Another quarter has passed. And it is time for forty new pictures – hand-picked by you, sent to me via Twitter, mobile, mail and mouth – to lie down on my long, sloping gender therapy couch. This is…
Tips I’ve gotten between 1 January and 31 March 2013
The first category maybe you didn’t think would get re-filled that much in 2013, since it’s pretty well-established as GENDER FAIL No. 1…
Photographing away women’s power by depicting them from above; a camera-angle that gives the one seeing symbolical power over the one that is shown
Gunilla Herlitz. Editor-in-chief and CEO for the Swedish morning newspaper Dagens Nyheter 2009–2013. Photographed for the trade magazine Resumé in a way that makes her look two… three apples high?
Helena Bergström. Actor and director that’s been in Swedish movie business so long that she has probably generated an aura of authority that would make you knee-weak. Here depicted so that she looks like a tiny, cute, unproblematic gnome. (That’s sitting on the toilet?)
Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Malmös new muncipal council chairman, that’s TAKING OVER MALMÖ, the image wants to illustrate. But ambushing her, apparently, was an even bigger giant with a camera.
These twenty civil engineer students – who’s competing for a Future female leader award – the magazine Ny Teknik is betting will be the super-bosses of the future (according to the headline).
In words. In imagery: The springboards of the future.
More future talent, interviewed in Dagens Nyheter about a talent network that markets young talents to recruiting companies.
What would the recruiter like? A view, or someone with a vision?
Susanna Göransdotter, one of the persons behind the feminist blog The guilt is not mine which is about feminists not having the constantly resume a defensive pose for their views. Interviewed for Värmlands Folkblad on the International Women’s Day.
Photographed in a defensive pose. Like the guilt was hers.
Two slimey men and Sweden’s most dangerous woman (according to the internet forum and psychiatric clicic Flashback).
Maria Sveland has written the book (Hatet) about men who get reversed delusions of grandeur and send death threats, gang rape threats and vagina destruction poetry to women who doesn’t keep a pleasant distance from the public discourse, asks for forgiveness and shuts up.
In this photo in Göteborgs-Posten it looks like Maria Sveland prooooomises to be quiet and cute and nice-submissive, if she only gets another chance! Or a forgiveness for her since from the old gents next to her, who are each not only glorified with a from below-perspective – a camera-angle that ascribes the one depicted with a higher degree of authority – but also actually positioned above Maria Sveland layout-wise. (The guilt in this case is entirely the editor’s, since the photos surely wasn’t taken exclusively for this article.)
Which leads us to next category…
Women who for some reason has ended up under, behind or in the beards of men, or who have in another creative way been made invisible or their competence made invisible by/with men
She is the new boss. That’s what the headline, Change in the top, is saying. She’s taking over, he steps down from the post of municipal council chairman in Stenungsund. But not before a photographer could blow him to the bursting limit with the mightiest frogs perspective Stenungsund has seen!
Looks like he’s sitting on her, right?
”The woman behind the man”? Must be a misstake. Gina Dirawi is sixteen the times the tv host that Danny Saucedo is. Or well, she is a tv host. (He’s a musician.)
An article about domestic violence? No. Aloe vera selling. For some spooky, inexplicable reason the dishwater grey graphical women have ended up behind broad-shouldered, graphical men in the pair photos (with blood red staples or or pulldown blinds in the background).
This was what I meant by “in the beards of men”. Do you see her? Clue: check out his front tail. (Spoiler: It’s a back tail.)
Funny or unpleasant photo? A creative invisibility-making, anyhow.
Do you see what’s invisible in this picture?
Her t-shirt logo. And every female SATS training instructors. Or is she supposed to symbolize You, the customer? Well, according to the logik in this posts image materials’ logic, I’d rather draw the conclusion that she is SATS’ CEO.
Maybe the most common way of making female bosses invisble. By taking for granted that they are men. (Married, white, middle-aged men, at that.)
”I get the impression that she’s slow”, says my intern Caroline.
I get the impression the insurance company Länsförsäkringar are slow. The angle Oh, nobody would’ve guessed I, who am a woman, could do this! feels imported straight from 1950’s advertising. Like her outfit and ribbon on her head, incidentally. Lucky for her there’s a man nearby who without giggling or playing with his sideburns helps clouding her competence further.
