Browsing Tag:

Beauty

  • Portfolio

    Cross-Dressing in One of the World’s Most Conservative Countries

    Cross-Dressing in One of the World’s Most Conservative Countries

    In the deeply conservative, traditional society of Afghanistan, there’s a surprising practice that somehow seems to both contradict our idea of Afghan custom regarding women, and reinforce it beyond our imagination.

    The Underground Girls of Kabul begins with Author Jenny Nordberg’s unexpected discovery of Afghanistan’s fascinating hidden secret- bacha posh, or girls who pose as boys. The book unfolds like a mystery as Nordberg unearths surprising and thought-provoking information along her journey.

    Although little was known in the United States of the existence of this practice at the time of Nordberg’s travels, it was actually quite well-known and accepted- even respected in Afghanistan, where, in a family, having a bacha posh “boy” was better than having no boy at all. There, a woman’s function in life was not complete until she could bear a son, and if it didn’t happen, she was shamed.

    Sons could also do many things a daughter couldn’t- play, run around town freely, wear comfortable clothing, and yell- and work. When families needed income, it was often best for them to have a daughter pose as a boy to earn money during tough times.

    Nordberg covers factors of reasoning for the practice, as well as complicating factors such as puberty, and how individual families handled them. A strength of the book is how Nordberg did not try to impose western ideas onto the Afghani people. She used the terminology they used, and let them speak for themselves. The Underground Girls of Kabul is a book that should be added to everyone’s summer reading list, and will leave the reader with an entirely new concept of gender itself.

  • Articles

    Colorism in India: Light vs. Dark

    Colorism in India: Light vs. Dark

    In India, there is a central obsession with light skin in the beauty industry. This obsession can be seen through the well-known product, Fair and Lovely. It is a cream that is intended for the use of lightening skin. Fair and Lovely is a product that is problematic since it encourages the colorist belief that light skin is more beautiful than dark skin. Unfortunately, it is just one of many that are often advertised to Indian citizens. Furthermore, the lightening skin cream has been very successful. According to a video produced by BuzzFeed India, the market for lightening creams was worth around 423 million dollars in 2010. This obsession with having lighter skin is not just an issue dealing with social expectations, but also has medical disadvantages. Some creams can contain harmful components, including mercury. Moreover, the preference of light skin in Indian society has had much history and has persisted for hundreds of years.

    Radhika Parameswaran, a professor in the Media School at Indiana University who currently focuses on colorism, beauty, and sexism in India, talks about several factors that have led to colorist beliefs in India. According to her, the caste system in India may play a role. In general, there is a perception that wealthier people tend to have lighter skin. This is because wealthy people had money for others to do manual labor, and the ones that did manual labor would work in hot temperatures and their skin would consequently darken. However, there is not an established correlation between the color of skin and the rank in caste, Parameswaran says. But, the perception still exists and that is one reason why fair skin is preferred. She also goes on to mention the significance of colonialism in implementing colorism in Indian society. A lot of infrastructural development in India is accredited to British colonists. Therefore, lighter-skinned can be perceived as a sign of success, even if there’s no such belief as “The white colonists are better than Indian people.” The media also has significance. Many Bollywood actors and actresses are portrayed as fair skinned. In fact, many famous celebrities in Bollywood endorse ads for lightening cream. Furthermore, it is women that are more affected by this issue. When the caste system was more prevalent, women were supposed to have children to further the lineage in the caste system. The assumption that has risen is that if a light-skinned woman has a child, that child will also be light-skinned. Colorism does also affect men. According to The Hindustan Times, 71% of Indian women would rather marry a man with lighter skin. Overall, there are many factors that have resulted in colorism in Indian society.

    There are solutions underway, though. There is a social movement known as Unfair and Lovely. There is a hashtag for it on Instagram in which Indian people who have darker skin can post pictures of themselves with that hashtag. This movement encourages Indian people with darker skin to embrace their skin. Then, a young Pakistani woman by the name of Fatima Lodhi, created an anti-colorism movement in 2013. She now goes to schools and teaches students about colorism and makes them aware of the issue. Even though colorism has deep roots in Indian society, change is on its way.

