The Power of PR in Pop Culture

Public Relations surrounds me in my life and, whether I like it or not, influences me.
Pity it only took me three years into a degree to fully understand how much of an impact it has.EO3
The undeniable Queens of publicity stunts- the Kardashians- influence what half the teenage girls in the world are probably buying. We have an image in our heads of who they are and we feel like we personally know them due to the fact that they have spent years creating and building upon it. They have such a strong public image and following that now when they buy a product and show us it on their social media, we believe it’s the best of the best. So why will we so easily believe that Kim K’s new skin brand is all we need to make our life better but still ignore centuries of advice from the more experienced skin specialists. Do people only believe what they want to believe?
There have been some obvious Public Relations horror stories documented over the years in the music industry but the big question is where any of these people or their brand seriously affected or are perceptions of big celebrities and public image something as trivial as gossip and rumors? Here are three major examples of when the person behind the story was too popular to be brought down.

Kanye west

Kanye West has NEVER been one to shy away from speaking his mind and giving his opinion on subjects, even if he is not asked to. The American singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer has had his fair share of publicity blunders and bad reactions from fans. Although he is the rap worlds equivalent to Marmite and despised by so many the big questions is,
Does Kanye even care?
EO2
Back in 2009 Kanye west made his first widely controversial debut by interrupting Taylor Swifts speech to accept her MTV award to tell the audience Beyoncé should have won instead…. Ouch. Although this resulted in some huge backlash from the general public and from other celebrities who were at the MTV awards that night it did not affect Kanye’s own sales of his album at the time. So yes, everyone thought what Kanye did was horrible, but they still will listen to and buy his music? For someone with Kanye’s ego, does this really affect him in any way? Probably not due to the fact that it gave him nothing but attention. This started a spiral of PR blunders from Mr. West who has been recorded stating president Bush doesn’t care about black people, that he is in full support of Donald Trump and that he wants to run for President himself. Kanye again came under backlash in the mid 2000’s when he defended Chris Brown for beating his girlfriend. Endless Twitter feuds with celebrities and public figures mean Kanye is never out of the tabloid headlines especially since he is married to Queen Kim K. Dr Phil even went as far as to diagnose him with mental health problems on Television. Despite all of this Kanye will still sell out every tour date he release, lives in a mansion with his multi-millionaire wife and continues to be a successful business man. So is Kanye invincible because no matter what PR disaster comes his way he survives and becomes more successful, or has Kanye created the best image for himself to do whatever he wants and not have to deal with as much back lash because that’s just what people expect of him now. Is he a mad man who doesn’t care or a genius marketing expert who has always known exactly what he is doing?

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was a chart-topping success both as a child with the Jackson five and as a solo artist, so it is easy to see why die-hard fans refuse to see him as anything other than the king of Pop. MJ’s whole life was filled with controversy and publicity blunders but due to the fact he has a following of devoted fans who had watched him grow up he was immune to the bad press. Who else in the world can turn into a different race and carry on as if nothing ever happened? Who else is the world can change their nose, skin and entire face but still receive nothing but love and encouragement from fans who continued to buy all his merchandise and defend him to the death that this was a skin condition and Michael had nothing to do with it.? Nobody else I can think of off the top of my head has got away with such extreme dramatic changes with such ease. Growing up I heard whispered rumors of MJ being involved with young boys but it seemed to be something nobody wanted to speak of until the recent documentary that came out in 2019 called ‘Leaving Neverland.’ This movie on Netflix is the testimony of how two boys were groomed in MJ’s mansion by the man himself. If you heard these types of allegations about your neighbor or relative you would be shocked and appalled and not stop until the truth is uncovered however MJ’s team merely brushed the documentary under the carpet as ‘Fake News’. The movie was met with hostile incredulity from Michaels die hard fans who said the boys were lying for compensation. With such a disputed take on events and many different people’s opinions coming out since his death it still doesn’t change anything and it does not take away his ‘King of Pop’ title. This makes me ask myself, what will?
EO1

