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12 Magazine's "Victim of Beauty" -- Scandalous, Artistic, or just plain Weird?

These are two of 6 images from 12 Magazine's Victim of Beauty photoshoot. Looking at these pictures at first, I wasn't quite sure what to think. I was stupefied, yes. Horrified, definitely. This was my thought process:


  • OH. MY. GOD.
  • The art here is quite phenomenal.
  • Girl #2 (not pictured here) looks like the Joker. Obvious Joker reference. He had a hard childhood, maybe it's a parallel.
  • ....what is this for, anyway?

After much scouring around on the internet to identify the purpose of this blog, I came across Fashionista's reaction to aforementioned shoot. They cracked down on my question: why? According to Fashionista, the editors (Huben Hubenov and Slav Anastasov) wrote to them in an email:
"It is also important to say, that we do NOT support violence of ANY kind, and this is NOT a shoot glamorizing, or encouraging, or
supporting violence against women. We believe that images such as ours can be seen from various angles, and we think that exactly that is what is beautiful about fashion and photography in general – that anybody can understand it their own way,and fill it with their own meaning. Where some see a brutal wound, others see a skilful (sic) work of an artist, or an exquisite face of a beautiful girl.
That being said, we do understand why some accuse us of promoting, in a way, violence, but we do not agree with that, and we think that it is very narrow-minded way of looking at the photographs."
My reaction? 
CONGRATULATIONS ON STARTING A NEW CONTROVERSY! I really was getting a little bored without one.
Yeah, these quotes tell me absolutely nothing. I'm not enraged or infuriated, because I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND the appeal. So maybe this is some kind of misrepresentation of domestic violence. If so, where are the guys?

However, seeing as the title of the portfolio is "Victim of Beauty", let's try to figure this out.

These women are obviously meant to be victims of an aspect of fashion, namely, beauty. Great start. Now, what has it done to them, exactly? This is question #1. Well, we seem to be at a dead end, so let's try route number two: where are the guys?
After an extensive talk with my boyfriend about this, we came to only one conclusion: if there was an image of a guy with a cut on his face and a camouflage shirt, it would probably not pack a "wtf factor", as he called it, but merely make the guy look tough (depending on what the guy looks like).
That parenthetical is essential. All we can get from this is that there is an image issue. And there is no image issue that affects women that doesnt directly or indirectly affect men too.   

...go on, think of one.

Makeup was a great example. This was our conversation.
Him: makeup
Me: men dont wear makeup? really? oh hun you need to come to the city.
Him: i meant advertising - they aren't constantly pressured to buy it
Me: well im sure you knew guys do in fact use makeup to cover up blemishes etc etc
Me: oh
Me: no
Me: but they are constantly pressured to groom
Me: and to remove stubble
Me: and to hide blemishes
Him: but thats cause 5 oclock shadow and blemishes do actually look bad, whereas having blue eyelids is not a significant improvement over normal ones
Me: it's more subtle, but still packs a punch. the message i see going around is this: HEY GIRLS LOOK SUPER HOT AND SEXY YAY!
Me: and the girls do so, "boosting" their self esteem
Me: then:
Me: OH NO YOU POOR BETA MALE ARE YOU LOSING THAT SUPER HOT GIRL WE MADE? BUY THIS BUY THAT TRY THIS TRY THAT
Me: and it's not as obvious, but it's still there
Me: so makeup, specifically, yeah.
Me: image grooming, nah. quite universal
Me: either way, both males and females are victimized in the process, if and only if it gets to the point where they've lost all sense of self.
...on second thought, that was mostly just me ranting. But this is honestly how I saw the situation from a victimazation POV. it really just turns into seeing it as somewhat sexist. But hey, props to the makeup artist that's great work there.