Primark mermaid glow highlighter – a cult product for £3.50 

product review

I urge you one and all to stop wasting your money on expensive highlighters! I know the struggle; they look so attractive and shiny, but this highlighter from Primark ticks all the boxes. It ensures that you look like a real life mermaid, if ever there was one! 

Full review 

Firstly, it is only £3.50, so not really a huge investment. The highlighter also comes in other colours, should you not prefer a shiny white mermaid metallic look. 

It is ultra pigmented! In comparison to my Urban Decay highlighter (I have the powder highlighter in ‘Sin’), I can’t say there is much difference in quality. The Primark highlighter has longevity, I have been wearing it for around two weeks now; and everyday it stays put for the entire day. I know this because on my way home from work, I happened to just catch my reflection in glass and my cheeks were shining to the high heavens. Of course I smiled to myself. 

The next time you visit Primark be sure to grab one of these – if there’s any left. Sure, the packaging is rather basic maybe compared to more expensive highlighters. But you know what, I like it. It’s simplistic and it does the job, pretty darn well may I add. 

[Perhaps not the best pic to show off the highlight, but it’s there glowing away if you look close enough] 
[…Andddd swatch 😍, you can really see the high pigmentation here] 

The art of comparison: how Instagram is detrimental to female self-esteem 

opinion piece

I’ve had severe ups and downs with Instagram. It’s both my favourite and worst social media app. Because on the outside, it’s aesthetically pleasing to scroll through people’s seemingly perfect lives, perfect selfies, perfect food and their perfect relationships. But we often forget, usually, a huge amount of effort has gone into constructing these images. It’s fake.

As females we all have days where we are insecure. And unfortunately with social media girls of younger and younger ages are aware of their looks – and feeling an innate pressure to be conventionally attractive. Adhering to false beauty standards portrayed on social media. Now Instagram, being a visually based app – and thriving off of a like for like and comment for comment culture can breed self esteem issues.

Of course, it’s not a new concept for the media to convey unattainable beauty standards. This has been the case for traditional media platforms for most of cultural history, however the online realm; and in particular Instagram has accelerated this. Let me tell you why.

The app itself is, of course, irresponsible for a high increase in young girls developing mental health issues plagued by body image or self esteem. It’s how the app is used, and the nature of the characteristics of the app. It’s so fast moving, that users often feel pressure to upload. They have followers and ‘Insta celebrities’ they aspire to be like – and therefore this often breeds a competitive nature. Or a feeling of inferiority.

The art of comparison is what is killing our young girls souls. Scrolling through pretentious images, constructed for social validation. Comparing yourself to images that are fake. Comparing your life, your goals, your face, your ass and your entirety to someone you’ve never even met.

Possibly one of the worst things you can do in the cut throat world of Instagram is to compare. You must must must always stay grounded, remembering that most of these images are socially constructed. And even if they aren’t, everyone progresses at their own pace in life. You are doing great and that’s all you need to watch.

Survival of the fittest.

How to take flattering pictures even if you aren’t attractive 

top tips

Like your Instagram profile is basically your portfolio these days. So of course, without sounding totally shallow and like a materialistic Bitch. You need to look good. Obviously there is more to life than looking good. But it’s just better if you do also happen to appear to look good. Don’t ask questions just go with it. 

Typically speaking I don’t have the most photogenic features and I really do understand the struggle to take a good pic, so over the years I have picked up a few fail safe tricks to ensure the perfect selfie prevails. 

Here’s my top tips; 

1. Flash is not your friend 

Listen, unless you are a professional photographer or you look like Angelina Jolie I would not use flash in any circumstance. Avoid it like the plague. It shows every little blemish

2. Natural 

Of course good lighting will make all the difference to a photo, and you can’t beat natural light. I often stand next to windows or in areas where you know there is good natural lighting. This may involve awkwardly moving around a bit with camera phone in hand, and shuffling until you find the right spot

3. Base 

Of course your face needs to look great off camera too before you even attempt to get a good selfie. What I do is tend to try and contour the areas I don’t like, for example my nose. I straighten it as much as possible with darker lines, on camera it will look much better. This is also where highlighter comes in, you can highlight the points you do want to accentuate 

4. Filters 

Sometimes it just takes the right angle and filter to make a photo great. I know this isn’t great photography and it’s not very innovative – but it’s just what you need sometimes. If you use one which makes you look perfect and flawless then why not? 

