Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The New Gaze

I've noticed some things recently. One has to do with female narration on commercials. I have never been so disturbed. It's a certain cadence...this kind of deep-toned quirkiness. It's very subtle, and ubiquitous within commercials featuring tampons, toothpaste, food, cleaning products, crappy Payless shoes, etc. I'm thinking of buying that $350 time machine that guy was hawking on Coast to Coast. I'd like to be in almost any decade but this one. Dear culture, I'm filled. I will have to find a perfect example of this disturbing narrative tone. I have yet to understand its meaning. It might have somethign to do with the celebration of stupidity, individuality and imperfection that I want to barf all over.

So anyway--this bugs the crap out of me too. This androgynous emo kid gaze. I don't mean to pick on this particular kid, but this happened to be on the front page of flickr and I clicked on it because I haven't seen such a grand example of posturing since I had to stop looking at MySpace or check myself into a sanitarium. Sorry kid, it's not you, really. It's the self-induced pose. It's always the same. Smooth long bangs over one eyelinered eye (what's the message of identity? I'm only half here?)--always an upward gaze, implying smallness and weakness, very childlike. Many times, the camera even seems to be held up over the head with arms outstretched as far as possible, to imply the subject is a toddler. Overall very fetishized and with an almost anime look. Oftentimes, there is one word in the picture, drawn on (I suppose) in photoshop, or drawn directly on the arm/hand, with marker etc. I'm disturbed by it--irrational perhaps.


theorris said...

Excellent analysis. This look, as you suggest, has been around for some time. Do kids feel that vulnerable or is it just a way of telling adults to go fuck themselves?

richelle said...

I think it has to do with deep seated identity issues; just look at the popularity of hannah montana--a 15 year old living a double life, split, fragmented, etc. interestingly, even though she's not in the whole emo tableaux, look at the hannah montana ad I posted. That same wide-eyed look, very animae.