body image · media · objectification

Strong bodies and objectifying images

catwoman
Cat Woman

This is one of  my favorite posts about images of strong women in the media: Hey, Everyone — Stop Taking This Picture! (No, I Mean It.

It’s got me thinking about the difference between pictures of strong women that show us as agents and pictures that show us objects. The Lean Eating program has participants get themselves photographed, and often participants choose photos that demonstrate their strength and their power.

Some of them work and others don’t (for me) and I’ve been thinking about photos and the relationship between strong and sexy and how the mainstream media sometimes gets it so badly wrong.

“So, the most recently released image of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises kind of got me worked up. The moment I saw it I think I said something to the nature of, “If I have to see one more woman posed with her behind in my general direction, looking smouldering-ly over her shoulder, I’m going to punch someone in the face. And you two [my Tor.com officemates] should be worried, since you’re the closest people at hand.” My co-workers generally prefer a non-violent environment, so I decided to work through this the only way I know how: with lots of photographic evidence.It’s not that we all haven’t noted how prevalent titilation is where women in the media are concerned, but this pose in particular is everywhere. And why should that be?

Well, it typically does a good job of showing off all of a lady’s assets for one. And I’m sure if an actress isn’t quite so curvy, showing off her posterior (wow, how many synonyms for “butt” will I have to use in this?) sounds like a good way of ramping up sex appeal. It’s also a pose that tells you, in no uncertain terms, “I’m here for you to objectify me. It’s okay, you don’t have to feel bad about it.””

Go read the whole thing!

5 thoughts on “Strong bodies and objectifying images

  1. This is without a doubt a sexualized pose, as it really is just one of the positions a woman can take to make a man highly aroused. I was once at a concert with a number of people and a woman who is just a friend was leaving her seat and then turned in this position to look at me and ask me a question. I was almost embarrassed because I was aroused to say the least, and she really is just a good friend. But luckily she just smiled and seemed to take a little bit of pleasure in my roving eyes and discomfort because we are such good friends. So….to capture a woman in this pose purposefully – I can tell you with certainty – is no doing nothing but using sex to sell.

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  2. Yep. I also hate how the Tactical Footwear of Choice for so many action heroines is a high heel. You’re running, jumping long distances, climbing things, fighting*, having to balance on tricky surfaces … high heels would be a serious liability in most of those scenarios!

    (If you look really hard at the scene in “Watchmen” where Silk Spectre and Nite Owl are breaking Rorschach out of prison, you can see that the Spectre magically switches from heels to flats once she jumps out of the airship. Probably because the actress could not fight in heels.)

    *Especially with the fighting style so many action movies favor for their heroines, with all the high kicks and jumping. A lot easier to turn an ankle that way than if you’re just standing still trading punches with the bad guys …

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing! That was a very telling piece. Nothing quite proves a point when there is photographic evidence!

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