What makes a woman beautiful to me is when she is powerful in her natural and raw state. Not in the sense that she doesn’t have makeup on but in the sense that her self-presentation isn’t so calculated, self-conscious or apologetic. She gives off a cool confidence in just being whoever she is. This type of beauty, for the most part, is not depicted in the representations of women in mainstream media. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are bombarded with tens of thousands of advertisements and music videos that present women in an overly sexualized and one-dimensional way. Femininity becomes artificial as the women morph into the same sexual object; it is the same monotonous and overly- arched pose, the same seductive gaze, facial expression and provocative clothing that leaves nothing for the imagination. Her presentation becomes more of an act rather than one of authenticity and realness. It is similar to acting in a certain way because you know someone is watching or observing. If men presented themselves in the same way, we would be able to see how ridiculous some advertisements of women are.
The Ugly Truth Behind Most Advertisements
What is being advertised is lust and seduction in attempts to make the viewer purchase a given product. There is a huge difference between lust and beauty but mainstream media makes it easy to confuse the two. As women, we sometimes fall into the trap of exhibiting our sex appeal in a way that comes at the expense of our real beauty. Many ads, magazines, videos and social media portray women in a way where their value is tied to their ability to make men desire them and to make other women desire to look like them. This power is temporary since it depends on an external source instead of an internal source. There is no depth or substance to hold onto. Seeing a woman sexually is no longer seen as a privilege, but a requirement that is on display for the public.
In mainstream media, the woman becomes an object playing out the same script. In real portrait photography, the woman is a powerful subject and retains her dignity.
Dignity vs Seduction
In the first two photos, I feel seduction and lust coming out of their eyes. They draw or seduce the viewer in instead of giving off who they are as women. I am focused on their bodies and nothing else. The last two photos, I actually wonder about who these women are. They maintain their dignity and true beauty. That is not to say the other women are not beautiful; I am just analyzing the portrayal of the women. I am not saying not to own your sex appeal. But I am saying when that’s the main way women are presented, it becomes a problem. Especially for young girls and women who passively consume all these images to the point where it starts to affect their perception of true beauty and power. It starts to become a problem when that’s the only way you know how to present yourself.
Find the depth of your beauty and be that!