R. Kelly
Surviving R. Kelly is a 2019 documentary on Netflix that presents substantial evidence that R. Kelly was having sexual relationships with underage girls. Key witnesses, ex-wives, lawyers, friends and even his brother came forward in the movie to speak about the years and years of horror R. Kelly inflicted on the women in his life. The most shocking part of the documentary was that although the evidence was there this was still seen as a conflicting situation in people’s eyes as they did not want to give up the music and the artist they held so dear in their lives. The evidence against him was so over whelming yet his public image was so strong that R Kelly appeared to be invincible. Every time a story came out or a young girls parents tried to alert the public R Kelly would release another banger that distracted the media and not once during his years of torture and negative headlines did his record sales drop once. That is of course until recently when radio stations across America have refused to play his songs because of the Surviving R Kelly movement. All he had to do was simply re-brand himself and his loyal following would accept everything he said. He changed his image from the Pied-Piper of RnB who sings songs like ‘bump n Grind’ to a spiritual black man singing gospel songs such as I Believe I can Fly.

So, although headlines and stories could be irritating to these celebrities does it actually have any sort of overall effect of their careers or is it just an inconvenience to them?

Emer O’Neill is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram – emeroneill29 ; and Facebook Emer O’Neill

The Secret World of Jeffree Star

Whether you’re into makeup or not, you will probably have heard the name Jeffree Star.

RD5

Jeffree Star’s massive ego and personality undeniably made him one of the strongest names and forces on youtube, gathering a whopping 16.5 million subscribers. Even if you’re not interested in the beauty community, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Jeffree Star or missed his very public feuds with other celebs and makeup artists online.

The King placed back on his throne.

Jeffree Star’s past makes him one of the most controversial YouTubers of all time, you either LOVE him or hate him there’s no in-between. No one is perfect, even celebrities make mistakes. Jeffree made a BIG mistake, and in 2017 an old video resurfaced on the internet of Jeffree being a racist. Instead of Jeffree hiding from his past or hiring a major PR person to deal with the storm, he faced it himself. This revealed a lot about Jeffree’s character but it wasn’t enough to prevent the online hate and declining subscribers.

Jeffree Star was once the highest-ranked beauty guru’s on youtube until a younger more shiner version came along and knocked him right off his throne. Not for long though, poor James Charles came under fire from another beauty YouTuber considered to be his close friend, resulting in the loss of 1 million + subscribers in just 48 hours, putting king Jeffree right back on his throne.

His journey to creating a multi-million dollar makeup brand. 

Something Jeffree Star prides himself in is being ‘self-made’. Before Jeffree was a major makeup guru, he had a love for music. Unfortunately for him, this became short fated. It crashed and burned (for the best), but it wasn’t over for Jeffree. He then took his many followers that he had previously gained on a platform called ‘my space’ and combined them with his life savings to invent and create his first product line which was a HUGE success. Taking one of the biggest gambles of his life he said;

“It was either this was gonna work out for me or I was gonna have to go back to the mall… and work at MAC again,” – Cosmopolitan.

This was the first huge step Jeffree took in his career, but it paid off massively for the beauty guru. He then invented and created other product lines such as highlighters, foundations, eyeshadow palettes and so on, making Jeffree Star cosmetics the successful multi-million dollar company it is today.

 

RD8

Money can’t buy class… 

It’s time to discuss the ‘Secret World of Jeffree Star’. Despite Jeffree Star growing a multi-million dollar company, he still left a sour taste in many youtube goers mouths. From his past to getting himself involved in many dramas and dissing Kylie Jenner, it didn’t matter how much money he was making, he was still hated by so many. People subscribed to Jeffree because of his rawness when reviewing other brands, he left no stone unturned. He went in on many brands, even his neighbor Kylie Jenner’s calling her products overpriced while throwing them in the bin. His dark humor left him very unliked in the beauty community, to the point where even people he considered his ‘friends’ turned on him. Even though Jeffree Star was rich to the point where he could cut a Chanel bag in half without thinking twice, he became not just unliked but unrelatable to.

