The Problem with Poodle Science

by Sophia Elfrink & Alexandra Scates

    There were many interesting workshops offered at Culture Shock 2019. One that was particularly impactful in our eyes was one that we attended regarding Poodle Science, lead by Harper Hale.

     Poodle Science is an interesting topic which surrounds the idea of weight and diet and how that affects a person.

We spent our time in the workshop discussing health and fitness and how that varies based on each individual. Focusing on the negative impacts that society can have on women and men and their body image, our workshop turned towards the media. Something that we discussed was the portrayal of diet culture in media, advertising, and fashion.

Brands such as Brandy Melville and Nike were brought up due to their lack of diverse models and clothing sizes. What we realized from the workshop was how many issues surround society today especially those affecting teens. The idea of a one size fits all and an “ideal body” shape has increasingly had a negative effect, especially on teens.

One example that can directly relate to poodle science is Brandy Melville and their span of models. Nearly all their models are above 5’9 and white, an image that much of the population does not mirror. It is difficult to love your own body when what you see being praised is something that you are not. These issues are very relevant in our world today, because social media is such a prevalent aspect of teenage culture.

Nearly every time I go to open a snapchat on my phone, an article will pop up about numerous celebrities regarding their physical appearance, and normally criticizing it. It seems to be never ending, almost like nobody will ever reach the “perfect body”. Diet culture is everywhere, from the chairs you see in the classroom, to magazine articles regarding how to get the “perfect body”. This results in people of all genders striving for unrealistic beauty standards, and can cause health problems, both physical and mental.

    Many unrealistic ideas of how men and women should look are panned out through society. For many people it is difficult to find an accurate representation of what they look like. However instead of addressing the issue, the media tries to pin the issue on the individual by putting out unrealistic ideas and concepts. In reality people have different body shapes and lifestyles. When comparing someone who is more muscular and weighs more to someone who is lean and does not weigh as much, society would make the person who weighs more seem “unfit” or not skinny enough.

The same problem pertains to those who are naturally more lean. In the workshop when asked whether or not we have been in a store and not been able to find our size nearly everyone raised their hands. This was frustrating because everyone should be able to find clothes that they feel confident and beautiful wearing. This workshop was important because it was unique to every person in the room. Each person has their own struggles and parts of their body and image they are self conscious about however we ended the workshop on a positive note.

  The workshop came to a close by going around and saying one thing that we loved about ourselves followed by the phrase “Damn, I’m cute”. It can often be easy to focus on the negative aspects of yourself, and breaking this cycle by acknowledging things that you love about yourself is both empowering and inspiring.

Linked below is a video we watched in this workshop related to Poodle Science.


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