Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bodies

This month I have picked up a few books to read, including Bodies by Susie Orbach. I fascinating read about the pyschology behind the body and how we percieve ourselves, the mother and baby relationship and the effects of dieting.

The most influential chapter for myself, Bodies Real and Not So Real, talks about the effects of dieting on the body, obesity and artist Orlan.

'So emphatically is this the case that girls growing up today who that that constant dieting and being frightened of food are natural states. They’ve seen their mothers diet and they have been initiated into that what of approaching food. Thinking one is doing a good thing for oneself, one goes on a diet. '
Bodies, Susie Orbach, pg 96.
I highly recommend this chapter as a read to anyone in this modern era of manic body self-conscious. We are increasingly forced to think about our bodies and the status it presents to others. From the survey that I sent out in a previous blog , I found that there was a high number of self-conscious young people, thinking about dieting on a regular basis. I find it shocking that we bring up the next generation that is pushed by the media and health products and our vanity to fit in and show ourselves off to those around us.

'The numerous industries – diet, food, cosmetic surgery, pharmaceutical and media- that represent bodies as being about performance, fabrication and display make us think that our bodies are sites for (re)construction and improvement. Collectively, they leave us with a sense that our bodies capacities are limited only by our purse and determination. '
Bodies, Susie Orbach, pg 104

Orbach mentions French artist Orbach, who has been working since the 1970's and most explicityly in the early 1990's using her own body as a canvas. Whilst studying graphics, I was very aware of Stefan Sagmeister, highly regarded graphic designer, who also used his own body as a canvas. With the help of an assistant, Sagmeister carved into his body to create the result below as a poster format.

 The difference between these two artists was the message. Sagmeister wanted to visualise the pain that most of the designers have to go through while working on a project, whereas Orlan was commenting of society and the pain of cosmetic surgery. Orlan subjected herself to cosmetic surgery, to show the horrors 'with the impossibility of having a body that one can find acceptable.' Orbach, pg110. The five minute video is hard to watch, I squirmed quite a bit. Surgery is nothing I would consider unless for medical purposes, and the video highlights what women are encourage to do to their own bodies.

The increase of men and women glorifying the use of surgery is increasing, with more people parading wrinkle-free, botox filled faces.The recent news of french breast implant producer PIP having possible having health risks shows that vanity and cosmetic surgery comes at a high risk.

Links
 Bodies by Susie Orbach on Amazon
Orlan online
Stefan Sagmeister online
PIP Breast Implants on the BBC

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