TIME beauty

Reese Witherspoon Sticks Up For Renee Zellweger After Face-Shaming

Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood.
Actress Reese Witherspoon attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood. David Livingston—Getty Images

Calls sniping "cruel"

Reese Witherspoon is very disappointed in everyone who participated in the kerfuffle over Renee Zellweger’s face.

In the The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual actress round-table with Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Amy Adams, Hilary Swank, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Jones, the conversation turned to Renee Zellweger’s face-shaming last month. Witherspoon stuck up for Zellweger:

It’s horrible. It’s cruel and rude and disrespectful, and I can go on and on and on. It bothers me immensely…I know this is so Pollyanna of me, but why — and it’s particularly women — why do they have to tear women down? And why do we have to tear other women down to build another woman up? It drives me crazy. Like, this one looks great without her makeup but that one doesn’t look good without her makeup, and it’s all just a judgment and assault that I don’t — look, men are prey to it as well. I just don’t think it’s with the same sort of ferocity.

Later in the interview, when she was asked if there was a contemporary woman she wanted to play, Witherspoon said, “Beyonce.”

[THR]

TIME beauty

Keira Knightley and 7 Other Celebs Who Protested Photoshop and Won

'The Imitation Game' - Opening Night Gala of 58th BFI London Film Festival
Keira Knightley attends a screening of 'The Imitation Game' in London, England on 8 October, 2014. Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Keira Knightley recently posed topless in an Interview magazine shoot so that fans would know what she really looked like. The actress said her image is often manipulated to make her breasts look larger or her body curvier, so she wanted to set the record straight and send the message that it doesn’t matter what shape you are. “I think women’s bodies are a battleground,” Knightley told The Times. “And photography is partly to blame.”

Knightley isn’t the first to protest the use of Photoshop to modify women’s bodies in media. Several other celebrities have either spoken out or purposely posed without editing in the hopes of changing the world’s unrealistic beauty standards:

Jamie Lee Curtis

Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Gala: Noche De Ninos
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 11: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis attends the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Gala: Noche De Ninos at LA Live on October 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) John Sciulli—Getty Images for Children’s Hosp

Curtis famously went nude as a young actress for films like Trading Places and Perfect. But she stripped down again in 2008 at the age of 50, posing topless on the cover of AARP to show women that they can be beautiful at any age.

And that wasn’t the first time Curtis made a statement with her body. In 2002, she posed makeup free and unretouched in a sports bra and underwear for More magazine. “There’s a reality to the way I look without my clothes on,” she said at the time. “I don’t have great thighs. I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I’ve got back fat. People assume that I’m walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It’s insidious—Glam Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don’t want the unsuspecting forty-year-old women of the world to think that I’ve got it going on. It’s such a fraud. And I’m the one perpetuating it.”

Lorde

Back in March, Lorde protested Photoshopping on her Twitter account and reminded fans that everyone has flaws.

The “Royals” singer has been very open about her imperfect skin, even Instagramming a picture of herself with acne cream on.

(READ: Not-So-Flawless: Lorde Protests Photoshopping)

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet  Cover
GQ

After GQ got Photoshop happy with a picture of Kate Winslet for a 2003 cover, shrinking her legs and curves, the Titanic star came out against the editing.

“I actually have a Polaroid that the photographer gave me on the day of the shoot…I can tell you they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third,” Winslet told the BBC. “For my money it looks pretty good the way it was taken.”

Winslet has also taken a stand against cosmetic surgery. “It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty,” Winslet told The Telegraph in 2011. “I will never give in.”

Ashley Benson

Pretty Little Liars actress Ashley Benson publicly slammed ABC Family for an image the network put out to promote the show in 2013. “Saw this floating around…hope it’s not the poster. Our faces in this were from 4 years ago…and we all look ridiculous,” she wrote. “Way too much photo shop [stet]. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. it’s not attractive.”

Benson went on to share her personal philosophy with her followers, “Remember, you are ALL beautiful. Please don’t ever try and look like the people you see in magazines or posters because it’s fake. It only causes an unhealthy mind about how you see yourself. You are perfect the way you are.”

