Friday, September 13, 2013

Beauty and the Fake

Recently, I watched a video in my Marriage and Family class that I had also watched in my Sociology class last year, entitled, Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne. It's a video that mostly talks about women and how they are sexualized in media today. There is little that talks about men, but mostly because the way men are sexualized in media are different and much less detrimental to their well-being than with women.

Watching this had an impact on me because I think that mainstream media has brainwashed everyone (men and women both) into seeking an ideal portrayed through ads that no female can ever reach. I know that I, myself, have been victim to this, always believing that because I had acne or because certain parts of my body didn't match up to the pictures I saw, that the way I looked was never good enough. I've heard guy friends talking about physical traits they want to see in a girl that most girls don't have or that are really shallow. When I was a camp counselor this summer to eight- and nine-year-old girls, they were already talking about being fat and wanting to lose weight and put on makeup to look prettier. I was quite disgusted and told my girls that they are way to young to be thinking about those kinds of issues and that they are beautiful just the way they are.

Source: NY Times

Killing Us Softly 4 talked about how much we subconsciously take in from these ads. Women are dehumanized, sexualized, and looked upon as helpless, and as a society, we all subconsciously agree with the ads, whether we like to admit it or not. The picture above shows just a woman's legs, objectifying her by not giving her a face, and she is in a position that makes her look like she could be dead, if you really think about it. It is images like these that can cause men to think that violence towards women is okay, even if they won't outright admit it, or may not even know it.

I was originally going to use a picture that might as well be pornography to help my point, but it was so indecent that I couldn't even bear to keep it on my post as I typed. It was an ad for a clothing company in London, where the girl was wearing a beanie with pom-poms that barely covered her nipples. Pictures like those showing almost the entire naked body are supposed to be selling clothes. Where are they? And when we keep being exposed to pictures of women with perfectly round breasts, clear faces, and really skinny bodies, we think that is what we need to be to be attractive or beautiful. It also influences guys also think that way too, and they are disappointed when the girls in front of them don't match up to those fake pictures. For some magazine photos, editors will use portions from different faces to make one very flawless and unrealistic picture.

The famous Dove commercial on the "Evolution of Beauty" got a lot of attention when it highlighted how drastically models are photoshopped to make them appear "perfect." Not even the models can match the standard we see on magazines and in ads. It's not real.

Don't get me wrong, it's not always bad to look at fashion magazines and to want to wear makeup and look nice and lose weight to be healthy if necessary. I just think that many of us (myself included) get caught up in all of it and lose sight of why we're really doing what we do. Am I wearing makeup because I enjoy it and like taking extra time to look nice or am I hiding my acne scars? When we do these kinds of things, we need to ask ourselves these kinds of questions everyday. I see all of this as a constant self-reflection on our own parts.

Media. It has a very powerful effect on us, whether we like it or not. It's up to us to be intentional with how we react after seeing it and knowing how it effects us, men and women alike. Us women need to constantly check up on ourselves and make sure that when we dress up or think about our appearance, we need to check why we're doing what we're doing and why we think that way. As for the men, they need to realize that the women they see on tv and in magazines aren't real. And seeing women being taken advantage of in ads is no excuse for a man to do the same in real life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Taking Safety to Another Level with React Mobile

I remember my freshman year of high school when I was walking home with a friend of mine when a couple older girls stopped us. They had asked us if we lived in the area before threatening us with a gun, so they went through our bags and stole all the cash we had on us (thank God it wasn't much) and my iPod, worth about $300 at the time.

Eventually, the girls and their accomplices got caught, but not before they were able to rob a few other people from my school as well. Thankfully, none of us got hurt in the process, but it was still a terrifying experience.

The Home page
Robb Monkman created a free app for the iPhone and some Android devices to prevent incidents like mine from happening after he, himself was held at gunpoint while in college. React Mobile is an app that was launched earlier this year to help protect students from becoming victims of crimes and to prevent other crimes from happening, if spotted from afar. The app turns your smartphone into a safety tool for you to have the ability to inform close contacts and/or your social media sites of your whereabouts at any given time, if you allow the app to do so.

With the push of a button, one is able to send an SOS alert with your GPS location to the authorities, and to whoever you decide to tell. Users also have the option of posting the alert to Facebook and Twitter. The app automatically dials 911 if an SOS alert is triggered.

The screenshot just after sending an SOS
React Mobile, however, doesn't need to be used just for emergencies. The app has been created so that it is available for everyday use as well, if necessary. The "Follow Me" feature allows users to notify friends and family of their location in real-time if they are every concerned for their own safety. Friends and family have the ability to view the user's location and track them until they get to their destination. This feature would be especially useful if someone was running around at night or if they were meeting someone for the first time or going to an unfamiliar place. I hope that I will never have to use this app, but it is very comforting to know that I have a way to safety, if necessary.

I always say that classic quote, "it's better to be safe than sorry," and I honestly hold that to be true. I encourage downloading the React Mobile app to have it handy if (God-forbid) you were to be placed in an unsafe position. You never know, it just might save your life.
The "Follow-Me" feature

The map of someone tracking you using
the "Follow Me" feature

Still not convinced?
Visit React Mobile's website:

Chau for now, & stay safe!

This post was sponsored by React Mobile.