In Desiring the Kingdom I offer an opening phenomenology of the mall as a temple–a religious, liturgical space whose labyrinthine corridors are lined by tiny chapels devoted to various saints. And those saints, I suggest, are “pictured” not in the flat renditions of stained-glass but in the 3-D icons of mannequins draped in the au courant vision of “the good life.”
Well, in that vein, my former student Bryan Kibbe recently pointed me to an almost incredible short film that documents the work and vision of a mannequin factory. Titled “34 x 25 x 36” (you can guess why), the documentary unveils the unapologetic industry of female “perfection,” eliciting from the owners and designers a shameless articulation of their goals. This is a must-see for those working in gender studies.
But halfway through the film (at about the 3:30 mark), one of the owner/designers begins to rhapsodize about their work as a deliberate extension of religious devotion to the saints–embodying the now secular, materialist ideal for women to emulate, yea, “worship.”