The American Look Is White

The American Look Is White

According to Almay cosmetics
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“What’s the American look?” Carrie Underwood asks the viewers as she casually sits down in, what looks like a homemade studio, with the words “Carrie Underwood for Almay” in red white and blue. Then it cuts to a scene of a white woman in a natural setting to then a group of white women in an urban setting and then Carrie Underwood appears again. Following her is a shot of some of their products. After what continues to keep showing white women. Throughout the commercial Carrie Underwood repeatedly says “The American Look” and words and phrases such as natural, fresh, and beautiful as they show these women, in this white washed commercial. They use words such as simple and uncomplicated to describe not only the products but also the women. The use of these words becomes dangerous as they begin to tell viewers that women of color are complicated therefore they cannot supply makeup for them. Almay presents a racist image of “The American Look” by excluding references and people of color from the ad.

In Almay’s commercial they use Carrie Underwood as the representation of this look: a white, blonde, pretty female. The country singer seemed to be America’s sweetheart the second she stepped up for her audition on American Idol. Almay has chosen her as the ambassador for their company. By defining their products as what gives you the tools to this American look is also portraying that you have to look like these women to achieve it. Carrie Underwood is the first person you see when the ad starts, as well as the last. Carrie Underwood represents purity with her career and look. She is not a celebrity that is found in scandalous situations, therefore Almay loves her virginal and pure image; Underwood is untouched. Almay wants their consumers to appeal to and be this pure image. Before Carrie Underwood was their ambassador, actress Kate Hudson, a celebrity with similar features of Underwood’s, represented the beauty brand. Along with Hudson’s seemingly unscathed social reputation and image in Hollywood. Almay has an obvious liking to a certain type. And this type is white and innocent.

Almay’s use of only white models is following suite of the use of Carrie Underwood for the celebrity face of the company. While Underwood’s voice is telling the viewer’s what the definition of the American Look is the commercial is only showing happy, smiling white women. Almay only shows these white women in simple, light colored, and plain clothing. Again this repeated idea of simple and uncomplicated pure women. These women are also shown together, aside from Underwood and the first blond model, the rest of the models are in groups. This idea of groups is a forced idea of white women coming together, to exclude anyone of darker skin from being their friend. This image can present issues for younger viewers. A young white girl will see this and think that her friends can only be white and that white women are friends with only other white women. While a young black girl will believe she can not befriend white girls because she does not fit in with them or look like them.

Underwood says natural, fresh, beautiful, and quality ingredients to describe the products and women. At those moments the camera focuses right on the faces and eyes of these women. These women are now representing everyday words, which everyone can feel or be. But these women are white and Almay is showcasing them as what these words truly represent. Telling the audience what defines this image. Simply American is now becoming simply unattainable to the population of people of color, in at least Almay’s standards. For the whole duration of the word the camera is focused on their face, leaving this almost unnoticeable notion to what beautiful truly is. Almay is selling their product as white and advertising The American Look as white. The most disturbing phrase of them all is "quality ingredients". Three women, who seem to be displayed in the ad as mother, daughter and grandmother, are focused on when Underwood says these words. The words “quality ingredients” seem to really mean “quality genes”. What makes up these women are elite and promising. Almay is telling the viewers that the American Look is quality, but only if you can begin to look like this. Placing these words with the image of these women gives the viewer the idea that these are the faces they want and need, to achieve this definition of these words. Not only will that young black girl find herself not fitting in with the white girls in her class but she will also start to believe that she cannot become these words. That she cannot be beautiful.

"natural"

"beautiful"

"quality ingredients"

For years, Almay has been attacked and challenged by not having foundation colors that fit anyone beyond a subtle tan on a white woman. But within this ad, there is a shot of some of the products. One of which is the ‘Smart Shade’ skin tone matching makeup, as it claims. In the ad, the two shades placed with the other makeup don’t look anything darker than beige.

"simple and uncomplicated products"

Almay is blatantly showing that they do not have dark shades to fit more women and therefore saying they do not make themselves fit for all women. Underwood says “simple and uncomplicated products” as a shot of the products is shown. On a product base and from a women’s perspective, yes this makeup seems simple to put on, but uncomplicated? What about foundation makeup is complicated? Almay is simply saying that colors and shades for darker skin tones are complicated and not simple to make or handle. Almay believes that people who do not fit this look are complicated. Their hair and skin is different of Underwood’s therefore its complicated and they will not deal with it. As stated before Underwood uses the words natural and fresh to describe beauty but these words are also linked to the setting of the commercial. The parallel of the language and setting presents the untouched image and the purity that Almay is trying to give to the viewers. But the viewers must be as untouched and pure as someone like Carrie Underwood. Almay has became very limited to the consumer, there is an exclusion notion as it continues to only produce and exemplify the look of the white woman. These omissions are quick and subtle within this short commercial, but become large scale when noticed. Their constant exclusion of the other half of the population in America only continues to give the audience the thought that white hold the power.

In a country built on immigration, Almay seems to be making makeup for the women that sailed on over here on the Mayflower. As if the majority of Americans you meet today are the same faces of these women. As if the women without Almay’s idea of “quality ingredients” are just not American. Because Almay has stamped “complicated” onto women of color. This thirty-second video very easily has reinforced the power of white America by supplying us with what the ideal look is, which is the exclusion of all those of color.

