This is a powerful image that conveys an important message. How do we live in a world bent on shaping itself a particular way when we cannot, by will or circumstance, fit the mold. In this context, there is both a beauty and a darkness to this image. It it is at once meant to inspire with its depiction of a scarred yet confident woman who, some would say, no longer fits the traditional mold. The background, on the other hand, seems to convey a feeling of despair with its dilapidated building and back-alley feel.
However, I don't think that this necessarily runs counter to the piece's message. Being 'spared the mold', after all, means struggling with the ideal that it encourages. This, if anything, is a struggle between hope and despair, as anyone who has tried to find their place in the world can attest to. We are often pulled between being ourselves and being who others want us to be. I see this struggle here.
I do find the that the blue patterned waistband does through off the image a bit.
Man, your attitude really sucks, which is why I added you to my ignore list in the hopes that you wouldn't be able to post on critiques relating to my artwork.
And I wasn't giving an "Art Criticism 101" anything, I was explaining the message intended behind my artwork. You're condescending and quite frankly rude to others. The message you sent me on another account saying " why don't you man up and not block people when they give opinions you don't like. look at you with your crappy facial hair and trendy tattoos. so vain and narcissistic and you can't handle criticism? Grow up you wimp/ only little kids think they can post shit and not get negative opinions about it" only reinforces my reasons for blocking you. Let me repeat myself: you are rude and unwelcome. Go away and be rude to someone else.
I would respond to you that , whether we like it or not, and whether we want the world to be that way, that to some degree looks do matter- whether we want to call that aesthetics or visible impressions, or physicality- how one appears to other has a very tangible currency.
I agree that some people cannot or will never fit the mold, however I don't feel that the right course of action is for those misfits and anomalies to try and change the mold to fit them.
On top of which one might argue her "flawed" body is easily hidden, and for the vast majority of her day, she is not forced to be viewed or perceived any
differently than if her breasts has symmetry.
I do agree that the blue is inconsistent with the rest of the image, and one wonders if the photographer didnt put it in merely because they liked how it looked. Although I am sure a BSer could say it is another deliberate disparity, though I doubt it.
I completely agree that looks do matter, but what kind of looks? What is considered attractive varies culturally, but in our society we have a very distinct, yet recently manufactured notion of beauty. It is one constantly perpetuated in mass media and popular culture. However, the North American or Western sense of beauty might differ from the Japanese or the Russian or from that of the Imbonggu tribesmen of Papua New Guinea.
Of course we are talking here of women who might be missing breasts, which is different from having a different body type. I do wonder what if any cross-cultural difference there might be regarding the acceptance of women who have had their breast(s)removed. In our society it is its divergence from our notions of sexual as well as physical beauty that is taken into account, but for some societies the breasts are not necessarily viewed as sexual, but rather as functional. In this regard it could still be stygmatized. It would be interesting to study.
I also agree on your second point. However, I would say that just because the world can't see that you might be different doesn't mean that you don't judge yourself by it, or struggle to escape it. This was what I was getting at.
MJ, thank you for your response, if you read my response to imbricated, I address the idea of beauty varying from culture to culture.
In summary, while minor things do change culturally- the core of an attractive person remains relatively the same.
The exceptions to this are in extreme circumstances where the alteration is fetishized - i.e a warrior culture that focuses on combat and hunting and considers scars a sign of attractiveness, but this is proof that a people's environment can psychologically change their perceptions.
Thats really the most salient point to be made- any aesthetics that vary from the universal standards of beauty is really the result of fetishizing.
thanks Dan for your input, but i know what the photo was "about"; i was responding to the critique, which i FEEL made the conscious effort to lecture society about perceptions of beauty. I was responding to that attitude, which I don't agree with, the photo was merely a vehicle for the opinion.
I appreciate the art criticism 101 level paragraph, but I am so far past that basic stuff, it is not even up for discussion.
The idea behind this photograph is not physical beauty. It's about telling a story about the subject's experience and how it's formed who she is and who she is to become. She's been spared the mold of an easy, predictable life and instead is going through huge struggles and hardships which I feel will turn her into a stronger person, and this inspires me as an artist. Physical beauty was never what this photograph was about.
"however I don't feel that the right course of action is for those misfits and anomalies to try and change the mold to fit them."
I don't think that was implied here... and I would simply comment that the proper course of action, perhaps, would be to abolish the concept of having any over-arching mold to begin with. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and with the vast array of human diversity in appearance in general, even without scars or genetic anomalies, there can never be a set standard to begin with.
There has never been one mold in reality, and I happen to think human society needs a good swift kick in the pants for creating and perpetuating the myth that there is.
NO, I have to stop you at the "eye of the beholder" cliche.
It is a meaningless phrase oft used by those championing ugliness, mediocrity and visual fecal matter.
