The “Isn’t she cute?!” effect


It is probably not as common a trope as it once was, but one of the ways in which photographers like to present women is as gentle parodies of men. For example, a woman will be depicted dressed or acting in a masculine way, but with just enough femininity to make the effect soft and amusing. The above photo is a good example. On top we see a woman reading a serious newspaper, but below the image dissolves into bare, feminine feet. The contrast is startling and effective.

Women’s clothing often has aspects of parody of the male too. A good example is seen in this French burlesque act. The female costumes at the beginning are sexualised parodies of masculine uniforms (NSFW):

Woman, mythologically, is a derived being. Here is Australian poet AD Hope on that theme (see especially the lines marked in bold below, from the first few stanzas of his poem, Imperial Adam.)

Imperial Adam, naked in the dew,
Felt his brown flanks and found the rib was gone.
Puzzled he turned and saw where, two and two,
The mighty spoor of Yahweh marked the lawn.

Then he remembered through mysterious sleep
The surgeon fingers probing at the bone,
The voice so far away, so rich and deep:
“It is not good for him to live alone.”

Turning once more he found Man’s counterpart
In tender parody breathing at his side.
He knew her at first sight, he knew by heart
Her allegory of sense unsatisfied.

The pawpaw drooped its golden breasts above
Less generous than the honey of her flesh;
The innocent sunlight showed the place of love;
The dew on its dark hairs winked crisp and fresh.

This plump gourd severed from his virile root,
She promised on the turf of Paradise
Delicious pulp of the forbidden fruit;
Sly as the snake she loosed her sinuous thighs  …

I would argue that the fundamental mistake feminism makes is to consider women independently of men. Women are not meant to be independent of men. That is surely the message of Genesis, whether one wishes to take it literally or figuratively.

Another example of a sexy female parody of the male:

images (1)

And also somewhat parodic of the masculine are marching girls (Definitely NSFW):


On a similar theme is this amusing song presented by Steeleye Span:

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim on April 6, 2017 at 12:50 am

    I take it the bare feet is supposed to signify her place in the home. You know, “barefoot and pregnant”, and so on. Nice legs btw.

    It was a sin to try to make women into something they’re not. And now most of them are a total mess.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 6, 2017 at 1:11 am

      No. Probably not. It is just to provide contrast. Business above; pleasure below. Photographers intuitively know how to create compelling images.

      It used to be more common. I remember a shot of a topless girl wearing boxing gloves. It was cute. But that was some time ago, and the cuteness is diminished by the reality that women actually do things like MMA these days.


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