Sexy or Sexualized No. 4

In light of the recent hoopla about the latest Spider Woman poster, I thought this would be a pretty relevant question.

What does it mean to sexualize an image? Is there anything different about these 2 pictures?

12 thoughts on “Sexy or Sexualized No. 4

  1. 1 – notice the highlights on the breasts and the fact that the suit has a belly button… which is more like painted skin. It’s also a rather unnatural pose.

    2 – an acrobatic movement that while uncommon, is one you’d see in spiderman (or a circus act), with an actual uniform.

    Still, it’s interpretation.

    • “Still, it’s interpretation.” …means nothing significant. I interpret what you say each time I respond. And most of the time, I’ll understand you perfectly. Interpretation isn’t a matter of opinion. Words have meaning. So do pictures.

      I agree with your observations, though. For me these two pictures are day and night. I don’t think I’ve found a set this good, which so readily shows just how drastically different sexy vs. sexualized can be. I’ve been learning something each time I post this feature.

      • I find it significant. I come from a rather middle ground country/culture when it comes to these things. My perception of these images would likely be different if I didn’t understand the difference between sexual/sexy. And let’s be honest about that particular topic, the loudest voices on this matter don’t see a difference. Femfreq’s retweets are rather evident of that hypocrisy.

        • “My perception of these images would likely be different if I didn’t understand the difference between sexual/sexy.”

          Precisely. You know something about sexualization that you admit others may not know. This proves that interpretation isn’t significant in the way that you say, which was: the pictures are subjective. That’s what you were implying, wasn’t it?

        • Of sorts. My definition of perception is sensual while interpretation is logical. So poor choice of words on both counts from my part. Perhaps the following is a better answer.

          I can see (perceive) the images and the core differences – skin paint, highlights, etc… I can understand (interpret) the differences based on something I know – position, relevance to act, social structures.

          Ooh, I like this game :)

        • I see what you mean and I think of those terms the same way. So then you agree with me: it’s not subjective/a matter of perception. It’s a matter of education. Sexualization is a thing with it’s own meaning and to understand it requires education.

          I think every reader will have their own experience of the pictures, and those experiences are valid. But that’s not the same as saying that sexualization is a matter of perception.

    • Mmm, both are sort of “meh” to me, but thanks for sharing your thoughts. now I know what to kinds of things to send you to lift your spirits ;) What makes you say the left one is sexualized?

      • Well of course it’s not like I’m chasing women in costumes like that around, but given the examples, hence the commentary.

        Left is sexualized because of positioning and focus on “the good bits” as my sexist side would say :)

  2. Nr1 is just to much, I hate it. To sexualised. Her pose is unatural, its not a posistion id ever pose in for anything. All you can think of is how she would be neddik and not about who or what she is.the pose is a pornstar pose…

    Nr2 is more about who she is and whats special about her. Which is what it should show.

  3. The one on the left has several things very deliberately drawing attention to specific body parts. There’s the highlighting. There’s the wide-legged squat and outstretched arm to make sure all her breasts and crotch are open and clearly visible. (The pose does sort of strike me as being reminiscent of a spider’s stance, as opposed to completely unnatural, but was clearly exaggerated for a specific effect.) There’s also artistic tricks such as rule of thirds (basically draw a hash over it and look at what is on or very near each of the intersections) and leading lines (the striping on her suit, the positioning/angle of her limbs, even the one stray chunk of hair) each pulling our eyes to certain focal points.

    On the plus side, she isn’t facing the camera with some absurd porn-star expression (mouth more open, for example). Also, they didn’t make obvious nipples or camel-toe, in spite of the navel, and she looks more naturally muscular rather than waifish, which actually help reduce the sense that it is just geek porn (aka sexualized female character with no value other than her sexuality.) Ultimately, in that image, she’s somewhere between sexualized and sexy, tilted considerably more into sexualized.

    In the picture on the right, the primary highlight is on a knee and her pose is such that we still see the breasts and crotch but nothing actively draws or sends our eyes there. Her right foot’s angle leads us to her hand and down her arm, her hair hanging and the white glow draws our eyes to her face. The streaming of the web does serve as a backdrop for one breast, but the lines of it don’t pull our eye there so much as her abdomen/side and her head/hair. She is still somewhat sexualized, but that seems to come from the pre-existing style (the lines of the suit are still there, but they’re broken by crossing objects, her body is still notably curvy with bust and butt). The trouble for me is she doesn’t exactly look “sexy” either. She seems a little hunched, her one hand is at a really odd angle that keeps distracting me, and the web she’s holding looks utterly useless except as a weird prop.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write a thorough analysis, I appreciate the level of detail. The most interesting part of it was how you explained that sexualization can be judged by where the image tries to draw your eye. I think that’s something viewers sense but don’t usually state. It’s perfect.

      On the picture to the right, i had the same thoughts about the web she’s swinging from. It’s confusing because it seems so useless. I also don’t find it particularly sexy, but I think that’s what the author was going for in a really subtle way. I’m not sure I think it’s sexualized at all because it doesn’t seem to direct my gaze to her sexy parts.

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