However, this post is not about the genius of Annie Leibovitz; I'm not an art critic, I wouldn't be able to do her photography justice. This post is about one particular photograph of hers that got my attention among a host of other attention-getting images. I'm not going to reproduce it here - I don't know the copyright laws well enough to feel comfortable that I wouldn't be breaking any of them - but I will describe it to you, and provide a link in the paragraph below.
This photograph was taken in 1993, I believe for Vanity Fair, and shows Cindy Crawford wearing only a boa constrictor. It's an arresting image in it's own right - she was then, and is now, a beautiful woman - but the thing that really stopped me in my tracks was her shape. She looks like a real woman. An amazing, incredible woman, who could charge $10K simply to get out of bed in the morning (allegedly), but still, a real woman. Unlike many of the size 0 models held up as having the shape we should aspire today, she had a shape that I recognise, that women I actually knew, friends of mine, were not so distant from.
Fast-forward to today, when girls as young as 12 and 13 will refuse dessert on the grounds that they are watching their weight, stick-thin models sashay down the catwalks on legs that look as if they would snap if their heel turned the wrong way, and magazines berate celebrities for not losing their baby weight fast enough or for showing a couple of inches of extra flab around their waists on the beach.
In these supposedly emancipated times, when women have more control over their own bodies and destinies than they have had throughout history to date, how did we let this happen? How did we get from Cindy and her ilk - incredible bodies, yes, but not so far removed from our own as to be unrecogniseable - to the size 0 culture of today, in less than 20 years?
Where did it all go so wrong?
Please note; no Boys were corrupted in the making of this post. Neither of them paid much attention to the naked women on view, much preferring to fight each other for space on the seats than to pay close attention to the photos being exhibited. Although Boy #2 did comment on a series of shots of a crying baby, still covered in vernix, that had just been born, saying that it looked very unhappy and as if 'it wasn't having much fun.' See this previous post for my sons' views on childbirth...