Amnesty’s ad campaign against FGM

fgm.jpg
Amnesty International has launched an ad campaign to battle female genital mutilation (see full sized pics here and here). The images of sewn up flowers are striking, but effective. What do you think?

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86 Comments

  1. dananddanica
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that is a very powerful image.

  2. Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I think these ads are great. They don’t just aim to shame people out of the harm they are doing to their daughters, but they also cast the actual procedure in a negative light – as destroying something beautiful. It is creepy to think that the knowledge that genital mutilation hurts women would not be enough to stop it, but we need to be getting the message out in as many ways as possible.

  3. Ruby
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The image is definitely powerful, but something about the vagina = flower thing makes me uncomfortable.

  4. carolina girl
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I think the ads are very powerful and hope they’ll make a difference, but I do not get why our vaginas still have to be considered flowers.

  5. Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The whole flower thing is weird but I can see how people everywhere would get it and I think that out-weighs the “my vagina is not a flower” complaint.

  6. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I feel the same way, Ruby.

  7. iheartben
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    If you think the vagina = flower thing is bad… then what would you do differently? I think the ad is ggreat, and honestly in this instance I think the flower is an appropriate symbol. I have no problem with the symbolism here because I feel like it shows something beautiful being destroyed. Just because the vagina=flower symbolism is overused and sometimes used in completely idiotic ways, I don’t think that means it can’t be used in a good way also. I mean, really, what else do you use to get this point across? A sewn up apple? An actual mutilated vagina (something I think would be too over the top to even get the point across, other than with shock value) ? I think the flower is fine, it’s effective and makes the point, and I’m not bothered by the fact that it’s a flower.

  8. annajcook
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Why are people discomfited by the flower image? I’m just curious, because although it seems a little old-hat to me (how many Georgia O’Keefe paintings have we looked at already?) I don’t really think of it as a problematic symbolic representation. Further thoughts?

  9. Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The vagina/flower thing gets me too. When I first saw the picture I thought it was the new abistenence-only campaign ad. Still, I think increasing awareness about FGM is extremely important since a lot of people don’t know what it is or they consider it to be similar to male circumcision. It’s just really hard to get that message across without, say, showing the effects of the procedure, which would turn everyone off.

  10. Whitemore
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s not vagina+flower, but labia/vulva=flower, and since the resemblance is pretty strong (O’Keefe, anyone?) I think it’s right on.

  11. annajcook
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    or they consider it to be similar to male circumcision.
    Which is something that should also be deconstructed/challenged as a norm! (Although I realize it doesn’t do the same sort of extreme physical damage as FGM).

  12. Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    When I was 16, I decided to take a mirror and check my stuff out, and was shocked to find that the entrance to my vagina really did look like a closed up rose. Now…not so much, but I guess that’s why I don’t mind the vagina-as-flower symbolism. So long as the analogy isn’t used to say how delicate we little girls are, I don’t see it as a bad thing. Vulvas are gorgeous and as Georgia O’Keefe has shown, have a striking resemblance to flowers. I especially like how brutish the thread looks on these vibrantly colored roses. I think it brings a sort of visceral point across, but maybe that’s just b/c I’m already so upset about FGM.

  13. kckatyana
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I have no objection to the flower=vagina imagery. And I think it’s a great image. It is a bit misleading, though. In FMG isn’t the clitoris removed (ok – makes me wince just typing that). This doesn’t even come close to getting at that horrifying reality.

  14. rileystclair
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    i think the ads are great–very striking.
    the flower/vagina thing is kind of overused, but it’s still a widely recognized symbol and i think it can be effective here. i also don’t really have a problem with analogizing the lady parts to something beautiful in nature, like a flower.

  15. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I wince just thinking about the specifics of this issue, too. It’s not that I have a *better* metaphor or something, I just don’t particularly think vulvas (NOT vaginas) resemble flowers. I don’t think vulvas are gorgeous. Sorry. Nothing against vulvas.
    I wonder how many young men are surprised, when they first encounter a vulva/vagina, to find that they don’t look, feel, or smell like roses?

  16. Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    My problem with the flower concept is also how often it is overused. No offense to dear Georgia O, but I’m tired of people comparing women to delicate roses and hearing terms such as “de-flowered” and “ripe for the picking”. Eww.

  17. mael
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that’s stopping me from loving those ads is the fact that there’s a need for them. I feel sick just appreciating them.
    On an artistic note, I think they’re fantastic, effective, and incredibly bold.
    Also, I have no problems with associating vulvas with flowers per se. I love flowers, I can see the similarities (orchids, anyone?) but I do object to people using the image to demean or condescend women. Flowers in and of itself are neutral, it’s what we make of said image that needs to be fixed.

