Cover Girl Culture website

Articles Written By: cgc

Nicole speaks with Laura Ingraham

Sept 14th Nicole talks with Laura about the sexualization of girls by the media.

Here is the audio segment:
Click here for the MP3.

When fashion forgets its place…

Designer Karl Lagerfeld apparently has forgotten his place in society.  He is a tailor, he makes clothes.

He was quoted during a recent interview in Interview Magazine, in which he speaks with former French
Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld saying “it would be hard to have an ugly daughter” and that he doesn’t believe men should have children.

Normally this would be ignored as one individual’s opinion.  But since he’s one of the biggest fashion icons his opinion, sadly, has a lot of weight.   How many mothers will, upon hearing him, allow their vanity to harm their child’s self-esteem and health by having plastic surgery, botox or another twisted technique to hide or fix their daughter’s face?  I’d hope that NO sane woman would pay him any mind.  But I know there are many whose own insecurity and low self-esteem will become imprinted upon their daughter as they try to fix her looks.

We need to remember that fashion designers are TAILORS – they make our clothes. They don’t get to make our decisions about our health and well-being.

I hope anyone who hears of his utterly non-nonsensical comments has their eyes opened and realizes we need to take back our power, make our own educated choices about health, beauty and what is valuable in a person.

Amazing review on

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing & Timely, August 23, 2011
Carl J Sheusi (NYC, NY United States)
This review is from: Cover Girl Culture : Awakening the Media Generation (DVD)

I just finished watching Cover Girl Culture and feel a profound sense of gratitude for the powerful message put forth in this film. The film’s message honors the inherent beauty and goodness in all of us, especially our young. If this film was required viewing for all young girls and boys (and dare I say, most adult women and men) the world and it’s media outlets would be a more informed, empowering, and possibly enlightened place for this and future generations to inhabit and glean information and wisdom from. Girls and boys senses of self become brutalized by incessant demands to measure up to presented ideals of femininity and masculinity, which do not align with the highest ideals in Nature…all life is given freely and we have the choice to honor this gift with affirming images and messages or attempt to degrade it with demeaning and demoralizing content simply because it has “market value”. What market is worth a young person’s pride and belief in themselves as contributing members of society? Will one independent film tip the scales of decency and righteousness in favor of Spirit and bring the vapid money machine of mass media to a unequivocal and resounding halt in the present or distant future? Most likely not…and this precisely why this film is so important. If every person that sees this film feels empowered to make wiser and more compassionate choices of what they are willing to view and in turn broadcast in their personal style with a degree more sensitivity to the radical beauty of all living beings we may just lower the anxiety level of the planet a few notches and calm the jangled nerves of many more teen girls and boys starved for role models that feed their souls and not starve them like the models made up for a roles in fantasy worlds designed to hoodwink them into believing they belong in it.

CNN The Joy Behar Show – interview Aug 2011

French Vogue Editors mentally ill: approved pedophilic images. Pedophilia is a mental disorder.

The definition of PEDOPHILIA IS:  As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary).

What is French Vogue saying here?  That they are a MAD magazine for the mentally ill?  Editors have approved a photo spread of a 10 yr old girl in provocative poses wearing make-up that give her a sultry come-hither look.  The images were produced by Tom Ford – what was he thinking?  What sane person would publicly submit himself to be labeled “a pedophile” by photographing a child the way he did? Desperate for press at the cost of a child’s emotional/mental well-being.  His actions contribute to the desensitization of society.  There is NO justification for this.  Many other companies and individuals in the industry are guilty of the same shameful, heartless act.

Yes, that is a plunging v-neck nearly to her belly button.

This is not a little faux-pas or bad taste; it is mental illness being promoted as fashion.  What shocks me is that most women are apathetic about the heinous images French Vogue and Tom Ford printed in the magazine.   Voices need to be heard, complaints filed, fines given, Ford banned from runways — anything, something! If women canceled their subscriptions that would be a HUGE step towards healing this issue.

Another issue that needs to be addressed:  What is wrong with the girl’s mother?  Jesus!  Is she thinking “My little angel is so sexy that grown men will get aroused looking at her. That’s how sexy she is and I will let the world know how important it is that she can do this.”   Mothers like this woman have issues around being noticed or feeling like she’s contributed to society.  It would be better if she put her daughter in Girl Scouts instead of allowing MEN to dress her up as eye-candy for perverts and pedophiles.  What an enormous disservice she’s done her daughter.  She’s equally as horrible as the mother who gifted her daughter with a boob job certificate for her 6th birthday and the mother who was injecting her daughter with Botox at the age of 7 or 8.  Folks will point out that a mere three cases of ridiculous mothers is not going to ruin mothers who have common sense and put their child’s health needs first.  But there are plenty of mothers who are copy-cats or who are desperate to get their daughters in the spotlight. They will see this behaviour as acceptable, especially when little is done to discourage it, prevent it or condemn it.

I’m 100% French and would never say “Oh, it’s just the French being obtuse and artsy.”  Pedophilia is NOT ART.  There is NO EXCUSE for these images. PERIOD.
French Vogue has no class, no taste, no style, and therefore has gone out of fashion. Let’s focus on solutions now that we’ve sufficiently fumed about the images.