One of Benson’s costars, Troian Bellisario, responded to Benson’s post on Instagram, saying, “, “Wow @itsashbenzo I couldn’t agree more. Very cool concept as always. But aren’t we attractive enough women as we are? Why can’t we just look like us. Once.”

(READ: Pretty Little Liars Star Talks GQ Photoshop Controversy)

Colbie Caillat

The singer went makeup-free in her video for her song “Try” earlier this year. Caillat told TIME in June that her own struggles with beauty standards inspired her to write the song, which is about the many pressures women face.

“‘Try’ is written from my personal experience having so many insecurities, as people do and I think women especially do. We see people looking perfect on TV and compare ourselves to them,” Caillait said. “I remember when I was a teenager, I was so confused about how I should look, and I tried changing every single thing about myself…If girls at that age were just comfortable in their own skin it will benefit them for the future.”

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga on the December 2013 issue of Glamour Glamour Magazine

Lady Gaga was not pleased with her December 2013 Glamour cover, which she felt was heavily airbrushed. When Gaga was honored at the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards, she took the opportunity to blast the magazine for its overuse of Photoshop.

“I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft,” the “Bad Romance” the singer said. “I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning… I don’t even look like this,” referring to her wild wig and makeup for the evening. She went on to say that she thought photoshop was damaging to readers who see the images and called on her fans to “fight back against the forces that make them feel like they’re not beautiful.”

She also issued a challenge to the media: “It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers… When the covers change, that’s when culture changes.”

Gisele Bundchen

Colcci - Runway - SPFW Winter 2015
Gisele Bundchen walks the runway at the Colcci fashion show during Sao Paulo Fashion Week Winter 2015 at Parque Candido Portinari on November 4, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Victor Virgile—Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Gisele, arguably the world’s most powerful fashion model, bemoaned the use of airbrushing in high-fashion photographs last year. After shooting a campaign without makeup or hairstyling for BLK DNM, she praised the brand’s creative director for his natural approach. “I feel like women should be really real and raw and it doesn’t really happen anymore [in fashion photographs],” she told Fashionista. “I love that feeling of, you know, we are women — we are so different. Our imperfections are what makes us unique and beautiful. He gets that. He’s not trying to retouch you or put a pretty light on you. He’s not like, ‘You’ve got to look a certain way.’ He’s like, ‘You are you.’”

(READ: This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries)

Read next: Here’s What 20 Famous Women Think About Feminism

TIME Culture

Keira Knightley Posed Topless to Protest Photoshopping

"The Imitation Game" Press Conference
Keira Knightley at "The Imitation Game" Press Conference at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel on September 10, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario. Vera Anderson—WireImage

"I think women's bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame"

Keira Knightley recently posed topless in Interview Magazine as her own personal protest against photoshopping. Knightley told The Times she demanded the (not safe for work) photos be unedited so people could see what she really looked like.

“I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” Knightley said. “That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”

(READ: Keira Knightley and 7 Other Celebs Who Protested Photoshop and Won)

Knightley’s figure was controversially distorted on the poster for King Arthur in 2004: Her breasts were edited to look bigger than they are in real life. Though the studio bore the brunt of that scandal, the actress herself came under fire in 2006 when she and Scarlett Johansson posed nude with a fully clothed Tom Ford on the cover of Vanity Fair, in a picture that emphasized the gap the demands made of famous women and men in terms of playing up their sexuality. (Rachel McAdams reportedly skipped the shoot after realizing the women would be asked to pose in the buff.)

But Knightley is taking a stand now. The Interview shoot captures Knightley’s real figure—including her true breast size. “I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame,” the Imitation Game actress told The Times. “Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.”

(READ: This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries)

That’s just one of many candid truths 29-year-old Knightley has been preaching on her current press tour. This month, she also told Net-a-Porter that she’s annoyed as a feminist that most movies reflect only what middle-aged white men want and identify with. She has turned down many a role because she thought she was being asked to do things male actors are never asked to do—specifically gratuitous sex and violence. “It’s actually a difficult question: how much flesh are you meant to bare?” she said. “We’re saying that we should be sexually liberated but then again not that sexually liberated. It’s confusing.”

