fOCUS GROUPS

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Here are the videos and transcripts for both focus groups conducted.


The term ‘self-care’, speaks for itself and on the surface is a notion which is personal to singular individuals. However, in an online space such as Instagram, self-care is something which is also spoken about collectively, whether it’s coming from brands, influencers, celebrities or an everyday Instagram user. The concept of this project derived initially from personal experience of the overwhelming amount of self-care, wellness and self-improvement content on Instagram. However, in order to gauge whether or not women find the notion of self-care on Instagram empowering, it was important to find out the views of others.

Qualitative data was collected through 2 online focus groups


The topics of both focus groups addressed the relationships individuals have with self-care personally and the aspects of self-care narratives on Instagram they find to be emphasized on their own feeds. The second topic focused on the collision of beauty with wellness and whether or not the women find this overlapping, in relation to self-care empowering or not, particularly discussing brand narratives. The final topic focused on how self-care on Instagram can work as a community for women and how these narratives of self-care are interpreted by them.As this project focuses on self-care via Instagram, it was important to address the significance of the platform in relation to women’s self-care practices. Do women find narratives of self-care and wellbeing on Instagram empowering? What sorts of content do they find to be the most engaged with or not so? What are the effects of Instagram being infiltrated by big companies and advertisements?


Initially there were reservations about the online format, however as candidates were all in the comfort of their own homes, places many of them often practice ‘self-care ’, the format felt entirely appropriate and candidates were extremely vocal.


Focus Group 1


Focus Group 1 - Transcript



Florence It's kind of empowering in a way,

but sometimes you do do too much, sometimes you do track your calories or your steps and you burn out so I’m on the fence about the word ‘optimizing’.


VICKY I think I agree as well from from looking at it as kind of one of those things that when is enough enough. Like how how far do you go and how much you striving to achieve from this kind of like the value that it could bring when actually maybe that could only bring negatives with that. Mm hmm.


Annie - Eloise, what do you think about self-optimization?


Eloise I think it's quite easy, especially with Instagram. I think it's quite easy to sort of get sucked in to, I guess, like an ideal of self-optimization, like and I guess like being expected that you should be taking care of yourself and that it should be in a certain way? I think especially with a lot of influencers around us. So that makes sense.


ANNIE Yeah. Yeah. Do any of you feel like so from the paddlet, I found it really interesting looking at just all the different things that you do, and I definitely do as well. When you're sort of having a self-care day. But do any of you sort of have days where you kind of like, actually fuck this? I just want to do nothing to day.


ELLI HORTON Yeah. Like not doing self-care is a form of self-care.. Yeah. Yeah. That isn't all about like focusing on your body or your mind. Self care isn’t always about improving. It's just about like being like being happy.


RACHEL It's like checking in with yourself and being like, do I feel like doing effacement today or is it just I just want to be in my sweatpants and want to watch Netflix. And that's not necessarily like, oh, you're doing like great things to your body. It's just kind of what you're comfortable in that certain mindset on that certain day rather than constant self -improvement. Yeah, yeah.


ELOISE - I think as long as you're doing something to make I think as long as you're listening to your body and listen to yourself, then I think it like it doesn't really matter what you do. LiKe, for example, when you said like if you wanna spend a day and your trackies in bed doing nothing, that's still a form of self care compared to if your if you wanted to put a face Moscow and put your nails.


[00:03:13] So when you do have those days where you just think sod it all. And then you go on Instagram, which we all do, and we will just sit and scrolling the phones. How do you then feel when you scroll through Instagram? Is any sort of pressure or guilt? From particular people on Instagram?


VICKY- yeah, I think that's I think that's the thing. I think it's all good well like feeling like that. But then as soon as your own social media, all you see is a bombardment of kind of these like perfect lifestyles and the amount of people that have, like, these highly curated Instagram accounts that you get drawn into. And then you also having that self-care moment, it's completely contracted by the fact that you will then sitting there like, oh, well, I should be doing it now, but while I do it, why am I sitting here being lazy when I could be going and doing a work out?


[00:04:08] Unless you kind of have that sense of awareness, which is extremely important. I think it's so hard to remove yourself from Instagram and think, oh, actually, no, they all do that as well, but we just don't see it. And I think that kind of balance is so hard.



FLORENCE- often get it where I'm like, you see people like working out on Instagram, they post work home videos every day. And in the past, like I've been that person, where I’m always at the gym like always counting calories and it was a big part of my life.


But then, like, I actually suffered with, like chronic burnout, like I was completely exhausted for like half a year. Like six months. And in that moment, what I needed to do self care was to rest, was to go to the gym and it was almost like the complete opposite of everything that people considered to be self-care. You know, like it really does depend on your situation and you personally.


RACHEL- You know, I had a really similar experience, actually, prior to lock down, I was very much like, oh my God. Like, wake up at 5:00 a.m., go to the gym like no carbs. And just like. I was so careful with my diet and just everything felt like this is the order of my life. But then when lockdown happened, also like the gyms closed. And then there were so many things on Instagram, which was like, oh, like this is like a not home workout you can do. And then you were just like bombarded with all of this advice. But then I realized I was just so, like, tied to the so-called self-care fitness routine that I had prior to lockdown, that that was just not I was so militant and that was not healthy. And the flip side of it, like one day my body was just like, you know what, we're just going stay here and not do anything. And I think I just, like, didn't do anything for three weeks. And I was like, that's exactly what I needed. But even just doing that detachment, but also looking on Instagram and realizing that that's not what I need. And just feeling overwhelmed with all of this sort of advice and guidance that supposedly is going to support you through lockdown is just it's so personal as well that it's just like it works for certain people. But for someone else, it's just like kind of triggering know



MAISY - kind of like following on from kind of Instagram and fitness chat. Like as much as sometimes I might like to post a selfie of me at the gym to show that I'm doing fitness and doing this, this and this. I tend to actively put no self-care content on Instagram because I know that if I then don't post a selfie of me in the gym the same pattern, or if I don't show that I'm doing a face-mask doing whatever, then I start to really like think that all of my followers are going to be judging me. So I try and keep any sort of self calm self optimization content, quite private label just from my close friends, Instagram. Otherwise I just feel like it's going to all get ahead of me.


ELLI - Yeah to add on to that. Like there is a kind of pressure to keep it up. And that in itself is daunting to even like participate in self-care sometimes because like, there are certain things that you might feel like it's like you're not doing it right kind of thing. And then self- care becomes the complete opposite. And it was stressful like exercise for a lot of people. I used to hate it and it took me to learn to love it myself, to actually find it relaxing and to find it a form of self- care And some people just don't like it. So subjective. It's impossible to, like, define what self-care is.


ANNIE- Where do those pressure come from? I know, obviously, that it's you know, Instagram is a huge pressure in itself. But like other places or people or types of people that you can think of, like you might feel that. So when you sort of have to keep it up.


ELOISE - I mean, personally, I used to follow, like, quite a lot of influencers and, you know, the classic people who have big followings. They do a lot of beauty and stuff like that. And I found that really a lot. I've always found myself comparing the like, compare myself to them and think oh well they’re doing this. I should do that as well. And I found that just by unfollowing all. It literally made such a difference because I didn't feel there was no pressure to have to try. And I guess I compete with these people who also want attainable anyway.


ANNIE- I think that's really interesting. I've seen a lot in recent days about Instagram, clear outs and having this all clear out, a few things that you don't or you shouldn't be looking at. Are any of you conscious, like Eloise said of what you're looking and do you make that sort of active decision to be like, actually I don't need this. I really should be looking at stuff that's making me feel empowered. I think it's quite interesting. The whole Instagram clear out thing.


VICKY personally, I actually follow hardly for any influencers, at all and the ones that I do that kind of noticeable people because I would look be that, wow, I want to be like that.


It’s difficult because you I say this but yeah, I can't unsee it because it's like explore pages and not other people showing you things. And again, I personally try and limit myself what I follow, not because I in a conscious level, it's just more that I know in my head that's not real. And I know that a small I have quite a lot of awareness of what is how well they've done to achieve that. But at the same time, how do you avoid it? So it's very difficult. So I think although it's very easy to be like well, you have these clearouts, ,but because of explore feeds, because the general media and all of that is very hard to get away from it in everyday life, actually.



CHARLOTTE I actually saw the other day when I was going for it because I went for an unfollowed a whole bunch of people because I, I don't even know who I'm following. I'm following nine hundred people like who are all these people. And when I opened up my list of following I saw that on Instagram. Now it shows you like the top 50 accounts that are most shown in your feed. And I'm like, oh, that's quite interesting. And had a scroll through. And like the top 50 accounts that were most shown on my face were all like fashion influences and like fitness models and like bloggers and stuff like that.


