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Posts Tagged ‘objectification of women on Blogfinger’

“Nu Couché” by Modigliani was painted in 1917. It just sold for $170.4 million and is considered to be a great masterpiece.  NY Times 11/10/15

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Re-posted and slightly edited from the original 2015  BF post.     This topic reminds me of recent (2017) debates about the definition of “harassment” of women.

Definition of objectifying women:   ” Female sexual objectification by a male involves a woman being viewed primarily as an object of male sexual desire, rather than as a whole person.”   (Wikipedia )

But the definition of objectification includes more than just that.  It also includes a  broader statement as  “treating anyone or any idea as a physical  object.”

The  painting   “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani  (above)  sold yesterday  (2015) at Christie’s for  $170.4 million and  made headline news all over the world, but the reporting did not raise the issue of Modigliani’s objectifying women.

After all, ever since man could draw a picture on a cave wall he would draw a naked woman. When photography was invented in the early 19th century, what do you think was first photographed?  And, of course naked women have captured the creative juices of many male and female artists over the years, and the images are not always complimentary of the female form.

There are some female photographers who have achieved fame by photographing women, sometimes in a highly sexualized way. I wonder how many of those critics who attacked Blogfinger would have criticized Ruth Bernhard, a famous artist known for her erotic black and white images of the female nude.  Her work was compared to that of Ansel Adams, and in 2014,  a retrospective of her photographs was shown in New York City at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.  The exhibit was called “The Eternal Nude.”  She also has published a number of books of her work and she has won many awards.   Can anyone seriously claim that only men can be accused of “objectification?”

Picasso is a good example of an artist who loved to paint and sculpt  women, often  with bulging eyes and multiple breasts   (see below.)  That painting  (“Les Femmes d’Alger”  1955) sold for $179.4 million in 2015.   Would any of  you feminists accuse him of objectification?  And how about Georgia O’Keefe whose paintings of flowers were often likened to female genitalia?

Picasso. $179.4 million. NY Times. Nov 10, 2015.

The sale of the Nu Couché  reminded me of  two incidents this past summer when Ocean Grovers, two women and one man, accused me of “objectifying” women in our series “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” You can search above to see some of those photographs from that series, but you will find that none of the women are naked, disrespected,  or even objectified.

On one occasion we posted a photo of a  female OG lifeguard in a bikini munching on a Weezer ice.  The image was taken by a woman on our staff. Would she be accused of objectification?   Here is a link to Jean Bredin’s  photo;

2017 lifeguard photo

This 2017 photo on Ocean Pathway is from our “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” series. It was accompanied by a discussion of her visit to Ocean Grove.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

There are incidences when the phrase  “objectification of women” might fairly fit, as when a woman’s body is used to sell a product, but our photographs do not fit  by any reasonable standard, and I believe the accusation has been overdone in our society.

Sometimes political correctness results in nonsensical allegations, such as when feminists say that photographing or looking  at a woman in a mini-skirt is objectifying her.  The attacks on Blogfinger fall into that category.

Women have been making great strides in the US  in an effort to be appreciated as whole individuals and not the sum of their parts.  Attacking responsible segments of our society such as Blogfinger for objectification of  women is to be small minded, to distort reality, to divert attention from the important goals of women, and to turn them into victims when just the opposite is necessary.

TONY BENNETT:

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