Happy selfie Sunday! 💕 

Nerve deception: Social media Vs. Reality

opinion piece

I watched ”Nerve” last Friday at the cinema, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the film, a brief overview:

”Nerve” refers to a game in the film, it is based on a social media concept. The game offers service users the option to become watchers or players. Watchers follow their favourite players, and become part of an underground community. Players must complete dares generated by watchers, every dare will win you money – but if you bail out at any point you lose all the money you have previously earned. Each dare becomes increasingly dangerous, and the protagonist whom becomes a player after she is mocked by her friends for never taking risks; becomes alarmingly immersed in the game. After a set-up by watchers, her and the said friend who criticised her, have a huge argument. And she tells the police all about the game, and how dangerous it is. She is warned at the beginning of joining as a player, that snitches get stitches. So she gets knocked out, and wakes up in a cell with a TV screen talking at her (Orwellian vibes at this stage). Because she snitched she has now become part of a third category within the game. Neither player nor watcher, she is now a prisoner. The only way out to be in the final round of the game, and win – or she is trapped forever. In the end, she fakes her death and she wins and the game is shut down by her geeky programming friends.

Although this is a somewhat far-fetched concept of an online game, particular elements explored within the film are comparable to issues identified within social media.

Focusing on Instagram, (as I feel this was the closest of the social media platforms to the game) these were the parallels I found:

Addiction & Insecurity- Within the film, players will go to extreme lengths to complete dares / because completing dares equals more followers, more likes, and therefore more on-line fame.

This also occurs on Instagram. Users will go to extreme lengths to increase popularity online:

There is huge pressure on social media for participants with a number of ‘’followers’’ to maintain a certain image, and also to be constantly active. The flow of the online world moves at an alarmingly fast rate – and you are expected to keep up. The mixture of these pressures, plus general insecurities, and exploitation of the female form online can have adverse effects on personal identity and body image. This can consequently lead to premature sexualisation of young females.

There has been a blur between porn and normality, which expands online through to social media. As McNair describes, ‘’…this revolution in the means of communication has fanned the growth of a less regulated, more commercialised, and more pluralistic sexual culture (in terms of the variety of sexualities which it can accommodate), and thus promoted what I will describe as a democratisation of desire…’’ (McNair, 2002:11)

Blur between online & reality – ”Nerve” encapsulates it’s users by using money incentives, but in addition to this users want to gain followers, and online fame as discussed above. This immersion into the game created a blur between reality and online.

This can be seen on Instagram also.

A poignant example of this is the case of Essena O’Neill, an 18 year old ‘’Insta-famous’’ female who had thousands of followers, and was addicted to social media. She would go to extreme lengths to convey a ‘’perfect’’ lifestyle and appearance on Instagram.

“I’ve spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance,” she writes in her last Instagram post, which shows a cartoon character wearing a television set on his head with “We Are A Brain-Washed Generation” written on the screen. “Social media, especially how I used it, isn’t real. Its contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation, in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement.” (Chung, 2015, The Huffington Post):

Conclusion:

Although the concept of a murderous game online initially seems completely unrealistic; After further analysis, it can be said specific attributes of ”Nerve”, and how users interacted with it, are comparable to Instagram. Instagram addiction is a real issue, and users who can no longer establish between reality and the online realm, can potentially run the risk of causing detrimental affects to their mental health, social interaction and possibly even physical health in extreme cases (there has been reported cases of suicides due to social media related issues). Relying on social media for social approval is never a good thing. I don’t think this is the last we will be hearing about it, unfortunately.

 

 

Dedicated follower of Instagram 

top tips

So like it’s totally acceptable to not have a typical 9-5 job and just pursue a career on Instagram right? 

