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Old 3rd January 2011   #1
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Join Date: January 2010
Posts: 188
Default Media literacy mitigates size-brainwashing

As we all know from past threads on this forum, countless studies have conclusively demonstrated that media images promoting an emaciated female appearance ruin women's body image and brainwash them into wanting to be underweight.

A new study confirms this but introduces a new dimension:

For one thing, it adds television images to the list of images that have a toxic, anorexia-inducing effect:

“There’s a lot of talk about the effect of media images on people’s satisfaction with their appearance. But the term ‘media images’ is used as a catch-all phrase. Most research focuses on fashion magazines and television commercials; we wanted to see if other images on TV achieved the same result.”

And sure enough, after exposing the research group to television programming with stick-thin actresses,

the researchers found that watching the segment had a significantly adverse effect on the participants’ satisfaction with their own appearance.

But here's where the study adds an important element. The Judgment of Paris, and other sites that discuss harmful media norms, not only promote pro-curvy images, but also deliver copious text that unravels media propaganda and attempts to undo thin-supremacist brainwashing. We know from past research that pro-plus images mitigate the harmful effects of the starvation standard and improve women's body image. But I always wondered if there was any empirical evidence that pro-plus text has a constructive effect as well.

Apparently, it does:

Before viewing the segment, however, two of the groups were asked to read “intervention” material. One script...(“Weight and Shape”) discussed the overrepresentation of thin characters on television, the effort required to maintain a low body weight and the health implications of a low body-mass index.

“Our study showed [that] when we are reminded that ‘real life’ doesn’t resemble what is seen on TV, and we can look at things with a critical eye, the comparisons become less relevant.”... In particular, the Weight and Shape script proved very successful in balancing the participants’ view of themselves.

This is good to hear. It's edifying to know that curve-o-phobic media brainwashing can be undone, and that media literacy can accomplish this.

Nevertheless, the very obvious fact is that all of this effort to mitigate the crisis wouldn't be necessary if the problem didn't exist in the first place. Instead of trying to free women from anorexic standards, the media should not be allowed to impose those anorexic standards in the first place.

The most effective solution is still the most obvious one: use fuller-figured actresses (and models, and celebrities, etc.).
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Old 2nd August 2011   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Media literacy mitigates size-brainwashing

How gratifying to hear that pro-curvy textual material can undo thin-supremacist media brainwashing and foster positive body image. We at the Judgment of Paris have always believed this to be the case, but this study provides welcome support for the premise.

Some sites attempt to promote a full-figured aesthetic largely through the reblogging of images, others concentrate on text and analysis, but ultimately, both methods are needed--and a merging of the two is likely the most effective stratagem for combatting curve-o-phobia.

Each method has a unique impact: the aesthetic approach, in the form of images, works on the level of feeling and instinct, while the textual approach appeals to reason and understanding.

The media uses both weapons against us (glamourized images of anorexia coupled with weight hysteria and starvation propaganda) to suppress the timeless ideal and impose an androgynous, emaciated standard, so we in turn must use both weapons to combat this alien agenda.

We must never be afraid of being propagandists, for the only thing that will effectively combat negative propaganda is positive propaganda from the other side. The only force that can counter an Anna Wintour is her opposite: an individual who favours plus-size beauty exactly as much as she denounces it, who celebrates full-figured femininity as much as she suppresses it, who idealizes the Classical aesthetic as much as she defames it.

In terms of the size-positive discourse that we attempt to cultivate at this site, that too has a dual aspect. When examining news reports or medical studies, the members of this forum use close reading to shatter spurious arguments and expose faulty premises. But when appreciating plus-size models' images, we indulge in language that is more consciously poetic.

Marina Zelner kindly complimented this writing style in our interview with the Queen Grace founder and CEO. We explained our technique by pointing out that, in the absence of a fashion background, we have always approached models' images in the way that a museum curator might describe works of painting or sculpture. Not only was the decision to adopt this writing style a matter of practical necessity, but this approach reinforces the premise that today's plus-size models are the living embodiments of the beauty ideal which gave rise to history's greatest works of art. In another time, a Kelsey Olson or a Katherine Roll would have been the Helena Fourment or Emma Hamilton of her day, whose voluptuous beauty would have spurred artists to immortalize her beauty in painting and scultpure. Therefore, it seems only fitting to enthuse over these model's images in just the same manner that we might discuss a masterpiece by Rubens or Romney.

Furthermore, in highlighting the specifically plus-size aspects of feminine beauty, the characteristics that visibly identify goddesses as full-figured models--such as a curve under the chin, or dimpled knuckles, or curves along the back, or a full waist--and celebrating these as the most gorgeous physical features that women possess, we strive to undo the anti-plus discourse of the mass media, which attempts to defame these beautiful natural characteristics as "flaws." We seek to reestablish these attributes as hallmarks of ideal feminine beauty, so that the public can similarly admire such features in full-figured women, and so that full-figured women can appreciate such qualities in themselves.

The pin-up perfection of Alexandra Newton (Australian size 16), Bella Models:

- Click to view larger

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