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Bionic Beauty Salon

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Bionic Beauty Salon addresses the insecurities in women of all ages who learn to place their self-worth in the measure of their beauty. Its personal voice and funny, adolescent sensibility make it intellectually accessible to girls and women of all ages. The film offers a model for how to reclaim the media and find one's self through one's own voice. As art, it provides students much needed direct contact with poetic and artistic uses of electronic media. Its primary audience is teenage girls but should include anyone who struggles to understand female socialization, and anyone who has ever assessed the physical beauty of a woman. Bionic Beauty Salon subjects the beauty standard, an abstract mechanism of culture, to the distinctly unabstract opinions of teenage girls. Says one, "you can have a great personality, but if you're fat, it's like you're half a person." Says another, "Society wants you to be self confident and they want you to respect your body. But then you observe the type of respect that beautiful women get and you think: I shouldn't feel bad but I do." Companion and counterpoint to these interviews, a pair of perfect ruby lips dole out beauty tips from inside a compact's mirror, a surgeon performs liposuction on tapioca and jello, an ice cream sandwich sunbathes by the pool, and a grown woman searches for cosmetic-counter salvation. Overseeing these struggles, the Bionic Woman, TV's first cyber-Barbie, recharges in luxury at her Bionic Beauty Salon, a toy marketed to TV-watching girls in the '70s.

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Gretchen Stoeltje Bionic Beauty Salon addresses the insecurities in women of all ages who learn to place their self-worth in the measure of their beauty. Its personal voice and funny, adolescent sensibility make it intellectually accessible to girls and women of all ages. The film offers a model for how to reclaim the media and find one's self through one's own voice. As art, it provides students much needed direct contact with poetic and artistic uses of electronic media. Its primary audience is teenage girls but should include anyone who struggles to understand female socialization, and anyone who has ever assessed the physical beauty of a woman. Bionic Beauty Salon subjects the beauty standard, an abstract mechanism of culture, to the distinctly unabstract opinions of teenage girls. Says one, "you can have a great personality, but if you're fat, it's like you're half a person." Says another, "Society wants you to be self confident and they want you to respect your body. But then you observe the type of respect that beautiful women get and you think: I shouldn't feel bad but I do." Companion and counterpoint to these interviews, a pair of perfect ruby lips dole out beauty tips from inside a compact's mirror, a surgeon performs liposuction on tapioca and jello, an ice cream sandwich sunbathes by the pool, and a grown woman searches for cosmetic-counter salvation. Overseeing these struggles, the Bionic Woman, TV's first cyber-Barbie, recharges in luxury at her Bionic Beauty Salon, a toy marketed to TV-watching girls in the '70s.

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