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Posts Tagged ‘Body’

The Female Body Image in Popular Media March 25, 2009 11 Comments

This is a subject that I’m hearing more and more about. I was too young to be aware of it in the late 70s or 80s but I do remember the stir that Kate Moss and ‘Heroin Chic’ caused in the 90s. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the trend swung back (as trends do) to curves – Jennifer Lopez, for example – but in truth, thin has always been in. Often, beauty buys what money can’t – admiration, leeway and popularity – and has done since the dawn of time. I want to look closer at the impact of these images and attempt to discover, in my own small way, why society handles them so very badly. The mediums of movies, TV, magazines and comic books are constantly under pressure to explain themselves, even as we continue to feed the machine. But why pass the buck? If there’s no demand, then there’s no supply.

Taking comics – or graphic novels if you prefer but, let’s be honest, they’re comics – these drawings of superwomen are exaggerated fantasies. There’s nothing demeaning or wrong about that. It’s actually quite complimentary to my gender. Yes, the outfits are skimpy and figure hugging but these women are like modern day Sheela na Gigs; breasts proudly on display, with firm buttocks, rounded child-bearing hips and lean, muscular arms and legs. Do I actually look like any of these females? Ummm, no, not really but I identify with the power that this physical form represents. When I hear criticism of the way women are represented in comics, I tend to think two things:

1 – I don’t hear these people moan about the fact that few women look like Botticelli’s Venus, or Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, or other paintings of beautiful women.

People tend to get excited when a naked chick comes out of her shell

People tend to get excited when a naked chick comes out of her shell

2 – I also don’t know a lot of guys whose physique looks like this: