|We Bite Back
|Ralph Lauren caught doctoring images to make models too thin
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|Author:||epic [ Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:09 pm ]|
the threat of copyright infringement is indeed ridiculous.
what i find very striking about a lot of the coverage here is that the general media, like non-feminist, seems to be focusing on the "irresponsibility" of the bad "graphics" and the "mistake" as Ralph Lauren is terming it.
They are not discussing the amount of deliberation that went into this "mistake" that has been evidenced in two separate model images. They are not discussing the number of hours the graphics department would have worked on these images AFTER the initial photo shoots. They are not discussing why the graphic designer(s) would be working to make the images thinner than a human - even a thin model - could possibly be. That's what I'm talking about as an underlying sinister element, and then speculating as to the sinister reasons that would be supported further down the line by Big Media (major magazines, newspapers, advertising in general).
I do admit to a tendency to gestalt larger patterns in the whole of what I see, but honestly I think there would be economic reasons to support corporations with business plans that involve reducing the perceived minimum of food people need to survive. I think there are huge holes in our economy and some are being pushed into the cracks and then the cracks glossed over... just because there are economic opportunities in taking advantage of the vulnerable.
Using the low self-esteem of women and girls everywhere to sell products/services has been an on-going strategy of advertisers for decades. Photos have been doctored for decades. We've looked at images that are really lies for decades.
I've personally worked in design departments editing photos for hours and hours and that's why I know personally the time and energy that goes into these sorts of things... and one can't help but imagine there's some larger reason for it all. If it's just a matter of the love of money being the root of all evil then maybe I'll have to accept that answer as why these practices in visual deception and mass misogyny have been so normalized by our culture. I still think there's an overwhelming distain of the public underneath it all that does not care at all about public welfare.
BoingBoing in its initial expose discussed the idiocy of the photo editor. It's like the big lie - nobody can fathom what is really going on here, that Ralph Lauren would intentionally create absurdly emaciated images, and why. so it must be all just a big mistake. somebody's mouse got a life of its own while they were Photoshopping.
But I DON'T believe it's a big mistake (unless their mistake was in doing a bad job in that people could detect it was fake!) - it's clearly deliberate - because I've worked eleven years in graphic design, half of those years working right inside various corporate industries... and I know how some of these things go. And it's to the point that my disillusionment led me to feel that advertising as an industry is nothing more than propaganda-production... a realization that pains me as an artist.
to be honest, Sharon, i'm more inclined to believe more tightly-knit conspiracies.
Any time two people make a secret pact to make something happen and work towards it happening without others knowing, that's a conspiracy. So there's endless room for conspiracies within conspiracies within conspiracies. The word "conspiracy" gets a bad rap these days... as if most people are completely honest... as if corporations are somehow completely honest, when we know full well they are not!
One group's conspiracies can potentially fit nicely into the broader conspiracies of another group. Those groups then work together because the work towards fulfilling one group's conspiracy will further the work of the other. (Win-win, from their perspective.)
Let's say that the company in question is owned by a still larger company that has it's own agendas and conspiracies, some separate and totally unrelated in purpose/function from the child company (with it's own conspiracies), and yet the ulterior motives of the child company will naturally fit in line with those of the larger one... given that the larger supports the child through funding, business connections, etc. When you view the world like this, the entire economy starts to look like one great big Ponsi scheme. One big scam. And then it's hard not to become cynical and see thousands of conspiracies all weaving together... some fitting directly to others at odds with them... some of them doing both because the participants aren't aware of the conspiracies of the other.
I'm of the firm belief that a lot of things in our culture are there to DISTRACT people and to create a sense of dissatisfaction with self in them so that they will NEED things from others and feel obligated to work long hard hours for the things they need and want... when in reality if we weren't continuously bombarded with propaganda from all sides maybe we would stop working... maybe we'd abandon the old ways that have been twisted towards deception, greed and evil and live differently. Continuing the distraction gets the money, gets the paycheck. Thus the evil is continued... but glossed over because it "must" be done to "survive". (ie - pay bills, support family, etc.)
