By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM with Sarah Ward, Conselle Affiliate
Where have all the strong women gone? They’re right under our noses, posing as dimwitted, helpless little girls!
Images like these, of women posed knock-kneed and pigeon-toed are intended to communicate a stereotypically unintelligent individual who can’t take care of herself, let alone anyone else. Carefully positioned throughout fashion advertising in magazines and on the internet, we’re seeing women posed as weak, incapable, and generally trivial.
Subliminal messages communicated through seemingly innocent body language are examples of what is called “social modeling.” They impact how girls and women see themselves and behave as a result—as well as influencing a negative perception in others.
We’ve seen increasing numbers of these images over the past ten years, escalating in relation to the entire “girlie” fashion trend. Following the relatively long period of fashion minimalism in women’s dress, we’re witnessing a predictable countering of the trend. The focus in women’s wear is now “cute,” “cutesy,” “girlie.”
To be seen as “in fashion,” teen and adult women are now embracing clothing ripe with ultra-feminine ruffles, ribbons, bows, and puffed sleeves all in the same garment, more characteristic of little girls and baby dolls—posed with body language that reinforces the stereotype. If you have any doubt, just look around. What are we thinking? We’re not.
Instead of strong, capable, effective women who can fend for themselves and others, we’re being bombarded with images of weak women, shy, off-balance, and dependent. The look purposely diminishes our sense of self and our effectiveness. If this makes you at all angry, it should! These debilitating images are being integrated into the media and women are falling for it.
Women, as a whole, have historically been inspired by strong, capable, tenacious women who have taken a stand, made a difference, and had positive influence on society. With negative images like these as our social role models, we face the risk of creating a shortage of powerful women from this era for our daughters and granddaughters to look up to. In the meantime, our male counterparts are reinforced in stereotypical thinking of women as the weaker sex, vulnerable sex objects, to be manipulated and used as they please.
The solution? It’s simple. Stand up for yourself—literally. Don’t fall for extreme fashion. Assume good posture, with weight evenly distributed and balanced over both feet. Adopt strong, straight forward footing or an equally balanced T-stance, totally appropriate for personal and professional roles.
Copyright Judith Rasband and Conselle L.C. 2010
Judith Rasband is the Image Expert and would be happy to help you with your personal and professional image! Visit www.conselle.com or call 801-224-1207 to learn more.