"In Webcam Venus, we asked online sexcam performers to replicate iconic works of art. This piece is an experimental homage to both fine art and the lowbrow internet phenomenon of cams. Sexcams use webcams and chat interfaces to connect amateur adult performers with an audience. Users log on to see men, women, transsexuals, couples and groups broadcast their bodies and sexuality live for the public, often performing for money. To create this experiment in high and low brow media, we assumed anonymous handles and spent a few hours each day for a month asking performers: 'Would you like to pose for me?'
What is beauty today? By operating in the language of sexcams, we alter the contemporary ideal of beauty with the ubiquitous display of sexuality online. We challenge the institutions which enforce false perceptions of propriety—via nudity in classical painting—as the only form of acceptable safe-for-work beauty. Publicly presented traditional paintings and sculptures are prevalent with sexuality and gender politics, and yet the display of nudity online is usually defined as 'pornography'. Amateur adult broadcasters also resist the popular, contemporary definition of beauty. They are not the typical definition of beauty prevalent main stream media: heavily Photoshopped image in the name of advertising, which destroys self image and confidence while encouraging materialism. Sexcam performers are the apotheosis of the most honest parts of us and yet typically the least valued part of a society. Even though they are transmitted virtually, they are real people and they are beautiful."
(Addie Wagenknecht, 5 March 2013, Free Art and Technology Lab)
Abstract: "Drawing from several areas of research, this thesis explores the ways in which Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty appropriates feminist themes to sell beauty products, to the detriment of female consumers. Advertising and marketing have long held the power to create, shape, and reinforce cultural norms, and for years, advertisers have been able to propagate and strengthen gender stereotypes. Though there has been a push since the late 1990s to stem the flow of sexist and potentially dangerous advertising messages about women's bodies, ads still disseminate harmful messages that contribute to the further sexualization and oppression of women in the United States. Dove is just one of the many female–targeted brands that claim to hold progressive, woman–positive ideals, while still selling products intended to make women more beautiful–supposedly the ultimate goal for any modern female. While the campaign professes a desire to increase confidence and self–esteem for women and girls around the globe, it promotes a post–feminist, consumerist agenda that actually reinforces what Naomi Wolf titled 'the beauty myth'. Linguistic and visual analyses of Dove's print and viral marketing tactics within the contexts of advertising, feminism, and consumer culture reveal that instead of 'redefining' beauty, the Dove campaign is, in actuality, reinforcing decades–old ideology about women's appearance and status in society."
(Caitlin McCleary, 2014)
McCleary, Caitlin M., "A Not–So–Beautiful Campaign: A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty" (2014). University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_chanhonoproj/1691
"Procter & Gamble Co.'s Always today is launching 'Like a Girl,' a video ... that takes issue with generations of playground taunts about people running, throwing or fighting 'like a girl.' It asks: 'When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?'"
(Jack Neff, 26 June 2014, Advertising Age)
"The young woman's flawless skin is emphasizing the societal view of how perfection is what is considered beautiful and ideal. Her skin doesn't have a single blemish bruise, bump, or scar on it. Her makeup is very subtle and her cheeks have a slight rosy glow to them, giving her a very youthful appearance. The lack of jewelry is also making her look younger and more innocent and it is putting the focus solely on her bare flawless skin, this flawlessness is likely representing what one would get if they purchase one of their premium selection used BMW's, spotlessness in paint and interior.
Although BMW engages this image of innocence and flawlessness, there also appears to be a significant sexual message in this ad because the initial 'Innocent' image dissolves as you skim down the ad and see how the young woman's eye contact is directly with the camera, and it looks as if she is looking right into your eyes with a seductive expression. Her mouth also get a lot of attention as it appears to be slightly open, drawing your attention right to her full lips, 'open lips are used to suggest sexual excitement or passion'"
(Sonia Sidhu, 10 June 2012)
"Currently there is a three–year research project going on at The University of Auckland to examine the broader effects of pornography on New Zealand society. Pornography has always been with us you could argue, so why the fuss now? One reason is the growth of the internet. Pornographic imagery is just a click away. Gonzo porn, where there is aggression directed at women, is the growth area in this multi–billion dollar industry. Question its prevalence, and you run the risk of being considered a prude in today's climate of liberal tolerance–very uncool.
It's supposed to be empowering for women to be sexual in their behaviour and dress. We are sold 'technologies of sexiness' wrapped up in the rhetoric of individual consumer choice. To be 'hot' is the aim of every pimply tween, male or female, and that means trying to refashion yourself into a porn body. Desperate effort goes into maintaining sexual currency as age takes its toll."
(Linda Tyler, 8th Sep 2013, NZ Fashion Museum blog)