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SPOKEN

ISSUE THREE

S/S 2014

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Spoken Speaks

A WORD FROM THE EDITOR

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ower traditionally connotes notions of money, fame and inflated egos. Whether you look to superheroes, politicians, or even Kanye West as your ultimate power icon, its clear that everyone’s interpretation of the word is different. This issue looks at unexpected power, political power and even the powerhouses that define our industry. Instead of elevating celebrities and important figures further up their preexisting pedestals, we’ve decided to ask the questions behind their influence. Is Tom Ford exploiting women? Why is Beyonce constantly undermined as a feminist? And most importantly, why is Boris Johnson so reluctant to iron his shirts? But power isn’t solely restricted to how we perceive others- how we view ourselves is just as important. We look at how our choice of dress or application of makeup can provide us with the tools to exercise our own power- and whether the beauty industry is using this idea to fuel their own agenda. I look to women such as Pussy Riot, Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna and Miuccia Prada when in need for a power pick me up. These are women who march to the beat of their own drum, and break the mould in terms of pre existing norms within music and fashion. Because remember, girls really do run the world.

Ione Gamble EDITOR Ione Gamble ART DIRECTON Harriet Bedder & Danielle Holley FASHION EDITOR Claudia Walder PICTURE EDITOR Kayla Martinez SPECIAL THANKS Terry Newman & Robert de Niet

COPYRIGHT & DISCLAIMER All rights reserved. For educational purposes only. Spoken is a BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism for the University for the Creative Arts, Epsom, student magazine and has no commercial value. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from publishers. © 2014 Spoken. The views expressed in Spoken are those of the respective contributors and Editor, and are not necessarily shared by the publusher or the University for the Creative Arts. These parties cannot be held responsible for them.

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Contents 6 Spoken’s Top 5 Empowering Designers 10 Powerhouse 12 Do PR Agencues Hold too Much Power in the Fashion Industry 14 Spoken’s Top 5 Documentaries 20 Suits You 22 Join the Fight... Why Aren’t Female Graduates Receiving Equal Pay? 24 Majestic 28 Power Dressing on the Silver Screen 32 Beyonce Feminist Icon

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34 American History X 38 The Power of Celebrity 40 Are Male Designers Empowering Women or Exploiting Them? 44 From the Meek, the Graces Shower 46 What is Black? 48 The Colour Is... 54 Charlotte Johnson 56 Spoken’s Most Empowering Women 58 Made Up Manipulations 60 Does Social Media Have too Much Power Over Your Life?

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Words by Claudia Walder Illustrations by Nina Goodyer

Spoken's top 5 Empowering

Azzedine Alaia After graduating with a degree in Sculpture, the young Tunisian Azzedine Alaïa chose to focus on fabrics as opposed to marble as an outlet for admiring the physical form. Embracing the natural curves of the body, Alaïa’s skintight creations moulded women into seductive goddesses. Using fabrics such as Lycra, latex and leather, Alaïa often incorporated the bias-cut to encase women in cloth yet still allowing ultimate freedom of movement. As one of the few designers to not adhere to the concept of the fashion show schedule, Alaïa refers to collection fixed deadlines as a “commercial hell that has nothing to do with creativity.” Instead, Alaïa designs foremost for an exclusive clientele or will show small collections in his home without the presence of the press. His originality and unwillingness to follow trends have made him an infamous favourite amongst influential women such as Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell and Carine Roitfeld.

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2 Vivienne Westwood

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Vivienne Westwood uses her designs as an instrument with which to spread a political message. Dubbed as the ‘mother of punk’, Westwood developed the anarchic punk aesthetic with husband Malcolm McClaren in the early 70’s. Developing a radical decon-recon aesthetic, to this day Westwood plasters her designs in provocative slogans. Slogans that in recent years have taken an environmental turn, to raise awareness about everything from the Arctic 50 to Wiki leaks. Westwood’s later creations incorporate self-taught historical tailoring techniques to reintroduce corsetry into modern fashion. As apposed to simply restricting the natural female silhouette and reverting to outdated beauty standards, Westwood seeks to reestablish a sense of dominant female power that comes from wearing the intricate, ornate luxury of historic fashion. As a powerful businesswoman, an educated activist and a beacon for anti-photo shopped aging elegance, Westwood is perhaps the most unapologetic and aware fashion designer of all time.

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Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen often came under scrutiny during his years at the helm of British fashion design. Branded as a woman-hater, his provocative and often hazardous creations, such as the infamous Armadillo shoes, were mistaken as incapacitating to women. Indeed, on the surface his designs were more theatrical and fearsome than wearable, but this was McQueen’s aim “I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” Over the years McQueen transformed women from birds-of-paradise and Roman Gladiators to Oriental Royalty. The designer broke the mould with his use of models, in 1994 McQueen used a pregnant skinhead, he then created hand-carved wooden legs for Paralympian Aimee Mullins in 1998, and later went on to create living artwork in 2001 with the help of a larger-sized nude Michelle Olley who posed for him attached to a gas mask in a glass box full of moths. McQueen will always be celebrated for ignoring industry beauty standards and instead pursuing fragility and fantasy to challenge his audience.

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4 Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada is heralded as an intellectual designer, with a PhD in Political Science, it’s hard to discredit the woman who turned a small struggling leather goods business into multi million-dollar conglomerate. A woman of many passions, Miuccia dabbled in mime artistry and communist politics before joining her family’s company in 1978. She entered the limelight in 1985 with the creation of a minimalist black nylon backpack, a welcome interruption from the garish ostentatious trends of the decade. From this moment on, Miuccia’s power lay in her ability to predict what women wanted to wear, even before they knew it themselves. Nowadays, each Prada season is more desirable than the last with it’s sister line Miu Miu on an equal footing. As each fashion week rolls around we all wait with baited breath see what Miuccia will show us next.