Cover Image Credit: turthinadvertsing.org

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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views

Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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The 2020 Election: The Democratic Party Part 1

We all have the duty of becoming politically conscious in order to wisely act on the crucial decision that lies ahead of us in the very near future. In this unbiased, multi-part series you'll be able to get a brief look into both the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

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The race for the 2020 presidential election is on the rise as 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans have been officially confirmed as potential candidates. Ranging from California to New York, we may recognize "big names" such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, however, it's important to get to know all the candidates in order to have a clear idea as to who you want to be leading the country for the next four years.

*Due to the high number of Democratic candidates, they will all be highlighted over the course of three articles throughout the coming weeks.

1. Joe Biden

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Serving as the Vice President alongside Barack Obama and former senator of Delaware, Joe Biden has already ran for president twice, making the 2020 election his third and what he considers, final time. Biden hopes to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to a more livable standard. He also hopes to restrict the purchase of guns through background checks as well as being in support of a ban on assault weapons.

2. Bernie Sanders

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Having served on both the House of Representatives and The Senate, Bernie Sanders has caught the attention of many Americans due to his push for universal healthcare with the idea that "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." As well as making public secondary-education schools tuition-free in a mission to help lower student debt. Sanders believes in the threat of climate change as his campaign includes the future of passing a Green New Deal to move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy as well as ban fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure. Bernie Sanders additionally believes in abolishing the death penalty, reforming the police system, and ending the discrimination of applicants based on criminal history

3. Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke has represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2013 - 2019. He has a noteworthy platform towards business which includes increasing federal funding towards the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid in creating competitiveness with America's small- and medium-sized manufacturers against global markets. O'Rourke also believes in the idea of increasing voter numbers no matter what the political party may be as well as help ex-convicts regain their right to vote after serving their sentences. In doing so, he plans to create more outreach to the younger generations by ensuring pre-voter registration for all 16 and 17 year olds. Moreover, Beto pushes for a change in creating new term limits for the US House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

4. Kamala Harris

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Kamila is a lawyer and has served as the junior US senator and Attorney General of California. While she is new to the presidential election process, Harris aims to increase teacher pay with the "largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history with a $13,500 raise." Moreover, using her specialization in legal matters regarding sexual assault, Kamila hopes to protect Planned Parenthood as well as women's reproductive rights. Harris states that as President, she will eliminate the wage gap between men and women as well as racial disparities involving maternal health care. Harris additionally hopes in protecting LGBTQ+ rights by not only passing an Equality Act to fight against discrimination in schools, work, and public, but appoint an Attorney General with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.


5. Elizabeth Warren

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Growing up in rural Oklahoma in a low-income home and eventually serving as a US senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is described as a progressive candidate who's campaign is working towards "universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All." Warren hopes to build the middle class up and defend unionized jobs by allowing 40% of board members to be elected through employees. Moreover, Warren is in favor of strengthening the military as well has bringing troops home from overseas, as well as banning private prisons and decriminalizing marijuana. She additionally has stated to end Washington corruption by banning lobbying along with preventing Senators and Congressman from trading stocks whilst in office.

6. Cory Booker

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Attending Stanford and later graduating from Yale Law School, Cory Booker became the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Booker's main concern is to end gun violence, ban assault weapons, and bring his battle to the attention of the NRA to create "liberty for all." His 14-part plan includes creating a more extensive process to obtain a gun, one of which would including an FBI-issued background check as well as requiring "micro-stamping" on all guns to ensure the ability to trace back the source of ammunition used in crimes. Moreover, Americans seeking a gun license would have to apply for a 5-year license after which would require renewal. Booker has also proposed the idea of providing newborns with savings accounts that would accumulate until they reached 18. He states that this plan would help settle the gap between the classes by offering lower-income households a nest-egg averaging at about $46,000. He also aims to make contraceptives employer-covered and repeal the punishment for an abortion outside of incest, rape, or for the woman's health.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand

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From New York, Kristin Gillibrand became a US Senator in 2009, becoming the youngest person in the Senate at the time. Her 2020 platform includes creating universal healthcare for all that would cover both mental and reproductive health in addition to it's regular standards. Her stance on Medicare For All also stands for reducing the price of prescription drugs as well as aiding in the process of overcoming addiction. Gillibrand also aims to introduce postal banking which would allow those without checking accounts have the opportunity to take out small loans through their local post office. Moreover, she believes in not only the legalization of both medical and recreation marijuana, but in erasing all past convictions from it. Kristin Gillibrand stands with strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, creating paid medical and parental leave for all Americans, and fighting for the right to form unions and protect worker's rights.

8. Amy Klobuchar

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Amy Klobuchar is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as a US Senator from Minnesota. Klobuchar's campaign fights for providing every household in America with high-speed internet by the year 2020 along with aiding farmers by increasing their access to loan programs as well as raising farm bankruptcy debt levels. Moreover, she hopes to better the education system by increasing teacher pay and putting more money towards public schools. As well as increasing the federal Pell Grant and tuition-free one to two year community and technical colleges. Amy Klobucher believes in re-instated the DREAM Act to grant citizenship for foreigners who immigrated to America as minors. She supports immigration reform as well as ending the cruel separation and treatment of families on the lines of the border and creating a refined pathway to gain citizenship.

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