Promo Posters And The Sideways Woman


Way back in September of last year, we saw this Star Trek promotional poster, which showed the main cast staring straight out at the viewer, with the exception of the one female character, who was turned to the side, glancing sideways at the viewer with her mouth slightly open.

We didn’t get around to posting about it at the time, but I thought of it when I saw the image from the Hulu site for the U.S. version of The Office

Similarly to the Star Trek poster, all of the male characters are looking straight out at the viewer, mouths closed, while the one female character has her head turned to the side, mouth slightly open; in this case, she’s looking at one of the male characters, not the viewer.

In both these posters, the men meet the viewer head-on, if you will. Their bodies are aimed straight at the viewer, they make eye contact, and that contact is confident. In contrast, the women avert themselves. Their body language is less self-assured. The woman in the Star Trek poster is alluring, a passive sexiness; the woman in The Office poster is referential, using her eyes to draw attention to the show’s star.

This post originally appeared on Sociological Images. Republished with permission.

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