The representation of women in art and media around the world has been an area demanding serious attention, not only because of the adverse messages that it sends to the wider public, but also it’s harmful effect on both young girls and women. The objectification of women particularly is a key issue. As Alison Armstrong once said, “Objectification is the female equivalent of emasculation.” Artists such as Eli Rezkallah and Carol Ann Duffy have seeked to subvert stereotypical gender norms through their work. In a recent photography and concept, named “In a parallel universe”, Rezkallah recreated ads such as ‘Mr Leggs’ from the Mad Men era questioning modern day sexism. Through poems like ‘Standing Female Nude”, Duffy endeavors to reinstate marginalized female voices throughout history. Both Rezkellah’s ‘Mr Leggs’ and Duffy’s “Standing Female Nude” challenge the objectification of women whilst exploring how monetary value influences power and societal value.
First Body Paragraph:
Both texts confront the blatant gender bias present through objectification. Through switching the stance/position of the female and male in his recreation of the ‘Mr Leggs’, Rezkeallah inverts the normative gender roles and essentially their spheres of power. The dismembered head of the male model degrades his status to that of a mere object – a trophy hunted and now displayed as a possession of the woman. The humorous nature of this reversal reveals the absurdity of the original piece and the stereotypes at play. In contrast, Duffy challenges the objectification of women through the voice of one – a “river-whore”. In the second line of “Standing Female Nude”, the whore recites, “Belly nipple arse in the window light.” Using the rule of three, she debases herself by linking her worth to solely her body parts, connoting that in the light, these are the only parts of her that are visible to others. Not only does this allude to objectification, but her self-worth also displays the negative consequences of this on women themselves.