What We Bring to a Text

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?

Typology of Love: Busy

Busy is a person who is so dedicated to his or her professional or social realization that s/he doesn’t have a whole lot of energy left to invest into dating or romantic life. If Busy is beautiful and has many admirers, s/he chooses a partner early in life and never looks at anybody again. If Busy is less beautiful and popular, s/he might go happily dateless until quite late in life and not even notice it. Then s/he will grab the first person who comes along and will never look at anybody again.

Busy will accept quite a lot of negative traits in the partner, as long as s/he doesn’t interfere too much with what really matters to Busy (career, making money, working in politics, getting published, etc.) But if the partner’s faults begin to detract from Busy’s professional and social interests, Busy will shed him/her easily and happily move along.