Bruised, But Not Broken: Heather Morris’ Unsettling Photo Shoot

by Intern Courtnay

Not to put a damper on anyone’s day, but I wanted to touch on the recent controversy surrounding Glee star Heather Morris’ and photographer Tyler Shields’ new photo shoot. The images show the blonde in a polka-dotted dress surrounded by household appliances, clearly as a Barbie doll figure. That’s not the controversial part. She sports a black eye in the photos as well. Looking through Mr. Shields’ work one can see Morris’ photo spread is not the only one that raises eyebrows. The artist has pictures of many well-known public figures in compromising setups. Lindsay Lohan has a spread where she is covered in blood and accompanied by guns. There is another spread of her scantily clad, sprawled on a bed in a hotel room surrounded by men in clearly suggestive positions. Scrolling through the many pictures on the site it seems that men are given weapons and beautiful women to appear strong and masculine, whereas women are toys, objects, and sexual beings. Gee, doesn’t that feel familiar?

Back to Barbie, Mr. Shields’ writes on his website that “even Barbie gets bruises.” But does that mean Morris needs to? Do we need to capitalize on that and can someone please show me a bruised Barbie? I know mine were on the receiving end of tragic haircuts, outfits, and nail polish that substituted as eye shadow that never came off, but bruises? I can’t recall dolls getting bruises, only real live beings get them. None of the pictures of Ms. Morris look particularly disturbing, in fact, she is smiling in most of them. But the fact that the bruise is there in general is alarming and unhealthy. I hate to be the girl that overanalyzes everything and can’t take artwork at face value. Maybe it’s the recent college graduate in me that feels the need to look at a piece of artwork and break it down, scrutinize, evaluate, question it, and, at times, be concerned by it. If Morris, a seemingly cool, lovable young lady who has never been the notorious one to come out of her uber-popular television show, is cool with it why can’t I be? I’ve never experienced any kind of violence, but I just can’t condone it. Honestly, who knows what the bruises mean? They could mean absolutely nothing but I just can’t buy that. By no means do I think the photographer or actress approve of violence, but what’s with the bruises?  

Bruises are organic symbols of bodily pain and bruises on women, especially on one’s eye  can be seen as a symbol of someone being beaten and that is never sexy. Not even for Barbie. Let  me know what you think…


Hard to see but an Edmonton salon ad with a bruised woman as well. 


Source: Daily Caller

Photo: Tyler Shields

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