Yves Saint Laurent At the tender age of 18, Yves Saint Laurent had secured a job at the most prominent couture house of the 1950’s- Christian Dior. Working as an assistant to Dior himself, he succeeded the legendary designer upon his death in 1957. Laurent’s first collection ‘The Ligne Trapeze’ made him an overnight sensation, as he established a new female silhouette free from the waspish waists that defined the New Look. In 1962 Yves Saint Laurent Couture was born, along with the creation of the Rive Gauche sideline, which established the concept of prêta-porter amongst the Parisian couture houses; an idea that went on to define the business of 20th century fashion design. With a penchant for the colour black, Yves went against the grain by developing clothes for women that were inspired by men’s tailoring. His women’s tuxedo from 1966 was the designer’s most iconic creation, and is now a look that is reproduced decade after decade, to which all modern women thank him.

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power house

By Lisa Walden

It’s impossible to miss Breeny Lee, a powerful, charismatic and ambitious young designer, who completely and utterly belies her age- a mere 22. Standing tall, with long ombred hair bleeding down her back, Breeny is the ultimate power woman. Her ‘A Thousand Words’ project retains an inventive sense of effortlessness, intertwining leather with intricate lace and mesh detailing. She knows exactly how to make women feel powerful, yet fragile and feminine also. Lee excites upon her opportunity to work with Sophie Hallette lace (the same lace that was used for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress), and begins to delineate the key muses for her design. “I was given the colour green, so I was inspired by nature. I began to look at surfaces and discovered

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the amazing way moss grows on wet surface. I found it to be 3D, textured and sporadic, which is why the gold lace starts from the front up the neck, around the back and slowly fades out”. She endorses power dressing by juxtaposing fabrics such as leather and lace - “what makes a woman powerful is her self-confidence and her confidence in her future. She knows where she is and she knows where she is heading and she is not defined by her past or present

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“When I design I want the woman to feel like she’s royalty.”

mistakes”, says Lee on the powerful woman- which she totally is by the way. Lee enthuses, “when I design I want the woman to feel like she’s royalty, special and unique”. She combines studying at the London College of Fashion with modelling, blogging, designing and keeping her 14,000 Instagram followers happy- all of which keeps the designer incredibly busy. With her wardrobe abounding in oversized coats, tailored jackets, peg-leg trousers, pointed courts and sunglasses aplenty, Breeny is every girl’s best friend. Her effortless style no doubt seeps into her designs“black is a universal colour. It speaks so much with such little words. Black is the new black” states Lee, who consequently lives in it. “Everyone wears it”, she adds. Breeny enthuses upon her interweaving of clashing materials, saying she used them to “show a contrast between the woman’s femininity and her masculinity (power)”- the leather skirt in itself is a mechanism of power. As she depicts her self-made dress to me, I mentally configure its whereabouts in my daily attire; with kitten heels for a meeting; layered with knitwear

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for an evening walk; hidden under an oversized coat for a rainy wander in London. The subject shifts to expensive dressing and the undeniable reality of the power it brings. Is cost of clothing important in making a woman powerful? I ask, not at all knowing whether or not she’s one of those ‘only-wears-designer-gals’. “Being a style blogger I don’t have tons to spend on designer clothes, but with what I do have I make it work for me. I’d feel as confident in Zara as I would feel in Celinè”, she explains. There’s no denying that Alexander Wang bags, Prada shoes and Celinè coats all assist in making a woman feel more powerful (trust me, if I knew what it was like to carry a Wang bag, I would definitely feel more superior). But do powerful women need these labels to help amplify their success? - Breeny thinks not. “Her job, her clothing and her background only add to the powerful woman she already is”, she augments. And finally, before Breeny Lee returns to her busy life, I ask her how she wants to make women feel aside from powerful- “confident!”- And that she is doing.

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Do PR agencies hold too much power in the fashion industry? By Olivia Kelly

Don’t you just hate it when those amateur bloggers you’re accidently following on Instagram receive the most outrageous free ‘gifts’? This being the PR companies rather blasé attempt to promote. Using their ultimate power to persuade bloggers to write up an unreliable review of the product or an #OOTD that was just as boring as the one before. In fairness to those hard working bloggers out there, journalists can also slip ‘under the thumb’ of PR agencies, scared to bad mouth an awful collection in fear of being banished from the shows for ever and eternity. À la Cathy Horyn banned from Saint Laurent shows for giving her honest opinion, the PR definitely will not be sending her out those cute invitations anymore. Showering journalists and industry leaders in gifts also boosts the PRs power, as they are able to build

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strong relationships leading to more friendly articles about the brand. But again, who are we to look to for an honest opinion of a collection if the journalists have been schmoozed into a false sense of reality? The ‘big bad wolf’ or the Kelly Cutrone that stands between our beloved designers and us is more damaging than you might have first thought. Although PR agencies seek to drive sales, this need to increase their market can dominate over brand creativity. It can also draw away from the designers flare with too much pushy promotion. As a newgen designer, do you really want that Z-list celebrity wearing your creations? PR agencies can hold the door open for new and exciting talent - if they can afford it. Talented young designers without the powerful

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backing from PR companies will often struggle in a competitive market without marketing and a clear business strategy. According to Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, News Editor of the Financial Times, “top PR firms now see themselves in the same tier of corporate advisers as investment banks or management consultancies.” Aligning themselves here shows that even the agencies themselves assume that they have a considerable amount of power. However it’s not all bad, this power that PR companies do have often works in the designers favour- giving them brand focus and an image which inevitably sells their products. Perhaps it’s the designer that has the ultimate power, playing the puppet master for the whole industry made up of PRs, journalists and small time bloggers. Becoming a dynamic duo with a PR agency allows a brand to take on

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thei agencies power, securing them interviews in popular magazines, photo shoots featuring their clothing, top stylists and using social media to reach the far corners of their target audience. Joining forces ensures longevity and therefore more sales and eventually money! What would fashion week be without these guys? You can always rely on them using their power to throw classy after parties in expensive hotel suites with an impressive guest list, free drinks and world class DJ’s. What’s not to love about that? With the fashion industry in the UK worth 21 billion a year it can be said that we all hold a reasonable amount of power. Without the designers there would be no clothes, without the PR there would be no organisation or branding and without journalists there would be no coverage.

