This Zine was created as a reaction to two quotes from James Baldwin’s essay, Nothing Personal. These quotes call attention to the many ways Americans alter their physical appearance in order to appear a certain way to the public. From a 2018 perspective, we took inspiration from Baldwin’s words in order to speak about American beauty standards. In the first quote, Baldwin paints a picture of an American who conforms to the unspoken rules of female dressing in the 1960s. “ Eyes as sensuous and mysterious as jelly beans, lips covered in cellophane, hair sprayed to the consistency of aluminum, girdles forbidden to slide up, stockings defeated in their subversive tendencies to slide down, to turn crooked, to snage, to run, to tear, hands prevented from aging by incredibly soft detergents, fingernails forbidden to break by superbly smooth enamels, teeth forbidden to decay by mysterious chemical formulas, all conceivable body odor, under no matter what contingency, prevented twentyfour hours of every day, forever and forever and forever ” (Baldwin, 1).
In the second quote, Baldwin speaks about the ways we present ourselves in public. “Then one selects the uniform which they will wear. This uniform is designed to telegraph to others what to see so that they will not be made uncomfortable and probably hostile by being forced to look on another human being” (Baldwin, 9). We felt that these quotes we very relevant today because as young americans we are still living with the same, and even more extreme, pressures that unrealistic beauty standards create. Each one of us came up with ideas for conceptual images that would visually represent our frustrations with American beauty ideals. Through this process, we established two main ideas to focus on within our larger prompt for the Zine. The first idea, which is exhibited in both Sean and Liza’s photos, is the discussion of the unhealthy constrictions we put on our bodies in order to fit beauty standards. The second idea, which is reflected in Maisie and Charlie’s photos, captures the American tendency to define ourselves through what we own, attaching ourselves to material goods and brand names. Our Zine is a reaction the the fact that, while individuality, uniqueness, and queerness might be more widely accepted today, the general American ideal of what beauty is, and the ways that ideal influence us, has changed very little since 1964, when Nothing Personal was published.
Pages 3-4 Model: Liza Doyle Photo: Liza Doyle Concept/styling: Liza Doyle
Pages 5-8 Model: Maisie Hinson Photo: Charlie Hoffstrom Concept/styling: Maisie Hinson
Pages 9-12 Model: Liza Doyle Photo: Charlie Hoffstrom Concept/styling: Charlie Hoffstrom
Pages 13-16 Model: Sean Overton Photo: Charlie Hoffstrom Concept/styling: Sean Overton
Layout design by Charlie Hoffstrom 1/1 copy
Published on Mar 7, 2018