I have had no time at all for television this week, and I can’t handle America’s Next Top Model even on the days I’m most inclined to wallow and couldn’t care less what noise is distracting me from my thoughts. I came across these photos on the internet, however, and could not let them pass without comment. Apparently, the most recent “theme” of a photo shoot was “Crime Scene shots”.
Warning: Very disturbing [pictures now private]
Even worse [pictures now private]
I am completely and totally at a loss as to what to say about these, or to even imagine why anyone with brain enough to form sentences could think of this as remotely a good idea–the probability of publicity, to which I am adding, is entirely beside the point here. This is a blatant sexualization of murdered women. It’s not just the obvious conflation of violence and sex, it’s the cultivation of an image of beauty in brokenness, in the emptiness on their faces, in the absolute powerlessness of their positions–they’re dead, for God’s sake. I am only imagining Tyra Banks et al. critiquing the contestants at panel on how well they were managing to look sexy and alluring and at the same time…dead. The more disturbing of the two, to me, is much more evocative of rape, and the lack of blood makes it less obviously violent. She’s looks dead, but in a mannequin, sexual fantasy, manipulable way, not in a horrific, gory way.
Nothing about either of them, or any of the others, is in any way acceptable of course, nor do I generally hold “Top Model” up as a paragon of feminism. I feel like any sense of optimism I had been building has been shattered.