Give models a break…
Just because you see a skinny, flawless, fashion-savvy, pore-less, beautiful (…need I go on?) model spread out on a table clothed only in appropriate parts with a handkerchief, it doesn't mean she is (blank). Don't get me wrong, we're all jealous of them! But models tend to get a bad rap for being stupid, airhead bimbos for men's pleasure. Why is that?
Exhibit A: Should we write her off as a human mannequin, or stop to consider why we would write her off in the first place?
What about women who pose with just body parts? For instance, let's take a look at a mascara model. Have you ever seen an ad for some type of mascara where a model is covering her mouth? See exhibit A (sidebar).
I've had the privilege of studying gender and popular culture. I have analyzed ads such as the mascara one, wondering what the real message was supposed to portray. Is it just an ad for beautiful, long lashes? Or, is there an underlying meaning of women unable to voice their opinions, forced to be beautiful specimens to be gawked at by men? There are even more extreme opinions out there. The picture I provided (obviously foreign, but still a mascara ad) can be viewed in many ways. In my opinion, there are at least two sides to every issue, at least.
This brings me to my next point. Should we be forced to analyze everything we see? It's not a bad question to ask, considering that we live in today's targeted advertisement-stricken world. Although the numbers vary by source, the average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages each day, according to the Consumer Reports website. Who's behind these commercials? Is society the one perpetuating the idea of women as specimens of beauty with no brains? Maybe it's just subconscious. Maybe we don't even realize what we're seeing until we stop to analyze it.
I didn't mean to go off tangent there for a second, but should these models be criticized for simply posing? Being a doctor is a career, so is being a lawyer. Modeling is also a career. When you stop and critically analyze these ads, stop and think about the actual model. Do you think she is trying to portray something negative about women? Given that it is already a makeup ad, something to enhance women's beauty, I'm not saying this is limited to women; it most certainly is not (but we really don't see men in makeup ads, fortunately). However, instead of blaming the model posing, think about why she/he is doing it. They are obviously getting something in exchange for it. If modeling is their career, they are likely being paid to pose – a lot!
So, the next time you see a similar ad, be sure to stop yourself from verbally abusing the magazine page. Instead, think about who is behind the advertising. Is it a company? Is it one person? Is it a man or woman? Give the model a break! Maybe it's not Maybelline…maybe it's the advertiser! ¤ Erica