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Posts Tagged ‘ Lady Gaga ’

Gaga’s Body Revolution; Resisting or Reinforcing Harmful Beauty Standards?

Lady Gaga’s weight is not exactly something I want to discuss but with all the attention it’s been getting lately or rather the type of attention it has been receiving it has become all but impossible to avoid the matter. In fact it would actually be unwise to ignore it at this stage given that as of yesterday it became a serious and indeed a feminist issue.

It was just last week, after Gaga appeared on stage looking perhaps a little larger than usual, that the press turned into a bunch of Mean Girls reminiscent of Gretchen, Cady and co from the movie of the same name. As per usual, the media took the most unflattering pictures of Lady G (there have been claims that certain pictures were actually further distorted to portray a more exaggerated version of the singers weight gain) and printed them front page alongside cruel, dangerous and highly irresponsible headlines including the following;

 “Porker Face! Has Lady Gaga Put On 2st On The ‘Drunk Diet’?” (The Sun – Who Else?)

“Lady Gaga Looks ‘Gaga-gantuan’ During Amsterdam Concert.” (NY Daily News)

“The Fat Lady Gaga Sings.” (Examiner)

Even the International Business Times felt the need to weigh in (no pun intended – really!) with their own vitriolic headline which read; “Is Lady Gaga ‘Fat’ From All Of That Marijuana Smoking In Amsterdam?”  Really you would think the IBT of all publications would have more important issues to cover. As you can see the F-word reigns supreme here people. Clearly this is no longer about simply selling newspapers. No, this is a cold hard case of bullying and fat shaming. Whenever messages such as these are publicly broadcast they become malignant. Quickly their poison spreads throughout the world affecting, in turn, each and every one of us – even if we don’t necessarily realise it at first! Making this all the more horrifying however is the fact that Gaga has openly spoken about her experience with eating disorders in the past. In February of this year the pop star was quoted saying;

“I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I’m not that confident. I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night” She also admitted “Weight is still a struggle, every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you – they make you perfect. It’s not real life… I’m gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop… It’s making girls sick.”

Somehow, despite all this the media still found it appropriate to hit out at the star and mere months after saying she was looking “worryingly frail” too. At one point even Elton John admitted he was worried about the singer and her tiny frame. It seems a woman can never get it right huh?

Not one to take things lying down Gaga hit back at the press yesterday by posting on her website several photographs of herself in her underwear alongside the caption “Bulimia and Anorexia Since I was 15.” And with this she launched her latest project The Body Revolution encouraging people everywhere to “make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.” Later the singer explained that she was joining the revolution to “Inspire bravery” and to “Breed some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”

Thus far the world’s reception of this project has been overwhelming. Since the page launched fans all over the world have begun uploading pictures of themselves which display skin conditions, scars, the effects of eating disorders and disease. Accompanying them, are comments from Gaga herself such as “Emily Rose recovering from anorexia. We support your bravery and have compassion for your pain (and huh gUUrl, you don’t need to diet ur FINE AS HELL)” There is also the following “My assistant and best friend Sonja. Stage 2 breast cancer. Just had double partial mastectomy from DD to C. Yesterday was first day of radiation. Looking good b*tch. She is so brave. Her boobs look even better.” Following suit fans are posting similar comments telling one another just how amazing and gorgeous they all look.

Naturally, as with any move Gaga makes, there are the lovers and the loathers. While the majority are celebrating the stars Revolution applauding her for using her influence and celebrity for good and for simply making this conversation happen others remain less than convinced. Anything that encourages body diversity is a good thing, obviously, but some are worried Gaga’s Revolution is inadvertently reinforcing rather than resisting harmful and outdated beauty standards. Although confidant that the singers compassion for her friends and fans is genuine critics are questioning why the singer couldn’t just leave her supportive comments at “She’s so brave” and skip the whole “her boobs look even better part”  I hate to say it but it’s not all that hard to see where these people are coming from. After all, who cares if her boobs look great, the woman is a cancer survivor, isn’t that what’s important? And what if they didn’t actually look any better? And when it comes to Emily Rose if she wasn’t “FINE AS HELL” would she need to diet until she were? Yes, everyone wants to feel pretty, that’s just the nature of the human condition but why, critics are asking, can we not work to shift the conversation away from appearances once and for all?

