Posted by: kookaren2
‘The poor have the right to be beautiful’: Cosmetic surgery in neoliberal Brazil’
This week’s readings were on the subject of the body, one of the readings that stood out the most was the piece by Alexander Edmonds on the plastic surgery in Brazil. In recent days I have heard many people going to Brazil to get plastic surgery and this reading only made it clear of what was going on in the world of plastic surgery in Brazil. The shift of health care programs that allow the lower class people to receive funds for plastic surgery was pretty shocking in terms of their health care system compared to United States. The democratization of plastic surgery has become part of public service claiming that everyone has the right to be beautiful no matter what your social status or background is. The notion that appearance is linked to psyche became publicly accepted and also the power of social media and images of socially accepted beauty has played such a big part in this shifting change. Within the limitation of what can be done to your body they are able to create and reconstruct your body to look different. Especially the younger women today are so focused on achieving the ideal beauty manifested in the media. To look as beautiful and gorgeous as the fashion models and celebrity has become an extreme trend taking away from the idea of individualization. We thrive to look as what the society views as accepted and beautiful and if we fall behind the norm there is many times one would feel left out and out casted. This idea to look beautiful according to what others think has definitely changed so many aspects of our lives but this change is so evident in the idea of body. A piece of clothing has become not just something you wear but it has become a part of our body and how you are identified. We are consciously self-aware of what we wear and how our body looks and lastly how we are represented through these two things. The growth of media and images of body and fashion has become part of our daily concerns and lives and this shift has taken away from individuality but slowly unifying our body and what is considered beautiful.
Cracking Down on Fashion Fakes
This reading Bag Man by Larissa MacFarquhar was an interesting piece in terms of showing the realistic side of the fake goods markets in today’s culture. This reading focuses on the lawyer named Harley Lewin and his journey in approaching the industry of fake goods. This market in the past years has bloomed so incredibly, this market has become so familiar to the consumers from all over the world. We see vendors and stores carrying the items that look just like the high fashion goods; this market has advanced especially with the development of technology with online sales.
This reading shows the reality of the market and how things are being made and sold throughout the world. The idea of creating something fake and marketing those goods violating the rights of the authentic item has played such big part in the fashion industries. But in the end who is to be blamed for the system that has been created? The fake goods that are being made are copies of items that people want but it is not the most affordable items and because through fashion we feel the sense of belonging to a higher social statuses and self-satisfaction. What we wear and have is a big part of how we are viewed and defined and because our society has shifted into thinking this way the productions of fake cheap goods became about. The relationship between the authenticity and fake carries each other out in the fashion world. The desire to achieve certain images and social statuses are sometimes achieved by consuming fake goods.
From personal experience I have in contact with varieties of fake goods. And because my interest in design I wondered many times about this relationship between the name brands, authenticity and the consumer culture. There is no one party to blame or to judge but it is important to thinking about the ethics in the design field and keeping your mind conscious and open.
Tracing back to the history of shopping in comparison to what is shopping in today’s society we are able see how far the idea of consumerism has changed. In the reading by Sharon Zukin, she discusses these changes in shopping & public life and how values of goods have changed as the capitalism and mass production have taken over the world. Shopping used to be more of a personal experience between the buyer and the seller who is also the producer of the product to achieve the best quality products. The experience of touching and tasting and trying the product through the seller results what is considered the best exchanged. This type of life style in shopping has pretty much disappeared all around the world because we purchase products based on prices, basis of brand names or advertisement. Shopping has become more of an economic movement especially in the United States. We have abandoned the traditional role and have moved over to mass production in overseas disregarding the actual quality of the products. As the power of branding and advertisement took over the consumer world we are bound by their constraints. One of the points made by Zukin that was interesting was the idea that shopping forces us both to take account of our place in society and to imaging what it would be like to rise above it. Shopping has become such a big role in terms of being or desire to belong into certain social class. We learn to like and want products from certain brand name since the younger age because that is what has dominated the consumerism culture and there is less and less concern and valuing the actual products. Internet shopping also has become a big part of consumer culture without any interaction between the products before purchasing through a screen. These changes brought to our lifestyle and the idea of shopping is inevitable with the changes in society and technology. But it is important to consider the quality and the personal experience of the product at least in my opinion. I like to experience the product before purchasing instead of just buying something for their name. As a designer these lifestyles of consumer culture and shopping is very important to value and consider.
Fashion Photography has played a big role in gender representation in today’s society. Fashion photography has exerted such big influences on the femaile population especially in creating such unrealistic expections for women of all ages. Of course that is not the only important thing about fashion photography but I wanted to focus on this issue because this has become a pretty dominant topic to be discussed. In the reading ‘Photography: Critical Introduction’ the author writes “ one of the key critcisms has been the way in which ads always represent women as objects to be surveyed. This has tended to increase the representation of women as both passive and objects of sexual desire”.
Image today has become such a dominant role for women and men today, we are so focused on self-image and the bases of those ideal images are drived from visual media. The visuals that we come in contact with today represent women as sexual objects creating unrealistic body imageries and gender roles. The body language of women in photos and what is signified in those images gives women the obligations to strive to look as similar as possible as those created imageries. Even with the knowledge that those images are falsely exeggerated we still desire to look the way they are depicted. We are in constant contat with the world of media exerting all these imageries of female in such sexual ways affecting women of all ages especially those who are younger. Younger teens focus to look like what is desirable by men because they are constatnly reminded to look and act certain ways. Magazine editorials and fashion photos play the same role in exerting those values away from being a form of art. It is impotant for us to think about these issues and I wanted to show an example, the image providedabove is a great example of photography depicting women as sexual objects and at the same time creating a social gender difference. Everything about this image exerts what is being discussed here, these two women are depicted as sexual objects and the men in the photo is almost given a higher status dressed in his suit looking gazing at the girls. This picture gives me the desire to look as those sexually depicted models with fashionable shoes on. Fashion photography and media imageries has shaped the mindsets of women to set false goals and desires. It is important for us to look into these ideas and values and not to be trapped by them.