And I was like, it's not actually a true reflection of kind of my life. It's what I'm seeing the most in my feed are like all of these people who live this like sort of rich and glamorous and, you know, that always at the gym and always looking after themselves in all these ways that, you know, you just see on Instagram. And that's what's always in my feed. And I think that kind of you know, that might be why when I do have like a day or something where I, you know, during lockdown, I've had so many days or I just sit there and feel like doing nothing and then feel that, like, sort of overwhelming guilt. And it's probably because on my feed I just see all of these people that I don't actually know doing all of this stuff that is, you know, self-care, sort of making themself better all the time.


RACHEL- It takes a lot of energy, I feel like, to not only try to avoid it, but when you are triggered by it, you're like, I go through this checklist, right? They actually they probably have a trainer or they have a nutritionist. They have like all this money to buy these supplements. And they probably just like, you know, they say show themselves eating a pizza. But then that's like we don't know what goes behind that picture. You always have to think, like, what are they doing that's totally inaccessible and unrealistic in my life. Helps to, like, detach yourself from it because it's you know, you don't see what's behind the scenes. And it's like it's like an active thing. It's tiring to then go through that list to remind yourself as well.


FLORENCE- it is stressful though, like I follow Bella Hadid and she's like the most thin, like, perfect skin, But like, all she shows is her eat pizza and burgers. And I'm like, come on, you have to try and like create some sort of, like, illusion. Like, no one's buying it. We all know that you've got like a whole list of employees who are working around the clock to make sure you like that. It's just frustrating. And like for me, like, I will take active breaks, like month long breaks from Instagram because you can't actually avoid it. You're on your phone. Like, I'd rather just not open the app. Like, I will leave my phone in my room and not then I don't have to think about it. You don't get that trigger.


MAISY: Yeah, I was going to say. Which is llike as much as a lot of influencers are the problem, I also find a lot of brands are the problem as well. If I decide I want to go on a diet and exercise and be healthy, which is fine, I follow like I follow this brand called Shreddy, on Instagram posting, like aesthetic, workouts, things like this every day at work. Sreenshotting their users who have had really good weight loss,, which is incredible for them. But also for me it's like if I'm having a day where I just want to sit and watch Netflix on my sofa, then it’s like oh fuck. Shreddy says I should be doing the plank.


VICKY- I completely agree with that. And I think also my friends and fashion brands, all these kind of things, they are benefiting from the empowering side of kind of social media that they you can be they such getting on board is all these big movements online. But then they are the ones that are completely bombarding you with images of this perfect lifestyle, such wellness and beauty and how you should be. And that's fueling you to then be like that. But then that results in you not feeling very good. I don't think that is just so hard to escape.


ELLI It's like like it's like capitalism kind of guilt trip, guilt trip you into wanting to be that. So you see this, then you feel guilty and then you're like, shit do I need to do this? Then you go to subscribe to that like workout program. I go by the protein shakes and then I got one. It just adds to the narrative if you're like constantly striving to be like the perfect version of yourself. But that doesn't exist because even if you become everything that you always thought you wanted to be, you've still got to have ambition and drive to do other things. You know, I mean and I think, like, self-care is all about finding the balance between, like, knowing that it’s benefitting you mentally, but like not in a way that you’re doing it for someone else, to appease to other people, it has to be purely for your self-confidence.


[00:15:37].


[00:15:43] Can you see my screen? Can you see the. Yet. So on the paddler which you filled out. I noticed that. I don't I don't know who said it. I was asking about whether beauty comes into your wellness routine. If you have one. And I'm just wondering who who sort of the beauty is being part of that. Kind of like well being. And part of making them feel good and their self care.


RACHEL I did.


ELOISE- I did as well


RACHEL- I said about glossier as well, because I just love glossier


ELOISE- Yeah, I really like it.


FLORENCE- They somehow make you feel good about wanting to wear makeup, but in, like, a really natural way, it's like enhancing what you naturally have, not trying to, like, carve your cheekbones and like create this illusion. It's very. Like person-centric.


RACHEL- I feel like the thing with like beauty for me. That's part of my self-care routine is I just feel like I'm doing something, especially with skin care. I know that it's going to benefit me and I know I'm nourishing myself. And then sometimes it's just kind of as vain as I just want to feel cuter than I woke up today. So just putting on makeup just to feel nicer about yourself is also quite empowering.


ELLI- I completely agree. Yes. But losing again too soon, it has to be for yourself kind of thing. Otherwise it just becomes a chore. Like I used to wear makeup because I felt ugly. I felt like I didn't look good enough, like without it. Now it's just to, like, enhance your mood kind of thing.


ANNIE - So, yeah. Well, I was what I was going to say here is kind of what are your thoughts of, like the merging of beauty and wellness? Do they fall under the same bracket in terms of yourself? And do you even think about as being part of self-care?



FLORENCE- Mm hmm. Yes, I personally do like my skincare routine is like it changes a lot. But like, I just have like a phenomenal amount of products and I suppose that's the catch. It's like. Creating a system like I feel good about doing my skin, so therefore I buy more products and people make money. It does make me feel good. It does. It just does. Skin color just makes you feel good. And my boyfriends, I wanted you have all these trinkets and trinkets like so much more than that. I think I think that's like that just shows the way that women in particular. Like this has been part of our life since we were like forever. Like, he kind of it gets ingrained in your heads. My my boyfriend, like, you didn't know what a cleanser was until about a year ago. And I was like, I can create skincare routine for you.


RACHEL I actually I think about this a lot, though, because I feel women are either. I think brands have a tendency to dupe women into buying products that they can feel better about themselves, or we feel the pressure to take on all these tools and have all these products because we feel like we're not good enough. And I feel like that is the lie of capitalism, where it just lures you in under the guise of empowerment and like feel good products. But then also I'm falling for it.


So, yes, we all know we all.


ANNIE- I don't want this group to be really, like, depressing, but I mean, there are parts that I really think too deeply about it.


ELLI - Like you say, like it's not all negative, you know. I mean, like, it does make us feel good. So why not spend our money on it? Yeah, it's just about being aware of why you’re doing it.


ANNIE- you feel like other any sort of instances that you can think of where I mean, I know there are quite a lot of brands who tie a narrative of self-care and wellness and kind of like body positivity to their products. Do you ever sort of buy things and think, oh, actually, like, is this genuine? Like, do you ever sort of like really think about what you're buying and why you're buying it, or do you just go for it? Is there ever I kind of like person in the back of your head. It's like, why are you buying this?


VICKY- Yes, I personally think I am massively have that, but I'm really good at thinking I want something to think about, why I'm getting it for, who I'm buying it from and then not getting it at all. like I'm quite and I don't know if it's because I said I actually did quite a fairly similar dissertation to what this is and I did fashion marketing degree. So I learnt about the industry in general and the negatives of the industry. And I think learning a lot about that, as really put me off a lot of people and how they treat people and obviously everyone's main aim is to get you to buy their products. Right. The companies that have brand values that differentiate from what the message that they're sending and that massively me I'm now very good at kind of not getting the, just not buying, because I've asked myself, fulfill


ANNIE- good for you, I wish I was.


MAISY- I'm like, I do that exact mindset and way anyway.


RACHEL - So I mean, I sometimes have a problem with all these kind of beauty products that are culturally inspired or Jade Rolling or Guajira or like A or I or Aveda kind of propositions that I'm like I click into the brand and I go to the website, go to the founder. It's always like a white woman. And I'm like, this is not authentic. And I, I get really frustrated because I see these like influencers. They're like blond and pretty. And then they'll talk about like Chinese medicine. And I think that they're an expert and then sort of like have an opinion on it. And I'm like, that's not I feel I feel really, really frustrated that I sort of like, co-opted under the guise of self care. And I feel like I've built a good kind of like scrutiny against these brands. But I do see a lot of that I feel like.


FLORENCE- Is it super prevalent and I personally have kind of, I've thought about it more recently because I'm really into yoga and I want to be a yoga teacher. But then I realized that like yoga has come from like a really like traditional cultural background that I'm not privy to. I haven't experienced it. So I have to be really careful how I go around talking about yoga, because obviously I am a white woman from England and there are so many instances of brands and influences like coopting these traditional practices and unlike Westernizing and like kind of like ruining the essence of it. And it pisses me off as well. But people don't realize they're doing it and they do it.


ANNIE- Yeah, I was just I was just wondering if anyone has sort of that kind of specific we know for something because they realize like, oh, I actually like that brand is literally coopting an entire culture and capitalizing on it. And are there any specific brands control named that you store all also like that do that? I mean, I can name loads


ELLI I've got I've got like quite like relevant recent example. Yeah. So I don't know if anyone knows Monroe above. And basically she was the face of Rimmel and she was like the first black trans woman to be the face of Rimmel and she was fired for speaking out about her treatment against something I can't remember. But basically, when all of this Black Lives Matter movement began, they posted on the pages like Black Lives Matter, stuff like that, like we stand with you and stuff. A memo called them out and said, like you want. You didn't stand by me when I worked for you. And that. That put me off Rimmel.