Certainly, Gaga’s sharing of her story has already inspired many people and will, I’m sure, continue to do so. Only launched yesterday there remains a lot of room for Gaga to do a whole lot of good and truly that is excellent but while we are having these conversations about the resisting of increasingly narrow beauty standards and the temptation to judge others based on their appearance, shape, size or any other purely physical attribute would we not do better to avoid the topic of “looks” entirely? Telling people they are worth more than the sum of their looks while simultaneously ramming down their throats that they are “gorgeous,” “hot,” and “damn fine” kind of defeats the purpose now doesn’t it? Then again, if one influential pop star and her millions of fans can do anything to turn the tide, inspire compassion and actually make the fat-shamers feel the shame for once then more power to them…!

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News in Brief-Tubridy Fails,Councillors Peed Off Over Loo And Adams Shows His Intellect

Adams: Simple and Effective

Kite flying in the late summer sun sounds like fun to me, that’s why Eamon Gilmore is raining on our parade. The Tanaiste was though referring to “budget kite flying”. This slightly strange turn of phrase, comes to dampen a potential split in the Labour party after a disagreement concerning the suitability of their upmarket meeting venue in the recession. As the cost of living soars it’s not surprising party members feel a bit awkward drinking champagne from a shoe. Gilmore’s creating enough of his own wind to fly a kite.

One politician who doesn’t mince his words is Gerry Adams who has notably replied to calls by the governments economic advisors for tougher budgets than those set out by Michael Noonan. What was the Sinn Fein leader’s response? “Get lost”. Well said.

In international news Angelina Jolie is also a whizz with words. The other half of Brangelina has recently visited Syria, not baby shopping but doing that other thing she does, saving the world! Whilst there she commented there was “much to be done” and called on the international population  to “do everything they can”. Thanks Ange.

More intelligent responses came from students in their Junior Cert, the results are in! In general Maths results were up but languages were lacking, could this signal an insular Ireland to come, separatism from international monetary markets and the ability to count just how much money we actually have in the bank?

With population figures taken into account Ireland came fourth in the Paralympics and earned a total of sixteen medals across London 2012. Not too shabby and a source of great pride to the whole country who welcomed our champions home with great ceremony and celebration. First stop the Late Late Show where the host managed to make a mockery of the whole thing and get Adam Nolan’s name wrong, repeatedly. He certainly wouldn’t want to meet the boxing champion in the ring after calling him Andy throughout the show causing Adam to take to Twitter to endorse the return of Pat Kenny. And the gold medal for prize prat goes to Ryan Tubridy.
Gluten free food for coeliac sufferers will no longer be paid for by the HSE. As the government continue to claw back the cash in cuts (€3.6m they estimate in gluten-free food), those who become ill from gluten in foods will be forced to cough up the cost themselves. With nothing to eat for energy it is unlikely coeliacs will mount the high-profile protest outside Leinster House that followed cuts to carers of the disabled.

Lady Gaga has a new hairdo and Robbie Williams has a new clothing line and luckily for us they’re both in Ireland this weekend! Gaga has flown in to perform her Born This Way tour whilst Robbie is stopping off at Brown Thomas to launch his ‘Jack Farrell’ label before playing the 02. Tickets to see Gaga will cost up to €96 while Robbie’s launch is invite only but of course both assure us they LOVE Ireland.

More exciting in Mallow Town in County Cork is the news that a public toilet is no nearer completion and starting to pee off councillors. Work began on the loo last October and is still not completed. “It’s not like we’re building the Taj Mahal,” commented one councillor.

News in Brief-James Reilly Teams Up With 50 Cent For A Double Dose of Controversy

James Reilly Knows He’s Been A Bold Boy

THERE’S NO COKE!! Coca-cola that is, not the other stuff, sure they found plenty of that in Dublin the other week. No, there’s none of the fizzy brown stuff we all know and love. A flood in the production plant in Co. Antrim at the beginning of this week threatened to leave the whole country facing a drought. Before you rush your petrol cans down to your local Supervalu, stocks were set to be replenished mid-week just in time for Friday’s vodka HURRAH!

