Male Teens + Fashion Industry

Early this week, I ask if there was anything you’ll like me to post and one of our fans wanted to know if males are affected by the unrealistic imagines shown on media has a negative effect on teens.

From both primary and secondary research, it is a 50/50 answer.

Mentioned in my earlier blog post, I was lucky enough to conduct primary research through interviewing a few teenagers which majority of them were males (keeping in mind most of them are either 13 or 14). From my findings, male teens highlighted that they understand the media’s affected on body image either through school or their parents. Some say they are somewhat affected by it but other say it does not affect them. Individually, they have shown that clothing sizes and what they wear do not really affect them mentally, as well as, their interaction socially.

During the teen period, it is a vulnerable stage for these individuals as their bodies are developing and constantly changing.

Mission Australia highlighted that in their Youth Survey 2015, Body image was the third highest concern overall, with 4.7% of males highlighted they were extremely concerned and 21% somewhat concerned. Despite the low rates compare to other concerns, the fashion, magazine, modelling and advertising industry have at some point  influence males perception of what is seen as masculine and attractive.

The following affect of this can potentially lead to mental health issues like eating disorder and depression. Thus, we need stricter rules and policies to escape further illness that can be avoided at the very beginning. If you believe that action needs to be made sign the petition by clicking here.

A.L.

Mission Australia Youth Survey 2015. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey [Accessed 11 Oct. 2016].

 

Collaboration: The Standard Male x Photoshop Ain’t Real

Following up on my last post, I’m here to talk about the infamous Abercrombie and Fitch CEO controversy which I’m sure you all have either read about it or came it across it a few years ago.

Teen retailer, Abercrombie and Fitch is one of many fashion brands that have highlighted negative body image.  In 2006, former CEO Mike Jeffries made a bold statement the highlight he only wanted the “cool kids” to wear this clothing, hence, why XL or XXL was not stocked in stores.

CEO Mike Jeffries said “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”  (Lutz, 2013)

“Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.” (Lutz, 2013)

These bold statements made headlines internationally. It’s company like Abercrombie and Fitch that make young teen males feel a sense of insecurity, anxious and pressure to meet social standards. Thus, leads to mental health issues.

This article is part of two-part series in collaboration with The Standard Male. To take a look the article on The Standard Male click here.

A.L.

Lutz, A. (2013). Abercrombie & Fitch Refuses To Make Clothes For Fat People. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2016].

World Mental Health Day

A little late to the party but better late than never. Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and l wanted to take this moment just to talk about the issue around mental health and the severity of it.

According to the World Health Organisation, if we don’t act immediately by 2030 depression will be the top illness globally.

The purpose of World Mental Health Day is to not only bring greater awareness but also educate the importances of understanding what is mental health,  the symptoms and how to recover from it.  World Mental Health is held on the 10th of October each year.

Mental illness affected individuals mentally, physically and socially. Mental health can affect anyone at any stages of their lives and there is a road to recovery if they are willing to put in the effect and extra help from people around them.

 

 

What can you do to help?

From past experience, talk to them. It is that simple. By talking to someone, even if it feels like you are talking a load of rubbish, however, in their perspective, it is different. Those words you say is extremely valuable to these people.

Trust me, if you know of a close friend or family who is suffering from mental illness, talk to them before it is too late. They need you more than you could ever imagine. Better late than never.

As a sufferer, if you do not wish to speak to your family member or friend, why not call up mental health organisation who are willing to chat anonymously to you. For more information on different organisations click here.

Collaboration: The Standard Male X Photoshop Ain’t Real

When we talk about the fashion industry, pressure by media, body image and mental health we tend to think about females, young or old. But what about men? Men’s have feelings too!

 

In recent years, there have a been a greater target towards men and the perceptive of males such that the media has highlighted the ideal males should be “youthful, masculine, successful and attractive.” Due to these pressures, males are falling into the traps of physically harming their body’s like females.  The most common disorder is “exercise bulimia” which is referred to males spending a ridiculous amount of time in exercising to burn off the extra calories. Just like females, males are also retouched by digital editing and makeup to meet the fashion industry and media standard.

 

The Try Guy video below highlights the perfect description of male insecurity and visual idea as to what happens behind the scene before a photo shoot and what happens to these pictures before they are published publicly.

 

 

Just like The Standard Male, Photoshop Ain’t Real is a hub where we aim to not only generate greater awareness but we believe that tougher rules and regulations must be placed within the fashion and modelling industry, as well as, media outlets to reduce the amount of mental health suffers due to this issue. Also, kids as young as 8 years old should be educations about healthy body image and the influences of media.

 

This article is part of two parts series in collaboration with The Standard Male. To take a look the article on The Standard Male click here.

A.L.

Teen’s Thought

For this campaign, l really wanted to know and understand the young minds affected by body image and how it has lead to mental health issues like eating disorder. Lucky me! I was given the opportunity to talk to a group of young teenagers between the ages of 13-16.

I came up with a list of questions from simple to questions that may have affected them personally. Questions used for this interview is listed below:

  • Age:
  • Gender:
  • Do you feel the need to be perfect?
  • Do you think you are perfect?
  • How well is your understanding of a positive and healthy body image? Why or why not?
  • Do you think you have been educated enough about body image? When did they teach you about healthy body image?
  • Has the media influenced your perception of a perfect body?
  • When trying on a piece of clothing at a retail store, does the sizing of your clothing influence your thoughts about your body shape?
  • In your perspective (can be from personal experience, media influence, or clothing influence), do you think media and the fashion industry have followed The  2009  National Advisory Group?

From this focus group interview, l was able to have to the conclusion that teenagers understanding of healthy body image is extremely high, however, they have pinpointed despite their high-level understanding. Media still plays a major role in defining, pressuring and manipulating images to present perfection.

One form of information that shocked me was despite their high level of understanding, one female said that most of healthy body image perception was taught through media, whereas, they thought that schools haven’t really dig deep into the topic such as how to promote positive health image and what can be done apart from highlighting what is healthy and what isn’t. This resonated with me, this is why l believe schools need to start teaching kids as long as 8 years of age about positive mental health as part of PDHPE.

This resonated with me, this is why l believe schools need to start teaching kids as long as 8 years of age about positive mental health as part of PDHPE. On top of this, media can be seen as an educational material if it was to promote positive body image. Kids learn from them but learning the negative aspect isn’t what we want.  Let media become more positive! Teach the kids the right things!

A.L.

 

Crossover with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

I am ecstatic to have Katrina Tse from BDD Does Happen To Us to join us to talk about the relation between the fashion industry affecting mental health, thus, leading to Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Before further ado, I’ll like to introduce our friend from ‘BDD Does Happen to us’

We all know that how Fashion Industry and media spread an unhealthy view of today’s teenagers.

Our perception of beauty is significantly influenced by the media outlets like magazines, TV and social media. They craft the idealised standard of beauty and humanity and from their creation are born the desire to become the idealised form. Theses trend create an unrealistic standard that we feel we have to live up to. Sometimes we find ourselves judging and comparing our own lives with the updates, tweets, and photos from the media. In fact, this demanding beauty standard is difficult for people to reach and the comparisons we make can cause feelings of inferiority that lead to low self-esteem.

It has additionally been associated with higher rates of developing serious mental health issue like Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). It is “a preoccupation with what they imagine to be a defective body part or a distorted view of some small and insignificant defect.” As BDD often takes hold during the teenage years when one is very vulnerable to be affected by the Fashion media, many assume that teenagers are more likely than others to get this disorder. I am working on a campaign about increasing the awareness of BDD.

Feel free to exchange information in regard to how fashion industry and media affect teenager’s mental health and we can strive to make a change. Visit us on our Facebook, Twitter and WordPress page.

Katrina Tse – BDD Does Happen To Us

“Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”

barbie-ad-empowers-little-girl

So what you’re telling me is that my childhood favorite toy is damaging young girl’s self-esteem?

At the tender age of 5, I remembered received my very first Olympic swimming Barbie doll in response to the Sydney Olympic Games 2000. I thought all dolls looked like that. I remember hating on one of the dolls for having long legs. The struggles to put on tight skinny jeans was a nightmare for a 5 years old me. I guess that was back in my times.

Fast-forward 14 years later, Barbie is blamed for body image issues and even worse eating disorder.

Barbie may just be a plastic unrealistic doll but young girls at the tender age of 10, keeping in mind may or maybe not be going through puberty yet are striving to achieve a dangerously thin physical appearance.

Barbie is owned by 99% of 3-10-year-old girls around the world and is the most requested on young girls Christmas wish list for over 55 years.

However, the question, Is Barbie’s body shape an unrealistic representation of a girl? Should parents continue to go ahead and purchase a Barbie doll for their daughter?

resize

Researchers have highlighted that Barbie’s body represent less than 1 in 100,000 adult women with a 20cm smaller waist than an anorexic patient. With a measurement like this, realistically, Barbie would not be able to hold her head up or menstruate.

Is this the image we want the next generation to believe is socially acceptable?

 

 

A.L.

 

The Conversation. (2014). Is Barbie bad for body image?. [online] Available at: http://theconversation.com/is-barbie-bad-for-body-image-33725 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].

“It’s the soul that needs the surgery”

Pretty Hurts: Queen B’s bold statement

Before we dive into this blog post, let’s take another listen and sing at the top of our lungs to Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé and if it’s your first time, listen to the lyrics and watch this video carefully.

Now, let’s put our hands together for this empowering ballad! This inspiring ballad gets me each time.

How many times have we heard “Beauty is pain” , “thinner is better”?

Pretty Hurt was released in 2014 and instantly became a hit worldwide. The purpose of this song was to deal with the results of meet society’s perception of beauty, as well as, the effect of this issue leading to mental health problems such as eating disorders and anxiety.

Beyonce highlighted that “The concept of this video is really a behind the scenes look into society’s take on beauty and how it doesn’t bring you happiness and it doesn’t move you forward in life.” The music video was inspired by a younger version of herself surrounded by trophies and awards which end up getting smashed and destroyed. The music video came one of the best music videos of 2014 by the Rolling Stone, along with winning multiple awards that year.

Beyoncé’s feminism, the power of ownership, body image takes on in Pretty Hurts hope to promote positive body image and to ignore the fabricated media representation of beauty. Love yourself for who you are no matter what shape or size.

 

 

A.L.

 

McGeorge, A. (2014). Beyonce says women are under too much pressure to look unrealistically perfect. [online] mirror. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/beyonce-says-women-under-much-3473084 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].

Dropping a size is as easy as changing stores.

Is it time to standardize clothing sizes in the Fashion Industry?

 

The answer is YES. This confusion and manipulative methods are played out in our heads. YES, it feels good to drop a size instantly but it’s also going to play with our self-esteem and confident level.

 

It is not unusual to find a range of different sizes in your wardrobe.

 

In Australia, there is no standard adults’ clothing size. Clothing designers, brands, and manufacturers based their sizing through their sales history, marketing hunches and their believe in an ideal measurement for a size.

 

This may not influence the designers themselves but it does give an instant “Feel good” factor to consumers.

 

Fashion industry expert CHOICE stated that this billion-dollar Australian industry fails to get sizing regularity. This is one of their major issues.

 

The latest data was taken in 2007 and from then onwards was seen as no longer relevant. It is no surprise that the standard Australians is bigger than it used to be and also multiculturalism has also brought along a wider range of body range. The average size of a female in Australia is a size 12.

 

The lack of standardized sizing in Australia is due to a few reasons

  • Vanity Sizing:
    • Part of the problem is that Australians’ waistlines are getting wider and we can’t deny it.
    • Department store Myers exaggerated their measurements of a size 8, 10, 12 and 14 by a few centimetres, highlighting it is a better fit for the customers
    • Country Road is known for tailoring their clothing one size down such that a size 12 customers would fit a size 10
  • The rise of size 0
    • Industry expert CHOICE said that all designers have an ideal body type in mind and tailor their clothing to fit them
  • Quality Control
    • Due to inadequate quality control by brands such that clothing producers are usually inconsistent because of mass manufacturing offshore.

 

This is a call for action! We should be able to walk into any department and know our size!

 

A.L.

sizes, T. and stores., W. (2016). Clothing sizes in Australia – CHOICE. [online] CHOICE. Available at: https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/everyday-shopping/clothing/articles/clothing-size-irregularities [Accessed 12 Sep. 2016].