Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Countenance


©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
Can you see it?
At least in the shop windows of Germany there are more and more mannequins standing slumped (I can hear my late mother's voice: "Stand tall!" Not easy when you are 14 and 1.78m tall).
By now I know that standing tall is a wonderful way to look ten years younger - but the puppets don't need that, because then they would have to sit in a pram...
No, really: they crouch! I "collect" with my camera window mannequins for decades. And think about them.
For example: You have every reason on earth to be VERY worried if they change their expression from normal "haughty" ("Don't dare to enter this shop, you louse!")

©Brigitta Huegel

to "smiling".
If they smile, economics will be very, very bad.
And now there are those sapless stooping ones.
The only interpretation I can think of:
most people nowadays walk and stare into their smartphone at the same time - "BUMP!!!" "Oh, sorry!" --- they bend their heads, even when standing somewhere (they might miss one of those ingenious super-special breathtaking news that drop in every second :-)
And the window puppets are always a mirror, mirror on the wall.








25 comments:

  1. That first mannequin is so lifelike. My mother was always prodding me in the back if she saw me slouching - in the 60's slouching was fashionable amongst the 'mods'. As I get older I have to remind myself to stand tall - and yes it does make you feel and look better.

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    1. I hated to be admonished, Elaine - even worse: if I managed for a while to stand tall, somebody remarked: "See? You can do it." Slouching as protest then (as the mods'?)...

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    2. Mods and rockers in the 60's - mods had a fashion code all of their own, rockers or greasers wore leather and rode motorbikes, mods rode scooters beautifully portrayed in the film Quadrophenia written by the Who.

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    3. Oh, I see. I think that my host Tony in Hastings, where I spent a month, showed me photographs of "The Second Battle of Hastings" - fights between Mods and Rockers.

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  2. Yes, "back up-straight and tummy-in!", was my mum's mantra to her two daughters! I am still able to walk with a book on my head; a game we played (practiced) in our teens. Fashion has often played negatively (but I could be wrong) as role model to generations. Twiggy was the role model of my days and many, ahem, thought that to be twig-skinny was beautiful! Fast forward: it is still like that today with anorexic models and, pale, weakly, hunged-back mannequins!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Not a bad mantra of your mother, Maria - though I have seen women with books on their head - their bum strung out far behind - that were not walking tall :-) (In London last year I saw a lot of young business-women, of course in incredible High Heels - and being insecure they walked that way too - not very alluring). As to Twiggy: yes, the over-slim young girls (and nowadays boys too) look alarming - but elder women being too slim look even worse. (I am slim myself, but because of sports and a good metabolism, and not liking fat (though I love butter and cream). I just can't eat very much of anything - yesterday I had a superb rhubarber-tarte with thick meringue on top (lovely!!), but I could only eat half of it. Well - the rest is for today, yippie! Greetings, Britta xx

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  3. I am so relieved that my four granddaughters do not walk around doing social media but hold their heads up high and observe what is going on in the world - ballet when young helps too.

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    1. You can be very content that your children are so sensible to raise your grandchildren that way. It is a question of example - I remember that we, when son was very young, didn't watch TV - I read to him a lot, and that was fine. Ballet is a wonderful way to learn posture (and grace)!

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  4. I like the blank faced ones without features that reflect beautifully the society we live in. I photographed one in John Lewis only the other day.

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    1. Yes, the blank faced one fill a whole file in my collection - and I just axed what I wrote about them from my blog-text - trying to become more short and concise.

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    2. I also find the blank faced ones interesting. There are white blank faced and black blank faced and transparent blank faced and many other colours. They are all very spooky.

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  5. These mannequins certainly have mastered the slouch.

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    1. Yes, they do (giving bad examples - or simple mirroring).

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  6. I am constantly yelling at young women on television to "stand straight"! My mother also told me to have good posture. I have even noticed models on the runway slouching. Someone needs ot let them know that incorret posture can lead to medical problems as time goes on.

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    1. Yes Emma, you are right: Bad posture - bad back, easily. One has to strengthen the muscles by fitness-training. Though I always "envy" the smaller women: it is easier for them! (Gravity?)

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  7. Ballet when young does help, as you say. I have to remind myself to stand up straight, but at least my ballet training taught me which muscles to tighten first. With a clenched bum you can't possibly slouch!

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    1. Ballet really helps - even when older. And gym too: Bum and midriff and abdominals. I sometimes am shocked when I see myself hurrying along a shop window - a good hint to walk tall!

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  8. Dear Brigitta, I agree in principle, but there is a commercial logic to more relaxed-looking mannequins. Incidentally, you and I were the same height at age 14. I am only an inch taller now. Enjoyable post!

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    1. Thank you, Geo. - I always felt that we both are - we say in German: at eye level; meaning: on an equal footing. Ain't that great? And of course: fashion is relaxed (which is a good thing), but I feel and look better when I remind me (!) to stand upright.

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  9. Am I hallucinating; wasn't the first mannequin wearing a different dress when you first posted this, Britta?
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Dear Maria, I like you so very much!!! You are VERY attentive (and have that kind of special humour that I estimate so much). You are right - no "ovolo malefico" (I looked that up - I'm still a pre-school Italian-learner) - I changed the photo. Saw this mannequin in another shop-window, thought: it shows even better what I mean).
      Wonderful reader: my very best greetings to you! Britta xx

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    2. Oh Britta, that is such a sweet thing to say to me, thank you! I am happy my eyes weren't playing up on me! Yes, this mannequin gives more the idea of what you describe here. I spy a little tummy on her so it makes her a little more human.
      Your Italian is excellent! xx

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    3. Thank you, Maria - my Italian walks in "calzature per bambini" (but then, as we all know: Italian shoes are simply the best! Two days ago I could not resist and bought beautiful flats from 'Mania' -- not that I "needed" some shoes... :-) Greetings, Britta xx

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  10. Oh dear, my mama would not like the slouchy, round shouldered mannequins! No slumping or the other extreme... what she referred to as "sway-backed"... Where your shoulders were pushed too far back giving your lower back a curved appearance. I fear I followed in her footsteps with both my girl and boy-child.. Neither were allowed to slump...stand tall, shoulders up may still be heard from this mama to her children and granddaughter! Interesting observations, Britta! I will wager that you have perfect posture! Stand tall... Have a delightful week...Susan

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    1. Dear Susan, yes, I see 'sway-backed' before my inner eye - and the third pitfall: to stand like a soldier (in Germany we say: looks like he has swallowed a stick). I think it is a good thing to remind your grandchildren (better still: a lot of exercise - if tummy muscles work, the back is strong). Well, my "perfect" posture - sometimes yes (then spirits are high), yet sometimes I have to remind myself (when I'm tired). Have a besutiful week-end too, Susan!

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