Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Beauty in the Eye of Who / Death Of Beauty?
“The development of female individualism and well-being in order to establish a contemporary view of womans concepts of beauty through fashion and body image trends. How it has changed or remained the same in relation to the beauty publications of today. What is the future for women and beauty.”
Throughout my degree at Unitec the recurring themes of feminism, fashion and beauty were always a given topic for me as it was something I could strongly relate to. Looking into the progression of women from first to third wave feminism has always been intriguing. Going through my research I have focused on the modern women and why she is what she is today in terms of identity, individualism and independence in relation to beauty. Looking at a more in-depth part of my research and context I therefore have focused on the existence and irony of the three factors which I have mentioned in connection with third wave feminism as my fundamental intellectual neighbourhood. Is beauty and feminism still existent? Are the women of today contradicting the ‘patriarch’ of feminism in the past by living the lives which women fought for back then? My answer is yes. My aim for my overall project and final beauty publication is to allow graphic design to communicate the manipulations and irony of which women live in the 21st Century. My magazine will show the contradictions as well as the ‘women’ missing identity through the 21st century beauty publication in response to many surveys which I have done about this harsh topic.
Key Contextual References
I have looked at many factors of beauty and feminism through articles, blogs and documentaries in order to explore the correct context which both represents me as a graphic designer as well the current issue involving beauty and the modern women. My most key contextual reference which my work is based on is the idea of the ‘beauty myth’ and the ironies and contradictions which it held with it as well in relation to third wave feminism. The most significant and informative theoretical reading which I have done was Naomi Wolf’s “ The beauty myth’. Of the many chapters that I have read the most inspiring and “ah-ha so true” moment was ‘We’ve come long way. Maybe?’ As she points out the facts in today’s society of how women maybe well progressed but also are losing the real idea of being a women and individual in the 21st century, with many influences or manipulators which they face (the beauty publication).
“…Threatened by the women’s freedom and its exploits female guilt and apprehension about our own liberation latent fears that we (females) meant to be going to far. This frantic aggregation of imagery is a collective reactionary hallucination willed into being by both men and women stunned and disoriented by the rapidity which gender relations have been transformed…The mass depiction of the modern women as a ‘beauty’ is a contradiction” (Wolfe). As this is one of the many quotes which developed my context and also a better understanding of what I would eventually have as a design outcome. As Wolf points out in the quote mentioned that women have become so free and apprehended by their own liberation, it has of some what back fired as social media taken one step above us by taking advantage of the idea that women feel so independent today in terms of fashion, beauty and body image, without us even knowing the true reality of it all.
While doing an analysis of the things mentioned in this particular section of the chapter I therefore asked myself. What is the beauty myth does it even exist? At this stage I continued reading the facts which would give me even more information about this “reactionary hallucination” which women are living and made a comparison in order to answer my objectives from the past to the future of a womans’ trending decisions. This comparison was the answer to the rest of my context both theoretically and visually.
This is one example of how I analysed the situation of contradictory and irony from the past to the present in terms of beauty and feminism overall.
1.0 Suffrage/ First Wave feminism
Corseting/ Tight lacing
-Tight lacing the woman’s body in order to and ‘ideal’ hour glass figure or shape.
– This was the trend and the social correctness of what women should be doing and look like.
– Spouse and opposite gender ‘attractor’.
1.2 Plastic Surgery
The present and the era of third wave feminism.
– Enhancing, taking away etc. In order to make yourself ‘appear younger’ or ‘better refined’.
– In order to meet that need of what’s been advertised in beauty publications or ‘the glossy’.
-Spouse opposite gender ‘attractor’.
This brief analysis which highlight the quote which Naomi Wolf mentions. “ The mass depiction of the modern women as a ‘beauty’ is a contradiction”. The irony and contradiction to me is fairly obvious although it might not be in the real world as we live in such a fast paced lifestyle. In my response to the chapter of the beauty myth and also the analysis and comparisons which I have made I do agree with Naomi’s Wolfe’s theory even though I do feel like aim contradicting myself in terms of the development of my research. Women today pride themselves on modern independence and individualism, where in fact we are unconsciously disregarding the protesting and ‘patriarch’ of the movement when it initially stood up for women who live today (the future). This being why I mention the dying future of beauty as women will have nothing to look up to in the future. “The Death Of Beauty
Reading the beauty myth and understanding ‘what the myth’ really is or in my opinion not a myth more like a dying future as Wolfe introduces the idea of market and social manipulation. “ And the unconscious hallucination grows ever more influential and persuasive because of what is now a conscious market manipulation. (Wolfe)”
This overall book allowed me to make a contextual relationship of feminism and beauty today, due to the fact of the women’s contradictions and ironic actions in the 21st century in connection with fashion, cosmetics and body image in which I am able to employ with my publication.
The recurring theme and refining points of feminism is the contextual turning point through this project as it informed me of the harsh reality of it all which then takes me to visual aesthetics which I am able to build on even more in terms of exploration and synthesising ideas to my response of this issue.
