Objects Of Fantasy

Excellent article in the New Statesman, on the recent suggestion that Christina Hendricks “who plays sassy secretary Joan Harris in television drama Mad Men, has been identified as the woman with a body others should healthily aspire to.”

Wrong choice, right idea… It is likely that Featherstone’s decision to tout Hendricks as a body-image role model was based on asking the girls in the office who their favourite curvy celebrities were. Unfortunately, following her comments, aspirational photos of Joan in a range of tight dresses have illustrated nearly every report on the anti-airbrushing campaign, sending a clear message about the limited ambitions of women’s liberation today. We don’t want young girls to starve themselves to resemble a modern advertising executive’s wet dream, so we’ll settle for encouraging them to emulate an advertising executive’s wet dream from the 1960s…

Joan may be curvy and confident, but that confidence comes from her skill at manipulating men sexually, embracing her role as an object of fantasy and encouraging the secretaries she supervises to dress prettily, stay quiet and accept sexual bullying as part of the job. Her male bosses consistently demean her intelligence.

Read the rest.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

4 replies on “Objects Of Fantasy”

These things are grimly hilarious – though not I suppose in the way they’re intended.

I’ve seen some of the unfortunate women on the anorexia wards, so I can by the narrowest of margins, agree that glorifying starving teenagers isn’t the ideal of female beauty that I want passed down to my daughter.

However, suggesting a curvy, sex-bomb of a pin-up is a better one to put in their place, hardly helps settle my stomach.

The media doesn’t embrace the beauty of “the other” unless it seems to revolve around relatively minor fluctuations in female weight acceptincy among models and celebrities who are famed for nothing much more than their polished sex-appeal already. Curvy is not fat, if anyone has noted. I’ve yet to see this silliness make one person who is actually overweight, suddenly feel like they’re seen in any better light by society.

I’d be more comfortable with this (please insert your own level of sarcasm here) treating of women as objects if at the very least, the range of objects we’re lusting over could include not only the wide range of real bodyforms, but might toss in other characteristics like intelligence, personality, creativity, talent and accomplishment.

Sexiest women of science where are you? And I don’t mean find some models who you can throw some white coats over and hang a pair of lab goggles around their boney necks. How about a calendar of those women who are currently making the biggest advances in those fields which will shape our futures to come? I’ll be first in the queue to objectify them.

Bring on the brains.


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