Dismemberment definition: is the act of cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs of a living thing.
I subscribe to Wired because I like geeky tech stories, car innovations, multi media and software reviews, and stupid humor. I have had issues with parts of the magazine, the articles, however I recognize there is no existent magazine that is consistent in mission, tone, opinions, articles, etc. It is produced for it to sell. However as a women, who loves science and multi-media magazines, I am being brought aware that I am not their target market, and that is disappointing. Why are these magazines prominently marketed to men? Seems to feed the myth and stereotype in society that men like science, and women like fashion. Where are magazines that do not play into the gender binary roles?
Having said that – I want to discuss how this magazine could be related to body image, self-esteem, negative self talk, objectification and sexualization.
Here is a picture of the cover:
What I find unfortunate is that the magazine article talks about regenerative medicine, and is interesting for reconstruction and health in other areas, but I lost the ability to read it without a guarded eye. It simply did NOT have to have this cover.
Shelby Knox writes (Source):
If you’re a tech mag running a serious, scientific piece on tissue regeneration as it pertains to breast cancer survivors, what’s the tackiest, most sexualizing, undermining-of-the-science thing you could do? Wired magazine knows!! Put two shapely breasts on your cover — sans the owner’s head because who cares about her face or brain when you’ve got BOOBS?! — right next to the words ’100% Natural.’ Classy.
There was a follow-up by Wired with this pic:
To which the I was shocked. I found the cover distasteful. I couldn’t understand why these women wanted to do this. Even after reading about their response to the criticism, I still didn’t understand.
Does looking at these pictures of body parts picked apart create an environment where the risk is girls/women self tearing themselves apart with comments such as “I hate my thighs,” “I wish my stomach was flatter,” “I wish my boobs were bigger”??? Does looking at these pictures picking us to pieces lead to more plastic surgery of body parts? Honestly I don’t see how they can’t (Number of girls who got breast implants skyrocketed from 4,000 in 2002 to 11,000 in 2003. I recognize breast enhancement isn’t the only reason for these surgeries, I still have to question if there is something to look into with regards to these numbers). I am NOT saying the media causes anything. I believe in correlation, contributing factors, risk factors. I worry about the kids growing up now, seeing these pictures in the supermarket, even if for a few seconds. Is this sending the message that we are merely body parts that should be picked apart, separated from our whole body, and viewed in an objectified and sexualized nature? For all those people who said about the GQ magazine “well it’s parents responsibility and they shouldn’t have a GQ in their hands” I would like to say this – PARENTS are not to be blamed for a magazine being on a shelf, in a store, where the possibility exists for them to see it (even if only for 2 seconds). Our subconscious over time takes in the messages in society. We cannot say the environment and culture does not affect us in some way – we do not live in a vat.
This Wired Magazine cover is unacceptable to be in any store, without a black film cover, and I realize that is just my opinion, but I am appalled at the idea that ad campaigns continue to pick out our body parts as a selling tool. This Wired magazine cover actually made me feel more enraged than car magazines. At least they show the whole women. This picking apart of body parts is so prevalent in our society, we talk about our body parts, we are sold products for our body parts, but we are more than a single part. Studies being shared at numerous conferences (the most recent being the SPARK Summit), in research papers, thesis papers, are sharing how imagery can lead to negative self-esteem, create a sensitivity to the ideals in society, and contribute to negative body image.
Some of the Tweets from the #SPARKSummit:
- “Girls believe that self-improvement means changing their bodies, not expanding their minds”
- “I don’t want the media telling me I am just a body. I am a whole person” (student at the Summit said this)
- “Women’s bodies are not marketing tools” (15-year-old student at the Summit)
- “Sexy is not a body part for marketers to sell – it is a feeling”
The Dismemberment of Women in the Media
Girls and women are conditioned from a young age to view the body as a “work in progress” or something in constant need of alteration. Instead of being satisfied with their body as a whole, they concentrate on what separate entities they lack. Many women compare their bodies and sexuality to the eroticized images that are plastered on billboards and television and in magazines and movies (Kilbourne, 2002).
The dismemberment of women, in addition to the objectification of women, have serious repercussions including, but not limited to, body shame, appearance anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders. The impossible ideal of female beauty saturates our American culture, and reparations are nothing short of dire necessity. Thus, the ambitious goal of this study is to suggest that the dismemberment of women in the media produces negative effects comparable to the negative effects of objectification. In other words, dismemberment is as equally damaging as objectification. Kacey D. Greening (Source)
This is a global issue and one we need to discuss. These messages are being portrayed in all media, in many ad campaigns, and covers of magazines our children can see. We need to be media literate, and discuss these concerns with our pre-teens. Ask them – how does this make you feel? What messages do you think it is saying?
In conclusion I want to FIGHT these messages that we are mere body parts!
- We are whole people, with a body, mind and spirit
- Our body parts are not for sale – and if you do then I would like a portion of the proceeds from the cars, plastic surgery you are selling
- We have faces and names; as well as talents, strengths, weaknesses, achievements and all of which have nothing to do with what we look like
- I refuse to not call out ads on this
- We need to continue to inspire, empower, and give girls (and boys) the ability to challenge what is seen in the media, and fuel their self-esteem, show them their abilities, and discuss such things as self talk, body image, self acceptance, size acceptance, HAES, and more!
- Explore what you can do to create and change the conversation with media literacy, advocacy and action; if you are tired of seeing this over and over in society, find a way to take action, reach out to organizations, look into workshops, conferences, education, etc.
- Follow the activists, Actionists, and people creating a revolution about challenging these messages – On Twitter start with the hashtags #SPARKchange and #SPARKSummit for many wonderful people to follow and get inspired by
- We need to empower people to recognize they have a voice, they have the ability to be their greatest advocate for change
What about you? Does this enrage you at all? Do you know of magazines that foster intelligence, positive self esteem, self acceptance, body image?