Formal Graphic elements
“The Anti”- anti beauty, glossy (magazines) fashion body etc.
Irony and contradiction is the outlined graphic element which will drive the content of my beauty publication as it drives the imagery and smaller aesthetics of my publication. The use of irony and contradiction allowed me to use the idea of the “anti” as a metaphorical element through out my beauty publication. Irony within my work relate to my context in terms of displaying the women in a situation which shows off her emotional vulnerabilities on the outside which transgress onto the content of my photographs. This is the process I have employed especially in terms of content of imagery generation within my publication as I want the images to have a metaphorical aspect which display the idea of irony and ‘the anti’.
Design Process Decisions
My ideas this year have been driven and portrayed through irony and contradiction (the anti) and my intentions were always to explore this through fashion photography as my main visual element. Redefining my ideas and understanding the essential parts of a magazine allowed me to break down the content of my imagery and visual elements throughout my design process.
I have a done a series of three photo shoots which involve the content of the face, body and over consumption fashion of today (trends). I applied the idea of irony throughout all series of photographs in order for them to communicate without a title of heading. The images speak for themselves in other words.
Content of photography:
The Face: Makeup Women becomes the joker through her makeup and plastic surgery aesthetics.
The Body: Tight clothing and displaying the body being used as a form of the straight jacket.
The fashion: Over consumption of clothing. The literal interpretation of women over consuming in order to fit in the ideals of “what to wear this summer”.
I have photographed and directed the images in order for them to be designed in the typical fashion publication layout style, which is lots of white space with larger scaled images. The photographs taken are composed in order for me to layout close range with wide shots in order for the viewer to get an alternative site of what the particular spread is talking about. The face e.g. The reason for having large scaled image not only for to resemble the fashion magazine also to create the sense of flow and harmony throughout my entire magazine. It forms a connection with the viewer in terms of what next to come of turning the page. I have also used the irony in my photographs through the use of harsh lighting. For me it was a very fun and exciting idea to portray but it does have an element or seriousness in terms of the women which I am portraying. Harsh lighting which obtain very strong shadows allow the image to represent the reality of the womans’ emotions, the vulnerabilities and the idea that she has lost her identity. I think harsh lightning displays this as it puts it into a very surrealist context which communicate to women the seriousness and shock of it all. Resources which enable me to apply detail to the photograph such as styling, makeup and overall time has permitted me to a few ideas, however I did capture the most important which will display my concept.
The recurring visual element which is visible throughout my magazine is the ‘ripped page’. This element which I explored from Noise magazine as my main visual research ideas in terms of photographs and smaller representational aesthetics as they have a similar visual style and medium as I do. I needed to have another element other than photographs and typography titles to portray the women I was trying to display. The vectors of ripped images occur on spreads and section of my publication which display spreads in sequence with no articles and double page spreads. It is a large and small-scale spread which it appears in. The purpose of the ripped page was to add the aspect of the beauty publication taking over the womans life in terms of identity. I have taken this as a literal idea in which the parts of the womans image appears to be covered by the vector of the ripped page. Having this element also create a sense of texture and rhythm throughout the magazine as it appears after every 3 or 4 pages.
The pattern and process I have outlined of my way of working has its pros and cons. I tend to research vigorously on visual research from a selected theoretical aspect which I can relate to or known from as this allows me to explore something which I have a faint idea about in order to extrapolate and find out why I have had such a passionate interest about it. Usually this maps me out to different aspects within the same field of theoretical research and I tend to stay with a similar visual style in order to communicate the content.
Throughout this year I have been working on the production of my beauty publication. I have chosen to make a 60 page publication which is divided into section of the face, body and overall fashion consumption. I intend for my final package of my publication to appear ironical, which is why it why my intended outcomes of scale is A3 or A4 paper size. This decision is yet to be made as it is being tested in terms of overall response when held. My intention for A3 format is to allow the publication to create a sense of shock and ‘in your face’ notion as images within already contain a sense of surrealism. Whereas A4 will have the response of recognition of your every day magazine. In terms of paper source I have most obviously chosen an uncoated paper as I am enabling the idea of anti glossy and irony to the feel and texture of my final outcome. Adding this element to the publication allows the viewer to notice the connection between content, design and final outcome as one final piece.
The reason why I have chosen to make a beauty publication as it a form of indulgence for women and I used this to the advantage that women will pick it up with idea that they will get the message of your usual beauty publication. I have chosen to create this magazine with its context in order for women to be informed of my response to what beauty is which is “ the death of beauty” in relationship to womanhood. I intend to inform my target audience by showing them irony of beauty today. It’s not as glamorous as the glossy magazines may perceive it to be hence why I showed it a surreal and harsh manner. I felt it would be good to create imagery and layout style which display the true reality of beauty and social media as this topic may not be as pretty as it seems.
Bibliography and Citations:
Wolfe, Naomi. “We’ve Come A Long Way Maybe” The Beauty Myth. New York. Anchor Books, 1991. 490-452.