For those of you who were taken off guard by Angelina Jolie‘s pose attack at the Oscars, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to the posing that surrounds you everyday. The mega-leg-pose did not come from out of nowhere; for those of you out of the loop, Angelina Jolie was just trying to out-pose every woman in the world who poses everyday for every photo no matter what the occasion. And although it was a valiant attempt, Angelina has got nothing on women who pose.
Women who pose are not models, they’re women you know. They are your friends, coworkers and girlfriends who love to take and post photos of themselves in perfect albeit recycled poses. I am always impressed by posers. These women can’t help but make damn sure they look picture perfect for every photo. For women who pose, there is no “downtime” there are no “sweatpant days” even when they’re wearing sweatpants. They are always ready for the camera with or without makeup. They know their good sides, their bad sides, how to fluff limp hair and at which angle to tilt the camera and their heads. They make sure their eyes are big but their smiles are not. They suck in their cheeks and keep their chins down. They hold their arms back and awkwardly away from their bodies. When they pout, it’s no joke, they want you to find them alluring. Unlike famous actresses who may find such posing tricks day in and day out as burdensome, for women who pose they are not, because women who pose love to have photos taken of themselves all the time. And should no one be around to take it for them, they will take it themselves.
On the flip-side are the women I love to see who are enjoying life too much to be bothered with making themselves out to be a kind of fake beauty they’re not. My favorite photos are of women laughing, talking or just being in the moment. But up against women who pose, these women have no chance. I don’t know how these poses started off exactly. Of course hard and straight ahead was pretty cool during the Civil War and then smiles were all the rage after the depression. Mothers back in the day used to direct their daughters to stand with one leg in front of the other, hand over hand to look demure. Then when I was growing up I learned to say cheese so no one would see my childhood photos and think I was a waste of youth. But somehow, between elementary school photos and Facebook, these women were taught something I was never let in on–look hot for the world and be serious about it.
It takes real balls to take your looks that seriously and for this breed of women it’s no joke. They never feel silly about doing what it takes for a compliment. Even in a group photo where everyone else is smiling big, these women don’t find it funny that they’re the only ones obviously trying too hard to look attractive by tilting their heads to one side and giving a pursed smile. These females have honed the craft of controlling their image to look beautiful, which for women means looking sexy, innocent, desirable, sweet, vibrant, attainable, untouchable and strong in one dramatic pose: the chin down and pout or chin down and smirk.
Seeing that at least 1 in 4 women I know do it, I decided to try it out myself. Everyone else is so serious about themselves and their looks, why shouldn’t I be? Maybe there’s something to gain from being self-conscious.
The innocent "I got out of bed but won't let that stop me from taking a photo and looking cute" pose
When I posted these up, I couldn’t help but think of those pre-teens putting up YouTube videos of themselves and asking if they’re pretty or not. Obviously those girls were too young to get the memo, because I learned what one posing friend of mine would like to advise them, “Never question your looks, just make them!” Turns out posing really works.
"I'm at the gym and just finished working out" Pose
I was sure the reaction to my photos were going to be, “That’s hilarious!” Instead I got, “Great pic,” and “You look hot!” I had no idea that these over-posed unnatural looks are considered attractive. I think I got more compliments on these photos than my headshots (okay except for the gym one)! It’s no wonder why women who pose do it; it must be like a drug for them–post a photo, receive a compliment. Now I understand that as a woman compliments on my looks in photos are supposed to make me feel good, and yet they don’t–at least not these. Deep down, I know I’m trying too hard which I’ve been told all my life is unattractive. In the arts, in job interviews, on dates, even presidential hopefuls are told not to try too hard, let loose and just be yourself if you want to be liked. But somehow, these poses get a free pass because people think they make women look good. Do they really, or do they make us look like one big fake boob? Maybe that’s it–Americans still like their women to look fake, and if it’s not with a body part then it might as well be in a pose.
Which reminds me of the one pose my friend Andromeda told me not to forget–the push your boobs up and make them part of the photo pose.
If you have any great pics of women who pose or stories about them, please share–they’d love it if you would.