Thursday, March 22, 2007

M is *not* for Miss Landmine

have you heard about this?

Miss Landmine Angola--Brought to you by Norway

"Conceived and directed by Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, the MISS LANDMINE project puts the global landmine problem and its survivors in the spotlight in a new, celebratory and life-affirming way."

Celebratory and life-affirming? Ah. . .The project includes fashion magazines with amputee models in clothes designed for their bodies. (Not so bad?) The models/contestants are Angolan women. The creators, spectators & consumers of the magazine, the fashion, the images and the project in general. . .? Who has the disposable income to buy the clothes? The magazine? The cutting edge assistive technology? Who is on display? Who controls the image? Who is the prop?

You can get online and learn about the contestants. Rich and complex presentations of their lives like: how they were injured and what their favorite color is.

The tag line is "Every body has the right to be beautiful." And the creators and funders are here to distribute that beauty.
What is the difference between "Has the right to be" and "is?" And what facilitates the realization of this right for Angolan survivors of landmines? Apparently the benevolence of the western art/fashion industry and the classic idea of "woman". But the project is sure to put thanks where they are due with a credit to "A ll the friendly and helpful Angolan people who have given us "thumbs up" all the way."

So how do we remake bodies and beauty? Particularly images created of/for/by people with physical disabilities? (of/for/by each being a different question)

Can we do that without affirming gender stereotypes?
Is it possible for a Western, non-disabled woman to explore issues of violence and representations of gender, disability, nationality, and race in the non-Western world without exploitation? Maybe. (maybe not.) But this isn't it.

1 comment:

Koluki said...

Yes, I've heard of it and commented on it... you can check it out here: