A new Superfood coming to a store near you: Orthorexia

Living in Australia in this day and age, food seems to be as hot as the sun. People just cannot get enough of it because hey, it makes our Instagram feeds look better. New health foods and diets are becoming an increasingly popular discussion topics in the media realm because all these “new and exciting” foods that seem to be appearing. Well actually, they have been around for ever in other parts of the world, usually in poorer and more tropical parts. Parts where these foods have no problem growing, and are in fact a huge staple in these places. Govinnage (2014) explains how the superfood Coconut oil has been used for centuries in Asia and the Pacific Islands. But now since these Superfoods such as Quinoa, Chia, Goji, Kale etc have hit the media attention, not only has the consumption of these foods become somewhat of a religion but a lot of these poorer countries cannot keep up with the demand and has caused problems. Just take a look at Pete Evans and Daniel Churchill (who was an ex Masterchef contestant). These personalities entered the media realm through a different medium other than food, but then seemed to use this as a stepping stone into a sector that they may be passionate about, but not so qualified. Everyone has their own vision of ‘perfect health’, and most of us work towards it even if it isn’t an easy path however, these personalities also have their own views on ‘perfect health’ but due to money, fame and a different set of ideologies, they see it as an opportunity to make money while at the same time, boosting their own profile.

With this sudden wave of Super-healthy-eating information through most of our media outlets, there are even new eating disorders arising. Orthorexia is the newest eating disorder that involves restricting foods that are insufficiently clean, healthy or wholesome instead of the traditional eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa which is simply the restriction of food intake altogether. This means that Orthorexia is a much more hidden disorder because the trend to “eat clean” gives the impression that you are being as healthy as possible. It really involves being obsessive and compulsive with the foods that the person chooses to eat. Often a diet or fad that is highly unsustainable. Barclay explains how a woman developed this disorder by doing body “cleanses”:- “She began doing juice cleanses, cutting out solid food entirely. At first, it was three-day cleanses, then 10-day, then 30-day. The restricted diet began to take its toll. Jordan began experiencing skin problems, then her hair began falling out and she stopped getting her period. Starved for nutrients, her body was shutting down.”

The media is overflowing with information on “the latest superfood” or “the food that will stop cancer” or “the diet that will make you look 10 years younger”. There is just simply too much information with too many opinions on “what works” because there is little scientific evidence. In fact, social media platforms such as Instagram are only going to make the prevalence of diseases such as Orthorexia worse, because with all these “foodie trends” such as #cleaneating creating a religion of eating an incredibly restrictive diet. I can only see this cult-like healthy eating behaviour to lead to many more disorders being diagnosed in the future.

References:

Govinnage, S 2014 “Coconut oil, teff and quinoa: increased ‘superfoods’ demand hits the south in the guts”, The Guardian, September 24

Barclay, S 2015 “Orthorexia: The New Eating Disorder You’ve Never Heard Of”, Healthline, February 24

Taylor, L 2015 “Health experts slam Pete Evans’ ‘irresponsible’ paleo cookbook for kids”, SBS, March 12

Guy Sebastian- Celebrity Activism done right.

Celebrity Activism can cop quite a bit of flack and has in the past. This can be due to it being seen as a ploy to selfishly advertise the celebrity while looking like a good member of society at the same time. They sometimes lack a lot of expertise in the area of what they are trying to combat and at times may even neglect the charity after the cameras are turned off. For lots of celebrities, it’s a win win situation.

Guy Sebastian is the Australian singer and songwriter that burst into celebrity stardom when he won the 2003 Australian Idol title. He has managed to stick in mainly the Australian music spotlight for over 10 years and has also managed to mostly attract positive media attention. I think that this is a fair statement to say because it is shown through his quite extensive work done in charity and making music that creates awareness for global inequalities. He has not just been an idol for the Australian music industry, but has also been a role-model at showing how to not exploit global issues when you are of celebrity status in order to benefit yourself. An article shows how in the past, Sebastian has given proceeds from celebrity work to his charity, “From a photography exhibition in Sydney on Monday, November 18 to donating the proceeds of a story they sold to a women’s magazine announcing Jules’ pregnancy to the foundation, the charity work has Guy looking at ‘celebrity’ in a whole new light.”. The foundation that is mentioned and the one that Sebastian owns is called “The Sebastian foundation” whose main goal is to “help families in need”. Their mission statement is “Our focus is people. Our love is people. We want to see the need and meet the need. We want to help in any way we can and we hope you join us in our mission”. His charity also collaborates with like-minded partners and charities on an on-going project basis. His foundation collaborated with the Red Cross’s aid of the Australian bushfires and also has a range of personal photography for sale with all proceeds going towards the foundation.

His song “Get Along” which was released in 2012, was probably one of his most memorable songs due to the message imbedded. The lyrics aimed to raise awareness about the harm caused by racial, cultural and religious intolerance around the world which goes to show that he has used his high profile status as a platform to positively advocate for global issues that need to be addressed. The difference that separates Sebastian from many other celebrity activists is that he does not exploit the people involved in his charity and always releases information regarding its intentions.

Celebrity Activism can be looked down upon due to the possible exploitation and selfish intentions behind many charity ventures, so Sebastian is definitely setting a trend worth following.

References:

Lewis, M 2013 “Charity the foundation of a solid life for Guy Sebastian and his wife Jules”, The Daily Telegraph, November 13 http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/charity-the-foundation-of-a-solid-life-for-guy-sebastian-and-his-wife-jules/story-fni0cvc9-1226758508643

Bastaldo, B 2012 “Justin Timberlake fired for neglecting charity”, Tribute, October 4 http://www.tribute.ca/news/index.php/justin-timberlake-fired-for-neglecting-charity/2012/10/04/

http://thesebastianfoundation.org/?country=AU

White Feminism.

The term “white feminism” is a term that probably confused you just as much as it confused me. Before, I was only really familiar with the term “feminism” which is described by Urban Dictionary as, “The belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men”. In fact, the term “white feminism” only really occurred to me after reading an article on a 13 year old Disney star bringing this topic into media discussion. In her Instagram post discussing why we should be talking about white feminism, she says that “Issues that are commonly thought of as feminist issues include, sexual assault, rape, abortion, planned parenthood, domestic violence, equal education and the wage gap”. She goes on to say that this typical form of feminism excludes other female societal groups that face gender oppression and other issues due to their racial origin. Other issues that she says that “traditional” feminism tends to exclude include police brutality and trans-women violence. She implys that these “white feminists” need to obtain a more “intersectional feministic” view. Blanchard states Kimberle Crenshaw’s quote defining intersectional feminism as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only inter-related, but bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Example of this include gender, race, class, ability and ethnicity”. Blanchard raises a fair discussion topic because the current media today does show a very “white feminist” view point:

However, from reading this article and educating myself about the term “white feminism”, I couldn’t help but question if this is just a ploy to create victims out of nothing when the issue is far greater than what is being discussed. After finding an article by The Huffington Post on “white feminism”, the statements I found about traditional feminists or “white feminists”, to me were quite ignorant. If you watch the video at the beginning of the article, pay particular attention to some statements such as “they have a lot to learn” and “…but, most white feminists are white”. I find both these statements quite ignorant and ludicrous because they are basically saying that it is unusual to have a non-white female standing up for traditional feminist values and that “they” have a lot to learn about being a “better feminist”. I think intersectional feminism has been around for a very long time, but I think that the women that wrote that article expect white feminists to have a sign up saying “I’m an intersectional feminist” plastered to their forehead. Some comments from readers such as “the oppression olympics is still in full swing I see” and “Wow that’s another sub sub sub group I need to care about when I used to care about all, but now your here to tell me that I never really did at all and to shut the F up. I’m enlightened…” show that these kinds of discussions regarding feminism could existent just for the sake of there being something to discuss. You be the judge.

