S2E2: Breaking Down Beauty

Alright this week’s episode is brought to you by … psychology and tons of interesting media/links. No need for me to overly introduce what will probably be some of the most interesting reading you’ll do this week…

Renee Engeln’s book “Beauty Sick”: https://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Sick-Cultural-Obsession-Appearance/dp/0062469770

and her blog posts on Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beauty-sick

Happiness Initiative:  https://www.facebook.com/glamour/videos/vb.26815555478/10155603701885479/?type=2&theater

Listen to this week’s episode here:

Or download it here.

Artwork for: Beauty is in the Culture of the Beholder

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset
“Gold Standard,” Hellay Studios.

A note from the artist:

Gold Standard, is a collage art piece made from The Birth of Venus (1480s) by Sandro Botticelli, and a stock photo of mannequins found on unsplash.com.

In the episode, there was a theme of ‘difference in beauty standards’ around the world and cultures. This art piece was created on the aforementioned theme.

In Roman Mythology, Venus is the goddess of beauty and fertility. In the original painting, she is emerging from the sea, fully formed and ‘beautiful’, being flanked and revered by other godly beings on her either side. It can be perceived that Botticelli was concerned about creating a moment of beauty that ought to live on forever, and it has.

In stark contrast, the mannequin holds no divine status. In the original photograph, it is not clear at all why they (there were multiple mannequins) were placed where they were.

One may guess they were drying after being spray painted, or just waiting for someone to put clothes on them. It is also almost impossible to know who created these mannequins: were they hand carved by a person, or mass produced in a factory? Regardless, they are not fully formed, they are only functional.

Juxtaposing Venus and the mannequin was a bold action, inspired by ‘difference in beauty standards’. Aesthetic vs. functional, timeless vs. discardable, revered vs. unnoticed, conceptual vs. tangible, ancient vs. contemporary.

However, the aspect that allowed both Venus and the mannequin to be juxtaposed is that they are both used as standards of beauty. While the difference in their creation and form significant, the fact remains (over vast time and space) that beauty standards exist.

Another effect of the juxtaposition is that it morphs and swaps the power dynamic. In the original painting, Venus’ expressions and pose are that of ease, and magnanimity.

In the collage: in a different world of replicated mannequins, the same expressions and pose can be perceived as insecurities leaking and fear. The goddess of beauty no longer feels beautiful in a sea of replicated standardized mannequins.

The above explanation is from Hellay Studios, with whom we’ve begun a collaboration for this season of BTB. Every week, they’ll be releasing artwork related to the episode. Follow @hellaystudios on Instagram for more BTB fun, and to see the other beautiful artwork they create.

S2E1: Beauty is in the Culture of the Beholder

Hey y’all! Bet you thought we got sick of this podcast and not that we took 9 months to carefully source our tastefully curated season.

Well, joke’s on you because this week, we bring you a new take on beauty standards. Via South Korea, Kenya, the US and India, we decided to dig deep on the variations we see around the world, and the very real impacts those can have.

On that topic, voila, our happiness initiative that made us oh so happy this week:


Listen to episode one of SEASON TWO (woohoooo) here:

Or download it here.

Enjoy and check back every week for a pretty awesome season!

Coming Soon!!!! Season Two!!!

If Priyanka had it her way, this post would start with an Eminem throwback (Guess who’s back? Back again…) but good thing time differences mean that I can sneak in here and change it. Because Priyanka is lame. duh.

But for real, BTB is back! It’s time for Season Two. Or almost. We’ll be posting episode one of the new season in a few weeks, but here’s a quick promo, so you know just how excited you should be (here’s a hint: be VERY excited.)

So if you’ve changed your phone or podcast app over the last year, make sure to re-subscribe! You can find us on iTunes or any podcast app. Just search for Breaking The Bubble.

You can also stay up to date on our latest episodes and musings on our Facebook page. And please let us know what you think of the episodes, or any ideas you have for future episodes, by emailing us at breakingthebubblepodcast@gmail.com.

Here’s the episode!

Or download it here:

Ep 14: Sunni-Shia Divisions

Welcome to our second installation of the BTB Case Study series where we tackle topics and try to “walk the walk” of discourse, break through our comfort zones, and learn about new perspectives and subject matters from experts and spokespeople.

This week, we tackle a division that both insiders and outsiders have felt for centuries. It’s been painted as the core rift among muslims and at the center of various conflicts in the Middle East.