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Spoken's top 5 documentaries Words by Alice Curtis Illustration by Theo Goodyer

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2 The Imposter

Black Fish

Black Fish, the documentary that has pulled on the heartstrings of people globally, has created huge backlash for Sea World in California and resorts like it. The film uncovers the secrets that Sea World resorts have hidden for years with moving and emotive footage- shocking cinephiles across the globe. Nobody can deny the power that Black Fish has had on bringing people together to protest and petition against the capturing and keeping Orcas for entertainment purposes.

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This documentary film is an eerie and disturbing watch for audiences. It tells the story of a French man, Frédéric Bourdin, who poses as the missing son of a Texan family. The documentary is directed to perfection and grabs your full attention due to its part re-enactment and part interview direction- leaving you always second-guessing what is real and what is acted. The psychological power that ‘The Imposter’ himself holds over the people he encounters makes for an uncomfortable watch. With deception key to the films inner core, The Imposter leaves all who watch it with an unsettled stomach proving that you never can trust anybody.

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3 Paris Is Burning

Power simply oozes from this documentary. Paris is Burning tells the story of a community in New York made up of largely African American and Latino homosexuals, many of whom feel rejected from society. The film itself presents the struggles and triumphs that many of these men face both within the ball community and in the wider world. An eye opening watch

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that mixes humour with a heart wrenching edge, Paris is Burning catapulted members of the Vogue Ball community in to stardom- even influencing Madonna to appropriate the subculture in her video for-you guessed it-Vogue. Here at Spoken we can’t help but envy the ball competitors for their on point dance moves and ability to throw shade on anyone in their way.

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Bowling for Columbine

This documentary shows ‘funny man’ and journalist Michael Moore explore gun violence that takes place throughout the US. It is a powerful and thought provoking film that aims to ask and answer questions surrounding firearm rules that are often debated in American. This is a major global topic of conversation and Michael Moore adds his forevercomical take on a subject of serious concern. He depicts and analyses specific firearms cases that have taken place throughout the US. The film, despite is witty slant, is a powerful documentary

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that sets out reasoning behind the scale of gun offenses. Watch out for the Marylin Manson cameo - he comes across as surprisingly intelligent for a man that reportedly removed his own rib to give himself fellatio.

a serious opinion on a public platform. Secondly it shows a message of anti-Putin ideas. The message the band present to the world in their video (filmed inside a Russian Church), is one that is extremely powerful. The film itself amplifies these ideas and presents them in a way that assists audiences understanding of this public display. Pussy Riot may be released now - but the fight continues. Here at Spoken we’re wearing our neon balaclavas’ with pride.

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A Punk Prayer A Punk Prayer follows the legal battle of band members of the Russian, ‘Anti-Putin’ band Pussy Riot. The powerful message in this documentary is twofold. First is encapsulates a political stance in Russia. It shows the harsh reality and backlash of voicing

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THE WORD IS YOURS... Words & Photography by Ione Gamble Art Direction by Kayla Martinez & Rosie Williams

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Remember when fashion had a sway on politics? Nope, neither do we. With Vivienne Westwood being ushered away from a MET ball interview for discussing Edward Snowden, it seems like the days of fashion influencing political agenda and public opinion are long gone. The only slogan t-shirts seen on the

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runway in recent years are Henry Holland’s ‘Flick ya bean for Agyness Deyn’ and other tenuous pop culture references. At Spoken, we want to see change. We’ve picked the top three issues within fashion and politics we want to see end. Designers take note - here’s what we think should be seen on the runway next season.

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suits you For years we’ve been reading about the best-dressed women in politics. Whether it be Margaret Thatcher’s attachment to the colour blue, Condoleezza Rice’s famous military coat or Hillary Clinton’s critically acclaimed power suits, there is no doubt that the women at the forefront of political power have always been under the watchful eye of the fashion critics. The main question here is: why? Why should female politicians only be read about when it’s in relation to their fashion choices? World news headlines frequently feature the latest conferences and meetings held by the male leaders of the world, detailing their disagreements and settlements. So why is it that when Hillary Clinton makes a visit to Melbourne all we can talk about is her orange trouser suit? It has become so normal, in fact, that there has become no apparent differentiation in the media between female political figures and the wives of male politicians.

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Whether or not this is an insult to women is hard to tell. Are the media trying to materialise the work of female politicians by merely reporting on the clothes they wear? Or do fashion and politics play hand in hand? It goes without saying that looking clean and presentable as a politician is vital. It gives the individual credibility and let’s face it, if someone can’t look after themselves, how are they supposed to look after a whole country? It’s therefore odd to assume that it is only the women in politics that should be credited for their impeccable fashion sense. Whether we like it or not, politics is predominantly a man’s world, and it’s about time the tailoring and co-ordination of their suits is overanalysed in the same way as their female counterparts.

David Cameron was recently voted by vanityfair.com as the world’s number one best-dressed leader. There is no doubt that the British Prime Minister always looks impeccably smart in his well fitted

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suits and rainbow coloured ties. However, how far can really we agree with Vanity Fair in their judgement? The fact that David Cameron has been making it onto ‘best dressed’ lists over the past few years, is actually quite concerning. He could walk into Canary Wharf unnoticed as his generic navy suit gets swallowed up by the financial fashion clones of the city.

