Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Body image and the media

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Brilliant 25 minute documentary on the female body in the Italian media. In English.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Ah, the Listener scooped again.

    *applauds*

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Brilliant 25 minute documentary on the female body in the Italian media.

    Speaking of whiich, is Sophia Loren gorgeous here or somewhat unnerving? (it's like she just walked off the set of Pret-a-Porter, which was made fifteen years ago.) Personally, I prefer Judi Dench being a snarky old hag, chain-smoking for Italia, and not giving a shit.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I'd be interested in knowing if many males feel the same pressure that many females seem to feel?

    I don't feel any pressure, but I do notice that there are bugger all men on TV my age who look like me. Big Bang Theory is about the only current show I can think of where the geeks look like geeks. I saw an episode of Ugly Betty the other day, where her geeky, bespectabled boyfriend took his shirt off to reveal that he was almost cartoonishly ripped.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Now here's an Italian woman I can adore body and soul:

    Rumba, Saraghina! Rumba!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Not really. Our equivalent pressure is money/success.

    Speak for yourself, darling.

    Yeah, the heavily-photoshopped cover of Men's Health magazine would disagree with you. (It's the reverse of the women: the heads are too small for the bodies.) Pecs like dinner plates, and gods forbid men should have body hair.

    But. Every individual responds differently. Some members of both sexes really genuinely don't give a shit or even notice.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So I guess that means models are normal too.

    A qualified yes, if a) all the models we see in media are not digitally altered; b) all the models we see on catwalks do not have eating disorders or speed/cocaine problems*; and c) all the models on catwalks just happen, coincidentally, to be over five foot eight and a size zero.

    IOW, there certainly are very tall, very thin people who are naturally exactly that way genetically, and that's terrific and normal. But there are obviously other factors at work in the fashion industry which influence these things, and not all of those factors are healthy.

    *Not that doing cocaine ever caused anyone I know to lose weight. But I am reliably informed that it often does.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Pecs like dinner plates, and gods forbid men should have body hair.

    Yeah -- and personally, I find that about as disturbing as the whole heroin chic "waif" trend in catwalk models. Am I the ony person who finds a very high squick factor in the ideal of sexual desirability being to resemble an emaciated, hairless child as closely as possible?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Heh, I knew I was having that deja vu feeling for a reason. From November '07

    If you count reaming men as a victory for feminism, then giving them our preoccupation with completely unnecessary grooming is pretty much FTW. We've gone from 'run the country? not with those nasal hairs' to male Brazilians. Yes, that's right, paying someone to rip all your pubic hair out by the roots in an attempt to make the scrotum attractive. Sucked. In.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    looking like a hairless child

    Pube derail: I recently read a UK advice column in the Times which noted that most heterosexual men nowadays pretty much expect a full Brazilian of their partners. To which I say: owwweeeeeeeee.

    ETA: a pox on your edit, Ranapia! :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yeah, the heavily-photoshopped cover of Men's Health magazine would disagree with you. (It's the reverse of the women: the heads are too small for the bodies.) Pecs like dinner plates, and gods forbid men should have body hair.

    I do find the covers of Men's Health kind of confronting, I suppose (I've never bothered to look inside one), but I'm not sure it actually puts unhealthy pressure on me.

    And I'm totally happy for the laydeez to covet Dan Carter. Just so long as it's okay for me to go woozy at the sight -- and sound! -- of Melissa Theuriau -- although I think in both cases there's the additional element of the pretty person also being talented at what they do.

    OTOH, I tend to regard the sight of buff twentysomething guys in striding around in too-tight shirts as a signal that this is the wrong bar for me. I make the possibly unfair assumption that they're dickheads, and I know women who do the same.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pube derail: I recently read a UK advice column in the Times which noted that most heterosexual men nowadays pretty much expect a full Brazilian of their partners.

    I saw a British let's-talk-about-sex TV show in which it appeared that most of the men also considered it necessary to at least trim their pubes. I think porn's had quite an influence there ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Pube derail: I recently read a UK advice column in the Times which noted that most heterosexual men nowadays pretty much expect a full Brazilian of their partners. To which I say: owwweeeeeeeee.

    I'd say: "You first." And I'll tell you this for free: There's noting erotic about going down and coming up with stubble burn. Seriously, guys: If that turned me on, wouldn't it be both cheaper and faster to invest in a roll of sand paper and frottage the night away?