But as we talked to Omer and Leila, two Sunnis, and “John,” a Shia, we were surprised to find that while some of the stereotypes or rumors are rooted in misperception, others link to ideological variations that lie on a spectrum. More surprising was why these types of discussions haven’t really been facilitated in the past and where BTB-ing can be limited when it comes to these discussions.

Listen to this week’s episode here:

Download here.

If you want to know more about the Alevis in Turkey, which John mentioned @19min: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2017-01-05/turkey-and-alevis

If you want to know more about the Battle of Ashoura, mentioned @28min: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/10/muslims-worldwide-mark-ashoura-161011162814209.html

We’re looking for feedback on this episode specifically on if our explanatory bits about Islam and geopolitics were helpful, or if there’s anything else you’d like to learn. Email us, Facebook us, comment here, Tweet at us. We’re all ears!


This Week’s Happiness Initiative:

And thanks to Kevin MacLeod for all the music in this episode!!

Ep 13: Two Liberals and a Conservative Walk Into a Podcast…

Welcome to our first installation of the BTB Case Study series where we tackle topics and try to “walk the walk” of discourse, break through our comfort zones, and learn about new perspectives and subject matters from experts and spokespeople.

This week, we’re showcasing a lengthy conversation we had with Ethan, or the “Aussie Conservative” as he’s known from his blog.

If we’re being honest, the two-hour (yes, you read that right) interview we had on a rainy Sunday morning in Paris was more than we expected. But while discussing topics like immigration, Trump, political islam, and the “regressive left,” we were pleased to discover that even as we disagree on most politics, we relate quite a bit when it comes to communication and openness.

Listen to this week’s episode with clips from our interview and accompanying BTB-style analysis here:

Download here.

If you’d like to hear the full, unedited file of our interview with Ethan, click here.

This week’s Happiness Initiative: https://www.instagram.com/erasinghate/?hl=en

Ep 12: Navigating the Flashpoint

Prepare yourselves. We’re coming back in full force next week with our first case study in the series!!

But first, this episode on how easily a casual conversation can be derailed by a single polarising phrase or term. How do you talk your way out of it calmly? It’s something we’ve been trying to explore in this week’s episode of BTB:

Download here.

Happiness Initiative:
The Circle of Pizzas

Ep 11: A Cab Ride in NYC

Rafa Uber Screenshot

Lately, we’re all about putting this BTB thing into practice. You could say it’s the mindset we’re in as we prepare all of the case studies we’ve got coming your way very soon.

This week, Eunice put BTB to the test with her Uber driver in New York City. In less than an hour, Rafael, a Colombian immigrant, talked to Eunice about everything from the weather to the struggles of being an “outsider” in the United States.

Download the episode here.

Also just a quick reminder to please help us out with our email campaign! You can find the easy-and-quick template we made right here. And we’d be eternally grateful if those of you with iPhones would please rate & review our podcast on iTunes. Thanks!!

And last but not least, here’s this week’s happiness initiative: http://oomk.net/

Ep 10: To BTB or not to BTB?

That really is the question. We ask it almost every day. Not whether or not to make this podcast. We love this podcast. But we often find ourselves wondering if we’ve taken the ‘see the other side’ concept too far. What do you think?

Download the episode here.

Email Campaign:
As we said in the episode, we’re trying to expand our audience so that we can diversify the voices that we feature in our show, and so that we can get a wider range of feedback from listeners. If you like what you’ve heard so far and feel comfortable doing so, please tell a friend! We’ve written up a template for you to use to make it super easy. Thank you so much for your support!!!

Hey there!

Hope you’re doing well!

I just wanted to tell you about this cool new podcast I found. It’s called Breaking the Bubble, and it’s all about bridging the ever-growing gaps in our media landscape.

Two Northwestern University graduates – Eunice Ro and Priyanka Tilve – started the project initially as a response to polarisation in the US after the 2016 presidential election. But given that Eunice lives in Paris and Priyanka lives in Doha, the podcast has expanded out to international themes and more sociological analysis.

They’ve explored the role of humour in media, the importance of recognizing confirmation bias, and what it’s like to be a spokesperson for your community.

So I just thought you might be interested in checking out their work. You can find them on Facebook or the iOS podcast app – or follow them directly on their website to get reminders whenever they post a new episode.

Eunice and Priyanka are always looking for feedback and episode suggestions, so feel free to message them on any of those platforms or email them at breakingthebubblepodcast@gmail.com!

Thanks, and hope you like the podcast as much as I do 🙂


Happiness Initiative: 

Harper's Bazaar - Feast of Love