May 24, 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

"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."

"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."

"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."

"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."

"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."

"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."

"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."

"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."

"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."

"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."

"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"

"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."