Monthly Archives: February 2014

Body Positivity & The Body Positive.

Body positivity aims to make everyone, no-matter what size/shape/style choice etc feel comfortable and confident in their body as well as discouraging ‘Shaming’ or insulting people, and self hatred based on these things. The recent movement of body positivity seems to be more prominent online than in other media, although I think it is starting to get into other forms of media. Groups are also forming to help people become more confident and comfortable in their bodies.

The Body Positive is one of these. “The Body Positive’s mission is to transform people’s beliefs about beauty, health, and identity, freeing them to live balanced, joyful, and purposeful lives. The result is a growing national movement of healthy, confident individuals contributing to positive change in the world.”  They hold various events for example workshops and groups as well as creative projects. Since the events are held in many places and the projects can be done by anyone anywhere they have started a good way of branching out and helping everyone get access to a service in which they can be helped to be positive about their body. The publicity of groups like this is not great. I think that groups like this need more publicity so that more people can find it and get support. The group also gives support to those with eating disorders.

People who have been part of ‘The Body Positive’ say:

“If ‘The Body Positive went global my generation would have so much more hope, so much more would be possible if people felt that freedom to love themselves and accept themselves as they are”

“The body positive is power, empowerment, passion, compassion, understanding”

“teaches young women to love their bodies just how they are”

The testimonials show that the scheme is a positive thing and does actually work to help improve body confidence and with greater publicity it could help a lot more people.



Pin-Up’s are defined as “A poster showing a famous or attractive person”. Usually the term ‘Pin-up’ is used in reference to the images that became popular in World War II[1]. These images depict an attractive female who “are usually glamor models, actresses and fashion models. Imagine the happiness of the male population with these pictures and women, who admire most of the pin up models back in the days because some of them are icons or known personalities.”[2]. Some pin-up is photography and others illustrations done in emulation of the photographs[2]. Notable artists include Gil Elgren and Alberto Vargas. Although the pin up became popular in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s it has been around since the late 19th century. 

 The pin up is sometimes viewed as a sexual thing, as the woman depicted is often in some kind of costume, outfit, or lingerie that may be somewhat revealing. 


Due to the sexualised images of women in the images it is debated whether the pin-up can be feminist or not, as the image of the sexualised woman is often linked to the objectification of women, and “have been used to limit womens growth”[3]. However the pin up “has also represented the sexualised woman as self-aware, assertive, strong and independent”[4] which could suggest that the image has more of a feminist aura about it. Since it was meant for mass production and consumption it also made “An Image of modern female sexuality that was instantly recognisable, culturally acceptable and eminently purchasable”[5]. In showing the female sexuality as an acceptable thing it, in ways could become empowering for women everywhere to embrace their sexuality. 


A main quality of the pin up girl is the straight up confidence they exude. The pose of the girls have a lot of attitude about them and give the appearance of a strong, assertive woman, which would be a good point of inspiration for girls. In the book ‘Pin Up Grrrls’ it states “I imagined being the pin up women, but not for him” in reference to how her friends brother viewed the pin ups as opposed to how she viewed them. By saying ‘but not for him’ it suggests that there is something to be gained for the self by being a pin up girl even its intended audience is other people. 

The girls are painted in colours that are mainly realistic but also more vibrant, which gives them a radiant glow. Perhaps this is to accentuate the beauty of them. A problem I find with the classic pin up art is that all of the girls are quite thin/tall/busty and there is little variation in the bodies. In regards to body confidence, it doesn’t help by having little representation of girls of different sizes but the pin-up is generally what was found attractive at the time just like most images in advertising or ‘page 3 girls’ are of similar stature nowadays. However modern pin-up photography that aims to copy the style of the original pin-ups is popular amongst girls of many different body shapes who find it empowering. 


Although the Sailor Jerry style tattoo pin-up is not modern, nowadays tattoo artists still emulate this kind of style and putting their own spin on the classic pin-up. With the 50’s rockabilly style becoming ever popular, pin-up style can be seen in modern fashion.



