Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beauty and Diet

Part 1: New World Notes #242, 27:19 (September 23)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #243, 27:15 (September 30)
Broadcast quality MP3 (37 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

All photos: Click to enlarge

The big publicity for New York Fashion Week--featuring models who look not only skinny but grim--inspired this week's show. Rebecca Anshell Song is the speaker.  She gives a wide-ranging and very interesting talk about our bizarre standards of beauty.  And about women's feelings of inadquacy that result.  And about the causes and purposes of these weird standards.

While Song includes some abstractions in her discussion--sexism, objectification of women--she doesn't pin the blame on abstract forces. In large part, women are persuaded to dislike their bodies because acutal people, organized into business corporations, have learned that they can make money from that dislike.

Introductions and afterwords by KD.

In Part 1, Song gives great examples from the fashion industry, the weight-loss industry, the cosmetic-plastic-surgery industry, the food industry, the drug industry, and more.

In Part 2, Song focuses on the weight-loss crusaders (including Michelle Obama) and the so-called War on Obesity. She finds this "war" a classic case of blaming the victim while the perpetrator--in a nutshell: capitalism--rakes in the profits. Plus some suggestions on how to organize and fight back.

I have edited the audio slightly.  Original recording courtesy of  Song spoke in Chicago on June 27, 2013.

Runway photos from New York Fashion Week, September 2014. Designers Alexander Wang (top), NicholasK (above).


Angela Berkfield said...

Just listened to the Rebecca Anshell Song speech on WVEW in Brattleboro. Really impressed - spot on. Over the past couple of years whenever people bring up obesity I've been trying to articulate what she was saying, and it isn't easy. Thanks for airing this important viewpoint.

Kenneth Dowst said...

Thank you, Angela. I thought that Song's talk was super. I'm afraid I didn't do justice to its breadth andits complexity in my sommary on the blog.

Best, Ken