Friday, November 8, 2013


Beware.  I am going on a rant today.  And it has nothing to do with beads. What started it was an article on the front page of the NY Times yesterday, "Mannequins Give Shape to Venezuelan Fantasy".  When I first saw the below photo I did a double take.  Is this a mannequin for a porn store?

The article was about a recursive loop of flesh and blood women undergoing cosmetic surgery, and the evolution of corresponding fiberglass stacked mannequins.  The store front window then becomes a taunt for unaltered women to step in line with a new cultural norm of beauty.  I have long abhorred rail thin fashion models and mannequins, but this is ridiculous. 

In the article, a woman who made these mannequins was quoted as saying she wanted a boob job someday, because "it gives you better self-esteem".  Can you really get self esteem with a scalpel and some silicone?  Well, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2012 at least some of the 330,631 American women who had breast augmentations must have thought so.  


  1. there are no words (that are not a swear word) to describe the disgust of a society that is influencing women to alter their bodies for self esteem? really?

  2. Liz, my mom did not have reconstructive surgery when she has breast cancer. You know why? One of her friends did have it and told her she would be cold as hell in the winter and hot as hell in the summer. Please, let women like this get a few headlines.

    1. I'm sorry Jambo I don't quite understand what you're saying. If a woman wants reconstructive plastic surgery I support that. If a woman chooses not to have reconstructive surgery I very much support that as well. I have a friend that had a poster in her room. It was a woman that had a one sided mastectomy. No reconstructive implant, but she had a beautiful tattoo over the surgical area. How that must have hurt to get it done. The image has stayed with me all these years as an image of courage and true beauty.

  3. That mannequin seems quite the statement on social excess. And anyway, how good can people really feel carrying all that extra weight around? It must be very hard on a person's back.

  4. This is sad and frustrating. Wrong and demeaning. Telling our sons and daughters what?! Where is the disconnect between what we teach children and what society thrusts at them? Seems I cannot form a coherent thought at the moment, but this angers me. Glad you posted it, Liz.

  5. As a sociologist & gender studies instructor, I know too well how these representations of women hurt women. My daughter's mom-in-law had breast enlargement for the joy of it, and she is indeed quite happy. I won't push against her story/experience or those who have survived the ordeal of cancer & related surgeries. But I will push against representations that are so unrealistic, an actual human being could not live within the socially constructed imaginary body. These mannequins are a small glimpse into an entire ideology of "beauty" that is inhumane in many ways. Barbie's body leaves no room for internal organs, and from the looks of it, neither do the mannequins' forms. It's insane. More insane is the way the mannequins/models are looking away: psychologically, whenever another looks away, it actually communicates permission to gaze upon. You'll see this representation (go ahead, gaze at me) often everywhere women are being objectified in media. The complexities of the representation of women give permission for continued objectification, as if the objectified agrees that existing within a non-life supporting form is best! We begin to believe women think this way, and systematic oppression is sustained.

    These kinds of hurtful social norms are rampant, and despite the enormous successes we've made as feminists -- men & women & trans together -- towards dismantling oppressive systems and ideas and structures regarding what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a man, or to not exist at all if one's intersexed (ultimately, what it means to be attractive in our culture) we have a long way to go. Big boobies? Well, I don't mind as long as we get some big intestines too! Enough body to be real and be ALIVE. LOL... When the toy stores stop dividing "boys & girls" toys, when we all learn that in some cultures white is considered the evil color & black is a holy, splendid wedding color, when we stop marginalizing the third sex into oblivion, when little girls no longer have to worry about being skinny pretty or good enough, when boys get to be people, what sweetness we shall enjoy! It will come, without a doubt. Life is good! But my heart goes out to all of those hurt or hurting along the way. Change unfolds slowly, and so my comfort to all impacting negatively by these horrid cultural divisions. May they quickly transform, dissipate with time. Bravo Liz for confronting the issue & demanding change.


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