Monday, August 23, 2010

The Broken Dolls

Image via this post.

Dead women seem to be fashionable this year, as they have been many times in the past. Women who are dropped on the floor like broken dolls, with empty eyes and limbs tossed helter-skelter. Other images of women as broken dolls or as corpses abound.

The less extreme fashion pictures often borrow similar imagery. The models lie on the floor, staring up with empty eyes and swollen lips. Their legs and arms never look comfortable, but like those of a broken doll or of someone who just got driven over by a car. If the models are upright, they often totter about as if ready to fall over any minute, revealing those same empty eyes and swollen lips. Nothing can be written on those faces, nothing. They just are.

The images are passive, often extremely passive. They are not inviting, because the models are not pictured as capable of any action except that of lying there like something tossed away. Beautiful, empty, broken. But so beautiful: The woman who has beauty and the best clothes in the world but nothing else. Not even life?

I have been told that such images are edgy, artistic, breaking boundaries. But why this particular kind of edginess, this breaking of the fragile boundaries which protect women's active lives? What is new or edgy about the visual violence against women, after all? Surely artists could do better if they wish to be edgy.

And so could we as the intended consumers of those ads. We! It is women who are expected to get their credit cards out to buy the clothes on those dead or dormant models, after all.