In any story, whether we read it or see it on film or in a store window, we have to know who is speaking. Whose voice is telling us what story? Whose point of view is it? A great story at the moment, spoken by the Census, is about women’s increased power. Women are now the majority of the workforce; the majority of managers; the majority earners of undergraduate and graduate degrees; the majority owners of wealth.
So, who is narrating the story of this photo in Victoria’s Secret window in Fairfield, Ct.? (We added the type to illustrate where it might have been more appropriately shown) Odd that the moment when women are powering ahead, storefronts and magazine covers feature skinny young girls not only made up to look like fashionable adults, but posing in a way that clearly suggests subjugation—as does the girl above. Whose viewpoint is this, do you think? Who’s telling girls about to inherit a legacy of unprecedented power that their REAL power lies not in their education and their upcoming careers, but rather, in looking like baby hookers, pouting and bruised and with their arms up in their air as if in chains? Are storeowners telling this story so they can sell underwear? Perhaps. Photographers, who want to make their mark? Maybe.