But then they hired her as that Diversey ambassador. So it's kind of like it's like there's always room for improvements even in, like, the biggest companies. You know? I mean. But then at the same time, it did. Do they actually care or is that just a marketing ploy at the same time? So that's kind of put me off. Rimmel and also the. I think they like tests on animals as well. So I've been avoiding that for a while anyway. But yeah, and also yet animal testing, I try and avoid runs that test animals, but sometimes it's just impossible if you just want. If you just need a quick, cheap foundation or something, I don't know.


ANNIE- Yeah. Any other brands which come to mind?


FLORENCE- I can't really think like a brand in particular.


RACHEL- There's definitely like a few flying around on Instagram. And I'm like, okay. Yeah. Yes. I click and do it.


ANNIE- Yes. OK. And how do you guys feel about celebrities and influencers endorsing wellness and self-care products. ? basically how do you feel about hashtag AD


MAISY- as soon as I see hashtag AD I’m like no, and I log out I'm like, I'm not gonna buy that. They don’t necessarily love their products, they’re being paid to advertise them.


ELLI Yeah. Yeah. I don't think I would pay attention to who was advertising it if it was anyone from Love Island, then probably not. But if I knew it was someone that had a good awareness of good brands and they were promoting genuine brands, not what they actually believed in, then I would listen.


MAISY- I’d listen, but It does actively put me off.


RACHEL- Yeah, it depends. But it's also hard to just know.


ELOISE - I think also like when it comes to buying skincare, I rely on other people's opinions and how it's worked for someone else. So if someone is promoting something and it does say hashtag AD, I bet it looks to have genuinely worked for them, that I would be more enticed to buy it. Then just reading like someone's like five star review that they've left on the comments.


VICKY- I think also that these people are paid so much and that this it's so they just capitalizing on it so much. It's so ingenuine. And there's a lot of examples online of people to especially with all the detox stuff and all that kind of you see on how to make yourself feel better. Make yourself skinny, make yourself all these things. And then they're posting about how you could do this to your face and all these kind of massive like claims. All that does is just like naturally we'll it puts you off even more because you just know it's not genuine, because there's always something new like how can you be doing all this? And it's just not real life. And it just kind of feels that like an idealistic kind of look which they’ve probably got through plastic surgery and all the other things we're speaking about earlier are not true, like their skin care routine.


I don't think it's just so difficult and it just preys on people kind of do have insecurities and vulnerabilities to buy off them,



RACHEL- because I think it seems like we're we're all in kind of like nice position where we can look at something and judge whether it's authentic, whether it's realistic. But I just think about what young teen girls just scrolling through Instagram and just kind of reading these things and taking it at face value.


FLORENCE- We will track back like 10 years, like when I was 15, like I would look at all of the stuff on Instagram, which wasn't around then. I'm unsure 100 percent. It would completely like completely get into my brain. I'm like you. It's the shame because people don't actually realize how amazing they are. Because you're constantly comparing yourself to, like, these unrealistic goals. And then people are also like celebrities endorsing these products and saying, oh, this skin care cream will pay off all your debt. And like this, that and the other. And, you know, you know, it's just like, come on.


VICKY - I think that's so true. Nice. You realize how wearing such a fortunate position to be even having this conversation, because there's so many people, they are falling victim to all these online kind of like campaigns, just making them feel feel bad about themselves and then buying the products without actually probably thinking about what they're buying and for what reason they're buying it


VIOLET- I'm quite guilty of that. Sometimes if I'm feeling a bit like low, like sometimes you don't even realize when you're feeling down, but then you find stuff for the shop, for you to spend 20 pounds on like something stupid that would go in a drawer and you'll never use it again. And it's like, why do I feel the need to buy something to make myself feel better?


RACHEL- I think it really depends. Because sometimes there are influencers that I follow and then they do this thing and may because I'm biased and I actually do respect them and I feel like they don't have that negative effect over me. I'm like, oh, actually, that sounds good. I will buy it. But I think, like, for me, it depends on maybe the way that they're describing the product or the way that they're documenting themseves, use the product and whether the brand kind of aligns with the values of that influencer. Mm hmm. I think once all of those things are kind of like, you know, aligned, then I feel I kind of sort of feel the authenticity coming through, even from an Instagram post. But again, that's kind of my own judgment. And I guess that's very volatile at times.



ANNIE- So this is a quote from a book that I have, so celebrity culture places aesthetics above health and well-being values immediate results above the adoption of sustainable long term health strategies and perhaps worst of all, confusing science and pseudo science, making it more difficult for us all to sift through the mountains of health, diet and beauty advice that permeates popular culture. So this is kind of more thinking about how celebrities sort of promote pseudo-science. Is that anything that any of you have sort of thought about in terms of like what you're buying or what you're consuming in terms of what you're reading? Like, do you ever sort of think like, oh, look, is this is this true or am I reading this based on fact or is this just sort of celebrity just saying what they what they use?


Do you ever think about and think about that?


ELLI - And I think with a lot of like teeth whitening products out today. Just me, I'm really part of it, but my teeth. But like I've tried so well, I've looked into so many different things, like Chocho toothpaste to like those pen things like. And then there's like powder that you can use. And then there's just so many different things and there is science behind it, apparently. But then it's like, is it just the tiny, tiny one percent of science? And then the rest is bullshit.


RACHEL- Yes. I think everything that Gwyneth Paltrow is doing is basically this, quote,


ANNIE- it’s really funny because the book is called Why Gwyneth Paltrow is Wrong about everything wrong.


RACHEL- It's it's also frustrating because she has such a big following and and she's just promoting all these weird wellness fads, like steaming your vagina and, you know, that sort of shit. And it's just it's it becomes really confusing as well, because you think that she has power, that she thinks she has credibility. But that's not true.


MAISY- Yeah. And it fundamentally just like preys on people's insecurities. But I have had BOO-TEA, weight loss t in my basket ready to get before because I've got so down about my weight and just couldn't be arsed to go to the gym. But it's like, it's, it's like Pseudo-Science you know, the science is you will get skinnier. But it's because you're shitting yourself every 5 minutes. Yeah. You obviously just have to really, really look into it and research everything. And the celebrities obviously aren’t showing pictures of them on the time that 23 hours a day because of BOO-TEA and it's horrible.


RACHEL- It's also not regulated enough and there's no kind of I feel like people aren't. There's no regulations around like what you can sell on. Instantly. I do feel like they passed something which was that you can't sell diet teas or whatever. It looks something like that.


ELOISE- I think that was off to quite a lot of people kicking up about it because there's still people like promoting it. That was, I think, those skinny coffee and like all the different things that I was with.


ELLI There was a thing with Lauren Goodger. Well, she was like it was like a watchdog thing. Where there was someone recording a meeting undercover. And she was saying, like, she's never actually tried the TV and she would just promote it like way. So it just goes to show that most of the time these people probably haven't even touched the product. Just go to Paris and take a picture of it and then they throw it away.


ELOISE- And also the danger with those sorts of influencers, like they I don't think they would take into account, like if they've got a younger following than the younger following are going to be influenced by them. And so they can listen to whatever they're saying over, but they wouldn't do the research into it. They're just going to go off by what their favorite celebrity is promoting. It's so dangerous because so many young people are vulnerable to these sorts of fads


FLORENCE- I think particularly with, like, skinny t booty stuff, it's like equating thinnees with moral virtue, like beauty. And you actually have to. It took me a long time to realize that me in my healthiest, I'm not you know, I'm not thin, but I'm not big. I'm like just a middle kind of normal person. Look, I'm a big girl and. What's beautiful or whatever. Fuck that. But you just have to realize that, like being thin isn't like forcing yourself to be thin by shitting yourself isn’t self care. And they brand the self care. And it's like the complete opposite. Like, I don't need that. None of you need that . Like, no one needs it.


MAISY- So I feel like the fact, we're talking about skinny coffee you ever as well like the fact that it's packaged into a hot drink almost puts it in that self-care veil. If it was a syringe and it was I do this three times a day and you'll be fine even if I did not. But having what is essentially a herbal tea that someone would have like a bedtime that encourages this idea of being self-care when is actually a very serious medical issue.


VICKY- And I think it's so true. It's just a severe lack of awareness. There's no conversation really about kind of the impact this has on your physical health and on your mental health and it's all just under this umbrella term of self care. When it's so far removed from self care and just doing the polar opposite because they can slightly angle it so its branded as that. Morally, people forget what they're actually doing and they just do it for the sake of it because they're getting money. Opposed to thinking about the impacts that it could have on people.


FLORENCE I suppose what we need to do is like hold these influences to account basically and say if you if you're going to promote such nonsense, like you don't have my following.