3-  Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 13

4-  Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 8

5- Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 10

Body Shop – Ruby

“In 1998, The Body Shop debuted its self-esteem campaign, featuring the generously proportioned doll we dubbed “Ruby.” Her rubenesque figure graced windows in The Body Shop windows in the UK that year, along with our slogan, “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.” She went on to appear in stores in Australia, Asia, and the United States, where she captured the imaginations of consumers weary of the rail-thin heroin-chic of the beauty industry’s advertising messages. Ruby was a fun idea, but she carried a serious message. She was intended to challenge stereotypes of beauty and counter the pervasive influence of the cosmetics industry, of which we understood we were a part. Perhaps more than we had even hoped, Ruby kick-started a worldwide debate about body image and self-esteem”

The image of Ruby was closer to the average woman’s body and, I think by including it in an advert would have helped to kick-start body positivity movements earlier and perhaps combated the medias pressure on girls to conform to one body shape. The adverts slogan highlights how unachievable the ‘ideal’ supermodel body is and by saying there are “3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels” it helps to make the viewer feel more comfortable with their body as there are many women in the same position.

The advert was pulled as “Ruby was not universally loved. In the United States, the toy company Mattel sent us a cease-and-desist order, demanding we pull the images of Ruby from American shop windows. Their reason: Ruby was making Barbie look bad, presumably by mocking the plastic twig-like bestseller”.  

It is often said that the Barbie doll gives an unrealistic standard of beauty to girls, the doll has unnatural proportions that are not achievable by the human body “Analysis by rehabilitation website has shown that, if she were a real person, Barbie would have to walk on all fours due to her size three feet, and would be incapable of lifting her enormous head with her tiny little neck. Her 16-inch waist, meanwhile, would leave her with room for just half a liver and a few inches of intestines.”  butts since girls often play with these dolls from a young age could the dolls unrealistic body be influencing the body image of young girls? In 2006 a study was done by the University of Sussex that concluded that girls exposed to the Barbie doll showed higher levels of body dissatisfaction, and low body esteem whereas girls given the Emme Doll which had more natural proportions showed no/little difference to the control group.

The Body Shop’s Ruby figure, I think, somewhat showed Barbie up as being an unrealistic representation of the female body as it was more natural looking and the character gave off an aura of confidence and a ‘love yourself’ attitude.  The advert is successful using a doll as although an image of a real woman may have been a more straight up example of an average size body, using the doll meant that they could get away with more of the body being exposed.

Pussy Riot


Pussy Riot are a punk rock group from Russia, consisting of several women that aim to spread feminism through their music and performative acts. ‘the strategy of pussy riot is to show up at certain places and shock the public there is a socio political message behind it all’ (A member of Pussy Riot’s father stated in the documentary). 

Some of the groups acts and songs have been seen as offensive and/or radical in Russia but they continue to perform as they feel strongly that their message is to be heard. They believe that it is ‘important for Russia’s development’ that feminist views are heard and accepted in society.

pussy riot

The group wear brightly coloured masks instead of black balaclavas to try to show that they are not acting as criminals but as artists and their message is a positive one not a negative one.

Feminist Playing Cards

“Feminist Playing Cards is a deck of playing cards featuring illustrations of influential feminist musicians by 14 feminist artists”   The project aims to ‘preserve part of history that is often overlooked and undocumented’.

“It is important for us to preserve the history of these musicians, who have not only contributed great music to the world but have also contributed to the advancement of women’s rights. Some of these musicians were the first women to make accomplishments in their respective genres. Still others led a life of activism and community organizing. For example, Tori Amos co-founded the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a toll-free help line in the U.S. connecting callers with their local rape crisis center.”

Having 52 different illustrations in the pack of cards helps to ‘preserve’ more as more musicians can be featured. Also by having the format as playing cards having so many pieces in the collection does not seem out of place. Although only one collection has been made I think that there could be potential to create more series’ in the future and thus helping to preserve more feminist musicians throughout history.



‘Eff Your Beauty Standards’ is a body positive movement, mainly active on social networking sites such as instagram and tumblr. As the name suggests it is in response to society’s beauty standards and the embracing of not fitting those standards. It aims to create body positivity rather than letting people feel bad about their bodies because they don’t ‘live up’ to ‘beauty standards’.

The movement was founded by the model Tess Munster, who is plus sized and aims to help girls, plus sized or not be comfortable with their bodies and to ‘love yourself the way you are now’

Eff Your Beauty standards was formed as Tess ‘was bullied online a lot‘. People told her that because she was plus sized she shouldn’t be wearing things that showed her arms or stomach or that she shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes or bathing suits etc. Because she was tired of people dictating what she could and couldn’t wear she started the #effyourbeautystandards tag on tumblr and instagram, and encouraged girls to tag this on their photos.

