Please look at the following image:
Here is an interpretation of this image provided by Nerdy Feminist:
When I look at this image, I can’t help but feel that the power is squarely with the man. Del Rey is vulnerable, with the placement of his hand over her breast and it is unclear what her feelings are about this or what is actually happening. The man’s other hand near her throat area furthers the sense that she is vulnerable and he is in control. We don’t really even know if he is threatening some level of violence. As he is dressed and she is partially nude, the feeling that she is an object is magnified. And as Miss Representation pointed out, it really is about her looks and body. He is in polished formal wear, and she’s almost a plaything or an accessory to him.
I had a completely different reaction to the photo when I saw it and Nerdy Feminist’s reading was very unexpected for me. In this image, I see a man whose only role is to gratify the woman sexually. He doesn’t even get a right to have a face. He is completely robbed of any individuality. He looks at the woman but she doesn’t look at him. He tries to gratify her but she is completely concentrated on her own feelings and is not willing to reciprocate.
This post doesn’t offer any criticism of Nerdy Feminist who is a talented blogger. Her reading is as valid and valuable as mine. The point I’m making here is that people bring themselves to every text they encounter. There is no single meaning even to a silly magazine cover.
Which reading do you prefer? Or do you have one of your own?