In my previous post – Photoshop Beauty, Media and the Real Women, I have talked about Photoshop and how it’s used. Today I’d like to talk more about the representation of women in fashion industry. They are stunning, they’re sexy but mostly quite different from what most other women look like. I recently stumbled upon the work of Yolanda Dominguez who criticises the fashion industry by videotaping real women trying on the often ridiculously looking poses. Which only amplifies how different is the world of fashion. Read more about it here.
Yolanda herself says: “…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. It seems that women cannot have a wrinkle, or cannot weigh more than 50 kilo, or cannot be older than 25 years. That is not healthy or sane. The men never go out in these poses and situations.”
This is definitely a valid argument more photographers should be trying to depict women as healthy and interesting, independent individuals. And it is mentioned that men are never shown in “derogatory” poses, and it’s also slightly disconcerting because it seems that they can’t show any sensitivity – only hot hard muscles (which is not necessarily a bad thing 😉 ) but try to switch from the norm and your image or subject will be labeled as “gay”. Therefore I think that there are stereotypes for both genders manifesting themselves in the media. But mostly we won’t even notice things like strange pose in a magazine because the stereotypes are so culturally ingrained.
Recently and not so recently there have been attacks on the way women are represented (or misrepresented) by the Media. Skin and bones girls, unhealthily tanned H&M models and various Photoshop enhancement or blunders are just a few of the many criticisms. But nothing really changes. Yes, maybe a magazine or two will do a non-photoshop issue but that is just like all black/ethnic model issues which serve only as marketing campaign. Next month it will all be exactly the same as before.
So what needs to change? Everything, the customers need to figure out whether they really want to see people like themselves on the covers or they’re happy with the status quo. Complaining to your friend doesn’t help (unless she’s editor of the Italian Vogue or something). However my main problem isn’t with the images, as a feminist and a photographer I’m always striving to make the people I photograph look their best. The images in ads or media only represent how most of general public views women (we all know the stereotypes) and until this changes there is no reason for editors or ad executives to change their strategy.
I’m not really sure if this blog makes sense, but hope you’ve enjoyed it.