6 thoughts on “Real women’s thighs

  1. Awesome project. But as a minor aside – I’m always kind of bothered by the “real women” locution in these sorts of campaigns. It’s ambiguous whether the “real” is taking wide or narrow scope – that is, whether we’re celebrating the thighs of real women, or women’s real things. Either reading seems problematic to me, though the former much more so.

    Women in magazines aren’t fictional, and neither are their thighs. They are real women, and as such they have real thighs. Extraordinarily unrealistic things have been done to the images of these women, but I think it’s unfair to imply that they aren’t “real women” just because some magazine editor has airbrushed the hell out of photos of them.

  2. I agree that there are problems with the phrase ‘real women’ in relation to the odd advertising campaign that seeks to ‘champion’ women who form more closely what the general population looks like. What I worry about is having an impression of ‘real’ women and ‘fake’ women who are models or celebrties that is positive to the detriment of the other. Surely it would be better to have a distinction that reflectspositively on both groups of women so there isn’t a real/fake binary between the women on our billboards and the women looking at them. Models and celebrities are enhanced with computers and lighting but they also have a job where their physical appearance is number one and so part of their implicit job description will be a workout regiment and diet most of us, having familiarised ourselves with it would think, naaaa, give me some chocolate, a workout once a week and a bit of cellulite. Celebrities and models work damn hard for their bodies and ‘real’ women work damn hard in other industries where their appearance doesn’t hinge on their performance in such an obvious way and we chose that. I am a placement research student, I spend most of my working hours at a computer and recognition in my area is based on the work i produce – sure I might get a leg up here or there inadvertently by being reasonably physically attractive but if I were to take on a strict diet and workout religiously several times a week, the recognition for my work would not improve in the same way a budding actress or mode’s recognition might. I like what I have decided to take on as a career and accept that it doens’t realistically facilitate the lifestyle I would need to keep my body looking amazing. I’m not always hairless, I am not always toned and I sure as hell don’t always look my freshest but if I was a model I would be. I am not justifying an industry where people’s job description prioritises maintaining physical beauty but let’s not call women who don’t real. We’re all real women, real women with a lot of different ambitions and to pursure my ambition I want copious amount of coffee to stay awake and deteriorate my skin and a work out once or twice a week to keep me toned…ish. I am a real woman and I am happy to be tonedish and more importantly, happy to see beautiful women with beautiful bodies.

  3. I am bothered by this. In my view this is just another case of women being displayed as pieces of meat.
    Anybody can project their own ideas on these pictures and think those thighs are ugly, sexy, fat and those women are ‘horny b****es’ or whatever judgement anybody wants to pass on these women from behind her/his computer and get a good laugh. The only thing that says that this is not meant as some kind of sexist joke or erotic fetishist thigh-display is the word ‘real’ and the text in which their good intentions are stated. In my opinion that is too little to persuade anyone to look at women in a different light. It even seems made up as an excuse to have a headline saying ‘thighs, show us yours’, which will attrackt many less well-intentioned viewers to take a look. I feel that these women who sent in their pictures (if that really happened) and feminist who think this is a good thing have been had.
    (Especially because The Huffington Post apparently often uses sexualized images of women as bait, see: http://www.feministfrequency.com/2010/08/the-huffington-posts-sexist-linkbait-strategy/ .)

  4. The fact that one who objectifies women can do that to these photos as well really isn’t much of a point against it, since that’s true of just about anything. The quotes in the captions are crucial to the project, and deserve to be paid attention to. However, you are right the HuffPo is totally not a reliable source for feminist content.

  5. Of course, someone who is out to objectify women can do that anytime. But my point is that if there were something to the photos themselves that sent the well intended message, it would be a bit harder to objectify these women than it is now. They could have, for instance, photographed random women in a glamorous way. Right now, these pictures have no special well-meaning (feminist?) content, they show naked, female bodyparts, photographed in an amateurisch way, fleshy looking, using too much flashlight etc., which looks a lot like what can be found on an amateur pornsite. In fact, in my opinion the photos themselves and the way they are displayed, are objectifying because they show bodyparts instead of complete women and they put them in a row, ready to be compared and judged. They even reminded me of upskirt pictures. (Want to see ‘real women’s thighs’, just google ‘upskirt’.) No accompanying text can make up for that.

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