Jun. 24th, 2009

hand on head - b&w

Deep thought about beauty

It's not very motivating to do one's hair or makeup when the stupidly large bathroom has no air and only a ridiculously tiny window.

I'm just saying.

Aug. 28th, 2007

arachna (collage)

That stinks!

I don't get my nails done in a salon very often. I'm fortunate to have the kind of nails that grow well, have a nice natural color and shape to them, and don't need much grooming. But I do treat myself to a manicure now and then just for the pleasure and the tidiness of it. When I do, I've always tried to opt for salons that don't specialize in acrylics. There's always such an overpowering chemical smell walking into one of those places, and when I walk into one I've never tried before and it has that smell, I usually just turn right around and walk back out.

I've commented to friends from time to time, too, that if all those chemicals smell that bad, they can't be good for the health of the people who work there. Now a study has shown that the chemicals in nail treatments are associated with higher incidences of birth defects, and that the intensity of exposure for salon workers is 1200 times that of the average American. But to my surprise, it's not only the acrylics that are implicated: it's regular nail polish, too. Three compounds regularly used in nail salons -- toluene (a colorless liquid used as a solvent), formaldehyde (helps harden nails) and dibutyl phthalate (a plasticizer that makes nail polish flexible) -- are known to cause cancer or birth defects.

In fact, after six Vietnamese nail salon workers in Springfield, Massachusetts miscarried and others had rashes, fungal infections, and asthma, a community group obtained a $100,000 grant to build a salon with high quality ventilation. Moreover, OPI Products, which produces the nail polish used in many salons, "announced in March that it would begin removing toluene from its products. Last year, the company said it was removing dibutyl phthalate."

So it looks like there's hope for improvement, but I'm still not convinced that the acrylics aren't horrible, too. I mean, even if they didn't cause health issues, I'm still stuck on the superficial smell issue. Seriously, can you imagine having to spend 8-12 hours a day surrounded by that stench? Those are some dreadful working conditions. Luckily, improving the ventilation in salons should help with that problem, too.

HT: Jezebel

Mar. 29th, 2007

ladylike (collage)

Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

theogeo critiques a new magazine called Skirt! (yes, the banger is part of the title) with which she is obliquely associated:

Tell me you've got a publication for strong, successful women and I'll usually be all, "Okay, right on," thinking we've got a
political-minded, informative, thoughtful outlet on our hands. Tell me
it's called "Skirt!" and my brain will start shutting down.
Suddenly you've introduced fashion and feminine markers into the
premise. Not to mention the secondary verbal definition of "skirt,"
which means to avoid or work around. It's indirect; it's passive.

The whole premise is bewilderingly patronizing. And it's not like I don't subscribe to fashion magazines -- I do! several! -- but I subscribe to them to follow fashion and admire clothing design. I know what I'm getting into when I open a copy of InStyle, and believe me, I don't read it expecting to encounter thoughtful essays written from a feminist perspective. Those types of publications simply have no credibility with me for that sort of content. But when I want those feminist essays (Bust, perhaps, or Off Our Backs? I admit I don't subscribe to either -- blogs provide me with ample content), I don't expect to be condescended to with fashion and beauty advice. And here the credibility issue works basically in reverse: include fashion and beauty advice in your progressive women's publication, and, for me, you cease to be a progressive women's publication.

This sort of mental partitioning may be uncommon, but I sort of doubt it. That's not to say that a cross-market magazine (or even cross-cross-market, if you think fashion-feminist-local) can't work, but this appears to be the reason to undertake such a venture with extreme caution.

Feb. 9th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

No mention of Mormons in this post

All this week I've been in Salt Lake City for a vendor training for work, and staying at the Little America Hotel downtown. Also at this hotel is an event called the Deaflympics.

