Dove apologises for ad showing black woman turning into white one

Brand says it missed mark after being accused of racism in campaign promoting body lotion

Dove has apologised after publishing an advert on its Facebook page which showed a black woman turning into a white woman.

The brand was accused of racism over the online advertising campaign and it later admitted it had missed the mark with an image posted on Facebook.

The advert showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman underneath supposedly after using Dove body lotion.

Habeeb Akande (@Habeeb_Akande)

Dove apologised for ‘racist’ Facebook advert showing a black woman turning white after using @Dove lotion. pic.twitter.com/NGXyhnGuBZ

October 8, 2017

The campaign has since been removed from Facebook but was shared by Naomi Blake, an American makeup artist who goes by the name Naythemua.

So Im scrolling through Facebook and this is the #dove ad that comes up ok so what am I looking at, she wrote as the caption.

Under the post, she was asked if people would be offended if the white woman had turned into a black woman. She said: Nope, we wouldnt and thats the whole point. What does America tell black people? That we are judged by the color of our skin and that includes what is considered beautiful in this country.

She added that Doves marketing team should have known better and said the tone deafness in these companies makes no sense.

Following the removal of the advert, Dove, which is owned by Unilever, tweeted: An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused.

In a further statement Dove said: As a part of a campaign for Dove body wash, a three-second video clip was posted to the US Facebook page.

This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened.

We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologise deeply and sincerely for the offence that it has caused.

However the damage was done and the nearly 3,000 comments below the tweet were almost exclusively negative. Many social media users called for a boycott of Doves products.

A Soldier of the Art (@SelinaNBrown)

ENOUGH!
IS ENOUGH!@Dove Needs to be an example of black boycott worldwide!!!
They need to see the power of the black and brown money power

October 7, 2017

Ava DuVernay, the director of the film Selma, was one of many prominent people to criticise both the advert and the apology. She said on Twitter: You can do better than missed the mark. Flip + diminishing. Deepens your offence. You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here.

The trans model Munroe Bergdorf, who recently was at the centre of a racism row with LOreal, tweeted to say: Diversity is viewed as a buzzword or a trend. An opportunity to sell product to women of colour. Dove Do better.

Others pointed out this was not the first time the company has been accused of racism. In 2011 Doves before-and-after advert charted the transition of a black woman to a white woman after using its body wash.

Keith Boykin (@keithboykin)

Okay, Dove…
One racist ad makes you suspect.
Two racist ads makes you kinda guilty. pic.twitter.com/hAwNCN84h2

October 8, 2017

At the time, Dove said in a statement: All three women are intended to demonstrate the after product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/08/dove-apologises-for-ad-showing-black-woman-turning-into-white-one

Inside Gaysi: the blog transforming Indias queer scene

Gay sex is against the law in India, but an online zine that also hosts events for LGBTQI people has become a pioneering force for change

The latest issue of the Gaysi zine sports a simple but striking cover in dark colours: a scattered collage of human forms, with the words All That We Want across it. Thumb through the magazine and you will find pieces of fiction, photo-essays, personal narratives, illustrations andhow-to guides on the theme of sexual desire, from A Quick Guide to Scissoring to evocative verse on Love in the Age of Surveillance.

It is the sort of content that would not seem out of place in a gay zine published in Europe or the US, but in India it is positively subversive and the first of its kind.

Gaysi a portmanteau of the words gay and desi (desi is Hindi slang for south Asian) first appeared as a blog almost 10 years ago. It has since developed a zine that retails at major bookshops across the country, hosts open mic events, book clubs and, most recently, Indias first drag king show. We needed stories we could all relateto, and we needed an honest documentation of the lived realities ofdesi queer folks, founder Sakshi Juneja explains.

The
The latest issue of Gaysi magazine. Photograph: Gaysi

Juneja began her journey online writing about gender and sexuality, among other things. Her interactions on queer female sites from other countries finally led to the creation ofGaysi, which runs opinion, news, interviews, book and theatre reviews and the most popular personal essays, often from those whose lives have been touched by the website. It is no surprise, then, that as well as queer sexuality, some of the most popular tags on this blog are coming out, gay rights and homophobia. The essays include personal expressions ofdifficult situations from those who feel confident about speaking out in this space such as an article by atransgender woman and a letter from a queer woman to her mother.

Gaysi arrived at a time when there was no safe or open space in India for those who had come out, online or otherwise. Priya Gangwani, a regular contributor, remembers the first time she came across the blog, more than seven years ago. I was 26 and had novocabulary for gender and sexual minorities. I did not know any LGBTQ people, and the only queer term I was familiar with was homosexual, thanks to Virginia Woolf.

To be honest, she says, until Ichanced on Gaysi, I thought I was theonly one with these corrupted same-sex desires. This was par for the course in mostof India; even for educated and employed women such as the Gaysis, there were no sources of information, no conversations in the media. It wasas if queer people especially LBTwomen didnt exist in India, says Gangwani, while Juneja describes thecommunity as being silent andinvisible.

Today, Gaysi is managed by a core team of four women. There are a few regular writers all ofwhom have day jobs, often in IT or marketing but most of the content comes from female guest contributors from across the queer spectrum. This includes those still questioning and others who do not like to be labelled, and occasionally supportive and encouraging stories from parents andsiblings.

An
An illustration from Gaysi. Photograph: Gaysi

It presents a vivid portrait of what itmeans to be queer in India, detailing battles inside and outside the home. Acolonial law enforced by the British in 1860 ruled that homosexuality wasillegal. In 2009, the law was overturned, but then in 2013 it was reinstated. This has resulted in a rise inmoral policing on the streets, with gay people constantly looking over their shoulders. Thrown into the mix are hostile families who often condone corrective treatments, forced marriages, and sometimes even honour killings.

For Gangwani, [Gaysi] was like discovering this new, magnificent, unimaginable and fascinating world. Itcompletely blew my mind, and changed my life.

Gaysis impact really widened whenit expanded offline, into events where queer women can be queer, either by themselves or with partners, without fear. Now, they host two majoropen mic events a year and some kind of gathering at least once every couple of months, be it a trivia night or a badminton tournament for queer women. Gaysis visual content and design editor, who goes by the pseudonym Fishead, believes the work adds meaning to the lives of the creators andconsumers. This becomes even more urgent and relevant in these times, as we are working towards making sure that LGBTQI identities arenever made invisible or silenced, she says.

Gaysi
Gaysi magazines Narendra Modi cover. Photograph: Gaysi

As expected, the 2013 ruling seems to have given this band of fiery women the zeal to make the Gaysi voice more open, powerful and inclusive.

In the past couple of years, several applications for performing at Gaysi open mic events have come from straight peoplewanting to express support for the gay community; now, even the mainstream media has started addressing queer issues. Things might look bleak on the legal scene, and social change may be slow in coming, but there is definitely an openness to thinking and talking about sexuality among Indians.

Young and straight people are more visible at LGBTQI activities in the bigger cities, and attend queer film festivals, gay pride marches and so on. The queer community is slowly taking physical form in the Indian eye;no doubt the women behind Gaysi will make this transformation quicker and easier.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/29/inside-gaysi-the-blog-transforming-indias-queer-scene

Millennial influencers who are the new stars of web advertising

Beauty vloggers and cult celebrities are being courted by luxury brands

Seven years ago, Chiara Ferragni was a fledgling 23-year-old fashion blogger, studying law at university in Milan. She never finished her degree, but now lives in a $3.5m Los Angeles mansion packed with antiques, and spends her days travelling the world in midriff-revealing tops, Gucci sweatshirts, cut-off jeans and a collection of Louis Vuitton. How do we know this?

