New York standup comic Marcia Belsky created The Headless Women of Hollywood to remind folks that women are still constantly being sexually objectified in posters and advertisements for Hollywood movies. Specifically, Belsky shares movie posters (both old and new) that depict women from their necks down and sometimes even less.
Belsky told Someecards that she was inspired to create the blog after a professor showed her "decades of images from advertising and television where women's bodies are fragmented into consumable and sexualized parts.”
According to Belsky, the posters don't depict women with feelings or any sense of purpose. Instead, the posters reduce female bodies to their sexy, exploitable appeal for objectification.
"Ultimately, they do it because the numbers prove that this type of marketing works, and still works, very well. Objectification of women sells, and as long as it sells, they will keep selling it," Belsky said.
Scroll down these movie posters and count how many female faces you see. Then,count how many female body parts you see. A majority (if not all) of these women are just necks, butts, boobs, and legs—none of which fall under the category of "character development."
Whether or not you're a woman with the ideal Hollywood body type, says Belsky, it's always a lose-lose situation for women when it comes to the way they are portrayed in movie ads:
The continuing dehumanization and fragmentation of the images we see of women do have effect. When we (women) are depicted and cast as only bodies, we internalize that our primary value is our body above all else. We are set clear standards for an ideal, and women who don't match that ideal are made to feel their bodies don't exist. Or that their bodies do not have sexual appeal. And women whose bodies do match the ideal are told their bodies are interchangeable and primarily meant to be consumed. It's lose-lose in terms of how we view ourselves and how others see and treat us as women.
When asked if she came across one particular "headless" movie poster that really shocked her, Belsky pointed the photo above. “The woman is quite literally headless and branded as cattle," she said. It's hard to argue that the imagery is in stark contrast to what is supposed to be a serious documentary about how we rate movies—and proof that nobody rates posters.
Belsky said that in the short time since founding her Tumblr project, both women and men have reached out showing their support for the site. She told Someecards:
The feedback I've been getting has been overwhelmingly positive! Women have been reaching out to say "thank you!" or "how did I never notice this?!" And men have been supportively showing their shock and saying things like "wow, incredibly eye opening" or "I guess I don't consume as critically as I thought."
She said that most of the negative feedback she received "have been people sending me photos of women's heads on posters like, 'LOOK AT THESE IDIOT.'" She calmly clarifies for these idiots that she at no point claimed no movie poster ever has featured a woman's face.
"I am not claiming this practice of fragmenting and objectifying women is on all of the posters that we see, or in all of the images we see. But it is in many. Too many," Belsky expressed.
Speaking of the overabundance of faceless women, what's up with those movie covers, Netflix?
Belsky said that she hopes her project achieves "visibility for these headless women. I want people to notice and think when they see chopped up lady parts used as sexual bait."
She added that she wants girls everywhere "to look at themselves and decide their own value first before they consider their value to men. I want to make women laugh and talk about how these images affect us, and for men to laugh and to believe us when we say we are still often viewed as pieces of meat."