What changed?

Jeffree Star met Shane Dawson.

 

 

So, who is Shane Dawson? In a world of unrelatable YouTubers and their Rolex watches, Shane Dawson is a beacon of light. Despite the fact that Shane has 15 million youtube subscribers and is considered an OG (he started his channel 8 years ago), he has stayed hilariously relatable and humble.

No one really knew what series 1 of the ‘Secret World of Jeffree Star’ was going to entail, but all I can say is it’s definitely not what anyone expected. Shane filmed a 5 piece documentary series on Jeffree’s life and without a doubt changed (almost) everyone’s opinion on the makeup mogul. Jeffree Star talks about many raw and personal things that he doesn’t share on his own platforms, all while giving a tour of his 7 million dollar closet. We see what Jeffree gives back to his fans, friends, and family, and it’s truly without a doubt it’s truly inspiring.

It starts with Shane taking a tour of Jeffree’s mansion in hidden hills and finishes with Shane surprising Jeffree to a visit of his first original apartment where he experienced some of his darkest times. Without ruining the documentary for those who have not seen it (highly unlikely that there’s many), Jeffree gets personal with money, business, life and let’s not forget his 6 dogs.  Shane and Jeffree’s documentary shook the youtube industry, and without a doubt helped many youtube goers fall in love with the ‘real’ Jeffree Star.

 

 

There was a massive want for a makeup collaboration between Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, so fans got what fans asked for. They have just launched their ‘Shane x Jeffree Conspiracy Collection’ which covers lipsticks, eyeshadows, and more. It has sold to date 1.1 million palettes, and both youtube stars gained something amazing out of this. Jeffree received a massive amount of praise and acceptance from the internet and subscribers, while Shane received plenty of $$$ (even though we know he is merely interested)… Can’t relate.

 

 

For those who are interested in finding out more about the notorious Jeffree Star, you will be happy to know that Shane has just made and aired a second series called ‘The beautiful world of Jeffree Star’.

Let’s hope the tea is just as hot.

Rachael Diamond is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @diamond_rachael and LinkedIn @https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachael-diamond-31449b173

You Are What You Eat

When that drilling noise of alarm goes off, I roll on to my side, stretch out my arm, grab the phone turn off that noise and then start scrolling. I’ve read and heard countless time that a ‘perfect’ morning routine goes something along the lines of … waking up bright and early , jumping out of bed , (‘Rise and Shine’ by Kylie Jenner anyone) saluting the sun and setting my intentions for the day whilst avoiding social media and any source of blue light.

Admittedly, I haven’t got ‘mindful’ morning routine down yet and instead, I begin swiping through Instagram.

Between the top trending accounts, models, or the most aesthetically pleasing interior design pages, I will undoubtedly be bombarded with this type of content the most …food.

Food and ‘health’ accounts are the type of content that I try to avoid these days. The images that annoy me the most to will have a heading something along the lines of ‘try this, not that’ or ‘eat this , not that’ followed by lists or images of ‘bad’ food and what you can swap them for to live a happier/healthier life. I went on an unfollow spree to cleanse ( for lack of a better term) my feed from annoying or triggering content. Doing this, I noticed just how many diet accounts were created to tell people how to / what to and when to eat. These accounts all contradicted each other and all the avoided the word ‘diet’ opting for ‘lifestyle’- a term that’s easier to swallow, leaves a sweeter taste cause after all we don’t do diets in anymore, right?

2018/19 has been such a shift in beauty standards and what we define as ‘healthy’ . We have banned FAD diets and embraced better and new ways of working out – think way more woman lifting weights and the increase in weight training has risen in general.

But have we really got rid of diet culture?