Länsförsäkringar’s bank owner duo as kids.
Bonjour, Emil the self-assured master chef. Goodnight, nameless, doll-like 50’s-housewife with dead stare and twisted ankles that’s slanting around on a floating checkered tie (Caroline’s observation) on the cover ot the finish childrens fashion magazine Ottobre.
Hey Darth, you dominant little phallos-toddler. Hey girl who’s ended up on the floor between his legs on the pages of playrooms in building product BoList’s catalogue.
”Yes. The pink clad hockey kids (without clubs) are girls”, writes the tipper Jessica Westin, who as an old hockey player could not let this epic gender-fail pass when she saw it in Sundsvalls Tidning. And the blue ones, who’ve gotten all the clubs, pucks and attention from the trainer – but no cute princess-three crowns-shirts – are boys.
In that case we cool down, I think. Why not with some adorable photos of…
Women transformed into overjoyous, orgasmic beeings by coming in contact with different liquid, clays and trees (a close relative to women that struggles to drink water and women laughing alone with salad).
WATEEEEER! My favourite substance in the whole wide world, hihihihi iiiiih!
POOOOOOOOOOOOP! Wohoho! Squish squish, blink blink! (”That one you’re going to change”, says my intern Caroline.)
Maybe a justified pose in Naturskyddsföreningen’s periodical Sweden’s Nature. But still an interesting coincidence that two different photographers independently of each other reproduced the meme “middle-aged woman with closed eyes hugs trees”, as the tipper Lisa Hartzell names it.
Even if I have to admit I have seen it before.
He he. You look funny, 7-eleven-being. But an easy prey for the devil.
For yes, where do all these woman-beings originate from? From art, music and literature history, where they’ve acted posts in a patriarchal fatherly gender discourse about women being irrational, innocent children who shouldn’t be let loose in areas that demand reason and self-control, like politics, academia or prestigious offices.
On the other side. What’s really most sound? Images of women who get glad over anything, or…
Men who gets happy by nothing (/a.k.a. murderers)
The soccer player Gerard Piqué is expecting a child with the pop star Shakira. And how happy is he over that? So happy he could MURDER. (You? The photographer? The kids’ real father?)
I wrote about this in my post Why so murderous, man?: That the reason men so often meets the viewer with an aggressive, controlling gaze is that ideal masculinity is about being dominant, but also because “the male gaze” is so wide-spread in our image culture that images in media both directed to men and to women turns to a male heterosexual gaze. And with that logic his look could be interpreted as him needing to guard himself to thoughts about homoeroticism. Even when he’s holding his pregnant girlfriend’s belly.
To be reduced to a cute cake-sniffing fairy is perhaps a more mild way of being dehumanized compared to never being allowed to show the faintest emotional utterance, even in images that’s supposed to mediate happiness?
The first congratulation card: Myth. Men benefits more of being married and fare worse after divorces, among other reasons because they to a lesser degree are raised to care for relations and therefore let their wife mend the friendship relations during the marriage, something that can make them isolate and become lonely without even a salad to laugh with when they’ve chucked the fetter of marriage.
The second card: WHERE THE FUCK IS DADDY?
Teaser for my lecture at Lunnevads folk high school, with an image from my last list of 40 gender-blunders.
What have you done to popstar Darin, Gaffa? You made him into a Murderer!
Animals are men. And when animals are men you know they’re ANGRY.
Oops. Now it became heated again.
Incredibly unnecessary and unfitting objectifications of women and sexualisation of services, experiences or educations with the help of women
Incredible ill-fitting print on the company car, keeping in mind cleaners are a occupational group that gets suggestions about performing sexual services (mentioned in the last issue of feminist journal Bang).
Advertising for a cave diving tour. With a girl ready to dive down her own cleft. Had to check if this company has their base in Denmark.
SUPPOSE that this German Octavia-ad is directed towards women or are created with even the least regard for Skodas female clientele. What were they thinking? ”Do You want to look cool in traffic with asymmetrical nipple-erection? By our asymmetrically ice-cold car.”
Nah. Don’t wanna suppose.
BREAST-FEEDING BRA. Yeah. For which kind of kid? you might wonder. I suspect we’re dealing with a big, hairy, 45-year old kid with a camera. (Made myself shudder.)