Anyone with even a survey course experience in socialogy or psychology knows that while specialized beauty varies from sub group to subgroup, there is such a thing as universal standards of beauty. That's how things like miss universe can even function. To deny this is frankly a denial of reality.
Molds exist for a reason - because they keep society functioning, and only the disenfranchised, losers and failed members of said societies ever fight against it ( and kids that havent experienced life).
Sure people have different tastes, but again there are COMMONLY shared tastes, and most of the time the only reason people even differ in tastes is because of trauma as children that skews their minds and causes fetishes.
You can see proof of this with how many young men say they like fat girls these days- they can't help it, they grew up watching their friends and family members get obese and their minds adapted to it.
There are very legitimate and documented reasons why humans are attracted to the healthy and physically superior humans in life- it's a survival mechanism of the species, not something as simplistic and convenient "to each their own".
Only those with true psychological issues would find deformities sexually appealing. To even consider anything else is proof alone of living in denial.
Good luck with your platitudes, you have a lot to learn about life.
I can stop you at "anyone with..." considering I minored in Psychology at university and have, in fact, studied sociology and anthropology. There are standards of perfection, not beauty. (Indeed, the "attraction to healthy bodies" argument has nothing to do with beauty, it is an evolutionary point that can actually disprove some of your words, but we'll save that for another day.)
"Fat girls" used to be the "standard of beauty" a couple of hundred years ago because being fluffy or obese meant that one had status, wealth and money enough to eat well, plus they did not have to endure physical labor which would wear off that added weight. They were also pale, because they did not have to work in the sun like the lower classes. Thin, tanned women were considered of low status and NOT beautiful.
When having leisure time to spend tanning on the beach and working on physical perfection because the marker of a desired life, thin, tanned-skinned women because the marker of "beauty" in western culture (mind you, WESTERN is in there because there are, in fact, different "standards of beauty" in different cultures).
The very fact that the so-called "standards" have shifted over time disproves the entire theory of there being some mystically existing model. The standards are socially contrived and perpetuated. That is my very point.
I hope you have a good day, and good luck in this life where you believe what you are told by society at large and have no belief in the power of change.
I am in a hurry so I can't give this another long response right now,so ill make this quick- I need to stop YOU, fat was NEVER the standard of beauty, oh certainly there have been periods where a SLIGHTLY heavier person was considered appealing because it implied wealth, but at NO time was severely overweight or obese considered a good thing. I also object to your sloppy usage of the word thin- the problem with fat lovers is that they equivocate not being fat with being anorexic or extremely thin. It never ceases to amaze me how in a chubby chasers world if you aren't 20 lbs overweight you MUST be 20 underweight.
Now lets examine superficial things like tanning, paleness, tattoos , makeup and jewelry. Yes those things vary, but they are SUPERFICIAL things one can easily take of or alter, even tattoos are not at all the something as body size. This is a red herring, used when no actual argument can be made in defense of obesity.
The FACT is, standards do not shift as you try to claim they do, thus your entire argument amounts to nothing but as i said before - platitudes.
PS thank you for ironic condescension about society dictating standards of beauty. If anyone needs sympathy it is you for having little understanding of human nature, but (obviously) a single survey class at a community college (if at all).
I'd offer my condolences, but it would I don't hold you in good regard.
My entire point has been missed by you, and therefore further debate is pointless.
glad you chimed in with this (ironically more pointless), run along.
Actually as a historian I can say that standards do shift over time. One perfect example would be the idea that an attractive women is one that shaves their legs and armpits. This ideal has only been around for about a hundred years or so and is due in large part, not surprisingly,to clever marketing by companies that made shaving products.
I think the problem graphicsurge is that you are putting to much emphasis on the evolutionary aspect of beauty (that their is a biological standard) and ignoring the role that culture can play in informing new standards of beauty. We are not always slaves to our biology. Of course even the implication that the dominant Western idea of beauty correlates with the evolutionary one I think is not correct. The traits that we value as apes roaming the African plains is different than those we value in modern urban society.
On top of which I would say that the opposition places too much emphasis on "eye of the beholder" which while a lovely sentiment and huggy feely for everyone involved is just wishful thinking.
No actually., I addressed that, shaving is a superficial quality, just like tanning or even makeup, it may enhance or detract from attraction, but the underlying physicality remains the same. Standards may shift one or two degrees, but the core of it remains the same.
Whenever the weird or disenfranchised or -let's be honest- ugly say our perceptions are purely because of media, i roll my eyes because it's their sad little way of trying to make their own flawed existence seem more manageable. "i'm not obese, Revlon just makes everyone think I am"
As for overemphasizing evolution? not at all- Ive already said culture affects perceptions of beauty, but even that is merely superficial. The things apes valued -Physical symmetry, body mass ratio, these are not debatable as appealing traits and they STILL apply.