For the last day of our Northern Mesoamerican Art class (that's ancient Mexico, if you didn't know) on Tuesday, we looked at some modern Mexican depictions of the Aztecs. The most popular at the artists whose work we looked at was Jesús De La Helguera. As we viewed some of his paintings (shown below), the girl behind me whispered, "ooh, I like these! These are nice." I was disgusted at the objectification of women in these images and at the fact that members of my own sex were so used to seeing women in this light that they had been desensitized to it.
|Jesús De La Helguera, "Legend of the Volcano"|
|Jesús De La Helguera, "Flor de Luna" In my opinion, the very worst one!|
|Jesús De La Helguera, "La Malinche"|
|Jesús De La Helguera, "El Flechador"|
|Jesús De La Helguera, "Grandeza Azteca"|
And almost all of his paintings depict women in this way - helpless, flimsy, overly sexual creatures whose only purpose is to please the super-buff men they are attached to. This is not what women are; this is not what God made us to me.
Then the Professor showed us a Minerva Teichert painting similar to the one below:
|Minerva Teichert, "Christ Blessing The Children At The Bountiful"|
...and the girl behind me groaned in disgust. "Ugh, I hate Minerva Teichert!"
Some consider Minerva Teichert to be over-hyped, but I love her depictions of noble, virtuous, Godly women.
|Minerva Teichert, "Esther."A copy of this hangs in the women'sdressing room at the San Diego Temple.|
|Minerva Teichert, "Mary and Martha"|
These are the women I look up to - not the fantasized women Jesús De La Helguera paints.
Another reason why I don't like Helguera's art is because of his unrealistic body types. My first impression on seeing his paintings was, "Am I supposed to be that thin? Wow, I feel so fat!" On closer observation, I realized that his female figures are unnaturally, unhealthily skinny.Why is our culture so obsessed with equating beauty and thinness with worth?
Women, your worth is not based on your appearance. You have worth merely because you are a daughter of God. You have power and influence for good not by being a sex symbol, but by following Jesus Christ and using your gifts to bless those around you. You are so much more than a pretty face.
I believe that actions speak louder than words - and images. My hope is that as we live virtuous lives, we can show people that true beauty comes from having character, and the true messages of the Gospel can drown out the false messages of a visual culture that objectifies women.
"True beauty can’t be painted on but is a gift of the Spirit. It is literally letting your light shine before men. When virtue is combined with obedience to the Lord’s laws of health and respect for the human body, young people truly become temples in which the Holy Ghost dwells, giving them a beautiful aura. It is this beauty that is most becoming and enduring."
-Lynn G. Robbins, "True Beauty"