The first time I had the opportunity to see musician Banks live was in 2014. And I was overwhelmed by my first and last girl crush so far in front of the stage.
In 2013 no one was quite sure if she could have the ability to stay. BANKS has been new. She has been trendy. And she has been quite unique.
The music industry does cherish the uniqueness of musicians, but more often it happens that musicians end up recognizing themselves not anymore.
If a musician has made it to a sort of worldstage, even with their uniqueness (see The Weeknd) it might happen that they start changing themselves to be perceived as what is called “the norm”, or even “mainstream”.
However there are only a few artists, which can be described as “mainstream”. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and most of all Katy Perry belong to this category in music.
They are unique, if not very unique in their own way – for sure – but they embody iconic pop culture, which has been proved as much more promising and ongoing. They manage to reach the world. Their personality does play a role, too. But it is the combination of a poppy, funny and talented sound that moves people from all over the world to listen to their music. That doesn’t apply to the music of BANKS. The Californian girl is mysterious and independent especially as a female musician, singer-songwriter and performer. Her audience, which shouldn’t be underestimated, understands her own journey. Her newest song played at “1Mic 1 Take”, shows BANKS singing “Drowning” in an updated version of her 5 year old song with a Caribbean emphasis. Banks feels her music, and she does share her perception of her true feelings, no matter, which boards she treads only by jazzing “Drowning” for her audience up. She sings for her audience, and that’s why her audience still replies.
After Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner as examples for manufactured, yet dominant beauty ideals, Kim Kardashian will be anaylized in terms of a criticism on established beauty ideals in media.
Beautymogul, Social Media Star and Reality TV Protagonist Kim Kardashian has been the most important beauty icon in the past ten years. She embodies nearly every aspect of what is considered as beautiful by women all over the world. Ten reasons, why.
Selfconfidence: Kim Kardashian is known as a woman being equipped
with a good portion of self-esteem, which is likely of many desired.
To be represented as a woman, media figur and even business woman,
the brains of the gang (The Kardashians) knows how to impress and
present herself wearing and not wearing certain clothes.
A „brilliant brunette“: Brunettes never have been this much of
relevance since there is „Kim Kardashian“. Through Kim
Kardashian, a change was driven. As a brunette myself, I can truely
say, that Kim Kardashian did point the way for Brunettes. She once
has fought wittingly or unwittingly against the over-representation
of „blonde hair“ through media, movies and industries such as
fashion and mostly beauty. The way of other brunette personalities in
media has been smoothed.
3. Body Positivity: It is no secret, that Kim Kardashian, who might have undergo one or two extra surgeries to get more of features considered as “beautiful” or “attractive” (commonly attributed to afro-american women), set new (beauty) standards. They might be not realistic, but they are relatable for nearly every women. And literally she can’t be peg as any size or body image (standard.) She has the big butt, some can relate to, the chest, even an uncommon skin color. In addition, her appearance combines and represents nearly facial and body features that had been discriminated for years. The Paper Magazine Story and the following discrimination of “steatopygia” had been one.
The pretty, stupid girl: Just as Paris Hilton has done, Kim plays a
role of the so called pretty stupid, no, pretty, but stupid, aka
„beauty without brains“, which is much liked to be seen. In a
society, where prejudices are established, they are welcomed
confirmed by a Kardashian. Media loved to see the stupid Blonde. It
might be an advantage a brunette being represented for once as well,
but likewise her stigmatilizing role has only managed to replace the
„blonde, stupid“ as known from movies. Her part has seldom
something interesting to tell as well.
All American girl: Kim Kardashian is a girl, who is born and has been
raised in Los Angeles. From her materialistic approach to life, over
her accent, sugarcoating and charming communication skills to her
pretentious behaviour: Kim Kardashian takes over what is known as
American to the outside world of the United States, and stands for
all things that are considered as “American stupid”. She
might play with this cliché, which is in circulation, that of
Californian (American) people, but her role seems to satisfy the
average consumer of her TV Show „Keeping Up with the Kardashians“,
or even Anti-American Americans and people from all over the world.
