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Conference: AboutFace: Images of Women
The following transcript was recorded on

30th October, 1992

with Miftah of AboutFace


©1997-2017 Electric Eggplant




MezzoTIS: *****************************************

MezzoTIS: Hello and welcome to AboutFace,

MezzoTIS: The InSite's conference dedicated

MezzoTIS: to change the negative

MezzoTIS: image of women in advertising.

MezzoTIS: *****************************************

MezzoTIS: We welcome Miftah to The InSite.

MezzoTIS: Tonight Miftah will be discussing how

MezzoTIS: we can change advertisers images of women.

MezzoTIS: If you have a question, type a ?

MezzoTIS: and I will add you to the question list.

MezzoTIS: *****************************************

MezzoTIS: Also give a warm welcome to

MezzoTIS: TISmarc who is our co-host for

MezzoTIS: the evening. If you have any

MezzoTIS: questions, feel free to /msg either of us

MezzoTIS: *****************************************

MezzoTIS: Miftah, I'm so glad you're here with us today. Do you have anything you'd like to say to get us started?

Miftah: Ever notice how Cindy Crawford never has any zits? Do you really believe that? Ever wonder what two emotions are used to get you to buy stuff? Advertising is careful to keep you dissatisfied

TISmarc: yes Miftah

Miftah: so you will want something you didn't know existed but suddenly feel you can't live without. Cindy doesn't have zits because of makeup. Its because of the photo being manipulated by the computer.

Juliet1: No she covers them with makeup

Miftah: She breaks out just like the rest of us.

TISmarc: yes miftah :) and those who see it believe otherwise;)

TISmarc: Tonight we are talking about role of Woman In Advertising with our guest Miftah ... :) If you have any question type '?' thanks..

Miftah: If all you see in ads are super skinny women, don't you start to feel strange when you see a normal sized one like you in the mirror?

MezzoTIS: Yes!!

TISmarc: yeah..

Miftah: Ever wonder, on those days you feel bad about yourself or someone else, that maybe its because of the images you see all around you? Eventually, it gets into you

TISmarc: yes Miftah it changes the whole image of a lady we have in our mind

Miftah: We come to expect THAT to be the norm when in fact, models are not typical. We expect ourselves or our girlfriends to look like the image

MezzoTIS: Yeah!!!

TISmarc: yeah..

MezzoTIS: Ready for your first question, Miftah?

Miftah: yes.

MezzoTIS: WHO decided that these women who are models now are beautiful

MezzoTIS: and who decided that we should all look like them?

Miftah: It comes from the designers, first, and then subtle psychology takes over. WE ultimately believe we should look like them. That's the first mistake. The second mistake is buying the products, but sometimes its just too tempting to resist. we HOPE for improvement, or we FEAR we'll lose out. Thus the impulse to buy.

MezzoTIS: So we're really the problem then?

Miftah: We're half of the problem. It's easy to get into a cycle of blame, but it's better to wise up and change directions. if you don't like what you see, you can write to the advertiser and speak your mind. just say no sale.

Girl88: why do men like you for your looks and only your looks?

MezzoTIS: Excellent question Girl Maybe a guy could answer that. But men are also victims of advertising. They come to expect certain looks because of our culture's stress on looks. Also, men are cued to visual stimulation, some say.

Miftah: The point is, advertising is a very strong force in our culture and we're all influenced by it. better to get to know someone because

TISmarc: yes miftah.. and its quite sad

Miftah: you share an interest in the same thing like a hobby, or community work, or computers.

Miftah: You are not too young to get involved in some interesting activity, Girl88? Any clubs at your school?

Miftah: At About-Face, we try to educate about what you can do to stop demeaning and limiting images of women in advertising. We go through magazines and pull photos that offend us or are really sneaky about, for example, sleazy messages. Then we make up sarcastic captions and put them on our web site with the address of the advertiser, so you can write a letter speaking your mind.

MezzoTIS: http://www.about-face.org

MezzoTIS: It's an AWESOME site

TISmarc: yes mezzo. Its great!

Miftah: We believe that damaging images have an impact on the rise in the number of eating disorders among American girls and women. We think there's a connection between the images you see everywhere and eating disorders.

Girl88: if I typed my characteristics would anyone like me for them?

MezzoTIS: We like you for your thoughts, Girl88

Rakne: doesn't matter what you look like girl88

Girl88: Thanks

MezzoTIS: Miftah, do you think it's possible to start something in school so you could get a group of people together and write letters and other stuff?

Miftah: Absolutely.

MezzoTIS: And how could you start something like that?

Miftah: we work through the "social Living" class in the eight grade, or from "women's groups" on high school campuses. Sometimes it takes an adult advisor or teacher, but anyone can start a group. We also give slide shows and lectures about cultural images of beauty from around the world.

MezzoTIS: I bet that is really kewl

Miftah: Being skinny is just the American version. Other countries have their own things. It's about being healthy, you know?

MezzoTIS: What kind of things?