Every day, the Blonde Salad shares images of her gilded lifestyle with her 9.6 million followers on Instagram, making her one of the cult celebrities of the social media world. Unlike Taylor Swift, Beyonc et al, who have all made their names elsewhere and maintain fanbases on the photo-sharing platform, Ferragni has found fame and fortune solely by publishing photographs of herself wearing a variety of designer ensembles in a range of glamorous locations. Now worth a reputed $12m, with a line of branded shoes selling at up to $500 a pair, and a contract with Pantene as a global ambassador, Ferragni is a role model to a generation of digital natives who have established a viable career as social media influencers.

On her 30th birthday earlier this month, her boyfriend, Italian rapper Fedez, proposed on stage in Verona, singing a song dedicated to her at a concert broadcast live to their home nation. Almost one million fans liked the Instagram video of the moment. That same day, almost half a million clicked the heart symbol below an image of her in a black mini dress, featuring the hashtag #ysl, while 700,000 followers liked another image Ferragni shared, showing her next to a vast 30th birthday cake emblazoned with the Leading Hotels of the World logo, with the hashtags #leadinghotelsoftheworld, #LHWtraveler and #kempinskivenice.

To those unfamiliar with the machinations of social media, it is highly likely Ferragni had a commercial arrangement with these luxury brands, keen to tap into an audience that wants to emulate her lifestyle. She is not alone in utilising her position as a social media star with a loyal and highly engaged following.

Earlier this month, 17-year-old Amanda Steele shared images of herself on the red carpet at the Cannes film festival, hanging out with Hollywood A-listers Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. The YouTube beauty vlogger, who shares make-up tips under the MakeupbyMandy24 handle, was flown out to the French Riviera, dressed and made up, and given tickets to the premiere of Okja courtesy of Christian Dior all in return for a caption shared with her 2.8 million followers that read: Thank you sooooo much @diormakeup for treating me like a princess!!

In just a few years, the power of blogs and platforms such as Instagram has created a new marketing genre that has seen brands investing heavily in collaborations with the big names in the online space. Beca Alexander, founder and president of the social media casting and management agency Socialyte Collective, represents about 100 influencers, each with between 30,000 and 2 million followers.

One of our top influencers did about $1m last year and the average for those on our books is around $200,000 a year, says the digital entrepreneur from her New York office.

Chiara
Chiara Ferragni on Instagram. Photograph: Chiara Ferragni/Instagram

There are a variety of ways they earn that revenue and we work on strategies that best suit the individual style and audience of each one. Some might focus on promoting as many brands and products as possible but always being aware of the natural synergy with their own brand, so it feels authentic while others have contracts with a curated range of brands to work on exclusive long-term campaigns.

Alexander, a former fashion news blogger who takes 10% commission from her portfolio of clients, founded her business seven years ago and has seen double-digit annual growth and a predicted 2.5 times rise in turnover this year. While women dominate the influencer space, she has also established a reputation for nurturing a number of male stars, such as her most successful client, Adam Gallagher, whose elegant, well-travelled lifestyle has won him a lucrative long-term contract with Armani fragrance.

When you get to the top tier of influencers, they go to great lengths to portray the perfect image online, often recruiting a retinue of still-life and style photographers, make-up artists, stylists, assistants and editors to support the burgeoning business of being a brand in their own right. Many have a signature style to their posts, using specific filters or a trademark pose, but the key, says Alexander, is to remember who your audience is and retain an authenticity that means they remain engaged with your output.

And you dont have to have a mega-following to earn money from social media: companies are spending up to $1.5bn on Instagram marketing, says Thomas Rankin of Dash Hudson, who matches influencers with brands. Even users with 5,000 followers can attract $250 for a product post or endorsement if they have the right audience.

Alexander developed a programme two years ago known as product bombing, whereby a co-ordinated campaign saw numerous, carefully selected micro-influencers paid to talk about a new product at a specified time, thus saturating the social media space within the target demographic. That worked really well, and created huge awareness and demand, seeing stock sellout rapidly, she says.

However, the speed of change within the tech world and the evolution of algorithms to change the user experience means this approach isnt as effective today. Instagram has recently changed the way consumers see posts, from a simple chronological feed, guaranteeing a user would see all posts in the order they appear, to a more nebulous feed based on the users individual engagement with those they follow.

Currently worth around $1.5m, Julia Engels pastel-tinted Gal meets glam feed is brimming with high fashion and has 1.1 million subscribers. She generates revenue using the popular app LIKEtoKNOW.it, which sends followers direct to websites selling the clothes: if they buy, she gets a commission. She has also collaborated with #AmExPlatinum in highly stylised posts that convey the perceived luxury lifestyle promoted by the financial services brand. Each one carries a carefully worded caption and the #ad tag, defining the post as a piece of paid-for advertising. This boundary between independent editorial posts and those that have been paid for in some way is one that is blurred in this new era of social media marketing.

We have no issue with social influencers working with brands, as long as consumers arent misled, says Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, which is working with the Federal Trade Commission in the US and the newly formed International Council of Advertising Self-Regulation to develop some kind of oversight of influencer marketing. We define advertising as a tweet, vlog, blog or Instagram post where the influencer has been paid and there has been some control over the content. We therefore expect the post to have #ad on it in a prominent position, not buried in 30 other hashtags, but in the first three lines of the caption, so it isnt hidden to followers. Its not fair to consumers to expect them to play detective and deduce whether something is an ad or not.

Many millennials believe this isnt necessary as they claim to be able to see whether content is sponsored, but we believe it is imperative to protect consumers who arent that savvy, and ensure they know.

Callum McCahon, strategy director at the social media agency Born Social, says the industry needs to be self-regulating, and that Instagram must take some responsibility for protecting consumers using their platform. Users scroll through feeds fast and are trained to skip past hashtags. I believe Instagram needs to have its own mandatory labelling system for a paid-for post, which Facebook which owns Instagram – has launched recently as branded content.

There is no doubt that a generation of style-conscious entrepreneurs are making a good living in some cases a fortune by building their own personal brands online with fan bases to rival many established global businesses. The challenge will be for newcomers to join a crowded market, and for those with a substantial following to keep them loyal.

The reason a brand is using an influencer is the trusting relationship they have with their followers, says McCahon. When its done properly it is a very effective method of building a brand and selling product.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/may/27/millenial-influencers-new-stars-web-advertising-marketing-luxury-brands

Woke models: how activism became fashion’s latest must-have

Its no longer enough to have a look. Adwoa Aboah and Leomie Andersons socially aware voices have made them the stars of the new catwalk generation

You can tell a lot about an era by its fashion models. In the 60s, the spirit of the youthquake was personified by the wide-eyed, Bambi-limbed Twiggy. In the early 90s, nothing said sod the recession like a glamazon who wouldnt get out of bed for less than $10,000. In the ensuing two decades, Kate Moss represented not just a waifish appearance but a sphinx-like attitude, espousing the motto: Never complain, never explain.

But in the social media era, something new is happening. In the age of protest and fourth-wave feminism, it is no longer enough for models to slink down a catwalk anonymously: silence is starting to look seriously dclass. The hot thing in modelling is not a look, but a viewpoint. It is having a voice and not being afraid to use it. It is TED talks and open letters. It is Instagramming pictures from protest marches and hosting debates about intersectionality. It is campaigning for charities and founding NGOs. It is outspoken. It is woke.

Socially conscious models are popping up everywhere. On the current covers of i-D and Love magazines is Adwoa Aboah, a woman whose relatively small stature (5ft 8in) has done nothing to thwart her towering success. As well as appearing on catwalks and campaigns for Dior and Versus Versace, Aboah runs an initiative called Gurlstalk; her Instagram page intersperses backstage fashion show photographs with moving posts on her struggle with depression.

