The Midriff, Power, and Advertising

I read the Miss Representation Blog quite frequently and find all the articles posted to be really interesting.  I don't necessarily agree completely with all of them, but they at least get me thinking, which I think is the point.  One of their most recent posts talks about the implied sexual power of women with midriffs in advertising, and while I don't necessarily think this blog hits it on the nose, the author,  Leanne Westrick, does bring up a good point:

If womanhood looked the way advertising portrayed it, it would go a little something like this:
  • Being 20 through 35
  • Being anywhere from a size 00 to a size 6 (keep in mind the definition of a plus-size model starts at size 6)
  • Being defaultly white and if not white, than qualifying as an exotic sort of pretty
  • Being attached to, or looking for, a man (sorry lesbians)
In this definition of womanhood, a good deal of the female population does not meet the requirements.

I've never been a fan of the midriff look because only once in a blue moon can a girl pull it off - really it just looks flattering in photoshopped pictures, so why sell clothing that doesn't look good in real life?  But I think showing off some skin doesn't necessarily objectify women - it's the way that showing off skin is advertised, thereby objectifying and sexualizing women.  And while I think most of her commentary on the empowerment or disempowerment of the midriff is a bit of a stretch, her observations of what women in advertisements look like are very accurate.  The more I learn, the more depressed I feel at how body-image focused our society is.

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