Social Question

rebbel's avatar

Is a girl, or a woman, sitting spread eagled really that disturbing?

Asked by rebbel (23522 points ) August 22nd, 2011

Today I heard about a young photo model whose parents are sueing the clothing company for which she had done some modelling. see here.
I don’t want to ask about the case itself she being underage, morality, etc., but I am curious about what you think about women who are sitting with their legs spread eagled (clothed, I add)?
What is wrong with it?
Is it always sexually loaded (in the eyes of the people who are offended by it)?
I mean, legs crossed or legs opened, we all know what is behind the fabric, but that doesn’t mean a woman is inviting the onlooker, right?

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52 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

We’re just not used to seeing it, but it really isn’t a big deal. In fact it’s not even a deal.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think it is one thing to be sitting with your legs apart, and another thing to be sitting in the pose and angle of the photo. Her crotch is like the focal point of the whole image. I’m guessing that’s why people are pissed. Just guessing, of course.

_zen_'s avatar

Wasn’t a nice shot. But they had probably signed a waver beforehand.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oh jeez. I didn’t even read the article before I responded, I only looked at the picture… and “her crotch area [is] the focal point of the image” is practically what I said, verbatim.

filmfann's avatar

Well, it is distracting, and some people will yell “perv!” when your eyes are drawn.

bags's avatar

In and of itself I don’t see this as ‘offensive’. However, the framing of the shot, as such, does make the open pubic area the central image of focus. In an underage child it’s really inappropriate. I can understand the parent’s upset, I think I would be as well. As far as women sitting (clothed) in this fashion…..so what? Nothing is visible…...salaciousness can be only in the eye of the beholder.

FutureMemory's avatar

If I were her I’d be more upset with that stupid facial expression…she’s supposed to be a model after all.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Given her age and how short the shorts are I think someone did not apply best judgement to the situation.

janbb's avatar

Agree – that a spread-eagled pose is not necessarily so but that that shot is sexually charged. You can almost see the crack. It does seem somewhat disingenuous to be a model and then be upset that you are being used as a sex object; but maybe the case is more based on the fact that the image is being promulgated on t-shirts.

jonsblond's avatar

Disturbing? Maybe not.
Ladylike? Talk to my grandma. :P

Ok, just looked at the photo. My daughter would need to be 18 if she wanted to wear shorts like that for a photo shoot. Where the hell were her parents?

rebbel's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf “her crotch area [is] the focal point of the image
I read that, and it probably is correct (I don’t know, I don’t have knowledge of photography), but still again, not talking about this specific girl in that photo, rather about all women worldwide who want to sit in this position what is wrong with sitting like that, thus exposing the crotch area? Just asking he, not offending you at all.
Isn’t it like @bags stated…, salaciousness can be only in the eye of the beholder.?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t understand, exactly, how it’s supposed to ruin her reputation given that the modeling industry is all about using women for crotch and tit shots, anyhow if not for images of dead prey. If she didn’t want such an image to be used, she shouldn’t have done such a pose, some responsibility lies with the model, underage or not. Societal pressures aside, of course I don’t think there is anything wrong with a crotch shot. A woman with her legs spread is upsetting to people because of their perceptions about how a woman should act, at all times. Well, stuff that.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@rebbel I suppose, but the photo really does make the focal point clear. You don’t even need a knowledge of photography to recognize it, where does your eye go first? It’s not just you. The image is set up in such a way that it’s very.. charged. I’m not saying that it offends me if someone sits that way, even this girl, but it doesn’t surprise me that photographing a minor in such a suggestive manner would stir up shit.

janbb's avatar

I often sit “Indian style” and have never been criticized for it. It is all about the message being projected.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It is a little hypocritical to use sex to sell everything and then bitch about a crotch shot, but she is a minor, so I can understand a little of the concern.

rebbel's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I see what you say, and yes, my eyes went down there too because I read the turmoil about it before, but had I not, they also would have but I am not offended (either).
But what I wonder about (I also ask @Simone_De_Beauvoir and @Adirondackwannabe ) is why some people do get offended by that pose (not this girl in the pic, but all women that want to sit like that)?
I am not interested so much in the whole discussion about this sueing of her parents and the morality of the case, more about what I asked in my initial question.