Many of Aboahs contemporaries equally refuse to conform to the archetype of the taciturn model. In both Love and i-D, Aboah appears with Slick Woods, a spliff-smoking 20-year-old based in New York who said in a recent interview: Im definitely an out-of-pocket pick for a model. I say what I want and do what I want.

With
With social media, we all have voices and opinions Leomie Anderson, modelling one of her hoodies Photograph: PR company handout

British model Leomie Anderson runs a website that publishes articles by women (a recent one was titled: What does Brexit mean for women and marginalised communities?) and sells clothing with empowering slogans. One of her hoodies, with This p***y grabs back on it, was worn by Rihanna on the New York Womens March in January. Last month, during a Q&A at a Mayfair-based pop-up womens space to mark International Womens Day, Anderson argued that outspoken models are helping change the fashion industry from the inside out: When I was younger I was told, Modelling is going to be harder for you because youre black, and I just accepted it, she said. Now, with social media, we all have voices and opinions. Before, if it wasnt on the news, who was talking about it?

Of course, this is not the first time that models have taken a stance in the 90s, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford said they would rather go naked than wear fur but back then only a handful of models spoke out, and only once they were famous. Now, speaking out can bolster your career.

Many pinpoint the genesis of this trend to a 2013 TED talk by Cameron Russell, in which the Prada and Victorias Secret model skewered the fashion industry for its lack of diversity and argued that her success was part of a legacy of gender and racial oppression. If Russell had made a similar comment backstage at a fashion show where a models traditional job is to quietly bend to the will of designers and stylists you wonder if she would have worked again. Instead, she has flourished: the TED talk has been viewed more than 17m times, and Russell has become a Vogue cover star and a campaigner for sustainability in fashion. Her website has a page devoted to recruiting other models to become activists.

It could be argued that the rise of the socially conscious model reflects a very 2017 archetype: the woke young woman, who looks set to define femininity this decade in the same way that the lager-swilling ladette did in the 90s. It is also symptomatic of a broader cultural awokening that has reached the stuffiest institutions; even the royal family has recently relaxed its upper lip.

Adwoa
Adwoa Aboah at the Burberry show during London fashion week, February 2017. Photograph: Mike Marsland/WireImage

If models represent a fantasised ideal of women, it is telling that until recently most have been seen and not heard. In the mid-19th century, when they first appeared, they were known as mannequins and were professionally silent, according to Caroline Evans, professor of fashion history at Central Saint Martins. They were haughty and glassy-eyed right from the beginning, she says, recalling a 1920 anecdote where the designer Paul Poiret told an interviewer, while surrounded by models: Do not talk to the girls, madame, they do not exist.

Since then, dozens of models have found fame, but few for their opinions. Beverly Johnson, the first African American woman to appear on the cover of US Vogue in 1974, was a proto-model activist. Not by choice but by circumstance, she says. I was 22 years old and I wasnt looking for such a serious responsibility, but it was placed on me and I had to respect and honour it. I was interviewed by the New York Times and Time magazine and I had a platform, she says. Ive seen both sides of the industry. When I look back on it, there were horrible times. Times when guys were hitting on you, you would go to the agency for protection and realise you were alone, as well as the race thing.

Beverly
Beverly Johnson on the cover of US Vogue, August 1974. Photograph: Conde Nast

However, Johnson feels that the representation of women in fashion has not seen a linear improvement, and that in some ways modelling was more progressive in her day than now. The late 80s and early 90s saw peak model power, when a supermodels fee was as central to her brand as her waist-hip ratio and the most famous quote to be attributed to a model Linda Evangelistas I dont get out of bed for less than $10,000 was coined.

What followed in the mid-90s can be seen as the industrys reaction to the power the supermodels held over it: Prada ushered in a trend for very thin, white models (the influential Italian megabrand famously did not have a single model of colour on its catwalks for 15 years), often scouting very young women from the previously untapped eastern Europe. Few became famous and rates fell drastically. The dearth of models of colour has been described as a visual neo-colonialism, part of a shift inside the industry that veteran casting agent James Scully attributes to a cabal of stylists and casting directors who, he says, dont like women and go out of their way to prove it on a daily basis.

According to Scully, the rise of the fashion industrys most damaging impulses can be causally related to the lack of models power. Models have got thinner, for example, he says, partially because in the 1980s and 1990s, girls were bigger, and designers would remake the dress if they gained a few pounds. Now, they would just get rid of her.

Social media has given models a voice just when they need it most. On set, Ive spoken up for myself, when a hair stylist has not been equipped to work with my texture of hair, says Calvin Klein model Ebonee Davis, and got a backlash. Theres an assumption that Im a diva, an angry black woman. Davis is one of many models who has taken the conversation online. Last summer, she wrote the industry an open letter. Fashion, the gatekeeper of cool, decides and dictates what is beautiful and acceptable, she wrote. And let me tell you, it is no longer acceptable for us to revel in black culture with no regard for the struggles facing the black community. She later delivered a passionate TED talk arguing that the lack of value for black lives in the fashion industry is the same lack of value that leads to black people being gunned down in the street.

The fear of losing work did cross my mind, she says, but I felt that it was my duty, my responsibility, to tell the truth. That far overshadowed any doubts, because what I have to say is valuable. There are so many young black women who have experienced lack of self-esteem and feeling inadequate. As someone with a platform and with a voice, I have to stand up and use it.

Ebonee
Ebonee Davis giving a TED talk. Photograph: TED

Daviss Instagram feed combines shots of her bathing in waterfalls in a bikini with videos of her interviewing homeless war veterans; she is comfortable with the idea that being outspoken is part of her personal brand. The same is true of many of todays burgeoning models, who have come of age in a climate in which the most successful celebrities Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian are multi-faceted one-woman businesses. Scully says that some models have shifted from muse to marketing machine. The models at the top of the tree such as Gigi Hadid, who has 31.7 million Instagram followers dont simply model; brands fall over themselves to find novel ways to reach her followers, commissioning her to design clothes and photograph campaigns.

It makes sense that being outspoken would be aspirational in 2017, when writing a thinky Instagram post can be a route to free media coverage. Hadid is frequently celebrated as a truth-teller, even though a clear-eyed appraisal of her interviews and Instagram posts would suggest that she plays it pretty safe. She did march against Trumps Muslim ban, and she has briefly alluded to her Palestinian heritage, but most of the activity that helped propel her to fame has not been genuinely contentious. She was much praised for writing open letters in response to online body shaming on social media, a topic that positions her as the underdog while enabling the media to run many pictures of her much-discussed imperfections, which, it must be said, are incredibly difficult to see with the naked eye.

There is nothing simple about being a successful outspoken model; the road to enlightenment is paved with discarded cans of Pepsi, as Kendall Jenner knows. Jenner is one of the few Insta-models who has retained an almost Moss-like silence for most of her career, despite growing up in front of the cameras as one of the stars of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Her recent debacle of a Pepsi advert an attempt to sell fizzy pop by aping a symbolic moment from the Black Lives Matter movement is a clear example of the pitfalls of a brand trying, and failing, to be woke. Jenner has so far kept shtum about the damaging media storm that followed, as well as further controversy after she appeared on a recent cover of Indian Vogue. The jury is out on whether her reticence on the matter has done her brand more harm than good.

Halima
Halima Aden models for Max Mara at Milan fashion week, February 2017. Photograph: Pietro D’aprano/Getty Images

Just weeks before the Pepsi furore, Karlie Kloss a top model whose Instagram feed is peppered with concern about coral reefs came similarly unstuck after dressing as a geisha for a photoshoot that ran, ironically enough, in US Vogues diversity issue. Andersons defence of Kloss suggests that a models influence can only go so far: People attack Karlie Kloss, but as a model she had no say in what the editorial would be, she says. Thats the wrong person. You dont always see a moodboard beforehand. You need to find out who the editor was, who commissioned it. Attacking the wrong people is never going to affect change.

