Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

How We See Ourselves

We all have a certain way of viewing ourselves. Sometimes it is positive, and sometimes we are pretty hard on ourselves. So, what influences our perceptions of ourselves?

This is the question that we dealt with last week in one of my communication classes. It was a very interesting topic, so I thought that I’d share my most recent paper on it with you all!

If you have the time, skim this article (it’s the one that we read in class): Elastic Body Image

If you don’t have that kind of time, then you can skip straight to my paper. Enjoy!

Three people are sitting at a table smoking: a fit boy from Bosnia, an incredibly slim woman from the Philippines, and a slightly overweight woman from America. They are three amazingly different people with one thing in common: where they are from, their body image is not acceptable. The boy is not skinny enough, the woman is too slim, and the other woman is not skin and bones enough to fit her country’s “ideal” fantasy. As they look at each other, each of them envies the other’s body type, and cannot understand why the other people are unhappy with the way they look. This is the sort of observation that interested Myers and Biocca, and led them to conduct a study on media’s influence on young American women and their perception of their body image. What they concluded is that women hold three different images in their heads; the socially acceptable body, how they perceive their own body, and what their body really looks like (115). In order to understand why this is, Myers and Biocca evaluate the persuasive techniques of television advertisements to discover why women deal with this “elastic body image” (108).

The first thing that Myers and Biocca noted was that women are convinced when they look in a mirror that they are fat, and that this repulses them (109). Wood defines this phenomenon as a facet of nonverbal communication, stating that “based on physical qualities, we may make inferences about others’ personalities” (100). She deduces from this observation that people try to alter their physical appearance to fit an accepted “norm”; wearing contacts instead of glasses, coloring their hair, wearing makeup, and constantly dieting (101). This repulsion, however, is mostly a European/American construct. In other cultures, a larger figure represents wealth and beauty (100). Thus, the question must arise as to why American women are attracted to a slim body image and repulsed by a larger one.

The simplest answer can be found, as Myers and Biocca discovered, in advertising. For example, women want to be sexually attractive. If the models and actresses that advertisements show as desirable to men are super-slim, then women will create a subliminal observation that to be desired, they must be thin (Larson 407). Unfortunately for the average woman, “thin” will never seem thin enough. Every year the average weight of actresses and models drops (Myers & Biocca 113); women can never keep up. At the same time, scriptwriters and advertisers create a conundrum by creating what I call the “Gilmore Girls” effect. In the show Gilmore Girls, the two main female characters were always eating, consistently refused to do any sort of exercise, and yet somehow managed to get slimmer with every passing season. It is impossible to live their life and look as great as they do, a ploy used by television producers that is unfair to women.

The most interesting part of the study was the overall result observed by Myers and Biocca. After subjecting each woman in the study to a series of advertisements specially picked for their portrayal of women’s bodies, the women overwhelmingly portrayed their body as slimmer than they had before the study (127). The best conclusion that made is that this idealizing gave women hope that they may one day look as great as the women portraying the perfection in body image (127). Women like to conceptualize and idealize; if they see that someone has attained so-called “perfection”, then there is still hope that they may attain it as well.

Christian women know from reading the Bible that “charm is deceitful and beauty vain, but a woman who fears God is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). They know that the “hidden man of the heart”(1Pet. 3:4)  is more important to God than any physical beauty. However, the impact that society has on our minds is clearly seen in Myers’ and Biocca’s study. The persuasive techniques at play here are subliminal, entering the subconscious without any cognitive recognition from the rational part of the brain (Larson 407). As a result, womens’ physical perceptions of themselves and others are skewed, thus their eternal struggle with diets, makeovers, and reinventions. It is time for society to stop demanding an ever decreasing waistline from women, and to start focusing on things of more worth than physical appearance.

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Brand New Day

Welcome back to Music Monday! This was a random little treasure-find this week, but it’s been on repeat on both my computer and laptop. I’m up to 200 listens and still counting!

The lyrics are pretty straightforward, all about wanting to break free of an old, stagnant life so you can be ready to face a brand new day. I really love the lyrics in the chorus:

Dream,

Send me a sign,

Turn back the clock,

Give me some time.

I need to break out,

And make a new name,

Let’s open our eyes,

To the brand new day.

Musically, I find it very interesting. It has perhaps one of the most chilling modulation chords that I’ve ever heard. It’s worth calling attention to those few seconds in the song: the sequence begins at 2:04, the amazing chord is at 2:07, and it all resolves by 2:08. Brilliant.

Have a great week, and I’ll be back soon!

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Water and Foam

Sorry for the lack of written content here lately- usually I post interesting school assignments…so yeah, you see how great classes are right now. I’ll have a school post later this week, but in the meantime how about a picture or two?

This was some of the weirdest water I’ve ever seen. It didn’t move at all, but somehow this foamy stuff formed and created these weird patterns. See? Look:

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Hmmm, I don’t think you all can see from that picture just how weird this water is. How about a closeup?

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Kinda creepy, yeah? Anyway, ponder on the weird water for a while, and I’m going to do my best to get a Starbucks post up for you all this weekend. There’s so much going on this week that I should be able to cobble something together.

Have a great weekend!

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Michael Buble and Hollywood!

There is a ton of great music coming out right now- every week iTunes fills up my inbox with alerts about new music from my favourite artists. So, I’m going to take a page from the popular internet meme, and do my own Music Monday!