Astute review of CGC in ‘Sex Roles’ – A Journal of Research

Here is a new phenomenal review of Cover Girl Culture by Tracy Tylka at Ohio State University and Rachel Calogero at Virginia Wesleyan College.  Their review will be appearing in the BodyImage special issue this fall. It is, by far, the most astute and thorough review received to date. Thank you to Tracy & Rachel.

To download the journal review click here on the file here: (a pdf file)

Below is a sample taken from the journal:

“In the documentary, Cover Girl Culture: Awakening the Media Generation, director Nicole Clark exposes the
lifestyle advocated in fashion magazines as illusory and reveals the many mental health and societal problems that
could result from girls’ exposure to these images. Clark, a former Elite international fashion model and
ongoing advocate for girls’ self-esteem, has a campaign to alert the audience to (a) the marketing motives, messages,
and strategies embedded in fashion magazines; (b) how girls are affected by these fashion magazines; and (c) ways
to champion a positive change for girls’ mental health.

Clark’s modus operandi includes interviews which alternate between girls who have internalized media messages; girls
who challenge these messages; fashion, modeling, and marketing executives who promote and rationalize these
messages; and body image therapists, coaches, and authors who highlight the destructiveness of these messages. A
motivational speaker, mayor, cosmetic/reconstructive surgeon, and several models are also interviewed. The
oscillation between interviews is skillfully arranged highlight broad themes and contradictory viewpoints.

Media images of models are interwoven within and between interviews to reinforce or even refute interview
content. Viewers do not see Clark, and her questions are either absent or barely audible in order to direct the spotlight on the words and expressions of the individuals being interviewed.

Clark’s inclusion of media images of models is similar to the analytic technique used by Jean Kilbourne in Killing Us Softly 4 (Kilbourne and Jhally 2010) and Mary Pipher in Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
(Pipher et al. 1998). Specifically, a large collection of media images are presented and examined with a critical eye,
raising viewers’ awareness that these images sell more than products: a circumscribed vision of beauty, values, success,
sexuality, and normalcy. All three films reveal that the mass media socialize young girls to believe that they must spend
an enormous amount of time, energy, and money to achieve the look contained in media images, and it is emphasized
that they feel ashamed and guilty when they fail. Kilbourne takes this discourse a step further, discussing how girls’
failure to achieve this image is inevitable—pictures of models are “photoshopped” and “airbrushed” to appear
flawless so even the models do not look like the images based on them. All three films discuss the media’s
sexualization of young girls and the deleterious consequences of this practice.

The main difference between Cover Girl Culture and the two earlier films, Killing Us Softly 4 and Reviving Ophelia,
is the presentation style. Kilbourne and Pipher serve as visible narrators who address their points in a very direct
manner, while Clark presents a collection of voices from varied individuals who address their points in a more
poignant, and at times, personal manner. Clark’s method allows her to position statements from executives who work
in the fashion and marketing industry against body image experts and media images that refute their claims, allowing
viewers to see that these executives may “talk the talk” but do not “walk the walk.” In addition, Clark’s interviews
portray the perspectives of girls ranging in age from 6 to 18, showing viewers how entrenched these ideas of beauty
and image have become in the minds of very young girls.

For example, Kailey, 11 years of age with a full set of acrylic nails and a made up face, already identifies
herself as a compulsive shopper.”   – by Tracy Tylka at Ohio State University and Rachel Calogero at Virginia Wesleyan College

*to read the review in it’s entirety download the attached pdf.

Another excerpt (and there is a good deal more in the journal)

Audrey Brashich, an author of a media literacy guide, explains that it is useful for girls to
see photographs of celebrities without makeup or before digital modification; however, she notes that girls then
scrutinize the appearance of these celebrities and turn the scrutiny back on themselves. She reveals that this practice
reinforces girls to judge all females, including themselves,on their physical appearance.

No one assumes responsibility for the negative effects of girls’ internalization of the thin ideal, which is the second
theme in this documentary. Various individuals in the modeling and fashion industry are represented in Cover
Girl Culture, with each deflecting responsibility. A modeling agent states that he is not to blame for girls’ negative
body image. Rather, he chooses who his clients want to book, and if he does not provide thin girls for his clients,
then they will go to his competitor. A model suggests that models are not to blame, as they are conforming to the
standards set by the fashion and magazine editors. One fashion editor indicates that she blames Hollywood.

