Our study of Media Arts teaches us that every image, every video and every form of art is interpreted differently by the individual and society, based on their own ideology and framework of knowledge. Thus, every individual has a different perspective of an image or idea.
With this week’s topic in mind, our own interpretation of images is being put to the test (and boy, do I have an image for you!).
Naturally, the grotesque concept of this image is enough to confront any woman, and my interpretation is no different. It is for this reason, that I have selected this controversial advertisement as my object of study.
The image itself is one in a series of images promoted as an advertisement for the ‘Beauty’ layout in Bulgarian fashion magazine ’12,’ and utilises the photograph of a beautiful woman, pictured in a ‘spotlight’ on a black backdrop accompanied by the words ‘Victim of Beauty.’
The controversial advertisement has been publicly shamed for its perceived message of glamorising ‘physical abuse’ and linking it to women’s use of makeup and fashion. Many critiques have interpreted this advertisement as accentuating the belief that sexual arousal and violence go hand-in-hand, which is what many audiences find hard to take. This is highlighted through the use of the woman’s posture and makeup, the head tilts and sultry eyes. Particularly the phrase ‘Victim of Beauty’ which further suggests that women are vulnerable and susceptible to abuse simply because they are deemed desirable and beautiful.
Ironically, the magazine responded to the negative reactions to the advertisement by stating that the shoot was designed to emphasise how fashion and beauty can be “seen through various angles…Where some see a brutal wound, others see a skillful work of an artist, or the exquisite face of a beautiful girl.” (Funny how this post targets the debate of varying interpretations of images, whilst the magazine claims just that in response to their photo shoot.)
Yes, it is true that individuals will interpret images differently, however with a such a controversial topic such as physical abuse and domestic violence, to caption this ideal and utilise it to sell products or magazines, is abhorrent.