She added that she long ago left fairy tales behind: “Why should you wait for some f–king dude to rescue you?”

Amen.

Read next:

TIME Body Image

This Is How Adults and Kids Respond to the Same Question About Changing Their Bodies

“Probably like a shark mouth, so I could eat a lot of stuff”

We’ve grown accustomed, thanks to Dove, to videos in which people reveal their insecurities only discover that they’re actually beautiful just as they are. And despite their feel-good intentions, many of these videos leave viewers questioning their impact: They reinforce the importance of physical beauty, some say, and sometimes lack diversity in the body types they present.

A new video, “Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question,” continues the “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” trend, although this time it’s a PSA from a non-profit rather than an advertisement masked as a PSA. (Though, to be fair, it is sponsored by a skincare company.)

In the video, adults and children are asked what they would change about their bodies, if they could only change one thing. Not surprisingly, the adults answer immediately, having trouble picking just one. The kids, on the other hand, have to think a bit harder, and their answers are imaginative and uncorrupted, aiming to enhance their existing bodies with fantastical superpowers rather than dismantle the bodies they have.

It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s a useful reminder to tap into that childlike positivity when you’re less than thrilled with what you see in the mirror.

TIME beauty

Julia Roberts: In Hollywood, Not Getting Plastic Surgery Is a ‘Big Risk’

Star speaks out about Hollywood pressures

On the heels of the brouhaha surrounding Renee Zellweger’s new, more youthful look, Julia Roberts said in an interview that for older women in Hollywood, not getting a plastic surgery touchup is a “big risk.”

“By Hollywood standards, I guess I’ve already taken a big risk in not having had a facelift, but I’ve told Lancome that I want to be an aging model – so they have to keep me for at least five more years until I’m over 50,” the Pretty Woman star told Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine. (Though from the outraged reaction to changes in Zellweger’s face and accusations that she got drastic plastic surgery, it’s just as risky to look too young.)

The 47-year old mother of three said that when she’s not on set, she rarely worries about how she looks. “Mornings are a high-humor scene. You just have to make sure everyone looks and smells clean. That’s all that matters. If I actually manage to get my teeth brushed and lip balm on, I’m good.”

She also notes that her success as a movie star means she doesn’t have to worry about some of the things other working moms have to deal with. “I often think about the reality of my life versus a mother who, say, lives in Kansas City and is struggling to pick up the kids when she gets off work, or who doesn’t get to choose not to go to work because she wants to stay at home with the kids.”

“Those mothers are my real-life heroes, and they include my girlfriends, who do this with joy and grace and with full-time jobs. I don’t have to worry about it and I’m grateful for that.”

Roberts, who won a Best Actress Oscar for Erin Brockovich in 2001, lives with her family in New Mexico when she’s not filming in Hollywood.

[The Telegraph]

TIME Innovation

World-Class Skiers Don Special LED Suits in Gorgeous Video

Where can we get a suit like that?

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

This will be the most amazing thing you watch this year, there’s no doubt about it. The creative team behind this film have really pulled out all the stops to create a visually stunning experience. A collaboration between Sweetgrass Productions, Philips TV and Ahlstrand & Wållgren, a teaser clip of Afterglow has been released to tease audiences… and we are most certainly teased!

The feature length film follows pro-skiers wearing incredible custom-made LED suits as they glide down pristine snowy slopes at night. The effects of the colored light reflecting off the snow and lighting up the darkness is unspeakably beautiful. Filmed in Alaska, the project was on a mammoth scale.

“Deep pillows and Alaskan spines, all filmed at night, with massive lights, custom made LED suits, and a national governments worth of logistics, planning and civil engineering,” said the filmmakers.

We only have one question. Where can we get a suit like that?

(Via Wired)

TIME psychology

I Think the Internet Is to Blame For Renée Zellweger’s New Face

Actress Renée Zellweger arrives at the 21st Annual ELLE Women In Hollywood Awards on October 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Actress Renée Zellweger arrives at the 21st Annual ELLE Women In Hollywood Awards on October 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. Jon Kopaloff—FilmMagic

What if, for 18 years, millions of people have been snarking Zellweger's face, and she thought she ought to do something about that?