Still, Scully believes the power balance is shifting and that social media has helped to extend the careers of some models that the industry was ready to toss away. Models have campaigned for better treatment in the industry, and have won media coverage that could convince brands to take more care of them; Donald Trumps modelling agency closed after model Maggie Rizer and others publicly denounced the boss. Models speaking out about racism and ageism and body fascism has piled pressure on the industry to become more inclusive. From Halima Aden appearing at Milan fashion week as the first hijab-wearing top model to the use of septuagenarian stars in underwear campaigns, societys interpretation of what constitutes beauty is starting to look just a little more inclusive.

Beyond these small victories, however, you have to wonder if model-activism has a purpose beyond personal brand-building, and if the glut of photographs of models reading Simone de Beauvoir in the bath currently clogging the internet is doing much to further the feminist cause. Clearly, it is dispiriting that while young people contribute to an atmosphere in which protest and activism are fashionable, it was the over-65s who put Trump in the White House and won the Brexit vote. Still, for those of us who lived through the ladette years, and the time of Female Chauvinist Pigs, there is a little jolt of joy to be found in the fact that, right now, most models wouldnt get out of bed for less than the empowerment of marginalised groups.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/may/15/woke-models-how-activism-became-fashions-latest-must-have

Heard it through the grapevine: can music really change the taste of wine?

The woman behind the worlds first oenesthetic wine and sound bar believes theres more to sonic seasoning than hype

Im sitting in a sterile sound-controlled basement. In front of me stand two large glasses, two bottles of vino one red, one white and a serious set of speakers.

This may not be the most conducive setting to scoff wine. But Im here for a very important scientific experiment: to find out if what we listen to affects what we taste. Or, to put it more simply, what melodies must one match with a pinot noir?

Thats a question sonic artist and wine critic Jo Burzynska has spent years exploring. This week her workshop on pairing wine and music runs at the World Science Festival Brisbane and Im getting a sneak preview.

The format goes like this: drink wine. Listen to music. Write notes. We start with total hush as a controlled taste. The main thing to do is just to pay attention, instructs Burzynska. A lot of people just drink wine and dont taste it.

After being told to slurp down my Jules Taylor sauvignon blanc noisily (a technique that fans air across the tongue, taking aromas up into your nose), I jot down some words.

First, theres silence: Floral, gooseberries, a herbal smell, musk, I consider.

Second, I listen to the chirpy, happy, upbeat Just Cant Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague: More sweetness, sherbet, less musk, go my notes.

Third, we hear the aggressive, post-punk band Skeptics and their controversial song AFFCO: Acidic, cloying, more claustrophobic ?? I query.

Finally, Lost for words, feels like an exam I scrawl.

Tasting the wines, I worry Ill get it wrong what happens if my palate isnt up to scratch? I wonder if the distinctions I have picked up are more to do with the fact that Im searching for differences, willing them into effect.

Jo
Jo Burzynska, sound artist and wine critic, believes music can change the taste of wine. Photograph: Simon Clark Photography

But Burzynska who writes her own notes simultaneously has similar experiences to me. Acidity and sweetness is associated with higher pitches; base brings out the body; and bitterness is connected with lower pitches. (Experiments done with toffee have found similar effects).

Then theres the emotional mood of the wine and the power of association. Our sav blanc is, according to Burzynska, summery, lighthearted, upbeat. Just Cant Get Enoughs carefree tone seems to speak to the grape.

This may all sound like airy-fairy gloss (with ample opportunity for brand marketing). But the last half-decade has seen an explosion in research of what is termed modulating taste or sonic seasoning.

Foodies are taking note, capitalising on a desire to surrender to their senses in the iPhone era. Heston Blumenthal was a pioneer when he first asked diners to listen to waves crashing while eating his seafood dish Sound of the Sea in the late 1990s. The single-table restaurant Ultraviolet in Shanghai uses surround sound as part of a technology-driven multisensory eating experience.

Burzynska herself set up the worlds first oenosthetic wine and sound bar in Christchurchs the Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery in 2014 (it has since closed). A soundtrack would be specifically chosen to complement the drinks on offer and if you wanted to buck the trend and get a full-bodied red anyway? It came with warning, laughs Burzynska, wagging her finger: This will not go with the music!

Jo
Jo Burzynska recording in the Cicogna vineyards on her artist residency in Irpinia, Italy. Photograph: Leandro Pisano

[Research] in the development of noninvasive brain imaging has confirmed that the senses are interconnected, says Burzynska, who is doing a PhD on the subject. Exactly why, we dont know. But Professor Charles Spence, of Oxford Universitys Crossmodal Research Laboratory, heralds sound as the forgotten flavour sense. (His work has been critiqued as atheoretical, trivial, and epiphenomenal by Neil Martin, a psychologist and a specialist in human olfaction and taste.)

Back in our closeted room, I reach for the pinot. Unable to find the perfect match, Burzynska has composed her own piece of music, Signature Pinot Noir, in partnership with Crown Range Cellar. As we both drink the liquid, resonant with hints of chocolate and black cherry, a fecundity of cello strings mixed with the silvery falsetto of birdsong washes over us.

The legato melody brings out the pinots silken texture, says Burzynska. [This wine has] some rich, sweet fruit I thought that probably needs something like a cello the timbre would go well with the body.

But it also has a really nice acidity, a freshness, and that gets picked up by high pitches. So the birds were there to pick up the acidity I have found those higher pitches can also bring out the aromatics.

She stops drinking. I think the time is right for people to reconnect with their senses. Plus, she adds with a grin, theres plenty of fun to be had.

World Science Festival Brisbane runs from 22-26 March

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/21/heard-it-through-the-grapevine-can-music-really-change-the-taste-of-wine

Got it covered: fashion wakes up to Muslim womens style

With the Islamic economy growing at double the global rate, mainstream designers are jumping on the modest wear bandwagon

A year or so ago the term modest wear would have drawn puzzled looks. But what a difference a year or, in fact, a few weeks makes.

This month, Vogue Arabia launched its first ever print issue, with Saudi Arabian princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz as its editor in chief. Days later, Nike pioneered a hi-tech hijab for Muslim female athletes. London has seen its first modest fashion week. Big brands such as DKNY, Mango, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta and Uniqlo have all offered modest fashion lines to women, and Debenhams has just become the first department store to sell hijabs on the high street.

Yet the latest talking point in fashion circles has been the appearance of The Modist, a luxury e-commerce venture which launched, quite intentionally, on international womens day. Fashion that caters to women who want to combine their faith or modesty with contemporary style has emphatically arrived.

The founder and CEO of The Modist is 38-year-old Ghizlan Guenez, of Algerian background, who presents her new company more as a philosophy than a fashion destination. And of course Guenez, who has a private-equity background, knows this is where the big money lies. Global Muslim expenditure on fashion is set to rise to $484bn (398bn) by 2019, according to Reuters and DinarStandard, a research and advisory firm.

The Modist could not have launched at a better time, says Guenez. The stars were aligning for us. We saw Halima Aden, the first Muslim model in a hijab on the catwalk at New York fashion week, modelling for Yeezy, Kanye Wests fashion line; were seeing big brands reaching out to Muslim audiences even more, and we had the womens march, which was incredibly empowering for women all over the globe.

Halima
Halima Aden wore a hijab during New York fashion week. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

Guenez sees social media as pivotal to the modest fashion industry. Social media has played a significant role in bringing women together so a Malaysian fashionista can be inspired by a student in London. Theyre informed by an online community of women who want to combine faith values with fashion.

