the_beheld

the_beheld
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New York, New York, USA
Birthday
May 27
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The Beheld
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I write The Beheld (the-beheld.com), a blog examining our concepts of beauty, using interviews with women whose professions and passions lend them a keen insight into personal appearance; analysis of news, business, economics, and culture; beauty experiments; and personal essays.

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Salon.com
JANUARY 20, 2012 3:03AM

Beauty Blogosphere 1.20.12

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What's going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.

From Head...


Theodent: the chocoholic equivalent of using bourbon as mouthwash

Theodent and forget it: Startup dental care company Theodent replaces fluoride with chocolate, which apparently has antimicrobial properties? It's currently mint-flavored, but never fear: A chocolate-flavored version is in the works. ("I understand chocolate bacon, Bill, but this is ridiculous!")

...To Toe...
Mukluk: Artist-activist Louie Gong will be collaborating with Manitobah Mukluks to do some designer kicks. Manitobah Mukluks is a Native-themed company actually—yes, it's true!—owned by Native people! I've never worn them myself, but Beyond Buckskin's tipoff is enough for me.

...And Everything In Between:
Blonde battle: Starbucks is taking a firm line: No employee is to make "blonde jokes" in reference to the company's new Blonde Roast coffee. Which, you know, yay and all—no, seriously, I was worried they were going to try some gross blonde-chick marketing thing and it's good to know they're taking a firm line on not exploiting the flaxen-haired just to make a buck. But if they're so concerned about people making blonde jokes why didn't they, I don't know, name the coffee something else?

A wrinkle in the plan: The National Advertising Division is asking Neutrogena to reword its claims about a certain anti-wrinkle cream the company says will reduce wrinkles in under a week. Criminy, they coulda talked to me first.

Iron lady: The makeover of Margaret Thatcher.

Pushing it: Feminist Philosophers looks at "Push Girls," a new reality show featuring, well, hot chicks in wheelchairs. I mean, it's great that the show isn't treating women with disabilities as desexed or unattractive, but when "four gorgeous ladies" is a part of the show's description, I've gotta wonder.

A bit of surgical history: The first breast implant patient in the U.S. didn't really want implants. In 1962, when Timmie Jean Lindsey went to a "charity hospital" to have a tattoo removed, "They asked me if I wanted implants, and I said, 'Well, I don't really know.'" !

Can't figure out whether this is the fashionista's Diet Coke or the romantic's. DECISIONS.


"Fashion can": Which aspect of this marketing scheme is more bad-awesome? The special edition Diet Cokes in "fashion cans" or the tie-in videos with Benefit that "show the rock chick, fashionista and romantic enjoying a Diet Coke while they are shown how to achieve their desired look using products from Benefit Cosmetics"? You decide.

More marketing: The co-opting of "confidence" in this endorsement is sort of hilarious. Proctor & Gamble is sponsoring the U.S. Olympics women's gymnastics team, so it makes sense to pluck Alicia Sacramone, who won a silver in Beijing, as a spokeswoman, but the spin here is downright hilarious. "When I'm competing, confidence is key and nothing boosts me like feeling beautiful inside and out. I turn to P&G beauty brands like COVERGIRL, Olay, Pantene and Secret on a daily basis to give me the confidence to take on anything." Yeah, we've come a long way, baby.

Shrimpface: Shrimp derivative shown to aid skin permeation of green tea catechins. I was just wondering how to get all those green tea catechins to sink in, and damn if I don't have all these shrimp...

On grieving our fantasies: Medicinal Marzipan's haunting post on grieving the loss of our "body fantasy" is a self-acceptance must-read, because behind every woman who's dissatisfied with her looks is a fantasy woman who gives us a lot more than we realize. "We talk about grief in regards to losing those that we love or having to give up possessions or places by necessity of circumstance. Less often, you will hear people talking openly about the grief that they experience at having to give up a notion of themselves that they clung to for dear life."