The same can very easily be said for US President, Barack Obama. It is becoming harder to differentiate between Obama, the world leader, and Obama, the cool celebrity, as dissatisfaction with his political agenda is increasing by the day in the US. It seems odd that such prominent male politicians are praised for their style when the transformation from work wear to formalwear consists of the removal of a tie and unbuttoning one button on their shirt. This brings us back to the question: do politics and fashion play hand in hand? It appears that when it comes

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to male politicians, all that needs to be done in order to gain some votes is have a shower, wear a wellfitted suit and get photographed looking fatherly with a child or simply holding a golf club/basketball. For women, however, it seems much harder. Brutally analysed for all outfit choices, it’s hard to make headlines for the line of work that they’re in. Isn’t it about time we started praising these women for their work as politicians? After all, we don’t judge a chef’s work solely on its smell, nor do we judge a novel by its accompanying illustrations. Let’s move on from the fantasy of fashionable politics that we all dream of and start appreciating the amount of power and intelligence that all of these men and women possess.

N.B. This article is written from the point of view that this magazine will never end up in the hands of Boris Johnson. Boris, if you are reading this, please iron your suit. It is just standard procedure to iron your things before you put them on and in no way relates to ‘fashionable politics’.

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Join the fight...

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ithin the UK, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) estimates that British women will not be paid the same rate as men for another 57 years. Unfortunately, this shocking statistic is seen from the top of the boardroom right down to the bottom, with female undergraduates facing the same unfair discrimination. The average pay gap between men and women is over £10,434, with men gaining the higher wage even if both sexes are employed to do the same job and have exactly the same contract. At graduate level, the struggle for equality is no different. Female graduates employed full-time get paid between 15,000-23,000 per annum whilst male graduates continue to dominate, gaining earnings of 24,000+ yearly. In a world where women have come so far, why are they still at the bottom of the food chain in terms of wage? Firstly, women do not seem to be negotiating their pay like men do. According to the people at ‘Sound Women’ (a networking and development group for women in the UK), 76% of women have

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never raised the issue of a pay rise with their boss. A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “forty years after the equal pay act, women can still expect to earn less than 85p for every pound that their male colleagues earn”. Women seem to be more excepting of their status and pay, perhaps because they are ‘too polite’ to ask for more and statistically when they do, they are likely to receive a ‘gender blow-back’ wherein they are rebuffed for daring to step outside of their stereotypical gender role. Being shamed for asking for equal pay is oddly socially acceptable despite us all knowing how wrong it truly is. But with women not daring to ask in the first place, is it fair to question if women really value their worth as much as men do? It’s easy to forget that until about sixty years ago, women were wearing the apron strings whilst the men brought home the bacon. Although times have changed dramatically since then, we still seem to be stuck in a rut where despite all of the vigorous campaigns for women the world over; men are still seen to be the superior sex.

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whyaren’t whyaren female graduates receiving equalpay? When men negotiate their pay, they are expected to argue a valid case and to do so happily. When a woman negotiates, she can be seen as ‘nagging’ and ‘annoying’. With all of the negativity surrounding the equal pay conundrum, it’s no wonder that women step back and don’t ask for what they really want and are capable of earning. Just like there is not a difference between the differentiating races and sexuality, there is not a difference in gender. Because a person has a penis instead of a vagina does that validate their right to a higher pay? Of course not. It’s time that companies encouraged women to make the most out of their potential earning power. Rewards should be given for hard

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work and both male and female graduates should be placed on an equal footing from the word go. How can we expect women to aspire to climb the career ladder if they will always be second best? As Sandra Pollock (National Chair for the CMI of Women) says: “we want to inspire young women to reach the top but how can we possibly expect them to want the top jobs if, despite doing the same role as male colleagues, they will be paid less?” The message here is to never allow yourself to succumb to second best. Stand up for yourself and demand what is rightfully yours. If you don’t ask, you don’t get and in today’s world, it’s only right that you stick it to them.

By Daisy-May Kent

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majestic Since the antiquity, crowns symbolise power in many different cultures and worlds. Our three queens embrace their coronation differently. Photography by Juliana Scheidecker and Renee Burke

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ice queen Spoken issue3.4.indd 24

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prom queen Spoken issue3.4.indd 25

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24 Since the rise of cinema in the golden age of Hollywood, it has been questionable that costumes are just as important as the script, the composition and the cast. Enter the women who simultaneously perceived their clothing as identity makers and used it to their advantage, pinning the term ‘power dressing.’ It’s much more than an iconic Givenchy LBD a la Hepburn, it’s the underlining subversion of dressing like the woman you want to be through the use of the ‘fake it to you make it’ attitude, reminiscent of the quote, ‘always dress like you have made something for yourself, even if you haven’t.’ Here’s a look back at our all-time favourite power dressers:

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Her transition from the scantily clad, PVC dipped, wig-wearing escort to ‘Miss Vivian’ the immaculate lady captured our hearts. Her copious amount of Gucci frocks were the essence of 30’s Hollywood glamour and were welcomed with wideeyes and even wider jaws when she sauntered through the lobby of the Beverly Whilshire hotel. And what about that white 80’s style power-shoulder dress Vivian sported whilst shopping on Rodeo Drive? In the momentous scene when she addressed the store attendants for not serving her prior to her wardrobe overhaul. Forget power-dressing, this is about power-shopping!

Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in pretty Woman

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The tracking shot of Miss Hancock in a glass elevator from the nape of her neck down her emerald-blue silk dress became something of a phenomenon. Oozing emancipation Elvira sizzled and was to become emulated by Rihanna in Stella McCartney twenty years later. Hancock’s wardrobe meant business – from her crisp white tailoring incorporating cats-eye sunglasses and flouncy sunhats to a Palm Springs queen living the life of a coke kingpin’s wife. Elvira’s wardrobe gave husband Tony Montana a run for his money in regards to the term ‘boss.’

Michelle Pfeiffer as Elvira Hancock in Scarface

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She won the heart of swoon-worthy Jay Gatsby in the 2013 remake and her feminine, delicate appearance (a connotation of her namesake) was as precious as the family title she boasted. However despite her ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ facade Daisy’s wardrobe epitomized the roaring 20’s and oozed affluence, luxury and power. Often incorporating heavily embellished flapper frocks with layers of ostrich feathers, and never short of an elaborate diamond encrusted headdress, Daisy’s power came from how she chose to be depicted through her wardrobe. It was everything we expected and more from a Miuccia Prada and Catherine Martin collaboration.

Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby

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BeyonceBe feministBe icon iconB Beyoncefe feministic icon iconB Beyoncefe feministic icon iconB Beyoncefe feminis?ico icon iconb By Ryan Hoadley-Thaxter

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SPOKEN Is Beyoncé a 21st century feminist icon? Undoubtedly. Is she considered as one? Sadly, not by as many people as you would think. Throughout her long-spanning career so far, Beyoncé has encapsulated many feminist ideologies, yet appears to face criticism that some of her other celebrated feminist icons do not. Listing everything that should be valued as possessing a blatant feminist undercurrent would be exhausting and laborious, so consider two recent examples that most definitely supports the claim of Beyoncé as a feminist. Firstly, the release of her ‘surprise’ self-titled album, BEYONCÉ, last December. Now, ignore the harsh critiques Bey faced that called the albums content as “inappropriate” for a large part of her fan base made up of teenagers, and instead focus on the lyrics of most of the songs. A lot of the album has an unapologetically sexual attitude and flaunted Beyoncé’s selfacceptance of who she is and her appearance. This isn’t a totally new twist for Bey, every album from the dawn of her career with Destiny’s Child has had an element of self-acceptance. However, it’s heartwarming to see her own personal growth from “Flaws and All” to her second solo album ‘B-Day’ to the kickass “***Flawless”, which features an overlay of pertinent aspects from Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s TEDxTalks about her belief in feminism. With extended dates announced on her Mrs. Carter World Tour to

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facilitate elements of the new album, the old argument of whether it was right for Queen B to name her tour with her husbands name has reemerged in the media. Many of the public, even those who assign themselves to feminism, argue that naming her tour after her married name showed an implication of her simply hiding behind the fame and success of her husband, Jay-Z. But who’s to say that just because Bey identifies with her family’s name that this was actually a guise to further promote? It seems indisputable that both Jay Z and Beyonce share the same amount of success in their musical careers, yet Beyonce, so why, as woman, is she always put behind her husband? Beyoncé, amongst a host of other female celebrities, wrote about their believes about gender equality for ‘The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink’, “We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet.” As well as publishing her thoughts in this open report, Bey also performed at- and organisedthe Chime for Change concert, which “promotes health, education and justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere.” If that’s not enough proof that she’s a feminist icon, then who knows what is. Now, say what you like about Beyoncé. Enjoy her music or don’t, claim that as an artist she is ‘contrived’ - if you really must - but to argue that she’s not a feminist or doesn’t, at least, uphold feminist ideals would be reprehensible.

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COMPROMISE, CONFORMITY, ASSIMILATION, SUBMISSION, IGNORANCE, HYPOCRISY, BRUTALITY, THE ELITE. ALL OF WHICH ARE THE AMERICAN DREAM.

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Photographed and Edited by Evangelina Fysa Narrative by Jade-Louise Goodman Styling by Vanessa Kalinda Make-up by Anya Johns Charlotte Models: Anthony and Ja

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power Envision your idol; the person you follow religiously. Are they beautiful? Wealthy? Now, do you actually know them personally? The most famous names in western culture today are not that of religious or political leaders but celebrities. With online networking and reality TV now readily available, our proximity to celebrity culture has granted the hard, shiny people of society ultimate power to influence our everyday lives. Of course, we have always remained in awe of their fame and fortune, but do the stars of today possess a greater power than their pre-millennium predecessors? On May 15th 2013, the New York Times printed and Op-Ed article written by A-list movie star Angelina Jolie divulging her decision to undergo a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting cancer. On the same day, the state of Minnesota legalised gay marriage, hundreds of people in Myanmar drowned due to Cyclone Mahasen and 7 men were charged with operating a child sex gang- Angelina’s story made the cover image of almost every daily

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national newspaper. While this is a courageous move for any woman, it has been a decision made hundreds of times by women around the world, only to become headline-worthy once a celebrity became involved. Kim Kardashian, the now infamous figurehead in the wild world of celebrity, initially rose to fame via the ever-classy leaked sex tape scandal. That yellow brick road of fame has now lead her to scoring one millionaire husband after another. That’s not to mention earning millions of dollars in her own right through starring in a reality TV show based on her family and the endless endorsements that subsequently came flooding in. Before the age of social media’s pleasures and pitfalls amplified the meaning of celebrity, there were movie stars, athletes and most powerful of them all– the royals. A young Lady Diana Spencer was thrown into the flashing lights of the public eye at the tender age of 20 with her engagement to Prince Charles. Following their divorce 15 years later, Diana presided over and raised copious funds for dozens

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of charities around the world. Despite this, the media constantly reported on her outfits and relations with men. Though they thankfully remain alive to tell the tale, the Russian all-female punk protest group Pussy Riot’s performance against the church’s support of Putin landed three of the members in jail in 2012. While Russian public opinion of the group members has remained unsupportive even after their release, many people in the western world including human rights groups have supported the girls’ case via the Internetand thus have become celebrities in their own right. The power of a celebrity’s popularity does not rely on their personal merit- both Angelina Jolie and the late Princess Diana practiced humanitarian work. The difference between the 20th century celebrity’s power and today’s that Angelina is able to steer her fame to raise awareness for worthy causes to the mainstream public. Princess Diana was disadvantaged by her inability to communicate with the public directly. Princess Diana could not reach her fan base directly as stars so easily do today thanks to social media and a culture based on information sharing.

celebrity

of

Two out of the ten most read articles of 2013 on The Guardian’s website discuss pop star Miley Cyrus’ dirty dance moves with none of the articles discussing current politics, war or natural disasters. Whether they use it for good or evil, celebrities in the 21st century possess a great amount of power. We can only hope they use it wisely.