With Ralph Lauren, the copyright protests were efforts to censor discussion of what they were doing because they are fully aware of what they are doing. Trying to play it off as a "mistake" in editing is an attempt to play it down further.
How many corporations have we found so far in this area actively trying to get people to think less of themselves and their bodies in order to sell products? Why does our culture allow for this activity? Is it because it's largely subliminal in approach and we just aren't able to put a finger on what's going on?
it doesn't have to get complicated (ie. to involve a food shortage that i doubt Ralph Lauren would begin to factor in)
It does to me... only because those above Ralph Lauren in the corporate Ponsi pyramid scheme will do things to please those above them... and humans are capable of coming up with convoluted plans, so sometimes they do. Sometimes it's simple... and only complicated in that there are so many different conspiracies at work. The best way to understand the way advertising is trying to push people is to follow the money and see who owns Ralph Lauren, and who pulls the purse strings above them, on and on up. Then you might start asking some strange hypothetical questions about why... beyond it just being a fashion industry thing.
to theorise that fashion designers are trying to promote emaciation to make every average person feel miserable about themselves and be willing to spend huge amounts of money to try to attain a look/status that, because they will never attain it, makes them continue to pour money into a bottomless industry.
I think that the fashion designers are designing for use in advertising primarily. The advertisers will try to work with major media providers because that's where the money is. They will design ads to fit the "look and feel" of the publications that pay for advertising, and thus will try to do what works in those specific publications. They design for the money, just as graphic designers design for the money.
I am not suggesting that fashion design is evil any more than graphic design is evil. I am however suggesting that subliminal messaging is used in both to convince the public of a specific idea and that whole thing has to fit into an agenda of someone above the fashion designers because they will be producing images that fit with what their clients want.
Everything in our culture is designed so you can't point finger of blame at anyone in particular. There's a "line" of blame that gets passed on. Passing the buck If you can't point to a particular systemic point of failure within the whole thing, you can't remove the systemic point of failure. Fashion design is a tool of social manipulation just as graphic design is. It molds and pushes the consciousness of the public through frequent and repeated exposure on all sides. And I believe it's structured to be the way it is deliberately.
Am I taking a leap to suggest that the economic crisis would be a cause of malnutrition and more cut throat business practices in advertising?"
1. If more people in the general public are starving because they cannot afford a healthy balanced diet, then to bombard them with images of people thinner than is even humanly possible might serve to
a) reassure them that they are "ok" even when health is deteriorating
b) normalize emaciation in a population that is losing weight (because they either can't control their consumption rate, or food processors use cheap ingredients that their bodies cannot normally process... there's complex conspiracies in the food industry if you want to hear a rant on that too. For example, a fast food company would want to show people who were underweight eating the food to suggest that it won't make people get fat) that they would have to be far thinner still to be "unhealthy". Don't let people know what is healthy and normal... instead present images that are so thin that they could not have proper bone structures underneath to be that way.
2. Advertising has become extremely competitive because a lot of papers and magazines are struggling to remain viable and relevant.
The public has less spending power with their dollars, so some magazines/papers have outright closed. This means less advertising agencies are getting money, and thus less fashion design agencies are getting modeling contracts. The strain alone is going to cause those agencies to do things that seem to be going too far. They are pushing the envelope hoping that that push will be the thing that sells... so that their business doesn't end up getting cut away. The businesses are being slimmed down to emaciated proportions while trying to survive. The models are being slimmed down to impossible proportions in real life as well as their images in editing in the graphics department. Finally, the public is being slimmed down to unhealthy proportions because it cannot afford a healthy balanced diet/lifestyle.
(Have I mentioned that major flu epidemics in the last hundred years have coincided with economic recessions? I can give specific examples if you want elaboration.)
i'm struck by the hypnotic aspect of big corporate advertising. they are harnessing the anthropologically evidenced attraction to shiny things, to perfection.
