Human Clothes Horse

Modern media and fashion have developed a sycophantic co-dependency, which can usually be passed over, but sometimes it can also get right up one’s nose or other orifice. Even while quietly minding my own business perusing sister news oracle, the SMH, this week.

Since our Germaine wrote about it back in 1970 the objectification of women’s bodies has increased exponentially. Well, I haven’t formulated a mathematical equation but we are surrounded by images of women’s bodies used to promote every kind of dodgy product. The original cover of ‘The Female Eunuch’ featuring the skin of a female torso hung up on a rail was disturbing enough.

At first glance the offending SMH promotion of a couple of fashion designers dressed up (pun intended) as news and its accompanying photo look banal. Naturally we process the photo first, and my reaction was to look for the explanation of the stunning-looking woman. But in the caption she is nameless and her presence is explained by the swimming costume she’s wearing. Of course she’s a model, but apparently we all understand that she is only a clothes horse. That is, tantamount to an object, as that horse is not alive.

No need of Roland Barthes, Levi-Strauss (the anthropologist not the jeans brand), semiotics and all that interesting French wankery, to understand the signification of this ingrained cultural norm. That woman’s identity has been stolen, suppressed and abused by the fashion and media industries, with the connivance of us punters, consumers and fashion victims. Her collaboration only makes it more tragic.

And frankly, what a tasteless, bogan design, particularly in the week of our worst aviation nightmare with flight MH370 getting all day news coverage.

Nameless model

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