The Modist curates outfits that range from around 200 to 2,000, from coloured maxi dresses to wide-leg trousers, and dynamic-cut tops. Yet when it comes to gauging what modesty really means, Guenez is measured. Modesty is a wide spectrum that involves personal choice, she says. But we do respect certain parameters, through lowering hemlines, avoiding sheerness and low necklines. We want to provide something that is inspiring, fashionable and relevant.

Yet modest fashion, particularly when it comes to Muslims, has not been without controversy. Vogue Arabias front cover caused a Twitter backlash for depicting 21-year-model Gigi Hadid in a jewel-encrusted veil. She was criticised for giving religious offence, for cultural appropriation and for using her Palestinian roots as a fashion gimmick.

And of course there was the global outcry when burkinis, the full-piece Islamic swimsuits, were banned last summer from a string of French coastal towns and bizarrely linked to terrorism.

Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at the London College of Fashion, observes that when modest fashion mixes with major brands and Muslims, it can prompt controversy. The fashion industry is broadly secular and there is an anxiety associated with Muslims and Islam in particular, she says. Muslims are often seen to be outside western-perceived cultural production.

But that negative attitude is shifting, says Lewis. When she started researching her book Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, she found the Muslim female designers, bloggers and entrepreneurs she spoke to could not get the attention of the big brands. Now modest wear is seen as an asset because of Muslim spending power, she says.

According to Reuters and DinarStandard, the Islamic economy is growing at nearly double the global rate. Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle reached $1.8tn in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6tn in 2020.

And so modest wear continues to draw major brands: Dolce & Gabbana created a luxury hijab and abaya range in 2016; DKNY and Mango launched exclusive modest wear lines for Ramadan and Eid targeting the UAE; H&M featured its first Muslim model in a hijab, Mariah Idrissi, and Uniqlo joined forces with British-Japanese designer Hana Tajima to create their LifeWear collection. Debenhams is collaborating with a Muslim-run company, Aab, to sell kimono wraps, silky jumpsuits and elegant hijabs.

Deena
Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, Vogue Arabias new editor. Photograph: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Just weeks before the release of Nikes Pro Hijab, aimed at Muslim athletes, the company launched a video for Middle Eastern audiences. It featured a diversity of Muslim women ice-skating, boxing, horse-riding, and fencing. The voiceover, in Arabic, says: What will they say about you? Maybe theyll say you exceeded all expectations.

Its long overdue, according to Rimla Akhtar, the first Muslim woman on the Football Association council, and chair of the UKs Muslim Womens Sports Foundation. Modest sports gear and sports hijabs are nothing new, but to have something from such a giant as Nike is significant.

Akhtar, who has been competing since her teens, finds the sharp spotlight on Muslim women over the past few years to be both positive and negative. Its encouraging to see Muslim women recognised, but much of this advertising pushes the narrative of breaking stereotypes, she says. I look forward to a time when we can normalise Muslim women in sports, not constantly make them a political or social statement.

Nabiilabee has been a blogger for seven years, and is among the pioneers of modest fashion. She started her eponymous clothing brand for anyone looking for something modest, but still fun and quirky. The 21-year-old belongs to the Mipster generation (Muslim hipster), which comprises urban, tech-savvy millennials who are confident in their faith and fashion choices.

Hijabi bloggers and influencers werent really being seen by advertisers or companies, so we had to create a platform which united other Muslim women who were facing fashion dilemmas, she says. The problem still exists today; however, there is a lot more choice and those women who were once isolated by the high street have launched their own collections, like Arabian Nites, Aab and Verona Collection and my own Nabiilabee.

So does this mean women who want stylish modest wear are finally being catered for? The answer, for Nabiilabee, is mixed. She feels that while recent moves are encouraging, there is still a long way to go in penetrating the high street and treating Muslim female shoppers as a sought-after commodity.

Its important that brands and marketing campaigns try to have an authentic conversation with this audience rather than simply sticking a modest sticker on everything and hoping it will sell, she says.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/mar/11/got-it-covered-fashion-wakes-up-to-muslim-womens-style

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘Can people please stop telling me feminism is hot?’

The novelist has been accused of making equality mainstream: isnt that the point? Plus an extract from her new Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was in Lagos last summer, teaching a writing workshop as part of an annual schedule that sees her time divided between Nigeria and the US. For much of the year, Adichie lives in a town 30 minutes west of Baltimore, where her Nigerian-American husband works as a medic and the 39-year-old writes in the quiet of a suburban home. When Adichie is in Nigeria, where her parents and extended family still live, she has a house in the vast city she regards with the complicated love and condescension of the part-time expat.

Its an ambivalence with which many Nigerians regard her, too; last year, the workshop ended in a question-and-answer session, during which a young man rose to ask the famous novelist a question. I used to love you, she recalls him saying. Ive read all your books. But since you started this whole feminism thing, and since you started to talk about this gay thing, Im just not sure about you any more. How do you intend to keep the love of people like me?

Adichie and I are in a coffee shop near her home in the Baltimore suburbs. We have met before, a few years ago, when her third novel Americanah was published, a book that examines what it is to be a Nigerian woman living in the US, and that went on to win a National Book Critics Circle award. A lot has happened since then. Half Of A Yellow Sun, Adichies second and most famous novel, about the Biafran war, has been made into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. Her essay, We Should All Be Feminists, adapted from her 2013 TEDx talk, has remained on the bestseller lists, particularly in Sweden, where in 2015 it was distributed to every 16-year-old high-school student in the land. The talk was sampled by Beyonc in her song Flawless. Adichie has become the face of Boots No7 makeup. And she has had a baby, a daughter, now 15 months old.

Adichie is still somewhat in the blast zone, not entirely caught up on sleep, but has published a short book, Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, an extended version of a letter to a friend who, after having her own baby girl, asked Adichies advice on how to raise her to be feminist. I have had twin girls myself since our last meeting, so I am curious about her approach, not least because one of my two-year-olds currently identifies as Bob the Builder and the other as Penelope Pitstop. I would like to equip them to be themselves, while resisting whatever projections might be foisted upon them. We show each other baby photos and smile. Welcome to the world of anxiety, Adichie says.

The success of We Should All Be Feminists has made Adichie as prominent for her feminism as for her novels, to the extent that now I get invited to every damned feminist thing in the whole world. She has always been an agony aunt of sorts, the unpaid therapist for my family and friends, but having the feminist label attached has changed things, and not just among her intimates. I was opened to a certain level of hostility that I hadnt experienced before as a writer and public figure.

This is partly why she has written the new book, to reclaim the word feminism from its abusers and misusers, a category within which she would include certain other progressives, and to lay down in plain, elegant English her beliefs about child-raising.

Dear Ijeawele is, in some ways, a very basic set of appeals; to be careful with language (never say because you are a girl), avoid gendered toys, encourage reading, dont treat marriage as an achievement, reject likability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self, she writes in reference to her friends daughter, a choice Adichie has come to elevate almost above any other.

That day in Lagos last summer, her friends were furious at the cheek of the young mans question, but she rather liked his bravery and honesty in asking it. She replied in the same spirit. Keep your love, Adichie said. Because, sadly, while I love to be loved, I will not accept your love if it comes with these conditions.

Having a baby has made Adichie think differently about her own parents, particularly her mother. Grace Adichie, who had six children and worked her way up from being a university administrator to the registrar, taught her daughter to love fashion as well as books, and was a very cool mum whom she idolised as a child. Nonetheless, and in the manner of most snotty young adults, young Chimamanda went through a phase of being very superior to her mother. Now, the novelist looks at her daughter and gulps.

Adichie recently came across her own kindergarten reports. My father keeps them all. You know what the teacher wrote? She is brilliant, but she refuses to do any work when shes annoyed. I was five years old. She laughs. I couldnt believe it. My husband couldnt believe it. I must have been an annoying child.

Its not as if she comes from a family of radicals. My parents are not like that. Theyre conventional, reasonable, responsible, good, kind people. Im the crazy. But their love and support made that crazy thrive.