References:

Saul, H 2015 “Rowan Blanchard: 13-year-old Disney star sparks debate about ‘white feminism’ with engaging Instagram essay”, The Independent, 24 August

Blay, Z & Gray, E 2015 “Why we need to talk about white feminism”, The Huffington Post, 10 August

Humans of New York and the World.

tumblr_mf99rtRyZu1qggwnvo1_1280“She plans to be an actress”

Humans of New York is an independent photography project run by Brandon Stanton. He is a young American who runs the photoblog on the social media websites Tumblr and Facebook whose original goal was to photograph 10,000 New-Yorkers and provide a powerful snapshot of their personal story. His quite vibrant blog has now gone overseas with Stanton taking trips to Pakistan and Iran with the goal of providing inspiring and heartwarming stories from people in parts of the world that to the Western world are mostly seen as ‘faceless’. What I mean by the term ‘faceless’ is that the Western media tends to group up all of the ‘remaining countries’ and classify them as one. Edward Said argues that “the Europeans divided the world into two parts; the east and the west or the occident and the orient or the civilized and the uncivilized”. The traditional Western media doesn’t allow an emotional connection with the people of these parts of the world because we just simply do not know enough about them. This can then cause cultural ignorance in forms such as cultural appropriation.

Staton’s recent travel to Iran shown through his photo blog, not only puts a face and personality to many Iranian people, but also shows us that they are as human as the Western population “Like all the stories that Humans of New York bring us, the tales from Iran make for beautiful reads. From wise little kids to proud new parents to old couples still in love, the stories will touch a chord with anyone who reads them.” In one portrait of this young Iranian women, the caption underneath says “she plans to be an actress”. Without this quote that came from this young woman, many people that are consumed by the Western media would just see an ethnic woman in a headscarf from somewhere in the East. The simplification of the Western mind by the Western media inhibits us from recognising people from these “parts of the world” that are not the West. Through these very intimate portraits being taken, we are allowing ourselves to make a personal connection with them. Stanton’s blog is the perfect example of how breaking down the cultural barriers is not as hard as it is commonly perceived to be. Through Statons project, we are learning about quite a foreign cultures way of life. We get a deeper insight as to why they dress and live in certain ways and why it means something to them when to us, it doesn’t mean anything.

References:

Kohli, A 2015 “These Stories of the People of Iran Will Make You Happy and Sad”, NDTV http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/these-stories-of-the-people-of-iran-will-make-you-happy-and-sad-1211228

Website: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/tagged/iran

Said, E 1994 “An Introduction to Edward Said’s Orientalism”, Vintage http://www.renaissance.com.pk/febbore2y6.htm

Almond, Skim, Low, Full, Soy. All I wanted was a coffee..

Living in Australia in this day and age, food seems to be as hot as the sun. People just cannot get enough of it because hey, it makes our Instagram feeds look better. But coming with this current trend comes high-profile figures putting in their 2 cents about absolutely, positively life-changing diets (or not so much). The lecture looked at high-profile figures such as Jamie Oliver and Pete Evans who seem to be more about making more money for themselves than considering the damage they are doing to the consumers of the information they give. The problem is, there isn’t much that can be done about it, because well, they are high-profile. Pete Evans has been promoting a Paleo diet for quite some time now which is totally fine, because fad diets have been around for quite a long time. The main issue is that he is using his status to fling out all these wild and ridiculous statements regarding the health benefits of his diet, when there is in fact, little or no scientific evidence that can actually back-up his claims.

This can actually be doing the opposite to what the diet intends, because there is evidence that some of his claims can in fact cause quite severe health problems. He claims that his diet can help Autism, cure Cancer and provide infants with a healthier diet to develop healthier. What makes things worse is that Evans is nothing more than just a qualified Chef which makes his claims sound even more ridiculous. We need to ask ourselves, why is he allowed to use such big media platforms such as national television to promote such ridiculous ideals when he is quite obviously under qualified and overstepping the mark? Looking at this topic closer, we should start looking into how prevalent powerful media personalities turned food warriors are. There are so many ranging from Sarah Wilson to Daniel Churchill who was an ex Masterchef Australia contestant. These personalities have intentions to influence healthier eating, but at the end of the day it is also about making money. They have usually always entered the media realm through a different medium other than food, but then seem to use this as a stepping stone into a sector that they may be passionate about, but not so qualified. Everyone has their own vision of ‘perfect health’, and most of us work towards it even if it isn’t an easy path. These personalities also have their own views on ‘perfect health’ but due to money, fame and a different set of ideologies, they see it as an opportunity to make money while at the same time, boosting their own profile.

