Tuesday, February 3, 2009

words of the day

sea change
a transformation, esp. a major one

"The summer I turned twelve, I graduated from kids’ camp to teen camp. I was still terribly innocent and very much a child. I don’t remember paying attention to my appearance until my counselor’s boyfriend singled me out in front of the other girls and told me I had beautiful eyes. I was stunned, embarrassed, and excited. It must have been my first compliment from a man, because I remember it vividly. It reinforced the lesson that attention, on which there is such a premium for girls, is bestowed because of beauty. It also made me see myself through someone else’s eyes, another step in the awakening of my self-consciousness. It was a sea change from my camp experience the previous year, when I had won the title of “dirtiest camper” and wore the superlative with pride, as the public acknowledgment of my ability to play hard."

-Lauren Greenfield, From
Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, 2002)

© Lauren Greenfield. Lily, then 5, shops at Rachel London's Garden, where Britney Spears has some of her clothes designed, Los Angeles, California.

palimpsest [pal' imp sest΄ ]
[ L palimpsestus < style="font-style: italic;">palimpsē stos
, lit., rubbed again < palin, again (see PALINDROME) + psē n, to rub smooth < style="font-style: italic;">bhes-, to rub off, pulverize > L sabulum,SAND]

a parchment, tablet, etc. that has been written upon or inscribed two or three times, the previous text or texts having been imperfectly erased and remaining, therefore, still partly visible

"In this work, I have been interested in documenting the pathological in the everyday. I am interested in the tyranny of the popular and thin girls over the ones who don’t fit that mold. I am interested in the competition suffered by the popular girls, and their sense that popularity is not as satisfying as it appears. I am interested in the time-consuming grooming and beauty rituals that are an integral part of daily life. I am interested in the fact that to fall outside the ideal body type is to be a modern-day pariah. I am interested in how girls’ feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness are expressed in physical and self-destructive ways: controlling their food intake, cutting their bodies, being sexually promiscuous. I am interested in the way that the female body has become a palimpsest on which many of our culture’s conflicting messages about femininity are written and rewritten. Most of all, I am interested in the element of performance and exhibitionism that seems to define the contemporary experience of being a girl."
-Lauren Greenfield, From Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, 2002)

© Lauren Greenfield. Allegra, 4, plays at being a pop star.

© Lauren Greenfield. Fina, 13, in the tanning salon, Edina, Minnesota.

© Lauren Greenfield. Swimming period at Camp Shane, a weight-loss camp, Catskills, New York. Many kids love to swim at camp but will not swim or wear a bathing suit at home.

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