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

How many times do you have to hear something in order to believe it’s true? How often do you need to be told something about yourself before you internalize it and accept it part of your identity, part of your fundamental being?

After her appearance at the ELLE 2014 Women in Hollywood awards, everyone (well, everyone who hadn’t kicked it off the night before on Twitter) started talking about Renée Zellweger. The commentary was largely of the “that is NOT Renée Zellweger” variety, though some of it has finally veered into the “leave Renée Zellweger alone” territory.

There is one theory — that this “new look” (it’s not really new, reports of her face looking very different started cropping up last year though reports in general might be exaggerated: our own Jane saw her repeatedly in person and never noticed a difference) is down to the pressure placed on women (particularly famous women) to always present a youthful face. Plastic surgery is, the Washington Post posits, only a problem when people get caught having it but they are most assuredly having it. They seem to think Zellweger was fighting the onset of age, trying to look young and glam even as photos get more and more high def. The Guardian rightfully points out that there is nothing wrong with her face — there is only something wrong with a public who feels entitled to effortless beauty.

I am not entirely convinced by that, though.

Jerry Maguire came out in 1996 and was the ninth top-grossing film of the year. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was also Zellweger’s breakout role — and it was the first time a lot of people were totally smitten by her face.

Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 2001. I was dragged to the movie by some friends who loved the book (I did not love the book) and I was surprised by how delightful Zellweger was — by how sympathetic I found her character to be. There was so much earnest good intention combined with bad decisions, and it was all there in that distinctive face.

Her face was distinctive then, yeah — and what people seem to be conveniently glossing over now is how often Zellweger was the subject of truly cruel commentary.

I could list a lot of things that people have said about Zellweger’s face. I suspect you’ve heard or read most of them though — possibly even said some of them yourself with varying degrees of appreciation. I’d rather not have this be one more place where those critical adjectives get applied.

It’s been 18 years since Jerry Maguire brought the world’s attention to Zellweger and her uncommon face (uncommon in Hollywood, at least). Maybe it really is, as the WP says, about a fear of aging. But what if it isn’t?

What if, for 18 years, millions of people have been insulting Zellweger’s face and telling her she ought to do something about that?

If that’s the case, then it’s basically the Internet’s fault that things have come to this. (And the extent of “this” probably isn’t even as severe as wild Internet speculation spread around. None of us actually know and guessing is just as insulting as all the current insults.)

The Atlantic ended their weirdly invasive questions to Zellweger with a quote from Bridget Jones’s Diary about liking her just the way she was. And obviously she is a movie star so her face had appeal to lots of people.

But as a mainstream American culture, we seem to lack any degree of empathy for our stars — we love to watch them fall, right? And I can’t help but think about the power of being told over and over and over again that some part of you is hideous, that some part of you is flawed.

When I was in high school, a nerdy kid fresh back from Thailand, I was pretty sure that I was fatter than my peers but I wasn’t really worried about it. My thighs rubbed together a little bit and my grandmother took me to shop at Cato’s and the plus-size department of K-Mart. But people kept telling me I was fat all the time — family members and a couple of boys at school and some “well-meaning” adults.

Even though no one came right out and said that I was going to die alone and unloved (mostly because there was no such thing as Internet trolls yet to fill that gaping need in my life), the subtext was clear. Why would I be encouraged to work so hard not to be fat if it weren’t going to ruin everything that was good in life?

It was confusing because I didn’t hate my body then — but I tried to be better and thinner and prettier because I wanted my family to be happier with me. I wanted them to feel like I was worth loving. And, slowly, they convinced me. Eventually, I felt like a monster.

I hated my body — and by extension, my self — because I learned that I was supposed to; there was no other option. No one was there to tell me that there were alternatives. Instead, everyone was there to reward me for hiding in baggy jeans and skipping meals.

There is some fairly basic psychology going on here: bad stuff almost always makes for a stronger memory than the good stuff. This is why negativity bias is a thing. If enough trusted people tell you that you’re a hideous beast who can’t be seen in the light of day, it’s really hard not to internalize that message.