  18. Ruby
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    The function of flowers in our society is to beautify our surroundings. They are passive objects, and their role is to be pleasing to our aesthetic and olfactory senses. And while I certainly find vulvas beautiful and (sometimes) nice-smelling, I think that this metaphor sells the vulva short. It misses the strength, resiliency, power, and functionality of the vulva. So, in that regard, I find it disempowering.
    It also makes me think of the term “deflowered” which makes me want to throw up.

  19. Ruby
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    The function of flowers in our society is to beautify our surroundings. They are passive objects, and their role is to be pleasing to our aesthetic and olfactory senses. And while I certainly find vulvas beautiful and (sometimes) nice-smelling, I think that this metaphor sells the vulva short. It misses the strength, resiliency, power, and functionality of the vulva. So, in that regard, I find it disempowering.
    It also makes me think of the term “deflowered” which makes me want to throw up.

  20. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    The ad also seems to not address the fact that the most common FGM procedures have to do with removing or damaging the clitoris to ensure that women cannot receive sexual pleasure. I think this is a really, really key component to FGM that the campaign is overlooking. It would be easy for Western people to look at this ad and dismiss this as a certain culture just being barbaric because of their lack of Judeo-Christian values (as we tend to do), without examining the actual, deeply misogynistic reasons that this practice exists.
    Also, I take issue with the idea that FGM is wrong because it’s “destroying something beautiful.” Yeah, my vag is beautiful and all that hippie shit, but it exists not to look pretty for people, but for very real and important purposes.
    Using the images of the destroyed roses doesn’t convey pain or sexual repression to me – just the visual destruction of something that formerly existed primarily to be looked at. That’s why I don’t particularly like the vag as flower comparison.
    That being said, I’m not sure how any of the above points could be addressed in a successful ad campaign. I think they did the best with what they had to work with. The ads aren’t bad – I just wish they were better.

  21. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes and yes, Ruby. You said what I was trying to say, but way fucking better.

  22. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow, SoyMilkConspiracy, you put it very well. Those are the exact reasons why the flower imagery is bothersome.

  23. dananddanica
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    soy,
    Exactly, this issue is incredibly difficult to convey with a singular image. Taking all things into consideration I think this is a really good way to raise awareness of the issue.

  24. MsDirector
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The images are definitely striking, but what worries me about the campaign is that they’re still striking in a beautiful way. The flowers have clearly been altered, but they haven’t been DESTROYED, so they still look beautiful, even sewn up. And lord knows beauty has NOTHING to do with FGM.
    I think that pictures like this might generate sympathy for the fight against FGM, but the problem with sympathy is that it’s passive. You can say “Oh, gosh, that’s so horrible” and still not do anything. Ads about this subject need to create OUTRAGE, and I think an image with more of a violent overtone would do more on that front (and also create a more accurate metaphor). I’m not exactly sure how you could make that work, because you still want people to look at your ad long enough to read the text, and not automatically turn away, but you still want them to be horrified. I think these flowers are too tame.
    Also, TheSoyMilkConspiracy, I completely agree. Well said.

  25. TinaH
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The function of flowers in our society is to beautify our surroundings. They are passive objects, and their role is to be pleasing to our aesthetic and olfactory senses.
    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with this on a couple of grounds: flowers have significant function outside of our society. They act as herbicides, insecticides, attractants to pollinating “benevolent” insects, they’re harvested to provide medicines and foods, the list goes on.
    I suspect that they’re rather under-appreciated and misunderstood, valued only for their aesthetics. Sound familiar?
    I think that these images are quite powerful.

  26. florafloraflora
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Ruby, if I wanted to nitpick, I’d say that the purpose of flowers is not to beautify our lives but to allow plants to reproduce, except that some flowers are twisted into sterile decorative forms, sort of like women’s reproductive equipment. But that would be nitpicking and it would leave out the part about about women’s “flowers” being a source of pleasure. I respect your concerns, but I just don’t think they are shared by the average consumer that is the target of this ad.
    Personally I think it’s a great way to get a sensitive subject into the public eye. My only beef would be that the tied-up flowers look too decorative and tidy, especially the red one. The pink one is a bit messier and more painful-looking. But I could actually see some chucklehead thinking, “Hey, that red one looks kind of pretty. It will be beautiful when the stitches come out!”

