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I penned an opinion piece on why Photoshopped images should be labelled for Style Siren, who kindly provided the soapbox I’ve been waiting around 28 years for. You can find the full article – and plenty more where that came from – here.

Which side of the argument are you on?

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In this digital age, we’re bombarded every day with images in the media and in advertising that have been Photoshopped beyond recognition. TRISHA DOYLE and LIAM BROWNE fight it out on the question – should images that have been retouched in Photoshop be labelled as such?

Yes Camp

I’m firmly in the yes camp on this one. But not just because of feminist reasoning – although feel free to read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth for ideas on why we’re trapped by our constructs of beauty; on who and why created the housewife as an ideal in the 50s, to the inert, gaunt contemporary model who is 23 per cent thinner than the average woman and the truly distressing fact that most women cite their main goal in life to be at least 13 lbs thinner. It’s safe to say in terms of body image, we’re in a bad state of affairs and unlabelled and unchecked Photoshopping is simply feeding these negative, unachievable ideals.

elle-cover-retouched

Everyone wants to make some money and if Mad Men has taught us anything, it’s that we all want to buy an ideal and buy into a lifestyle. And that’s fine; money does its part in making the world go round, but I don’t want it to be at my expense. I want to trust that what I’m investing my hard earned cash in will do what it says. So while the Photoshop Disasters blog is worth a venture on your virtual travels for at least some mirth over your morning coffee, it may also make you pause when you see the dominance of certain types of companies, mainly lingerielifestyle magazines and beauty brands – all businesses whose target audience is primarily women. What all this is saying is, for some reason, doing exactly what it says on the tin isn’t a privilege that gets extended to the female consumer. Instead it’s a nip here, a tuck there, hoping we won’t notice or when we do, a limb taken, a giraffe neck given or a Duchess of Cambridge halved.

kate-middleton-grazia-retouched

Like it or not, ultimately, we’re in the age of austerity. Women still need beauty products, clothes, ideas and inspirations from the media, but we don’t have the money to waste on a product that needs a team of designers to Photoshop it to hell and back to make it look halfway decent, particularly when it’s on a model – someone who is paid to be gorgeous, so can invest the time and money into keeping themselves as so. Unfortunately, I don’t have the genes, the time or the money so I need to trust into what I’m buying into. And labelling images and letting me know the reality of what I’m investing in is a good start.

Trisha Doyle for stylesiren.ie

No Camp

Beauty brands and magazine publishers are being taken to task for retouching, airbrushing and photoshopping images of suspiciously scrawny stars to help sell magazines and advertise cosmetics. From here on in, according to new guidelines from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), any image that is enhanced in any way will have to be tagged as such.

Grazia reckons it’s a huge breakthrough for an industry that relies so heavily on what is really unobtainable beauty. They ‘rejoice’ the fact that no longer will impressionable consumers be subjected to visually perfect images that encourages them to shell out for magazines and beauty products.

jessica-simpson-marieclaire-coverMaybe it’s my lack of knowledge about the beauty industry, but I’m more inclined to believe that Grazia – and similar titles – are missing the point. By celebrating the decision of the CAP and the BCAP, they assume that you, the consumer, had no idea that the images were enhanced in the first place. Just like the products they endorse and earn copious amounts of advertising revenue from, they too prey on the gullible and in doing so, shift thousands of magazines that are fronted by popular, yet airbrushed, stars.

britney-cosmo-cover

The images here tell the true story, as long as you can spot which one has spent a bit of time in photoshop. You have to hand it to Jessica Simpson – apparently she’s the first to allow an image of herself to hit the shelves without any cosmetics or retouching. Leaving personality aside for a moment, it’s hard to argue against the fact that she’s got a lot going for her in the looks department. And therefore, in my opinion, she deserves to earn a ridiculous amount of money if brands are willing to fork out for her services. At least she’s genuine and the images show her exactly as she is.

On the other hand, if you really believe that Britney Spears and her Mr. 15% would allow pictures of her on front covers or grace our TV screens whilst looking blotchy and overweight – which, these days, she seems to be most of time – then pick up another brick and stick it down your throat, just like all the other ones you’ve most likely swallowed.

