Something's Very Wrong Here

Teeki Swimwear - Summer '11

In some ways this image/post could be linked back to my post of the sexual child look frequently used by hollywood, but in reality this image has taken that idea a great distance in the wrong direction. I'm not sure if there's been an error in the editing but the proportions of this model give the impression of a 12 year old child with a woman's figure wearing a scaled down bikini and heels. I can't image that being what has actually been photographed, so it must be an adult model with an oddly large head (the proportion of head to body usually seen in prepubescents). Or perhaps it is the styling with big hair and huge sunglasses falsely giving the impression of such a large head. However when coupled with her gap-toothed grin and head titled to the side, the overall impression is incredibly uncomfortable to look at.


The Sexy Child

One of the things that's cropped up in both the old movies we've watched and the readings we've done is the concept of the woman as both naively childlike and overtly sexual.
Particular examples from the lecture series are Marilyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot, though Audrey Hepburn is a less sexualised example.

Marilyn was constructed as an uber-sexual ideal, her hair dyed platinum blonde and her wardrobe filled with slinky, fitted clothing. Yet she was always portrayed as quite dumb, easily taken in by the men around her. And it is this combination that makes her appealingly safe as a sex object to men, she's gorgeous but in no way threatening. Despite this she has a 'tongue-in-cheek' quality that makes her similarly appealing to women, she knows her affect on men and uses it to her advantage.

The huge skirt and feet pointed inwards are very childlike,
 while the cleavage and  amount of skin showing from her
only-just-staying-on dress is very sexual. It's the two together
that make her so widely accessible.

Bridget Bardot had a similarly created persona, combining sexuality and innocence. Her hair was also dyed blonde and she exhibited a childlike dishabille which when first exhibited to the world at the Cannes Film Festival put her on the road to fame. She became renowned for her overt sexuality and innocent nonchalance.

Like the Marilyn image Bridget is photographed
showing a lot of flesh, her 'clothes' similarly barely
on, with her cleavage emphasised. Whereas her pouty
lips and wide eyes give her a very young look.
According to studies done on this phenomena is has a lot of genetic basis. Having a young mate means that she has a long period of feritility and health ahead of her, so appearing young is very sexually appealing. However it is actually about a 50-50 mix of childlike and mature features that has proven most attractive in photo comparison studies. The mature features mark the women as being sexual mature.
People with 'baby' features also tend to be viewed as innocent and more likeable, and are less likely to be punished harshly for any indiscretions. This treatment from those around them can also lead to those with baby-faces playing up to this impression, acting more childlike to garner an even stronger reaction.