  27. florafloraflora
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    TinaH, you said what I was trying to say, only better.

  28. annajcook
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    The function of flowers in our society is to beautify our surroundings. They are passive objects, and their role is to be pleasing to our aesthetic and olfactory senses.
    Using the images of the destroyed roses doesn’t convey pain or sexual repression to me – just the visual destruction of something that formerly existed primarily to be looked at.
    While I understand this argument, and get the weaknesses of this imagery as a way to convey women’s sexuality (without explicit anatomical images, which would offend so many people that they would defeat the communication necessary–sad, but true), I think that you’re selling horticultural imagery short! Plants are growing things, and historically they’ve also been associated with sex and reproduction in ways that were sometimes quite political! In the nineteenth century, people debated the appropriateness of women studying flowers, for example, because of the sexual overtones. And on a most basic level, I like the association of sexuality and women’s sexuality with growing things, things that are alive.
    It’s not that I’m denying the passive/looked-at nature of flowers in our culture–I just think that, like so many things, the cultural messages are complex and varied.

  29. Vervain
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks these pictures almost romanticize the practice? Sure, the roses are sewn shut, but they’re still quite pretty.
    They remind me of a lot of abstinence-only ads, to be honest.
    Guard your diamond, protect your petals, blah blah blah.
    To be fair, I’m not sure how else you would present the issue. A rose with a huge chunk ripped out, or a butterfly with its wings torn off, maybe. Maybe not. Bottom line, this falls a bit short of ideal, for me.

  30. acranom
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Everyone is so smart and articulate with their reactions. I love it!
    I’m not bothered by the flower image, personally. The ads are primarly meant to strike interest, to be visual and to be what starts a discussion on FGM. These ads do not define what it is or how we should treat it as an issue. I think AI will do much more on the issue, include provide people with accurate information and ways to get involved.
    Additionally, if you see a flower either as a beautiful object or as a functioning part of nature, you still see it as something to be valued. So I like that aspect- if we care about flowers, we definitely need to care about women’s vaginas (vulvas and clits, too)!
    Plus, these ads will catch the attention of people who might tend to think of vaginas as flowers and use those gag-worthy metaphors and hopefully wake them up to REAL problems women all over the world face in relation to their sexual autonomy.

  31. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    The images are definitely striking, but what worries me about the campaign is that they’re still striking in a beautiful way. The flowers have clearly been altered, but they haven’t been DESTROYED, so they still look beautiful, even sewn up. And lord knows beauty has NOTHING to do with FGM.
    Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I noticed that too. I was looking at the ads and I kept thinking “why am I not more disturbed? These images are actually beautiful.” They remind me of those “Vote or Die” (or whatever campaign) ads they used to have that showed pictures of beautifully made up celebrities’ mouths sewn shut, which were actually MORE creepy than these FGM ads.

  32. Ruby
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    As I perceive it, the flower metaphor typically has little to do with biology and much more to do with socially constructed meanings (beauty, reverence, etc.), and I am therefore critiquing the social meanings of flowers and that relationship to the social meanings of women’s bodies. Sure, there are biological parallels as well, but in the case of mass marketing, I don’t think that scientific functionality is the point.

  33. dananddanica
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    people see things differently but I just dont see how you can see those images as beautiful in any way. The beauty of these flowers has been marred greatly, notice the size and starkness of the stitches, I think this is just one of the ways these work as an effective tool to raise awareness. perhaps we should all take a day to let the image soak in, sometimes thats what it takes with images like these.

  34. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Obviously everybody here realizes that flowers exist for reasons other than to be looked at and enjoyed by humans. However, our incredibly narcissistic culture often fails to notice any function of natural things unless they’re serving the needs of humans (i.e. “animals are meant to be eaten” etc.). So while flowers obviously play a much more important role in life on this planet other than looking pretty in a vase, most people don’t recognize or acknowledge this.
    And that’s, again, why I don’t like the vagina=flowers thing, yet I DO think it’s accurate. It’s a pretty blatant example of how an oppressive culture (patriarchy vs. women, humans vs. nature) ignores the biological function of something in place of appreciating it for its aesthetic “beauty” and how said beauty is beneficial to those who look at flowers/vaginas/breasts etc., not OWN (or are) them.
    Christ, I hope that made sense.