Liam Browne for stylesiren.ie


There’s situations we all hope we never get in. Topping my list would be pretty much anything to do with a crocodile, charging elephant or enraged grizzly bear, unless of course it’s in the safety of a safari park with guides and large, large stun guns or preferably in a Disney move. Just in case you do ever find yourself in a rather unfortunate predicament, the Guardian have kindly provided some tips on how to survive, in theory, attacks from most of the beasties listed above. Highly suggested reading.

I’m doing a little blogging for the gals over at StyleSiren.ie. Some recent posts have been about the pleasure/pain principle of Bordello Teeze shoes, a how-to on perfecting the beehive do and my most recent post, on achieving a perfect hourglass shape. It’s not just because I’m involved but it’s become one of the first sites I check on a daily basis for witty commentary, keeping up with the cultural buzz, ideas for fashion fixes and beauty brainwaves plus an all-round great little slice of what’s going on in Dublin today. So in the words of the mighty Beyonce Knowles, go check on it.

To celebrate its birthday, for today and today only, WeGotTickets are having a booking free day so whatever gigs you’ve been eyeing up today is a good day to purchase! I just got my Woven Hand ticket for their London show for £13.00. No extra £3 or £4 in charges, just a sweet little deal at £13. I believe we call this a WIN.

Like Hank III? Like a little rockabilly? Well meet Wayne The Train Hancock, a chappy that the littlest of all the Hank Williams calls an inspiration. Hank III reckons he’s realer than him and his Pappy put together: “Wayne Hancock has more Hank SR in him than either I or Hank Williams JR. He is the real deal.

It’s this Monday in The Luminaire in Kilburn. Very very exciting. Boys, grab your stetsons. Ladies, well heck, grab yours too.

PS This is the start of a killer week of rockabilly in the Luminaire, Ireland’s finest Imelda May on Wednesday and Thursday with support to the one, the only, Wanda Jackson. Yeehaww :]

I can’t think why anyone would want to write a letter to the Daily Mail but if you were that way inclined, here’s a handy list from Listopia (courtesy of badjournalism) of useful phrases and words to make your vitriol spitting that little bit easier.

  1. but then I suppose it would be against their “human rights” chat
  2. License Payer’s Money
  3. so-called “experts”
  4. But then, I suppose my views don’t count – I was only born here. chat
  5. do-gooders chat
  6. sick and tired chat
  7. hard working families
  8. Guardianistas chat
  9. the nanny state
  10. I’d pull the lever myself
  11. rip-off Britain
  12. our masters in Brussels
  13. and for what, eh?
  14. something for nothing
  15. nothing to hide, nothing to fear chat
  16. I utterly abhor everything the BNP stands for. However… chat
  17. eco-nazis
  18. the British taxpayer
  19. you couldn’t make it up
  20. here we go again
  21. our brave boys
  22. Gordon Clown
  23. encourages paedophiles chat
  24. this multicultural nonsense
  25. PC idiots
  26. if they don’t like it, nobody’s forcing them to live here
  27. of course in those days the bobby would simply give them a clip round the ear
  28. moslem [sic]
  29. …and immigration that is out of control. – Steve Guff (ex-pat), Alicante, Spain
  30. the politically correct brigade
  31. lest we forget
  32. I, for one… chat
  33. now I’m not racist, but…
  34. methinks
  35. the silent majority
  36. we simply pulled up our knickers and went home for a bath
  37. Nu-Liar-Bore chat
  38. Robert Kilroy-Silk chat
  39. The British FRAUDcasting Corporation
  40. Jackboot Jacqui and Harriet Harperson
  41. If it hadn’t been for…………
  42. Police Farce
  43. bleeding-heart liberals
  44. - – -ist nonsense
  45. as I’m sure no one needs reminding
  46. in this day and age
  47. …and his ilk
  48. state hand-outs
  49. in these troubled times
  50. would have been birched on The Isle Of Man, and deservedly so.
  51. only pleased my father is too befuddled to realise.
  52. and the sooner the better.
  53. it didn’t do ME any harm chat
  54. fought and died for this country
  55. If they like it so much, why don’t they go live there? chat
  56. Slippery slope
  57. I have plenty of ethnic friends myself, but…
  58. So much for our “green and pleasant land”.
  59. it beggars belief
  60. but if that were true we would all have sickle cell anaemia too wouldn’t we?
  61. There’s no such thing as foreign culture.
  62. not a million miles from what Hitler was trying to do
  63. all right-minded people will agree
  64. the loony left
  65. left to pick up the pieces
  66. why, oh why
  67. the licence payer
  68. the thin end of the wedge
  69. this sick filth
  70. young people of today
  71. Enoch Powell
  72. it’s a disgrace
  73. the persecution of fine upstanding citizens
  74. hanging’s too good for them
  75. Maggie
  76. bring back National Service
  77. capital punishment
  78. at the end of the day
  79. what has the world come to where we live in fear of being stabbed up by a youth?
  80. he/she forgets we saved his/her country from the Nazis.
  81. why don’t they leave?
  82. Them in Brussels
  83. UKIP seem like the only answer
  84. so-called `democracy’
  85. Did our grandfathers fight and die for…
  86. the Gnomes of Zurich
  87. pandering to the liberal media
  88. Frankly, what price free speech?
  89. I earned it through hard work
  90. Entitlement culture
  91. Say what you like about Thatcher, at least she had the courage and plain common sense to …
  92. I’m pretty sure that if I wandered around in a balaclava, for instance,
  93. You could leave your front door off it’s hinges when you went on holiday chat
  94. Am I the only one who thinks…?
  95. The film contains frequent swearing and violence and is expected to prove popular
  96. Eurocrats
  97. But I suppose you can’t say that these days.
  98. jobsworth
  99. I am 92 years young
  100. can’t make a non-vegetable thali without breaking a few animals.

