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Showing posts from May, 2017

Ten Reasons Why Skin Whitening Products Are Shady AF

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Skin whitening is a global phenomenon and according to market research, is one of the fastest growing segments of the global beauty industry, expected to be worth $23 billion by 2020. Notably, the practice of skin whitening is most prevalent across the Global South in places where slavery, colonialism, racism and colourism are deeply imbedded in societal values and beliefs. For example, in India, Japan, and Thailand, skin whitening products account for more than 60% of each country’s respective skin care market. According to the World Health Organisation, more than one-quarter (and up to 77%) of women in Japan, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India report to regularly using skin whitening products.
Skin whitening products and their associated marketing communications are hugely problematic on so many levels. Yet, regulation and policy is patchy at best. Moreover, resources and research aimed at raising awareness and developing intervention and prev…

The pure erotics of Brazilian Waxing

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One of the questions I often get asked when I talk about my research is how much longer I think the trend for full pubic hair removal will last. I’m hesitant to give an exact expiry date if I’m honest. But I think this question opens up into broader discussions about what impact social, political and economic change has upon our bodily surfaces, and how embodied ideals of womanhood and femininity can both shift and remain constant over time. More revealing than any answer I might be able to give about the potential longevity of the Brazilian wax, is the asking of the question itself.  It demonstrates an understanding of pubic hairlessness as ‘current’, constructed, transitory, and it encourages conversation about where the norm has originated from, and why women in particular feel pressured to conform to it. 

My Google Alerts notified me recently of an online survey examining men and women’s pubic hair grooming preferences, undertaken by Cosmopolitan.com, and suggesting that pubic hair…

Consent, “cosmetic” procedures and crime: The case of Ian Paterson

By Melanie Latham and Jean McHale
On 28th April 2017   breast surgeon Ian Paterson was  charged and convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent under Offences Against the Person Act 1861  in relation to 9 women and one man (Breast surgeon Ian Paterson found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent after 'unnecessary operations'). He was in addition convicted in relation to three further wounding charges. Evidence given during his trial was to the effect that he had either exaggerated or invented cancer risks which led to patients deciding to consent to breast surgery. 
From 2003 Paterson’s colleagues had raised concerns regarding his practice. He undertook a practice of cleavage saving mastectomies which had involved leaving some breast tissue with consequent risks of reoccurrence of secondary cancer.  During the trial evidence was given by patients that they had been misled into believing that they were seriously ill and as a consequence were able to agree to surgery (ht…

Attractive celebrities and peers online: What is their effect on our body image?

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When you scroll through Instagram or Facebook nowadays you are bound to come across an abundance of images of thin and attractive women. Although we are accustomed to seeing beautiful women in magazines and on television, social media creates a new opportunity for users to be exposed to idealised images of their peers and their favourite celebrities.

In traditional media, celebrities are presented as beautiful and ideal figures for women to aspire to. But how does exposure to attractive celebrities on social media sites such as Instagram affect women’s body image?  

Instagram in particular is a unique social networking site because its prime focus is on images. Instagram users can edit and filter their images to achieve an ‘ideal’ look, much like magazines photoshopping their images. However, Instagram is more personal than magazines. It presents celebrities and peers together on the same platform, and potentially makes celebrities seem more like friends. Given the rise of Instagram an…