Feminist Critique of Advertising and Image


Images of feminine beauty are exploited and objectified through advertisement. They foster damaging relationships to health, food, makeup, adornment, desire and sex. Violent tangles of gendered and sexual disempowerment flow from a history of cultural misogyny. Women are the victims of an entire suffering culture. Empowerment is their inherited calling.

And… gulp… I did find myself reacting to this video. It is a typical male response; I stand implicated in the order that constitutes this body/self – US, white, male. I found it paradoxical that the speaker clearly wore makeup, had a nice hair cut, wore jewry and a nice dress. All indications of affluent class, feminine empowerment and beauty, cultural norms and privilege, even safety – feelings of heteronormative gendered performance. It is all there. It seems that the nature of critical perspectives is to be implicated by its own critique. But… most of my reaction came from a predisposition of desire. I saw a great deal of beauty in the images of models! Should I feel bad… I sort of do.

As a feminist ally I practice speaking-out against gendered violence. AND… and…  I really want to see beauty! Sex is beautiful, even divine! I hope for humanity in these attributes of culture. Some women are super-awesome beautiful, with amazing proportional bodies and I celebrate an empowered accent of cleavage, curvature, even fitness. I know that I have a long way to go… but I honor forms of feminine, embodied beauty through wholeness, perspective, and diversity of attraction and desire.

Feminism is still gaining great power and presence. Our whole culture is lop-sided in terms of gendered balance. Notions of sex, desire, and beauty must continue to be fostered and revolutionized especially by women, for women. After 5,000 years of masculine dominance, women are still on the down side of power relationships regards contemporary culture. Feminism remains an arena where our culture as a whole has a great deal of healing to manifest.
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