Come and eat, baby.
”ok THIS IS A NOSE WASHER!!! One you use to WASH OUT YOUR NOSE WITH. With SALT WATER. WHEN YOU’RE SICK!!!”
Thanks, Maja Olga E. Almgren. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Thought about becoming a copywriter?
(Also read Maja Olga E. Almgrens self-help guide Having a girl-cold. ”Why do you have to be UGLY just because you’re SICK?”)
One of the least housebroken places to find the male gaze slip in. During a lecture for doctors in surgery. About rectal prolapse. That is, when the large intestines are about to fall out through the anus. Illustrated with pictures of strippers???, Stfmar, who sent this tip, asked herself.
”What are the surgical options?”
Report the school.
And here humanity freezes to ice. And ad for the portable console Playstation Vita. An example of how the female body is emptied of meaning and, without excuses, is made into a toy for men.
Right now in the video games industrym, though, there’s a first, broad feminist awakening. It started with the brutal backlash against video blogger Anita Sarkeesian, who got the worst Internet hate mob known to humankind after her when she started a Kickstarter-funded project to analyse ow women are portrayed in video games (a review whose first, very well-done part is out now).
Anita Sarkeesian got to hear she’s a jew whore who should be raped, killed and banished to the kitchen to make sandwhiches to the real, male gamers. The mob tried to get all her accounts in the world wide web suspended, spammed, closed. Her home adress was published. One person took the time to materialize all the hate into a video game where you could abuse Anita Sarkeesians face to a hamburger of blood and bruises.
WARNING FOR SENSITIVE IMAGE
This is how extremely stress you can get when someone even fiddles your toys. Safe, simple, one-dimensional woman-toys that in 30 years has been the very symbol of your privilege and confirmation of your unthreatened superiority.
Which leads us into the last category, that I could call flat out misogyny, but that I’d rather give another perspective on by calling…
Masculinity in crisis
What do you mean masculinity in crisis? She’s lying there like a wet waffle in bikini in his lap and watching him admiringly. He’s the one that’s dressed and on top and has the situation all under control?
The video games world again. Concept art for the game DmC: Devil May Cry. Dressed man. Surrounded by angels in silver hotpants who curiously cling to him. He answers their appreciation with a superior look on his face and by holding his hand like a pistol – at crotch-height – against the forehead of the angel between his legs.
A power-fantasy in its purest image form. From a medium full of power fantasies where white, straight men are the center of the universe and women are chest-heavy character development free crutches to men that constantly has to be rescued or fucked.
There’s a line in this came that could be put as a caption to all these images of a masculinity that begs to be whispered in the ear that it’s enough:
”The world is at last your bitch. As am I.”
My interpretation of the image in this Dutch costume ad: A masculinity hanging from a brittle thread.
Or as a student of Södra Latin’s gymnasium i Stockholm put it when I asked them to explain this image: ”That’s patriarchy! Her existens is dependent on him, just like patriarchy wants it.”
The second grossest magazine cover I’ve seen. And the answer to what happens when a ‘murderer’ is accompanied by a women in the picture.
Or what do you think? Does it look like he has saved her?
I think about a passage I read in Claudia Lindéns text ”Anne Charlotte Leffler and the masculine fantasy’s tragedy” in the new anthology The woman makes the man (2013):
”The man’s superiority and the woman’s aboslute passivity is a condition for hem to be attracted sexually… The woman’s inferiority is in this way not only an effect of, but rather the term for masculinity in the heteronormative game.”
Claudia Lindén writes about Swedish 19th century literature, but I think it feels applicable to the murderer above. Especially the part about “woman’s absolute passivity”. You can’t be more passive, subordinated and powerless than when you’re dead.
And for sure he is horny, alright. He’s doing his best to keep control and his pants on, but his parted lips reveals his inner, tingling, necrofiliac extasy.
This cover, for the french fashion magazine L’Officiel Hommes – literally translated to The offical men – really makes me wonder how inflamed the gender debate in France is, when their men has to se this, eh… comforting images.
And especially since this magazine cover came out of France just in September last year:
The most disgusting magazine cover I’ve seen. Also of a magazine directed towards men. The legendary fashion magazine Vouges international men’s edition Vogue Hommes International.