  35. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Soooo off topic, but…
    Whether or not the image is actually “beautiful” (values aside) is completely, totally, 100% opinion. Yes, the meaning behind it makes it ugly. Yes, the reason the ad was made in the first place is disturbing – we can ALL agree on this. But asking people to “let the image soak in” in hopes that they eventually will see it the exact same way you do is a little…condescending.
    Speaking STRICTLY on aesthetics, I can see why one believes that the image isn’t beautiful because the natural beauty of the flowers has been compromised. Yet, I can also see how the altering of them could also be, artistically speaking, ENHANCING their beauty.
    Clinique had some of the most popular magazine ads of all time when they started photographing their cosmetics all fucked up and smooshed. Remember those? Lipsticks that we smashed and smeared across the page, eyeshadows that were broken and crumbling, foundation that was spilling out of the bottle, ruining the usual “perfection” seen so often in makeup ads. Every single girl I knew in high school tore those ads out and put them on their walls because, even though the “perfect” objects had been “destroyed,” they were still beautiful and interesting to look at.
    Art is fucking art, and if we’re speaking strictly on how the images look, I don’t think it’s constructive or necessary to try to convince people that they’re ugly just because you see them that way.

  36. Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow, a lot of anti-flower feelings; I wasn’t expecting that.
    TinaH, you took the words out of my mouth.
    AI is trying to sum up an extremely complex and terrible issue with one image in order to get people’s attention. They’re not going to be able to address all the nuances of female sexuality, so we have to let that go.
    Yes it’s trite, but I like the comparison of flowers to vulvas. There is so much vulvaphobia out there (among men and women alike), that comparing them with non-judgmental appreciation to something of varying color, proportion and smell is needed balance.
    Feminists often come up against this problem of not wanting women to be ignored, but not wanting them represented in any particular way because it’s limiting. Well, if I have to choose how my vagina is represented, I want it equated with something pleasant, something in nature.
    I bet all the anti-flower people would be equally offended if it were represented by a stitched up piece of steak or a Gucci bag, in order to capture the “not so sugar-and-spice” reality of our multi-functional organs. Any symbolic imagery can be demeaning insofar as it is not totally representational, so sometimes you have to go with what is going to make the biggest impact on your desired audience.

  37. Sirriamnis
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with MsDirector and Vervain. The roses are still, in spite of the sewing, intact and beautiful.
    I think perhaps roses with chunks missing or butterflies with their wings mutilated as someone else suggested might have been a more accurate allegory and more impactive.

  38. rileystclair
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    i think the images can be artistically interesting to look at and “beautiful” in that sense and still work as a message.
    anyway, good points made by all who weighed in on the flowergina issue. it’s something to think about and i certainly don’t like “precious-diamond-hymen-deflowering” usage of the metaphor.

  39. Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mind the flower as vulva thing, but I do think the pictures are beautiful. Also I think sewing them up makes them look MORE like vulvas. my the way my lips are arranged does not look like an open round thing. it has the shape of the sewn flowers.
    Maybe it blood were dripping from where the thread poked the petals it would add an element of greusomeness. something like this SHOULD disgust, and I don’t think these images don’t do that.
    I agree with FEMily, the image alone looks almost positive as if it is promoting something (such as abstinence.)

  40. geeky_girl
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m not entirely sure the campaign is meant for anyone who would consider equating women and their vulvas to flowers a problem.
    That is, many feminists who might care about the imagery are already aware of and against FGM. This campaign isn’t really meant for us. It’s meant for people who are unaware of the issue.

  41. Dangerous_Jade
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    My first thoughts on seeing this was that it was powerful on the surface, but the more I looked at it, I realized that although the image was disturbing, the rose was still beautiful, and something was missing.
    Then it kinda hit me. What’s missing is the human quality. The most important element of this campaign should be the women and girls it affects, and it’s just not represented well. In the end, this isn’t about flowers, disembodied labias, or metaphors – it’s about real women and real torture.
    I understand what they are trying to do, and I’m not offended by it, I just think the might have missed the mark. They need to show who this affects, as a whole and very real woman, and stop with the metaphors. Female torture does not seem to be an appropriate time to try and soften the truth.
    The other thing that bothered me is that to me, this looks like an entire labia sewn shut. From what little I understand about FGM, I thought the clitoris was removed (as several others have mentioned), and the vagina was sewn shut. Like everyone else said, this would be a lot more mutilating then just a loose string of stitches like the picture shows.
    But, again, I suppose its better to try to get the word out then not at all.

