Regular People in Model “Poses” Critiquing the “Absurd and Artificial”

Carolyn’s Team Pick:

Yolanda Dominguez, a Mandrid-based artist, is known for projects that question and critique attitudes about women. Her project “Poses,” in which non-model-shaped people recreate actual fashion magazine poses, aims to highlight the ridiculousness (and sometimes harmfulness) of the fashion world.

via "Poses"

In an interview with It’s Nice That, Dominguez said,

“I tried to express what many women feel about women’s magazines and the image of women in the media – absurd, artificial, a hanger to wear dresses and bags, only concerned about being skinny, beautiful. We don’t identify with this type of woman – we are much more. I used the impossible poses to represent this type of woman and to show how absurd it is in a real context.

These artificial models are the only reference we have and many women want to be like them but this is not natural and is causing many disorders (eating, mental, behavioural).

On the other hand poses of the women are ridiculous – they seem dead, twisted, pulled. […]

I try to express deep questions (sometimes dramatic) but always with irony and humour. I feel that when you can laugh at something you can get rid of it.”

Her project places several actresses from a theatre group in fashion poses on public benches, by a museum, in front of a market, and in a garden, and films spectator reactions, which range from confusion to annoyance to police warnings to getting help because the woman in question appears dead. This is what it looks like:

Visit Dominguez’s site to see more of her projects.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I really like this project and I think it’s a wicked cool concept, but I sort of don’t love that the women are staying (or lying) motionless until people worry about then/get help. It takes a lot for someone to stop what they’re doing and help/get help for a stranger, so I sort of don’t like that then they find out the women are fine. Perhaps they wouldn’t help someone next time, you know?

    • SO first off, I love this piece, both as an artist and as someone whom has dealt with anorexia. Secondly, I feel like its perfect as a performance piece. Although people passing by were concerned, I feel like that was a necessary part of the concept. Ordinary people had to get involved in order to learn what was going on. I feel like the point of an artist having a concept is to share it with people even if that means having to force it in their face, or cause unrest, confusion, etc. I think is some cases, like with this piece, that was the *best* way to do it. It showed the women striking the poses, the people trying to inquire about/help them, and the people watching the video how unachievable and unacceptable the standard set for women (and models) are and should be. In yet numerous women are still slowly killing themselves trying to “perfect” and “beautiful” and in reality, like, as the video pointed out, a lifeless body. If it takes scaring passer-bys to make them think about it as a bigger picture, that in itself tells us how necessary it is to really bring it to light. If there wasn’t shock value and if there were immediate explanations, I think people wouldn’t have been as likely to get involved in the piece to begin with and thus wouldn’t have been forced to react and think about the subject after.
      Applause for Yolanda Dominguez!

    • Huh. I noticed that too, but what I took away from it is how long it takes for people to respond to someone who looks like they need help… A couple of times I have gotten hurt somehow in public, and when I tried to get help, most people ignored me. Some even stepped over me. It’s fucked up that people who look dead apparently get treated like that too.

  2. Loved it. Though the “background” music drowned out the commentary. I know I sound like Ms Angry from Slough who writes regularly to the Daily Mail, but, just saying, you know.

  3. I love this project. The woman in mcdonalds around 1:50 NAILED her pose, I laughed for so long.

  4. Fascinating.

    Also, the video REALLY makes me miss Madrid. Lived there during my study abroad program earlier this year.

  5. But the thing is: those poses look stupider on the “regular” people. I know there’s the point that: fashion editorials/ads/catwalk set-ups often have women uncomfortably posed/negative facial expression/looking unwell and that’s a fair one to make.

    My main response to this though was this: some people have elegance (in the way they move, in the way they look, in the way they chose their clothes) and some people don’t. And I’d rather look at those who do (and it’s generally fashion’s/photographer’s jobs to make something that looks good).

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