Categories for Beauty

The Influence of Media on Perception of Beauty Essay

The Influence of Media on Perception of Beauty Essay

Defining beauty is not without its challenges: look up the definition of beauty in any english dictionary and one will be met with an ambiguous description similar to this:

”A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense”

(Newman 2010) acknowledges the dilemma in asking what beauty is. She maintains ”we grope around the edges of the question as if trying to get a toe-hold on a cloud”. We know it when we see it, or so we think. Philosophers construct beauty as a moral equation (Newman 2010).

Plato once said that what is beautiful is good. Poets reach for the lofty, according to (Newman 2010). Jean Pullman wrote ”true beauty is how she acts, true beauty is inside.” Others are more definite in their definition. When people approach plastic surgeons and announce ”make me beautiful” what they are asking for are high cheekbones and a stronger jawline (Davis 2011). Scientifically beauty is seen as health. According to (Newman 2010):

”It’s a billboard saying ‘I am healthy and fertile, and I can pass on your genes.

Our personal perceptual process plays a large part in what we deem to be beautiful. Perception refers to the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses (Merriam-Webster 2010). The sensory receptors that are involved are skin, mouth, ears, nose and eyes and they inform our sense of touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight. The media has brought with it wonderful advantages in certain aspects of people’s lives but it has also brought with it a very alarming detriment, and this is a change and influence in society’s perception of beauty.

Through the media unrealistic images of western ideals of beauty are transmitted out all over the world. Advertisements, magazine articles and modern hollywood are the driving force behind the influence of the public’s perception of ideal beauty (Hoffman 2004). From magazines and billboards to film and television advertisements, it is fair to say that images of unattainable body ideals are everywhere for all to see. The age of technology has meant that there is more access and exposure to these images.

According to (Tornambe 2010) movie icons in the 1950’s and 1960’s that appeared on the silver screen were admired and adored, but never copied like today. Because it was understood that they lived a life far different from the average person. Fast forward to the present, where people are bombarded by images of the daily life of celebrities thanks to online social media websites like twitter and facebook, blogs and online magazines. This has created an intimate relationship between celebrities and the public (Tornambe 2010). This relationship has changed society’s view on beauty because now that celebrities are on our level, doesn’t that mean we can be like them?

Women in particular experience the brunt of media pressure. From reading magazine articles and advertisements that feature women that are models who are underweight and beautiful, they feel that they need to look like that to be happy and successful (Hoffmann 2004). This can create an unhealthy body image for women. Body image is the perception that one has about oneself (Martin 2009). This perception can be either positive or negative.The average height of a female fashion model is 5 ft 10 inches and weighs 110lbs (Waltz 2004). The average woman is 5 ft 4 inches in height and weighs a healthy 145lbs, yet the media glorifies the former as ideal.

The perception that to look like a model will make one happier and confident has led to an increase in eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, as women starve themselves or make themselves sick to aid in faster weight loss (Waltz 2004). Unsurprisingly, eating disorders are a growing epidemic and since 1970, the number of those with eating disorders has increased by a staggering 400% (National Eating Disorder Organisation 2011). Eating disorders account for more fatalities than any other psychological illness (National Eating Disorder Organisation 2011). Genetically some women are not meant to be very thin. The death of American singer Karen Carpenter shocked the world in 1983 when it was found that her death was caused by complications due to anorexia. Her death essentially opened the eyes of the world to this disease, because many had not heard of it as it was rarely talked about (Schmidt 2010).

Karen became the first celebrity victim of anorexia. As one half of the band The Carpenters she was a regular in the spotlight and felt the pressures from the media to be thinner. Naturally curvaceous and weighing a healthy 140lbs, she began extreme dieting and starvation in 1967. Her body suffered from the lack of food and many doses of laxatives and thyroid pills and she had fainted many times on and off stage. Her heart, weakened from the stress she placed on her body, eventually gave up and she died from cardiac arrest.The dark side of beauty is apparent. But according to (Newman 2010), studies suggest that beauty is regarded as more than a confidence booster:

”attractive people make more money, get called on more often in class, receive lighter sentences, and are perceived as friendlier”

Evidently beauty is so highly regarded that there is an immense expectation for women to conform to impossible standards. According to (Chapman 2011) women are made to feel ugly and ashamed if these standards are not met.