    I saw a British let's-talk-about-sex TV show in which it appeared that most of the men also considered it necessary to at least trim their pubes. I think porn's had quite an influence there ...

    And not for the good. In porn, every man is hung like Nelson's Column. Back on planet Earth, the prick that couldn't do with a bit of muff moss to cover up the weak point is very rare indeed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I think porn's had quite an influence there ...

    I should note that I am not being judgeypants: if said Brazilianing, as a woman, floats your boat, go right ahead and god bless you. But if someone I was bonking asked me to do that, I'd be saying an emphatic 'NO!' because I have this irrational thing against, oh, *bleeding to death*.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I should note that I am not being judgeypants: if said Brazilianing, as a woman, floats your boat, go right ahead and god bless you. But if someone I was bonking asked me to do that, I'd be saying an emphatic 'NO!' because I have this irrational thing against, oh, *bleeding to death*.

    Neither am I -- but I'm also of the camp that says any searing pain in your nethers that doesn't respond to antibiotics is to be avoided. And certainly not inflicted by a stranger who charges for the privilege.

    And perhaps someone who is going to pull a D.H. Lawrence and leave you hanging off the headboard because your pubes are "wrong" isn't someone you should be wasting time on in the first place.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Wow, so far very few comments on this post have made me want to head desk (or more specifically head headboard), for which I am greatly relieved. I remember writing an essay on depictions of women in the media in 1999 that covered how Joe was treated on Popstars (going shopping in places that carried clothes that obviously wouldn't fit her so that she'd cry on TV but not at all questioning why it was so hard to find good clothes in a size 18) and I know she's been through a lot of different stuff since then (how much did I want to punch Mike King in the head even more than usual when he had that terrible wanna-be-Letterman show and she was on it and he kept making fat jokes? A lot) so I'm sure she will have very interesting things to say about it. I also like how I've developed in the past ten years so that I know that being called fat really isn't such a bad thing at all, no matter how it's intentioned.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And I'll tell you this for free: There's noting erotic about going down and coming up with stubble burn.

    Right . We really need a section for rent-a quote. My notepad is getting full :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6281 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    ...And this

    wouldn't it be both cheaper and faster to invest in a roll of sand paper and frottage the night away?

    then this...

    every man is hung like Nelson's Column. Back on planet Earth, the prick that couldn't do with a bit of muff moss to cover up the weak point is very rare indeed.

    Classic!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6281 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Ah, the Listener scooped again.
    *applauds*

    With more clapping from the back seats! Perhaps they could do a feature on the correlation between body size and house prices.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2321 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Yeah, the heavily-photoshopped cover of Men's Health magazine would disagree with you.

    It's just not really a look that I aspire to, and just doesn't contain those psychological triggers. Also, I don't really experience any judgement from real people on those criteria.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Big Bang Theory is about the only current show I can think of where the geeks look like geeks.

    Beauty and the Geek.

    Dwight and Kevin in The Office.

    Frank from 30 Rock.

    Andy from According to Jim.

    A bunch of characters from The Simpsons and American Dad.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I'll give you the middle three (I've never watched According to Jim, but I'll take your word for it), but the other ones are more in the realm of parody - in fact, out of Beauty and the Geek and the cartoons, I'd say the geeks in Beauty and the Geek are actually the more cartoonish of the two...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    where the geeks look like geeks.

    I wouldn't claim that my workplace is a showcase of masculine or feminine beauty, but it is definitely mostly programmers -- about 100 of them, which I'd say is a reasonable sample size. When I look around, I see what I think of as a normal array of body types, including a fair few sporty ones. And I'd say my perception of "normal" probably skews athletic, given that I'm somewhat of a gym rat.

    What exactly does "look like geeks" mean?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    What exactly does "look like geeks" mean?

    Fine, how about "where the geeks look like average human beings who don't go to the gym every day, as opposed to chisled Adonises"? Doesn't quite roll off the tongue - how about "where the geeks look like me", which was the point of my original post.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The most obese guy I know is also the only person who regularly buys Men's Health and various other bodybuilding mags. His time in the gym, however, has not made him ripped at all, instead it's served to increase his already considerable mass and make him freakishly strong. Once in a tussle with him I experienced exactly what Grendel must have felt when Beowulf laid hands on him. I'm much more envious of that than I am of people who look like Beowulf from the recent movie.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8599 posts Report Reply

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