Petra Collins and White Femininity

A good portion of Petra Collins’ artwork is a coined as a revolutionary but exclusively presents thin able-bodied white females. An inner conflict is struck every-time I see her work as it presents Girlhood accurately but only the girlhood I experience secondhand through hearing my white friends speak to me about their struggles,rather than the black girlhood I face on a day to day basis.Collins plays upon the recent adoption of feminism in social media outlets such as Tumblr,Twitter and Instragram through her exclusionary artwork,this particularly irks me as Social media is used as a representation of the population in sectors such as advertising and marketing,repeated coverage of her artwork among the specific group she targets allows those in power of these companies to believe that it is acceptable to focus on a specific in-group and continue to dismiss the out-group as a passive audience.

Collins representations of feminism lack intersectionality as a result of focusing objectively on white women.This is seemingly perturbing considering the audience she addresses,impressionable young girls who are eager to take on feminism,therefore seek an introduction to feminist ideals via the internet.The importance of lack of female representation is highlighted through its emphasis in her work but misrepresentation of people beyond white and cisgender is overlooked,one who views her work is not guided to such an issue.This can be argued as a refusal to acknowledge and manipulate the privilege she experiences as a result of her race and status,investment in those beyond what is assumed to be the majority does not lead to success;Why should Collins,a member of the white majority have to target beyond this?

Her choice of body hair and female genitalia in her artwork bring to light this issue. White women are still granted femininity if they have bodily hair,hence why advertising of female shaving products include them on a large scale,as it is what we are conditioned to believe is feminine. A women of colour is not the standard of femininity therefore it is not revolutionary for them to have body hair.It is grotesque,epithets and insults such as “gorilla” are thrown at them,little is done to address this issue,Collins adds to the majority who refuse to acknowledge this issue and presents the same idea of a thin,white body as feminine.In what way is this revolutionary? If it does not advocate an accurate depiction of modern feminism or motivate the oppressed.

Additionally,the recurrent Vagina motif  as a symbol of female excludes trans*-women as they do not fit into the spectrum of her presented femininity.

Collins work however is a step forward in feminism,it can lead the demographic she exclusively appeals to research into a more effective internationalist feminism through her pastel-pink,lowered contrast images. Or it can lead them to stay stagnant in their aesthetically pleasing idealized activism which elicits a sense of saviour-ship within young girls as they feel like they’re “contributing” to today’s issues through their colorful self-expressive Tumblr blogs.

Perhaps she intends to address the acceptance of woman’s bodily hair for the time being.It is possible that the visual message she is conveying is temporary until she establishes a rigid fan base,that she feels secure enough to address a controversial issue that is less accessible.She did recently photograph a prominent LGBT activist,Juliana Huxtable,in Dazed. Perhaps my exposure to her work is limited.

Her work successfully conveys what she wishes to achieve as a visual artist it.My analysis has led me to conclude her visual message is “glittery tampons,white privilege and appearing abstract”.


Kim Kardashian’s Paper Mag Photo

Kim Kardashian has recently sported the cover of PaperMag’s Winter issue mimicking the work of Jean Paul Goude. Specifically his “Carolina Beaumont” or “Champagne Incident”.This magazine cover exposes the racist undertones of the artist’s work and the covert racism of the modern printed press.

Upon searching Jean Paul Goude,in most cases where the photographic subject is black.The viewer is exposed to an image of a hypersexulized black body.The subject is usually nude which exposing their gentialia,it can be argued that the nudity is used as an art expression but when displaying his portfolio of work it,the scale of nude black bodies is significantly larger to that of nude white bodies,specifically nude white bodies or nude white MALE bodies which upholds the sexualisation of marginalised groups.As a result of this Goude’s work cannot be regarded as an appreciation of black bodies or female bodies,as it is made apparent that he simply intends to expose a conventional predominately white audience to an area of unfamiliarity.His presentation of black bodies is simply akin to that of human zoos used within slavery in which black bodies were an exhibition of “human curiosities” as a result of their bodies that deviated from European standard.

In the case of Kim Kardashian’s reannactment of the “Champagne Incident” piece,the hypersexulisatioj of the black body is made evident.We are able to see the idealisation and protection of white feminity as a result of the contrast. Kim Kardashian,a sex symbol,commonly praised for her body as it sets an unachievable beauty standard for white females and oppresses black females in the sense that it suggests that their features are not desirable unless on a white,feminine body.This is a healthy assumption as Kim Kardashian has been openly praised for possessing the same physical traits that are associated with black women’s bodies.In Goude’s shot the viewers attention is immediately draw to the skin tone of the subject; it contrasts highly to the blue background used.The champagne glass is placed on the Black females bottom,drawing the viewers eye exclusively to her bare body,the views eyes are drawn away from the subjects facial features,decharacterising her.The views eyes are further drawn to her backside through the trail of champagne leading into the glass convenally placed on her butt. The primary focuses of the image are her butt and her skin tone. The smile on the models face ellicts a sense of comfort as assumed when viewing a smile.She is comfortable to be nude,She is amused by the “Champagne Incident”

PaperMag’s choice to use Kim Kardashian to remodel this image reveals how the intentions of this photo are inherently sexual. The black model is not used as a symbol of appreciation but rather as a way to present black females as overtly sexual and animalistic. Kim Kardashian is known for sex,her career inherently depends on her sex appeal.the intention of reannactment is comparison or appreciation.A young nude black model is compared to Kim Kardashian,who’s media focus is on her outer appearance as a sex symbol.This is clear evidence that the intention of the photo is to present the subject as sexual as it is an image that should be replicated by a sex symbol.

The campaign is also titled “Blow Up The Internet” The cover is to be interpreted as controversial and to get everyone talking about it. I have voluntarily contributed,I believe this should be used as an opportunity to expose the images of racism that are overlooked in everyday press.This cover will most likely be adopted by femisit critic,who will critiscie the demuhunisayiin of Kim Kardashian but will not expose Goude’s work.

also; note how kim kardashian is fully clothed whereas the black model is completely naked and fully exposed,if it was a remake of the image why isn’t Kim’s body more visible? You could argue it’s for a different audience but if so: why isn’t she wearing a less revealing article of clothing? I smell covert racism.