What better way to kick off a Music Monday series than with the amazing, incredible, ever-talented Michael Buble? Yeah, I can’t think of a better way to start either. His newest song is called “Hollywood.” It’s not going to win him any bonus points with the department of tourism, but I *love* the message in the song. Check it out!

There are so many great lines! “I don’t want to dance with you when you’re dancing with the world”, “You don’t need a catchy song, the kids will sing along if you sing it with a smile”, and of course “Keep on loving what is true and the world will come to you; you can find it in yourself.”

Anyway, that’s really it. Enjoy the song- and don’t forget that you can download it from iTunes!

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Never Forget

It may be nine years later, but the memories live on.

May we never forget.

Taken from the deck of a Naval battleship.

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Randomness!

5 *Very* Random Things You Don’t Know About Me (and probably didn’t need to know either):

  1. I used to hate coffee, and would only drink it with a TON of sugar and cream. This was only 2 years ago too…true fact.
  2. I didn’t drink caffeinated sodas until I was 13. I’m making up for those lost years now.
  3. I love shoes from both ends of the spectrum: I love little, cute ballet flats as well as 3-4 inch heels! However, I refuse to wear a 1-2 inch heel. Weird, yeah?
  4. C. S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia were the first fantasy books I ever read, followed closely by the Redwall series. I’ve been hooked on fantasy ever since! (Don’t believe me? Snoop around my Library….)
  5. I play several different instruments (primarily flute, piano, and violin), and teach music as well. One of my dreams? To play at or conduct an orchestra in Carnegie Hall. Seriously. Look for me in 15-20 years!
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The Smell of Starbucks In the Fall

Ah, Fall. There’s nothing like it- crisp, cold air, riotous colours of leaves, pumpkins, apples, bonfires…yeah, I really don’t like Fall so that’s as poetic as I’m going to get.

However, I do love it anytime Starbucks decides to unveil new drinks and rollout new merchandise, so I’m excited about Fall. First, let’s start out looking at the new Starbucks products (for those of you too busy to notice or too far from a Starbucks to see the new goodies!).

(Quick note: I’m going to post these pretty small just to save room. Click to enlarge!)

First up: FOOD! Sorry that it’s a little blurry: I was so excited to see these that I was shaking!

YUMMY!!!!

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Now, check out our cute display tables:

This display took forever to set up- we had a little plexi mixup. But isn't it pretty?

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Decaf Espresso! Finally, a useful use for those beans!

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This table isn't quite set up properly, but you can get the gist.

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Now, let’s talk about tumblers:

Removable leather sleeve= bracelet for Emma. :)

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Emma wants. But it's metal, only 12 ounces, and $15. So, it's not going to happen.

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These...are kinda weird. The handles are suede. No really, suede. We aren't too sure about them....

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Sooo cool- that's burlap in there!

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Look at those pretty mugs on the rack! They are made in France, and are a lovely deep purple. I like these too!

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Our Anniversary Blend is wonderful this year! Really nice, bold, rounded flavours, subtle on the spice, and heavy on the syrup notes. It’s really a coffee you want in your home this fall.

Look! The siren is waving at you!

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Speaking of Anniversary, I got another chance to get my hands on the chalk markers and write up the limited edition coffee sign. Since all the signs in this promo are made to look like chalkboards, I tried to make my letters match.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

But anyway, here’s how it turned out:

This took me an hour. Please don't laugh!

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Yeah...I never claimed to be an artist, but I couldn't resist trying.

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We have new gift cards too! I’m in love with them- might get them just for fun.

Green Mugs!

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Wild Geese Flying....

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We are even promoting some of our new drinks!

Pumpkin Spice and Toffee Mocha

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Cute 'lil sign!

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So, let’s talk drinks for a minute!

Pumpkin Spice:

It’s back! This is not a drink I enjoy, but it is a perennial favourite with most of our customers. They want us to carry it all year long. I tell them that they will get sick of it!

You can have this drink many ways:

PSCR: Pumpkin Spice, no espresso

PSL: Pumpkin Spice Latte- hot or cold

PSF: Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

PSCF: Pumpkin Spice Creme Frappuccino (no coffee)

Too, try adding a few pumps of chai to it- you’ll make a Pumpkin Pie latte! Another thing I suggest is adding it to White Mocha; sweetens it up a bit.

Toffee Mocha:

TM: Toffee Mocha Latte

TMF: Toffee Mocha Frappuccino

TMCF: Toffee Mocha Creme Frappuccino (no coffee)

I like this syrup for making hot chocolates, personally. It’s a little less sweet than adding Toffee Nut syrup to our Mocha, and it’s creamier and butterier to boot. Just think about a melted Heath Bar…yum!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: IT’S BACK!

This is severely under-promoted, but our wonderful hot chocolate from two years ago has returned! Try it made with the Toffee Mocha syrup instead of the Mocha/Toffee Nut combo- it’s soooo much better! Love that topping- sweet and salty.

So, those are the most important things I can think to share with you all. Go see all this stuff in person when you can- the pictures don’t do it justice. Have a Happy Fall!

My cute, new, teeny-tiny teacup!

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Fountain View

Been busy with school this week, so a simple post for today. Enjoy!

Just as a note, though the focus of the photo is meant to be the fountain and the pond, I really love the colour layers in the left background area and how you can see through the trees to the field beyond. What do you all think?

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