There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Friday, October 23, 2009

Links and a mini-rant

The new Mac ad in response to the infliction release of Windows 7 yesterday. (Grokked from Dr. Phil).

The hilarious 42 essential 3rd act twists from Dresden Codak. (Grokked from Jay Lake). Just hilarious.

And here begins the rant.

Because it's everywhere, the Boing Boing article on the new Ralph Lauren ad. Short: what they said. Longer: Truly, WTF is wrong with some fashion people? No, seriously. In a world where obesity is becoming a greater factor, it's like you all feel you need to go farther toward the anorexic to correct for some cosmic balance. No, don't protest, fuck you. I remember the 70's "killed model" ads. I remember the "meth model" controversy.

No, really, just fucking stop it. This isn't fashion, this isn't "art." You've gone over the deep end and live in a bubble so rarified and ossified that Fox News is jealous of your abilities. And I say this as a genuine lover of fashion photography (and here I out myself, it's a result of photography classes and working in advertising for so long). It can be incredibly beautiful and moving. It truly is a highly skilled art form.

But lately, you've been pissing me off and skirting the line into porn. Fuck it, you've crossed that line. There's this whitewashing of women, your target market. Forget naked objectifying body parts into fetishes, you buff them all out until they're interchangeable pegs fetishizing the very image of "feminine". It's disgusting and unappetizing. It's the concept of the "ideal" gone amok. The revival of the Kouros (google it if you don't know) but now your attempting by sculpting living flesh. And since flesh is only malleable so far, you've gone digital. As the song goes, "but their beauty and their style wear kind of smooth after a while." The Greek culture that created the Kouros was long dead before the Romans assimilated what was left of the once mighty Greek State.

Ralph, I don't think it's because you hate women. I think you do it because you're afraid of them. You're afraid they'll be more than objects and decoration. They might challenge you. Sure, you accept those who have made it so far up the ladder into your cultural circle as peers, but, as evidenced by the imagery that has come out of your studio for more than two decades (of which you may not have made yourself, you are responsible for it's direction) you hold "common" women in contempt. It's time for you to be called on it.

Whatever happened to women who have personality greater than wet dishrags. Seriously, competence and strong personality are very sexy. Bette Davis knew this. Not exceptionally physically attractive, but add that personality and you get one damn sexy woman. And then this. STFU Ralph Lauren, and get therapy. When I have to have conversations telling young(er) women that they'll never get rid of that little paunch because it's their uterus (and yes, I've had that conversation, more than once) it's gone too far. And yes, Ralph, you are part of the problem. You have been so for more than three decades.


Random Michelle K said...


Why on earth would anyone DO that? She doesn't even look human--more like one of those hideous dolls for tweens with the giant heads and little stick bodies.

Why does society allow advertisers to do this to women?

Why can't we have Marilyn Monroe back? Or Mae West?

Shit like this is why I don't own a full length mirror.

Steve Buchheit said...

Random MichelleK, the large head and smaller bodies is a fetishing of children. Just as the "smilie face" is an example of the pattern recognition we have hardwired into our brains of a human face, the large head, big eyes, and small bodies keys into our hardwired image processing of "cute child."

And I agree about the body shape. While Marilyn was still idealized, and she became a fetish in her own right, her body shape was still more "normal" than what we have now. And while many of the characters she played in movies were not what we would really want our children to idealize, there were enough where she showed intelligence and savvy.

Mae West is her own thing where she was censored for being a woman who actually enjoyed sex on her terms. Even now society has a problem with it.

ChiaLynn said...

Ya wanna know the worst part? The model in the photo was fired for being "too large" to fit into the sample clothes. She's 5'10. She weighs 120 pounds. She's a size 4.

Steve Buchheit said...

Chia, OMG. ::faceplant::