YoBob's avatar

It’s not so much this particular pose that bothers me, but rather that any man who dares take a good look (even though it is all but impossible not to) is, in general, instantly labeled at best a lecherous pig, or in light of her age a pedophile.

wundayatta's avatar

Like girls aren’t already sexualized in our society. They might leave home looking sober, but many aren’t above changing into something entirely inappropriate the moment they are out of their parents’ sight. Seems fairly normal to me. I.e., we live in a tawdry culture that likes to pretend it is puritan.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@rebbel Right, to spread legs means you’re a loose woman, according to some morons.

Pandora's avatar

I look at it this way. I don’t think the photograph is a big deal, especially since it was taken 2 years ago and she is older now. I mean to me it doesn’t look sexual. If anything I think the photo is a crappy shot and this Perry guy maybe should consider another field of work. (Maybe thats the real issue. He made her look common instead of special.) I can see how this photo may lose her work opportunities.
However, according to the article the photographer agreed with the modeling agency to not release the photo. He claims the photo was stolen but he puts it up on his web site? Its not stolen if you give it away. Either way a model makes money on her photos. If she is not getting anything for her photo than she should be allowed to sue. I also think that at 15 the decision wasn’t hers and she should’ve been allowed to approve or disapprove these pictures once she was old enough.
The fact that the photographer still has the picture up on the web makes him guilty of breaching his agreement with the modeling agency.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rebbel I’m not offended by the pose. It is a sexy shot and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all most of us owe our existence to sex. It’s a kid.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I should have added it’s a public campaign as well.

flutherother's avatar

It could be perfectly innocent but given the circumstances it was clearly set up by the photographer to be provocative and to sell clothing. As such I object to it.

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Not a “pubic campaign”?

Scooby's avatar

Nice Bikes! ;-)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

If all men stop noticing when a woman knowing exposes her genital area, we’d have to assume that a major change in the brains of men had occurred.

If women don’t want men to look, don’t expose yourself in such a manner. The same goes for outfits that expose large areas of the breasts, either on the sides or between the breasts. Society has unfortunately transformed the breasts into sexual objects and has made such exposure a form of sexual signalling of sexual interest or availability.

Men: leering and staring and even worse treating any woman, however dressed as a sexual object waiting for you is crude, rude and socially abhorrent. Yes, sure, apparent sexual signalling may suggest interest or availability but sometimes it means nothing more than that the woman has a genuine comfort with her body and real comfort and sense of safety in that particular setting.

Treat any woman with less than respect will get you nowhere good!

Scooby's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence

The same for men who like to wear budgie smugglers too :-/

Hibernate's avatar

Interesting question though I don’t know what to say…

john65pennington's avatar

There are a lot of unknowns here. Was she paid for this photo? Did or her parents sign a release for these photos to be taken? Did the girl agree to have the photo taken? Were her parents present when the photo was taken?

A lot of unknowns here.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s not disturbing, maybe ungainly but not disturbing. Spread eagled woman poses are supposed to be “ballsy” and tough looking.

chyna's avatar

If her parents were offended maybe they should have been there for the photo shoot. She is only 16 so there should have been someone there watching out for her interests anyway.

Haleth's avatar

The shot doesn’t seem that unusual for the fashion world. But if she didn’t want it released, it shouldn’t be out there. Just because she’s a model doesn’t mean she gives up all her rights.

majorrich's avatar

Yea! Jailbait in shorts the size for a 7 year old! I think the kind of shot depicted should be reserved for models 18 or over just so they understand what ‘under contract’ means. The company owns the rights to the picture and can use it as they please, however they are walking pretty close to the edge of a cliff with a minor model in a sexually suggestive pose. Couldn’t have been very comfortable getting a wedgie like that!

