Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The meaning of #bodyimage in the media

Last week, singer Colbie Caillat released a new music video for her song "Try" in which she takes aim at extensive media alterations in photo-shopping, by appearing make-up free. As the video progresses, Caillat unclips her extensions and takes off her makeup as a chorus of “You don’t have to try so hard; You don’t have to change a single thing” plays on in the background.

Caillat’s video comes at a time where issues of body representation are becoming increasingly focused upon in the media. Earlier this year, ‘aerie’, a lingerie brand aimed at the 15-21 demographic, launched aerie Real, a campaign featuring all un-airbrushed models. Meanwhile, the JCPenney store in the Manhattan Mall is displaying five diversely sized mannequins modeled after everyday people. These projects attempt to create more inclusive advertising in which all people feel represented.

Despite the media attention directed at these campaigns, they are not without controversy. As all the campaigns are rooted in commercial pursuits, either in entertainment or clothing, it begets the question of whether they are motivated by inclusion or merely media attention and thus profit. Though Caillat’s video and JCPenney include diverse body types and backgrounds in their campaigns, aerie appears to only being using models. In these campaigns who is allowed to appear “un-photoshopped”? Who isn’t? Why do most body image projects focus on women only? Are there body image campaigns that include men?

Do you think these campaigns are a constructive way to improve body-positivity? Will you make a conscience decision to purchase products that are advertised in inclusive ways?

aerie 2This month, as part of their "When It Fits, You Feel It" campaign, the JCPenney store in the Manhattan Mall near Harold Square is displaying five mannequins that were modeled after real people.

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