Pretty Women

A lot of people were recently re-posting this image:

The five women on top are, from left to right, Snooki from Jersey Shore, Bella Swan from Twilight, Kim Kardashian from her reality TV show, Kat Von D from LA Ink, and Lady Gaga.  The woman on the bottom row are, from left to right, Aeryn Sun from Farscape, Zoë Alleyne Washburne from Firefly, Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5, Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and Samantha Carter from Stargate.

Some champion it, some criticize it.  On the surface, I like it because I’ve always identified more with geek culture than with pop culture, and I like the idea of my hypothetical daughter being strong and powerful—characteristics I associate with a ray-gun and not with a doll.  In truth, I recognized all images in the pop culture row and only two in the geek culture row, so my pleasure in sharing this image really only derived from my personal preference and alignment with geek culture over pop culture.

Upon deeper perusal, there are several problems with this image.  For starters, the women in the image are either fictional characters or tv personas; in other words, they are representations of people created by those with the power to do so.  They shouldn’t be used as a marketing campaign for toys for children or as potential role models for young women because of that.    Unfortunately, with the prevalence of these images due to increased access in the first world, I imagine I am not in the minority in idolizing or emulating the females I see in the media–something I did more when I was younger and thus more impressionable.  Fortunately, there are real women in my life–strong, intelligent, and compassionate women–who I can look up to and model my life after.  When the power dynamics change, and straight, white men are not in power, I imagine these images will start to crumble.  Until then…point number two.

The dichotomy of images provides no favors to women, especially those who look up to the women that they see featured in the media.  The top row features women scantily-clad in fairly seductive poses, while the bottom row features women in an assortment of leather outfits, albeit completely covered.  So that’s it then–hyperfeminine/sexual or pseudo-masculine.  What great choices.  On a positive note, at least Joss Whedon–creator of Firefly, the show that Zoe of the geek culture row is on–makes the male characters’ pants just as tight.

Then there’s the caption: “Fuck Barbie.  I’m buying my daughter a ray-gun.”  Again, two choices–a doll without genitals or a weapon that causes death and destruction and is also an overt phallic symbol.  There are no vagina options for my hypothetical daughter.  There are no female options!  How will she become a strong female with her choices being either a lack of vagina or a penis?  The more I see, the more impressed I become with the strong women in global leadership roles and in my life.  Every day is a struggle against male control, even of how we perceive one another.

If you’d like to read another well-written response on this image, check out this blog here:

And since there were no lesbians in either row, the next post will be about either lesbian characters in Watchmen or in V for Vendetta, depending on which I finish first 🙂



~ by thornfieldrose on June 23, 2012.

One Response to “Pretty Women”

  1. Here, here!

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