Even if you manage to fight some of it off, you’ve used up a lot of your energy — you have put all of your efforts into defending yourself, and then there isn’t anything left for building yourself back up.

At the end of the day, Zellweger has the same body autonomy that anyone else does. She gets to make her choices for her own reasons. Anyone saying she made a mistake really ought to sit down — Zellweger is the only one who can judge that (and here is your obligatory Jennifer Grey link).

But the people offering constant commentary on her face (and also her body because she’s often been targeted by people who want to call her fat and make fun of her) have created the environment and atmosphere in which Zellweger made her choice.

No man is an island, no one lives in a vacuum, all that philosophical claptrap. We are all connected and there is no such thing as being completely unaffected by the weight of that much public commentary.

Every individual I know who is into snark (and there is no denying that has become part of our entertainment culture) defends it as being just for fun. It’s suggested that people simply ought to grow a thicker skin.

I disagree. I think snark, especially on a cultural level, is actively damaging. I think it tells people, over and over again, that they are monstrous — for whatever reason — until that idea is inescapable.

How many times do you have to hear something about yourself before you believe it? I look back at pictures of me in high school. I was, in fact, fatter than my peers. But the person I was taught to see in the mirror is not in the few photographs I have from that time period. There is no monster in those photos.

There’s just a body that I learned to hate because I believed what I was taught.

And, hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Zellweger’s wide-eyed gaze has nothing to do with the incessant caricaturing of her signature (adorable) grin. But even so, I hope that we, as the collective Internet, think for a moment about how responsible we are for teaching people what to see in the mirror.

And I hope Zellweger is happy with what she sees, no matter what.

Marianne Kirby is a Weekend Editor at xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME psychology

10 Ways Science Can Make Anyone Sexier

Science and woman
Getty Images

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Good looks help, there’s no denying. We make up our mind about people in 100 milliseconds and decide whether they’re hot in 13 milliseconds.

Beautiful people are more successful. We’re more likely to forgive attractive people. Cute folks are less likely to be convicted of a crime and more likely to get a shorter sentence.

Have people’s opinions toward appearance changed over the years? Yes, we value attractiveness more than ever.

So what can you do to make sure you’re looking good during that critical first impression?

  1. Beauty sleep? Yeah, it’s real. Get some.
  2. Red clothes. Men, women, whatever. Wear red.
  3. Glasses make you look smarter but less attractive.
  4. Your left side is your best side. Here are tips for making yourself more attractive in photos.
  5. Happiness is attractive in women but not in men. Pride is attractive in men but not in women. The fundamentals of what we find attractive do not change as we age.
  6. A strong sense of meaning in life makes people more attractive. Here‘s how to work on that.
  7. Eat right. More servings of fruits and vegetables made people more attractive.
  8. Tattoos are interesting. One tattoo isn’t very telling. Multiple tattoos and highly visible tattoos are highly correlated with deviant behavior. Students like college professors with tattoos more than those without ink. People with tattoos and body piercings have sex at younger ages, have sex more often, have more oral sex, and are far less likely to be religious.
  9. Eye contact can make people fall in love with you. You can tell which couples are in love by how long they stare into each others eyes.
  10. Is none of this helping? Here’s a trick that doesn’t ask you to change anything about yourself: bring along a friend who has your basic physical characteristics (similar coloring, body type, facial features), but is slightly less attractive than you. It works.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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Related posts:

10 ways science can make *men* sexier

10 ways science can make *women* sexier

10 ways science explains why James Bond is so irresistible to women

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME gender

I’m Beautiful, But Hire Me Anyway

Physical attractive ought not work against you—but in HR offices it might
Physical attractive ought not work against you—but in HR offices it might Johnny Greig; Getty Images

Employers often discriminate against attractive women. Here's why—and what the women themselves can do about it

It has ranked among the top ten irritating TV ads of all time. “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” pouted actress and model Kelly LeBrock back in 1980, tossing her hair coquettishly as she shilled for Pantene shampoo. What few people realized at the time was that the tag line came close to describing a real type of discrimination. It wasn’t in the form of jealousy from other women, as the commercial implied; that trope has never really held up to much scrutiny. But beautiful women do face other challenges; a study published just the year before the Pantene ad ran showed that attractive women often encounter discrimination when applying for managerial jobs—with beauty somehow being equated with reduced authority or even competence. The authors called it the “beauty is beastly” effect.

