Abstract Edit

This text intends to look at the flaws in the approaches used for teaching visual aspects of text. Author Anne Francis Wysocki discusses the short comings of the way visual aspects in a text are now taught and compared the to the eighteenth century definitions of beauty and aesthetic judgement. This text examines the major points in visual composition from early discussions of beauty in the eighteenth century to a modern discussion, which will allows students to be more contentious in design and examination of advertising and media standards. Wysocki uses words such as "visual composition" and "aesthetics" to support her claim and gives an extensive, historical and cultural background on the topic. She wraps it up by expanding her ideas to a mode of teaching, in order to go teach students how to read design in a rhetorical lens in order to grasp an advertisements motivations.

Key Concepts Edit

-Beauty has become an aesthetic which has been deconstructed and reconstructed into female objection through a Western, white patriarchal based society. These values have transcended from the 1800's to today's current media, influencing how women think about themselves in media.

-The analysis of the Peek advertisement and how it's visual aesthetic contributes to the objectification of women. This text analyzes the Peek ad and its contribution to the notion beauty. This text uses five concepts to describe the visual aesthetic of an advertisement: contrast, proximity, alignment, and repetition. These are the main concepts Wysocki mentions throughout her article to dissect all types of media advertisements, especially those surrounding around women.

-Female objectification has now become a visual aesthetic and is now the center of visual presentation, as presented by Wysocki through her historical and cultural examination of advertisements and media.

-Kant's aesthetic and how it contributes to the visual aesthetic of beauty through his three critical concepts: the study of nature, the study of morals, and the study of tastes or aesthetics. His idea of beauty has given us the notion to "rise to the abstract approaches to visual composition."

-Wendy Steiner rebuttal to Kant's argument is the idea that his philosophy is gendered and contributes to the "dehumanization of the feminine." Steiner also believes that Kant's philosophy puts women at risk of "aesthetic formalizing" of objectification.

-Her discussion mainly focuses on using rhetoric to describe design and vis-a-versa, making a point to show that there is a serious choice put into every aspect of a design, and these choices are part of a subconscious decision based on society and makes a serious effort to connect with the viewers and reach their expectations.

Example Edit


-All of the objectification we see in the media of women's bodies, yet we consider it "beauty." Kant examines the idea that beauty is a universal notion. Wysocki rejects this idea in her article The Sticky Embrace of Beauty, where she argues that this idea is wrong due to the misplaced notion of people having a shared "universal" experience of anything- including beauty. This idea can especially be seen in the recent images of Kim Kardashian for Paper Magazine. The "real" Kim Kardashian has been lost in the objectification of her body. The image may even have been photoshopped, showing that not even Kim Kardashian, whom many consider beautiful, can achieve beauty without being changed to fit someone else's idea of beauty. In this case, "beauty" is an objectified female form, that tries to meet certain standards of sexiness to become beautiful. By objectifying her body in this way, this image is showing us that objectification is beautiful to our society.

Further Reading Edit

-Siebers, Tobin. "Kant and the Politics of Beauty".Philosophy and Literature22.1 (1998) 31-50. This articles examines the idea that aesthetics and ideology collaborate with one another. This collaboration is then linked to politics as Siebers argues that this is due to the "shared" experience of affect, and a belief in universality.

-Santayana, George.The Sense of Beauty: Being the Outline of Aesthetic Theory. New York City: Dover Publications, Inc, 1995. This book examines the way in which beauty has been examined by in life, rather than in philosophy. This book specifically examines beauty in fine art.

-Eco, Umberto & McEwen, Alastair (eds.) (2005). History of Beauty. Rizzoli. This book examines the history of beauty and how the concept has evolved from the ancient Greeks to today.

-Zangwill, Nick (2003). Beauty. In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), Oxford Companion to Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. This articles examines beauty amongst different aesthetic properties and the problem of aesthetic relevance.This book will also look into the topic of personal beauty versus the cultural ideal.

-Kant, Immanuel.Critique of Judgement. (2007) Oxford University Press. Wysocki relies heavily on this work of Kant's which examines the idea of aesthetic and beauty. For further understanding of Wysocki's The Sticky Embrace of Beauty,this can be examined to further enhance her argument.

Key words Edit

-Visual Composition


-Visual Aspects






-Rhetoricality of Design

Citations Edit

Maresca, Rachel (2014, November 13). Kim Kardashian poses naked on Paper magazine cover: Did she really break the Internet? Retrieved from

Wysocki, Anne Francis (2007). The Sticky Embrace of Beauty. University Press of Colorado, Utah State University Press. 

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