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robert mapplethorpe's lisa lyon

mapplethorpe01.jpg

this picture is in a section headed "SEXUAL IDENTITY"
lisa lyon was a weight lifter.

i think about:
- stereotypes of female beauty
- masculinity vs. femininity
- body image
- sexuality
- "blurring of sex roles" (page 117)
- mourning, the black veil

women are generally portrayed as delicate, fragile, "the damsel in distress". they don't normally have big, strong muscles or biceps. that is generally left to men, an image, an idea that is associated with the male stereotypical image. women are rescued by big, strong men on white horses, females aren't supposed to be strong. often women who are extremely muscular are thought of as masculine, trying to be men, ugly, intimidating. this picture blends masculine and feminine with lisa's beauty, feminine features such as her dress, her breasts, her pretty face, the veil with flowers, and features linked with masculinity like the bulging biceps and strong hands. this pictures exemplifies sexuality and the ability to be sexy and still be strong and have muscles and be beautiful in regards to the traditional feminine beauty. another thing that sticks out is that her dress is made of leather. that material is often times more associated with men-- for instance, big harley motorcyle riding men. also, in terms of body image, because of her strength and her weight lifting, the size of her breasts might be due to the pectoral muscles underneath, not just the fatty substance of her bosom. something that perplexes me about this image is the veil. a black veil is connected with the idea of mourning. i'm not sure what she would be mourning. it seems to me that she should be happy, celebrating instead of possibly mourning, for this image breaks molds of stereotypes.


on page 117. there is a line describing mapplethorpe's photography and it stands out to me. i love the part bolded because i think it is so true of his work and this picture.

his photographs depict contemporary sexuality in a manner that is at once detached and impassioned, but they often gain added power as gender-bender parodies of sexual stereotypes.

what this picture says to me:
i am woman, i am strong. i am beautiful, but i can kick your ass. don't mess with me.
this is a literal and a figurative example of her strength as a woman and the power of the women's movement.

as mentioned before, this image is compliments of "the humanistic tradition" by gloria fiero. perhaps why this book has fair representation of women is because the author is female.