Over the last three months, this blog has become quite the repository of images. And when you start to amass a collection of anything, patterns begin to emerge. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the common androgynous portrait features that have sprung out at me (chunky hair, curious eyes, and angled jawbones, to name a few). And it’s fair to say I’ve been fascinated by these faces. Hypnotized. Transfixed.
Recently, though, my community has tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out some other patterns I’ve been overlooking:
Most of these photos are of young, thin, pretty, fashionable people.
“I’d like to see more ages and sizes represented.”
“I see androgyny in working class people every day. Where are they?”
“Everywhere I go there are pretty people. When am I going to see pictures of people who look like me?”
Oh. Right. That.
I’m not going to try to justify this pool by saying it’s what people should be looking at when they think of the intersection of genders. The people who have called me on the sameness of these images are absolutely right: I’m missing whole demographics here, and am quite arguably adding to the fucked-up industry of beauty-at-the-expense-of-reality by maintaining this theme. These points are dually noted and amends are being schemed.
But while I’m here, it might help if I give a little insight into my process, so you can understand the reason behind this pool of pictures.
Here’s how I blog:
- Go to Flickr once every few weeks.
- Browse under tags relating to androgyny and similar concepts.
- Compile a bunch of images that speak to me (and that also give permission to be blogged on other websites).
- Line them up so that new image appears on the blog every day.
I am limited by a few constraints:
- I lead a busy life, and am not in a position to spend as much time on this blog as I’d really like to.
- I’m not comfortable blogging images that don’t explicitly identify themselves as gender-playful, out of respect for individuals who may not want to be seen that way.
- Most portraits on flickr that I’ve found under these tags are of young, thin, pretty, fashionable people.
- My intention is to help people become more comfortable with gender ambiguity, and so I find myself looking for faces that evoke a sense of familiarity with the cultures I come from (which, admittedly, are very WASP and magazine-beauty-oriented).
As I said, though, these aren’t excuses. Just acknowledgements.
I welcome suggestions on how I can broaden the pool from here, and will spend some more time thinking about it.