Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hitler, Propaganda and Models

Have you noticed how hard it is to like someone you don't identify with?

Hitler proved it when he change public opinion about Jews. His propaganda machine, headed by Joseph Goebbels, distorted and enlarged pictures
of Jewish faces and placed these billboards in prominent public arenas. As non-Jewish people passed these pictures they began to believe the theory that Jews were subhuman and eventually to believe killing a Jew was not the same as killing a human.

Interestingly in Goebbels library were several books by Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays who has been called "the father of spin" adapted Freud's ideas to control public opinion in ways he hoped would be more helpful. Read more

It was Bernays who figured if you could use propaganda in wa
r, you could certainly use it in peace. Bernays renamed propaganda "public relations" and began playing into people's irrational emotions, teaching them they needed things to be happy. He's responsible for enticing women into seeing smoking as socially acceptable. J. Randolph Hearst employed Bernays to link products to famous movie stars. Watch more in The Century of Self.

Today we see how public relations and marketing creates more to desire than we could ever need. In moving from Whittier to Steamboat, I'm constantly annoyed
at how much I've been duped into accumulating.

If most marketing is mere propaganda, how are we as women being trained to desire what we don't need? How hard it is to notice a model on the cover of Victoria Secret's catalogue and say, "How God has blessed her. I'm glad for her beauty." She's there to tempt us to want to look more like her and less like ourselves. Models are chosen because the clothes look better on them. Models are standards for us to note, compare and mold ourselves into. Is this the good life? To model ourselves into the sexy barbie, or the perfect athlete? These models all work as propaganda in our lives.

Last Thursday I volunteered for a modeling show. My friend and I had our eyes lids glued with false eyelashes, my face already had a base primer of foundation. We got more blush and eyeshadow and mascara on top. We wore outfits that were not exactly fitted for out bodies. We looked fun, attractive, interesting, eye-catching, but it really wasn't us.

There are clothes and make-up that fit me and there are clothes and make-up that are only me playing a part.

We had fun, helping the cause, hanging out with other women. But as I stepped boldly down the catwalk, wearing 5 inch heels that were killing my feet, that I never wear because they squeeze my feet, I wondered at the way I was contributing to the problem.

Women could love one another better if we dressed in clothes that suit us, that neither minimize or enlarge what we have, that are fit to the occasion, vocation and environment we are in. We would be more human if we let our clothes fit us rather than making our bodies fit out clothes.

propaganda machine grinds forward, but we don't have to power it anymore.


Grace said...

I love that you have written about this. i always laugh to myself when i read your blog or really anything you have written, for most of the time i have just thought about the same thing or even written on it for a class. just yesterday i wrote a journal on the influence of media on women for my women's studies class... oh i wish you lived closer so i could get coffee with you every once and a while and just talk out things.
thank you for your imput on my project. i have greatly appreciated your comments and taken them to heart. this next installment that i've just shot was a tough one, i'm in some of the images and had to really let my feelings out. i tried to show the look of shame in the eyes like you suggested, we will see if they worked like i wanted. i'll have them edited and posted tomorrow or wednesday. thanks again for encouraging and spurring me on.
oh and i love the Lewis quote. it nailed a thought i was chasing in my head. i really want to try and work that into the project.

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

I'm eager to see your next installment. Wish we could chat over coffee, too. Glad you are willing to walk the harder places for women.

Grace said...

i've placed the newest images up. i cannot begin to tell you how hard it was to edit these images with my own body being in the frame... i think it began to bring back all the things i have dealt with previously that inspired this project. please let me know what you think about this installment.

Grace said...

Oh my goodness i would love for you to be able to use them. I think my heart started racing when i read that. I can email you the files so you can have a larger format image to work with. i would be honored to let you use them. what email address is best to send the images to?

Grace said...

i tried sending the email but it kept bouncing back telling me your inbox was full.

Angela said...

I disagree. Using models as an example, I think that the problem with this marketing and propaganda is that we allow it to affect us. I cannot control the media and tell them to only allow size 12 models in modest clothing, but I can choose not to let the images control me.

Dale Fincher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

Since I agree with your statement could you clarify what you do not agree with in my article?
Did you watch either video? Do you believe that we are not affected by these images? Or do you find the attempt to lobby or legislate more modest marketing a lost cause?