MAISY- Yeah, I struggle with quite a lot of what Jamala Jamal does online. Like, I find that I can not help people. She has held a lot of celebrities accountable on skinny Tea front


RACHEL- It's also hard because I think a lot of people, a lot of influencers will do it under sort of like, oh, I'm not an expert, but this is what I do. But then you're you're still you're still posting usual sharing. We're still looking at it. And I think a lot of this, like in terms of the boot, like the skinny tea and also just the fact that people are showing their diets or what they eat. I still think that's really toxic because they're saying this is what I eat to look like me. So then you would kind of want and you would think that like if you follow it and just have like a few blueberries for breakfast and then like a boiled egg for lunch, like that would be you would get the same effects. And I've I've seen this from like Nike trainers and and like actual sort of like credible voices in the industry. So it's hard to then be like, that's wrong, because then they're just saying that that's what they do. Yeah. But it's tricky.


MAISY- This publishing of what people eat in a day is kind of thing. This is as old as Time magazine's female magazines from the 60s till now. Say this is what Gwyneth Paltrow eats all day. It's just such a shame that nowadays on Instagram, regular people, these influences. Now we're having to see what they eat in a day so we can look like them as well. It's just become even more prolific because of Instagram.


ANNIE - It's amazing that you were all so aware of it. I guess this group is like what I was trying to sort of get at. Like, just how, you know, all we all be aware of it. And I think, like a lot of us saw.


ANNIE- But then I see it's sort of scary to think like, what about all the people that may be on as well? Or maybe, you know, haven't been university educated or haven't had experiences, then what was the situation like for them?



ANNIE- But I'm going to move on. So this is a tutorial from Glossier. And and basically, it's the makeup artist where she called Katy Jane Hughes, and I'm in it. She's kind of like showing I want you, but she's kind of showing, like, how to create a sort of like natural look and all the products she uses are all here. And they value a total of about three hundred twenty pounds. And so it's a 13 step routine. And it's kind of I know we I've seen it everywhere and it's kind of the sort of normal thing. And celebrities influence showing their routine's. And often there are quite a few steps. So I guess I'm wondering, what do you kind of think the psychological effects might that might have on us as women? A 13 Step routine is the new normal.


ELLI- Such a waste of time. It just gets so flushed more. I mean, obviously, like, this is just preference, but like I feel like I would just about half an hour I just spent. Rubbing shit into my face. I could have had a drink or two.


ELOISE Also, it's so unrealistic because obviously influences are going to half the time because I don't really do much else during the day, whereas someone who is getting up to date, I don't know, like at nine o'clock job. They’re not gonna do a 13 step process before they get off and guys work.


ANNIE That's a really interesting point because it's kind of like influences. Their life influencing. Telling people what to do with their lives. But their lives are totally different from the people that telling. That's a really interesting point. Yeah.


ELLI - And then it just adds to the whole guilt thing away. If you can't do that, then it's like, oh, I'm not a worthy person. Well, actually, it's not physically possible to do a 13 step routine when you're walking like weird shifts.


RACHEL- You know, I mean, it's also it's also ironic that this is my super natural super duey, but it just takes like even more effort, like you would think that it's like effortless beauty, but it just takes double the effort. And I do I do love glossier. But I think I think a beauty routine is something like a self-care skin care. A beauty routine is something so personal that some people spend an hour or two hours doing it. And some people is just like, right. I just want moisturizer on my skin and then I'm just sit here and light a candle and that's it. Yeah. A lot of courage for that to be for, you know, these like Vogue get ready with me videos to be on the Internet all the time. It sets a standard that no one on either end of the spectrum is going to want to follow. And that's also not a one size fits all kind of approach.



ANNIE So when you see and this is obvious to everyone, when you see like these sort of like step by step beauty routines, like how do they sort of make you feel? And not just like the YouTube ones, like just in general. Like if you see, you know, someone's beauty routine, diesel, think, oh, OK, I really want to buy that product or d come and think that I'm gonna feel a little bit shit now. Look how she looks like. How does it make you feel.




VICKY I mean, I've seen you would actually never even the 13 step person. I would not kind of stuff I would let you skip right past. It's avoid. I just think it's not even worth my time. One, I'll never buy the product. And two, I'll never look like it because they probably don't know. I can't. So what's the point? My skin doesn't look like that, so I just wouldn't even entertain in the first place.




ANNIE Just I know it's really obvious, but what is the similarity?


ELOISE But skin is all like but glowing, the perfect and like.


[00:44:01] No scars or pigment.


[


ELOISE- It's quite interesting that barely any of them. I mean, I know No.4 does, and I think she's number 10, but barely any of them have like moles or freckles or anything like that


CHARLOTTE- Mm hmm. When I when I first moved to the UK, one of the first things I did was buy a whole shit ton of stuff from Glossier because you can't get it in New Zealand. And I'd say neighbor on its ground. My I'm going to look like that. Like, that's how I'm gonna be doing it wrong. Like I love their products. But when I first tried to do one of those, like do like what those guys look like, like my skin has so many freckles on it, my cheeks are always like just naturally quite pink. And I was like, like, I don't look like that. Like I have the products. I've tried it out. I've done everything. And I look like I'm not even wearing any makeup, but it still doesn't look like that. And it just made me feel a bit shit. But then I was kind of like, oh, well, I guess I just won't ever look like that because. I'm just always going have these freckles. They're always going to be there. My skin's never gonna be that blank canvas that those girls have all started with. Yeah.


ELLI- It doesn't have to be like it's just so sad that, like, diversity's and like celebrated. Like there are so many different kinds of like skin tones that could be represented in in the industry. But it is just all focused on like kind of stereotypical like the stereotype, the archetype attractive person, you know.


FLORENCE- like symettrical features and clear skin.


RACHEL- And I find it really ironic that a lot of campaigns are products which is like to promote like and anti- acne products. They will help with acne like that. The model is just perfect and I'm like that then. Then why is she using it.


FLORENCE- She doesn't exactly. It's like Kendall Jenner. She had. But was it clear. So. Yeah. So something like.


ELLI- Obviously she had bad skin or whatever or drag her up like baby blood and gold and be open to having that like vampire face showed.


[00:46:15] The vampire facials, has anyone seen that.


CHARLOTTE- Oh my God. Yeah. And that’s self care? I think I would probably cry the entire time. That is the absolute opposite of relaxing.


RACHEL- That's just like that's there's such an imbalance of like how we normal people see self care or like how celebrity see self care because they'll go and do like a hundred K gold facial and then go into like a sauna room that's dealt with like a million bath salts or whatever. And then the whole day will be two thousand dollars and that and then they'll be like, oh, it's self care for me. But then that's not there. It's just so unequal.


ELLI Everyone like self care, Like, is it proportionate to you? Like how much wealth you feel you have. I don't know, because self-cae for a lot of celebrities is really obscure things. And like, I dunno, like have you ever heard of like isolation baths and. What is it like isolation things. I don't.


VIOLET Sensory deprivation. Yeah. I’ve been in one of those.


ELLI- it seems like the rich people get the the weird things that they'll do. And there's this thing called most expensivist, based on YouTube as well. It's like she just two chains going around trying the most expensive things, like most expensive donuts in the world, stuff like that. And it's like, is that what it is? Is self-care also just like a ego boost for yourself when it gets to that point? I don't I.


RACHEL- Or is it like just materials? Because I feel like I begin the pack. But one of the questions I put, like self-care for me is like canceling plans or like saying no to stuff cause it goes beyond putting a serum on my face. Sometimes it's just me not talking to anyone or, you know, me talking to as many people as possible because I feel like I need to just connect with people.


FLORENCE- But yeah. It changes every day, doesn't it? Yeah. I mean, there is like.

Every single person is different. Unlike something that works for me doesn't isn't necessarily going to let the next person. And I don't think you can market self-care to someone because, like, no one knows will you need to care for yourself with.



ANNIE A few a few words that pretty prominent in most kind of like wellness and beauty and all of these. Brands use these sorts of words, said a glowing dewy revitalizing organic cleansing pill, fresh, glossy and radiant, luminous simply. How do these sorts of words make you feel? That's really basic. I thought of a therapist, but looking at these words like


MAISY- they make me feel grubby.


VICKY- So I will say it's not true, was never achievable. They're not kind of they're not targeting the kind of unrealistic. It's very about. Oh, well, I could be all these things. I could achieve that. And that probably I, you know, must maybe draws you in more,


FLORENCE- makes it seem like attainable, even though it's always just like one step away from being, like, in your grasp.


RACHEL- They are a bit. I don't want to say vain, but they're very top level because if self cares about improving your well-being, like your physical well-being or your mental health. These are all sort of more just like that immediate feeling, rather then I don't know, like empowerment or confidence or that type of thing. They seem to be very shallow.


FLORENCE- Yeah, it's it's like they're focused on. How you like going back to skincare? It's like you have glossy skin or like luminous skin or whatever. But like, what if self-care is like sitting down and meditating for, like ten minutes a day so that you don't feel like you're going to burst when you step into a public place like it's more. I dunno, it feels like you say there a bit is level kind of your exterior rather than like actually how you feel inside.


