Fashion magazines are constantly trying to push the envelope when it comes to edgy, racy content. I get that. But something made me pause when I saw the Autumn Noir spread in the latest issue of Allure magazine. The editorial features models Edita Vilkeviciute and Candice Swanepoel in various stages of undress going at one another with tweezers, waxing strips and the like. In each of the four images presented in the spread, the models are depicted inflicting pain — beauty pain, but pain — on one another. There’s Vilkeviciute giving Swanepoel what appears to be an unwanted tattoo; Swanepoel ripping wax off of Vilkeviciute’s armpit; and perhaps the most violent of the images, Swanepoel holding down Vilkeviciute and piercing her ears with a piercing gun. There even appears to be a bit of blood on Vilkeviciute’s earlobe to really punctuate the pain.
The editorial is obviously making a comment about how “beauty is pain,” and, yadayadayada, how women do it to ourselves and each other. We’re the keepers of each other’s misery, in essence — the ones who dictate the standards of beauty and determine whether or not we’re effectively carrying out the proscribed vision of femininity. Even so, the images in this particular editorial spread seem especially violent. Consider for a minute, what this level of aggression might look like if it were a man and a woman, instead of two women? Why is it considered “high fashion” and “sexy” for a woman to be hurting another woman?
What’s your take on the spread (more images from it are below)? Is it gratuitously violent? Or simply a high fashion commentary on the suffering we go through to reach some kind of feminine ideal?
Forced compulsory tattoos?
Girl-on-girl waxing violence!