Friday, November 07, 2008

Thinking about connotations

I've run into a situation I didn't think I'd ever have worry about with my new job. As I've mentioned in the past, I've developed an iPhone app for playing streaming audio over the iPhone. Now, a company is paying me to create an iPhone app for them for a rock-and-roll radio station.

Today I received the artwork for the app and found myself taken by surprise. For the background image used to represent the app in iTunes and on the iPhone, the station chose a photograph of a woman in a bikini. It's typical rock-and-roll imagery - woman in low-cut bikini laying on the ground (and wearing high heel shoes). Yeah, I know, it's no big deal - go to any beach, watch some TV, or stand in line at the supermarket, and you'll see similar images. (Ok, maybe at the beach you won't see the high heels part... I'd think the heels would sink into the sand making it difficult to walk.) But, it's not the photograph itself that I'm concerned with writing about here - it's my reaction to the artwork that what got me to writing this post.

For some reason, my initial gut reaction was, "I can't submit this to iTunes and have this image associated with my new company." Yet, the more I think about it, I'm not sure why that was my gut reaction. I was originally thinking the picture was "low class" but now I'm trying to figure out if there's more to it. Is it instead the case of me being a typical male and I'm reading more into the picture than there really is?

Why should I have an immediate negative connotation to a picture of a woman in a skimpy bikini? Can I blame my parents for my strict religious upbringing? Am I being sexist? Does this reaction say something deeper about my opinion of women in general if I think there's something negative about such a picture? And why am I writing all this personal stuff in my blog for everyone else to read?

Ok, at least I can answer that last question. I found it interesting that the idea of trying to analyze why I found something negative got me to finally consider maybe the problem was actually with my own perception of things. The whole direction the thought process took was unexpected. And I thought others might also find it thought provoking.

I still need to think a bit more about whether I really have a problem with the photo, but I definitely have some new sides to the issue to think about that I didn't initially consider.