ANNIE- So from that, do our bodies need to be detoxified? Why do we need self optimize? Or do we? a lot of brands, skin kind of suggests that there is something that we need to do, like something that we're working towards. And so, yeah. What do you think about these questions?


ELOISE I think it's quite dangerous. When brands sort of market themselves as being to de-toxifying because and I've done a bit of research on it, but all bodies, naturaly de-toxify so that if you do, I guess it goes back to why I didn't like the skinny tea or like when people have like three day juice cleanse is as like a detox. That's actually not good for your body. So you're you're better off just letting your body do, like, its natural thing. I mean, probably will say no drinking alcohol is that would be a that would be considered a detox. But I think yeah. I think it just it can be quite dangerous.


FLORENCE- agreed


RACHEL- I mean, that's just that's just like perpetuating diet. Culture. Yeah. No one needs to detox anything because not just sort of indicates like all the foods that you eat and not diet are bad. Yeah. Are not categorized into good or bad. Your habits are not you know, it shouldn't be that you're playing kind of angel and devil with your daily habits. Like if you feel like eating fried, you can just eat it like it's not something that you have to repent or like overcompensate by doing certain things to detox.


ANNIE- A, I've seen it quite, quite a lot of different articles. People sort of saying that the wellness industry is almost kind of like hiding under a veil of the diet industry, and it's not that much has changed in terms of being progressive and sort of like being really positive about ourselves and caring for ourselves. But it's more just that, that the jargon and the narrative has changed. But the actual kind of underlying message to women hasn't changed. What do you think about that?


RACHEL- Yeah, that makes me. Also, there's a reason why all these wellness propositions are so women focused because no one's ever gonna tell men to like, you know, be better. So true better.


VICKY- And it's ingrained is ingrained from such a young age as well at that kind of how how women should be and what playing on insecurities. And I think that that that's happened our whole lives kind of subconsciously. And then that leads to these companies kind of really hitting you hard on these kind of have these ideals are all just coming through. And that's shown in so many different ways. Mm hmm.


RACHEL- And it's also kind of like wrapped under this failed positivity and feel good kind of thing. As I think before, it was easy to be like you need to lose weight. You're doing this wrong. But the now is like, hey, you know, you would do you know what you could do better rather like. Yeah.


MAISY- Yeah. And that comment that you made on that you was just to discuss it made me think of the fact that when I was little, my mom and my mom always had diet books, literally atkins' like all these fad diets. They all had books. And I used to read them and be like, this is weird and but you don't really get diet books anymore, but you do get self care books. And so now urban outfitters will have books on ‘this is how to cleanse your life. This is how to fueng shei your brain’


ELLI I have so many of them. Work is actually ridiculous. Like, why? Why are you going to go to a gallery and pick up a self-care book In places they don't need to be.


MAISY, Yeah it’s like aesthetic. And yeah, it's kind of like selling a new lifestyle to people and


ELLI- it's like synonymous with millennial culture. You know, I mean, it's like as soon as anyone thinks of like, how do we market to millennials? Self care.


RACHEL- And like, I think I also feel like this sort of detox diet culture has morphed into, again, pseudoscience, things like the Kyoto diet or like intermittent fasting. It's not it's not intermittent fasting. You're just starving yourself. Yeah. Like it's not a detox. You're just starving yourself. And I think a lot of people, because it's like, oh, recommended by trainers and nutritionist or like influencers being like, oh, here's a YouTube video of me doing fasting. And it worked. Like before and after pictures. You just think that it is credible. And it's there's evidence, but it's just another way of saying the same thing, which is skinny is good. Or, you know, bullshit like that.


ANNIE- Yeah. To do anything to change himself in the first place. It's not getting OK with the whole fasting thing.


FLORENCE- Like there is a medical instances where a person might need to fast like or like the katsogiannis done. Like epileptic children, they go on the Keston done. It really helps with the condition. And it's like there are reasons why these diets are around. But they've been co-opted and people have decided that like, oh yeah, it's really good for fat loss. So, like, you should not eat for 24 hours.


ELLI- Oh my God. Yeah. When I was younger, when I was like 14, I remember literally Googling like how to lose weight fast. And it was like this three day diet that was meant for before operations where you could like drop five pounds really quick. And it was like, why is that the first thing that comes up? Yeah. I remember that. So clearly, it was just harrowing.


MAISY- Yeah. I feel like, we were talking about detoxing before. And obviously I completely agree. Eat good food, eat what you want. Food shouldn't be good or bad, but like the term detoxing… if you were to have a weekend caning it on the drinks, you were absolutely smashed every single day. You're going to want to detox on Monday morning. And that is going to make you feel better because alcohol does do bad things to your body. But then that word detox has been like, co-opted into like – so you need to detox all the food you ate.. You need to detox everything. You need to only have green tea, because that’s the only thing that's good for you. And that makes you shit yourself as well. Why has it been co-opted into a thing to make people feel horrible about themselves.


ELLI- Yeah, sometimes I'm hung over and I want to eat lots of vegetables and sometimes I just want to eat like a whole bargain bucket to myself. And either of those things are going to make me shit myself because I drank an entire bottle of vodka the night before.



FLORENCE- it's just a fact of life, isn't it.. people shit themselves.


ANNIE- OK, so moving on from shitting yourselves..



ANNIE- “The kind of wellness anxiety that drives orthorexia obsession with clean eating is now at play in the realm of beauty”. What do you think?



RACHEL- Yeah, I agree. And also I fell prey to it because clean eating is not a real thing. And there's so much like clean eating, clean diet on YouTube and whatever. It's just fruits and like egg whites


ELLI- think about diet and like, actual healthy weight. You can have anything if you genuinely do want to, like, look at losing weight, your health, your mental frame, that all healthy ways to do it. And people focus on the instant gratification of it. But I feel like being on this kind of like on a weight loss journey, in a sense, is a form of self care for a lot of people. But then it is really like detrimental to a lot of people as well. And I think it's about like the way that is marketed is literally about like preying on people's insecurities. And this whole kind of thing about the wellness anxiety, it's it's not like it's not getting people to think about healthy ways of being. It's not about healthy ways of keep me in. It's like an obsession. And it's like their mom is obsessed with this thing in order to work. But that's not true. Like, just, you know, if you want to eat some cheese, eat some cheese.


RACHEL- I think there's that pressure, like the anxiety comes from a pressure of not being good enough at wellness or not, you know, an even clean eating, it means that if you're not clean eating, your dirty eating, and then the guilt would come back because then you think you're doing something wrong. That's not the case.


ELLI - Exactly.


FLORENCE- It's it's a real shame because, like I'm sure we all know people who are in this situation and they're completely like they will complete it tonight. You'll try and sit down with them and like, ask them, if they're right. Like, what if they day, like, all the like, I'm fine.

And I had 100 grams of blueberries and I had a green smoothie eleven and now it's five p.m. and it's like, come on. But like, you can try and talk to someone, like I've been that person in the past and that's why. Like when you see someone and you know that that's what they're doing, like you automatically clock. And it is difficult. And someone that you love. Well, I really care about is. Like so in it that they don't realize that they are suffering with all through orthorexia or anorexia or whatever it is.


RACHEL- It's basically an eating disorder. Yes. I think a lot of sort of wellness food trends perpetuate that.


FLORENCE Yeah, I feel it all stems from just like the media that we were exposed to as children. Like, I remember being like 10, 11 years old on the Special K diet. And like, when I was in P.E doing like leg exercises and stuff like it's like from a young age, you can, like, told to think that you'll know this, that or the other enough. And that's what perpetuates this, like self-care you know, wellness fad thing. And that's how people get money like that. What is the end of the day? Making people feel bad so that they'll pay money to you for whatever product is that will fix things.


ELLI- the diet industry is dying out and people know that. So now it's like, what other things can we pray on? Oh, mental health.


RACHEL Yeah. Like a different avenue, but to the same point. at the end of the day they just want our money. Yeah.


ELLI- If it wasn't wellness they would focus on something else, like part of the next thing that people are self conscious about like. I feel like people will go to the extremes to make people feel anxious into buying products.


ANNIE And then I guess wellness that there are so many things like us, florence said before, so many things can come into that. Like it's not just wellness, like it's beauty comes into that. Some people die. It comes in. For some people, there are so many different things and it's all just sort of being marketed as this one thing. It's like wellness.


ELLI I think you can have a great self care like this, like just from this whole conversation is kind of synonymous with aesthetics, kind of thing like for me as well, I would think of I know we’ve mentioned like yoga and exercise and stuff. But for me, self-drive is also like sitting down and reading a book like exercising the mind, stuff like that, which I feel like is like an exact reflection of why it's such a divisive topic because. It is just when we talk about it, the conversation does just naturally flow to aesthetics and capitalism.