MG5

 

It got me thinking about all the new terms and what the replacements for Fad diets that we have created. I’ve found myself falling into the trap of looking at trends such as ‘intermittent Fasting, looking at before and after pictures of vegan diet, googling all about gluten free benefits.

According to the National Eating Disorders , orthorexia is “an unhealthy obsession with otherwise healthy eating”, ‘As awareness of healthy eating grows and more consumers than ever before go vegan and gluten free, clinicians say they are encountering more patients presenting orthorexia symptoms’.

It was through my Instagram scrolling that I found an account all around ‘Flexitarians’ – Mr Niven, a strategic market intelligence manager for trade association Scotland Food & Drink, says “flexitarian is only eating meat and fish occasionally and opting for a more plant-focused diet ‘’. He claims there is a significant rise in this and ‘Intuitive Eating’ – ‘’eating when hungry and stopping when full with the mindset of not labelling any food good or bad and not allowing food to have labels or morals’’.

Reading this out to my sister, scrolling through the feed of tips and how to’s of intuitive eating that my Dad pointed something out. ‘That’s just called eating’. He looked at me with the expression a Labrador does when you said a word it doesn’t quite know (head tilt, raised brows) . ‘Isn’t that common sense’, he said, and when I thought about it he’s right. What we should do naturally is it when hungry and stop when full and have a range of things in our diet. So how have we now labelled it and put rules around this trend which is mean to be about having no rules and how have we given eating , a label ?

Instagram isn’t the only place where we can obsess about food, one of the most searched and most popular videos on YouTube is ‘what I eat in a Day’- (explaining this to anyone who isn’t a millennial is funny). Yes, you watched a video of what someone else eats throughout their day and of course it’s always perfectly presented and ‘healthy’.

You can find these for anyone from Doctors, Models, Post baby weight loss, Eating disorder recovery or just your Favourite fitness youtuber.

 What I Eat In a Day videos-

https://youtu.be/EPBwKJJL1b4  (Natasha Oceane – what I eat in a day) 17.k likes in two days – one of her most requested videos

MG6

https://youtu.be/mknrIncksQk – Stephanie Buttermore – the science behind going ‘all in’- Eating until full regardless of calories and purposely gaining weight in order to stop ‘severe hunger’ after years of being in a calorie deficit.

MG7

All of this may not make much sense to some people and , hey, maybe most people aren’t affected but for me having a good relationship with food is important and something that needs worked on, so I’m just a bit fed up of being told what to do.

You are more than what you eat.

some people to follow if you want to change up your feed too 🙂

@no.food.rules

Hi.Ur.Beautiful

Alexandra Cane

Megan is a final year student at Ulster University studying Communication Management & Public Relations . Find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missmegangillespie/ and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-gillespie-29baa3180/

Colour Inclusivity in the beauty industry

blog post 7

Make-up has been around for 7,000 years, stretching back to ancient Egypt when Cleopatra allegedly used crushed carmine beetles and ants to create the perfect rouge lipstick. For decades the beauty industry has been constantly evolving through producing new products for every inch of your face, discovering new formulas and the creation of new brands. It’s an ever-growing industry that is continuously growing more and more popular than it already was. Within the past 5 years the make-up industry has noticeably boomed and it’s became an even more popular trend that even your boyfriend can’t ignore. With thanks to the digital age I personally believe this increased popularity has been supported by the rapid growth of influencers and make-up artists posting videos on Instagram and YouTube. Influencers are consistently driving sales for brands through sharing reviews on their platforms to loyal followers, who then scramble to purchase all these products and further drive the consumer market in the beauty industry.