    Credits:
    “Radhika Parameswaran on ‘Colorism’ in India.” Claremont McKenna College, www.cmc.edu/keck-center/asia-experts-forum/radhika-parameswaran-on-colorism-in-india.
    BuzzFeed India. “Why Is India So Obsessed With Fair Skin?” YouTube, YouTube, 28 May 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BQc2guo-Lg.
    Rodrigues, Collin. “India’s Unfair Obsession with Fair Skin, Its Impact on Relationships.” Https://Www.hindustantimes.com/, Hindustan Times, 20 Mar. 2015, www.hindustantimes.com/sex-and-relationships/india-s-unfair-obsession-with-fair-skin-its-impact-on-relationships/story-cbkOW7ZShgbR10i5yfvIXI.html.
    Abraham, Mary-Rose. “Dark Is Beautiful: the Battle to End the World’s Obsession with Lighter Skin.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Sept. 2017, www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/04/dark-is-beautiful-battle-to-end-worlds-obsession-with-lighter-skin.
    Picture Credits: “Fair and Lovely: Skin Care.” EBay, www.ebay.com/bhp/fair-and-lovely.

  • Body Image, Health

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see how a young woman’s body standards can be so easily influenced by outside factors. Ever see a girl scrolling through celebrities’ Instagram pictures and hear them say, “They’re so flawless, I want to look just like her”? This scenario happens every day with teens and young women. Although some might express this as a light-hearted and innocent comment, some truly want to change their appearances to please society and their peers to be more desired and fit in better.

    This isn’t to confuse with wanting to improve someone’s appearance for a positive reason, such as a healthy weight goal or changing the way one does makeup to enhance their beauty more. The problem arises when a girl wants to change how she looks due to seeing unrealistic perfection or because of the constant pressure from society’s standards of beauty.

    It is no secret that, for years, the beauty industry has given this idea of looking flawless 24/7 to impressionable young women. We grow up looking at beautiful magazine covers, gorgeous makeup ads, and perfect looking hair, nails, body, etc. Although it’s understandable for a company to want beautiful models to sell their products, it gives off unrealistic beauty standards. Why? Because regular people on the street don’t usually look how companies and social media portrays women to be! If you don’t have an hourglass shape, that’s okay! If you don’t have white, straight teeth, that’s okay! Everyone is unique in their own way and should not change who they are because of what society says is “the best.”

    Since social media is so prevalent among celebrities and young people, it worsens the problem even more. Different types of apps allow filters, editing, and photoshop. If a girl wanted to improve her appearance online, she has the tools to do so. This applies to physically altering one’s appearance as well, whether it be through plastic surgery, injections, fillers, etc. Of course, most celebrities do not like to admit that they have used certain measures to make their appearance seem better, but the girls viewing their content can easily think that “this is what perfection looks like, society likes this type of look, and I want to obtain it too.” These types of thoughts usually make girls compare themselves to others, and that is not a healthy thing to do, self-esteem wise.

    Thankfully, companies are starting to realize the self-deprecation girls and can feel while looking at beauty ads or models selling clothes. More and more companies are allowing diversity into their ads, and this gives off a very positive message to young women who do not always fit the “perfect body type” or other types of standards that society has deemed to be “perfect.” Many people, including myself, are applauding these companies for their realistic models that look like the majority of people and not the small niche of beauty and fashion models that have a very specific and hard to obtain look.

    This is a great step in the right direction for the beauty and clothing industry, and more companies should follow their example. The good thing for girls is that if you are aware that today’s beauty standards are unrealistic, then you won’t be as influenced. You can recognize that there are so many different looks of being beautiful. One person’s ideal may not be someone else’s. Don’t be focused on pleasing everyone else. It’s okay to focus on yourself! Self-love is very important for self-esteem and one’s mental health. Sometimes we’re so focused on little details, like always covering up your body or always covering up blemishes that they can take over our lives. Just be yourself, be happy with who you are, and everything else will fall into place.

  • Articles, TRENDING

    Beck Lomas shares no-makeup selfie with acne: ‘No one is completely perfect’

    On September 26, she posted a vulnerable, no-makeup selfie to encourage her followers to embrace their natural beauty.

    “THIS is my current situation. A pimply, bleeding, sore face,” she wrote in the caption. “My skin will always be a journey in itself, I don’t think I will ever be one of those girls who feels completely okay without makeup, but that’s fine….But just because I’m not completely confident with my skin, doesn’t mean I’m not a confident person. I’ve come a long way from the girl who used to cry every single night about the way her skin looked. These days my skin is just a minor downer for me sometimes.”

    Lomas added that many women are too hard on themselves for what they view as imperfections.

    “No one is completely perfect, and something that might seem like the end of the world for you, may go unnoticed by everyone else,” she wrote. “Happy people are the most beautiful people, and I know it’s hard to feel happy when you’re focusing on your imperfections—but I just want to let you all know that you are beautiful EVEN if you have acne, or bacne, or cellulite, or your thighs touch or you’ve got stretch marks.”

    After Lomas posted her honest account, support poured in from her 156,000 Instagram followers.

    “Just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU for this post,” one fan commented. “My skin is exactly the same as yours and I struggle with it daily—this was such a great reminder that our imperfections don’t define us. Thank you for being so honest and relatable.”

    Her followers were just as supportive when Lomas posted another no-makeup selfie a few days ago, this one with clearer skin.

    “Smiling today because I’m finally feeling confident and happy with my skin,” Lomas wrote under the recent photo. “It might not last, because my skin has been known to take an unexpected turn for the worst when it’s feeling it’s best, but for the moment I’m happy…after all of this, at this present point in time, I’m finally at a point where I am confident without makeup.”

    Lomas’s fans loved her latest body-positive photo, and for being so honest about her circumstances.

    “What I love about your Instagram is your honesty and that you show us the REAL you,” one woman commented.

    “This is so many people’s reality, including my own,” another fan said. “Thank you for being so brave and honest! Your skin is beautiful and you are an inspiration!”

    Lomas said that by opening up about her skin struggles, she hopes to help other women feel better about their own insecurities.

    “Seeing photo after photo of girls in magazines or on TV or on social media because they have such beautiful smooth skin without an imperfection in sight, it’s hard to not feel self conscious when your own skin is imperfect,” she wrote. “To anyone else who is struggling with skin issues—you aren’t alone and things will get better, so just hang in there!”

  • Articles, Confidence

    Bloom Where You Are Planted by Ashley Mosley

    Let’s imagine you are going to the store to pick out some seeds to put in your garden. You get there and you realize there is a big variety of different flowers. There are tall flowers, short flowers, red flowers, pink flowers, yellow flowers, purple flowers, flowers that are planted in the ground, and flowers that are planted in a pot.There are so many different kinds and they are all so unique. You can’t decide which one to get because they are all so beautiful. This is how people are. Everybody is so different in shape, size, color, weight, height, but we are all the same. We are all beautiful.



    Just because somebody doesn’t look the same as you does not mean they are not beautiful. We were all created perfectly and the way we were intended to be. Earth is one big beautiful flower pot that has so many different types of people in it. As Summer is just around the corner, we will see all sorts of people we probably haven’t seen as much. I want to make it a personal goal of yours to point out the beautiful part of each person you meet. You don’t have to say anything to them if you don’t want to, but try to think of one thing that makes that person beautiful. They are another beautiful flower to add to your garden.

  • Books

    How to Begin the Day

    Turnip greens yarrow ricebean rutabaga endive cauliflower sea lettuce kohlrabi amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify.

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  • Articles

    Life Is Choices, Let’s Choose Joy

    Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco amaranth water spinach avocado daikon napa cabbage asparagus winter purslane kale. Celery potato scallion desert raisin horseradish spinach carrot soko. Lotus root water spinach fennel kombu maize bamboo shoot green bean swiss chard seakale pumpkin onion chickpea gram corn pea. Brussels sprout coriander water chestnut gourd.

    Nori grape silver beet broccoli kombu beet greens fava bean potato quandong celery. Bunya nuts black-eyed pea prairie turnip leek lentil turnip greens parsnip. Sea lettuce lettuce water chestnut eggplant winter purslane fennel azuki bean earthnut pea sierra leone bologi leek soko chicory celtuce parsley ja­cama salsify.

    Read more