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Casey Kitchel

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A pose is just a pose... I suppose?

In the talk "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model." Cameron gives an example of a generic pose models regularly take for photo shoots, a woman walking while looking the opposite way (4:50). Sure this pose makes for a more interesting composition, however Cameron points out that it's kind of ridiculous too. Is a woman walking while looking the opposite way just artistic expression, or is there more to this image than people think?

What messages does the image of a woman walking while looking the opposite way convey? And what does that say about how women are perceived?

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    May 30 2013: Roy Orbison dealt exhaustively with this hotbed issue back in the 50's with his #1 song "Pretty Woman".
  • May 29 2013: This talk certainly had an impact on you, Casey!

    I've worked in fashion for many years, designing clothes, and at the end of the day, the model and his/her pose has one objective - to make the clothes looks as appealing as possible so that anyone who sees that picture will want to run out and buy it.

    I often don't agree with how women are portrayed in magazines, which is why I have ever had a subscription to one, or even have the desire to browse through one in a waiting room. I think this particular pose is the "I know you want me, but you can't have me" look.
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    Jun 2 2013: Hey Greg,

    "I am curious why the question interests you, Casey?"

    This question interests me because I believe images sometimes do more than what they were intended to do and people should be aware of that. To me, this becomes particuilary important when people are in the image.

    For example, Cameron implies that the images the fashion industry promotes are in some way directly related to why so many young women don't like their bodies. Intended or not, those images are doing more than telling people to buy the clothes, they are telling young women how they should look and that has some really nasty consequences. Note: all three of the models in the pictures Liz found are tall, thin, and white.

    Now if an image is capable of sending that kind of an "unintended" message, then it is certainly possible that there are other messages being sent as well. Are these images sometimes inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes, promoting rude behaviors, or reinforcing the idea that women are "objects of desire"? I think it's important to ask this because as Cameron argues and proves convincingly, image is powerful, and people for the most part learn, think, and make many decisions based on what they see.
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    May 31 2013: http://www.notsolonelylondoners.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/walking-blogger-3.jpg

    This is exactly the kind of image I was thinking about. Yeah, she looks outgoing and happy with her outfit. But I start to think, she seems kind of careless, meaning the model was directed to act in such a way that portrays a woman as appearing to be careless about where she is going. Not all women are like that are they?
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    May 31 2013: Leaves more to the imagination. We fill in the parts we can't see with our own idea of perfection, and bam, you just sold a product.
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    May 30 2013: I would think it adds some complexity to the picture, makes it more interesting, instead of just a square-up picture of someone walking toward you and facing you. In a connected way, it gives a sense of dynamism, or movement, makes the picture more happening, makes the product more happening.

    It may also convey that someone has noticed her in the jeans, and she wants to check out the person who is checking her out. This would appeal to the consumer's narcissism, that they want to look good in the product and get checked out. There would be some cues here that it's a case where she is checking out the person who has checked her, for example she is the only person in the photograph, so the photo tells us the photographer thinks the model looks good.
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      Jun 1 2013: I would agree. sometimes that image implies a woman checking out whoever was checking them out, like this example that Liz found.

      http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt84/cocorosa_photo/new%20album/Hanneli-Mustaparta-1.jpg

      What I find interesting is how the woman seems to be completely okay with it. Now there certainly are people out there that like getting lots of attention, and there are also people that don't. But since most of the time it is a woman in the image, could this image be telling guys that women are okay with being checked out like that all the time? What about when you consider how unpleasant guys can be about how they give women attention (which is all too often accompanied with comments and gestures).
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        Jun 2 2013: Yeah, thanks, I'm not so sure she is being checked out, it's actually unclear why she is smiling, perhaps it's intentionally mysterious, you can imagine many stories for her, and perhaps one of them will appeal to you and you will wish that was your story, and you will buy the product. I like someone's idea that it makes her look engaged with and responsive to the world, again we'd all like to be engaged and responsive, so perhaps we will buy the product to help us achieve that.

        I am curious why the question interests you, Casey?
  • May 30 2013: Who is the target of these pictures. Different photos are for different markets. I think Lizanne made a good point. If these poses are to sell clothes esp. women's clothing - Why are we talking about men's reactions, and why are we men interested other than an interesting TED talk?
    • May 30 2013: If there's one thing the fashion industry is geared towards, it's convincing women they need these clothes for the sole purpose of attracting men.

      Someone once said to me, 'Men look at women, and women look at women'. I think this is true - women can be incredibly scrutinizing of themselves, as well as each other! You don't hear men mutter under their breath, 'Those jeans make his butt look fat'... do you?
      • May 31 2013: I have said that as a joke because men don't. So this is a more sophisticated form of ratification than I thought.