Okay, after a fair amount of interest in my "Improving Aphrodite" post from the other day, I made it public, and I'm happy to see so many people as piqued by the injustice to art and anatomy as I was.
If you're here linked from another site, welcome, and come right in.
I feel I need to say one more word, though, in defense of the company (and the individuals) making the models and reproductions. This is my industry, it's my profession, and I'd like to tell you a little bit about how it works, and in the process, what YOU can do to stop it when you see something like this that enrages you.
Basically, there is no conspiracy. These are NOT a deliberate and wanton desecration of the original artworks; the sculptors and model-makers are "innocent victims" of the system and not deliberately trying to persecute women or harm anyone's body-image. In reproducing art, we often have to alter it a bit to fit the medium, heightening and brightening a painting's colors to make it look better (and more salable) on a poster, for example. What happened here wasn't someone saying "let's make Venus stick-thin and bobble-headed, anorectic and childlike, and carve away the flesh of her tummy and the bones of her hips", they just made a little sculpture and thought, looking at it, that it didn't look "right". So they adjusted a bit. They adjusted using their best eye and their best judgment, in a world where their own eyes and judgment have been formed by a million other images that came before this one. For every Aphrodite this model-maker has seen, he/she has also seen a million Photoshopped movie posters, advertisements, and magazine covers. His/her kids probably play with "Bratz" and "Barbie" dolls. He/she probably has body issues of his/her own, as most people do in our culture today.
And when that individual went to produce a model, they didn't see that it was inaccurate and grotesque, they thought it looked like something their customers (potentially YOU) would want to buy in a store or catalogue. And this is retail, and as I always say, "retail is the purest form of democracy", and it's a democracy that works really well: we can't keep producing anything that you, the consumers, won't buy. Keep in mind that I took those photos from a wholesale, to-the-trade publication. I didn't order those items to put on the shelf for MY customers. You probably haven't seen those on the shelves where you shop. The democracy is working. If no-one orders it, if I and all the other buyers think the pieces are hideous, the model-makers are going to come up with something else to sell. That's how the system works.
So you can write letters to companies if you want to, and explain why you won't buy their products, but it's the "buying the product or not" that the company cares about most--the system has been shaped by consumer sales: Oprah on a magazine cover, thin, sells more issues than Oprah on a magazine cover, curvy. Movie posters that show a disproportionally stretched actress sell more tickets than movie posters that show the actress as she is. "Bratz" dolls sell better than "Happy to be me" dolls, no matter what lip-service is paid to body-love and self acceptance.
So I want you to see these images, so that you can become a more savvy consumer of images, and so that you can recognize the distortions when you see them on retail shelves and advertising yourself. But I'd also like to implore you, before you dash off an angry letter to a wholesale art reproduction company (especially if it's a business you have not previously supported with your dollars) to think about the businesses you do support and the ways that you can positively encourage them to change and improve their habits, and watch out for times you find yourself "voting" for unrealistically deformed bodies, yourself, by responding to advertising that builds on all the same values and misconceptions that formed the terrible shapes of the plastic goddesses, below.
That's all. Thank you, again, for reading.