Exploring being female (for that's what we are) in a world of media myths, publishing incompetence, and marketing madness -- as well as the female submission and subscription to those messages.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chicks & Beauty History Links

Check out what I've been writing about:

Antique Tobacco Trading Cards: Sex In Advertising, Or Sexist Collectors?

Vintage Beauty Collectible: The Tweaker

Friday, June 15, 2012

Today's Quick Thought

Lovely to sneak a peek, suitable for men's mags; but all that fabric under your bum is not comfortable! (Related.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stop Being Stupid & You'll Get Our Money

Awhile ago, Jezebel reported that women's magazines saw a circulation slump larger than most of the industry:

Aside from terrible cover lines, stories that underestimate the intelligence of their readers, and predictable fashion spreads that present an extremely narrow idea of female beauty, what's wrong with today's ladymags?
We've been saying / blogging that for quite some time now. And we'd like to point out some specifics, such as physically impossible sex tips and bad sex advice. Overall, we think Cosmo is the worst of the so-called "magazines for women."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Look? Harper's Bazaar Does Not Understand Fashion. Or Women.

In the February 2012 issue of Harper's Bazaar, there was a feature celebrating Dior's New Look fashions for Spring. Then a month later, in March, the magazine's big Spring Issue, the cover features The New Look on Gwyneth Paltrow...

Doesn't bring to mind Christian Dior's iconic look, does it.

After paging through over 100 advertising pages (including several faux table of contents pages) to get to the real table of contents on page 128, you then can find out where to see this year's New Look for Spring -- beginning on page 346.

(Above is one of the many fake contents pages -- note the tiny word "promotion" at the top.)

After struggling to find numbered pages (those little numbers would destroy the ads!), you see this:

Not at all Dior's New Look. And after all that work, I feel like that model looks: Exhausted and disappointed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Death Of Natalie Wood

It takes me awhile to get around to reading all the magazines laying around our house. Not just the vintage ones, but the new ones that keep arriving. Normally I wouldn't be so keen to mention the belated reading of a story that's already made the rounds on the Internet at the end of last year, but this one struck me.

In the December 26, 2011/January 2, 2012 issue of Newsweek, Nancy Collins covers the mysterious death of Natalie Wood. The story is "newsworthy" because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has decided to reopen the case of Natalie's drowning death based on new testimony from several witnesses, including that of the actress' boat's captain, Dennis Davern who published a book about Wood’s death, Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (2009).

I remember being in high school when Natalie's body was found on November 29, 1981. I knew little of Natalie then. I had only recently discovered her in a TV viewing of Westside Story, and, like most everyone, had fallen in love with her as Maria. In my state of youth, however, I did not quite consider her "old" at the age of 43 -- perhaps because she was still the vivacious Maria in my mind. Even then I was not a celeb-hound and did not read the myrid of publications making money off her death, and so I was not bombarded with other images of an older Natalie Wood.

All of this makes me slightly odd, I'm sure.

But I do remember being not only sad at her death, but feeling a certain mistrust, a certain suspicion of an accidental drowning.

It was rather a haunting feeling. Something that's stuck with me all these years and had me reading the article in Newsweek. But never enough to prompt me to turn detective or anything; plus, my detective skills fall into the research category and as the death was ruled accidental, my skills wouldn't turn up anything new really...

So, reading this article was rather like hearing about Natalie Wood's death for the first time.  This time, having seem more of her films than Westside Story, I knew more about the woman, the actress. But the details in this article were news to me.

For example, I never knew that Christopher Walken had been on that boat that fateful night. Not that I knew who Walken was back then. (I've never said I was cool -- either as a child or now.) And it was sort of odd to imagine them, Wood and Walken, as contemporaries.

It was also odd to imagine Robert Wagner as he's depicted in this article... He was one of the Harts in Hart To Hart, and he and Stefanie Powers both had seemed tragic for their losses. A more mature me realizes that all these things can be true, can be motive; but they need not be either.

I really have no ideas on the accident Vs. murder angle. Either is just as plausible.

And I agree intellectually with the points of tragedy and age brought up by Nancy Collins in her recent article.

But what strikes me most of all about all of this is the fact that celebrity and death continue to equal profit in publishing.

This means that Collins, the writer, and I, the paying consumer who reads (and continues to write herself), are perpetuating the tragedies involved, aren't we?