Mass hysteria: Not exactly beauty-related, but this outbreak of what appears to be "conversion disorder"—aka mass hysteria—of 12 girls in upstate New York makes me wonder about eating disorder as a social contagion. Conversion disorder seems to be a way that the body and mind funnel stress, resulting in anything from tics to verbal confusion to temporary blindness, and the fact that there's an actual outbreak of it despite no known environmental factors makes it clear that it's also a social disease. (Not that kind of social disease.) Eating disorders are partly biological in origin, but there's also enormous cultural factors at play here. Is this odd spate of twitchy girls a microcosm of how some eating disorders develop? (via Jessica Stanley)

The trans beauty myth: Fantastic post from Jane Fae, who prompts us to think about the beauty myth and trans women. "Some women really aren’t too fussed over looks: would never contemplate a boob job or, the latest fad, a labioplasty. Others would because they can.... Ironic, therefore, if trans women now find themselves suffering from the same pressure. When, as in some widely-reported recent cases, hormones leave you underdeveloped, breast-wise, is your despair genuinely your own? Or is it increasingly something imposed on you by a society that, as it begins to accept that transition and transgender are not mere eccentricity, but utterly bound up with individual identity, now begins to impose on trans women the same pressures it has been imposing on every woman that ever was?"

What's your makeup: Beyoncé's spot for L'Oréal caught the attention of Indian Country Today; the ads claim that L'Oréal is particularly well-suited for the "mosaic of all faces before" hers. There's hardly ever a public mention of Native women's makeup woes, so it's nice on that front, and it's also interesting from the perspective of self-branding. Is Beyoncé marketing her mixed-race background?

The living years: Love this photo project of different women, ages 1-101. (via Ruby Bastille)

"Can Dr. VaJayJay help it if this is what women ask for?"

Dr. VaJayJay, M.D.: Am I the only one who's thinking of Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy in this spoof video with "Dr. VaJayJay," whose goal is to "Privatize Tho$e Private$" with labial cosmetic surgery? Vaginoplasty has its place, in particular for trans women (I'm pretty sure this falls outside the realm of what Jane is talking about), but this video is spot-on in connecting it to the way we medicalize what doesn't need medicalizing, and how pornography has changed what's normal—something Beauty Redefined does great work on dissecting. (Thanks to reader Rebecca from the New View Campaign for the link!)

Classical jazz: Une Femme d'un Certain Age asks what makes a classic, classic. "What we (I?) often think of as 'classic' seems to work best on the more ectomorphic among us. Am I trying to work 'classic' too literally for my body type? (Is there such a thing as Voluptuous Classic?)"

Private pantser: Pajama pants are eroding the moral fiber of society. I'm actually anti-pajama-pants-in-public, though I understand that some people with chronic pain conditions may need the comfort they offer. Not because it's a moral issue, but because I feel like it's contributing to a dangerous erosion of the public vs. private self. Facebook is bad enough, now girls need to showcase their private wardrobe too?

Alpha Girl:
Comics aren't usually my thing, but the premise of Alpha Girl is interesting: A cosmetics company develops a pheromone-based scent that turns women into "crazed man-eaters." Seems a tad too close to comfort to Anarchy, the new women's fragrance from Axe, which fragrance blog Mimi FrouFrou appraises this week from a marketing standpoint.

But nothing about "bicycle face"?: Gala Darling on "bicycle style": Helmet-hair, skirts and modesty, and keeping warm whilst staying stylin'. I tend to choose one or the other—chic or practical—but I applaud those who can try to do both!

"Punish whoever brought these mirrors!": I love Kjerstin Gruys's "Fun Fact Fridays" about mirrors, and this one is my favorite yet: Jewish couples in antiquity would use mirrors specifically to increase their levels of arousal.

Beauty, violence, and sensationalism: Elizabeth Greenwood for The Atlantic lays out two films that succeeds in depicting violence against attractive women without making it somehow seem alluring—and one that fails miserably. 

"Only people over 70 are fooled by Photoshop": I loved Bossypants so much that I didn't think to be critical of Tina Fey's bit on Photoshop, but Virginia Sole-Smith's second look at Fey's take on the matter makes me want to reread and reevaluate. 

"They must reap what they sow": Margaret Cho on the fury that escapes when her looks are attacked. "When someone says something negative about my face or body I will always and forever just completely lose my shit, because I have so much hatred in me, a violence that lies just beneath the surface of my delightfully illustrated skin. ... I’d like to say things that would haunt them for the rest of their days, because their hideous words stay with me eternally. Their insipid spouts of 'no fat chicks' are branded onto my soul, so they must reap what they sow." I'm generally of the "turn the other cheek" variety, but I understand the impulse, yes, I do.

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