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are MALE DESIGNERS EMPOWERING WOMEN OR EXPLOITING THEM? ByHayley Harrison

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o say that that the fashion industry is occupied with an abundance of male designers isn’t a foreign observation. We are so used to having men tell us what to wear we don’t ever tend to think about questioning it. But what authority do men have in telling us women how to dress? History tells us that females have always been perceived as the feebler sex, constantly relying on their male counterpart to tell them what to do and how to think. Judith Butler argued that the central issue of fighting against the ‘patriarchal discourse’ is reliant on the very fact that such argument still favors a difference in Identity, based on ‘sex’ or ‘biology’. Fast forward to the 21st century and Emily Pankhurst didn’t get trampled on a by horse in 1928, campaigning for the vote, in order for women to still leave it up to men to make the decisions for them in 2014. Bill Blass’ Michael Vollbracht thinks that, “Women are confused about

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who they want to be. I believe that male designers have the fantasy level that women do not.” Sometimes it is not about the fantasy element. Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Phoebe Philo have lived the life of their consumer, with Philo even pulling off a runway show when she was 8 months pregnant. This, in turn, has educated the quality, fit and aesthetic of their collections. Vivienne Westwood has set out to empower women by going against the norm, using herself in her fashion campaigns, projecting a positive representation of age and body image. This is what women need to feel empowered and comfortable in their own skin, not some 6’4ft, size 4, aesthetically perfect version of a woman that the majority of us will never be. Tom Ford has been quoted as saying, “I think we are more objective. We don’t come with the baggage of hating certain parts of our bodies.” You have to ask yourself why the majority of women are wrapped up in self-loathing. If you look at

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Tom Ford’s campaigns, the answer will stare you right in the face. Is it empowering for a woman to see a naked faceless female model with a perfume bottle jammed between her legs? Here you have a man who designs for women and wants to make them feel good, yet he is using negative imagery of women in his fragrance campaigns, which, are aimed at men. Women look at other women with envy because it is the ideal that designers are using over and over again in order to increase consumerism. Without this ideal, women would not believe that they should be anything else other than themselves.

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The King of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has been throwing around misogynistic, body-slamming quotes for years. Recently, he encountered a law suit from the French organisation ‘Beautiful, Round, Sexy and Okay With It’ for claiming, “Nobody wants to see round women on the catwalk.” This is not the first time that the German born, leather wearing, constantly sporting sunglasses indoors designer has expressed a view much similar to this one. Upon speaking about singer Adele, Lagerfeld articulated that she has a pretty face and a divine voice despite being too fat. Of course, we all know that women of a certain

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stature cannot have more than one endearing quality. With revenue of £6.3 billion (2012) it is a wonder why women still feel compelled to buy from a brand that has such an adverse figure head. Male designers aren’t all bad, however. Much like Thierry Mugler in the 1980’s, when power dressing was at the forefront of culture, McQueen set out to empower women and wanted people to be afraid of the women he dressed. Yohji Yamamoto wants to protect a human’s body. Hiding women’s bodies is about sexuality and a sense of mystery. Everything doesn’t need to be on

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show for the outfit to be fashionable or appealing. Arguably, women, by nature, are more sensitive towards others. Maybe if men were more conscious about women’s feelings instead of thinking of the money that they will make from enforcing their ideals of what a woman should be, women may feel empowered by what they have to offer. At the end of the day, we don’t need a man to tell us what looks good. Let’s just leave the aesthetics of females to the females, shall we?

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“from THE MEEK, THE GRACES SHOWER.” By Rebekka Ayres

- People Have the Power, Patti Smith,

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1988

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In December 1975, Patricia Lee Smith rattled the music scene with punk’s most surreptitious revolt against conformity, in the form of the album ‘Horses’. It was the artwork that roused the first stir; cocked to camera, Smith wears a defiant stare aimed down the barrel of the lens, men’s blazer strewn over one shoulder and work braces gently coiling against a crisp white shirt. Her audience need listen no further, for the message was silently spoken: here we have a portrait of the artist – whether man or woman is immaterial. Organised feminism of the late 1960s looked to the patriarchal landscape of rock music with vehement distaste, interpreting its founding values as sexist persecution. Smith, by contrast, did not buy in to such wholesale rebuttal, and instead aligned herself to the merit of her male idols Charles Baudelaire, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. All languid limbs and Keith Richards haircut, her pensive insouciance arrests through the soft lemonade light, and bears all the more resonant for its quietude.

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Camille Paglia dedicates an essay to the silent power of this photograph in her feminist social commentary ‘Caption: What’s in a Picture’, citing the portrait as the most electrifying image of a woman of her generation. “I think that it ranks in art history among a half-dozen supreme images of modern woman since the French Revolution,” she writes – and not without just cause, for their stoic resonance is one and the same. Shot by fellow artist and lover, Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith becomes the subject, the artist and the artist’s mistress, quashing the orthodox ideals espoused to art and its wider social context. In playing the muse, she plays with tradition, when that muse appropriates the guise of a man. All this subtext for a musician who fell into the trade somewhat inadvertently, armed with little by way of agenda. By design or by destiny, Smith would go on to serve as the unlikely poster girl for a legacy of female artists who hoped to gatecrash the boys-only club with the same sense of conviction, without even a word.

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what is black? With Jay-Z and Kanye living it up as ‘Niggas in Paris’ and the forever infamous but established phrase ‘nigga please’ precedent in our humour lineage, Deborah Williams asks, does the power of the N-Word continue to hold us back?

