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Nip/Tuck: Lacing Up the Objectification

Posted by Rosepixie on October 20, 2009

These are two promotional images for this season of the television show Nip/Tuck.

I found this image on the front page of YouTube last week.

Nip/Tuck 1

Then I decided to look for a larger version of that image for this post (which I never did find) and checked the official website.  This image was plastered across the website.

Nip/Tuck 2

I find these images incredibly creepy.  First, the idea that a woman could lace up the skin of her back like a corset is incredibly disturbing.  It not only implies that the woman is actually threading laces through her skin (a very oogy idea), but also that she can pull her skin tighter to reshape her body like a corset does.  That is a very disturbing idea on so many levels.

But it’s not just the lacing itself that’s disturbing in these images.  It’s the treatment of the woman herself.  She’s barely a woman at all, she’s just a body on display for the male gaze.  In both images the woman is nearly naked, clad only in white panties, while the two men are both fully dressed in suits.  The woman is facing the two men in both images so that we, the viewers, only get to see her back, but the two men appear to have a great view of her bare breasts and rather attractive and sensually posed body.  They also appear to be enjoying that view, leaning into her and taking sexual poses themselves.  They are very much in control here, though.  The man on the left in both images holds the ends of the laces from the woman’s back, so he’s literally controlling her body.  Not only do those laces let him pull her like a puppet in the second image, but implicitly they allow the man to decide what she looks like as well.  That’s pretty creepy on a lot of levels as well.  It’s a step beyond objectification – it is allowing the observer decide what the observed looks like, to mold them to their choosing.  How creepy is that?

I understand that the show deals with some pretty extreme body modification, but by and large the women who have plastic surgery are directing the changes to their own bodies, even if it is male doctors who are enacting those changes.  It may be the pressures of society that make the women feel they need these modifications, but it is still the women who choose them.  These images don’t show that agency.  They show a creepy and almost oppressive objectification.  I find these images really disturbing and if I ever had any curiosity about this show it’s now totally squashed.  I’m now certain that I actively don’t want to see this show – ever.

5 Responses to “Nip/Tuck: Lacing Up the Objectification”

  1. Alan said

    The change in skin tone makes it look to me like she’s pulled another skin over her skin, and is lacing that up. Thankfully, there is nothing creepy about that at all.

  2. Brian said

    Not quite threading laces through the skin, but corset piercings (photos) do exist.

  3. Rosepixie said

    I’ve seen corset piercings before (photos of them anyway). They don’t actually *do* anything, though, they’re just holes. This is clearly showing it actually working *as* a corset, which adds a whole new level of creepy to me.

    • Eva said

      It seems plausible to me that the ad creator was using the real trend of a less extreme (I think generally temporary?) body mod as the inspiration for the ad.

      I got the impression that every bit of that creepiness that came through was intentional. I don’t think Nip and Tuck is necessarily supposed to be about glorifying the objectification of women, but I’m guessing it’s one of the issues that the show has to deal with. The fact that the mod shown is so creepy and over the top makes me think that they’re actually trying to go far enough to make you stop and think about the wrongness of the objectification that’s happening.

      • Rosepixie said

        It’s possible it was intentional. I really don’t know enough about the show to know for sure. I do know it got my attention!

        What I’ve heard about the show doesn’t suggest it’s big on thinking about these kinds of deeper questions, though. My understanding is that it’s kind of soap-opera-ish. But it’s possible you’re right and it was intentional.

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