Monthly Archives: November 2009

Going GaGa.

Why is there so much pressure to look conventionally attractive?

Look through any glossy women’s magazine, and you are bombarded with images of ultra skinny, model-esque celebs, all donning the latest trends in fashion.

Take Cheryl Cole, for example. Her latest hair extensions or  a designer dress she modelled last week on the X factor constantly receives media attention, but why such hype?

Whilst I can’t fault her looks or style, she just seems a bit bland. Conventionally attractive, but with no sense of individual style. This is evidently the look she is going for, of course; it has universal appeal to both males who want to be with her, and females who want to be her.

This is the all too familiar pattern emerging within the media, celebrities giving us ‘normal’ people advice on how to look good. We can then gratefully rush out and try and copy their look, whilst they convince us that it literally takes them seconds to get ready, and it is totally effortless to look THAT stylish and glamorous.

Of course it’s effortless; they have enough money to pay someone else to worry about how they look.

Anyone as wealthy as Mrs Cole can afford a stylist, make-up artist, personal trainer, dietician, chef, and whatever else it requires to look that gorgeous. Before Cheryl was famous she made the same fashion mistakes as the rest of us, if not more (Cornrows, anyone?). She would probably still be making these errors if she didn’t now have more money than sense.

My point is, whilst celebs such as Cheryl look amazing, they perhaps aren’t setting a very inspiring example to their fans. By being subjected to the constant barrage of size 6, heavily made-up, extension-wearing celebrities, are we being taught that in order to be attractive we must accept a particular conventional style or image, and try and replicate it ourselves?

The message in the media seems to gravitate around the idea that you must convert to the conventional ideals of attractiveness, and base your image on that of mainstream celebs. Anything else is seen as outside the norm, and ‘strange’.

Why are magazines and the media telling us, as the consumer, what we should be wearing, where we should be shopping and who we should be trying to copy?

Step in, Lady GaGa. In a similar fashion to most female celebs, she admittedly pays a great deal of attention to her looks and image; often flaunting her (questionable) sexuality in tight fitting and revealing outfits on stage. Admittedly she  has also been styled to ‘perfection’, and her peroxide blonde hair, heavily made up face, and skimpy leotards have become something of a trademark.

But at least she’s not always seeking that conventional ‘look at me- aren’t I cute and adorable, yet commercially sexy and appealing’ look, an approach that seems to be all too familiar with so many celebrities.

At last, there is someone who is proving that you can be unique, different and sexy, thus showing that sometimes it’s ok to wear bizarre or unconventional outfits. Lady GaGa doesn’t have to try and look conventionally attractive to be regarded as a fashion icon, and ironically it is because of this that she has gained such success.

 

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The Price of Publicity.

“I’m away from all the newspapers, the paparazzi and it’s peace and quiet for me.”

I’m not sure who ‘shrinking violet’ Katie Price was trying fool with the above statement, but she must think the public are rather stupid.  Deciding to re-appear on I’m a Celebrity get me out of here seems to be one of her biggest publicity stunts to date, and a risky one at that. It would seem the decision has received a mixed public reaction, and people are already complaining about her presence on the show.

Since she first appeared on the show in 2004, she has managed to profit from almost every aspect of her life with Peter Andre. From her marriage, the birth of her children and then her divorce, it seems she is a permanent feature in OK magazine. Katie clearly has no qualms living her life in the public eye and has had numerous fly-on-the-wall reality shows, such as ‘Katie and Peter’ and ‘What Katie did next’.

With this in mind I do respect, to a certain extent, her perseverance and determination.  Her ability to court the media has earned her millions, and she has effectively made an entire career out of exploiting her physical ‘assets’. She has suffered bad press in her time obviously, but she never lets it beat her, and to now go back to the show in which she met her ex-husband seems like a pretty risky decision.

I can imagine she must be pretty frustrated at being presented as the ‘bad guy’ in her divorce to Peter Andre, especially as his ‘singing’ career was pretty much a joke before he met her. Effectively she made him famous again, and is now paying the price.

It would seem perhaps a tad odd deciding to put yourself back in the jungle and subject yourself to bushtucker trials in a desperate attempt for ‘closure’. Despite this Katie seemed adamant it was the right decision, “It’s where my fairytale started, and it’s where it ends,” she said.

It will be interesting to see how this latest attention seeking ploy works out, and whether Katie will regret her latest attempt to gain maximum press exposure. Regardless of the outcome, I very much doubt that it will be the last we see of Miss Price. However, maybe it will be the final instalment of the Peter Andre/ Katie Price publicity battle, and perhaps they will think twice before airing their dirty laundry in the public spotlight. Fingers crossed.

I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here site can be accessed here: http://celebrity.itv.com/2009/

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X Factor, or Exploitation?

‘Bubbly’ contestants, sequinned outfits, deranged fans, and plastic-looking judges. Like it or not, the X Factor is once again top of the gossip agenda. But does the show go too far in its bid to provide the public with entertainment? Performer’s union Equity seem to think so, and recently accused the show of “cheap exploitation”.

Mr Simon Cowell.

Not usually an avid fan of the X Factor, I have admittedly been watching this year’s competition, and can consequently now give you every one of the finalist’s names and probably some kind of ‘unique’ tragic sob story.  Danyl’s dad left the family home when he was seventeen, single mum Stacey, 19, wants to win for her baby, and I really just can’t tell you just how much they all want this (blah, blah, blah). It is literally the same formula every year, and, credit to Mr Cowell, it actually seems to work.

The show can of course be credited with nurturing raw talent. After all, Leona Lewis has become a phenomenon since winning the crown in 2006, going on to sell over 6.5 million albums worldwide.

But it is important to reiterate that the X Factor isn’t all about talent, as it perhaps tries to claim.

Once edited and polished, the X Factor is beamed onto our screens, dazzling us with bright lights and glamour. Behind the scenes I imagine it to be far less welcoming.  During the audition phase I felt embarrassed for the, shall we say ‘deluded’, contestants,  paraded around and humiliated in front of an audience of millions.

Of course you are not supposed to think about that, about the real lives this type of programme affects. To be a contestant you are instantly under the scrutiny of the media, and are forced to sign ‘restrictive’ contracts stipulating what you can, and cannot do.

The contestants are allegedly even encouraged to play up personal tragedies for the cameras, crying and breaking down would probably just equal bonus points as far as the show’s producers are concerned. If it makes good TV, why worry about their mental health?

All hopefuls share one thing in common; a ‘dream’. For some this unfortunately turns into a nightmare. Current contestants John and Edward Grimes are no different, or ‘Jedward’ as they are now more commonly known.

 The 18-year-old dynamic duo admittedly can’t sing, nor can they really dance. Yet the public love them, and for this very reason they are fast heading to a place in the semi finals.    

Jedward performing.

Simon Cowell is quoted as saying “If they win it will be a complete and utter disaster. I’d probably sulk for about six months”. However it could be said that as it was the judging panel put them through initially, they should therefore shoulder responsibility for unleashing them on to our screens. Thanks to ‘Jedward’ the show is gaining excessive amounts of publicity, and Simon Cowell is of course aware of this. The longer they stay in the more viewers the X Factor will have.

 It’s not really all bad then,  is it Simon? In fact I’d say you’re probably having quite a good time of it at the moment, profiting from their overnight popularity.

The X Factor official site can be accessed here: http://xfactor.itv.com/2009/

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