And the headline they chose? Even it is phrased as a post in the debate about the gender order. Un Homme et une Femme. ”A man and a woman.”
I feel powerless when I see this image. For the criticism of images like these will always be explained away with it being about passion, not violence. But as the New York-office of NOW (National Organization for Women) wrote in a letter to the publishing house that makes Vouge: According to a 2008 study of murders of women in 11 US cities, it was found that 43% of women killed by their partners had experienced at least one incident of strangulation before being murdered.
Who thinks it’s a good idea to even play with the lethal fire of suggesting that all women deep inside are masochists who get turned on by violence?
I think the most unsettling thing is her eyes. I think it looks like she’s starting to run out of oxygen and hardly can keep her eyes open. And the gloss in them looks unusually badly photoshopped. (On purpose?)
My intern Caroline did this brilliant observation: It’s her elbow that hinders her from looking completely passive. It still gives her some kind of mobility. If she would’ve taken it down she would look paralyzed, and then it would be hard not seeing the image as something other than… the patriarchy’s violent hostage-taking of the image of the woman.
The man: Out of it, lost in his own sadist, horny-misty world. Far removed from his crisis.
OK. Home assignment: What exactly is sexy about women acting like toddlers?
Gina Tricot, SOLO, Totally Stockholm and Sephora aren’t clothing brands or magazines that exclusively cater to antifeminists. So it’s harder to speculate about men dreaming about women as manageable and powerless as babies, or about a male fear of mature women that has experience and knowledge, or an equality movement that moves in babysteps. The space for taking infantilizing photos of women sucking their thumbs or pacifiers is within forums for regulating and re-creating of desireable femininity.
Can you imagine a man with a pacifier in his mouth on the cover of King Magazine, Café or in an ad from Jack & Jones? WITHOUT holding a dead woman and thus having the excuse that he’s just a chill serial killer.
And carry on sending me tips, all you sharp-eyed out there. Soon we’ll take this to the next level.
Thanks for contributing to this post with tips Emerentia L Lund, Fredrik Rosenqvist, Pernilla Alexandersson, Sara Gabrielsson, Daniel Eriksson, Lunchgren, Axel Pettersson, Isabelle Lundqvist, Erika Wallman, Lisa Enquist, Isabelle Lundqvist, Albert Säfström, Elise Nilsson, Christina Norling, Sophie Winberg Tyrfelt, Anna Borg, Annika Jönsson, SvintoBoll, Lisa Hartzell, Johan Forsberg, Sofia Zequana, ⓋAD, Lisa Sandblom, Martin Jansson, Anna-Karin Larsson, Per Eeg Olofsson, Ida Wallinder, Annika B Kupiainen, Susanne Jörtsö, Jusey, M, Kerstin Alex, Susanne Jörtsö, Terese Persson, Elham Kalhori, Jannilla Lidén, and Ingela Wahlgren.
Hi gender fans! Last Friday I was finally in Swedish Radio’s show Sleeping with P3, after talking about it with host Matilda Berggren all summer. Our conversation was about why women are not allowed to be naked and funny.
Matilda sent me a picture that she had as a profile picture on Facebook when it was new. It depicts her naked, carelessly holding a cigarette with raised eyebrows and with three selected bodyparts covered in happy hand-painted smileys. A picture that she thought perfectly captured a nice evening when she was a little tipsy and newly moved in with a friend, enjoying life. Most of her friends laughed and thought she was lovely. But not everyone understood the joke. A colleague at her new job asked if she was looking for a fuck-contact and strangers emailed her lewd suggestions. As a statement – ”no, I do not do this because I am horny and want to fuck or show off my sexy body, it’s just a fun picture” – she kept it as profile picture. But after a while she made more friends that she did not know if they would see the irony and could no longer defend it.
”Something tells me that a guy with a beach ball in front of his dick would not have been as stinging or provocative in the eyes of others.”
Matilda Berggren’s initial idea was that I would photograph her when she was naked, funny and a woman at the same time. But her managers at Swedish Radio shot down that idea, saying it could be interpreted as a pin-up photo and therefore was inappropriate.
