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This, from the Guardian, must represent the hilarious nadir of modern feminism. Two women, both feminists, are photographed for a magazine. They are depicted with their hands on their hips.
First, the Guardian tries to put this kind of patriarchal photo-aggression into art historical context:
What we know well is that there are hidden ideologies in visual images; every picture counts whether mundane or iconic. That has to be at the heart of Baxter and Cosslett’s thesis because it’s where the power of the women’s media lies, in the Look. As [English author] John Berger argued so eloquently in Ways of Seeing, deciphering the look is a political act with huge potential clout.
“The unequal relationship is so deeply embedded in our culture that it still structures the consciousness of many women,” Berger wrote in the 1970s. “They do to themselves what men do to them. They survey, like men, their own femininity.”
Fascinating. But, of course, it bears noting that it took a man to utter those words. Or does the Guardian only quote male authority? I demand an investigation! But it’ll have to wait until these questions are answered:
It’s ironic then, if every picture tells a story, that Baxter and Cosslett are pictured in The Guardian, each with her hand on her hip. Is this the direction of the photographer? Their instinctive choice? Or does it also reveal how deeply embedded is that unequal relationship of the active male viewer and the passive object of his attention?
Given the strength of their feminist beliefs, it’s unlikely the two campaigners realised, that what they are semaphoring is the classic pose of the “look-at-me” beauty queen; the unnatural strut of every woman on display for the pleasure of the male eye. The question is, does it matter?
Of course it matters! Everything matters! Two women were photographed with their hands on their hips! How can anyone look at this and not be outraged! I demand an outraged hashtag!