Unlike Adichie, who was raised exclusively in Nigeria, her daughter will be raised in two cultures and subject to slightly diverging social expectations. Already, Adichie says with a laugh, friends and relatives from home are concerned that her mothering is insufficiently stern.

A friend was just visiting and she said to me, Your parenting is not very Nigerian. In Nigeria and, I think, in many cultures you control children. And I feel like, my daughter is 15 months, she doesnt have a sense of consequences. And I enjoy watching her. So she tears a page of a book? Whatever. She throws my shoes down. So? Its fun. I love that shes quite strong-willed. The joke between Adichie and her husband whom, to her intense annoyance, their daughter looks much more like is that her character cleaves to the maternal side. He says to me, Well, at least we know where she got her personality from. Shes quite fierce.

In the new book, Adichies advice is not only to provide children with alternatives to empower boys and girls to understand there is no single way to be but also to understand that the only universal in this world is difference. In terms of the evolution of feminism, these are not new lessons, but that is rather Adichies point. She is not writing for other feminist writers, and shows some frustration at what she sees as the solipsism of much feminist debate.

That morning, on the way to see her, I had read a review of a new book by Jessa Crispin, entitled Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, a critique of everything that is wrong with feminism today. If one can get over the eye-rolling aspect of books by feminists decrying the feminism of other feminists for degrading the word feminist by being insufficiently feminist, the book does raise questions about where one should be focusing ones efforts.

Chiara
Fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni wears Adichies Dior T-shirt during Paris fashion week, January 2017. Photograph: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

The proposition is that feminism has become so mainstream as to be an empty marketing tool, a mere slogan on a bag or a T-shirt. Without being named, Adichie is implicated in this critique, given that last year she collaborated with Christian Dior on a T-shirt bearing the line We Should All Be Feminists; depending on ones view, this is either a perfect example of pointless sloganeering or a brilliant piece of preaching to the unconverted.

Im already irritated, Adichie says. This idea of feminism as a party to which only a select few people get to come: this is why so many women, particularly women of colour, feel alienated from mainstream western academic feminism. Because, dont we want it to be mainstream? For me, feminism is a movement for which the end goal is to make itself no longer needed. I think academic feminism is interesting in that it can give a language to things, but Im not terribly interested in debating terms. I want peoples marriages to change for the better. I want women to walk into job interviews and be treated the same way as somebody who has a penis.

Still, one can see a theoretical obscenity about the Dior collaboration: the words of a movement that should be concerned with helping low-income women, used to promote and make money for a wealthy company. On the other hand: what is the damage?

Yes: whats the damage? Adichie says. I would even argue about the theoretically obscene. Theres a kind of self-righteousness to the ultra-left that is hard for me to stomach. Its approach to poverty can sometimes border on condescension. I often think that people who write a lot about poverty need to go and spend more time with poor people. I think about Nigerian women who can hardly afford anything but who love fashion. They have no money, but they work it.

Adichie mentions a TV soap opera that used to run in Nigeria called The Rich Also Cry, a terrible drama series, she says, that was very popular. But sometimes I think about that title. So, the creative director of Christian Dior is obviously a woman of some privilege. But does it then mean that she doesnt have gender-based problems in her life? Because she does. Does it mean she doesnt have this magnificent rage about gender injustice? Because she does. Wanting to use that slogan was it going to make the world a better place? No. But I think theres a level of consciousness-raising and a level of subversion that I like.

She doesnt believe it was a cynical marketing ploy? No. Sorry. Feminism is not that hot. I can tell you I would sell more books in Nigeria if I stopped and said Im no longer a feminist. I would have a stronger following, I would make more money. So when people say, Oh, feminisms a marketing ploy, it makes me laugh.

The bigger issue here is one of range. Adichies irritation with aspects of what she thinks of as professional feminism is that it runs counter to her ideas as a writer: that people contain multitudes. She is a brilliant novelist and a serious thinker, and she is also someone who makes no apology for her own trivial interests. Life doesnt always follow ideology, she says. You might believe in certain things and life gets in and things just become messy. You know? I think thats the space that fiction, and having a bit more of an imaginative approach, makes. And that the feminist speaking circuit doesnt really make room for.

There is much in the new book about double standards, including those governing the images of motherhood and fatherhood. I think we need to stop giving men cookies for doing what they should do, she says, and goes on to explain that her husband, who needs less sleep than her, tends to get up in the night to tend to the baby. On the one hand, I realise that my husband is unusual; on the other, I feel resentful when hes overpraised by my family and friends. Hes like Jesus.

He probably senses shes about to go off the deep end, I suggest, and Adichie smiles to acknowledge how impossible she is. I did all the physical work to produce her! Theres something fundamentally wrong with the way weve constructed what it means to be female in the world.

Chimamanda
Photograph: Stephen Voss for the Guardian

This is something she writes about in a lovely passage of the new book about hair. As a child, Adichie and her sisters and every other girl she knew were routinely tortured with a metal comb to subdue their hair, something her brothers were spared. Im glad I wrote that, Adichie says. We had just come back from Lagos and my sister, God bless her, had already had a talk with me about my daughters hair. She said, You need to do something about it. With my family, theres an eye-roll and a here-we-go-again with her, and she said to me, Do you want me to send you a set of combs? And I was like, No, thank you. And I know its going to keep happening. But, no, Im not going to conform in that way. Im not going to have my child go through pain because society expects a certain neatness. It happened to me, its not going to happen to her. And Im ready to have all the battles I need to have.

The original letter on which Dear Ijeawele is based has been shared on Facebook, and while Adichie was in Lagos, a woman whod read it approached her in a shop and said, Heres my daughter, look at her hair. She had very loose cornrows that were not neat according to Nigerians. And she said, You inspired that. My daughter is happier, Im happier. And do you know, it was the highlight of my month.

This is not just a question of image. It is also about time. Women have less time than men, in almost every arena, because their responsibilities to look or act a certain way are more onerous.

It is one of Adichies bugbears that as someone who loves fashion, she is by default not taken seriously. When Boots approached her to be the face of its No7 makeup range, she said yes, because she thought it might be fun; in the end, she says, it became vaguely alarming. I have no regrets, but you wake up one day and think, what the hell have I done? There were too many of these pictures everywhere. Her point, however, is that its not that Im a feminist and made a strategic choice to speak about makeup and fashion. Its that I was raised by Grace Adichie in a culture in which you care about how you look. Its a part of me I once hid, because I felt that I had to to be serious. Now, Im just being who I am.

Recently, Adichies identity has been tested in new ways. I wonder if she is less affected by President Trump than an American, on the basis that she is less invested in the American story. Quite the opposite, she says. Because theres a part of me that needs a country I can think of as being one that largely works. Which is not a luxury that Nigeria can have. She laughs.

Someone said to me, Now that this is happening in the US, do you think of moving back to Nigeria? And I thought, no, because its not any better there. I admire America. I dont think of myself as American Im not. So its not mine. But I admire it, and so theres a sense that this thing I built in my head, its been destroyed.

There is also, she says, something familiar about it all. American democracy has never been tested. You might have disagreed ideologically with George W Bush, but he still kind of followed the rules. Here, it feels like Nigeria. It really does. Its that feeling of political uncertainty that Im very familiar with, but not a feeling I like. Its ugly. But even worse, because America is so powerful, and so much at the centre of the world, these things have consequences for everyone. Nigeria doesnt have that kind of reach, so our problems remain our problems.

In January, Adichie and her husband joined the Womens March in DC. It was fleeting, and symbolic, she says, but it gave me the smallest slice of hope. There are all of these people who seem to realise that America has changed by electing an unhinged person. On the other hand, theres a part of me thats very sceptical of too much sentimentality. I hope it translates into people organising and going out to vote.