For years the ideal beauty in women was considered to be white skin, light eyes and blonde hair, as dictated by the media. Superior race is the most oppressive of beauty ideals which continues to dominate the media (Stephens, Hill and Hanson 1994). According to (Kite 2011) images of white women dominate the media, which creates a negative impact on women who are not of a white ethnicity. Celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles and Aiswarya Rai who are successful actresses in their own right, have experienced what is known as the whitewashing of the media (Beauty Redefined 2011).

In advertisements and magazine features these women have been subjected to this harmful media representation where their dark skin has been noticeably whitened before publication. See Figure 1 and 2 where you will see two photographs of both women, one of before each were whitewashed and one afterwards.The media digitally lighten both the skin and hair colour. The transformation of both women is very disturbing. The actresses are considered beautiful women but when they are respresented as beauty icons in the media, they fit the white ideal – light skin, light-colored hair and lightened eyes (Beauty Redefined 2011).

In Killing Us Softly, a documentary made by Jean Killbourne in 2010, Jean confirms this. In it she says that women of colour are considered beautiful only if they fullfill the white ideal that is light skin, hair, eyes and caucasian features (Kilbourne 2010). In Asia beauty is often equated with white skin. In fact it has spawned a lucrative and dangerous industry of skin-bleaching products (Hwang Lynch 2011). According to (Hwang Lynch 2011) the preference for pale skin is equivalent to the American obsession with tan skin. 70% of the Asian cosmetic and skin care market is made up of bleaching and whitening products aimed at women who want to artificially lighten their skin(Hwang Lynch 2011).Whilst most products perform safely, they have been linked to the death of a 23 year old Cambodian woman in 2010 (The Guardian 2010). The coined phrase dying to be pale rings true.

The search and pursuit of ideal beauty spans centuries and countries. Cleopatra famously wore black kohl made from minerals around her eyes to accentuate them. In the court of Louis XVI, women drew blue veins on their necks to emphasise their noble blood (Newman 2010). In the 18th century women used vermilion rouge that was made of a dangerous chemical compund made up of sulfur and mercury. So dangerous, it caused women to lose their teeth and some to lose their life from being poisoned. The pursuit of ideal beauty is also very costly. According to (Kilbourne 2010) what is most important to women is how we look and that we make the effort to look good:

”The media surround us with images of the ideal female beauty and we learn from an early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time and money striving to achieve this look and feeling ashamed when we fail.”

Failure is inevitable because it is impossible to attain this ideal (Kilbourne 2010). Advertisments for cosmetic and skincare products contain models that have been made to look flawless via digital enhancement. The advertisments base their ideal on complete perfection. There are never any natural lines or wrinkles on the models that would be clearly visible without artificial enhancement. The flawlessness advertised by these cosmetic companies simply cannot be achieved (Kilbourne 2010).

”Nobody looks like these models, not even the models themselves.”

Kilbourne (2010) discusses female sexuality in her documentary. She says that from an early age girls learn that appearance and sexualised behaviour are rewarded by society. Whilst she claims there is nothing wrong with wanting to be sexy, she believes it is wrong that this is emphasised for women to the omission of other important attributes, such as having a genuine personality. (Wolf 1991) summed up the insecurities felt by young girls:

”Their [girls] sexual energy, their evaluation of adolescent boys and other girls goes thwarted, deflected back upon the girls, unspoken, and their searching hungry gazed returned to their own bodies. The questions, Whom do I desire? Why? What will I do about it? are turned around: Would I desire myself? Why not? What can I do about it?”.

Defining beauty is not without its challenges but according to (Englis, Solomon and Ashmore 1994) people actively look for it based on what is thrusted to them by the media. Female consumers are on the lookout for the latest products that will help them look beautiful. Marketers capitalise on this with advertisments depicting unattainable beauty that tricks consumers into buying their product. In the USA in 2011 six billion dollars was spent on fragrance and another six billion on makeup (Newman 2010). Hair and skincare products amounted to eight billion dollars each. 20 billion dollars was spent on diet products and services, and this is in addition to the billions spent on health club memberships and not forgetting cosmetic surgery.


