The Vagenda

The Daily Mail finds increasingly creative ways to gawk at women’s bodies

Not content with gratuitous shots of semi-famous women in bikinis, the Mail has found an ingenious yet tenuous way to show some of our (albeit long-dead) sisters fully in the buff. ‘WHAT IF BOTTICELLI HAD PHOTOSHOP?’ screams the headline. What indeed?

If Botticelli had photoshop, the Mail has decided, he’d be making all his women thinner, as shown with helpful illustrations by Anna Utopia Giordano who we reckon is probably a pretty awesome gal. The Daily Mail’s analysis, however, is somewhat flawed. In Mail-land, if Botticelli had had Photoshop he’d be doctoring his masterpieces, having taken months if not years to paint them, in the post-production stage to make the protagonists thinner. But surely, as a painter, if he wanted them thinner, he’d just have painted them that way? Photoshop is fucking expensive, man. 

While we expect the aforementioned (awesome) artist is trying to make a moral point, it seems that the Mail has not fully grasped this and instead taken the “naked woman” hook and rolled with it in a “it’s not against our editorial policy to gawk at dead women if they are painted in oils” kind of way. How else can you explain the slightly lecherous proliferation of images? I’m sure Venus was used to being gawked at, but thems was the days before t’internet.

What they’ve also missed is the fact that Photoshop is just a tool used to reflect desires and ideals existing in society, and the way it manifests itself is symptomatic of modern thinking. E.g. if society maintains that women should be size zero, then Photoshop will be used to graphic designers to make women look thinner. Blame the artist, not the tools he uses. 
Likewise, if the ideal Renaissance woman was a Size 16, and EVEN IF they had Photoshop, they wouldn’t be using it to make women thinner. They’d be using it to, like, add extra folds.

Basically what I’m trying to say in a very inept way is that Photoshop isn’t responsible for the modern cluster-fuck of warped body type fascism, publications like the Daily Mail are.

But the thing that really fucks me off about the article is THIS LINE:

“Her hair might be unfashionably long, and she’s still displaying far more modesty than her 21st century counterparts, but there’s no denying that Giordino’s version of Venus would have more luck than Botticelli’s on Britain’s Next Top Model.”

What.the.holy.fuck. I just died a little inside. The “Daily Mail Reporter” (still waiting for that byline, eh?) who wrote this has a dig at her hair (why so bitchy?) and then holds her up as some kind of moral example to her “21st century counterparts.” This, in turn, is a two pronged issue: (haha I said prong)

1.) She is BUTT NAKED. How can anyone show less ‘modesty’ than that? 

2.) Who are her counterparts? All women? Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t aim for that sort of tableau, with the shell and everything, when I’m out on a Saturday night. I don’t even do that kind of shit for my boyfriend. Where would you even get a shell that big?

And if by counterparts they mean artists’ muses, then that’s equally problematic. Because, like, as far as I can tell, they’re still getting their kit off, and some of them are mahoosive (c.f. Lucian Freud exhibit at National Portrait Gallery)

All I get really glean from this shitcrock is that the Daily Mail has now tired of bullying living women and has turned their hands to dead ones instead. Because really, who gives a fuck what Venus does with her hair? 

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