Sunday, 7 January 2007

Is this indicative of the attention span of web-reader?

[Disclaimer: I was accused of skip-reading years back and I am a serial committer of the same crime. The following is completely speculative!]

Boingboing pointed to a post Female beauty: Ruebens - today which is itself a summary from Dissastifaction with our bodies/eating disorders by Lillith Gallery. The former is a series of photos with minimal description whereas the latter (using the same photos as illustrations) is a lengthly piece. The latter (original as clearly indicated by the former) does not allow comment, so I don't know if the readers would have the same reaction. The interesting thing is the first few reactions from the readers in the former post.

For a short history, yours seems to be quite revisionist. The women shown in the first two paintings aren’t typical ideal women from the 1600’s & 1800’s at all, my guess is you simply chose them to illustrate your rather flimsy “point”.

Since when does boingboing link pages with less merit than a bad grade school essay?

I’m going to have to go ahead and say HIGHLY doubtful.
First of all, you have no proof on whether the Rubens and Renoir represent “ideal” female form of the time, or if they were merely the only women they were able to get to pose nude.
Second, you COMPLETELY skipped the 30’s and 40’s and only giving one example for every other decade.
Last, If you look at examples that actually represent the ideal female form to males (pornography), from the 50’s on to present day the “ideal” female form has pretty much stayed the same.. curves and breasts. If you’re talking the ideal female form to females (fashion magazines) then you’ll find the slender, slim, stupid skinny sharp feature girls pretty much from the 70’s on to present day. Since when was Karen Carpenter’s anorexia EVER considered an ideal female form by anyone? I know more guys that would have chewed off their own leg to sleep with a Russ Meyer girl or Farah Fawcett. I’ve never heard of anyone that thought Karen Carpenter was hot, female or male.

I am going to have to say this is probably one of the most disappointing articles/websites boingboing has ever linked to

Here are my speculative summary:
Web-reader reacts, like me, to the immediately presented information without too much thought given to what s/he wants to say.

Web-reader forgets about the original purpose of the website once s/he gets used to the website (here, I am refering to Boingboing) and switchs back to the way s/he always percieve information. What I am trying to say here is that the two readers who left the two quoted comments above come from an academic background and forget that "BoingBoing is NOT the pinnacle of information, but just a pool of interesting web savvy."

Discussion is where the learning really occurs. A few comment down, here is an example:
Just because the author used only two examples of the weight of women in the 1600 and 1800 doesn’t mean that was the artists preference. Being thin during that time was a sign of poverty. It meant you didn’t have enough to eat or the nutrients to gain and maintain weight. Just as in that time as well women were ideally never tanned. If a woman was tan it meant she was also poor. She worked in the fields. She didn’t have servants to care for her SHE was the caregiver.

In addition I believe the author’s use of Karen Carpenter and her Anorexia is simply to show how women and society has grown towards women should be these thin, whisper of a being. Anorexia is one of the biggest problems facing young girls today. There are advocates and websites devoted to advocacy of it.

Discussion is triggered by stupid responses at the beginning. I doubt if there were no such response at the beginning, there would have such lively discussion later on.

The power of A-list website is also clearly demonstrated there as well. The original post was posted on 12.27.2006 (What!! there is no month 27th! Sorry it must be the American.) 27th December, 2006. The flood of comments started on January 5, 2007. The two comments I reported here at the beginning belonged to those coming from Boingboing.

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