  42. annajcook
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I think geeky_girl has a good point to keep in mind with these types of public awareness campaign. There’s always the issue of diluting the message, but the most important thing is to put the issue on the radar of people who aren’t already thinking about it as something problematic.
    Another question I have (and forgive my ignorance, but I haven’t stayed on top of this particular issue as well as I might have): how is this campaign being incorporated into cultures where FGM is the accepted? Is this a campaign directed toward them? Or a campaign for “western” audiences? Or both?
    I know there are activists who are working against these practices within the communities where it takes place, and I truly believe it’s a human rights/feminist issue that has nothing to do with “western” values, but I know this issue has always been open to charges of imperialism and cultural insensitivity.

  43. Ariane
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Those are interesting ads; I do agree that they look too “pretty” in some way, to represent FGM.
    Relatedly, I stumbled across this blog posting earlier today:
    http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/a-new-debate-on-female-circumcision/index.html?hp
    Feministing-goers might find some parts of it… “interesting”.

  44. Destra
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    These ads are amazing. They really bring home how shocking and disgusting FGM is. I do not think the ads are appealing in anyway, nor do they glorify the practice of mutilation. The viewer can envision the beauty of the flower and see what the tearing and imprisoning of the surgery did to it.

  45. bubblex
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I think that if the roses were bleeding the message would be a more powerful representation of FGM, as most of the negative reactions I’ve read seem to be concerned with the rose’s continued intactness and beauty. I agree that they need to push the bloody reality of this a little further if they want to increase awareness of just how horrible this “procedure” really is.

  46. Corey
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I quite agree with Vervain and MsDirector, too. My first reaction was that the modification to the second rose does not come close to conveying the brutality, destruction, and irreversability of FGM.

  47. EG
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I like the flower/vulva metaphor. It’s very, very old, predating by far the idea that flowers exist so you can go to the local florist and put them in a vase. It has to do with the resurgence of life and sexuality in nature in the spring, and the fact that flowers are the sex organs of plants, which, in an agricultural society in which gardeners worked to breed different plants would have carried a great deal more weight than it does now. It has, in my opinion, a lot more in common with fruit/vulva metaphors than with misogynist objectification. An important consideration is also that the flower is one of the vulvic symbols that is at its most effective when open, which is what makes this imagery work. Figs and pomegranates are at their most vulvic when cut into, and oysters are only opened up when they’re killed. So in terms of making the connection between sewing up/being closed=mutilation, flowers are the right way to go, in my opinion.
    I agree that if I were designing this campaign, the roses would have chunks of petals ripped off, but I also think that’s nit-picking to a certain extent, because this campaign is not directed at us, from what I can tell. It’s an awareness campaign, which means it’s directed at people who haven’t much considered the issue before, and for them I think this is a good start.

  48. Marissa
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree with vavain and others agreeing with her. These images DO romanticize the practice. While dark, these are very aesthetically pleasing images. The flowers are delicately sewn so as not to destroy the petals, merely pierce them with precise holes. The flowers themselves become misshaped from the sewing, but they are not strained and deformed. If they wanted to keep the flower image, in and of itself another problematic issue, they should have mutilated and ripped the petals, shown evidence of bleeding and infection (not at all a romantic image), and maybe even shown the tool that was used.
    But really, if they had done that, I would have still hated it and considered it yet another image of brutalization of women. Much like how showing rape in movies always seems to romanticize it. Personally, I think the best bet is to stay away from images. Do we really need images to accompany the phrase “female genital mutilation?”

  49. Marissa
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree with vavain and others agreeing with her. These images DO romanticize the practice. While dark, these are very aesthetically pleasing images. The flowers are delicately sewn so as not to destroy the petals, merely pierce them with precise holes. The flowers themselves become misshaped from the sewing, but they are not strained and deformed. If they wanted to keep the flower image, in and of itself another problematic issue, they should have mutilated and ripped the petals, shown evidence of bleeding and infection (not at all a romantic image), and maybe even shown the tool that was used.
    But really, if they had done that, I would have still hated it and considered it yet another image of brutalization of women. Much like how showing rape in movies always seems to romanticize it. Personally, I think the best bet is to stay away from images. Do we really need images to accompany the phrase “female genital mutilation?”

  50. EG
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I think we do, Marissa. There are many people who are simply visual thinkers. I’m not. I’m a verbal thinker, and my mind basically edits out visual input and I have to make an effort to pay close attention to what I’m seeing if I want to process it. I automatically go for words. But because of that, and because I know people in the visual arts, I am very positive that there are many people out there who are just the reverse, who think visually and don’t process words unless they’ve been given a strong visual cue to do so. So, yes, I do think we need visuals.

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