Earthgirl's avatar

My mother always told me to “sit like a lady” and I resented it. It meant I couldn’t sprawl out with my legs apart even in my own home. But I agree with A Nef is Enuf her crotch is the focal point of the whole shot. I don’t find it offensive so much as tasteless. Plus the hairstyling being all ratty and wild makes her look like she just had a night out on the town. Also tasteless. If her hair was all unkempt and windblown I wouldn’t say this but it just looks ratty. Also I agree with wundayatta “we live in a tawdry culture that likes to pretend it is puritan.”

wundayatta's avatar

I’m really kind of dismayed over the amount of Puritanical thought I see here. I needed to go look to see if Queen Victoria had returned from hell.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Earthgirl & @wundayatta: I believe in America at least, we have a dominant puritanical based culture thank loves to pretend it’s tawdry and then becomes unnerved and afraid of the tawdry.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What is the big flap and why is many people so put out? It is a de facto hypocrisy and ignorance over biology. It disturbs many more because they see her as a child. There is a distinct difference in puberty and adolescence. Just as toadstools look like mushrooms, and crocodiles look like alligators, they are not the same. Puberty is the process of physical changes by which a child’s body becomes an adult body capable of reproduction. That is straight dope right off the Internet. If they can reproduce, they are adults, the sailed from the shores of kiddie land” never to return. People say they are not eighteen That is some arbitrary number man created (which varies depending on where you live.) it is not as if nature as to agree with what man believes. The new adult is still going through adolescence the mental and cognitive part, but they are adult none the same. In a strict sense, the term puberty (derived from the Latin word puberatum (age of maturity, manhood)) refers to the bodily changes of sexual maturation rather than the psychosocial and cultural aspects of adolescent development. Adolescence is the period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence largely overlaps the period of puberty, but its boundaries are less precisely defined and it refers as much to the psychosocial and cultural characteristics of development during the teen years as to the physical changes of puberty. (Wikipedia) Quite clearly most confuse the two and thus creates a unreal expectation on how these young adults should be.

There seem to be ignorance of the modeling industry. Why they model things as they do, and for what. Renting back seasons of ANTM might be a help. Sex is used to sell just about everything, at least here in the US, because it works. Americans think of sex more times in an hour than they can remember or count. I seen the photo and the other one of her on a skateboard with a six-pack of beer, which her parents also hated, the one on the motorcycle the very first thing I went to what the name “Honda” on the seat she was sitting on. I could tell it was a motorcycle but it is usually a Harley. The crotch well-placed or coincidence was right atop. People will say, Oh, she is under 18 we can’t have a CHILD displayed in such a way.” The reality girls and young women dress that way all the time they are just not in ads or on billboards, etc. Hence this article of female dress, it is more widely spread just not above the radar for many. People will get bent and want to malign any male that looks as if their hormones and their eyes are suppose to betray them on how nature hardwired them. That is the reason puberty does what it does, so opposite sexes can attract and mate. If it were not conditioned in, humans might be as populous as tigers right now. If her parents didn’t understand the contract they should not have signed it. That is a minor part of the over all ignorance of human growth biology though.

Until society, all over, get on the same page as nature many are going to find such images troubling, yet some think nothing of a preteen girl wearing a bikini that is semi-transparent when wet. Of all people I should be the one telling you all she should have on more clothes, but I know what world I live in and I get it. I have to give it up to @Simone_De_Beauvoir, @Adirondackwannabe, and @Dr_Lawrence on this one, it is an issue that is all hat and no cattle.

mrrich724's avatar

I don’t think there is an issue. However traditionally, women are taught that the appropriate mode of conduct is to cover that area and keep it hidden, so when they sit like that it really does invite the eyes, and may be considered faux pas, or inappropriate . . . because of tradition.

josie's avatar

A little publicity never hurt anybody in that business.

everephebe's avatar

She should have a little more “shorts” going on there, it could have been a much more innocent shot, I mean she is 15 ? for christ sake. I like all the motorbikes in the background though. I dunno why they made it a shirt though?

I have to say she don’t look that young, it’s creepy weird, she’s a regular little Lolita.

SavoirFaire's avatar

1) Am I the only one who looked at the girl’s face first?

