OK airbrushing an already stick thin model so their limbs are unrecognisable and plumping their breasts until they would, in reality, live their lives on their back for fear of toppling over, is not a desirable representation of women.
The key is variety. An equal representation of all sizes, colours and genders. Although, we must not distort reality to create what is in essence, a lie, there is surely a place for; beauty, fashion and sexuality that doesn’t automatically diminish our feminist status.
We need to see our aspirational figures in the natural form. I believe this whole heartedly.
However, the fear is if we declare that acts of enhancing yourself or appearing sexually attractive to the opposite sex…or any sex…is shameful unless you are organically ‘you’ we may tip the scales too far and ignite more self-loathing (or is that just me?)
This week this issue was highlighted in non-other than the feminist icon Lena Dunham.
Lena Dunham has been naked on our screens for two seasons now (if you haven’t seen GIRLS on HBO you really must) . Representing complex and unforgiving young female characters, she has ensured creative control over her storytelling, writing and acting. The show is hailed as revolutionary and tells the truthful tales of 20-something women working out life.
Lena Dunham’s nakedness and true representation of sex has been applauded. We love her.
However, all of her good work was seemingly swept under the carpet when she appeared in a Vogue shoot this month. Airbrushed and arty.
Feminist blog Jezebel recoiled in horror and placed 10k bounty on her head. Well…10k to anyone who leaked the in photo shopped photos form the Vogue shoot.
Greed prospered and within hours the original photos were REVEALED.
Oh. Here they are… http://bit.ly/1debkv8
Not quite what they were expecting…I expect.
The photos of Dunham were brushed up rather than altered ( so was the image of her male co-star…) and Jezebel themselves noted the slight of altering frivolous asking ‘why bother?’
Well, Jezebel I applaud you. I applaud you in many ways but this, this was utterly stupid.
Our modern, everyday feminist Icon who consistently breaks new ground for women was subjected to scrutiny, her body bits circled and prodded like a tabloid magazine section of ‘worst bits’
All because she was airbrushed a bit? She wasn’t distorted, she was touched up. A bit like an Instagram filter…
Surely it’s ok for women, and men, to touch themselves up from time to time? Bit of make-up, holdy in pants, hair cut?
More women need to be represented, naturally. More variety, yes. But please. A woman who represents and promotes such variety does not lose all her feminist creds because her neck was ever so slightly elongated or she took part in a slight illusion of a Photoshop.
This for me, was the tip of the iceberg. More criticisms were thrown when Dunham’s face was the front cover and not her body. (See her response to that question here)
HANG ON. All we see on the cover of magazines is full shots of women. Body focus. And the majority of men on covers is their face tweaked but not altered. I’ve heard this debate tirelessly endured yet when Dunham is on the cover we assume it’s because she’s a bit chubby (despite many shots in the magazine of her full body) It may also be that we have seen her body…naked…a lot…in GIRLS and the magazine showing a full body near naked shot on the cover would be…boring.
Who knows. The whole situation is swamped with contradictions and accusations which don’t sit comfortably with me.
Women, I apologise. You are allowed to enhance your beauty, your allowed to be attractive your allowed to tweak yourself and STILL be a feminist.
Unfortunately, it seems you may still be held up as a sacrificial lamb should you dare to break the mould of what is acceptable representation. Of women…or feminists.