       Bono and wife Ali Hewson gave their youngest daughter Eve the gift of music for her twenty-first. Actually a recording of the two parents singing Lady Gaga’s Telephone. Not exactly much of a stretch for the U2 frontman perhaps he didn’t have time to get to the shops. Anyway, what twenty-one year old wouldn’t want a cd of their dad singing?
      All of them.
      The glass screens that separate the proles (me included) from the workers of our social welfare departments are to be removed despite the fears of said workers. The Department of Social Protection hopes to “frame” the relationship between it’s employees and clients but many workers fear they will now have to look at welfare recipients, sorry, fear for their safety. They have, by way of appeasement, been given panic buttons and CCTV is case the rabble should get too riotous, the dirty beggars.
       What do Health Minister James Reilly and rapper 50 Cent have in common? Not a lot but they’ve both made boo boos this week.
       50 ’Fiddy’ Cent has had to cancel a planned appearance at Carphone Warehouse in Dundrum Town Centre after making an ill-judged comment on Twitter. This was not taken well by some young fans who made full use of the Dundrum Town Centre Facebook page to vent their frustrations.
        Minister Reilly on the other hand has been making mistakes of a monetary nature. It turns out while James Reilly may be overseeing the closure of some nursing home beds he actually has his own money invested in some others. By invested I mean he owes €1.9 million.
It seems my own little home-made it into the nationals this week after the cancellation of Wexford’s biggest agricultural show. The Irish Independent ran a story featuring one of our local priests, Bishop Brennan who is asking all parishioners to pray for an improvement in the weather. I don’t believe in all that, but I do live in Rathangan and at this point anything is worth a go, so, dear Lord if you could stop the rain soon that would be great. Thanks.

Past Obsessions

Is it the allure of times gone by, the classic beauty, the iconic images or simply lack of imagination that keeps us looking back to the past for inspiration? From Marilyn to Madonna, both of whom epitomize their eras of the fifties and eighties, we cant seem to get enough of the timeless make-up styles.

Make-up has always been used as a way to convey an image, an idea, a persona, a way of life, in ancient times make-up was worn as a sign of wealth, luxury and status. Substances such as carbon, mercury and lead were used as far back as Roman and Egyptian times, although these substances were poisonous to the human body, which gives us a different take on the French saying, ‘Il faut souffrir pour etre belle’, ‘One must suffer to be beautiful’! More decadent substances were also used in the beauty regime of our predecessors, charred rose petals for a kohl effect and what was known as  ‘liquid gold’, olive oil to moisturise and protect the skin.

In the 20’s & 30’s, beauty products in general were seen as a necessity for the modern woman. With the release of the first nail polish, the compact and tanning products in the 20’s, beauty became something of a must have. When make-up started to take on a major role in a lady’s life, trends and patterns were set. From the 20’s onwards specific era looks were born. What makes a look synonymous with the 20’s?  The rose-bud lips and the circular shapes of the shadow and brows, the smokey eye was born and ultimately it was the beginning of classic beauty.

The 30’s took on a new style, the creation of another timeless look to be re-created for years to come. The introduction of a heavier brow, a full lip and luxe lashes helped set the trend. The sensuality and mystic of the 20’s was still evident in ladies choice of deep lip colour and smokey eyes. Every season we see elements of the 20’s and 30’s, Spring/Summer 2012 is no exception. With fashion houses such as Gucci, Rodarte and Pucci all showing smokey eyes during fashion week it is set to be a popular choice yet again. New elements and subtle changes keep the look fresh, an extended shape, a metallic sheen, a blend of colour is all it takes to bring it alive for the season ahead.

The 40’s and 50’s may be the most memorable, the most iconic of all time periods, beauty wise that is! Time and time again we see the statement red lip and the infamous black flick of the liner.  The forties were a time of hardship, rationing and hard work, because of this women had to simplify their make-up routine, however the red lip remained as a symbol of femininity and for the armed forces an important morale booster in their care packages from the U.S. Today lipstick colours may have varied to purples, oranges and even blues and greens but this cult product still remains a staple in every woman’s handbag. Once packaged in a screw top pot, lipstick was a bit awkward to carry around and apply on the go, Guerlain came to the rescue in 1870 with the introduction of the bullet or tube container aptly named ‘Ne m’oubliez pas’ meaning, ‘don’t forget me’.