RACHEL- And you kind of forget that self care can also be free and you can just do in your own home. Or I was reading I saw something the other day, which was it was like, oh, self care tip. It was from like someone not dodgy basically. But she was like basically it was a nutrition that's actually on TIK TOK. But she was saying self care can be that of your having a really bad body image day. It could just be as simple as putting on your coffee sweatpants and sitting in bed and not thinking about like, am I going to fit in these trousers or I look bad in this dress. Like, that's super simple, but it's that's that's just an action. But then that can still be counted, as self-care, for someone who is sort of in a vulnerable spot. And then it looks like I'm going to do that. It's such a great tip.


FLORENCE- Yeah. I suppose like the self care that really matters the most for an individual is something that you can't let someone market it to you. It's more of like a personal, like emotional thing. Like you can't make money out of telling someone to wear the sweatpants in bed, like. Someone will try..


ANNIE Cool. OK, so we're getting maybe a little bit deep now.


[01:05:04] OK. So I just read on the left on the post from Rachel Elizabeth Cargle. I love her. Yes, same. Can you read it? You see it? Mm hmm.


RACHEL- Really like that


Exactly, yes. I was going to ask. And why do you think some people react to commodifying wellness like this? Like, do you sort of react to that? Like if you felt like a similar way or like, why do you think people are kind of now reacting to this?


RACHEL Well, they were fed up of being sold unrealistic products and unrealistic ideals.


[01:06:06] We could be just like you. So it is.


ELLI I feel like in this context, it's about like people going to claim what they've been doing and stuff like that and like kind of people virtue signaling in order to boost their own ego and stuff like that. And.


ELLI- Like that is how people all kind of put into like categories and forced to.


ELLI - It all comes into like neo liberalism as well, like Michelle Foucault Technologies of the self. Annie, I mean, I know you know what I'm talking about.


MAISY- I think you should buy itself. So inherently selfish because it's about looking after yourself. And so what this person saying is that there is self gain as well from doing something that’s going to help other people get, you know, do go and vote for someone that's going to make other people's lives better. And that will make you feel like you're doing something good for the community and good for the world.


RACHEL- And I'll just do it. Just giving back is just nourishing who you are as a person and exercising your own compassion and your own empathy. Wow. I think a lot of what she's saying is also what we're doing right now is connecting the dots and kind of questioning why we're falling for these products or why there are these products out there and just being aware that, you know. But she says systems at play that are affecting our actions and our thoughts.


ELLI- You know, I feel like it's about detaching from the kind of like instant gratification that we get. Like the ego boost, like like like you were saying about why do I feel the need to go and buy something to make myself feel like it all plays into. There are ways to make yourself feel better and also benefit the people around you and the world. And this time and that is what we need to watch from.


MAISY- I think the collective wellness is the phrase she uses, which is really nice because like capitalism is making wellness as being something about you and it is big by this black woman. Got to stay alive and have a bath, you know. But then there is if you take a step back, collective wellness is something else that needs to be considered.


ELLI Yeah, just like personal wellness, smiling at your local shows and stuff like that. Asking people how they are. I feel like that is a form of self care as well. Spreading positivity to other people for sure.


FLORENCE- Yeah. My, um, my yoga teacher, um, made the slike statement be in a class like the other day and she was talking about the hot, the glass half full, half empty or whatever it's called, you know what I mean. And she was like, you, you need to you use your yoga practice. You need to fill your cup up and let it overflow so that other people reap the benefits of your self-care. Which is which is what Rachel's saying. She's basically saying, look for yourself.


ELOISE- And then I guys are starting to get other people as well because I get as and presents before SCAF is seen as quite as quite selfish.


[01:09:47] Yeah. It doesn't have to be.


RACHEL- I mean, it kind of goes with that thing, which is if you can't love yourself, if anyone watches Ru Paul, how can you love someone else. So it's like working on yourself so that you could be better for someone else. And the world know people who are marginalized or people who don't have the ability to love themselves or they've not been loved by society.


ANNIE Yeah, I saw something recently was kind of just talking about how wellness is only catered to. I mean, I say they said only I'm not sure I agree with that, but it's only catered to the people who don't need it the most. So. Yeah. Like what?


RACHEL- Or people who are people who can afford to do it. Or people who can access it. I mean, also, I guess I can say for us that like because we can afford skin care or, you know, we can afford it. We have a roof over our head to watch Netflix and whatever. I guess we're already privileged in that sense. And also to be able to discuss these things to know.


FLORENCE- Yeah for sure. Like, we're all in quite a privileged position to be able to see past the bullshit and to have this conversation. And not like not be dragged down by the like the guilt or the. Yeah, the lies and the guilt look like guilt tripping you. We're being gassed lit basically.


[01:11:29] I think we covered most of these things in just two seconds, let me just see if I've missed anything.


RACHEL- This is great discussion for Wednesday night. Yeah, and I think he'll say, what, OK, I'm going to end on. What do you feel most empowered by? In terms of like what you do, what you can see and what you read, what you listen to, like just by knowing what you feel most and powerfully.


RACHEL- Recently, boundaries. Being honest about your own boundaries and kind of recently learning that with my boss. But just like being honest about what you need and what you feel uncomfortable with. That's been empowering for me. And just also letting go of the guilt, as I'm realizing, sometimes you don't have to go work out or you don't have to do this. And just listening to my body. So I think that's probably my biggest learning and kind of figuring out my own self care too.


FLORENCE- Um, I've been reading the new Florence given book. What's it like? Um, I've actually like I'm reading it and I'm like, this is great, but I'm having to take it like a few pages at a time. It’s is really empowering. And everything she's saying, like rings so true that it makes me like slightly angry and emotional as I read about. And I'm like, let's sit down and I'll come back to it each day. But is is empowering. But like sometimes. Being empowered is like quite an anxious experience for me anyway, because it's like I'm picking everything and like trying to see the truth. But yeah, she's been great. And also, um, Tschiderer, her books, How to Get Over a Boy. What a time to be alone. They're all great.


ANNIE Anyone else?


[01:13:49] Right, empowering, like trying to think of how to express how I feel. Sure.


[01:13:56] An example of what we mean by like in terms of just like you kind of when you're thinking about your wellness, what you do for kind of self care. Like, are there any sort of things that stick out sort of make you feel most empowered? That can be kind of a place you go or something you listen to or like products you use and a personal Instagram. Literally, anything I know there's so much in it is like really overwhelming this whole topic, because there's just so much or so many things we can do to make herself feel good. Yeah. If there's anything that sort of sticks out to you that makes you feel empowered.


ELOISE- I think personally, like over this time and looked down, but this might sound a bit deep, but I've always struggled. I guess I said to myself, like loving my body and stuff like that. But I've found that this time in lockdown, I've really learned to accept myself for who I am and by my beliefs and love my body. The way is my found. Not really empowering.


[01:14:58] Sorry, I don't get really deep. And do you think, like you said about Knock-down? Well, yeah, sort of.


[01:15:04] I don't know.


ELOISE- Like, I guess because I've not felt a pressure that I always need to, like, be out socializing or I need to be doing something all the time. Like, I think I've realized that if I say I don't want to go to a social event, I don't need to go to a social event and I can just say no. So I guess that kind of resonates back to what RH was saying about the personal boundaries and stuff like that. Yeah, as well.


[01:15:32] I think I'm a really kind of what transpired here. I did not find what. But like I feel like before lockdown I had so many thoughts about what should be doing and whether I'm being like. Efficiently square. Like trying to, like, improve, resentful towards or just think, what should we do it right now? A lockdown kind of just had this needed break that I couldn't do anything. I couldn't do certain things, like I couldn't do anything I wanted. And I kind of liked that I didn't have an option like all these options, because just just relax and think about what should be doing, because there's, like, a lot less to do about, like, not having the options.


[01:16:19] I guess it worked out.


ANNIE Yeah. I guess it's off limits, at least in the sense that it's kind of like we haven't been seen that much. We don't have to be mean. So like I guess it also plays into it. We so choose when we all see kind of thing. Any amazing? What do you do in college?


MAISY- This is not me. It just made me realize that I don't really feel very empowered for them, which is kindness. Even that that's absolutely fine. Like, because to be honest, I don't really I can go on pessimistic. Like most things I look at, I always find a there's always a way for me to make it like negative.


MAISY- So I wish I could agree that lockdown's made me more happy with where I am. But if anything, it's given me. All the hours in the day to sit and think about how much I hate a lot of the waste. I am. Maybe I'll go away from this and try and look at more ways of empowering myself. That's going to make me feel a little bit more at peace with myself.


[01:17:25] I mean, why, though, they do come out and play?


ELLI Well, I was just thinking I feel like in quarantine because there's been like nothing going on, like with Buck, which is what I usually just spend my time doing. And that was nothing. I had loads of ideas for stuff I wanted to do and never really executed them. I still have. But like, there's been like key things keeping me go in is exercising. Just because I love it just makes me feel good.


