Stand Strong Girls

Archive for the tag “body image”

Small steps or big leaps?

The way that women are treated and depicted has progessed so much over the years but it is still far from perfect. Take the example of the characters in one-year-old Bollywood film Ek Tha Tiger.

This is the advert for the film, notice the James Bond attitude

This is the advert for the film, notice the James Bond attitude

The film’s characters include a female Pakistani secret agent who is very skilled and able to cope during the most difficult missions. And yet you can still see the marks of sexist depiction on her, her hair is long and sleek, her facial details are smooth and well cut and she has a figure to die for. The male agent is also shown in a sexist light, i.e James Bond, guns blaring and full on tough guy. However, the interesting thing is that it is the James Bond act-alike that is weakened by love and not the female agent.

Does the fact that she is there at all make up for the way that she is depicted? In other words, when it comes to equality should and can women be satisfied and proud of small steps and gains? Or should we be getting things perfect first time, examining every small detail that might have an effect? On the other hand, could this just be an effect of the country that the film hails from?  Do all Bollywood films depict women in this way and is it an acceptable thing?

Since this blog post is turning into a page of question marks  I’ll finish now and throw the debate open to comments.


Size 14s only

Here is a quick link to an article on MSN which really disgusted me when I saw it. It is about how Abercrombie and Fitch (parent brand of Hollister) do not produce their clothing in any size higher than 14. Mike Jeffries, the company’s CEO said this about it in a 2006 interview, ‘”we go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Public opinion (expressed via Twitter) slated the company for its limited views and unpleasant attitude. Check out this link for the article and a selection of the tweets about it:

Mad Magazines

‘Mad Magazines’ are my name for the magazines you see that are all about dieting and achieving the perfect figure. Most of these mags are aimed at adults but there are some for teens and there is nothing stopping children buying adult mags. The problem with this is that a lot of these magazines encourage yo-yo dieting, fasting or taking special pills. Doing these things can be bad for teenager’s health because when you are going through puberty you need proper food so that your body has enough energy to cope with the changes.

Anyway, it’s not even like the people shown  in the pictures actually look like that, many of the pictures are drastically photo shopped to improve the appearance of the models. This in itself is also bad because if a teenager begins to compare herself to these unreal pictures they may begin to lose confidence in themselves and their body.

The same thing could also be a problem with boys, there is a lot of pressure put on young men to look muscular and tanned and again there is the issue of the photo shopped pictures.  Please leave a comment if you think of a way of dealing with these problems, I’d love to hear from you!



Pinkstinks is a campaign aimed at changing companies’ and people’s opinions and attitude towards young girls. On the website there is a blog, an online shop and articles on their campaigns. Pinkstinks’ motto is ‘there is more than one way to be girl‘. If you are interested in the topics that this blog covers you might like to have  a look at their website.

Here is the video that is on their homepage:

The Beauty Corner at Hamleys

This post and one or two more are going to be focused on stereotyping through the medium of toys. The theme of this post is the Beauty Corner in the Hamleys, the toy shop at Dundrum. Note the words toy shop. The Beauty Corner contains toys, yes, but it also sells hair accessories, nail polish, hand cream and hair brushes. A hair brush is not a toy, hair clips aren’t toys either and yet children are being encouraged to buy them or ask for them.

The toys that can  be found in this section of the shop are very limited. There is an entire section filled with shelves of Barbies and other dolls. A lot of them are wearing dresses and this is not a realistic interpretation of 21st century girls. Here  we come up against our old enemy (when attached to girls), pink. The colour scheme of the entire section is pink

The next problem is that of the dressing-up costumes. There is a whole wall displaying only net tutu style princess and fairy costumes. And just for the record, I’m not condemning these costumes, I owned two such dresses when I was younger and got no end of pleasure out of wearing them. But I really don’t think that there is any need for a whole wall of them. There are other dress-up costumes on offer but they are all extremely sexist. The pirate costume has a skirt in it and the girl advertising it in the picture manages to look extremely glamorous in it. There was a beautician outfit as well and a cowgirl who is also made up to look very attractive.

Another issue is that of the princess and fairy influence. A lot of the games, costumes, bags and other products in this section had images of princesses and fairies on them. Another very common theme is Hello Kitty and Hamleys stock so many Hello Kitty products that it commands several shelves all to itself.

The last issue that I will mention is the nail polish bar that has been set up at the entrance to the ‘girls’ section. There were two female members of staff running this bar when I was there. They were offering to paint the nails of or do glitter tattoos on any girls that came to the section. I heard one of them assuring the mother of a young girl who was having a glitter tattoo done that it was perfectly safe, good quality etc. That is not the issue, the issue is that girls are being forced into the realms of personal adornment from a very early age and in this they are often encouraged by their parents. This could potentially increase body image insecurity when they are older. It is up to us as the consumers to make the decision. If people do not buy these types of products and if there is no demand for them manufacturers will be forced to stop producing them. This will then no longer be an issue that could affect developing girls.


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