Friday, March 30, 2007
The Cosmo Girls of Beauty and the Geek
This collage represents the feminine beauty ideals and stereotypes shown in Beauty and the Geek. It is based on Laurie Ouellette's piece about the founding of Cosmopolitan magazine and its impact on American women, "Inventing the Cosmo Girl: Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams." Ouellette discusses the personal life of Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan's creator, and the ideologies and beliefs that led her to start a magazine promoting femininity and sexuality. She writes, "Brown's reworking of American Dream mythology involved the construction and reconstruction of a desirable self, the presentation of identity as self-made, the valorization of femininity as a creative production, the partial subversion of natural class distinctions, the refusal of Victorian sexual norms, and the expression of multiple hardships and frustrations" (125). This description of the invention of the Cosmo Girl portrays Cosmo Girls as feminine, sensual/sexual, and wanting to be desired. The beauties of Beauty and the Geek fit these categories as well. They use cosmetics and hair products to make them look as "beautiful" as possible. They are not afraid to show off their bodies, walking around in their bikinis, miniskirts, and skimpy tops. They place much importance on looks and outward appearances of both themselves and others. This collage depicts the portrayal of the beauties that viewers see: affinity for beauty products, fit bodies, skimpy clothes, and overall superficiality.
Ouellette, Laurie. "Inventing the Cosmo Girl: Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams." Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003. 116-127.
Photo Credits for Collage:
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