Tag Archives: sociological images

On Wrinkles and Love Your Body Day

Today is National Love Your Body Day, which is fitting because I was going to write about wrinkles anyway! Hoorah for convergence! Use the hashtag #lybd on Twitter to participate in the conversation.

Last week, Sociological Images pulled an awesome example of “wrinkle washing” of female celebrities:


Smooth vs. wrinkly, right? I think it’s particularly stark when you annotate like this:


SocImages pairs this image with an excellent Susan Sontag quote:

The great advantage men have is that our culture allows two standards of male beauty: the boy and the man. The beauty of a boy resembles the beauty of a girl. In both sexes it is a fragile kind of beauty and flourishes naturally only in the early part of the life-cycle. Happily, men are able to accept themselves under another standard of good looks — heavier, rougher, more thickly built…

There is no equivalent of this second standard for women. The single standard of beauty for women dictates that they must go on having clear skin. Every wrinkle, every line, every gray hair, is a defeat.

A few other examples:



That is not to say you shouldn’t attempt to take care of your skin. For the love of God please wear sun block. Moisturize. Drink a lot of water. But, you know, but don’t let a laugh line or crow’s foot be a defeat. The men certainly don’t. On the other hand, it’s not just a question of internally changing perceptions of self, is it? Here’s something by Gloria Steinem re miley Cyrus that seems relevant:

“I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed … But given the game as it exists, women make decisions. For instance, the Miss America contest is in all of its states … the single greatest source of scholarship money for women in the United States. If a contest based only on appearance was the single greatest source of scholarship money for men, we would be saying, “This is why China wins.” You know? It’s ridiculous. But that’s the way the culture is. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists.”

This stuff is damaging for so many reasons. The pursuit of youth (and beauty, if you’re already young) is distracting us, literally, from all the other things we could be doing with our minds and hearts. It’s part of the reason that we’re behind, because “they” (and by “they,” I mean the “industry,” the advertisers, the media, our friends and family too, sometimes) have convinced us that how we look is related to what we can do. And to Ms. Steinem’s point, playing along isn’t weakness or vanity; in its own way, it’s smart. The appearance game is the only game in town so what the fuck else are we supposed to do?

So… yeah… sorry for the bummer, but it’s a bummer kind of day. Go do something nice for yourself. Buy a book. Take a walk. Eat something delicious. Call someone you love. Write a nice note. Make plans to look forward to. Listen to good music. Look at yourself in the mirror and be like, Yeah, it’s pretty cool that I get to have this body, because this body enables me to do all this other stuff that makes being human pretty fucking cool.

Related Post: Love Your Body Day in years past

Related Post: Why I will not be joining your gym


Filed under Body Image, Hollywood, Media

Why can’t we have a men’s leadership group?

Man, do I hate that question; you will get my most ferocious eye-roll.

I find the answer to “Why can’t we have a men’s leadership group” so painfully obvious, “Because the whole world is your men’s leadership group, you nitwit. Congress? Men’s leadership group. The Supreme Court? Men’s leadership group. The Oscars? Men’s leadership group. Fortune 500 companies? Men’s leadership group. That’s why.”

This week at Role/Reboot, I wrote about a related phenomenon, dubbed by Sociological Images as Men are People, Women are Women. This is the “male default,” where you see “Deodorant” and “Women’s Deodorant,” “Bic Pens” and “Bic Pens for Her,” and other examples of the assumptive category of something genderless being male and the sideline/variation/”specialty” version is for women. In the early debate over this essay, the question was how Women’s Leadership Groups fit into this conversation; aren’t they a form of this exact thing? Yeah, maybe, but also…. not really. Let’s discuss!


Related Post: Should women act like men at work? What does that even mean?

Related Post: What if we had yoga retreats instead of golf outings at work?


Filed under Gender, Media, Republished!

Sunday Scraps 99


1. TAVI: 16-year-olds have no right to be so cool and self-assured. This kid says everything I figured out ten years later about media, feminism, stereotypes, yada yada yada.

2. HEALTH: This American Life is on a roll. Killer piece about the huge upward trend in Americans filing for disability. Why? When? How did this happen? Better question, what do we do it about?

3. ADVERTISING: Sociological Images uses the interesting case of Rolling Rock beer to discuss the appropriation of working class iconography by upper class cohorts for the purposes of “seeming real.”

4. ROMANCE: Nick Offerman + Megan Mullally = Forever. THEY ARE THE BEST, and lucky us, NYMag compiled a history of their love.

5. POLITICS: Just for kicks, cats that look like politicians. Or politicians that look like cats?

6. LGBTQ: Really thought-provoking essay for BuzzFeed about the importance of gay porn, by gay porn performer Connor Habib.

Related Post: Sunday 98 – Marriage in China, mean girls, George Saunders and his editor, etc.

Related Post: Sunday 97 – Writing with a gender neutral name, Cindy Gallop, Anita Sarkeesian, etc.


