Magazines: Vogue’s Photoshop of Horrors.

lena-dunham-vogue-cover

There Lena Dunham goes, creating controversy no matter what she does. Actually, it wasn’t so much Dunham’s American Vogue cover that’s polarised feminists the internet over but Jezebel’s bounty for unPhotoshopped images from Dunham’s shoot.

I kind of get where they’re coming from in that Vogue has a sordid history of Photoshopping its subjects to within an inch of their lives, but it’s puzzling as to why Jezebel’s targeting Dunham’s outing in the mag.

Within a couple of hours of putting a $10,000 bounty on the original images from Dunham’s Annie Leibovitz-shot pictorial, Jezebel had acquired them. A quick glance reveals there was not a whole lot of image-altering to be had, and Dunham looks great in both the before and afters, as Jezebel asserted.

Dunham came to Vogue’s defence in a statement to Slate, saying that Vogue is a fantasy and anyone who wants to see what Dunham actually looks like can tune into Girls. Jezebel’s campaign does come across as body-shaming of Dunham, who has surely experienced enough of that since she first got naked when Girls debuted in 2012. Why not offer as much money for the unretouched originals of someone who has clearly been made to look worlds away from their actual selves? (Jezebel has taken Vogue, Vanity Fair and Victoria’s Secret catalogues to task in the past for their extreme airbrushing in a series called “Photoshop of Horrors”.)

As someone in the comment thread of one of the many posts Jezebel has published in defence of their stance insinuated, it’s time to step away from the computer and let sleeping dogs lie. Funnily enough, it was a cat meme that was used to illustrate this point…

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] We’re Offering $10,000 for Unretouched Images of Lena Dunham in Vogue.

[Jezebel] Here Are the Unretouched Images from Lena Dunham’s Vogue Shoot.

[Jezebel] Lena Dunham Responds to Unretouched Images from Her Vogue Shoot.

[Jezebel] The Unretouched Images Victoria’s Secret Doesn’t Want You to See. 

[Jezebel] Did Vogue Remove Claire Danes’ Leg? (Yes. It Made Her Look Fat.)

[Jezebel] Did Vanity Fair Lighten Lupita Nyong’o’s Skin?

[Slate] Lena Dunham’s Response to Vogue Photoshop Criticism: Fashion Magazines Are About Fantasy, Not Reality.

Image via Us Weekly.

Magazines: Vo-Gaga.

Lady Gaga claims to be a misfit; the mother monster of the birth of a new race of misfits, according to “Born This Way”. So why is she on the cover of Vogue?:

“‘I want for people in the universe, my fans and otherwise, to essentially use me as an escape… I am the jester to the kingdom. I am the route out. I am the excuse to explore your identity. To be exactly who you are and to feel unafraid. To not judge yourself, to not hate yourself. Because, as funny as it is that I am on the cover of Vogue—and no one is laughing harder than I am—I was the girl in school who was most likely to walk down the hallway and get called a slut or a bitch or ugly or big nose or nerd or dyke. “Why are you in the chorus?”’ (She’s more Glee than Gary Glitter in some ways.)”

Or , “why did you wear a meat dress?”, for that matter.

“‘Ugh, the meat dress’… she rolls her eyes. ‘People just want to figure it out or explain it. The truth is, the mystery and the magic is my art. That is what I am good at. You are fascinated with precisely the thing that you are trying to analyze and undo.’”

Related: Who’s the Copycat Now, Katy Perry?

Image via Fabulous Buzz.

UPDATED: Lady Gaga—Taking Inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.

Lady Gaga on her influences, from Vogue, March 2011:

“Gaga herself is very open about her influences. ‘It’s not a secret that I have been inspired by tons of people,’ she says. ‘David Bowie and Prince being the most paramount in terms of live performance.’ She also seems to have made peace with the fact that she is compared to—or, less charitably, accused of ripping off—nearly every artist of the last 50 years. ‘I could go on and on about all of the people I have been compared to—from Madonna to Grace Jones to Debbie Harry to Elton John to Marilyn Manson to Yoko Ono—but at a certain point you have to realise that what they are saying is that I am cut from the cloth of performer, that I am like all of those people in spirit’… ‘She was born this way.'”