I went to see Andrew WK a few years ago. Well actually about 10 years ago on an NME Brat Pack tour. I hadn’t thought about him since but then this article came up in the Guardian. Jesus wept. It’s some stalker song he wrote for a girl in high school. It’s years before it’s time. Listen, it’s hilarious. And while mean to roll about in someone else’s humiliation, it’s glorious.

Go forth and listen: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/apr/07/andrew-wk-juvenile-restraining-order

So it’s to be May 6th, where two, umm, titans go head to head and try and convince the public they are the man to trust. I’m trying to get registered and hopefully will do so in time, but still find it amazing to fathom that the run up is only a month away – in Ireland it always seems like so much longer; politicians knocking on the door every night, flyering at train stations, bus stations and shopping centres and sanctimonious looking posters tossed on every available vertical pole available. It’s not like this here. Well yet anyway.

Here’s an interesting thought for your day from Alastair Campbell, former downing street press secretary on Tony Blair. Well I think we and all the nice people in Iraq know who he is.

“We might spot a single car on a country road and he’d say: ‘That driver has our future in his hands.’ It is the wonder of democracy, but it’s not an easy existence for the leaders and their teams. “

As a 5’2″ gal, I’m what you’d call vertically challenged. My dear sweet brother had me completely convinced that I was actually classed as a midget til I was about 13 – before I scraped over the 5 ft mark. This was of course after paying me to dress up as an Oompa Loompa for some Halloween mirth for him and his chums. Well the laugh’s on you bruv. After years of sizeable hurdles put in place – never being able to reach top shelf magazines without a fuss, having to climb to reach top of fridge only for fridge to fall on top of you and have a pickle jar break over your head and various accidents as a result of wearing between 5 and 7 inch heels, I’ve begun to start seeing some of the benefits of my own unique outlook on the world.

#1

Umbrellas

It’s probably the only time I’m an actual menace walking the streets but seeing people veer off the road to avoid me and my umbrella (which is the perfect height for eye gouging, like ninja stars but bigger) leaves me with no small amount of pride. My ASBO-certified, hoodied brothers and sisters in arms – I get it! Who said having people fear you wasn’t awesome?

Another rather neat fringe benefit is the covertness a simple everyday tool like an umbrella allows when combined with an under average sized user. When caught blatantly objectifying someone very pretty (or pretty initially and ghastly on further inspection) or (and far more likely around London town) some weirdo’s trying to talk to you, simply grimace, grit teeth, pull down your brolly til it nestles comfortably and neatly on your head and they’ll literally have to bend double to look you in the eye. Win for the shawties!

WAG knickers.

How low can you go?

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