Miftah: Well, in Thailand, they put neck rings on women which stretches the neck muscles, and makes it impossible to hold your head. up with the rings removed. It's about dis-empowering women's movement for a "beauty" idea.

Miftah: Then there was foot-binding, a practice that died out in China only in the 1920's. Less exotic, in France the number one breast surgery is making them smaller, while in America it's breast implants to make them bigger. Go figure.

Miftah: It is weird that women would like to get themselves cut for the sake of "beauty."

MezzoTIS likes herself just the way she is

Miftah: Breast implants immediately start to compromise your immune system simply because a foreign substance is in your body. You have to ask some serious questions about why you'd want that condition for the rest of your life.

MezzoTIS: AMEN!!!

Miftah: you bet! When you have a strong sense of your self, your talent and your worth, looks don't matter much. Don't even get me started on liposuction.

KatViolet9: if you are happy with your self what does the size of your breasts matter?

Miftah: Katviolet9, you've got it!

KatViolet9: thanks Miftah

Miftah: You're welcome. You sound like a smart person.

MezzoTIS: Miftah, I have a question. A couple of weeks ago here in this conference we had a guest say that she doesn't think designers are going to get a clue, and it won't be until our generation becomes the designers that we may see changes take effect. Do you agree with that?

Miftah: I'm not sure it will take that long. It takes a constant stream of consciousness raising through education. There will always be the shocking designers, because they have to go farther out to get people's attention. However, few designers make dresses over a size 8.

MILITARY: By the time Our generation becomes designers, the younger generation will just say we have no clue.

MezzoTIS: well that rots

Miftah: There are too many larger Baby Boomers now, with money, demanding that dresses be made that fit real women. In the end it's money that talks, So, let your money talk by not spending it on Neanderthal designers and advertisers.

MezzoTIS: Are designers starting to make larger size clothing?

Miftah: Yes.

MezzoTIS: well that's a step in the right direction then

Miftah: Not all of them, but Donna Karran for example is getting the idea.

Miftah: Another thing we watch out for at About-Face is how women are portrayed as junkies and body parts instead of real women. We are having a hard time finding positive images of women in advertising. But, there is a light, at the end of the tunnel.

Miftah: Timberland has a good ad you can see on the website.

MezzoTIS: Everyone should go visit the About-Face website-it's really awesome. You can find it at http://www.about-face.org

Miftah: Also, Lands End is designing clothes that fit women's bodies, especially pants.

MezzoTIS: Yay!!

Miftah: Thanks. If you want to know more read the book by Naomi Wolf called "The Beauty Myth". It's heavy sometimes, but you really get the lowdown on why these images are used, and the bad effect they have on all people.

MezzoTIS: I'll be sure to read it, Miftah

Miftah: Naomi is very bright.

TISmarc: me too mezzo:)

Miftah: If you go to About-Face.org, you can order the book through Amazon. You need a credit card.

MezzoTIS: Miftah

TISmarc: Miftah: shouldn't we do something to get breast implants banned or something to spread the awareness of the bad effect they have on health?

MezzoTIS: Miftah- do you think we can really make a difference?

Randolio: I am a guy and I like all those ads

Miftah: Yes!! I write letters to the most offensive advertisers. It tell them I won't buy their products. All it takes is a postcard.

Randolio: Yeah but they don't care about one person

Miftah: Also, you can ask yourself when you see an ad what is really being sold? Some ads don't even have the name of the product, or even a picture of the product. They just show a woman's body part, or depict her as an inanimate object. Ask yourself how you feel when you see those images.

b2toneala: take for instance Victoria's secret...

Miftah: Get in touch with where in your body you feel a response. Victoria's secret is really soft porn masquerading as ads.

Randolio: Ohh Victoria's secret is the best catalogue ever

Miftah: Besides, many of those skinny women have breast implants- what an unrealistic standard.

Randolio: I love victoria's secret

Rakne: soft porn! You got to be kidding!

MezzoTIS: It's true Rakne

b2toneala: they have Tira Banks and some other models I don't recognize posing in some stuff

Miftah: When you are that skinny, you lose breast tissue.

Rakne: Playboy is what is considered soft porn, people prancing in underwear is hardly pornography

MezzoTIS: Well, it's been great having you here with us Miftah, do you have any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with?

Miftah: It depends on how you look at it!

Miftah: Just ask yourself, what am I afraid of missing if I don't buy this and what do I hope to gain by buying this?

Miftah: Yes, sports Ill. is porn, too. Remember, advertising is like mind-control.

MezzoTIS: We want to thank our guest Miftah for being here with us today. You can check out the About Face website at http://www.about-face.org

b2toneala: Miftah what is your title??

MezzoTIS: and a warm thank you to TISmarc for co-hosting tonight.

Miftah: I'm a volunteer for About-Face and I'm a media literacy educator. Thank you all.

TISmarc: thanks Mezzo:)

b2toneala: Thank you Miftah

Miftah: Thank you.

MezzoTIS: Thank's so much Miftah, this was WAYYYY great



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