Filed under Advertising, Art, Gender, Hollywood, Politics, Sex

Sunday Scraps 84

1. GENDER: Watch this Time interview with Casey Legler, a woman who works as a male model, and try not to drool.

2. BOOKS: A new anthology, My Ideal Bookshelf, creates colorful portraits of authors’ and celebrities’ book collections, includes David Sedaris and James Franco.

3. SUFFRAGE: Great collection from Sociological Images of vintage anti-suffrage ads.

4. WRITING: Chicago author Megan Stielstra on the stresses of new motherhood and the surprising support from a stranger.

5. ASTRONAUTS: Super sweet letters from astronaut Jerry Linenger to his 1-year-old son while he spent three months at a space station.

6. CHILDHOOD: What does a child’s bedroom look like? Depends on where they live, and damn, the range is pretty intense. Mother Jones has some examples. 

Related Post: Sunday 83: Stewart, language in the NYT, Mormons on the campaign trail

Related Post: Sunday 82: Kevin Durant, Maddow nails it, NYMag cover photos


Filed under Books, Chicago, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Sunday Scraps 71

1. GLOBAL SEXUALITY: New York Times report on the global domination of Cosmo and how cover to cover, mag to mag, the content shifts to accommodate cultural norms from Kazakhstan to Singapore.

2. HELEN: More Cosmo: Letters of Note has a spectacular letter from legendary Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown to the editor of Turkish Cosmo berating her for the offshoot’s content.

3. OLYMPICS: What happens to the Olympic facilities after the Games have come and gone? Sociological Images has a gallery.

4. FOOTBALL: When NFL players commit suicide, Ann McKee is the doctor they send their brains too. Grantland profiles McKee as she investigates what football does to the brain while also trying to save the sport she loves.

5. ADVICE: Four advice columnists, including Dear Sugar and Dear Prudence, gather for a roundtable to discuss advice-doling strategies and the most common dilemmas (#1 = How do I get over an ex?).

6. AMERICA: America Ferrera, who I’ve missed dearly since saying goodbye to Ugly Betty, is back with a web series called Christine. Worth a look.

Related Post: Sunday 70 – Louie CK, boys in dresses, US ladies at the Olympics, teen books

Related Post: Sunday 69 – Divers, books and bikinis, gun violence, big grocery stores


Filed under Gender, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex, Sports

Sunday Scraps 48

1. OCCUPY: Guest post at Sociological Images by Celia Emmelhainz on the rhetoric of luck in the national conversation about the OWS movement. What and who do we consider “lucky,” and why?

2. ADELE: Love this Vogue interview with Adele mostly because they abstain from discussing her body and instead focus on interesting stuff like why she’s a great girlfriend and her thing for Alec Baldwin.

3. WRITING: Jonathan Lethem in Harpers on the question of intellectual copyright. We all borrow, he says, and that’s a good thing. How ironic is it that Disney, one of the biggest cultural appropriaters or all time, guards their content with such zeal? Also, the end notes may just be the best part.

4. LIBRARY: Phonebooths as mini-libraries. Let’s take outdated technology and convert it into storage for additional outdated technology! Adorable!

5. ART: NextLevel Squad does something called a “Zilla March” through the NYC Subway system. There are gas masks, double-jointed shoulders, and some very confused commuters.

6. PORN: Thought Catalog has an interview with one of my favorites, feminist/queer pornographer Tristan Taormino.

Related Post: Sunday 47 = Lego problems, photoshopping the Renaissance, the chicken nugget diet.

Related Post: Sunday 46 = Disney medleys, whale stomachs, pro-lifers for Planned Parenthood.


Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex

Sunday Scraps 45

1. TIM: Interview with Tim Gunn in Mother Jones about his childhood, his It Gets Better spot, and consistently being the best thing about Project Runway.

2. PEGGY: Watch Peggy Orenstein (author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter) on Anderson Cooper’s day time show. She talks princess culture, hyper sexualization, you know… the usual stuff.

3. LAUNDRY: From Sociological Images, check out this store front display from UK store Bosch.

4. DREAM: A D.C. classroom of adorable children tag teams “I Have a Dream.” Even Gwen Ifill of PBS is moved.

5. HISTORY: Amazing photos from the Loving family (of Loving vs. Virginia, the case that ended interracial marriage bans). I’ve read so much about this case, but have never known what the namesakes looked like. Nothing like pictures to really contextualize a family’s love in the scope of political history.

6. BODY: A really moving, eloquent piece by Janell Burley Hofmann about what happened when her seven-year-old daughter saw herself in the mirror and declared that she was fat.

Related Post: Sunday 44 = booty call rules, tween feminism, Margaret Cho rocks.

Related Post: Sunday 43 = movie makeovers, Jimmy Fallon as Russell Brand, Private Danny Chen


Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Books, Education, Gender, Media