Recumbent Position: Goffman's Study

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The ‘recumbent position’ that Goffman mentioned in his study can be used within fashion photography and advertising in order to portray women as submissive, suggestive and as a temptress. This recumbent position can be seen in many a high end fashion campaign; and one fashion house where this is especially poignant is Calvin Klein. In 1993 the Calvin Klein campaign “Obsession – for men” featuring Kate Moss (Figure 1). Mario Sorrenti photographed the then 17-year-old lying down in an alluringly submissive manor to advertise a perfume for Men. The image itself is a simple black and white photograph, it is stripped back with natural makeup; however, the way in which Moss is positioned as a focal point along a horizontal plane is what draws…show more content…
Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ was intended to accentuate the idyllic Renaissance woman – as being curvy and pale. Similar to contemporary fashion photography, the painting placed overemphasis on the sexual elements of Venus’ figure. The composition of the goddess within the canvas creates a desirable, pure and almost godly aesthetic; with the sole intention to entice men (Pariah, 2014).Objectification through art however, doesn’t just exploit the ideal, curvy yet toned female form but can also objectify women of larger body size and shape. Within the Baroque Era, artist Peter Paul Rubens created a painting that represented fuller figured women. Although not as directly provocative as Botticelli, both artists painted the women in their images to portray virtue and purity (Figure 4). This idea of depicting innocence however, cannot be seen in todays photography and art. The use of appropriation in Diane Cassidy’s contemporary interpretation on the Birth of Venus ‘After Boticelli’ (Figure 5) lays emphasis on this idea of loss of innocence seamlessly. Cassidy uses recognised childhood icon Barbie as a surrogate for Venus to metaphorically signify the media’s sexualisation and idealisation of the perfect figure – skinny, with curves yet a significantly smaller

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