With the release of “Born This Way”, critics are wondering if Lady Gaga isn’t as original as they once thought she was. The song blatantly rips off takes inspiration from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, and a lot of Gaga’s past works are heavily influence by Her Madgesty.

But Lady Gaga has always been about much more than just her music. It’s all about the fashion, hello?!

But even her outrageous outfits—bar the meat dress and a couple of others—aren’t that original when you come to think of it. Juxtaposed against The Wizard of Oz‘s Cowardly Lion, Good Witch of the South, Tin Man et al., Gaga proves that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Related: Lady Gaga: Taking Inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.

Pop Culture Role Models.

Chase You Down Until You Love Me, Paparazzi…

Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” & 21st Century Noise.

Katy P. VS. Lady G.

Lady Most Likely: Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Images via Amy Grindhouse, Wired, Billboard, Just Nuggets, The Examiner, Leopard Print & Lace, Pony & Pink, Pollsb, TV Tropes, Beauty & the Feast, Wikia, Wendy’s World of Oz.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

How to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel:

“Holding tight to a mission statement that stands first and foremost to ‘empower women,’ and a slogan stating the brand is one to ‘Inspire, Empower and Indulge,’ the company ‘helps customers to feel sexy, bold and powerful.’

“Where once sexualized representations of women in the media presented them as passive, mute objects of an assumed male gaze, today women are presented as active, desiring sexual subjects who choose to present themselves in an objectified manner because it suits their ‘liberated’ interests to do so.

“Not only are women objectified as they have been, but through sexual subjectification, they must also now understand their own objectification as pleasurable and self-chosen.”

Why Britney Spears is the everywoman pop star of our generation.

Unfortunately for John Galliano, “Rehab Does Not Cure Anti-Semitism”.

Also, Gawker wonders “How the Hell is Anti-Semitism Having a ‘Moment’?”

Owen Wilson managed to escape the tabloid microscope of Hollywood after his 2007 suicide attempt, unlike so many other stars who’ve fallen of the mental health wagon (the aforementioned Britney, Lindsay Lohan and flavour of the moment, Charlie Sheen):

“…it is Wilson who seems to have gotten the hall pass. He has never explained what happened to him that anguished Sunday in August…

“It’s a fascinating instance of a celebrity hiding in plain sight—and getting away with it—that stands virtually alone in Hollywood’s PR playbook.

“What’s the statute of limitations on personal issues in Hollywood?”

Baby bullying in the Bonds Baby Search competition. Seriously?! Baby bullying?!

What would it be like to sleep with a women’s magazine?:

“Vogue: You’re really flattered. They’re probably the hottest person you’ve ever slept with. Neither of you gets off.”

US political commentator Rush Limbaugh feels that Michelle Obama doesn’t have the right body type to be an advocate for beating childhood obesity:

“I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won’t be obese. Okay, fine, show us.”

Racist, sexist and sizeist on so many levels.

On that, “Beauty is Not a Spectrum” at Eat The Damn Cake.

The secret lives of sex store workers.

“Charlie Sheen’s ‘Porn Family’, Explained.”

Images via Squa.re, Everyday Facts.

 

Magazines: Vogue Schmogue—Why US Vogue Ain’t Everything it’s Cracked Up to Be.

 

Lately I’ve been thinking about the conglomerate that is US Vogue.

If The Devil Wears Prada is anything to go by, hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted on ample, professionally decorated office space, shoots that will never make it into the magazine, catering and gifts to pander to the fickle fashion industry.

Sure, Vogue is the foremost fashion magazine the world turns to to see what’s hot and what’s not, so they can afford to be a bit hoity-toity, right?

Well have you looked at a copy of US Vogue lately? The last one I bought was earlier this year, when I got a bit caught up in the hype of Sex & the City 2, with the movie’s star, Sarah Jessica Parker, on the cover. What a waste of money: if I’ve ever felt buyers remorse over a magazine, it was then.