With Jay-Z and Kanye living it up as ‘Niggas in Paris’ and the forever infamous but established phrase ‘nigga please’ precedent in our humour lineage, Deborah Williams asks, does the power of the N-Word continue to hold us back? “How were you raised on Public Enemy and still became your own worst enemy?” some thought provoking words from Dean Atta’s poem, ‘I Am Nobody’s Nigger’. A word that has been used to persecute, derogate and literally blacken the spirit of black people has now become a word of reclamation for some… but not for me. “The N-word is like an abyss, a black hole. Many are very ignorant to the past. It’s being used by nonblack people and tried to be seen as a term of endearment, however some words cannot be returned,” explains a young black male from a Birmingham youth group. We

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have rappers like French Montana, who is Moroccan, with his song “Aint worried ‘bout nothin’ which uses the word ‘nigga’ 44 times throughout. The 2012 blockbuster hit, Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino, came under attack about the amount of times the word was used. Now, we all get fired up when we hear a non-black person using this word, however, if black people have ‘taken’ this word and abused it, why is it a surprise when we hear someone from another race using it? Are we not in a sense allowing them to abuse it as well? Which makes me ask the question, are black people adding to this suppression of unconscious racism when using this word? “The hypocrisy of some black people who call each other nigga or use it as part of a joke makes no sense. They need to wake up! Sometimes out of ignorance we reinforce our own oppression,” states a black social worker from London. “Society used to be black and white,

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SPOKEN right or wrong. Now, it is grey. The n-word being used to define black people makes the two ideologies synonymous. The word is a symbol of how blurred the moral standard of society has become. Nowadays it’s okay to say it if you’re repeating a joke or singing a song lyric but it’s not okay if it’s just said in a conversation,” adds another youth. Film director, Spike Lee spoke some contradicting words when he said, “I think black people have to be in control of their own image because film is a powerful medium. We can’t just sit back and let other people define our existence.” However, with never-ending films being released featuring all-black casts, are we subsequently stunting our own growth as a people? Are we framing our level of success in the small minority box? Ultimately producing a mindset of because “I am black, I cannot reach the same heights as my white counterpart.” I understand where Lee is coming from but I also see how black people have become elitists; wanting to be accepted by everyone but then excluding ourselves. We say no one can depict black people whether it is in film or another medium but then complain when the race isn’t included in mainstream society. Is this an illustration of our own selfloathing? After 180 years, we are still in a slavery mindset. Instead of focusing on reaching great heights, the focus is on the negative and ultimately breaks down our own ongoing legacies. “We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” – Malcolm X Over the years many have tried the art of reclamation. Women have

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43 done it with the B-word, and we in turn have attempted to “reclaim” the N-word. Unfortunately however, people are forgetting that the N-word stems way back from a deep era of oppression. Hip Hop has played a major part in the retrieval of the N-word with artists like the N.W.A (Niggas With Attitude), Tupac, Jay-Z, YG and films such as ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ officiating the word in popular culture. The world’s most opinionated rapper, Kanye West, has recently tried to reclaim another indecent connotation by stamping the confederate flag all over his tour merchandise. Kanye was even snapped wearing a jacket with the symbol on it outside retail chain, Barneys stating that, “I made it my flag. It’s my flag now. Now what you going to do?” Well, the way I see it is, you cannot reclaim something that was not originally yours. Black cannot be defined as just a colour or even a shade. It is for some, including me a way of life. It is how I was born. Black cannot be defined by bass bumping beats on a hip hop track or the crispy succulent sensation of fried chicken (‘cause you know every black person loves chicken), it especially cannot be defined by the word, ‘nigga.’ By using the word ‘nigga’ you are just reapplying the heavy iron shackles that bound our ancestors and resurrecting many buried years of persecution. Instead, of removing the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain, and take some wise words from Compton’s very own answer to Shakespeare, Tupac. “Out of controversy comes conversation, out of conversation comes action.” It’s only through this we may be able to make a change.

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the colour is...

Photography by Leon Rowan Hair and make up by Claudia Walder

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Charlotte johnson

Who are you? I’m Charlotte Johnson, 21 years old and I’m originally from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. What interests you? I’ve always loved fashion, but it has definitely stemmed from growing up and being very creative. I’ve always loved doing anything art based drawing, painting, making. As well as this, I also enjoy cooking, reading. I am an avid film watcher and I love going to music festivals, especially Glastonbury.

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What was the inspiration behind your collection? The inspiration behind my collection was about how we can be molded to fit into something that wouldn’t be associated with the norm of how we should look. How the shape of things and flexibility can alter the way someone else views us. David Bowie was a key influence with how he always changed his persona by costume and make up and sometimes distorted his body form too. I looked at 1920s women cross dressers too, such as Marlene

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By Rebekka Ayres and Daisy Kent

Dietrich and Josephine Baker women who broke the barrier of having to look feminine and were able to re-invent their selves and change their character all by wearing tuxedos. What fabrics did you use? I used a good quality, thick and heavy midnight blue coloured felt. The fabric had many connotations of my concept. Being able to structure, mold and hold a shape. I also used leather for detail. I chose midnight blue as my colour theme because my research of the tuxedo lead me to

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find that the first ever tuxedos made were always made in midnight blue. Do you think that your silhouettes empower women? My silhouettes do empower women. I wanted to focus and build upon the stereotypical ‘men’s body strengths’ and prove that women have what men have too; they just don’t always have to show it off like men. Thus meaning that in my collections, I was making the sleeves larger, expanding the shoulders so they were huge and making everything oversized and exaggerating the proportions.

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SPOKEN'S MOST EMPOWERING WOMEN Illustration by Marlena Synchyshyn

Words By Afi Baaqi

Who’s able to get away with flipping the bird at the Superbowl and collaborate with one of the top designers in the world named Donatella Versace? MIA is! The politically driven MC and producer has come a long way from Bamboo Banger to her recently uproar Bring the Noize. MIA takes no bullshit from no one and continues to do her own thing at her own pace, with a baby at home; MIA is a creative genius. She’s able to twist culture into all the right cracks within the work she produces, making herself relatable to a global audience. Although most governments may not support MIA’s actions, her fan base are definitely warriors willing to fight for any absurd comments that are directed towards her. She’s very smart when it comes to knowing the right time to step in and out of the spotlight and always returns with a BOOM!