On the other hand, not all food warriors have negative effects on the public. Lucio Polli de Carvalho is a food-warrior that has used his expertise in the food industry in a good way. Through using his knowledge with good, healthy food, the condition of Autism and a good attitude about helping others, this chef helped turn the eating habits around involving a school of autistic kids. He didn’t force anything down their throats and he didn’t throw any overloading amounts of confusing information at them. He worked with all the kids needs, some at an individual level which saw a great improvement in their eating habits and all around health. He also underwent professional training in the condition of Autism that legitimises his position and role. I would call him a healthy Food-warrior that is less self-serving and more giving.

Being a “Food warrior” has become somewhat of a trend in this day in age with social media booming. A lot of new media platforms with little gatekeeping such as blogging and YouTube allow everyday individuals to become self-made advocates of healthy eating. You never know if what they are telling you is true, so sometimes its best to just leave it up the experts. Also, we do need to ask ourselves why these personalities that do use their status for their own personal gain stay in these positions and that we shouldn’t tolerate these personalities that think that it is ok to feed us this information.

It’s Culture, NOT Costume.

Kylie-Jenner-Main

I think it is definitely fair to say that there are some people in this world that really do nothing but give us a topic to talk about, and most of the time it being a negative topic. I think the Kardashian Klan would make an excellent addition to this entry because for me, they are nothing but a great example on how not be. At the end of the day, most people with a decent amount of brain cells left would know that these kinds of people are worth ignoring because there are MUCH better things to pursue in this incredible world that we live in. Sorry to any of their die-hard fans, but it is true. BUT, from the endless dribble that seems to make the digital magazines, blogs, Instagram feeds, twitter feeds and all kinds of social media about the Kardashians, it is pretty hard to fathom the fact that there could be something even a little educative that could come from them. And yes, it does come at their expense as per usual. After the big leaps and bounds society has taken over the years in regards to racism from say the 1960’s, it is still a sad reality that it is very much still prevalent in our society. Nowadays, it may not be as blatant, because the majority of us in this world simply just do not tolerate it anymore, so this is where a form called “Cultural appropriation” comes up. This refers to “only taking aspects out of a culture that are deemed desirable I have been seeing multiple online articles regarding certain fashion choice/statements that the Kardashians love to flaunt. These fashion statements get some people inspired (god, I really hope not), and for the rest of us, it leaves us picking up our jaws up off the floor because it can be pretty hard to swallow the fact that some people can be THAT stupid.

Quite recently, the youngest member of the social-media hoarders Kylie thought it would be a great idea to “blackface” herself for a photoshoot. To anyone unfamiliar with the term “blackface”, it is defined by Urbandictionary as “the application of make-up to a white performer to make them look black”. She basically had a close-up face shot with her face darkened and bronzed in a *shock* *horror* unnatural way and then posted the photo onto Instagram. Then the best part is the caption saying “I wish I looked like this the whole time”. Obviously she caused a ton of Twitter backlash with that photo and comment and swiftly deleted it, probably off to her next photo shoot with her in a headscarf because you know, fashion is fashion. Then we have the eldest daughter, but certainly not the brightest (or she even could be), Kim Kardashian who has the taken the world by storm by her large hips and behind. The constant talk over whether her hips are real or fake is not only a little annoying, but the real question is that why is it even now fashionable to even consider Bottom implants. Taking aspects from other cultures that you deem as the only attractive aspects for your own personal image is not ok. What makes it even worse is when these cultures are oppressed by society. You can look at “cultural appropriation” by many view points, but you have to consider the damaging, disrespectful and demeaning results it can have on these cultures. Maybe next time before you put on that Indian headdress going to a dubstep festival or get a maori sleeve tattoo just to show off your guns, maybe you should think twice. There is light at the end of the tunnel however, because “cultural appropriation” is being picked up on and there has been action taken specifically against the use of Indian headdresses at music festivals “The headdress is not, contrary to its depictions in popular culture, a fashion accessory, or common component of a day-to-day indigenous ensemble.” Im not trying to say that people should never wear anything from another culture if you are not part of the culture, but there is a difference between wearing it without a purpose other than to make yourself look pretty or wearing it to try to raise awareness and making somewhat of a difference. The Kardashians have all the social media power in the world to raise awareness about other cultures, but instead only want to raise awareness about themselves.