beauty

From white women being worn as scarves to discovering how big your clitoris really is, it was certainly an action-packed year. Here are our top stories from 2013 based on your readership and interaction. Thanks for making it a great year!

Who ever thought it was a good idea to judge kids on their beauty? Writer Elizabeth Plank takes a look at some abuses in kiddie beauty pageants which are actually a huge industry in America. Even French people, who love sexy pretty stuff, have put a stop to the pageants--for children.

The Dove Sketches project which has been seen over 13 million times in its first week, wants women to feel that they're beautiful--and decries the stat that only 4% do. Being or feeling beautiful is not something we should care about.

Dove strikes again. This time the Unilver brand has done a social experiment as a commercial. A forensic artist draws a woman as she describes herself, and then as a stranger describes her. Guess which one looks prettier?

I’d love to draw your attention to The Alpha Parent, a blogger who has collected a stunningly large number of toys for infants that socialize girls into preening. Some of the toys are purses/handbags that include pretend lipsticks, compacts, and related-items. My Pretty Learning Purse includes a toy lipstick and a mirror, while the Gund Sesame Street Abbey Purse Playset includes a compact and powder brush.

This post details some daily rituals that help interrupt damaging beauty culture scripts. For instance, do at least one "embarrassing" or "unladylike" action a day. Discuss your period in public. Eat sloppily in public, then lounge on your chair and pat your protruding belly. Swing your arms a little too much when you walk. Open doors for everyone. Offer to help men carry things. Skip a lot. Galloping also works. Get comfortable with making others uncomfortable.

Looks matter, both in our social and working lives. We want to look good and our employers expect us to look good, or at least want us to look a particular way. A raft of research from the US and UK has now established that being perceived to be attractive improves our chances of obtaining work, and boosts our pay and career prospects. Line managers also rate the performances of attractive workers more highly. Finally, attractive workers are less likely to lose their jobs.

"[A]fter SPARK staged a protest in support of SPARK member Julia Blume’s petition urging Seventeen Magazine to change their photoshop policy, in this months issue of Seventeen editor-in-chief Ann Shokets announced that the face and body sizes of the models in their magazines will not be digitally altered in any of the spreads in the magazine," writes Emma Stydahar. Next, the campaign is turning its attention to Teen Vogue.
"Working long hours amid noxious fumes, salon workers, typically women of color, are in constant contact with chemicals linked to various illnesses and reproductive health problems," reports Michelle Chen for In These Times. According to a recent industry watchdog report, "the hazards endemic to the nail salon industry are stratified by ethnicity and gender: roughly four in ten workers are Asian immigrants, many of them of childbearing age, poor, uninsured and with limited English-speaking ability."
The history of Vietnamese-Americans in the nail and beauty business dates back to 1975, when actress Tippi Hedren, most noted for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” arranged for 20 refugees from Vietnam to receive training as manicurists. Those 20 women became the core of a nationwide industry, which now includes tens of thousands of nail salons operated by Vietnamese-Americans.