Paleo Retiree writes:
Fun keeping track of body language, both in real life and in the media. Gestures and postures really do change over time. Think, for instance, of all the ways people have of interacting with their smartphones. We take these postures and ways-of-behaving for granted now, but 15 years ago they weren’t even a small part of our lives.
Another set of gestures and postures that we now accept as a routine part of normal is the foreshortened hand/fist/thing-you’re-holding. I think of it as the “comin’ at ya” or “yo!” gesture. It’s very prominent in ads; I observe variants of it in real life nearly every day too. Here’s a small sampling.
For a little while T-Mobile was using the gesture as an ongoing theme in their ads:
This gesture is such a common part of today’s visual language that it can be hard to remember that playing the in-your-face card wasn’t always considered an attractive thing.
Where does the move come from? My theory is that it has to do with four main influences. The first is the commonplaceness of video. As people horse around with video cameras, it seems to be a common — and for all I know a natural — thing for people to try to dominate and aggress towards the video lens — to attack it as though trying to crawl inside it. The second is video games. Cartwheeling, disorienting changes in scale and perspective seem to be the expected thing in videogames. (Why? I have no idea.) The third is the increasing miniaturization of everything. As devices and cards and such become smaller, how else to make them prominent, let alone to emphasize that they’re bursting with power, glamor and desirability?
The fourth is hiphop. Now this is a subject I know next to nothing about. Don’t like the music (though I recognize the talent); find the styles occasionally amusing but often repellant; can’t help feeling appalled by a lot of the vulgarity and aggressiveness … I’ve largely avoided hiphop. But I’m semi-aware that kids who are into hiphop like making lurching, alarming gestures and throwing their hands around as though they’re half gang member and half boxer.