Sunday, October 09, 2005

Castration

I have mixed thoughts when it comes to Anne Geddes's photography. On the one ovary, I love those organic lines that simultaneously bind and contrast the baby's newborn fullness with the fragility of flora. (I'm referring to her "serious" prints, of course. The ones that don't elude to tasty salad bars for incarcerated members of Hitler's League of German Maidens.) On the second orifice, it's like she's determined to evoke everyone's supposedly hidden maternal instincts. Through every one of her silver gelatin prints, I can hear the deafening coo of "C'mon y'all! Raise a baby -- just put them in an over-priced terracotta pot, top their 8-balls with a cabbage leaf, and wait for them to bloom into little tulips/cherubs/stuffed jalapenos." No wonder women of all ages feel the heat to reproduce -- they can't wait to eat after wasting their youths starving. More likely, it's a cultural need for women to fulfill that one role we can't acquire using charm/personality/that Hamburger University diploma alone. Many of my girlfriends describe their futures in sanitary terms, with details of blissful domestic servitude. I can empathize: playing house is the ultimate testament to becoming a fully-functional grown-up. Even I will admit to fantasies of surrendering control. However, the novelty factor might wear thin once you recognize that imagination has a jump-cut button that lets you fast-forward to all those intriguing milestone montages without ever having to sit through real time reruns of monotony (which you will, inevitably, experience sooner than you can say "two Valiums for lunch").

Still, seeing a helpless infant dressed up as drooling embodiment of consumer materialism brings a sentimental tear to my eye, temporarily displacing the ironic caption I place below every babbling Hershey's Kiss.

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