What is it about beauty, glamour, talent, death, and tragedy that captures humans so? When they are combined, they create some sort of alchemy that's nearly impossible to deny.

The lives, loves, and losses of these famous people are exaggerated versions of things in our own lives, and the drama does more than intrigue -- it creates a shared sense of nostalgia in which we can each experience our own sorrows and joys in a more distant way which may be disconnected from our own pain but also connects us to one another.

For these reasons stories are powerful, popular and even positive.  But when one takes them too far, when one forgets that Natalie was a real person and so her death was real to her and all who love(d) her, and pursues the subject with a fascination which removes the dignity from the souls involved, we are perverse. And this includes the media which banks on such attentions.

So no, I won't seek to consume all media coverage of the newly re-opened Natalie Wood case; I won't set any newsfeeds or searches, scan tabloids at the grocery store, etc. But when these stories appear in the publications and news shows I am already reading and watching, I likely will continue to watch... With a sense of respectful guilt to monitor my level of fascination.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vintage Fat Women & Other Stereotypes

The little "funny" poem from illustrator Ted O'Loughlin reads, in part:

Noses Are Red
Viole Is Blue
Let me finish the poem for you: Don't Be Fat, Or A Drunk Cop May Arrest You

This is from the collection of Emma Pratt Hall; I wonder how young Emma felt receiving this warning disguised as humor? This vintage piece available for sale here, where the seller describes it as follows:

A dated and inscribed C. 1939 signed by the Philadelphia Bulletin's comic artist Ted O'Loughlin pen & ink and watercolor Illustration art comic work of a curvy pin-up girl on an old porcelain lollipop scale and a leering cop.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beware The Wedding Guests?

A friend of mine is getting married, and while the following story is cute, it just doesn't fit in at the other blog, so...

You know how wedding planning goes -- everyone has to stick their two-cents in, right? Well, while we were sitting around going over the checklists for things, the mother of the groom was saying how the wedding guest book is useful. It's not one way to organize your thank you cards, but that she'd heard that the proper etiquette for guest books is that you use that list as your holiday greeting card list for the next few years. She thought that made sense, so she set about doing that the very next Christmas.

About a week or so after she mailed the Christmas cards, she, the new bride, received one of the cards back. Written on the envelope was this:

I only went to your wedding to be polite. Please stop showing me how happy you two are.

It was signed by the former wedding guest -- a female friend of the groom (now the husband) who apparently was less "friend" and more jilted and broken-hearted former girlfriend.

What's more, next to this woman's name in the guest book there were little hearts... At the time they seemed like well-wishes for the happy bride and groom, but now... Well, they look more like the last attempts of communication from a pining woman!

Honest-to-God -- she showed us the card and the guest book!

If there is a moral to this story, it's that your wedding guest book may prove to be practical and humorous!

(For a more useful and beautiful wedding story, see this post by A Slip Of A Girl!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vintage Weight Loss Tea

You can't spell art deco without a "T" and you couldn't be a slim flapper without this tea. The complete Charm Tea Method For Slenderness With Safety, box, tea and booklet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Going Ga-Ga?

We're rather intellectual about beauty and fashion here; often down right critical, even. But that's not to say we are immune to brazen acts of consumerism. Like, say, when there's a big sale on shoes... Or a big womens boots sale.

Today there's a big shoe sale at Macy's which most of us are going ga-ga over. (Hey, that expression makes even more sense now that there's Lady Gaga! Not that she needs to worry herself about a shoe sale...)

But that's rather my point: You can be a smart shopper, a critical thinker about media and what it pushes at you, and be a savvy shopper. That's rather what we try to do here at Pink Populace Paparazzi Parade Exposé -- make you think about what you're buying into before you buy.

Saving 30 to 50% on select styles -- with an extra 25% off clearance shoes, online only -- is only part of the (fabulous) story. Yes, it's nice to save on shoes for yourself and your family, as long as you are buying what you need, what you want, and not because you feel you must or feel as if you're nothing without it. It's shoes, people. They aren't going to turn you into Lady Gaga or whoever else you think is awesome.

But there's nothing wrong with buying shoes -- even pretty, impractical things that are more decoration than clothing for your feet. And it's OK to fall in love with the shoes of look of a celebrity, as long as you aren't confused about what those shoes will do.

Buy the shoes; not the image.

Even better when those shoes are on sale. *wink*

Now I'll get off my platforms soapbox and let you shop!

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