So what's wrong with a little objectification, anyway?


8 comments posted
the strange case

taking this cover serious is like reading Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" and taking that seriously...

seems to me.

john's picture
Posted by john on 5 March 2006 - 7:12am

I'm wondering what effect acomplete opposite picture would have..

Imagine a cover with women-hating men who enslave their women...while laughing...

well i suppose we could just use pictures from WWII and the War in Iraq...

john's picture
Posted by john on 5 March 2006 - 7:31am
I live in Austin...

and my best guess is that whoever designed that cover had no idea about the symbolism behind it. They probably just thought it looked "cool". It's definitely a liberal town...although I have always thought there was an undercurrent of "women need men" flowing through. I've only been here a year. I work at the Women's Advocacy Project and even at a place like that I am disappointed by the lack of feminism in the building. But regardless, it's a pretty good town. Anyone coming for SXSW should make sure to check out the South Congress area. It's the best part of town (if you ask me).

le lyons's picture
Posted by le lyons (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 9:20am
I'm with you, Media Girl

The cover is an odd and inappropriate choice. The subheading beneath "BLOGHER" is "Our Web Sites, Ourselves" is a reference to an overtly feminist tome, so it leads one to believe that the cover artist thinks "Queens of Outer Space" is a feminist movie. Sigh.

Ann Bartow's picture
Posted by Ann Bartow (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 11:08am

I think its funny and eyecatching and don't read anything serious into it. Except, perhaps, that women bloggers are a force to reckon with? :)

Lynne's picture
Posted by Lynne (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 11:11am
Of She-bloggers and Andorians

Thanks Sour Duck - your link on Rox Populi lead me here.

Hi mediagirl - I can see and respect your point of view. As for myself, this cover instantly reminded me of Blogger Tild's fantastic She-Blogger posters that many women embraced, promoted and bought last spring when we were all planning BlogHer together. (Hat-tip: I originally saw the link to Tild's art on Shelley Powers' blog here.) One She-Blogger image is of a curvy, sexy vixen in her blue jeans, but the others are relatively unclothed, very campy and pulp-fictiony. Love 'em. I have no idea whether these images were an inspiration for the Austin Chronicle, but their cover is showing less skin than some of the art from the women's community online.

My two lira? I:

- Think that in the fabulous tradition of B--grade sci-fi sexsploitation, it's too bad that a couple of the women on the cover were not black, brown, and/or Andorian;

- Strongly recommend everyone read the terrific, up-front interviews of women speaking at SXSW that are inside this issue. The Chron walked their talk: They gave many women ink and the opportunity speak for themselves, rather than patronizing, snarky write-ups. If you want to read the links, see Roxanne's link to my piece above or the BlogHer write-up;

- I hate giving interviews. Hard for this reporter to trust other reporters. But I'm glad I talked with Marritt Ingman. She spent more time and did a better job of getting to the core of what we were trying to say about women and identity than anyone else who has yet interviewed me, Elisa and Jory.

- Truth be told, I have never worn a red evening gown to conquer a planet. I prefer Starbuck's get-up. When I'm not in my sweats. But BlogHer's omnipartisan -- lipstick, lace, workboots and/or coveralls, all are welcome. Ya'll wear what you want. We'll still listen to you.

Lisa Stone's picture
Posted by Lisa Stone (not verified) on 5 March 2006 - 1:56pm
Worth reading

Matsu's excellent post on this topic.

It's not so clear cut, I suppose, and these days we're all supposed to be beyond it all, right? Thanks for the response, and pointing out the great stuff in the article itself.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 5 March 2006 - 2:02pm
It's all about packaging

Some further thoughts:

One of the battles in gaining distribution for media content -- movies, books, etc. -- is that you typically cannot control the packaging, the marketing, how the work is positioned. It's very rare indeed for anyone who creates content to control how it's packaged. Blogs are one of the few exceptions these days.

Look at the movie industry, for example. Most important is how the movie is positioned by its marketing. What's the poster like? The trailer? The television spots? What the movie actually is becomes a secondary experience that changes the first impression. Whether the movie overcomes that or not really depends upon how powerful the movie is -- and how pernicious and powerful the marketing itself is.

I have not seen more than one or two of the Oscar nominated films (for all the categories) this year, but I have pretty clear impressions of what each of them is like, is about, and sends as a message. Why? Because of the marketing, the packaging -- how the movies have been presented to the marketplace.

So in this case about the Austin Chronicle cover, my argument is not with Marritt Ingman, but with the editors/publisher who decided to package the article with this imagery. The article becomes the second thing, if not secondary in itself, to the cover and how that artwork positions the BlogHer phenomenon.

Matsu's post on this is very good, btw.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 5 March 2006 - 2:16pm