This article in the Guardian suggests that the cultural obsession with “fair” complexions in India is not due only to Western media influence, but also to the country’s caste system. Some believe it’s a “colonial hangup” after British rule.  See “Skin tone jibs against actor spark Indian debate over prejudice”.  

The article notes: “Virtually every chemist in Delhi stocks shelves of products such as Fair & Lovely, a powder or cream that is claimed to lighten a woman’s skin tone, and which its maker says helps consumers “get the confidence to pursue their dreams and ambition. Western companies such as Lancôme and L’Oréal have muscled into the market with their own skin-whitening creams, keen for a slice of a global industry projected to be worth about $23bn (£18bn) within four years.”

Hybrid Genres: Westworld

Posted: September 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


The 1970s movie, Westworld, was unique because it combined two genres that seemed impossible to merge: sci fi and western. HBO has just made a series based on Westworld. See this article, “What we can learn from the previous Westworlds” and “A Brief Guide to HBO’s Westworld“.


Beauty ideals are determined by many factors — cultural constructions, historical experience, influence of media. In some African tribes, for example, women stretch their bottom lips using a clay plate (see photo above)  in order to define their beauty — the larger the lip plate, the more beautiful a woman is considered to be. See the infographic below for other examples of culturally constructed beauty types in different non-Western societies. Can we say that the global influence of Western media is “globalizing” beauty types based on Western ideals?



Social Media and Body Image

Posted: September 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


If body image is distorted by media, many blame social media for these distortions.

On the influence of social media on body image, see “Does social media impact body image?” and “New study shows impact of social media on beauty standards“. Also, see this article in the New York Times, “How Real Are You On Social Media?” 

On the role of Instagram, see “Instagram has become a body image battleground” and Student’s photo campaign hits back at body image pressures from social media”

On the Instagram star Essenna O’Neill see, “Essenna O’Neill Recaptions Her Life” and “Essenna O’Neill quits Instagram claiming social media is not real life”.  O’Neill was later accused of using her Instagram defection as a hoax to attract more publicity. Watch an ABC News report on her below.

Netflix and Genres

Posted: September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


See this article on how Netflix uses sophisticated data to discover what genres its viewers like to watch: “How Netflix reverse engineered Hollywood“.