Veronica Lake, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe to name just a few of the heroines of the 40’s and 50’s all helped to make the style a favourite with beauty lovers worldwide. Dior is a fashion house that favours the elegant, sophisticated, classical style of the 50’s. Their Spring/Summer 2011 look proved a hit with many high street make-up brands also. The contrast of bright, pop coloured eye-shadow shades of pinks, blues and greens against the matte orange and red lips created a vibrant, fun and interesting take on the look we all know and love. This year Dior have once again been inspired by the 50’s glamour, concentrating on fresh skin and of course the red lip, a more subtle adaptation but inspired none the less.

The 60’s brought with it a radical new outlook on make-up and beauty.  White liner, a dark socket line and pastels of pinks and peaches framed with false lashes were widely used to create the dolly bird look. This look was fun, artistic and remains iconic today most famously through images of Twiggy, a model of the era. Another public figure at the time was Brigette Bardot, a woman who oozed sex appeal through her trademark kohl rimmed eyes. Both woman, symbols of the era in such contrasting ways.

Some say the 70’s is the decade style forgot, although I am partial to a pair of high-waisted trousers and who doesn’t love a Farrah Fawcett hairdo? However, it can be said for make-up, beauty companies took a hit during this decade as ladies favoured a more laid-back, fuss free regime. For most, skin was kept natural and hair was left loose, for public figures, especially those in the music industry things were quite different. Subtly was left behind and disco was born!

The disco and glam rock era had begun, through the heavy use of glitter and bold colour choices. This carried on well into the 80’s where legends such as David Bowie and Blondie were made famous, their images still influencing the rising stars of today, most notably Lady GaGa. These bold and daring looks can be found in every magazine, on every catwalk and with every make-up brand today. The fun, punchy, attitude of this decade makes it appealing to everyone and it is very attainable. A simple two toned eye, a flash of colour or a hint of glitter and you’ve got your own 80’s homage.

The freedom of colour, the angular style and the brash interpretations make this, the 80’s, my favourite era.

So whether its 1920 or 2012, I feel as a make-up artist we will always look to the past for guidance and inspiration. The question is will 2012 be the year of a new, original trend? Its possible…

Michelle Wall 2012

U2 boys return home to continue work on new album

U2 frontman Bono, along with his fellow band mates, were spotted at their Hanover Quay recording studio over the weekend. Their return to their Dublin base seems to indicate that they are finally getting back to work on their problematic 13th studio album. This, of course, has excited many fans who have been left in limbo waiting for the completion of the groups much anticipated new work!

The atmosphere was friendly outside the studio on Friday as Bono casually greeted fans, posed for pictures and signed autographs. He even took the time to inspect the new graffiti that constantly adorns the outer walls of the studio. However, there is no secret regarding the mounting anxiety facing the band over their new album. Plans for the ambitious album were announced in early 2010 with an expected release date sometime during 2011. However the year is nearly at a close and the album is nowhere near completion?

This is partly due to the bands many side projects which have significantly taken away from their studio time. Both Bono and the Edge were involved in the production of the new Spiderman musical ‘Turn off the dark’. The show, which premiered back in June, featured original music composed by the U2 duo. Then of course, there was the epic 360 tour which grossed an impressive $700 million! Obviously a great financial success for the boys, however with Bono’s back surgery significantly disrupting the tour, the lads have struggled to make up more than 20 missed tour dates.

Perhaps more significant than time delays, were the delays to the bans creative process. The upcoming album was meant to include several collaborations with well know musicians and producers. The main contributors being Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse and producer RedOne. However, in a rather candid interview earlier this year, U2 bassist Adam Clayton admitted that their recording sessions with RedOne were “not working” and that most of his material will be scrapped from the upcoming album.

For many die hard U2 fans this may come as welcomed news. With RedOne mostly know for his work with Lady Gaga and Jenifer Lopez, a joint musical venture with the U2 boys seems like a slightly mis-matched combination. This will most likely mean that songs featuring David Guetta and Will.i.am will also be dropped form the new album.

Thankfully, a new release date has been suggested for late 2012. This means that the band will have to put in some marathon time at the recording studio if they want to meet the predicted deadline. However, with the band settling back into Hanover Quay, a place that has brought them much creative success since the mid 1990s, there should hopefully be a successful end in sight for the longstanding project.

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