ELLI I find it empowering being around people that you know, that you've chosen. And like I like knowing that I've picked out a good selection of people in my life, and that makes me feel empowered. Because it's like just positivity. You know, you've got so many people to go to. And, like, learning, I feel like we've been stagnating a lot. Like, it's easy to feel like we have any way. I do. So. Well, we haven't been a walk. I felt like I needed to just, like, keep flexing my brain. So, yeah, learning friends, exercise and balancing.



Focus Group 2






APPENDIX D

Transcript - Focus Group 2


[00:18:01] I feel like looking at like self care through like Instagram can be like. It depends like what kind of made I mean, like if I wake up and I'm in like a weird state of mind, I can actually find it quite a while back in negative impact than a positive, even if it's trying to be like a positive biggerstaff like Brown? S sometimes it can kind of almost like emphasise how that's like how I'm not at the time. But then also like, if you're in a good mood, I don't know about the rest of your life. But if you're in a good mood, it can be like, oh yeah, that's what I'm striving to like, feel like what I'm trying to be like. I don't know what it's like dependent on like the mood. What do you think?


[00:18:49] I feel the exact same with that.


[00:18:51] So a lot of things I find other people I do with specific on social media that sort of promotes self type things that I see a lot. And they explore page. And a lot of it tends to be sort of like facemasks, some beauty and things which typifies what I do. Sometimes you kind of want someone to be like, you know, if you're not feeling good self can. I could just be like doing nothing like just have enough or something. You don't have to do something to yourself to improve me. I'm almost all kind of. Is that make sense. Which to me is quite nice to see sometimes somebody be like, you know what, you're not feeling too good self. You still like going to bed.


[00:19:32] Same thing. Yeah. Like on misguided and stuff like that that I like posting about like stretch marks like cellulite and being like these are normalised normal bodies. I mean I feel like it. Stuff like that should be made to be like. You don't have to do all of that if you're feeling down, you know. Yeah, I completely agree.


[00:19:53] I think I think I posted this on the on the padlet He got me. Self care has really been taken to be something other than what really should mean. It was often kind of used in a kind of radical feminist idea.


[00:20:10] Audrey Lords spoke about self care and how to look after yourself as a political act, whereas now I feel like it's overly aestheticized and like I feel like often people do. I'm not want to say people do it to show off on Instagram, the idea of what it looks like, the ideaprofit really comes into it as well. Like even the idea of influencers at the end of the day that they're profiting off it. And you can't you can't divorce like capitalism from it at all. And this whole self-improvement neo liberal do this and you'll feel better rather than what Can we actually so that society treats marginalized groups better.


[00:20:48] Society treats marginalised groups better so they don't have to keep doing like.


[00:20:53] Yeah, yeah. I think it's quite interesting that, like you guys have been saying, obviously, if you're feeling rubbish, then you use self-care almost like the remedy to that. I feel like self topped enough so I don't get to that point. I mean, obviously, everyone has down days like tough times that health care is to me something that I just try and constantly do. That's not nothing really to do with face masks or anything. Now, so palpitate to me it's not. How is it to cure me having a bad time or whatever more, you know, keeping up exercise or doing the things that are going to lead to me not feeling stressed? But don't even necessarily seem like self-care. I've just been brushing off everything. It's on my to do list. And by the end of today, I'm feeling so much better. And to me, that's Celltex. I'm keeping myself at a level where I don't need to then crash, have a bath or do whatever.


[00:21:51] The remedies are quite similar with that one.


[00:21:59] I quite want to. Yeah. Just. And if I'm feeling overwhelmed as well like I was find it helpful to just take a day where I just like, do nothing. Or like don't set myself anything that is really challenging for that day. And sometimes that just helps me to keep on top of everything really.


[00:22:19] I think what I've got from so I've done to other focus groups as well, and they're sort of like a similar I like everyone's saying a similar thing and it's sort of like a.. Self care, almost like self care that we see all the time. And what's pushed in front of us isn't how we personally feel. And I think self care is so, so personal to everyone. You know, it can be so different. But I guess that the research that I'm doing is sort of trying to think about, you know, it's all very well. We can all say this, but these narratives are still pushed in front of us. So I guess ice I kind of like I'm not personally I don't think that self can, you know, having a bubble bath is going to suddenly make me feel better. I think you do, then. Well, yeah. I mean, it does make you feel better. But I mean, thinking about the bigger picture and I guess I'm still thinking, you know, we all probably I think we all definitely also victims to the narratives that brands put in front of us. So I guess I'm sort of asking, where do you think those pressures come from?


[00:23:23] Can you think of any where specific? Are there certain types of brands or platforms or influences or anything like where do those sort of negative pressures come from?


[00:23:35] I'd say I would say that I mostly see it in beauty brands or skin care brands as opposed to I don't really see it as much with like fashion brands or anything.


[00:23:46] It is generally, oh, by this face mask and all your problems will melt away, you know.


[00:23:52] So I'd say you need definitely country is smart. Yeah.


[00:23:58] I find a lot of lifestyle bloggers to kind of publish the routines that they do everyday is a form of self care. And I think a lot of them can be very similar to each other in the structure and order that things are done. And they're sort of like ideal morning ritual that I think is kind of like glorified, that you have to journal in the morning. You have to, like, set time to do cardio or some sort of workout in the morning to take care of yourself to be functional for the rest of the day. And I think to me, that puts a lot of pressure to do only certain types of self care. And then in a certain order, too. And I find it sometimes it's just not practical for everybody. And I really do think that since we're individual people, we might have different forms of self care that might work better for us or done in a different order, a different part of the day. So I think it's a little bit restrictive in the way that the narrative is very similar in uniform. It seems like across different lifestyle bloggers or brands that are kind of who are by that standard.


[00:25:10] I completely agree with that. And I think I think it's going to become obvious.


[00:25:13] I'm just going to a second.


[00:25:16] Yeah.


[00:25:18] So Capita, I think maybe Maintenant spent that rubbish. Sorry. Yeah, I think probably beating myself.


[00:25:27] I really don't think you can divorce these kinds of ways that companies and brands profit off of women, especially from capitalism, from the whole neoliberal ideals of self improvement versus actual social help. And I'd say as well, I think influences are a really interesting thing to think about, because essentially it's coming from the brands and way influences are a victim of that as well, that they you know. I wonder how much they actually believe in it and how much is just internalised. I need to show myself to be doing the specific thing. And it's really sad, I think, because actually self care, the idea of looking after yourself can be a political thing, can be like a really healthy thing, especially for women that is just being completely co-opted. And this is particular aesthetic as well. And that's just followed by everyone, even even brands that say that that feminist brands. That's a whole nother thing. How much are they actually embodying feminist values like dolls really famously photo shopped this. Really? Yeah, Photoshop. The image is still when they're showing all the all the women together are different body sizes.


[00:26:38] And I just think it's pretty hard to divorce those two. Right.


[00:26:43] Rumbling No, please, everyone ramble. Yes.


[00:26:50] I think definitely like certain brands like you saying about beauty brands, not only profits from portraying this idea that, you know, buy this and it will make you feel better. This is self care. And trying to define what self care is, but also they wish it would negatively impact their brands if really what they promoted was something more like you’re enough just how you are. It doesn't matter if you have sports. It doesn't matter if you have this. It doesn't matter if you've got body hair. You don't need to buy a razor. You don't need to buy it. It's knowing that your enough and, you know, promoting things like exercise or having therapy and things like that actually are going to help people and keep people talk to would negatively impact the beauty industry as well. I think that they you know, they thrive on these ideas of self-care rather than even just using it to promote the product.


[00:27:51] It just reminds me of I've been saying this razor everywhere and it's I think is straight and it's estrid. They're selling the idea of female empowerment with fking razor. Like, it's ridiculous. And lots of influences in people that I follow for fashion and stuff. You know that promoting it. And it's like, is there a double thing? What's going on there? Because it doesn't really matter.


[00:28:21] I had such a rant about that the other day around was my dad.


[00:28:27] So he was just like, oh, I'm really glad. Yeah.


[00:28:34] It's so interesting. Like, I work for a beauty brand and obviously, like with everything going on at the moment. There’s such a big stigma at the moment of like keeping your skin hydrated because you're wearing a mask. And like, what are you going to do when you get home because you're wearing a mask and it's like, oh, this is almost tying something to sell on this bad thing that's happening at the moment of like, oh, you have to if you don't do this. When you got home, like, your skin is going to react badly to it and therefore you're going to feel awful. Like it's not like, ah, let's, you know, try and enhance what we feel or whatever it says. But at the moment that I've been to I've been told, for instance, to make sure that we're link selling a I mean, I from. You can possibly tell who I work for I'm still wearing my badge, which is really bad, but they're saying for us to spray things like hydration sprays on everyone to make them feel better. In these unprecedented times now, I don't think like an essence spray is going to mist everything away right now. And just from what you're saying on a bright light is coming from. I definitely agree with whoever said like beauty brands are like influences because they've got a really big celebrity that's basically got the most perfect skin, the most perfect everything everything obviously photo shopped everything to make it look amazing. To promote this link so that we're supposed to do which is supposed to make everything okay at the moment. But, you know, I definitely second who are besides the beauty industry. I know that a lot of the colleagues that I work with as well like that, their brands are , telling them the same thing, and that's even coming from not even from a PR point, if you will, like an advertising that's actually coming down to like the stuff that like you see like face to face, not even like online.