It is clear that we live in a society and culture that values appearance, and the media bombards us with an array of images of ideal appearances for both men and women on a daily basis. This isn’t helped by the fact that we live in the digital age and images are thrusted in our purview through more mediums. The media is such a consistant member of our lives and is so dominant that we consciously do not understand the strong influence and control it holds over our perceptions of beauty. With every passing year and decade our perception of what is ideally beautiful changes as a result of what we are being fed by the media (Salome 2009) No doubt many women will continue to suffer because of it and strive to try and achieve it. Of course there are many of us who will sooth ourselves with cliches like it’s only skin deep and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for better or worse beauty matters and has always mattered.

The media need to completely change their input in influencing our perceptions. They need to advertise women with realistic and healthy bodies that are beautiful. They must stop featuring unhealthy, underweight models in advertisements – they are not beautiful, they need help and it is wrong. Yes, beauty will always matter. But let’s appreciate and embrace being different and renounce any ‘ideal’. The media sends out messages to women that beauty is a central aspect to their identity and their sex (Salome 2009). It is extremely damaging for young impressionable women that attach easily to this notion. A genuine personality does not sell a product it seems and instead sex sells. The notion that in advertising and also in the film industry that sex sells, is a powerful force that keeps us trapped in crippling defintions of femininity and masculinity (Kilbourne 2010). According to Jean Kilbourne (2010) what is at stake in this debacle is a woman’s ability to have an authenthic and freely chosen life.

Beauty and Body Image with Women Essay

Beauty and Body Image with Women Essay

Beauty and Body Image for Women miou can lose 12 pounds in 10 days. ” “Have beautiful, shiny hair that will last forever” and “Look 10 years younger by Just applying this to your face every night”. Now a days there are hundreds of advertisements trying to persuade women on how to look, what not wear and especially how much to weigh. It seems like a magnifying glass that exams every inch of our bodies to find fault or a way of improvement. A while go it was believed that beauty comes from within not the outside.

However that saying seems to hold little to no meaning anymore. So what does beauty truly mean now? Dictionary. com defines beauty as the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. These days people have take that meaning and created a multi- billion industry. Whether it’s for necessary needs, self- esteem issues, social gratification or work requirements there is a reason for omen to interest in the topic beauty.

Outer body image has become a major factor in our everyday lives.

People and companies have invented machines, creams, pills, books and so on to “help improve” whatever you have an issue with. Women have spent millions of dollars to satisfy their personal idea of what being beautiful is. There are many kinds of beauty however they usually fall into two categories. Inner Beauty being the first category of beauty , that usually deals with your personality and how you treat others or your actions. Secondly there is outer beauty or what I like to call “the world’s cash cow’.

It includes clothes, hair, make-up, weight and many more things. Not Just America but thousands of places around the world has made many rules to how the perfect woman image should be, it has truly became toxic and confusing. Thousands of companies and fellow people have gain generous amounts of money for creating and advertising items to help indulge “the rules”. Jenny Craig , 24 Hour Fitness, Proactive, Mary Kay, and Tae-bo are Just a few names that have ollected nice checks from women who try to better themselves.

There are different machines, creams, pills for every and anything, whether you want something fast or natural there is something out there that claims to ‘do trick, Society has been the main gas fuel to the topic of beauty and body image. Thanks to the media, everyone’s views, ideas, and opinion are casted and seen by many people especially targeting women. It has also taken young girls hostage worrying about what they look like efore they even pass puberty.

They are seeing celebrities and models that influence them that this is the way they should look if they want to be beautiful. Usually for women our self- esteem and body image becomes a real issue during young pre- teens as girls. Taking the ideas of our friends, family, the people around us and the media, combined with what our thought of what beauty is and reconstructing ourselves to closely fit that image is something that women have seem to do every

Interpersonal Relationship and Beauty Essay

Interpersonal Relationship and Beauty Essay

Beauty is not something we can measure, it something that we judge on a person. We can see a face for less than a second and rate whether that person is beautiful or not. Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture. An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Beauty is a kind of quality. Websters dictionary defines beauty as something that is pleasing to ones sight or mind. However, beauty encompasses so much more than that. Beauty may not be recognized at once in people that you meet, but is recognized through close relationships such as family and friends.