Although fashion executives for Teen Vogue acknowledge their power to set trends, they argue that they are not
responsible for girls’ negative body image, because they choose “real girls” who are “healthy” with “big smiles” and are
“not too skinny.” They assert that they care about their readers’ health, and mention their magazine’s various
articles on girls’ health and misuse of dieting as well as messages to “be the best you can be” and “love your body.”
Their voices remain audible as Clark exposes very thin expressionless models from Teen Vogue that blatantly
contradict the fashion executives’ statements. Body image authors, coaches, and a girls’ media literacy group state
emphatically that positive body image articles are nullified by the advertisements appearing in the magazine. An
adolescent-focused psychotherapist is shown asserting that for every one negative message sent, it requires seven
positive messages to counteract it. Clark demonstrates that in Teen Vogue, the number of advertisements represents
approximately two-thirds of the content and overwhelms the number of articles, suggesting a strong negative impact
for readers is very likely.
The fashion editors in Cover Girl Culture argue that their magazine images provide an “incredible fantastical element”
that is inspirational for girls and women. One remarks, “Women project themselves into the fantasy pages
of what they would like to see for themselves. The magic of that exercise is very joyful, fulfilling, and rewarding.” This
fashion editor then indicates that eating disorders are due to past sexual abuse, not media images. Connie Sobczak, a
body image expert in the film, passionately addresses the absurdity of this fashion editor’s statements by arguing,
“You’re projecting a dream for women to go after that you know they can never achieve, and you’re calling that joy?”
Other body image experts in the film also remark that the fashion editor’s reasoning is inaccurate, stating that reading
fashion magazines creates a body comparing dynamic—girls are left feeling badly when their bodies do not match models’
bodies. The body image experts’ statements are supported by anecdotal evidence offered by several girls in the film as well
as empirical research (Bessenoff 2006; Durkin and Paxton 2002; Groesz et al. 2002).”

Girl Scout Troop Leader review of CGC

Review from Los Angeles Girl Scout Leader:
“As a Girl Scout Troop Leader, I deal with the impact the media’s messages have on our girls.

Cover Girl Culture is an eye-opening documentary I believe is important for girls in my troop to see.  We watched CGC in three parts with a discussion session after each segment.  I was amazed by the insights the 7th grade girls came away with regarding the mixed messages, hypocrisy and lack of responsibility the teen magazines and fashion industry churn out. They were so passionate about how important this message is that they chose this topic for their Journey Take Action Project.

These girls will never look at a fashion magazine or fashion ads the same way thanks to Cover Girl Culture. Because Girl Scouting is about building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place, our workshop built around Cover Girl Culture was the perfect place to set an example.

I feel this is a video not only for girls, teenagers, and young women, but one that every parent should watch. Parents and adult women need to understand and realize how their behaviors and habits impact their own self-esteem, their daughter’s and other young girls who are watching!” – ELISSA M. JACKSON, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Cadette Troop 2943

Excellent News Coverage July 2011 issue

Big picture about media and what we can do to restore sanity.

The Media Matrix is a massive challenge to tackle.  How do we help it evolve into a healthy medium for society?
To evolve out of the Dark Ages of Media and into the Golden Age!

Thanks to lobbyists government involvement could take until the turn of the next century so that’s out.

So that leaves media and us.

What can media do?   Have integrity and be responsible for the messages it’s sending young audiences, especially in instances when teens and tweens are it’s main target or demographic. There are not strange machines running the media. It’s human beings, there is no longer an excuse for ‘these people’ to turn a blind-eye.

What can WE do?  Raise our children consciously and teach them media literacy among other key skills like how to be a kind, considerate, compassionate human beings.  Instill true values and be positive role models.  Discuss sex and sexuality and what it means.  Discuss the history of mankind and it’s failings and strengths.  Encourage them to find ways to contribute to our culture and world to leave it a better, more spectacular place. Teach them to be motivated by more than just money and fame.  This sounds idyllic and like a lofty, utopian dream but when our founding forefathers set out to create America they had just as big fish to fry.  If you can dream it – it’s possible.  Keep the bar raised – aim high!

Pushing the envelope – singers resort to S&M, violence and near nudity to sell music. What’s next…

If sex sells and pushing the envelop are the keys to a successful media blitz campaign then what happens once we become desensitized to what ‘normally’ titillates, shocks and makes us gasp and whisper “What will they do next?”

Pop stars, celebrities, reality stars and the like are already nearly naked and violence in music videos is expected. Video truly killed the radio star.

My prediction is they will have to get 100% naked, perform soft porn and bestiality to compete for press attention.
And some will say “It’s art! The artist is brilliant at expressing our inner animalistic nature!” While others will boast “It crosses all race, gender and cultural boundaries and penetrates deep into our archetypal collective unconscious!” Hail the animal humping pop-stars who have blessed our planet. Come on people – quit protecting media stunts in the name of art.  Or my personal favorite, the argument that parents should keep their teens from seeing any of this.  It’s next to impossible to shelter a teen/tween from media! Some people believe parents are superheros. Media saturates our lives. If kids don’t see it at home they see it at school on their peers’ phones, computers…. It’s true parents are the first line of defense but media outlets who target teens and tweens get to grow up and take responsibility too.

Why have we forgotten that a singer earns the title ‘singer’ for their voice?  Aretha, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Momma Cass, Lavern Baker, Pasty Cline, Peggy Lee never had to bare their bodies and resort to S&M to sell music.

The mark of a TRUE vocal talent is that he/she can sell songs without music videos and nearly naked photoshoots of themselves.

Are there any young singers who can make this bold claim?

PLEASE tell me!!

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