Saturday, March 06, 2010

Humanoid Barbies

There was a colorful brochure from a popular cosmetics store in my mailbox the other day. I often save these for J's art and craft projects - the colorful images on glossy paper are just perfect for collage.

Flipping through the pages, I was struck by how extreme the photoshopping job on the faces of the models was. With every last trace of imperfection removed, the faces did not look human anymore and there was something oddly unsettling - even repelling about that look. A woman may want to look beautiful, perfect her flawed skin, discover the elixir of youth and more but I am not sure she wants to resemble one of those humanoid Barbies.

It seems like the line that separates flawless from unnatural is frequently crossed these days because there is technology to enable it. From the cover pages of glossies and brochureware of all kinds, stare out women (more frequently than men) who resemble lifeless mannequins with big smiles plastered on their mouths. If anything it is hard to relate to these conjured up creatures at any level. You have to wonder if they are actually able to help whatever it is they are put out there to peddle to the consumer, being  that they primarily provoke an uncanny valley reaction.

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