By ELIANA YU
I find Wysocki’s writing on beauty to be well-parsed and intellectually intriguing. I’m appreciative of how she gently shapes our understanding of Bang, Anarheim and Kant’s conceptualizations as they inform her arguments. Yet as always, I cannot help but to despair in what I haven’t fully comprehended and engaged with her main points in her treatise. She spends a long time gathering impetus for why she thinks what she thinks, which is all well and good when one is trying to introduce new thinking to a field, but is an approach I find difficult to respond to, when her thesis can be summarized in her own words – that it’s dangerous and dehumanizing to separate form from the meanings inherent in form.
I mean, I agree with that assertion, yet find her discussion of beauty to be inherently tied up in the moral realms of social ethics, and think she spends a long time circumventing and sidestepping that tie. I don’t think she provided other examples of dangerous form/meaning separations outside of the objectification of women’s bodies. I mean, what I did understand was that eventually she does outright say that it outrages her that objectification can be lumped into discussions of aesthetics, purely as aesthetics. I definitely agree that regardless of the men who can look at a naked female body without thinking of its sexual implications, naked female bodies placed in the center of a piece of art operate on a position of assumed centralization in egoic attention (how’s that for wordy academic discussion).
Take this above diagram for example, found from a Google Images search and taken from a fitness industry book by Bret Contreras, which could be sure to make Wysocki angry because it blatantly serves up a model for objectification of a human body part. What’s interesting is that this particular model does not differentiate between male or female rear ends. It simply dictates form that can be achieved through fitness. Undifferentiated from its context, this diagram could seem to be a hallmark of the Nazi-efficiency thinking that Katz’s work presents as so deplorable. However, in context, the diagram regains more humanity by appealing to the social desire to impress and succeed among other people.
Can the CRAP principles be applied to this diagram as well? What makes you care about this discussion and how did the Wysocki reading change your understanding of art, aesthetics and beauty?