SOUND OF THE NEW BODY AT THE HAY FESTIVAL

“The Woodstock of the mind” is how Bill Clinton described the Guardian Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, one of the most prestigious book festivals in the world. Set inside a maze of white tents in Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, authors and artists share their latest work to inspire dialogue and renew our sense of wonder. The 2010 lineup included novelist Ian McEwan, Pakinstani President Pervez Musharraf, New Yorker Editor David Remnick and VAWK partner Ben Barry.

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In his sold-out talk, Ben took to the Hay Festival Oxfam stage to share his PhD research. He argued that we are undergoing a cultural shift in the Western female consumer mindset. Based on his research with over 3,000 women in Canada, US and UK, Ben found that women increase purchases for a fashion product when they see a model that reflects their age and size in the advertisement because they are savvy and skeptical of the beauty ideal.

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However, the women in Ben’s research still desire the artistry and glamour of fashion; what they want is to see it on a shape and age that is attainable to them. He concluded: “ My research does not suggest the end of size zero; it suggests the start of body diversity”.

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