Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1945. Kruger attended Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts. She studied art and design with Diane Arbus at Parson’s School of Design in New York and obtained a design job at Condé Nast Publications. Kruger was quickly promoted to head designer for “Mademoiselle” magazine. This background in design is evident in the work for which she is now internationally renowned. Kruger’s works question the viewer about feminism, classicism, desire, and consumerism. Her captions are aggressive and involves the struggle for power. She has taught at California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and University of California, Berkeley. She currently lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Kruger’s work deals with feminism, classicism, desire, and consumerism and is very direct in its message. Her works doesn’t have a boundary between art and commerce and calls attention to the role of advertising. Kruger publicizes the issues in politics and makes the viewer interact with it in ways that they wouldn’t think about interacting with.
Miss Representation is a documentary film about how the media affects young girls and women. The Documentary is about Jennifer Siebel Newsom and her worry about the world that her daughter will be coming in to. The point that she makes is that the media is teaching young girls that their worth is from their beauty and sexuality. “Ultimately, she says, the gap between women in media and women in real life is huge, and growing.” Today’s media and society only focuses on how beautiful and skinny a woman looks not on using their intelligence to be successful. Young girls and women are more focused on being successful in looking beautiful and being skinny that they push aside education and being successful in a career. Young girls look at media and see anorexia and hyper-sexualized models and believe that this is the only route to power.
It’s easy to believe in the statistics but being bombarded with these images daily still affects one’s mind. Even if you know that the models in magazines are all Photoshopped if you look at them long enough you will start feeling negative about yourself. It’s easy to believe that these imagery don’t affect the minds of young women because of the high percentage rates of female college graduates but the point of the fact is that women have a higher rate of eating disorders, self-destructive behavior, and depression. When will this woman bashing stop?
Miss Representation (the film)
Lorna Simpson was born in Brooklyn NY in 1960. Simpson was raised during the civil rights movement, and it shows influence on her works. She received her BFA in Photography from the school of Visual Arts in NY and received her MFA from the university of California in San Diego. Her concentration is in filmmaking and photography. Simpson became a well-known artist in the mid 1980s. She is now living in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter and is currently represented by Salon 94 in New York, New York.
Being an African American woman she used culture and gender to interact with the multi-racial American lifestyle. She likes to question the semiotics of looking, exploring the construction of difference in human beings with her art.
I find her work inspirational because I can relate to it, being a female from a minority group in the United States. I like how symbolic her photographs are. They are very simple but hold very deep meaning. Simpson’s work is about women and society and my current works is about how the media affects the minds of women.
The media has an large impact of beauty and body image. Sex sells everything, from food to cars. Famous actresses are becoming younger and thinner. “Some have even been known to faint on the set from lack of food.” Women’s magazine’s are filled with articles about losing weight and being able to be the perfect girlfriend or wife by losing weight. By presenting women and young girls an unattainable beauty the diet and cosmetic industries flourish. “It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth anywhere between 40 to 100 billion (U.S.) a year selling temporary weight loss (90 to 95% of dieters regain the lost weight).” “In 2003, Teen magazine reported that 35 per cent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet.”
Being exposed to images of skinny, young, pore-less female bodies is a link to depression and loss of self-esteem in women and girls. This is what starts unhealthy eating habits. “The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control—including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting.” Because of the images that the media is continuously showing healthy girls and women who are at a healthy weight start believing that they are overweight and obese. “Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less.” This is an utterly shocking fact. Advertising an unattainable beauty sells. Every women wants to be perfect and perfect is what they see on TV shows and movies.
It’s incredible how much the media affects the human mind. Over the many years of exposure to thin, tall, and young models and actresses it would be hard to accept that it isn’t healthy nor is it beautiful to be unrealistically thin.
Elizabeth Graves has been making photographs for over twenty years . She considers herself a landscape photographer but a significant portion of her portfolio relates to botanical subjects or built in environments. Graves started cyanotypes to make contact sheets without an enlarger and they were so efficient that she continued to use the process. She does a variety of alternative processes and is currently developing a portfolio of vandykes.
Graves has a made large amount of work throughout her years. I find her cyanotypes series “Signs of Chinatown” very beautiful. She has great detail and tonal value in every print. Her cyanotypes has the perfect combination. She seems to have figured out how to create a perfect negative and perfect exposure time.
Reading this article has increased my knowledge on exactly how much the media affects the minds of women. Media starts it’s toll on girls at a young age. “According to the 1983 Nielsen Report on Television, the average North American girl will watch 5,000 hours of television, including 80,000 ads, before she starts kindergarten.” It’s incredible the amount of hours that children will watch today. The report was done in 1983 and I’m certain that those numbers have increased today. Commercials will show boys building, fixing, or fighting and girls laughing, talking, or observing. Already the media is showing girls being passive and most commercials will show girls inside the home and rarely playing outside the home.
The mass media do provide positive role models for girls but at a less percentage than they do for boys. “The one discrepancy was in the movies, where 49 per cent of male characters solve their own problems, compared to only 35 per cent of their female counterparts.” When it comes to quality the media still conforms to a stereotyped image of women; that women and girls are motivated by love and romance and are less independent than boys and men. Women in the media are stereotyped according to the color of their hair. “Blonds fall into two categories, the “girl next door” or the “blonde bitch,” while redheads are always tomboys – they are nearly always conventionally attractive, thinner than average women in real life, and heavily sexualized.” The mixed messages that are absorbed by girls makes it hard for them to transition to adulthood. “Social Development reports that while the number of boys who say they “have confidence in themselves” remains relatively stable through adolescence, the numbers for girls drop steadily from 72 per cent in Grade Six students to only 55 per cent in Grade Ten.” Children are surrounded by images of the unrealistic unattainable female beauty. Girls and women have a loss in confidence and self esteem because of those images and the more that they are exposed to those false images they will never have confidence in themselves.
In today’s fashion industry they feature twelve and thirteen year olds as if they were women, eroticizing them. This makes women strive for the unattainable image of those girls that they see in the media. As girls grow up to be teenagers and women of today’s society the more they see these images the more they will have negative opinions of themselves.
Deborah Oropallo received her BFA at Alfred University, Alfred, NY in 1979 and went on the receive her MFA at the University of California, Berkeley, CA in 1983.
Deborah Oropallo makes what she calls “hybrid prints”. She uses the computer and contemporary digital printmaking methods all in combination with painting techniques. The photographs are digitally manipulated and then printed on German printmaking paper using a pigment-based process. Once they’re printed Oropallo works over them with encaustic and oil paint.
Oropallo’s current work is a deconstructing and enhancing of images to explore the idea behind seduction and power that are evoked by gesture and pose. She uses images she finds for sexy costume on the internet and combines it with images of men from the 17th and 18th century portrait paintings.
I enjoy looking at her work because every time I look at it I find something new in the image that I didn’t see before. Her process seems very interesting and intriguing. The outcome of her images are interesting to look at and it certainly makes me wonder how she creates her artwork. I do plan on using her work as inspiration in my future works.