Sunday, February 10, 2008

On Aesthetics: Spray Tans and Blow Outs

These photos are from Barstool Sports: New Jersey Freakshows. Pictures of young guidos with spray tans.



This is an example of a type of aesthetic exaggeration that happens to stylistic features over time. (I talked about this in reference to jean cuffs in a post titled Stylistic Distortions.) It is as if an aesthetic arms race is taking place. This is actually a very accurate way to think about this process. These photos are all excellent examples of what anthropologists describe as display behavior, expressive or stylistic behavior engaged in for competitive advantages, most notably in the areas of courtship and threat.



The spiky hairstyle is known as a Staten Island Blow Out.





Despite there being a posturing, threatening machismo that goes along with this look there is something very feminine about the aesthetic. There is an obsessive primping involved in the look, particularly the hair. The overly-shaped eyebrows border on drag. I find few things as unsettling as a violent, repressed homosexuality.



(Danielle thinks their puckered mouths look like puffy a**holes)




Why do men, when they try way too hard to look "cool" end up looking like women or crossdressers? See my post on runaway masculinity.




See my post on Ganguro fashion in Japan





7 comments:

kathleen s said...

Good to know you find something unsettling :-)

A couple years ago, extreme tanning became fashionable with Japanese girls. I believe it was tanning booths, not spray on.

http://fashion.3yen.com/2005-07-21/gangurowhy/

Anonymous said...

as soul brother number one used to say, "...say it loud! i'm BLACK and I'm PROUD!"

king friday said...

I think Lady Elaine Fairchilde may have invented this look.

Kelly said...

It is common in Native American tribes to paint your face red as a sign or war and aggresion.

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