If you are new to my site you might not be aware that what fascinates me is how women are portrayed in Western culture. And Instagram is the perfect place to feel the pulse of that culture today.

This is the result for the hashtag #olderwoman and #olderman

And this is the result for #olderwomen and #oldermen

You can draw your own conclusions from what you are seeing. I can offer no explanation as to why there are more pictures of women than men. Or the differences/similarities between the pictures.

To me, it as a snapshot or portrait of what is seen as “cool” in 2020.

Stay at home IV

Still not going out much but watching a lot of online content. And if you want somewhere to go BBC Ideas is a great place to stretch your mind.

One of these videos is about the porn industry.

The argument is that it is an industry that has a history of treating and paying women unfairly. And that a lot of porn depict women enjoying unrealistic situations so should be banned.

But by making it illegal, surely this will drive production underground. And if this happens, the working conditions for all involved will be worse than the current situation.

Watching this interview with Emma Thompson on Newsnight, she makes the argument that the treatment of women in the “mainstream” film industry is pretty poor too.

Now that I am spending more time being able to watch classic films, it does make me wonder what it says about our culture in which a film like Citizen Kane is admired but contains a scene in which a man hits a woman hard on the face during an argument. It might not be “real” but there are way too many films that are placed on a pedestal in which they treat women in a way that makes me wince.

How are we to expect the porn industry to have a clean house when looking around you see how dirty the “Hollywood” industry is? You could argue that the latter has a much bigger influence on our everyday lives than the former.

Like Emma Thompson says in her interview, there needs to be a diverse set of people at every level for real change to happen. All male crews, writers, directors and producers really need to be a thing of the past.

Lads Mags

Like it or not, the Lads Mags from the beginning of the century had a huge influence on the culture in the UK in how women were portrayed at the time. Now that we are in 2020 and the beginning of the century was twenty years ago, has anything changed in that time? To see I got a selection of magazines from that era.

Looking through the collection of FHM 100 Sexiest Women I couldn’t help but notice how white each year was. Yes, it was no surprise that the women were young but the number of women of colour is so low that you can count them with one hand.

Why is this important? Well, if the culture we are living in is judging the success of women from their sexual attraction to heterosexual men, then just seeing mainly white people, what does it say to someone who is not white? Can someone who was not born white be able to even compete in this race?

An optimist would argue that this was twenty years ago and with the magazines shutting up shop that things have changed. Yes, it is true that most of the Lads Mags from that era are no more but in that time the Internet has taken over that space.

What strikes me about the images in these magazines is how little the styling and the posing has not changed in the past twenty years. Skimpy clothing, underwear or nothing at all is still in fashion today. The provocative poses are still the order of the day today. All you need do is check out the online galleries of the well known model portfolio sites to confirm that this is the case.

I’m not arguing that we should ban these images or create an atmosphere where women being part of these images are penalised. What I’m saying is that in twenty years our visual language on this hasn’t changed. All I’m asking is why not?