March 23, 2019

There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Real’ Woman

“In America, few things are more quintessentially 2019 than the frequent need to question whether something is real. Is the Twitter account that wants to argue with you about politics run by a real person or a bot? Does YouTube truly encourage kids to commit suicide? Has the viral video that everyone’s talking about been doctored? Things that many people would normally take for granted now feel slightly askew.

This unsure cultural footing brings with it a certain tension. You could be fooled at any time, or you could be passed information by someone you trust who’s been fooled. This is largely a problem of technology, both of how much it permeates everything about life and of how little time everyone has had to adjust to its changes. As we go further through the looking glass, the promise of finding reality feels only more powerful.

Marketers, to their credit, sensed this nascent shift before almost everyone else, and especially as it applies to the ways women view themselves. Since the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty spawned its first viral commercial in 2006 by taking viewers through the layers of digital artifice that go into making a single ad, personal-care and clothing brands have been lining up to sell people “real” products, made for real women to achieve real beauty in their real lives. The American retailer Lane Bryant calls its rewards program “Real Women Dollars.” Earlier this week, the British plus-size clothing retailer Evans launched a model search looking for “real women” with “real bodies” to star in ads.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Historic buildings and structures dating from the Byzantine era to the 20th century have been subjected to disastrous restorations in recent years here, prompting public outcry and fostering a cynical attitude toward planned projects."

"Fox News, normally the object of presidential praise on Twitter, was subjected to an unusual tweet-lashing over the weekend when the president went after three of its anchors."

"Opinion: I am not willing to cast a ballot for this current crop of scandal-mongers, gossips and PR-obsessed dilettantes who are tearing the country apart - don't we deserve better?"

"Listening to The Joe Rogan Experience is sort of like crashing an intense, intimate dinner party in which the only courses are whiskey and weed."

"At the Jewish Museum in London called “Jews, Money, Myth.” The show explores the ways in which Jews have been associated with money over the past 2,000 years."

"Footage of last week’s massacre in New Zealand, which the shooter streamed in real time via Facebook Live, quickly proliferated. The original 17-minute webcast was viewed fewer than 200 times and wasn’t immediately reported, Facebook says."

"When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential."

"Lost in migration: When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?"

"Someday my daughter will be asked if she wants to have a bat mitzvah. I’m inclined to let her make up her own mind... It's a lot of work to learn Hebrew, memorize parts of the Torah and prepare for a pressure-packed performance at such a young age."

"Tablet's Unorthodox Podcast: Gail Simmons, Shalom Auslander, Jill Kargman, Gil Hovav, and more on the Jewish foods that mean the most to them."

""Hitting someone is a foundational moral violation," Yale University Psychologist Paul Bloom wrote in a comment to the paper. "Indeed, these sorts of physical infractions are found to be morally wrong by the youngest babies we can test."

" Ilhan Omar in particular has garnered attention for tweets widely viewed by the Jewish community as trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The result has been the most media coverage of anti-Semitism in a decade..."