The beauty industry is rapidly growing with new brands, resulting in increased competition for the established ones such as, MAC, Nars, Benefit etc. therefore, the need for constantly releasing new innovative products has become more prevalent. It’s not uncommon to see the same make-up brand release a new eyeshadow palette every 5/6 months *cough* Morphe, Huda Beauty, Anastasia BH *cough* however, you can’t blame them as competition is so tough and consumers are always wanting more, especially better quality and a bigger range. In 2019 make-up couldn’t get any bigger, it’s a saturated industry with an endless list of brands to choose from. Majority of them have been around long enough to understand what works and what doesn’t, they’ve tried and tested every formula, they know what packaging works and they have a loyal group of influencers to turn to for positive reviews. Taking all this in mind, I’ve realised there’s one thing brands still aren’t getting right and that’s a colour inclusive foundation range.

To start I know you’re wondering how this even affects me for this to be a topic of discussion. We are sitting in Ireland where the opportunity for a sun tan comes around once every year (If we’re lucky) and my usual foundation purchases don’t extend beyond ‘Porcelain’ or ‘Ivory’, unless I’ve slathered myself in a bottle of dark tan lotion. However, in a time when representation for people of colour and other social issues are still a popular topic of debate, it’s always good to raise awareness and speak out when massive corporate businesses aren’t providing for an entire population; even when it’s something as a minor as make-up. After all, the power of a few voices on social media can make a difference – which I’ll cover later on.

 

The downfall of Tarte Shape Tape

If you’re a make-up lover I’m sure you’ve heard of Tarte’s popular Shape Tape Contour concealer, if you haven’t, well then… HOW?! Throughout 2018 this product was constantly on the lips of every social influencer or beauty guru. It was a much-coveted product with endless positive reviews and Tarte really seemed to have struck lucky with this one. However, this is the starting point for what got people talking about the non-inclusive culture in the beauty industry. Of course, this has been an issue when buying foundation for people of colour for years however, the Tarte controversy blew up for the fact it was 2018 and for a global and experienced brand to miss the mark that badly, showed it was time to talk.

In February 2018, following their Shape Tape concealer success, Tarte released their Shape Tape foundation *cue the eyebrow raises*. To the shock of the beauty community, Tarte announced they were releasing 2 formulas, one for people with dry skin and another for people with oily skin however, the big shock came with the fact there was only a 15 colour shade range and low and behold, only 3 shades for darker skin complexions.

blog post 6

Tarte’s reveal for their hydrating and matte Shape Tape foundation ranges. Quite white if you ask me?

 

The uproar began and rightfully so, how could a multi-million dollar company founded in 2000 release a foundation in 2018 with a 15 colour shade range. Only 3 shades catered to people of colour (PoC). There was no way this could be excusable, especially when long-standing high-end brands like MAC, Nars and Bobbi Brown have provided extensive shade ranges for years – showing it’s not impossible to produce. blog post 1

Tarte were able to produce two formulas for their foundation but, they couldn’t produce more shades – how does this make sense? As you can see by the swatches, the representation for people of colour was abysmal. It clearly shows lack of care, awareness and attention to their consumer market. Why have they assumed these 3 shades are suitable for all PoC? It truly screams that Tarte had an evident bias towards one target market.

 

 

Screenshot 2019-10-24 at 14.57.52

Influencer Lustrelux expressing disappointment in Tarte for this missed opportunity for what could’ve been the biggest beauty launch in 2018.

 

Following the backlash on social media from consumers and influencers, Tarte were forced to release a statement. There’s no denying Tarte most likely did feel awful for their failed campaign and release, but we’ll always question whether they genuinely felt sorry for the right reasons. I say this because of their apology –

 

‘We all just got caught up in #shapetapenation and seeing your tweets asking for it… We wanted to get the product out as fast as possible, and we made the decision to move forward before all the shades were ready to go.’

 

My first thoughts that came to mind when I read their apology was, how could a brand evidently state that they favoured the release of their lighter and pale shades to cater to their Caucasian consumers before their PoC consumers? Why must Caucasian consumers receive priority treatment for the sake of satisfying a hype? Was a rushed release for quick profit worth alienating half your consumers? As I said before, we’ll never know whether they were sorry only because of the scrutiny they faced for their mistake. In my eyes this is a mistake that was hard to miss and surely one member of their boardroom alerted their team to this blatant snub.