They want to evoke subliminal response in the public so that they can convey a secret message that the conscious mind doesn't register. The conscious mind by and large ignores adverting except at a glance, now. We're hit with far too much advertising. Shock value, sex and subliminals sell. People become emotionally imprinted with opinions about the product and what it "feels" like or what attitude it has. This works with all aspects of product advertising. The most expensive items in the world are called "status symbols"... because the public has been successfully brainwashed into believing that owning those things represents greater power and quality, sexual prowess, or whatever the company claims it is and does. Visually. Audibly. Barely noticed and yet fully grasped on a half-awake subconscious level. In advertising.
humans have this black and white idea that makes a lot of sense when you think of evolution. good and bad, black and white. to try and make the masses group themselves into "bad" and start clawing and spending to get into the "good", corporations dangle that carrot further and further into the "tiny, white" region of the spectrum so that people are glazed over looking at glossy magazines and photo after retouched photo of some nonexistent phantasy creature on the internet.
I'm speaking from after eleven years in graphic/web design, half of which had me working directly in creative departments of a few different industries (food advertising, newspapers, signage, gov't) and some of the internal political decisions and plans and discussions that influence the way they present their products/services. I think the reason we can't identify the problem is the whole system is designed to just cater to the expectations of where ever the money is coming from... and this creates potential for evil in all industries. It does not allow for any industry to have the best interests of the public at heart.
I am disillusioned with the whole thing. Heartbreakingly disillusioned.
they get our money while we're in that dazed state.
They get money from the magazines, big corporations, who need advertising with models that look a certain way, convey a certain image. And then they get the designers to push the imagery further to really drive home the vibe and message they want the public to grasp... and the public doesn't really know it's being pushed/pulled like this. The public may or may not buy the final product... and the buying decisions of the public do gradually influence corporate decisions... but that means the public has to act very strongly against buying what they are presented, rather than acting like sheeple in the checkout line. Don't buy the shock news. Don't buy anything that presents false images of the human body in order to sell a product. That sure narrows down the purchasing doesn't it?
Do you know how many times I've done a newspaper interview with someone about WBB and told them our stance on use of thinspo images and why I won't give pictures of myself when I was sick... and then the editor turns around and puts some emaciated stock photo images right into the article ANYWAY?? Even if you are trying to do something good, someone further up the line who is trying to secure money for ongoing operations will thwart your efforts.
i think the capitalist market has a lot to gain from a hungry population, both literally and figuratively....and a lot to lose if people start to be satisfied with the mundane and superficial aspect of their lives and dissatisfied with the system itself and their personal levels of intellect.
I think the capitalist market is a giant ponsi scheme... that there's a greater divide between rich and poor than there has been for generations, and there's an ever increasing risk that the pyramid will collapse. [If it hasn't already...]
As more people lose jobs, there will be more incidences of whistle blowing.
As more "secrets revealed", there will be more efforts of corporations to clean up their images... with more efforts to appear transparent and honest. (And thus more real women without photoshopping... or at least labels that indicate the image was doctored... will become required in more countries.) I think there could be a lot of room for change...
educate the masses, i say.
Sometimes the masses aren't even participating. They are just being bombarded with images and messages meant to evoke this or that response en mass.. leading them around like sheep. And if people don't know how to see the lies, (the massive web of conspiracies on top of conspiracies on top of conspiracies in each corporate group) they will believe it outright.
Our eyes cannot tell a photoshopped image from real if it's done right.
|Author:||epic [ Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:20 am ]|
(p.s. Sharon as always i appreciated reading your points. I may respond but if i don't please know it has not at all gone unconsidered!)
We're all busy people... and replying is not an obligation. Do so when you have time and impetus to do so. Maybe it'll help me figure out ways to explain myself better.
|Author:||ephemeral [ Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:34 am ]|
Definetly food for thought there sharon. A lot of information which adds, and 'confirms' suspicions I've had for a while.
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