Called Out: More Statements of Intention

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:

  1. Go to Flickr once every few weeks.
  2. Browse under tags relating to androgyny and similar concepts.
  3. Compile a bunch of images that speak to me (and that also give permission to be blogged on other websites).
  4. 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.

Posted by on November 3rd, 2007 at 02:30 pm

Category: thoughts 5 comments »

5 Responses to “Called Out: More Statements of Intention”

  1. Koan

    As a wise person once said, “your blog, your rules”.

    In other words, if you want to change the way you blog here, you’re absolutely free to do so, including seeking input.

    But if you wanted it to be exactly as it is, you’re absolutely free to do *that*, too – nobody is forced to read this blog, and anybody can start their own if they don’t like the way you’re proceeding her.

    Just my $0.02


  2. Miss K

    Quite right. I find your discoversies fascinating and even if I didn;t I wouldn’t butt in and tell you to change it.

    I get that enough on my own one!


  3. andi

    Koan and Miss K —

    I appreciate the backup and the support — your words mean a lot to me.

    Maybe I positioned the situation a little differently than I intended. My point is: I agree with the critiques, and I appreciate them, too.

    I don’t think anyone who comments on culture should do so in a vacuum. The critiques were so gently made, and they were made by people I highly respect. I got nothin’ to complain about. :)

    But I’m also not promising to change right away — mostly because I don’t know how to. But I do want to be talking about it. If you have suggestions, add them to the pile. All are taken with grains of salt and in the spirit of community.



  4. Stephanie Delacey

    Well, if anyone complains just point them to my image!

    I’m not young – I’m 47.
    I am thinnish, I suppose.
    I’m not pretty – you want a closeup of my wrinkles and pockmarks?
    And I’m certainly not fashionable, LOL!

    So I’d echo Koan: it’s your blog, you decide what you want to do here.


  5. andi

    Stephanie, thank you for commenting — although to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s helping my case. :)

    With all due respect, you are gorgeous.


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