Posts Tagged ‘body as art’

Is there a message being giving in the Victoria Secrets Fashion Show or is it just a show we should sit back and admire, or look to buy?

The Victoria Secrets Fashion Show 2014 currently aired yesterday for the 13th time on national television. It is one of the United States largely viewed fashion shows and is broadcast annually.  The show features many slender and nothing short of tall and fabulous women. Now the models and designers have been working all year round and about $2.5 million goes to charity.The designers construct the over-the-top glamorous wings and costumes for the models to strut their stuff down the lit up and animated stage. And for the models, a constant hunger strike to keep their body whipped in shape. Not a ounce of fat to be seen by the viewers on t.v or the anxious fans who paid $25,000 for a front view seat. Maybe hunger strike is to aggressive of a phrase to describe these women’s actions, but from my (admitted) bias views I wouldn’t know what else to call it. They eat very tiny to no carbs for most of their life and being “perfectly” skinny is their life career. Don’t get me wrong, I highly believe it is a fun and glamorous job and I understand why people would aspire to gain that position. I shop at Victoria’s Secret, faithfully supporting them on their over priced items, as well as watch the show annually.

Even with my love for the Victoria’s Secret/PINK line, is there something they are trying to tell us? Along with the harmless glamour, is there an underlining message or are they only selling to us and no fuss should be made? Regardless of their “harmless” fashion, the facts of mostly Caucasian and extremely skinny women can not pass my mind. I am on the fence with my opinion because showcasing their product on mannequin sized women for a “nicer” appearance tells us how are bodies should look or what we should be aspiring. Or would that be making a big deal out of just a fashion show. I just feel as a company looking to pursue women (even those who are not size 2 considering they sell large sizes), they should appeal to more type of women from different ethnic backgrounds and shapes/sizes. Because to me they are blindly supporting a “right body acceptance issue.”

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Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I am always the same person inside.

-Lady Gaga

As a child up until about 7th grade I would consider myself to had been a tomboy with girly qualities. I never wanted to put on a dress, wear dressy shoes, heels, get my hair done, and not even thinking about makeup. As I got older from high school on out, I believe I fell more into wanting to get dolled up. So makeup was a big part of that right. I soon became interested in buying foundation, and eyeliners, mascara etc. I liked doing my makeup to an extent and now, I almost wear it everyday. I personally don’t feel bound by makeup because I still go out without it. Another part of me wants to always wear it for the extra confidence boost because its insinuating. But here is where the real problem is; when is it overboard and no longer only insinuating but more trans-formative.

Society now gets on women for wearing too much makeup or making themselves look different from their natural look. When I am around my dad, boyfriend, or brother its always the “ohh she is wearing too much makeup” judgement. Many are now concerned they won’t know how someone really looks. But should that be the main concern and why is it this way. I feel society puts pressure on women to look a certain way. People now go out their way to have a certain look and to still be judged.

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Images such as these pervade comic book character art. Women are normally in sexy, revealing outfits; and, their bodies are often doing some pretty impossible things. A blog called Boobs Don’t Work That Way brings awareness to how ridiculously women are portrayed in comic books. The picture of Wonder Woman displayed here is not unique. Attempting to make her sexier, she is drawn into this impossible pose where her breasts and behind are shown at the same time. Also, her breasts are extremely large, and there is no way that her costume could logically support them. The commentary on the blog regarding this picture is as follows:

“It always freaks me out when boobs are drawn as almost a separate entity. This one looks like it’s about to pop off and and start a solo career.”

Other interesting points the blogger makes include the way fabric unrealistically stretches over breasts in some costumes, suctioning itself to each breast individually, the fact that nipples rarely have areolas in comics, and that breasts are not always perky and perfectly spherical.

I find it interesting that beauty for women in comic books is literally impossible for us as humans. The beauty standard is completely unrealistic. Do comic book artists feel that women will not be sexy without their impossible breasts? Or do they enjoy creating a fantasy woman? I’m not personally sure which reason correctly demonstrate how artists feel, or if there are other reasons. The blog is not being updated, but the pictures and commentary are excellent. Check it out!

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ImageWarning: this post does contain mention of self-injury.

I recently came across this article on scarification. Scarification is a process that involves using a scalpel to carve patterns into flesh. This may seem gruesome to some, but some who are attracted to it are looking for a way to disguise old wounds. One person who had scarification had been a youth who had engaged in self-injury and said that scarification was a form of reclamation.

What is the purpose of disguising scars with more scars? The idea of putting more scars on top of preexisting scars being reclamation is baffling to me. I can’t help but think that scarification may make self-injury worse, or, at least, make people believe that placing scars on their body is a healthy coping mechanism.

What if someone got a tattoo to cover their scars, though?

ImageWhile scarification carries stigma, the cultural status of tattooing has evolved from an anti-social activity to a fashion statement. Tattooing involves placing needles into the body instead of scalpels. Since both processes involve piercing the body, one may wonder which one is worse – or if they are both processes that are equal in magnitude (i.e. in terms of harmlessness, morals, destructiveness of the body, etc.). To me, tattooing is better than scarification, as in my view, no matter the method, producing a scar as opposed to producing an image that does not resemble a scar (given that one is not attempting to tattoo what looks like a scar onto the body) encourages self-harm. However, I am aware that I can’t speak for everyone.

ImageOn a different note, while thinking about the process of scarification, I wondered about the body as a  work of art, or at least a canvas upon which practices such as scarification, which is done in the name of art may be carried out. Another practice is tattoo art, and one may be able to perceive plastic surgery as a procedure that makes the body a work of art or creates art upon it as it sculpts parts of the body. However, more subtle forms of art/processes that make the body art can be simply applying makeup or combing one’s hair. These processes, although they may be viewed as mundane parts of daily life, all involve “fixing” or “adjusting” the body to create a certain visual image for the viewer (whether that viewer may be oneself looking in the mirror or others). That, to me, is art.

I remain on the fence about scarification. However, I believe the practice can bring about some interesting discourse on what makes a body practice acceptable or not, and on the body as art/a canvas for art.

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