Her presence, and mostly her high outreach confirms presumptions and
an image most people already have of the average person of the United
6. „Multicultural“, „Multiethnic“, „Mixed-raced“. In Germany we would also say she has a „Migrationbackround“ as Kim Kardashian‘s having among others Armenian roots. And so Kim K as an American (brand) without an immigrant background would be like a cheeseburger without cheese. Kim Kardashian would no way have this intense amount of succes and representation if not hundreds and thousand female follower would not be familiar with her looks. Kim Kardashian being Armenian makes women from Morocco over Somalia to Iran, Lebanon and Kuwait able to identify with her looks. Her look meets related looks of a whole world region of femininity, who seemingly just waited to get represented through media.
From rags to riches. Not quite, but almost. A so called videotape is
not the most invested work in a career as one of the most known
person in this world. She might be the daughter of an advocate, but –
she came with less, gained and will stay or leave with – at least –
something, and 17 season’s of a reality show called “Keeping Up
With the Kardashians” at her back as a source.
“Please stop making stupid people famous”, is one of the
most quoted sentences, when it comes to Kim Kardashians status in
media, or let’s say when asked a bored audience of internet and
media. But still getting featured by mainstream media and probably
thousands of covers of worldwide tabloids, just show, that we still
live in a society, where news are produced that don’t have any
counterpart role of what really occurs in society.
Kim Kardashian has been an par example for aestheticians. Countless
women hurry on social media having nearly the same eyebrows, similar
rhinoplasty and lip injections. Plastic surgery still is a hot topic
when it comes to beauty and looks. The one or other surgery might
have been an inspiration to several different doctors from all over
the world drumping up business and learning experience. Since plastic
surgery is very common and hardly a taboo, woman might see the
Kardashians as a guideline to their vision of results.
10. An ever changing face. Kim Kardashian improved her looks and face from time to time so much, that she almost looks like another person. And so she knows how to satisfy an ideal of beauty that does not even exist. She embodies the sort of woman, who is blinded by an illusion of beauty that requires improvement all the time. And this sort of woman, who might snooze inside all of us and already is blinded and effected by media tries to reach a sort of “being-beautiful” that does not exist, but nourishes the feeling and insecurity of not looking good enough. And as a woman she embodies the insecure woman that is still among us.
Bony faces seen on actresses like Keira Knightley or supermodels such as Kate Moss and Anja Rubik have long been termed as beautiful. With a new wave of health awareness, this ideal of beauty no longer exists. A so called “plumpy” face marks, what is considered as beautiful today. Cosmetics and plastic surgery make use of this new beauty ideal to promote products and services promising to achieve this look.
But it is not only the faces that are allowed to be “fat”, but also the silhouette, and especially the waist. The so-called Venus figure by Willendorf, which illustrated fertility and femininity, is again strongly present in accordance with the ideal of beauty. It is well known that women in countries on the continent of Africa are considered beautiful, when looking curvy and fertile, and this has repeatedly led to astonishment in western countries such as Germany. A German doctor once asked even: “Do Turkish men like fat women or why are Turkish women always so plump? The doctor herself ate only one bun at lunchtime, being skinny, without curves, but fine lines.
In the past, similarly sunken faces were the norm. The fact that women were particularly thin was evident on the face. Especially the world of models, which should always represent the ideal of beauty in the fashion world, was tasked with claiming an understanding of beauty that says: “Your face must be thin, your bones visible, your attitude and negativity towards life as well”. Models represented a neglecting position, a society defending drugs, and the right to reject life by getting thinner and living unhealthier.
Rejection and resistance was in, not only againt politics, the government of the 70s, but mostly against a comfort lifestyle between having a family, a nice car and a happy face. Living “healthy” by having these attributes was back than not mainstream. Today it is. Healthy foods, starting a family, living a life in the suburbs is much liked again. Unconventional life once fought against the so called conservatism.
Rihanna’s beauty brand “Fenty Beauty” has been a game changer since the very beginning. All 40 different shades, which have been offered since 2017, had revolutionized the beauty world. Representation not only through media – Rihanna and other musicians mostly of RnB, HipHop and Soul genre included- was happening, but “foundation” – the key, and actual foundation of inclusiveness due the fact that skin color still is a stigma-driven component of society and it’s own ideals.
Having taken the heart of her fans by storm, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty had been – and still is – activism. She stands up for her own beauty ideals, and most of all against the discrimination of her own people, showing representation through her own build beauty empire within, but beyond the world of beauty and fashion. And as an ambassador and human rights activist and youth idol: Why not using the own pretty unique face to promote her products and belonging ideals?