Long before talk about piercing the filter bubble, Adichie instinctively subscribed to rightwing blogs and newsletters. She was an early watcher of Fox News, until it became too unhinged and ridiculous. But she has carried on, because Im interested in ideological concerns and how people differ, and how we should build a society. Whats a welfare state? People who have less, are we responsible for them? I think we are. And I think I can make a selfish case, which is apparently what appeals to people on the right. People on the left say we should do it because we should be kind. And people on the right think, Excuse me? But if you say to them, If these people dont get healthcare, they will go to the ER and your tax dollars will pay for it, suddenly they sit up.

Chimamanda
Adichie with her husband, Ivara Esege. Photograph: DDAA/ZOB/Daniel Deme/WENN

As a result of her reading, rightwing ideology is not something I think is evil, she says. Some. A bit. But, in general, I dont. I have friends who are good, kind people who are on the right. But Donald Trump is an exception. Its not an objection to a conservative, because I dont even think hes a conservative. My objection is an objection to chaos. Each time I turn on the news, Im holding my breath.

Trumps erosion of language is one of the most frightening things about him, but even progressives, Adichie says, can be sloppy on this front. In response to her new book, a reporter emailed her the question: Why not humanism? (instead of feminism). To which, she says, I thought, what part of the fucking book did this person not read?

Its like the people who go around saying All Lives Matter, I say, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Right, which I find deeply offensive and very dishonest. Because we have to name something in order to fix it, which is why I insist on the word feminist or feminism.

This, she says, in spite of the fact that many of her friends, particularly black women, resist that word, because the history of feminism has been very white and has assumed women meant white women. Political discussion in this country still does that. Theyll say, Women voted for… and then, Black people voted for… And I think: Im black and a woman, so where do I fit in here?

As a result, Many of my friends who are not white will say, Im an intersectional feminist, or Im a womanist. And I have trouble with that word, because it has undertones of femininity as this mystical goddess-mother thing, which makes me uncomfortable. So we need a word. And my hope is we use feminism often enough that it starts to lose all the stigma and becomes this inclusive, diverse thing.

This is her goal and her defence, although she still doesnt see why she needs one. Her understanding of feminism is intertwined with her understanding that we all want to be more than one thing. And anyway, she repeats, Can people please stop telling me that feminism is hot? Because its not. Adichie looks magnificently annoyed. Honestly.

Beware feminism lite: an extract from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies letter-turned-book, Dear Ijeawele

Be a full person. Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by it. You dont even have to love your job; you can merely love the confidence and self-fulfilment that come with doing and earning. Please reject the idea that motherhood and work are mutually exclusive. Our mothers worked full-time while we were growing up, and we turned out well at least you did; the jury is still out on me.

In these coming weeks of early motherhood, be kind to yourself. Ask for help. Expect to be helped. There is no such thing as a Superwoman. Parenting is about practice and love.

Give yourself room to fail. A new mother does not necessarily know how to calm a crying baby. Read books, look things up on the internet, ask older parents, or just use trial and error. But, above all, take time for yourself. Nurture your own needs.

I have no interest in the debate about women doing it all, because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, an idea that I strongly reject. Domestic work and caregiving should be gender-neutral, and we should be asking not whether a woman can do it all, but how best to support parents in their dual duties at work and at home.

Chimamanda
Photograph: Stephen Voss for the Guardian

Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite; the idea of conditional female equality. Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women, or you do not.

Teach your daughter to question language. A friend of mine says she will never call her daughter princess. The word is loaded with assumptions, of a girls delicacy, of the prince who will come to save her. This friend prefers angel and star. So decide the things you will not say to your child. You know that Igbo joke, used to tease girls who are being childish What are you doing? Dont you know you are old enough to find a husband? I used to say that often. But now I choose not to. I say, You are old enough to find a job. Because I do not believe that marriage is something we should teach young girls to aspire to.

Try not to use words like misogyny and patriarchy. We feminists can sometimes be too jargony. Teach her that if you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women. For X please insert words like anger, ambition, loudness, stubbornness, coldness, ruthlessness.

Do you remember how we laughed and laughed at an atrociously written piece about me some years ago? The writer had accused me of being angry, as though being angry were something to be ashamed of. Of course I am angry. I am angry about racism. I am angry about sexism. But I recently came to the realisation that I am angrier about sexism than I am about racism. Because in my anger about sexism, I often feel lonely. Because I love, and live among, many people who easily acknowledge race injustice but not gender injustice.

Teach your daughter to question men who can have empathy for women only if they see them as relational rather than as individual equal humans. Men who, when discussing rape, will say something like, If it were my daughter or wife or sister. Yet such men do not need to imagine a male victim of crime as a brother or son in order to feel empathy.

Teach her, too, to question the idea of women as a special species. I once heard an American politician, in his bid to show his support for women, speak of how women should be revered and championed a sentiment that is all too common. Tell her that women dont need to be championed and revered; they just need to be treated as equal human beings.

This is a condensed and edited extract from Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, published on Tuesday by Fourth Estate at 10. To order a copy for 8.50, go to bookshop.theguardian.com

This article was amended on 4 March 2017. It originally referred to Lagos as Nigerias capital. This has now been corrected.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/04/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-stop-telling-me-feminism-hot

Is America developing a crack-like addiction to Botox beauty?

How a culture hooked on body image is fuelling a dangerous trend

A remarkable new study of the use of Botox in America has revealed that some women suffer a crack-like addiction to the process, as they attempt to top up previous treatments.

The number of women aged between 19 and 34 having the cosmetic procedure has risen by 41% since 2011, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Men are also increasingly turning to Botox they now make up 10% of all users, leading to it being dubbed Brotox.

Many younger female users are persuaded by dermatologists that the drug derived from botulinum toxin, the worlds most lethal neurotoxic agent will stop wrinkles forming. But Dana Berkowitz, a 38-year-old gender studies professor at Louisiana State University, who has herself used Botox, argues in her book Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America that this expectation is based on a flawed idea of what Botox can do, leading to frequent return visits to the plastic surgeon.

She told the Observer: It is and it isnt preventative: its complicated. Youre injecting this neurotoxin into your facial muscles to prevent them from being able to move. If you cant express an emotion for long periods of time, you dont get certain lines.

However, the problem is that Botox only lasts for between four and six months, so once you start seeing those lines form again you go back. Women I interviewed talked about it in terms of it being addictive. One said she was crack-like about it. Berkowitz added: The problem for me is that in targeting younger women the doctors are trying to create this lifetime consumer.

While researching her book, she read many magazine articles that quoted dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and beauty experts talking about the preventative properties of Botox and the notion of starting early. These included statements such as: You want to clean up your room before it gets too dirty.

Berkowitz said: Its not the advertisements that are doing this marketing; it is happening in a much more insidious way.

Botox was approved for cosmetic use in 2002 and 11 million Americans have since paid for it, at between $300 and $400 a session. Berkowitz interviewed women in their 20s and 30s and learned that many believe the claims about prevention. I heard things like, I use Botox because its a pre-emptive strike, or my friend is really smart: shes started using Botox at 22 that way wrinkles dont even form.

Berkowitz explores the way the multibillion-dollar beauty and anti-ageing industry in the US boosts sales by cultivating feelings of inadequacy.

Many of the women she spoke to first chose to undergo the injections after hearing about a clinic offering it at a discount or going to a Botox party. More women between the ages of 22 and 40 use Botox than do women over 60, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Nicole Garcia, a beautician, first tried it when she was 26. She told Berkowitz: I started using it because my mom actually told me I needed it. I always make this confused face when I am watching TV, and she is the one who noticed it and always pointed it out.