Screenshot 2019-10-24 at 14.58.12

Screenshot 2019-10-24 at 15.17.03

 

Following on from their statement, Tarte pulled their foundation from the market and planned for a re-launch with the complete 50 colour shade range. Unfortunately, the anticipation was never going to reach the initial reaction and people won’t forget. Too little, too late, I guess?

 

Fenty Beauty the example we all need

 The beauty industry was shook when Rihanna announced she was launching her own cosmetics brand in 2017. Little did we know she was about to create the most inclusive and iconic brand in the beauty world. Rihanna was quick to set the standard for what should be expected and provided by beauty creators in this day and age. Her first product was her Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear foundation boasting a 40 colour shade range. Her brand ignited the much needed and long overdue conversation about how important colour inclusivity is and how empowering a brand can be for people of colour.

blog post 5

My question to raise amongst this amazing feat is, why must it take a proud black woman to begin a conversation on colour inclusivity in the industry and why is she the first to make such a massive impact and set the standard? Yes, brands like MAC have created a wide range before however, in the past few years, new brands are constantly emerging and new products have been made. Consumers want to be able to shop around; not secluded to one brand. Therefore, make-up brands shouldn’t have to wait until a competitor has released an inclusive product to decide to follow suit.

Rihanna continues to do what Tarte initially tried to, as she recently released her Fenty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Foundation in 50 shades. Now offering her product to two different skin types to a multitude of skin tones.fenty beauty hydrating foundation

 

“I wanted to take Pro Filt’r beyond skin tone to serve all skin types. Nothing is more important to me than making sure that everyone feels included.” – Rihanna

 

 

 

It’s great to see the topic of colour inclusivity becoming such a popular topic of discussion in the beauty industry. It’s reassuring to see brands marketing their products with models of all skin tones and pushing for a balanced representation. On top of colour inclusivity, it’s clear that brands are pushing towards a more united front for body positivity and gender inclusivity as well.

A few examples of brands that are joining this movement are…

 

  1. KKW Fragrance

CEO Kim Kardashian has began marketing her products with photographs of women of all different sizes and colours to promote body positivity and the message that no body is the ‘perfect’ shape or size.

Screenshot 2019-10-24 at 16.19.01

 

  1. Revlon x Ashley Graham

Plus-size model Ashley Graham landed a make-up collaboration with Revlon where she actively promotes body positivity. We’re so used to seeing more petite models appear in beauty campaigns that we became conditioned to thinking this was the ‘norm’. Revlon have broken this ideal through an empowering and positive role model.

revlon

 

  1. CoverGirl

CoverGirl made social media influencer James Charles their brand ambassador, promoting gender inclusivity in the beauty industry. This came at a time where men were breaking into the industry and showing, cosmetics has no boundaries.

covergirl]

 

I look forward to the upcoming year to see how the beauty industry reacts to these ever-changing movements and the continuous breaking of ‘social norms’. The colour and gender inclusivity movement along with body positivity seems to be in full flow in 2019 however, there’s always room for improvement. The make-up world has a lot of work to do but, as long as strong and powerful women like Rihanna is around, I think we’re in safe hands.

 

Marie-Claire Leung is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – Marie-Claire Leung

Is social media normalising being unhealthily overweight?

Is social media normalising being unhealthily overweight?

Everyone has a love-hate relationship with social media; why?

Pros:

  • Easy way to keep in touch with friends
  • Easy access to current affairs
  • Enables us to educate ourselves

The list goes on. There are endless reasons why we love social media; the extent to which can be seen in cities like Augsburg, Germany where pedestrian crossings signs have been put on the ground; because we spend most of our time with our heads down, engrossed in our phones. 

