Yesterday was picture day at my children’s school and, according to my kids, the girls were told to tilt their heads while boys were told to sit up straight.
Why is posing for school pictures an issue we ought to care about?
First of all, why is a kid taught to position her head according to what gender she is? How stupid is that?
Secondly, the classic female head tilt is one of the most annoying qualities of the ubiquitous, submissive princess. In coloring books, toy figures, and on diapers, female figures are most often positioned smiling, eyes lowered, and head tilted.
Imagine you are standing next to someone you love and admire, and that person is giving an important talk. How might you pose? Smiling with a head tilt? That would show you are attentive, supportive, and proud of him. Classic First Lady.
Now if you were the speaker delivering the talk, how might you pose? We’ve made those power positions into figures of speech: “Chin up!” or “Hold your head high” and even “Looking down your nose at someone.” That would be the opposite of a head tilt.
Say you’re Ann Romney and you’ve got to make a speech at the Republican convention. How might you pose to show how grateful, sweet, and non-threatening you still are?
Can you imagine Mitt doing this?
On Reel Girl, I’ve posted about gendered posing from the art of Edouard Manet to Wonder Woman. Ever wonder where our kids get trained to stand like a girl or a boy, besides by museums, toys, and politicians? Apparently, authority figures in America’s schools.
Update: I communicated with my kids’ school and was told by the principal that boys and adults were included in the head tilt, that he was asked to tilt his head ‘ever so slightly,’ but appreciates my concern, and will talk to them about it.
I’m psyched he got back to me right away and is talking to them about it. From what I heard from my kids, it wasn’t a slight head tilt, more like the princess kind, and they were telling me about the individual, not group, photos. Here is the web site from the photoform. What do you think of these images? (After you click, wait a second for them to come up)