Saturday ∗ 27 Mar 2010

Boob slips in the age of technology, Or the victimization of Anne

If there’s anything that Anne Curtis’ swimsuit malfunction highlights about us all, it’s that we are ill-equipped to handle the advance of technology. And I mean, all of us, those who hold cameras in our hands, and those who love being in pictures. In this sense, Anne Curtis is a victim of both the one who shoots, and she who has enjoyed being shot, and even makes a living out of it.

Because in fact, the victimization of Anne could’ve began with the fact that the show’s production allowed people to watch the show with cameras and camera-phones in hand – the more famous shot of Anne has her dancing on stage, right breast exposed, a gazillion hands with camera-phones aimed at her from the audience below. A less famous shot is one that’s taken from the other side of the stage, in a higher position, maybe a tree?,  and has Anne being carried by Sam Milby, in the same dance number.

The fact is, we have allowed cameras like these in public exhibitions such as this, because it’s free pre-publicity: in the age of Twitter and Facebook, everything is a status update and photo upload away. Propriety, obviously in this case, be damned.

And propriety is farthest from our minds as well, when we go to Boracay and wear our bikinis – it is everything and liberating in that context after all, for the every woman. But for Anne, public figure and popular culture commodity, it must have been nothing but normal: she has posed and been seen before, and too often, in nothing but a bikini, posing sexy and with a come hither look. This doesn’t make it right that she is victimized by these photos, but it does point to how people might think: she’s posed in practically nothing before, what’s the big deal about this now?

The big deal is this: this happened without her permission, and we have seen all these photos without her permission. The thing is, given where this happened and how, permissions aren’t the point. They will even be hard put to sue anyone. Nothing will stop the proliferation of these photos in the age of the internet. It spells an end in itself.

Which is sad for Anne, but might just be a wake-up  call. This, after all, isn’t the first instance that her body has been victimized. It is victimized by the need to wear bikinis because it’s a show happening at the beach (whatever happened to one-piece swimsuits?); it’s victimized by the need to stay thin and white (both of which Anne is, and cannot be otherwise), and the need to sell sexy; it’s victimized by technology that’s become more and more accessible to a people who prove irresponsibility time and again; it is ultimately victimized by capital and the href=””>tabloid owners’ need for profit.

Maybe what Anne should also see though, is how capital and profit have made her this commodified body, that must pose/use/wear bikinis and sell herself sexy, in order for an ABS-CBN show to sell, or a Viva movie to make money. This doesn’t make her a willing victim to those swimsuit malfunction photos, yes, but it does make her complicit in selling so many things about ourselves as women, through her commodified body.

If Anne doesn’t know this, then that just makes her even more of a victim.

Posted in: kalalakihan, kapitalista, kawomenan, kultura, media, TV


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