Cons:

  • Depression
  • Cyberbullying
  • FOMO (Fear of missing out)
  • Negative body image
  • Unrealistic perceptions of other people’s lives

Social media also has its pros and cons on the subject of body image. It can be a source of ‘fitspiration’ to people striving to lead healthier lives. Aroosha Nekonam battled with anorexia for years and claimed social media helped her in the midst of her eating disorder. https://www.healthline.com/health/social-media-choices#inspiration-vs.-expectation 

female bodybuilders’ Instagram and Youtube accounts provided something to aspire to

This is, on the other hand, is one of social media’s biggest downfalls; and dangers! Constantly flicking through Instagram, seeing models with perfect physiques on regular holidays; wearing expensive clothes, and driving expensive cars. This can have a profound impact on someone’s mental health; especially when they start comparing their lives to what they see on Instagram.


The question I pose is: are the various body positivity campaigns such as the 2012 #FatKini, or #LoseHateNotWeight encouraging us to be more physically unhealthy? In a time where positive mental health is so important, could we be losing sight of how necessary good physical health is to compensate?

losehatenotweight

For years, the ideology that you have to be a size 4 to be regarded beautiful was all that we knew. In an age of mental health being so prevalent, businesses and individuals with a platform have tried to combat this mentality, which in my opinion is a huge positive and step forward. It is completely unrealistic to assume that all women should be a certain size as we come naturally in different shapes and sizes.


Dr. Stephanie Buttermore, a Ph.D. academic turned fitness model from Canada, is going “all in” in an attempt to prove that people’s bodies have a natural ‘set point’. Buttermore describes going ‘all in’ as eating until your hunger is completely satiable. Stephanie expects that by the end of the process her body will return to a size where it is genetically supposed to be.

Stephanie Buttermore

She delves into the process on her YouTube channel, self-titled, Stephanie Buttermore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DotlyWhBhak


Returning the focus to social media body positivity campaigns: I fully understand the main point of these; to be happy in your skin. As we are trying to push away from the thinking that you have to be ‘skinny’ to be viewed attractive. For example, Dove’sReal Beauty’ campaign, showing a diverse range of models; one that I thought displayed the message of body positivity in a healthy way.

dove

Another company that I feel tried to jump on the bandwagon with this, and in my opinion, failed was Gillette. Gillette’s April 2019 Twitter advert featured a plus-size model, Anna O’Brien.

Gillette

This campaign faced major backlash stating that the model shown is not healthy, and listing health problems that arise from being obese.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Companies like Dove are positively combating the mentality that being dramatically underweight is not healthy, however, they are not using models at the other end of the spectrum to show this – surely this would be contradicting anyway?


We cannot deny the implications that come with being overweight: In England, obesity rates have increased from 16.4% in 1993 to 26.8% in 2015 in women (with similar statistics in men) costing the NHS £6.1 billion between 2014-2015 alone. Obesity is a trend that is on the rise and these figures are only going to vastly increase.

Now let’s look at the actual health risks associated with obesity:

  • 3 times more likely to develop colon cancer
  • 2.5 times more likely to develop high blood pressure (higher risk of heart disease)
  • 5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes

Obviously, obesity blame is not solely on campaigns like Gillette but isn’t helped by businesses on social media trying to normalise it to appear more inclusive with the sole purpose of generating more sales; disregarding the physical health risks that are brought with it.

I appreciate that businesses using these campaigns have an aim to make women feel more confident in their skin; although I think that we need to be more conscious of how this can be perceived. Many people may look at these campaigns and think that being physically healthy is not a priority so long as you’re happy, which to an extent may be true. Looking at social media for a perfect figure is unhealthy as often these figures are naturally unattainable. Pictures have been airbrushed and models have had surgery but it can be a great source of information and motivation to get on the right track.

My point is that we cannot neglect our physical health in the hope that we will feel more mentally healthy, instead, we need to work on getting to a place where our bodies and minds are both happy and with a healthy diet and regular exercise this can be achieved.

 

Orlaigh Doherty is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/orlaigh-doherty-7351a7139/