The only other copies I own of the US edition is Blake Lively’s first outing on the cover, and the Michelle Obama edition, for obvious historical/social/cultural reasons, and both were fairly lacklustre.

So why does the title command such attention and reverence in the fashion industry, when other mags like rivals Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, and quirkier titles like NYLON, clearly possess higher qualities of writing and, oftentimes, fashion. Blasphemous, I know, but someone had to say it.

Personally, I think it might be time to employ a new editor. Anna Wintour has been at the helm for twenty years, and perhaps she’s overstayed her welcome. Sure, there have been some great fashion shoots by the likes of Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz, but if that’s all the mag has to offer (most of which you can access online), what’s the point of buying it?

A recent interview with Vogue creative director, the flame haired right-hand woman to Wintour, Grace Coddington, in Australian Vogue, made me wonder if she isn’t better suited to the editorship. She has an impeccable eye for composition and a quirky touch, something which the über-polished and stony Wintour does not.

But perhaps we should be looking to a younger, fresher take on the magazine, hence, a younger, fresher editor. Coddington is pushing 70 and god knows how old the elusive Wintour is. (A Wikipedia search reveals she turns 61 on November 3, one day after my birthday, but I liked the way the previous sentence sounds!) The staleness of the brand is evidenced by the same old cover girls, Lively, Sienna Miller (who fronted last year’s September issue) and Keira Knightly, actresses whom nobody really cares all that much about. The magazine’s effort to inject some much needed diversity saw the boring Halle Berry take the September issue’s cover, the first black woman to front it since Naomi Campbell in 1989! (Somewhat of a token gesture, perhaps?) Carey Mulligan is on the October cover, and while she’s definitely a step away from the usual Vogue-ette, she’s still a bit of a yawnfest.

Magazine retailer mag nation also laments the September issue, in that it is really the only popular edition of the title all year, and in order to make sure they have enough stock come August, they become overstocked with issues consumers don’t want because of three-monthly ordering increments.

While there’s no doubt US Vogue will always hold a spot on the newsstand, it seems as though today’s Vogue is a mere shadow of what the brand once was. A nice token, but if you’re looking for style and substance in your magazine, try Marie Claire.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Vogue Might Just Be Culturally Relevant Again.

[mag nation] Why is The September Issue a Big Deal?

On the (Rest of the) Net.

It’s shocking to know there are other blogs out there on the net besides this one! So I urge you to check out my favourite posts this week (and in the case of some, this year!). I hope you likey:

While I can’t exactly understand this site (it’s written in Dutch!), it’s oh-so-pretty to look at. And I love blogger Nenz’s links to other quirky sites. Below, she lists blogging as one of her fave pastimes (duh!) and THX THX THX blog for its sweet notes. More on this one coming soon!

“In Defence of Taylor Momsen”, over at Jezebel, tells us why we should just leave the 17-year-old the bloody well alone!

Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is subjected to a scathing profile by The New York Times.

I’ve been humming and hawing over whether to write a blog response to this article, but instead, check out Mark Sarvas’ blog, The Elegant Variation, and this article, “Advice for the Lovelorn… I Mean Writers”.

In other Momsen news, Jezebel reports on “the biggest feud of our time week” with Miley Cyrus.

One of my favourite bloggers, Rachel Hills, struggles to marry who she feels she is with who people perceive her to be. I feel ya, sister!

There’s been a bit of unrest in the Facebook ranks of late, and this Jezebel post“Why People Really Hate Facebook: It’s Complicated”asserts why it generates so much hate.

Sex & the City permeated the zeitgeist and defined a television-watching generation. Can Mad Men do the same?

US Vogue worked very hard in 2009 trying to boost its image, what with The September Issue and Fashion’s Night Out. Maybe “Vogue just might be culturally relevant” again?

Sarah Ayoub interviews impending Cleo editor, Gemma Crisp, about where she intends to steer the mag. Exciting!

And everybody’s been raving about Fashematics, which has been around for over a year, but is somehow only just coming to my attention now.