Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Eight Women in White" - Ghada Amer 2004

In modern society in the United States, many women feel pressured to look perfect. They feel as if they need to look like models, movie stars, or other flawless women that are featured in magazines. This false sense of beauty is even spreading to younger teenagers, who constantly feel that they are not beautiful unless they look “sexy.” Personality and intelligence has lost much value in relationships because the media portrays only the most immaculate women. For example, the amount of money saved for plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes increased 9% in just one year in the US (Hainer). This causes men to be more attracted to provocative women, which in turn, influences women to change their image according to the society’s standard.

In the image Eight Women in White, Ghanda Amer depicts a woman who is partially nude and engaged in sexual activity. The woman’s figure is unclear, as she is formed from numerous scratchy lines of black ink. This suggests that what she is doing is not completely pure; she appears to be too young to be married and she is unsure if she even wants to be with this man, who is forcefully grabbing her butt. The irony of the title alludes to the eight different faces that are portrayed. Farthest to the left, her expression is solemn. Her face is even covered by other lines. Her expression hints that inside, she does not feel loved. However, this image transforms, and on the right hand of the picture, she is excited and enjoying the man’s presence. The lines are more definite in this phase, indicating that she allowed the man to use her body. Furthermore, the title includes the adjective “white,” symbolizing innocence, as most wedding dresses are typically white. Because this woman does not appear to be conservative in any of the eight phases, the artist is suggesting that love is not as spiritual as it used to be. Abstinence is not as important as it once was, because many young woman feel pressured to act sexually because they do not earn attention otherwise. Although not all modern women fit this claim, it is a shame to see many women change themselves based on the society’s definition of beautiful. Even though women from Ancient China wanted smaller feet, women from the US want to lose weight, and women from Iran want to be noticed, all of these women have one thing in common: they want to feel beautiful.

Hainer, Richard. Plastic Surgery Procedures Maintain Steady Growth in 2007. <>