This article does a great job of highlighting the minute details of design that many of us overlook. The main focus of the introduction to the Wysocki article is the Peek advertisement that was presented in a publication of The New Yorker. Wysocki analyzes the advertisement in terms visual design and its affects on the way that we see beauty. Wysocki begins the analysis of the advertisement by relating it to the four principles of design. As viewers, our eye is immediately drawn to the behind of the woman in the advertisement because of the black and white contrast, the proximity of all the elements of the advertisement, the repetition of the size of elements, and the ways in which the elements are oriented within the frame.
But, Wysocki takes the analysis one step further by pulling in Arnheim’s principle. According to Wysocki on page 155, “Arnheim uses our bodily experiences of moving over the earth to shape principles for analyzing and creating visual compositions.” In the second portion of the document Wysocki argues that the way in which we perceive design is influenced by our surroundings. For example, when we see objects at the center of a work of art we perceive the objects as more powerful than those positioned below the horizon line. Objects carry weight depending on where they are positioned in a work of art. Not only is our perception influenced by our surroundings, but it also influenced by our childhood. Certain images bring about memories of our maternal past, and because of this we see them as being very comforting.
Wysocki’s article really hit home. This advertisement can go in two directions. In the one, you could argue that certain design elements make the advertisement and woman appear beautiful because the blurring of the woman’s body and the alterations made make the body look less of a body and more of an objective form. But, therein lies the second direction the advertisement takes: objectivity of the woman’s body itself. This advertisement was uncomfortable for me. When you read the peek advertisement, you quickly learn that the image they chose was quite fitting. However, the advertisement as Wysocki points out, is the perfect example of the objectification of women. When women’s bodies are no longer seen as human and are looked at more as objects this becomes a problem. Seeing women as objects has created the desire to perfect their bodies and free them of any fault rather than to appreciate their true beauty. I would also argue that this same issue can be said not only about objectification of human bodies, but also different cultures and ethnicities. Once you begin to see someone as an object and not as a human, you begin to dehumanize and devalue others.
Do you think there truly is a way to format an image of a woman that doesn’t objectify? And, if perception of images is influenced by our own individual upbringings, how do we begin a global conversation about reversing the issue?
This is a magazine article that was the basis of discussion in one of my previous courses. I find it very fitting with the conversation of class today. This image shows not only power, but also falls victim to what some would call “the male gaze.”