After time, though, beauty shines through a person by them giving their hearts.

So, the stereotypical guy or girl model that most of the world perceives as beautiful, is not the same beauty that family and friends see. Aaron Spelling director of Bay Watch had this to say “I can’t define it, but I know it when I walk into a room. I talked with a modeling agency that books top male models and they were more descriptive: Its when someone walks in the door and you almost cant breathe. ” (Etcoff) Aaron Spelling gives a good definition on what society perceives beauty as.

Society thinks of beauty as features that can be found by examining someone just by looking at them not by who they are through their actions and feelings in life. In the article “What is beauty” it says “The oxford English dictionary defines the word beautiful as excelling in the grace form, charm of color, and other qualities. ”(Etcoff) See, all points are proven that beauty is looked at through external form except through “and other qualities. ” This is where close relationships, such as your family and friends see these other internal qualities rather than outside qualities.

In Nancy Etcoff article it states “We can see a face for a fraction of a second, and rate its beauty. ” (Etcoff) How can a fraction of a second determine if someone is beautiful or not? Etcoff explains that it is absurd that you can rate someone beautiful or not in a fraction of a second. This is where family and friends rate your beauty through your actions. This is from the close relationship you have with them. This shows that it takes time to know if someone is truly beautiful of not. David Hume, a Scottish philosopher and historian said “Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.

That is something that everyone should take to heart. Beauty is missed by so many people because they do not take the time to stop and appreciate all that God has created. ” This quote explains beauty is all around us and it’s not our right to judge and say what is beautiful. Instead of judging someone, families do not. They judge you for who you are as a person rather than your looks. Internal and external beauty is both very important in our society. To be beautiful internally means to have a knind heart and be understanding.

To be beautiful externally means to be beautiful on the outside such as having a nice figure and a attractive smile. Internal beauty is important because beyond looks, it is your personality that is noticed. External beauty is important because it is your attractive figure that brings attention to someone’s great personality. These two types of beauties are represented and influenced by family members, friends, and society as a whole. Family members are important in how we perceive beauty. Depending on the family member, there is an absolute distinction made between beauties.

Parents are most likely to look at the internal beauty rather than the external, while siblings look at the external part more closely. Family members are key in how society perceives beauty and how they show it. Without this part of society, people would most likely judge people for there looks rather than their personality. Internal beauty shows someone’s character. There character is the most important part that is judged. In the article “What is Beauty” it states “Although the object of beauty is debated, the experience of beauty is not. Beauty can stir up a snarl of emotions. (Etcoff 68)

Nancy Etcoff means that beauty is considered and object in society, but family and friends don’t consider it an object but a possession that is unique to that specific person through there personalities and actions. So, although friends ar friends, they tend to be one of the most hypocritical judges. The thing that matters to friends is if a girl is pretty or vise versa. Then chances are she may also have a nice personality. But if she doesn’t appeal externally, then her internal beauty must also be lacking. This, however, is not always true.

Society is the most judgmental of all critics regarding beauty. But in todays society, external beauty is always stressed significantly. This is one of the main reasons why there are so many girls in our country that have eating disorders. Successful women are perceived with external beauty which makes girls feel that they have to look like that which makes them go on ridiculous diets that cause them harm. Society rarely stresses the importance of internal beauty. But family and friends see the persons personality and overlooks the external beauty.

By this it gives that person the confidence to accomplish and that they set there mind too no matter what gets in there way. It seems however, that society places too much effort than before how a person looks. Rarely, does a society ever judge a person by the way they act. Based on the influences of family, friends, and society, it looks like family is the most reasonable judge of external and internal beauty. Siblings especially are the fairest judges. Friends are somewhat neutral, and stand the middle ground in differentiating between the two beauties.