Which in confirmed our whole thesis…
Women can be vulnerable, vulnerable, passive (dead is perfectly okay) and abbove all sexy when they’re naked in photos. For men, it’s different. They can cook only dressed in aprons or stand with their pants down in front of stunning views on Facebook photos, and there are plenty of examples of hairy, plump, hilarious, unsexy nude men in Hollywood comedies (think of wrestling scenes in Borat, or the intros to the Austin Powers movies). But when a woman is naked and funny, when she uses her body to amuse herself, entertain others or enjoy her own body, then we’re suddenly… Scared?
Let’s try it. I have two contrasting examples. One that shows how we usually get to see naked women in public. And one that shows what kind of nude photo gets your Facebook account deleted. (Get a pillow to hide behind! Iiiih!)
This is Lana Del Rey on the cover of the latest issue of men’s magazine GQ:
Vulnerable. Covering up. Exposed. As if frightened by the lighting, sitting against a wall, looking under her fringe, well-made up and adorned. And despite her shy, anxious face, she is still so excited that she cannot breathe with her mouth closed. Just like a gentleman wants her.
Lana Del Rey has been named Woman of the Year 2012 by the magazine. And from a lot of places I have received the tip on how GQ has chosen to portray its winners in the various Man of the Year categories:
Very telling. Four strong straight-backed or rigidly staring, controlled kings who do not have to be bodies. As it usually looks – not just in men’s magazines – but in everything from perfume commercials to entertainment guides.
What would it look like if they were shot naked and vulnerable on a floor, holding their limbs neatly in place? We can thank the resource site A girls guide to taking over the world for illustrating that thought:
Parody by A girls guide to taking over the world
Oh, boobie! Doesn’t your scrotum get frozen? Wanna do the helicopter to get warm or put on a sock? (Sorry, I’m probably engaging in double standards now.)
But back to my promised nude shock.
This picture was posted by food blogger Berit Runge on her Facebook the day after attending a party with barbecue, sauna and swimming:
BUT FOR FUCK’S SAKE! responded Facebook, blocking her account and making her to promise to never post anything offensive again if she wanted her account back. Berit Runge removed the image from Facebook, but posted it on her blog instead, in the middle of recipes for pies and soups.
In the post she explains, very similar to how Matilda Berggren explained her old profile picture, that it was taken when she was overjoyed, slightly after-party drunk and wanted to swim. That the photo conveyed all the tingling, end-of-summer joy she felt and that she also thinks that the image is the first that is really her: ”Boundless, happy, totally the-devil-may-care.”
”For real. Are you offended? Then I suggest you work on it. You see two breasts swaying by the centrifugal force and some pubic hair. I actually get a little worried about a society where a completely normal summer nudity is taboo to the mild degree that a picture like this worries anyone. This is neither more nor less than most of my friends have ever seen of my body in some opportunity. It’s not that fucking secret. It looks like people do the most. But in this case: A little happier. Let us affirm happy bodies, instead of taking offense at them. I think it will make us all feel better. ”
Berit Runge is so sensible that I just have to quote how she responds to a comment as well:
”I think it’s very scary that we are heading towards a society where we are moving towards a greater sexualization of the body. Because that’s what it’s about. The fewer normal happy bodies we get to see, the more mysterious the body becomes. And more and more people are starting to think that there is something wrong with them because they do not have porn-movie bodies, because they are the only bodies that can be viewed. I love my body, especially when it manages to rock me in such an amazing arc. I don’t pose sweetly. I show how to use a body to have fun with it. ”
Happy bodies. The finest thing I’ve heard. And ”sexualization of the body”. By that, Berit Runge does not mean (at least I do not interpret her that way), that all sexualization of bodies is evil. As blogger and psychologist Tanja Suhinina writes in a post about Berit’s image:
”Defending the image with ’it was a happy natural image, not sexual’ means that you show that you think happy natural bodies should not be considered offensive – but it would be a different matter if the body was sexual. And then of course you legitimize that sexuality in images is offensive.”
There’s nudity. There’s being sexual. And then there’s sexual objectification. The kind that meets us constantly in fashion, media, ads and product packaging and which – when it comes to nameless or faceless models – says that (mainly) the female body is an object, a commercial commodity that must be judged, valued, disciplined and refined (according to stiflingly tight body standards and with digitally doped bodies as ideal), owned and consumed. And as when it comes to women who are actually interviewed as persons, it lets us know that the most valuable characteristic of a woman is to be covetous in the eyes of others [men].
