Of Packages and Poses

In recent years the prevalence of naked women in magazines and newspapers has provided a stimulus for debate.

For those against (The Sun‘s Page 3 for example), the argument is clear: the objectification of women is perpetuated in a daily, casual manner in which men are the observer and women the object.

Alternatively, the women have chosen to display their body to the nation and beyond – to remove that choice is in itself a form of suppression.

And so it continues, back and forth with little or no change in the discourse or promulgation of such images.

Personally, I find the caption box next to said woman equally irksome – usually comprising a profundity on a headline issue, its presence is intended to draw mirth, a glance from the nubile to the insightful to be accompanied by a chortle – how could a girl be beautiful, sexy and intelligent? Not possible.

So laugh again.

Which is why I find the project Poses by Yolanda Dominguez an interesting critique on the visual representation of women in fashion.

Clothes intact, Dominguez demonstrates the message behind the contortions that peddle purses, a skirt or a pair of sunglasses:

Photographers and fashion editorials throw women on the floor, put them into ridiculous positions; submissive, dead, diseased […] I do not identify with these women and almost no woman does identify with them.

However, all strive to be like them because we have no other reference. This leads to many disorders and diseases. […] The men never go out in these poses and situations.

[via Le Project d’Amour and Messy Nessy Chic]

More recently, objectification touched the visual representation of men and the cries have been loud.

Leading the front of unreachable standards has been David Beckham (a gentle reminder), whose ability to fill out a pair of shorts was the source of much tittering and quibbling.

Since then, there have been subtle shifts towards the overt sexual representation of men in public spaces – no longer bland, anodyne images of dudes staring vaguely into the distance: the shots are bolder, cruder.

Of course, there is a long path to tread before the mantle of The Objectified can be passed to the male – women have had both time and experience, as well as the continued perpetuation of the images, to sustain the (unwanted) title.

Dominguez’s work raises a smile, but strikes at a deeper message – the objectification of women runs deeper and broader than acknowledged, presenting a new front for action and debate.

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