Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh, Broadsheet

Broadsheet, if you're going to keep bringing me cool stuff like this, how can I feel justified in continuing to mock*? Both Rachel and Ivy were talking about the Dove commercial for promoting self-esteem among young girls. Rachel says, "I say, it's nice to see images of non-diet-obsessed women in the media, no matter what they're selling. " Ivy says "It is sooooooo important for our little girls to feel comfortable in their own skin and to know that what they are worth, is not at all tied to their appearance." And, since I read those things first, and then saw the pictures of the Teddy Girls, it really struck me how amazing these girls look. Let's take it from another perspective. In talking about naked men, one of the things I kept coming back to was how weird it was to see men being framed by the camera in such a way that we, as viewers, were supposed to be aware, first and foremost that they were men. What's striking to me about the Teddy Girls is that they're framed in such a way that it's clear that we're supposed to be aware, first and foremost, that they're cool. Not sexy or "available" or on display, but cool. That's what, I think, is so amazing about them and so weird about the photos. So often, when you see artsy photos of women, it seems as if the women are posed in a way that says "Look at me." These girls seem to ask you to really see them. And I think that's one of the things so striking, and frankly moving, about the Dove commercials. They invite you to really see the women in them. Of course that's powerful. How could it not be? *Oh, ha, ha, that was rich! As if is ever going to stop putting out stories about upper middle class women and treating them like their problems are universal!


Blogger Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel said...

Ms. Tiny Cat Pants, not only does Salon act as though all upper-middle-class women's problems are universal, the Washington Post does the same, except that they include men.

I especially *liked* all of those Post "Outlook" section articles a decade ago about how dorky the writer and his interviewees felt about driving minivans. My question: What do they look like when they're not driving minivans? Riiiiiiight.

Whatever issue plagues the Post staff--does one's au pair kite the phone bill with calls to her boyfriend back in Stuttgart? Gee, someone else's does too, only her honey lives in Sri Lanka!--you can count on an article. One would almost forget that the District of Columbia is still majority African-American, and that most families in the D.C. area struggle and juggle with high real estate prices, inadequate day care, crumbling public schools, and much more.

Until newsrooms are representative of the communities they cover (or don't cover), we can expect more of the same.

2/08/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger cafiend said...

The Dove ads choked me up, and I'm a dude. I just lose alpha points right and left.

Unfortunately, an appreciation of diverse femininity has a tough road to travel as long as "eye candy" remains a viable career path.

I know many incredible women who cover the full range of physical appearance. None of them make a living as eye candy, but what about the woman doomed to be beautiful? This is not a flip comment. Some people struggle with the fact that almost no one seems to find them attractive. Others have to deal with the fact that almost everyone seems to. I could go on for days about how it's worse for women than for men, because the causes are complex and run deep in the human psyche. The situation has evolved over millennia.

Whoever you are, male or female, you should base your self image on what you can do, not just how you look. But we are visual creatures. Most of us need a good clout upside the head to remind us to look below the surface.

I almost got to be the first commenter, but I kept trashing the comment and starting over. I've spent many years thinking about how we hurt each other and how people who have been hurt can pass it along whether they mean to or not.

2/08/2006 12:57:00 PM  

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