2) While the photograph in question obviously uses sexuality, I’m not sure I’d want to say that it is primarily a sexual picture. The sex is implicit, not explicit; the girl’s pose might give rise to sexual thoughts, but it is not an invitation. She’s just a person sitting in a way that an onlooker might find sexually attractive.

3) If the girl doesn’t look 15 in the photo, how is this bait for pedophiles? The distinguishing characteristic of pedophilia is attraction to women who are—and who look—prepubescent. If you take a girl who looks 24 and tell a pedophile she’s actually 9, that’s not going to do it for him.

4) I agree with @wundayatta: we live in a tawdry culture that likes to pretend it is Puritan. This is a scandal because it can be, not because the majority wants us to go back to the days of burying our sexuality and pretending that no one else thinks about sex. The scandal itself is just a further titillation. Something to talk about in the afterglow of the main event.

5) To answer @rebbel‘s actual questions, then, I do not think that a woman sitting with her legs apart is disturbing. We sometimes like to say it is, but it’s really just something to talk about. There’s nothing wrong with it. Women should sit however they please, and those who do not like it can look away. Those who find the position to be always sexually loaded, and who find that to be offensive, are probably those who experience the most incontinence regarding their sexual thoughts.

Just as many of those who insist that being gay is a choice turn out to be gay themselves (and who said it was a choice because all they were aware of was their struggle against their own sexuality), many who find sex to be all around us are those who cannot prevent themselves from sexualizing everything in sight. What we really see in these pseudo-scandals is a society’s repressed sexual thoughts. These are projected onto a target—in this case a 15-year-old girl—so that we can have permission to look at all of our own curiosities, anxieties, and frustrations.

And lest this sound like too academic of an opinion, I might add that it’s rather similar to an episode of South Park.

ratboy's avatar

The photo in the link was cropped. While I find both the photo and the pose adorable, I’m a bit disturbed by her shodding—does her mama also wear army boots?

augustlan's avatar

That picture is sexy, but if it were me sitting there like that, I’d just look like a schlub. So, to answer the question, I don’t think there’s any big deal with women sitting in this manner in general.

About the case, she says the photographer agreed to never release the photo.

rts486's avatar

In general, a girl sitting like that doesn’t bother me.

martianspringtime's avatar

Disregarding any underage laws and fine print associated with this specific girl, there’s nothing wrong with a female sitting any way she likes.

filmfann's avatar

The fact that her pants are leather, and that the one area that isn’t stretched gives her the appearance of being wet doesn’t help. There have been a lot of responses here. Has no one mentioned it? What does that tell you?

chyna's avatar

@filmfann I guess I didn’t look that close. I’ll have to go back and look closer. :-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@filmfann Hey chynas no perv. She’s never at our perv club functions.

filmfann's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe that is actually refering to this comment

Earthgirl's avatar

rebbel I agree that this pose is not necessarily perverted, As a matter of fact I happen to love pictures of women who are posing in “girlish” or “coltish” poses.
The appeal is the idea that they are being unself-consciously girlish. The idea of them just being free feeling and relaxed in themselves is wonderful. Does every woman carry within her the girl who wasn’t aware of what sexual power and posturing is? Of course. At a certain point the girl leaves that self behind, like it or not. She needs to realize what her body language is conveying. Her innocence is lost. At 14 or 15 years old a girl is on the cusp of becoming a woman. That said, I think it’s a little disingenuous of the parents to pretend that they didn’t know they were exposing their daughter to this kind of exploitation. If the model says that the photographer promised not to publish the photos, why did she even let him take them to begin with? In my experience, many minors who go on modeling assignments bring a parent with them for exactly this reason.

As I started to write this answer I looked for links to photos to illustrate. What I found was actually a little distubing. There are websites called things like Little Top Models with child models, not really posing provacitively at all, but it seems to be catering to the wrong element. “New photos added daily!” the copy reads. It’s like the porn sites. I don’t know what the solution is. On the one hand, I wish girls could just be girls without all the hoopla and paranoia about oversexualization. On the other hand, there is a very real element of exploitation in some cases. In this case I think the parents should have been more protective before the fact vs. after the fact.

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