A Woman Visible

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

How Visible is Too Visible?

Yesterday, I saw a couple of things that made me consider how far we should go to be visible, and what should we be modeling for young girls. First, there were the Olsen twins. Remember them? The two cute little girls that we vicariously watched grow up on tv. Remember the awful little movies they made? Remember when they went off to college and became media mogels? Take a look at this latest photo spread of the girls on People's faboo website.

Is it just me, or are these photo's disturbing? Designer James Mischa (who apparently is the one that designed the napkins the girls are wearing) says,
"They are definitely young women who are coming into their own." Into their own what? They look like couple of Dracula's vampire women waiting for their master to return with someone to feed on! All they need is fangs! I thought they were trying to be role models for younger girls. I just wonder what message they're trying to send to the young girls they are attempting to influence. Is it, if you're rich enough, you can dress and act anyway you like? Or maybe, once you make your millions by being cute, you can wander around a big, huge, empty mansion, and stare at the mirrors and cameras with equally big, empty eyes as a testament to how much you've accomplished. Why can't we celebrate girls becoming women without dressing them up like high-priced call girls and then giving lip service to their "accomplishments." I believe in women learning to accentuate their outer beauty, but not at the price of their inner beauty.

In a related story, CNN ran an interesting story this week concerning the latest Vanity Fair cover. Amanda sent this to me and I just couldn't stay silent about this. Another one of my favorite blogs, Judith HeartSong also had comments related to this story. Now, I understand Judith's opinion. The human body as art is perfectly beautiful--male or female. I have taught my children to respect the nude in art. My daughter has even been known to draw nudes (though I have warned her against doing this at school). This being said, I have to agree with the CNN article--"where are the naked men?" We can watch movies and see women in all their naked glory, but we only are given men's butts when they are nude. Now, I'm not saying I want to see more naked men in the movies. As much as I have enjoyed Mel Gibson's naked butt for many years, I'm not pushing for more than that. What I am pushing for though is for us to consider how Hollywood approaches women's visibility.

The cover in question has two rather successful actresses in their altogether, while the male in the photo is nuzzling Keira Knightly with his clothes on. These actresses don't need to show themselves in this way. This will in no way help their careers, and to make matters worse, they are so skinny looking it's almost scary. Once again, I ask, what does this say to young girls and young women who are trying to figure out how to be visible in our society? Does it say that society only values women's visibility as long as it's physical visibility? What if you're like the majority of American women who fit the neo-classical version of physical beauty, rather than the 21st century stick-waif version of physical beauty?

I have to wonder if, after all our talk of "I am woman, hear me roar," no one really wants to hear us roar or see us in all our powerful, marvelous glory, especially when they seem satisfied to see woman naked and vulnerable, or trying to look older, or younger, or not like who we really might be under that sheer excuse for a dress.

I'm not a prude, but I do think we should show more pride about being total women, and not settle for what society (especially Hollywood and the media) portrays as beautiful and visible.


  • At 8:57 PM, Blogger Judith HeartSong said…

    very good post and perspective. Above all we must teach our young women to respect themselves.
    Judith HeartSong


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