Since then several women aren’t only represented throughout the Fenty-Beauty experience and journey, but able to identify, feel comfortable and understood in a community, which has been enriched by a change. The change of “being different” from what has been the norm for several years especially in the make up industry.
Supermodel Neelam Gill for example told Vogue’s “Beauty Secrets’s that she would feel “left out” and “upset” by not finding the right shade of foundation in the drugstore, when growing up. The 24-year old, being the first Indian model for Burberry, now does use Fenty as her foundation to “Off Duty Beauty”.
And so do several girls and women, who have skin colors that they feel are not represented nor defined by most and commonly known beauty brands. The lack of identification has come and been filled up by an icon. There’s no secret about Iman Abdulmajid brands “IMAN” offering various shades for the so called “Woman of Color”. But in times of fashion as a new lifestyle value and beauty as well as culture being a political issue, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has made it to a new menu, which contains inclusivity and much more equality and self-determination.
The Body Luminizer called “Body Lava”, a “Diamond Bomb” powder-esque highlighter in Cognac Candy, and a Glowstick called “Purrrl” saying “for all skin tones”, does embody the cherishing empowerment of black and brown beauty, such as light skinned beauty. Rihanna remains true to her fans by including all different types of feminity and beauty into one brand only.
The interpretational sovereignty is taken through devine colors, devine frangrances and most of all devine descriptions by Rihanna, who is mostly considered as a queen, next to Beyonce Knowles, and Nicki Minaj. And so a glow stick, highlighter, or luminizer do enhance the beauty of skin diversity giving girls and women as well the right to decide on their body, and mostly, the power over their body, celebrating their skin color without being fetishized nor exotisized. Using Fenty Beauty means taking back the narratives of racism, and at the same time been given scepters to emphasize, or as we say in beauty language: highlight, the beauty of skin.
(Please note: the products mentioned had been provided as press material, picture credit: fentybeauty.com, Youtube)
Emily Ratajkowski and Alexa Chung, both having an impressive style, show how flamboyant style can appear: easygoing, selfconfident and comfortably stylish. The style icons on instagram and the streets of fashion capitals such as Paris, London and Milan, know how to enter the streets of fashion.
Wearing suits in earthy tones, especially khaki and sandy such as champagne-camel show off very well. The fashions girl knowing how to style and prepare, are well suited by their suits.
Supermodel turned business woman, Elle McPerson, also known as “The Body”, enriches the world of cosmetics, beauty and lifestyle with her Co-founded brand “WelleCo”. Being focused on health, and gut, the “goddess with guts” as she describes herself, WelleCo offers supplements nourishing and protecting the body. The supermodel, being vivid and a natural beauty, tries to reach out for a healthy living.
Wellintentioned, a life-changing programm, brought on Instagram into being, takes on a journey of and to wellness and awareness. Mentally completing the philosophy of WelleCo for the consumer, affirmations on a healthy lifestyle accompany the 30-day programm of WelleCo.
They don’t only contain several nutritional values, but an appealing approach, design and mentality, which makes WelleCo by Elle McPherson to the most outstanding brand, when it comes to supplement, especially in the world of “beauty food”, a contemporary trend, Elle McPherson might have put in motion. Unintentionally, but wellintentioned, for sure! Thanks, to “The Body” and her beauty.
We live in a performance society. The motto says: be better, compete, win. The fact that young women always want to improve their appearance is not involuntary or even unnatural.
A little in the cheek, then chin filler, please, a little more into the cheeks, afterwards the lips, first in the lower, then again in the upper.
The fact that women keep trying to get better, better and the best version when it comes to their looks is because men manage to perform in a professional world, whereas women are still defined by looks. Instead of using their potential, it is women who invest in their looks. There is no further development because women are still underrepresented in large parts of society as well as professional fields.
Most women are attracted to the area of fashion, cosmetics and other business and services in the world of beauty. At the same time, however, women still work primary as parturients, which binds women to their own appearance. Thus appearance becomes her capital. Appearance is performed by women, less their abilities. That gnaws at her potential.
The desire to always look better is related to the fact that we live in a performance society, and that means for women that she has to perform by (self)-care and appearance, which has to be proven. Men work, women do body work.
Women always want to improve their looks rather than their skills. More hyaluronic acid, further evidence that women still have limited lives.
(First article in English, asking for understanding 🙂 and criticism!)