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LAVERNE COX Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black”

main plotline is about women with pride who are held down just because others feel threatened by their strong personalities. Laverne Cox role as a transgender woman married to a supportive wife has revealed it’s not really what body parts you have or the gender roles that people follow; but mainly about the struggle of trying to be seen by others as a human being. She has taught us all how to be confident in our own skin and not to be ashamed of previous events we have endured to become the person we are in the present age. Transgender women are always wrongly viewed as ditsy drag queens; Laverne Cox has flipped this stereotype and perfected it to show the world another side of transgender women, making her a woman that inspires everyone, male and female. 17/03/2014 12:50


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SASHEER ZAMATA Saturday Night Live is one of the top late night comedy shows in the USA, but the television show can also be seen as a huge guessing game. Each time a new skit is broadcasted, the audience (you) is forced to guess which well-known popular icon is being made fun of. If you don’t get it right away, the whole show can be a tedious downhill experience and leaving the audience feeling a bit left out. It’s been a while since SNL have made skits where a black female cast member isn’t acting as Beyonce or Michelle Obama. Sasheer Zamata has written skits for SNL and has created various characters that are just your humorous average Jill, and Zamata always leaves the stereotypes at home. Being unknown by the majority of the public, her quirky and humorous YouTube videos about girl problems and previous stand up shows she’s starred in have led her to one of the greatest gig anyone could hope to gain in the entertainment industry. Slyly stealing the spotlight from most characters on SNL, female comedians out there who wish to make a big break better watch their backs, as they’ll have to go through Sasheer first.

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PIU PIU

Most male producers in the music industry look down on women who create electronic music because “girls don’t know anything about electronic music”. Although those specific quotes aren’t said publically, it’s clear everyone is thinking it, as remarkable female electronic music producers just aren’t getting the coverage they need in media, and are always compared to their male peers such as Disclosure. Disclosure are talented but they’re already famous. How many more reviews can magazines write about and still try and convince us all that they are the duo to watch in 2014? Piu Piu, the French DJ/ vocalist/songwriter is the poster girl for female electronic music producers that are changing the game. With a real DIY punk attitude towards electronic music, Piu Piu could easily make a name for herself without any help from PR or music industry links. Reworking house music and adding on a heavy R&B feel, it’s clear Piu Piu isn’t putting on a front to be tough by singing about bitches and slaying boys in bed. Her style retains being very feminine and her ability to keep her music persona raw is what makes her music speak for itself. 17/03/2014 12:50


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Made Up E ver cried your eyes out over the Victoria Secret Fashion show? Not over the expensive lingerie but the flawless angels? Ever bought a push up bra or fake eyelashes but fail when your lashes fall off in a gluey clump and your bra bunches up as you run for the bus? There’s no denying that we are being sold an idealised commodity of beauty and fashion and that we undoubtedly succumb to the powerful superficiality of the industry. Inadequate if our make-up is not flawless, our stomach not toned and our hair not glossy. Yet, why should a chemical product determine how powerful we are? Fashion and beauty images that saturate our gaze may appear to be impressive with their perfectly constructed confidence. They may have an allure of desirability but when we desire to be the desirable, this is when empowerment is rendered difficult. We may feel complete and dominant when we slap on a bit of blusher, be it MAC or Collection 2000, but our assets are made to be mere commodities. According to fashion theorist Bryan Moeran

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“women in particular, feel obliged to manipulate their appearance” and are united by “beauty dilemma’s”. Manipulation is not empowering. Nonetheless, we become trapped in the inescapable glorification of the idealised standards of beauty. We sacrifice our own self-esteem for the fantasy we are being sold. According to a recent survey from Girl’s Attitude with 1,300 responses, “51% of the girls aged 14-16 were unhappy with their appearance”. The sad reality of this is that, despite our unhappiness we can’t help but buy into the industry, as we are enchanted and blinded by its powers. We are merely disempowered bodies being dragged along by the power of glossy, rosetinted fashion and beauty marketing. What we need to do is grab a face wipe and remove the padding and realise we are just as empowering without the magical mask of beauty. Yes our face may be blotchy and we may not look like Megan Fox but that doesn’t mean we are any less in control or confident. Surely that’s more empowering then succumbing to hiding behind layers of industry marketing?

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By Elizabeth Mitchell

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Does Social Media have too much power over your life? Social Media has become an addictive habit for people instead of just networking sites. Checking various social media accounts is the first thing they do when they wake up and the last thing they do at night, so it is almost impossible for it not to impact their everyday lives and the types of things they post. These tend to vary, however more often than not they follow trends, which demonstrates how much power these networks have over you. Take this flowchart to find out just how affected you are by the Social Media flu.

Yes

No

No

▶ ▶

No

▶ Do you post

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#selfies? Yes No

When posting a selfie do you use the # ootd/ootn?

Do you post about a healthy lifestyle/the gym? No

No Do you video/ photograph gigs to upload on social media?

Yes

No

Yes

No

When doing so, do you arrange food on your plate to dress it up for the camera? Yes No

Do you use the hashtag ‘foodporn?

No

Do you post pictures of food (#foodies)? Yes

Yes

Do you check your social media profiles daily?

Do you post photos weekly (at least)? Yes

Do you have a social media account?

Yes

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SPOKEN You are an individual! Congratualations! You have managed to steer clear of the social media flu. You may have a social media site, but it is something that died out long ago. You have a more exciting life than having to post everything you do online. You realise that quite frankly no one cares, except from that weird uncle that somehow has found you on these networks.

There’s still a way out! You still find yourself scrolling through social media pages more than you should, but are not quite at a level where you have to take a selfie of you or your outfits everyday. Be careful about falling into the trap of thinking that people care about your progress pics or culinary skills, this is where the social media power takes over.

Yes

You have been infected! It appears that social media has taken over! Your life revolves around making sure your profiles and your lives look perfect in the eyes of other networkers and it’s time to cool it down. Stop with the paragraphs of hashtags and the layers of filters. It is time to take control over your life again.

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REWOP Spoken issue3.4.indd 60

EERHT EUSSI

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