Thursday, July 8, 2010

"America the Beautiful"

by Suzanne Rogers

On July 13, 2010, a Hollywood video company will be releasing America the Beautiful on DVD. After being shown at more than 20 film festivals around the world, Producer Darryl Roberts was able to sell the DVD rights of this film to a Hollywood video company. With the success of this documentary come new marketing strategies to help make this film even more successful. One such strategy is the new design of the film’s poster.

The original artwork, designed by David Friedman of Portland, is the Statue of Liberty with lipstick and blush on her face and arrows pointing to areas on the “body” with photoshop markings that read “airbrush wrinkles” and “install implants” to name a few. She is also holding a palette of makeup in her left hand along with a makeup brush instead of the date-inscribed tablet she’s usually holding. According to producer Darryl Roberts, the reason for using the Statue of Liberty on the original poster “…was to show the essence of being a woman. The beauty, the strength and the power." Tens of thousands of people have commented on this poster to express their liking of this version. The new version of the poster, however, will help to sell tens of thousands of copies of this DVD, according to the Hollywood video company executives. Instead of the Statue of Liberty, there is a tall, blonde-haired, fair-complexioned, bikini-clad woman – an image that most would probably consider to be the ideal of beautiful. Essentially, she appears to be flawless. But still, there are photoshop markings, some original and some new, such as “Flabby,” “This girl needs botox,” and "Would removing a rib help?" According to Mr. Roberts, “this new concept is a slap in the face to every woman living and is exploitation and commercialism at its absolute worst.”

With the release of this film just a few days away, it is important for as many people as possible to know that despite the changes, the film is still going to convey the same message:  how the fashion, cosmetic, and plastic surgery industries perpetuate an unrealistic image of perfection that leads to low self-esteem, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and eating disorders. Darryl Roberts will still be selling the DVD with the original artwork on the film's web site as long as people still want this version. Whether you have already seen the film or are planning on seeing it in the near future, there are questions you can ask yourself or friends and family to help shed more light on the role media plays in your lives, such as “Does the media portray unrealistic images of beauty because it’s what people want to see or because it sells?” or “How often during the day do you see advertisements with women who appear to be flawless?” By discussing these types of questions with others or by writing in your journal,  you will begin to shed light on just how big media’s role is in each of our lives on a daily basis and how it impacts our society.

McCallum Place is bringing this film and Producer Darryl Roberts to St. Louis on February 24, 2011 during NEDAwareness Week. Check our web site over the coming months for more information. To learn more about this documentary, visit