Arfa Shah

“The body as a cultural object”: Exploring the online construction of the female body

This project explores the construction of the female body in today’s image saturated world, identifying how the body is constructed within a set of restrictive beauty ideals. Utilising McRobbie’s reading of Bourdieu  and the concept of symbolic violence, which explores how society encourages women to look a certain way, this project scrutinises the power of language to label images surrounding discourses of body shaming and body praising, particularly focussing on the Daily Mail Online and the powerful picture sharing application, Instagram. Furthermore, this project discusses how the Mail Online utilises new media formats of social media, such as comment sections and “likes”, to  encourage readers to partake in this symbolic violence against women, further reinforcing notions of beautifying oneself in accordance with the cultural expectations of the modern world.  This project also looks at the power of the image making technologies of applications such as Instagram and how its filters allow users to refashion and control images of the body to project a perfected external self. Instagram, like the Mail Online, encourages users to present a flawless image to the world. By identifying the particular techniques of language and image making that perpetuate notions of the ultimate feminine ideal, this project concludes that the body is indeed a constant site of construction that cannot escape from ongoing image mediation and suffocating beauty ideals.

Olivia Harwood /Film Panel

“Thinking outside ‘the box’ gender representations on the screen

This presentation focuses on the way in which women are represented by the media within the surfing industry. It firstly will discuss the way in which both male and female surfers are portrayed leading to discuss how only female surfers are represented. It will highlight the way in which two contrasting professional surfers are currently represented, both recognised for their surfing ability yet focusing on how one is more recognised due to her making a career in modelling based on her appearance. I will then be discussing and analysing three surfing films that portray women in three different lights. The first film is Blue Crush, (2002) and is directed by a male. The portrayal of the women in this film is interesting due the director being male. The second film I will be analysing is Point Break, (1991). A female directs this film and it is interesting to analyse the way in which females are represented in a mediocre way represented as surfers not as sexual objects. The third film being analysed is Soul Surfer, (2011). This film is based on a true-life story and follows the lifestyle of a young female surfer who got attacked by a shark and lost her arm. As a female surfer myself I will be highlighting the way in which I feel the industry represents women and how I feel women should be recognised for their athletic skills in the sport not just their appearance and looks.

Lisa Choudhury

Changing Notions of Beauty

I have undertaken the final Major Project, where I decided to create fashion spreads of a magazine. I decided to use i-D magazine as my inspiration as I really enjoy the content as well as the creativity of the brand. For example, every cover model of i-D poses with one eye closed, to mimic the ‘i-D’ logo, which I find to be very fun, creative and authentic. I find that the idea of beauty has drastically changed over the last few decades, especially a woman’s physique. We have gone from obsessing over supermodel-slim physiques to appreciating what we have, such as larger breasts or backside. However, some have taken this ‘new body’ so far that they are undertaking cosmetic procedures to enhance certain parts. This can be seen as a problem to society, as not every woman has the same body shape, therefore, the cycle of having the perfect body of what the Media deems as beautiful continues. In order to celebrate the new body of a woman, I have made use of models who are naturally curvy and healthy. Makeup application nowadays has also become a phenomenon, having the ‘perfect makeup’ look is just as important as owning a trendy bag or statement shoes. The immense following of YouTube allows users to act as producers of texts. This enables them to upload and share their talent with the world, make-up application being one of the popular choices, and so I have incorporated these current beauty trends within my magazine.