Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bad faith

Rifling through a collection of popular records from the 1960s, 70s and 80s recently, I found these two covers among the 150-odd albums of mostly male musicians, with men - never naked - depicted on the covers.

This young girl on the cover of Blind Faith by Blind Faith (1969) I couldn't believe. Look it up and you find there was some controversy over the cover, but not because the girl is naked, which is barely mentioned, but because she was so young. Apparently she was eleven.

The 'artist' (male, of course) employed to produce the cover, who came up with the idea of using a very young 'innocent' girl, said it was all about the 'spaceship' the girl is holding (looks more like a plane) symbolising material achievement and the advancement of human knowledge, and the 'innocent' girl symbolises the untainted delivery of this 'tree of knowledge' into the world. Bullshit. Why must she be naked?

The naked woman in stilettos on the cover of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking by Roger Waters (1984), is not quite as offensive as the naked girl-child, but it's pretty crass stuff. And aren't these sorts of images supposed to be reserved for the R-rated pages of Playboy magazine, etc. I mean this is a naked woman asking to be picked up and taken for a ride on the cover of a record, openly displayed and sold to anyone.Why bother censoring films if this is out there for all to see?

There was a bit of controversy about this cover too, but not much: 'it was condemned by some feminist groups' is how Wiki summarises - and dismisses - the controversy. But later versions appeared with a black strip over the woman's rear end, rather a case of too little too late, I should say, as it still leaves in place an otherwise naked, provocatively posed, woman asking to be picked up (and fucked).

Roger Waters sings on the album about his mid-life fantasy of committing adultery with a woman he picks up on the road, presuming she is hitch hiking because she wants sex too, of course. He doesn't sing about that.

This wouldn't wash today, would it? I don't think it would, and that must be a progress of sorts. That's all I've got to say about that, oh, and that the record collection belongs to my husband.

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