Barbie, Boys and Body Image
Thinking about a pilot study on the way to the library like you do, I walked past one of the installations for the MAD ABOUT THE BOY presentation, curated by Lou Stoppard at the London College Of Fashion, and on until May 2016
Entitled 'I'M NOT JUST A BOY,' by Tony Hornecker, who restages a Meadham Kirchoff Spring Summer 2013 presentation, it is part of an extensive look at constructions of masculinity, taking the starting point of youth and fashion's obsession with the young male. An attempt to get inside the 'belief in the precious genius of youth,' sees a variety of features looking at young male ideals.
The debate around body image, dreams and expression is every bit as significant for men as it is for women, just less visible. Inclusivity... men need it too.
News of the Barbie make over, which recognised more body shapes and ethnicities, made the front cover of TIME Magazine. Her sculpted plastic physique: much critiqued over the years, has been transformed, but have attitudes?
As we begin London Fashion Week, Designers, we are told still want size 0. So industry stalwarts are unable to cater to femininity as a diverse community still.
Meanwhile All Walks Beyond the Catwalk works very hard to unpick fashion attitudes by dealing directly young creatives and their universities. The Diversity Network set up by Director Mal Burkinshaw at Edinburgh College of Art collaborates with All Walks to create intervention, challenge and debate and has received another two years funding. Young creatives CAN be part of the solution not the problem from the start.
So top execs at Matel have finally woken up to dwindling sales and activist's calls for body conscious thinking. I'm reasonably happy. I don't care about the motivation. I do care that we have a selection of dollies with achievable body ideals and diverse appearance characteristics for little girls AND BOYS to play with.
Inclusivity is one of the many things I'll be talking about in my presentation on Feb 24th at the Leeds Beckett University as part of its Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2016.
Sharing knowledge between academics, workers in the field and ordinary consumers has become more vital than ever for progress and I am glad to be part of this.
I hope I can progress knowledge within my new post at i-D Magazine too. The new section: 'Cool Psychology,' will promote psychological findings from the world of social and clinical sciences to fashion and popular culture readers. More about that soon.
Safe to say - I've learned a great deal since beginning my own MSc in psychology under the tutelage of Dr Carolyn Mair at London College of Fashion and I want to share it for a more enlightened fashion future.
But back to next week...If you are in Leeds come and see me or book yourself in for some of the other though provoking events.
Taking place from Monday 22 – Friday 26 February across Leeds and York city centres, the week of events has been organised by Senior Lecturers in Psychology, Glen Jankowski, Dr Nova Deighton- Smith, Dr Megan Hurst, Dr Helen Fawkner and Dr Beth Bell from York St John University. All events are free, open to the public and can be booked here