Myka Williamson, a yoga instructor in New Orleans, was interviewed for the book when she was 31 and had just had her first child. She tried Botox when she was 29 at a friends house: It was a Botox party, so that kind of was a little risky not doing it at a doctors office but at someones house. But I was kind of feeling like I had nothing to lose and, you know, it was experimental, and I wanted to try it.

Williamson had used it once since the party and was planning to have more sessions once she stopped breastfeeding.

While the drug was for the most part safe, said Berkowitz, there had been reports of side-effects, including blurred vision and drooping eyelids, and some of the women she spoke to had suffered headaches. Botox can also be a gateway to other, more invasive cosmetic procedures, such as dermal fillers.

Rachel McAvoy, a 30-year-old meteorologist from Minnesota, told Berkowitz: I love Botox, but the only problem is that now the attention is taken away from my forehead and Im starting to notice my parentheses around my mouth. I feel like I want fillers there.

Berkowitz said that when she began researching her book she was 31 and strongly opposed to Botox. But she changed her mind over the years and had injections herself when she was 34.

She explained: It was partly because I grew older. Also, as part of the book project, I read hundreds of articles on Botox in womens magazines, which was the worst thing I could have done for my sense of self-worth.

I was an active feminist and had stayed away from those. Then I interviewed women my age who told me I was stupid not to have it and dermatologists, one of whom said I was being negligent.

It was a very strange feeling to have something foreign taking over your face. The ability to move the top of your face is gone. Then people started complimenting me. It was like having a little secret.

She said she has experienced both the appeal of Botox and the shame of using it not just for being vain but also for what I perceive as a personal failure in adhering to the core ethics of feminism.

She had it again two years later and decided to tell her students: I was giving a lecture on bodies and beauty culture and I remember thinking, Im such a fraud. Here I was navigating very complicated tensions as a feminist, and so I wrote an essay and had them read it. It opened the door to a wonderful conversation about feminism and body culture. I am really happy that I came out to them.

Berkowitz, who last had Botox before her wedding six months ago, thinks better role models are needed for women. The body work that celebrities engage in is so public, for all the world to see like in the Real Housewives shows and the Kardashians. How do we make ageing become cool?

Asked to comment on Berkowitzs argument that the preventative theory of having Botox is flawed, Dr Dan Mills, the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who has a practice in Laguna Beach, California, told the Observer: It is true that the more you wrinkle the skin in one particular way, the more likely you are to get creases there, so Im not going to say that it isnt preventive.

If you started in your twenties and did it your whole life, you wouldnt have any wrinkles where your elevens [lines between the eyebrows] are. The more you use the muscles, the more you will see the wrinkles, so there is truth to both sides of this argument.

Allergan, the company that owns the Botox brand name, did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/08/botox-nation-america-addiction-crack-like-cosmetic-procedures

Very merry seventeenth century punch recipe found in Yorkshire

The recipe, written by Benedictine monks in exile and found at Ampleforth Abbey, starts with ten pints of brandy

A recipe for a very merry Christmas drink for 17th century monks, beginning with ten pints of brandy, has been rediscovered by a Durham university academic, in the archives of Ampleforth Abbey in north Yorkshire.

The recipes there were two similar versions, one for a punch, one for a drink known as shrub were written down for English Benedictine monks who were in exile in France after the dissolution of the monasteries. Both were flavoured with orange and lemon peel, with added sugar and water, and involved days of steeping and mixing the ingredients.

Although monastic communities commonly drank alcohol because the quality of drinking water was so unreliable, these recipes were clearly not an everyday tipple. Dr James Kelly, from the department of theology and religion at Durham University, said the volume of the ingredients and the care that went into them were significant.

The quantity, and the time taken to make the drink, suggests that this was something to be enjoyed on special occasions by the whole monastic community not a quick drink for cocktail hour.

He discovered the recipes as part of his Monks in Motion project, which looked into the travels and influence of the English Benedictine Monks after they were forced into exile.

Ampleforth was founded when the monks had to move again after the French Revolution, and returned to England as the anti-Catholic laws were gradually relaxed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As the archives prove, they brought their favourite recipes back with them.

The name of the monastic order is still associated with the sweet herbal liqueur Benedictine, which was claimed to have been created by them at the great abbey in Fcamp in France . But it was in fact a brilliant marketing wheeze by the 19th century entrepreneur who invented it.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/19/very-merry-seventeenth-century-punch-recipe-found-in-yorkshire

Gendered toys could deter girls from career in engineering, report says

Insitution for Engineering and Technology found toys with a technology focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys

One of the worlds largest engineering institutions is warning against gender stereotyping of toys in the run-up to Christmas amid concern it could be discouraging girls from pursuing a career in engineering and technology.

Research by the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET) found that toys with a science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys than girls. And despite high-profile recent campaigns that have had some success, toys for girls are still overwhelmingly pink.

The IETs mission is to encourage more girls to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology. Latest figures show women account for just 9% of engineers in the UK, despite enthusiasm among girls at primary school for information and communications technology (ICT) and computing (according to recent IET research, 39% say they enjoy it), maths (38%) and science (36%).

Societal stereotypes driving these gendered listings could be having a knock-on effect for the next generation of engineers, especially girls, impacting their future career choices, the IET warned.

Whilst the onus is on the parents to think outside the pink and blue boxes when shopping for their children, toy retailers and search engines also have a responsibility not to perpetuate gender stereotypes. Search engines in particular could look at introducing ways of detecting patterns of gender bias.

IET analysis of leading search engines and toy retailers websites found that of the Stem toys on offer, 31% were listed for boys compared with just 11% for girls. A search using the terms boys toys and girls toys found nine out of ten (89%) toys listed for girls were pink, compared with 1% for boys.

Mamta Singhal, a toy engineer and IET spokeswoman, said she had traditional girls toys as a child but also loved playing with cars, building blocks and creative kits. The research shows girls clearly do have an interest in science, technology and engineering subjects at school so we need to find ways to help this to translate into a higher number of women entering the industry.

The marketing of toys for girls is a great place to start to change perceptions of the opportunities within engineering. The toy options for girls should go beyond dolls and dress-up so we can cultivate their enthusiasm and inspire them to grow up to become engineers.

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Toys can influence what a child does in later years, experts believe. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The toy industry is changing slowly and over the years more gender-neutral toys such as science kits have started appearing. Toys can really influence what a child does in later years, therefore Stem toys are a natural move for the industry.

Jess Day from Let Toys Be Toys, which campaigns to encourage retailers to stop categorising toys by gender, said toy marketing too often promoted the idea of separate toys for boys and girls.

Many retailers have made real progress over the last few years, dropping gender labels in stores and online our new research shows a 70% decrease in the use of online gender navigation options since 2012 but theres still work to do to challenge the stereotyped ways that toys are often packaged and promoted.

We previously asked women engineers and scientists about the toys they played with as children and the most interesting finding was, not that they all played with construction or science toys, but they didnt recall being aware of a distinction between girls and boys toys at all.

Its not just the toys which are the issue, but the whole idea that some things are just for boys or girls. If children learn that early, its hardly surprising that they go on to apply this logic to their career choices, too.

Simon Ragoonanan, who has a daughter and writes a blog, Man vs Pink, documenting his ongoing struggle against pinkification, recently published an alternative Christmas gift guide for girls which includes a build-your-own computer kit, a Lego ultimate Spiderman bridge battle, and female Star Wars character Reys lightsaber.

People often opt for what they think is a safe option which is how gender stereotypes come into play, he said.

As a father to a four-year-old daughter who loves sci-fi and superheroes, I feel strongly that little girls should aspire to be more than just princesses and that all toys are gender neutral.

Top gender-neutral Stem toys for Christmas, as suggested by the IES

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/08/gendered-toys-deter-girls-from-career-engineering-technology