How? I hear you say. However there are people who make serious money off of their Instagram fame, using thousands of followers to launch their own brand. 

Once you reach a certain amount of followers, brand ambassadors and independant companies may pay you to advertise their products. This is just the beginning. Before you know it, you could be sent free samples of new products, and get invited to exclusive premieres and launches. Not too shabby hey! Getting paid to be completely narcissistic and take constructed selfies all day sounds like an absolute dream to me. #lifegoals 

I only have 4K followers myself, which I guess is a decent amount. And often people ask how I’ve gained so many followers.. Here are my top tips: 

1. Get active 

Quite literally. You need to be as active as you possibly can on Instagram. Once you aren’t engaged you will lose followers faster than you can say bye Bitch 🖐🏻 

2. Be that girl 

Sometimes in life you have to lower your standards to get where you need to be. I’m not encouraging you to upload naked pictures or leak a sex tape (although I heard that works out successfully for some individuals!?). No, you need to be that sufficiently annoying girl that likes everyone’s pictures and leaves nicey nice comments. It’s the only way to get noticed and gain. Think of the gains!!! 

3. Tag team 

Tagging events you go to, using relevant hashtags & being tagged in other people’s pictures can also help. Especially if you go to a fairly big event, or you are with someone else who has a huge following on Instagram. This will also gain more followers. 

4. High maintenance 

Once you’ve gained like your first 1000 followers, it becomes second nature. You must must must upkeep and maintain your profile and activity. It’s no good posting once a month – you’ll be forgotten. If you can’t manage to post because of real life commitments, you just stay active and do what you can to keep the followers you do gain. 
Get gramming! Beware Instagram can be addictive. Remember it isn’t real life kids. ✌🏻️ (Follow me: @versaceblonde) 

The critical political economy of f a s h i o n

opinion piece

Dignity – it lasts a lifetime.

I know your expecting this to be some poncy floral piece, discussing how new seasons are approaching. Some junk about the envigorating sense of new beginnings when spring/summer flourishes, and how we should all feel refreshed and ultimately buy a whole new wardrobe for summer. No.

Don’t get me wrong I love fashion, but I feel as if sometimes fashion writing isn’t taken seriously. It’s seen as pretentious and shallow. Which is fine, I agree, most of the time the media sexualise and demean females; are hugely capitalist and market driven on a commercial basis. Not exactly quantum pyschics when you pick up a copy of cosmo full to the brim of Gucci adverts and articles dictating how you should have sexual intercourse.

But fashion needn’t be so shallow. Sometimes we should discuss serious issues, with bigger social implications. For example, I’m not about to rant how Kim Kardashian exploits herself and got famous of a seedy sextape, because we’ve all heard that before, and to be frank, it’s boring now.

However, we cannot deny that there is an underlying issue with young girls becoming ever more sexualised at a young age. We only have to look at Instagram to see 15 year olds prancing about taking provocative selfies, pouting with their tits hanging out. It’s wrong, but the problem is the media and the fashion industry has caused us to become desensitised to this behaviour.

There is no real reason why young females cannot be aspirational, sexy and attractive. Whilst still maintaining self-respect. Although it sounds somewhat patronising, and maybe even old fashioned. Perhaps going out in a knee length skirt rather then having everything spilling out after one too many jaegerbombs will pay off in the longrun. Although it may not be morally right, or even justifiable everyone out there is going to judge you. And to put it bluntly, if the only image of yourself which you portray is based around dressing provocatively and acting in a sexual manner, you cannot blame others for assuming that is purely what your about. I’m not proposing that we all walk around covered from head to toe, just think twice sometimes about your actions and how you dress. Because every action has a consequence and as females we need to empower one another, instead of looking like a stripper from stringfellows, if you can look like the CEO of Hilton Hotels, it’s an all round better representation of yourself.

What do you guys think? Let us know, join the debate. Is the fashion industry and the media to blame for sexualising young girls? Or should there be more modern elements of being non judgemental within society? Does this have repercussions?

#sexualisingwomen