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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2014/ 3 Adar I, 5774

Covering (up) Lena Dunham

By Meghan Daum



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Lena Dunham, creator and star of the incessantly analyzed HBO series "Girls," is on the cover and featured inside the February issue of Vogue. As things tend to go with Dunham, this was not an occasion that could go uncommented upon. If you missed the major plot points, here's a summary:

Dunham was photographed by Annie Leibovitz in some typical single-gal-in-New York scenarios, for instance leaning against a bathtub in a cocktail dress and standing on the street wearing Alexander McQueen with a pigeon on her head.

Because this is Vogue, the images were digitally enhanced, standard practice in fashion photography. Because the model is Dunham, who makes a point of exposing her shockingly average physique and has become a symbol of body acceptance, some kulturkritic types wondered if it was hypocritical of Dunham to allow the photos to be altered.

The website Jezebel, which has made its name in part by calling out magazines that digitally retouch models to sometimes absurd degrees, offered $10,000 for the unretouched Dunham pix. Within two hours, someone (who presumably worked for the magazine but has now been fired and so will need the $10,000) supplied them.

How drastic -- and therefore insulting -- were the changes? Not very, it turned out. There was some subtle narrowing of jaw and raising of waistline. The dress in the bathtub shot was pulled up to make the neckline higher and the midsection smoother. On the cover, an eyebrow was filled in and a shoulder dropped slightly.

So, an outrage!



Except the outrage was directed mostly at Jezebel, which was accused of using Dunham to draw traffic and wax indignant over a practice that, though often insidious and problematic, in this case actually wasn't so bad. Even Dunham, who seems purposely (and politically) to shoot herself in "Girls" from angles and in clothes that do her no favors, seemed befuddled by the backlash.

"I don't understand why, Photoshop or no, having a woman who is different from the typical Vogue cover girl could be a bad thing," she told a reporter Friday.

She's right. It's been refreshing recently to see more non-modelish models on fashion magazine covers. Elle had comic actress Melissa McCarthy in November, and writer-performer Mindy Kaling appears on this February's issue. Both covers sparked debate about the tyranny of the media's narrow beauty standards and whether these women had been encouraged to hide their ordinariness under less-than-revealing clothing or poses. But the general consensus seems to be that such diversity alone is a win-win: healthy for the culture and good publicity for the magazine.



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In other words, "regular looking" models are valuable. They generate discussion. They're a break from sunken cheeks and whippet bodies. They deserve dignity. And, counterintuitive as it may sound, that also means they deserve Photoshopping.

If there's any tyranny more ruthless than media/celebrity/mass culture beauty standards, it's the tyranny of the camera itself. For every portrait that makes someone look fantastic, there are thousands more photographs that do cruel injustice to their subjects. They highlight blemishes and put on pounds. They draw attention to lines and creases and scars and lumps that go largely unnoticed by those who know us in real life.

To pose for a photograph that will be seen by millions of strangers is to have nothing to offset those imperfections. It is to lose personality and history. It is to put before the world what we happen to look like during the split second the shutter clicks as if it were the sum total of our being.

And because that's not a fair proposition, it seems reasonable to take steps to right the balance. In that sense, some Photoshopping might be seen not as a betrayal of the soul but a way of safeguarding it.

Of course, in a perfect world, those lumps and blemishes would be sufficiently integrated into our concept of beauty that digitally removing them would seem as absurd as removing a nose or an ear. But perfect worlds, like perfect bodies, are a fantasy born of magazines like Vogue --- they just don't exist. Otherwise, we might all be walking around with pigeons on our heads.


Previously:

Humbletalk --- it's just another way to say 'smug'

Zeitgeist-o-meter, 2013

The Oxford English Dictionary's literal problem

Inglorious Twitter hoax should impart lesson

A chilling lack of grown-ups

The danger of banning laptops or iPads during takeoff and landing

Real beauty, Dove, really?

I 'like' me, I really 'like' me

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Meghan Daum is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.


© 2013,the Los Angeles Times

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