Now I had never heard of the Deaflympics, but I have had a few reactions and ponderings as a result of coexisting in this huge hotel with this huge event and its participants:
  • How cool and humbling to be surrounded by people who are defining themselves by what extraordinary things they can do while not pretending that what they can't do (or can't do well) is not real or doesn't exist. 
  • This must be one of the dividends Salt Lake City can reap from its investment in the infrastructure required for the winter Olympics. I wonder how much that investment does pay back over time. I found this, which is an interesting angle, but it doesn't really get at what I'm talking about. This one is closer, but it only goes so far as to acknowledge the use of infrastructure for future functions, not quantify it. 
  • It feels almost like being in another country, being surrounded by people "speaking" a language I don't understand. Which is kind of a cool feeling to experience without actually leaving the country. 
  • Holy cheese, there's a lot of hot athletes here! It's major eye candy everywhere I look!

So yeah, call me shallow, but I tell ya, I ain't lyin'. Hubba.

Feb. 1st, 2007

hand on head - b&w

Beautiful awkwardness

Today at work they had some contractors in to do some wiring in the ceiling near my cubicle. Those guys were here most of the day, and every time I passed one of them, we'd make some kind of joke or friendly comment at each other. It was nothing much, but it was pleasant and it helped pass the day.

When they were leaving, they all made sure to say goodbye to me and wish me a good day, but one guy lingered after the others had gone. This was a guy I hadn't really interacted with very much, but he nervously stood at the entrance to my cubicle saying a long goodbye. Finally he said, "I just have to tell you, and I hope this isn't too forward, but you're really very beautiful. I hope this is OK, but you know, you really have this whole intellectual look going on, but you still look like a model. And you're just really, really beautiful."

Here's the thing: it really did make me a little uncomfortable, just because it was so out in the open and all (although it definitely would have been more awkward had I been in an office all by myself), but not so much so that I felt the need to say or do anything to address it. I mean, really, it was a nice thing to say and all, and at the risk of sounding conceited, it's not the first time this sort of thing has happened, but it's the kind of thing I guess that makes me feel like: what do you want me to do with that information? How are you hoping I'll react? I've complimented people on something they're wearing, or their hair if it looks really nice, or something discrete like that, but the overall "you're so beautiful" comment leaves me genuinely wondering how to respond.

So what did I do? I'm sure I blushed and stammered some kind of thanks, and wished him a good rest of the day.

And hey, at least he wasn't trying to ask me out or anything, which has happened, and at which point I definitely would have alerted someone at the company to notify his employer of inappropriate conduct. This felt very polite and I felt duly flattered; I just honestly have no idea whether the whole exchange went the way he was intending it to go.


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Nov. 6th, 2006

hand on head - b&w

No content, but a linky: feminism and (not) dieting

I'm swamped with work at the moment so I've got nothing of my own to say, but I just peeked out at some of my favorite blogs and saw something I know some of my friends would appreciate. Many of my friends, especially here on LiveJournal, are very thoughtful and knowledgeable about beauty and size as it relates to feminism, so I thought you'd like to see this great post by Aunt B.

I'm sure she'd welcome comments at her blog, but feel free to add them here if you're not comfortable leaving them in a stranger's blog.

Oct. 16th, 2006

hand on head - b&w

Impossible Beauty?

Someone on my Friends list (maybe vito_excaliburVito?) linked to a web page some time back that showed a model before and after being Photoshopped like crazy. Along those same lines, Dove's new commercial shows a woman being made over for a photo shoot and then Photoshopped almost beyond recognizability as the same woman. The tag line is "no wonder our beauty standards are so distorted."

Adrants has a link to the commercial and some questions about the value or wrongness of doing this in advertising.

[...] in one sense, it nets out to the importance of reflecting reality versus the importance of presenting something, however unreal and unattainable, toward which people can reach.

I don't even think it's so much the unattainability of it that's bizarre and questionable, although that's a fair point, and I don't know how valuable it is to give people something like that to "reach" for. I just think there's a freakin' huge spectrum of possible beauty, and the tastemakers (such as those in advertising) are only presenting us with a sliver of it.

Your thoughts?
hand on head - b&w

February 2011




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