Monday, 5 October 2009

Women, as Women

by photographer Sam Haskins, 'Cowboy Kate'.
and, from “Five Girls.”:

Andreas Feininger, writing in the photography journal Infinity in 1963, noted that “Haskins is fully aware of the importance of face and expression upon the effect of a nude and shows the faces of his models. Whether smiling quietly, laughing in exuberant joie de vivre or seriously looking into space, they appear completely unconscious of their nudity. It seems to me it is precisely this frankness—those large clear eyes candidly looking at me—that gives Haskins nudes and semi-nudes their bewitching quality, that indescribable mixture of sheer physical beauty a sensuality and honesty which, no matter how provocative their apparel or pose, makes these girls appear as natural and as much part of the universe, as a tree or the sea or the sky.”

This ties in nicely with what I have been pondering upon lately.

You know those ads on late at night where they show girls, both singularly and in groups, variously unclad in bikinis or lingerie, and you're encouraged to text "buff" or "tits" or something? I only tend to see them when I've taped a late movie and so they're in fast forward, but I never see them as sexy. They just look like a bunch of girls casually (very casually) hanging out.

"these girls appear as natural and as much part of the universe, as a tree or the sea or the sky."

Why does such as this need to be pointed out? I know why, specifically in it's context above, but in considering the bigger picture... I'm annoyed that women's bodies are so constantly considered sexually. We are bombarded with images sexualising women so that it has been considered normal, for ages now, accepted as a part of society, that women are sexual objects. (Most definitely in Berluscoli's Italy at least!)

Yes, we all have bodies. We're born that way. And whether others see it as sexy or not, it's just our body. It doesn't have to be seen as something sexual. Yes, they, our bodies, are just "part of the universe", and their existence is reason for our existence: our bodies are here because we would not exist without them! They are us. They are not here to provide sexual entertainment. Their predominant use is existence. I mean, my body has breasts but there's no reason I should look at my tits and think, 'Gee, I'd better have some sex soon and make the most of these, after all, that's what they're there for!'. They're just a part of my body, and they're always there whether I'm having sex or not (most of the time I'm not - of course, no one is having sex most of the time).

And a final point. All the sexualising of women dominating our society... it just cheapens it. Not just cheapens women, it cheapens the moments when it is wonderful to be sexy, to feel sexy. We should be able to enjoy feeling sexy when appropriate, when we want to and how we want to, without concern that we'll be considered a whore or a piece of meat made for the benefit of men's entertainment.

I'll give
Sam Haskins the last word:

Do you miss the way it was in the 1960s?
Sam Haskins: "Absolutely, yes I do. And I miss the type of nudes that master photographers like Penn and Aveon used to do. The mass, over-the-top nudes that you see in mens magazine these days are so boring it`s unbelievable, anything goes, and they are just hyperboring, big breast, blatant nudity, nothing refined or with any finesse anymore. It`s a different world".