Society is the harshest critics of beauty, always stressing the external beauty. It seems society will always be one sided; and no one can do anything about it. The best way to judge beauty is by the individuals own standards, not from any other influences. Nancy Etcoff says “Our bodies respond to it viscerally and our names for beauty are synonyms with physical cataclysms and bodily obliteration breathtaking, femme fatale, knockout, drop dead, gorgeous, bombshell, stunners and ravishing.

We experience beauty not as rational contemplation but as a response to physical urgency. This means that all these names that we say to represent beauty have an effect on the people they are being said about. Society has this beauty on a pedestal that no one can ever reach. Family and friends show reality and show the standard of beauty that everyone is at in there unique way. Beauty is something influenced by society, making us look at people externally and not internally. We are based on that beauty has to be perfect in every way that we miss out on internally beautiful people.

In life, God didn’t create everyone the same way or the same shape; he created everyone different from one another. So no one can be perfect. We as a society and in the whole world need to look passed the flaws we see in people and truly, sincerely look at who they are and how they act. In a sense there really is no true definition for beauty. Its family and friends that hive a unique definition that everyone should go by. It’s how you act that is your beauty not your looks. Looks don’t last forever, its your personality that last a lifetime.

Beauty Contest Essay

Beauty Contest Essay

In the average dictionary beauty is defined as a combination of qualities that pleases aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the meaning of beauty has become extremely distorted and in place beauty pageants have become very popular. These contests take place across the entire world; in big cities and small towns. The contestants’ ages range from 0 to 30 years old. Thus, children are thrown into this lifestyle, without knowing exactly what they are getting into.

They are judged by physical beauty and sometimes personality and talent, with the winners awarded prizes or titles.

Many people say that it beauty pageants boost ones confidence but in fact, they increase eating disorders, excessive dieting and can even lower ones self-esteem all because they do not feel as physically attractive as “they should be”. In more ways than one, beauty pageants significantly impact young girl’s life as she develops into a woman. According to an article by Women’s News, the United States generates approximately 100,000 beauty pageants for young girls and approximately 2.

5 million girls compete in them.

For most pageants, children are entered into them as soon as they are able to sit up by themselves. This means that from a young age these girls learn that the worth of a person is solely based on appearance, thus enabling them into a vain and insecure individual in the future. Though these pageants host talent portions, they are often flooded with over promiscuous dance routines and outfits, throwing pageant kids into things that are not appropriate for their age. Sadly enough, not every girl that enters a beauty contest can win.

So, their parents become very competitive and make them go through tanning, waxing and many make-up and hair sessions, to guarantee that they are the “best”. However, when these girls do lose, they believe that they were not good enough for the judges and lose all of their self-esteem. These pageant kids now become overly competitive and believe everything is about winning. And even worse, a high percentage of these pageant kids will engage in cosmetic and plastic surgery in the future to maintain their definition of beauty.

In addition to low self-esteem, beauty pageants can create many bad habits including excessive dieting. Because the parents of these young girls are very obsessive with their children’s appearance they end up robbing them of their childhood. They are not able to grab a slice of pizza or even a kid’s meal because they are watching every calorie intake. These young girls are forced to go on crash diets, to gain energy and lose weight very quickly. Sadly, this creates a number of problems for their health such as impaired growth, menstrual irregularities, low blood pressure and impaired kidney functions.

Unfortunately, many of these parents do not know exactly how they are impacting their children’s bodies. They are not only forming nutritional deficiencies but psychological issues too. According to the National Association of Eating Disorders, 90% of the time, girls who were forced to start a diet from a young age increase the frequency of taking extreme measures to continue a “perfect” figure, which is very destructive to one’s health. Excessive dieting can lead the way for a more harmful habit, eating disorders.

In today’s society, 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieting, (disordered eating) and as many as 25%, advance to full-blown eating disorders (Philadelphia Eating Disorder Examiner, July 2011). When these pageant kids grow into young women, they have all of their eggs stacked in one basket, which in this case will be the “looks department”. They are so used to concentrating on the external and superficial aspects of beauty that they cannot focus on reality. The longing to be thin like the supermodels on magazine covers, causes these pageant girls to go to extreme measures such as bulimia and anorexia.