What the study didn’t address, says Stefanie Johnson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is what women are supposed to do about it. Neither did a study she herself conducted in 2010 which showed that the effect applied to a wide range of jobs normally thought of as masculine.

But a new study Johnson and two colleagues just published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes does tackle the question more directly. The improbable-sounding conclusion: if you’re beautiful and female, acknowledge it. Simple as that.

Well, not quite that simple. The research doesn’t suggest attractive women say straight out, “Yes I know, I’m gorgeous.” It is, says Johnson, “a little more subtle than that.” What she and her colleagues did was to recruit 355 students, male and female, and ask them to evaluate four fictitious candidates for jobs in construction—three male and one female. The applications included photos, and the female applicant was either unusually attractive or unusually unattractive—qualities evaluated by an independent crowdsourcing group.

In some cases, the attractive woman made no reference to either her appearance or her gender in the written application. In others, she referenced her appearance, but subtly, writing something like “I know I don’t look like a typical construction worker, but if you look at my resume, you’ll see that I’ve been successful in this field.” In still others, the attractive woman referred to her gender in a similar way (“I know there aren’t many women in this industry”), but not her beauty.

The unattractive female applicants did the same (although the “I known I don’t look…” part was may have been seen as a mere reference to her gender). In general, the “employers” tended to hire attractive women more often if they alluded either to their gender and to their beauty. With the unattractive woman, referencing gender directly made no difference—but referencing appearance made them less likely than average to be hired.

The study does have holes—rather gaping ones, actually. For one thing, the construction industry is not remotely typical of the field in which gender bias usually plays out. Like it or not, there is a real reason most construction workers are men—and that’s because they are, on average, physically larger than women and have greater upper body strength as a result. It’s the reason we have women’s tennis and men’s tennis, a WNBA and an NBA and on and on. As with the less attractive candidates in the study, the attractive ones’ reference to their appearance might well have been interpreted to mean simply that the typical applicant appears—and is—male. Johnson’s findings would carry a lot more weight if her hypothetical candidates were applying for the kinds of positions in which the gender wars really do play out—vice president of marketing in a large corporation, say.

Still, as a starting point, her research has value, and she does appear to be onto something. “What we think may be going on,” Johnson says, “is that the person doing the [hiring] has an unconscious bias.” But when that bias is brought to the conscious level, triggered by the woman’s addressing it head-on (sort of, anyway), it loses force. “Once you acknowledge it,” says Johnson, “it goes away.”

The takeaway message, she argues, is not that you should feel sorry for good-looking women, since attractive people, both male and female, have all sorts of advantages overall. “It’s more that we’re exposing a more subtle form of sexism,” she says. “People are still stereotyping women.” That, all by itself, is a form of discrimination, even if in this case it’s a form few people think about.

TIME beauty

This Video Proves Just How Ridiculous the Concept of a ‘Thigh Gap’ Is

"Because you aren't good enough."

In a brilliant send-up of the ‘thigh gap,’ a disturbing beauty goal that encourages girls to be so thin that there’s a space between their thighs, sketch comedy group JustBoobs released a parody ad for the Gap’s new competitor — Thigh Gap.

The video promotes the sale of Thigh Gap jeans (just $69.99!), which come with a wooden rod that forces your legs apart, creating an elusive space.

“I thought a thigh gap was an unattainable body myth championed by the media to lower women’s self esteem and make them easier targets for advertising!” one woman exclaims when she sees her friend looking fabulous and pained while wearing her Thigh Gap jeans.

The friend cheerfully replies, “The scars are a constant reminder of the sins of my womanly figure!”

Watch the video and see the thigh gap for the ridiculous trend that it is. Because after all, beauty is pain?

 

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