

Love yourself unconditionally and be happy with the life you are so lucky to have and remember, beauty is subjective. You are not what society has made you. You are you, so treasure the feeling that your one of a kind… a limited edition.

 

Critical Studies Essay Proposal

The quest for perfection
The media surrounding the Beauty industry is directly effecting young adults and children.

Over the past few decades childhood has been becoming less and less like what a traditional childhood has been for hundreds of years. Children are ‘growing up faster’ and abandoning their toys at a much younger age in place of elaborate technology, magazines and TV.
This is a change that has been documented by many, though the less explored side of the ‘growing up too fast’ theory lies within the lives of young girls. Amongst the exponentially growing amount of the child population playing games and drinking alcohol, there is also a rise in the number of girls that feel the need to wear makeup, style their hair and dress a certain way out in public.

The reasons behind my suspicions that the various media surrounding the beauty industry (and, of course the beauty industry itself) is directly effecting young adults and children are plentiful. This belief sparked quite some years ago when I, myself was a child. A few of my little sister’s friends (all around the age of 13-14 at the time) had come over to our house before an end of year meal. I let them use my bedroom as I have large mirrors, and the natural, happy girls I saw walking into my room exited hours later looking like completely different people. Their eyes were lined, lashes caked with mascara – ‘imperfections’ covered with thick liquid still baring streaks from the brushes they used to apply the product. Their hair was burned to conform different shapes, feet crushed inside heeled shoes and bodies on full display through tight fitting clothing. It, to me, was normal at the time as I too wore a lot of makeup. Now however, I find it bizarre behaviour for such a young group of girls, they quite simply no longer looked anywhere close to the age they actually were.
From then on I have always had a curiosity for the mental state of young girls and women, and what causes them to make certain decisions about their body and appearance.
I, myself have been influenced in so many ways in the past, be it via the internet, the movies I’ve watched, advertisements I saw, shop windows, magazines, catwalks, models, it doesn’t matter. The point is, I pretended to be someone else, in fact I wanted so badly not to be me. This past behaviour sickens me to the core because I am me, there is nobody else like me and quite frankly, now that I’ve past the stage I was in, I really am glad of that. I embrace my imperfections and have learned to do so through a way that was so hard to accept a few years ago.
So why is it so difficult for these young girls? Why do they have to hide behind this mask that they create? Do they feel comfortable when they are not in fact ‘themselves’ anymore? How deep does this fakery actually go? Is it just o the surface or is it something more personal and deep? These are just a few of my many questions I am looking forward to answering since as I have experienced these emotions personally and still, years later I don’t fully understand them.

Reasons and theories aside, the plain fact is that so many young girls hide themselves, they partake in dangerous methods in order to change their appearance, in a lot of cases developing life threatening mental illnesses along the way. So why is this? Are they trying to look a lot older then they actually are? Achieve social status? Or is it something they are doing for themselves. Finding answers is going to be my quest throughout the ‘Critical Studies’ module, to find out why. What is the cause of this behaviour, and what does the beauty industry have to do with it.

My aims and objectives for this topic are to broaden my knowledge in of a field I commonly use within my portfolio work across both Photography and Design. I tend to use a lot of young females in my photoshoots and personally I find designing anything fashion or beauty related the most stimulating projects to chase. This may be because I am a young woman myself but to me, the female form is one of beauty and I would like nothing more than to understand why they undermine their own beauty with fakery and other tactics of achieving ‘beauty’ – or whatever it is they are aiming for (which I intend to cover too).
One of my main goals is to bring to light what it is that incurs this behaviour… to answer many of the questions I have earlier proposed. This will require extensive primary research across various subjects correlating with the topic at hand.

It’s my objective to discern if this epidemic of beauty-related media is the cause of self hate amongst young girls and whether various external factors such as age ranges, social media, upbringings, nature vs nurture, areas, parent influence, media, beauty industry, tradition and human nature have any impact on this at all. Not only am I going to be delving into the topics previously mentioned, but a brief look at the general public and how this industry works is also of interest to me, related industries such as fashion, modelling and main influential brands shall be a point of focus as I feel that before I research how this industry is effecting a certain audience, I need to know more about the industry within itself.

My response to these questions is yet to be seen as most of the above are just theoretical ideas that I am yet to develop, though after a lot of research I have found a path I am happy to pursue. I would definitely say that this research is going to benefit my portfolio and expand my knowledge of the subject(s) I often adopt within my work.

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