In one situation, a pageant girl as young as 6 years old was hospitalized with anorexia, which was linked to body image. This is not acceptable at all. But the blame cannot be solely placed on them. Their moms are so obsessed with their image; they allow their children to engage in these horrific activities. There is therefore no doubt that beauty pageants do no good for these kids. In closing, beauty pageants cause a great deal of problems for girls in the long run. These pageants are more likely to hurt one then to help one.

These pageants are supposed to boost confidence, when in reality they ruin children’s lives and basically kill their mental beings. I believe that beauty pageants for kids are a form of child abuse. These mothers exploit their children, teaching them that there will always be a person better than them. This is unacceptable and beauty pageants need to be banned because beauty is not counterfeit. It is being confident in your own skin without the approval of others. The time for taking action has come.

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Beauty Essay

Beauty Essay

Beauty is something that can be interpreted completely different from person to person. A famous quote that goes along with this perfectly is “beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ” I think a person’s inner beauty should be taken into account when deciding whether or not a person is beautiful. Wikipedia’s definition of beauty is, “a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction” while Oxford Dictionary states, “beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially sight.

As you can see, inner beauty could be paired with Wiki’s definition and outer beauty could be paired with Oxfords. Of course, there is no way of telling which definition is more correct, but, for the majority of today’s society, outer beauty seems to be the primary focus. One example that proves just how important outer beauty is to society is the rise in beauty products and services that are around today.

Surely, once the 21st century initiated, appearance definitely began to play a much bigger part in people’s lives.

Interests in salons and day spas were rising generously, and surely, business was not hard to find. More than likely, most salons’ appointment books were filled, nail salon chairs were occupied, and an increase sales in beauty products all hit businesses with full force. Another illustration of our appearance obsessed society is seen in the surrounding woman and men. For instance, there are many events, even on a global scale, that support this shallow idea of exterior perfection, such as Beauty pageants; Miss America and Miss Universe are two of too many examples.

These events are taken very seriously by a vast number of contestants who alter their body surgically, wear dentures, and add an, no doubt, unnatural amount of makeup and hair extensions. Furthermore, even more popular, exists pageants for young children with contestants of ages as low as a few months. With toddlers and infants being at their most influenced, getting done up in caked on make-up, eyelashes, spray tan, and fake teeth just isn’t something we should be backing.

As you can see, it is time for people to focus more on things such as a person’s morality, personality, values, and intelligence rather than always infatuated with exterior. The main reason the word beauty has been used to describe external features rather than internal ones, so much more in the recent years, is the media. The media has evolved into something extremely influential, and the most clear message people recive from this, is what they are supposed to look like. For instance, magazines often create young girls who believe that thin as paper models seen in any magazine are what they are supposed to look like.

Also, another component adding to the superficial terms people have are the celebrities that we idolize who are coached to not have even one single hair out of place; all those celebrity’s with perfect skin, hair, and body have been accomplices in the media’s outrageous spread shallow opinions. The outcome of the media’s bar being set so high is people all around doing whatever necessary to preserve their physical appearance regardless of the effect it has on their health or bank accounts.

Everyone would be a lot happier if they drew their attention to the internal characteristics of a person, rather than all of the smoke and mirrors that is displayed on the surface. For example, someone who is the most kind-hearted, level headed, and selfless person could go through her whole life not having the opportunity to show others due to her presentation of a had exterior. Of course, although it can be hard for some, it’s never right to reject someone all because they don’t meet the unspoken of standards that most have set for themselves as well as the others. Helen Keller once said, “Beauty is not always seen but is felt in the heart.

Helen was someone who was dealt a horrific hand yet still noticed and embraced the beauty in all of her experiences. To sum up, most of society goes without noticing, or simply doesn’t care, about any beauty that reaches deeper than the surface, which is very unfortunate. Many people become sick, depressed and some even die as a result of the pressure media and those greatly influenced by it puts on them. This world could be so much better, relationships could be so much stronger, and those who deserve it would be so much happier if the word “beauty” was interpreted as something deeper by the masses; one can only hope.

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