In other words. The sexual objectification that makes up 95% of all the tips I get on Twitter, email, Facebook and directly from people’s mouths every week. The one who usually just feels very unnecessary.
Like when the founders of a travel agency are filmed for an interview in the magazine Dagens Industri lying in a hotel bed (photo by Evelina Carborn):
Or when a couple of detective sisters are photographed sitting on the marble in short skirts with cross-legged leg-showing poses:
Photo: Sandra Qvist
Or when two American talk show hosts are photographed for Vanity Fair and the female of them goes up into I don’t know what flirting with her male colleague.
Or when the female models hang on or pull out a breast behind the male model in a jeans commercial: Or when a bare-chested group of girls laughs, fools around and helps each other to cover up when the photographer is on the prowl, in another jeans commercial:
Or when the Gothenburg Chocolate & Delicassy Festival markets itself in a newspaper ad with a still image from a chocolate porn movie (???):
Or when NK:s magazine STIL shows training clothes with models chilling in beds:
What is really most offensive? Berit Runge’s favorite image of herself or the endless thread of women as passive sex objects in fashion, advertising and bad gender photography?
Which image is really most offensive of these two …
The clothing store New Yorker’s ad for an autumn jacket and a pair of jeans (aimed at female buyers, we must assume?) With a model who gets one of her nipples batman censored and unbuttons her fly:
Sell stuff with me & girl. Whose jacket do you get the most craving for now? If the underlying message is something like: ”If you buy this jacket, your stomach will be flat and your breasts firm”.
I have a hard time getting over how cool and funny this counter-attack is. And it doesn’t get worse by the fact that Anna Davidsson runs Mammaformer.se, a site where women can send in pictures and texts about how their bodies have changed or not changed after a pregnancy.
But just as in the case of Berit Runge and Matilda Berggren’s pictures, not everyone understands the liberating joke.
Leslie: You’re supposed to be a teacher and flash your breats like that? Professional! I wonder what your students say about this picture (or does with it)? And their parents? You could have gotten your point across without showing half your body.
Här vill jag låna ytterligare ett välformulerat rytande från Tanja Suhinina, från hennes inlägg Min kropp. MIN. angående att hon gärna skulle lägga ut nakenbilder på sig själv men känner sig hindrad av sitt jobb och framtida jobb:
Here I want to borrow another well-formulated roar from Tanja Suhinina, from her post My body. MINE. regarding that she would like to post nude photos of herself but feels hindered by her job and future job:
”… I hate it. I hate that others get to decide what is more or less appropriate for me to do with my body. I hate that others decide how appropriate it is that my body is exposed. I hate at all when others say for me what to do, and when they should decide over my body – and that it’s so fucking obvious in our society – makes me boil inside with anger. Why is it considered so obvious that you have to stop respecting a person if you seen his nipples in the photo? ”
This is what Tanja Suhinina writes in connection with this article in The Guardian, about how paparazzi photographers, uploaders of creepshots (pictures of women’s body parts sneaked in public) and revenge porn (sex pictures uploaded without consent and which are said to be from ex-partners) create a forum for hunting, cheering and exchanging ”fallen” women in the picture and what real shame spots a virally spread sex picture can actually put an end to a young woman’s life.
Horrific reading. But at the end of the article, there is a quote from law professor Mary Anne Franks that I find very enlightening:
”I think there is a rage against women who are sexual on their own terms. We are completely calm with women who are sexual, as long as they are objects and passive, and we can turn them on, turn them off, download them, delete them, whatever it is. But as soon as there are women who want some kind of exclusive right regarding their intimacy, we hate it. We say, ’No, we’ll make you a whore.’ ”
I know. A woman who is naked and funny is perhaps uncomfortable, even scary, because it automatically makes her a subject? (Try to imagine a picture of someone who is passive in a humorous way. Joking is a way to be active.) In our collective reptile brain, maybe we are simply not ready for women who do what they want with their bodies?
Berit Runge mentioned in a comment that she removed a ”totally off topic comment that completely missed the mark and was also Islamophobic”. I can easily imagine that it was some kind of stone-throwing in glass houses regarding honor cultures, from a like-minded person to the person who posted this picture on a racist Facebook forum:
Click on the image to enlarge. To stop laughing, I do not know what to do.