I think that movements like this, although online are a good step forward in terms of creating body confidence and body acceptance in the world, as more girls post in ‘eff your beauty standards’ more girls may be inspired to also do so. In a way they have the power to empower each others confidence in themselves and become more accepting of the different things people choose to wear or the different things people do with their bodies for example, shaving or not shaving their body hair, wearing makeup, wearing tight clothes, getting tattoos, dying their hair and so on.

Who Needs Feminism?

“Who Needs Feminism” is an campaign founded by Duke University Students studying Women in the Public Sphere. The main aims of the campaign ‘is to decrease negative associations with the word that would keep anyone from identifying with the movement’  and to ‘assert the importance of feminism today’. 

Determined to change the campus culture, they came up with the idea for a PR campaign, which they called “Who Needs Feminism?”. They recruited friends and acquaintances, young women and men of all different backgrounds, and took photos of them proudly holding up whiteboards on which they had written in black marker, “I need feminism because…”

The Campaign is open to submissions by members of the public that are posted on the corresponding tumblr page

This helps to get the public involved and informed about feminism and why it is needed nowadays, as some people think it id not. I think that this makes feminism more accessible to modern generations as the submissions are posted by people everywhere and often have messages that others can relate to.

It makes you think twice about feminism and what it stands for. The submissions highlight issues such as rape culture, femininity being seen as negative, double standards and much more. I like to think that the campaign is able to open the eyes of some people about things still happening in the world that make feminism relevant today.

I need feminism (!!!) because insults imply that being like a woman is something to be avoided.
"you ____ like a girl!"
"crying like a bitch!"
"you’re acting like a pussy!"
and the worst: “cunt!”
feminine does not equal negative.

“In 2012, is Women’s Equality Day still relevant? In the 21st century, who needs feminism? As it turns out, thousands of young women and men from across the globe, of all different races, religions, sexualities, and economic backgrounds, have spoken up to say they do, through the Who Needs Feminism online campaign. Their efforts to reclaim feminism as an umbrella for dialogue on issues that affect all of us – men and women – hold the potential to effect real change.”

The campaign gives people a platform to share their stories and experiences, which in turn could help other people to cope with things happening in their life.

We Should All Be Feminists

In this speech Chimamanda Ngozi stands up for feminism and talks about its relevence today, particularly in her culture. She highlights how small things like not being greeted by the waiter in the restaurant or people assuming the money she owns ultimately comes from a man are institutionalised sexism and  I think it’s helpful that she brings this up as a lot of people nowadays do not recognise small things like this as sexism where people like Ngozi do.

Her speech is excellent and her use of anecdotes makes it relatable and easy to understand for those who are ‘new’ to feminism. I know people who have had their views on feminism completely changed by this video as Ngozi explains truthfully what feminism is and why it is needed today for both males and females. Sometimes due to negative connotations of feminism built up over the years people have misconceptions that feminism is about hating men and having women in power whereas its really about equality of the sexes. Ngozi highlights how in many sublte and not to sublte ways women are still not considered equal to men in society.


Referral Brief: The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns is a Studio Ghibli film directed by Hiroyuki Morita. The story involves a kingdom/world of cats, and some of the cats such as the Baron pictured in these two images, are given human characteristics such as clothes, walking upright and mannerisms. I think that this gives the sense of the cats living in their own civilization away from the human world, and also makes them seem more at one with the humans rather than just being seen as a pet or a lesser being. I think that this kind of idea could be related to Tashirojima as there are a lot of cats and there could be a fantasy world where they live in a human-like way. The way the people of Tashirojima interact with cats is in a very respectful manner and they probably are treated as well as humans so I think including something like this within the project would help to show this. 

Referral Brief – Cat Vs Human

Cat Vs Human is a webcomic by Yasmine Surovec which documents the trials of cat ownership.

The comic is cute and contains simple drawings done in line and block colours, with minimal detail. This style works well as the work is funny and often has some crazy facial expressions only achievable in this kind of style (see below)

I think that the comic clearly displays cat/human relationships and thus is relevant to the work I have been doing based around Tashirojima. Although the relationship between a pet cat and it’s owner appears to be very different to the ‘wild’ cats of Tashirojima.

Some of the comics like the ‘Cat Dreams’ one gets inside the head and into the world of cats and shows it in comparison to the world of humans, as they live side by side but in different ways.