[00:30:43] No. Well, I mean, it is just a case, just the case of capitalism just yet. Every single bad thing that happens in the world, making it a way to get women to improve themselves


[00:31:00] But I was going. I was going to ask, is any are any of you so conscious when you buy things? Do you think about the messages that brands are promoting deep? Do you consciously think about it when you purchase something? Think about what sorry? When was it like when you were sort of like buying things of like self carbonated, like wellness beauty? Do you think about the messages that Brownes also of like promoting and conveying? And would you, for example, would not buy something because they said they all.


[00:31:43] I can definitely say that I do. I do think about it. I think skin care is a really big deal. Feel I can talk about skin care, because a couple of years ago, I feel I almost really fell victim to this idea of you need to do this routine and this and this.


[00:31:56] And the more I know, I'm now at a point where I just I feel like I see it for what it is, which is. Yeah, I'd like to you could do particular things naturally. It's just a way to, like, get you to buy more products. And so I do try and think about it. And I wouldn't buy from a brand. So I'm very concerned about the brand. I wouldn't buy from a brand. I feel like it's really profiting off of off of those. I do that thing. Yes.


[00:32:27] I just think it makes me see brands differently. I'm trying to think whether, like in all honesty to myself, whether it's stop me buying certain products, for example, the ads that I think was Tampax recently put out. That's like the. There was just a horrible, horrible advert. They were like, oh. Get him up there, girls. And like, it was just a super I hate it. It was horrible. It was when they they, um. Yeah. The ad was basically in it in the form of like a chat show type thing. And they they said, like, you've got to get them up. That girl's not what they say. No. Not just the tip right to the right.


[00:33:12] Oh yeah. I sold out. I did see that photo.


[00:33:18] Absolutely terrible. Made me see that brand in such a different way. I just thought it was such a. Oh yeah. And then I think, like, in the same week I saw body form put this video on Instagram that was so empowering and I absolutely love that was all about like different woom stories and sharing different peoples. Yeah. Experiences with like periods of infertility and stuff. And that's definitely changed like my perception of those two brands because of that appetising. And what I, I suppose personally would feel is a negative versus a positive exploration of like obviously what that brand is trying to target.


[00:34:01] Yeah.


[00:34:05] When it comes to packaging, even for green products, I think it really makes a difference. The company that is promoting it is in line and consistent with it.


[00:34:18] If they say that they're inclusive air or that they're a sustainable company, that they do make like biodegradable packaging or something that's recyclable or something like that. That does that's my opinion when I'm trying to decide which products to buy. So I do kind of like look into what kind of person what kind of people are behind this product versus so. So I do want to make sure that I align myself with that too, and be really throw from like who I am, the product to the person behind the product.


[00:34:56] I guess that also sort of comes with, you know, there are like, you know, everyone can actually physically do that, you know, like if people can't afford it or that, you know, they're going to buy the cheapest thing they can wear. So really lucky to even be having this conversation and be able to actually sit down and think about these things. But, yeah, I'm going to move on to Houston. I feel like I always do this. I have this big presentation on my nose. I don't need this. Okay. We're not going to go through that, OK? So I'm going to play this. Can everyone see the screen?


[00:35:35] Yes. OK.


[00:35:38] She said to me, it's moisturised, hydrated, hydrated, healthy, natural love.


[00:35:48] Why does it matter what it is?


[00:35:51] Long as you do.


[00:35:58] What do you guys think?


[00:36:02] If you will see that a little bit to me, but I think I heard someone say it looked like glossiest is a little dark, something I might miss that was not right.


[00:36:13] I'm a job ahead, right? Yeah. Yeah. I don't really know how I feel about that.


[00:36:18] Saying the museum glossier means that you love your skin like that. Still, to me, very much pushing the brand and pushing you have to buy it, otherwise you don't love your skin. And that's not a very good method of dancing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Nobody came home one night.


[00:36:37] It's the reason I glossier. Because I've explained quite openly quite a lot of people have felt like glossier is a really sort of real empowering brand. I'm not going to lie. I have sold other ideas. I'm not allowed to get my opinion obsessions. Oh, yeah. What do you what do you think of Grossi? And what do you think of that?


[00:37:02] I like I really I agree with you on a I feel like Glossier has like really profited off this real aestheticization of beauty in a way it made. Their whole branding and marketing. The one thing that’s great is they’re inclusive, but they're still pushing products in the same way that products are not cheap. They're very expensive. And I remember I think I was watching a tape talking something and it was just this skin guy being like, this is a really shit product. You could get exactly the same for like two pounds or something like not this kind of authenticity, which is like buy this can be yourself.


[00:37:50] Yeah, I fully agree with that. And I fully bought into what, glossier selling like ipe of glossier products, because to me it came across like it's not true, but like it's a little bit more then the more you think about it, it's like, well why are they selling a product that makes you look natural but you're not good enough to be not true. Still wait a little bit and make it on because the actual natural use. Not quite. Not quite that like the MA thing by the mom. Like yeah it's either so. Yeah. Pushing it a little bit in the wrong direction I think.


[00:38:26] What do you notice about the M, the girls on the screen? What they all have in common?


[00:38:31] Perfect skin and that you eat?


[00:38:37] You look quite slim. Sixteen faces. Oh, yeah.


[00:38:40] I definitely get five models and not like, you know, if you think about it.


[00:38:48] I mean, if they were gonna sell it as a new CBC, that would be the way to do it. This is just this is just the place to be.


[00:38:57] Yeah.


[00:39:00] I'm I'm not sure if I knew the company. So products and things about do the door ever state whether anything's photo shopped or anything. So even these photos that could still have a just moment. So you don't actually know if that's some model's like skin or that that's a model with makeup on. That's not the product with the product on. And then we've got someone either. So I think some sort of like clarity to maybe not just glossy but like products in general is also like this image has been photo shopped. This isn't exactly what the image portrays. But then again, people probably wouldn't buy it. And so it might not be why they want to do it, but. Yeah.


[00:39:49] Yeah. I sort of just think, you know, like if Pete people that have sort of like, you know, stuff with acne or problematic skin that probably, you know, they would probably die to look like these girls. But you know how I don't know if anyone sort of suffers for their skin. I do. But it's sort of like thinking like how and after those girls fail, because it is Ratti sort of see like, you know, there are so many different textures of skin and it's like, you know, people have blemishes on their face. They have freckles. And you just you just don't really see it a lot. Does anyone sort of. I'm not just to do with skin care, but does any of us follow any brands that they do show these things? They do show like people with spots on their face and it makes them feel good because they're like, oh, like, you know, I can relate to that or anything about skin.


[00:40:40] I think I know of any guy that I've come across that could say women who have the problems that they're trying to make the products to cure, but that they don't actually show the problem. They just show this. I of what you could like. But that's not even probably attainable for a lot of people.


[00:41:03] A classic example is the shaving example with razes either shaving outfits and the women never have had. Necks.


[00:41:12] I ask that you it it's these that really made sea legs and you're like, oh, you're not even sharing the product properly.


[00:41:22] But just like folks advertising in a way that's know, it's just not that's not the reality.


[00:41:33] I don't know. There's that ad running over there. But there's an ad for Bill. It's like a razor. And there actually there is a commercial with women of different skin, colours and bodies, property types. And there is like body hair. And not all the women in the ad are shaving their body hair. And I think they also included, like gender fluid identity as well. Yes. And I that was really significant to me. But then came back to I would like to purchase their product because that really stood out my mind as a unique advertising. But again, it came down to the price thing that is kind of not to be inclusive of everybody.


[00:42:21] At the end of the day. So there is a cost to that marketing.


[00:42:30] I think, like I can't think of a single brand right now has done anything like that.


[00:42:37] So I think it just goes against what they're trying to do. And I think it's it's really difficult because even brands like that do seem inclusive and diverse in terms of representation. Superimportant, the ball is quite low farce.


[00:42:53] But they should be the norm that every brand is like that. And I think I don't know if it's intentional or not. I can almost capitalise on that and do around a different type of person. And at the end of the day, it's. Yeah. That's all victim. We're all victims of the same same system. I don't think brands can really do it. I think it's something we have to change in ourselves. And like, I try and follow people on Instagram, the vocal about that kind of stuff as a kind of everything else.