But now I actually have to comment on last week’s most commented pin-up photo. Alex Schulmans. On Wednesday, he published a parody of photos Marie Serneholt posted on her Instagram from a photo shoot for the magazine Café.
Since Alex Schulman is a man, shows skin and is funny, you can of course guess that people laughed and cheered. But not Kakan Hermansson. She accused Alex Schulman of misogyny and congratulated him on succeeding in sexualizing, declaring stupidity and double-punishing Marie Serneholt, while at the same time helping to further de-sexualise the male body.
Also, Alex didn’t aim his criticism towards the entertainment industry’s extreme fixation on appearance or what women must do to be seen in it – but against her. But what also escaped him isthat Marie Serneholt’s pictures are also a parody:
Det är i alla fall jättelustigt att den här debatten uppstod kring bilder där hon är fotad exakt som om hon vore en manlig kalsongmodell. Med hårt utmejslade magrutor i svartvitt ljus och hårda skuggor, jättebredbent och självsäker, utrustad med en fet klocka. Hon har till och med kalsonger på sig. (Kolla märket på dem. Samma som kåt-Beckhams. Jag sparade bara ner första bästa kalsongmodellsbild. Kan bilden på David Beckham ha funnits med på en datorskärm under plåtningen, till och med? Visste Alex Schulman om att han parodierade David Beckham?)
In any case, it’s very funny that this debate arose around pictures where she is photographed exactly as if she were a male underwear model. With hard chiseled abs in black and white light and hard shadows, wide-legged and confident, equipped with a fat watch. She even wears briefs. (The same brand as Beckham’s, even!) Did Alex Schulman know he was parodying David Beckham?
This could be one interpretation of what the philosopher Judith Butler meant with: “…gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”.
Anyway. Alex Schulman has also been has also been filmed for the magazine Café once upon a time (2008). And then it looked like this with the gender-awareness:
Which images are really most needed to parody?
Finally, I want to touch on a topic that some men, a little worried, have asked me about. Do I think men should be sexualized more?
Objectified? No. Not really. Everyone deserves to be a subject. It disturbs one’s flow to constantly walk around and think about how one is perceived and judged by others (self-objectification). Studies have shown that objectification affects men and women differently. It also looks different. Once men become objectified, they are still made large, strong, independent and active, which are handy qualities if you are to be a subject. But the message in those pictures is that a man must be big, strong, independent and active (to be able to perform). Which of course puts a lot of pressure on men and is just more fuel on the macho fire.
I always find it a little sad when men wave away their bodies as comical, ugly and innately unsexy. What does it really do for men’s body image? ”The woman in her true image is sexier than the man. Sexy and powerful enough to create life”, thundered a now grown childhood friend on my Facebook wall. To that I replied: ”Many people experience the male body as at least as sexy, but it is not sexualized in the same way in fashion, media and advertising.”
All images of independent, controlled and closed off men who refuse to pretend to show off themselves (even though you automatically always do so and in that sense are passive when you stand in front of a camera). That looks like they’re not making a single noise in bed …
What do they really do for men’s sex lives?
Perhaps it would be liberating, in the case of men, to see more images of men who are sexualized, and perhaps a little objectified as well; men who are soft, beautiful and inviting and who actually dare to be intimate and give in to him; which may be vulnerable, responsive objects instead of acting, performing and reserved subjects, for once.
We want equality, right? Either we all sexualize everyone or we sexualize no one. It can actually be that simple.
Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist, a skull-voting (Pirate Party voting) photographer, has learned that.
After photographing the Pirate Party’s segment of this year’s Pride Parade, he asked his friend Inga, who marched topless, if it was okay for him to publish the pictures of her on his blog. He had already published pictures of male party comrades with only breasts, but held back the pictures of her until he knew he had her consent.
She replied with a scolding.
She thought that either I should ask everyone or not at all ^^
When Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist asked me how I thought he should approach asking women in parades about permission in the future, I said:
Smart idea to start asking men.
So when I asked Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist if I could use his pictures from the Pride Parade, he asked both Inga:
Inga answered that it was okay and asked Jonathan to tell the Gender photographer that he’s awesome. (^^)
”Yo, bro. It’s cool with me.”
I think we can end with that. Two happy, expressive, free bodies.