Saturday, June 19, 2010

you're such a doll, literally

In the past week, I saw two photoshoots that featured Megan Fox and Jessica Alba posing with dolls. Because both were borderline disturbing/weird, I wanted to talk a little about them and maybe figure out a greater meaning behind the concept of using a doll in a fashion shoot.

images via fashioncopious

Interview Magazine did a piece on Megan Fox with an editorial and video to boot. The custom-made mannequin is meant to look like Fox and she poses with it in a very sexualized, verging toward violent, manner. When I first saw these pictures I was like, wtf? But then I took a second, third and fourth look and realized...maybe the stoic mannequin is a metaphor for silenced women. Whether silenced by patriarchy, the media, or their vulnerability (for those that are vulnerable), the women that Megan Fox's identical mannequin are depicting exist everywhere.

The comparison between women and dolls are disheartening and a little frightening. There's also aspects of the photoshoot that I interpreted as how the actress wants to be seen as. In that first photo, she's holding the mannequin dearly like she's protecting her. Since the mannequin is identical to Fox, it's as though she is protecting her own self, and how she is viewed in society. The wardrobe and makeup are indicators that she is an individual but people simply see her as a emotionless doll. Her own face is lacking emotion, for the most part until we hit that last photo with her hands covering the mannequin's mouth-as though she's had enough of being invisible in the world.

Another editorial (which I actually found hysterical & not in a good way) is of Jessica Alba with support by American Girl dolls.

photos via becausei'maddicted

So the concept here is monkey see, monkey do. Jessica being the mother monkey teaching the dolls what to do in any given situation and in this case, "how to be a little more bad-ass." So basically what the photos are insinuating (and I don't know is this is on purpose), is that women are easily influenced especially when they're younger. The dolls are again, used as metaphors for these younger women that give in to peer pressure. Everyone has power over dolls. We can mess their hair up, clothe them, put them in any position we choose (even sexually).

Dolls have no voice, they have no movement. Only women play(ed) with dolls (at least 99% of women) and it's interesting that they can be used to represent them in such a powerful way. Are G.I. Joe's ever used in photoshoots? It's so much easier to depict women as doll-like rather than men, but why? Because we are vulnerable to power? Even if these editorials are not really meant to be studied so critically, I think there's obvious reasons to why both were inspired to use dolls to represent women. Just something to think about...

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