We were away for the majority of the summer—and for the most part—I was unplugged.
Now home—reengaged with all that our world spits out on a daily basis I have to say this week has left me feeling syphoned, depleted…but not defeated. Bait and outrage still abound…
I can’t stop wondering what would happen if everyone, even if but for a moment, unplugged. Would the quiet connect us to our compassion? Would we all perhaps feel more inclined to replicate that which inspires and ignites our soul?
Back to the past week plugged in….and what a week it was…first off the information highway was the Canadian Salon Ad depicting a woman with a black eye and the caption:
“Look good in all you do.”
“While it’s unfortunate that a business owner would use domestic violence as a marketing strategy, it presents another reason to lead conversations with young people about how media and advertising influence their opinions on violence and relationships”
Although later we learned from Kim Wells, Executive Director for Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, that the salon owner apologized… the image is still out there.
In essence. the image, and its controversy, have left their mark.
Next up, I read with a combination of one part horror, and two part cheer, Melissa Wardy’s Pigtail Pals blog, her post was about the JC Penny shirt. (I’m guessing if you have been plugged in…you know the shirt; its creation procured 1,600 plus signatures requesting for it to be yanked from the shelf.) A shirt, a message (aka the horror):
“I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me.”
And Melissa’s response (the cheer). Here is just a sample:
“My daughter will not be sent to school with the message from her parents that she is inadequate. She will not be taught hat she is incapable of learning, and mastering, what is taught to her at school. She will not be treated as though she were delicate. Tea cups are delicate, girls are not. She will not be encouraged, at the tender age of five, to be “flirty” or “sugarlicious”. Over my dead body will I give her the message that her beauty is her worth, or that at the age of five, she should be sexually objectifying herself. I take great issue with that notion, and it burns me to the core.”
Later JC Penny pulled the shirt and issued a statement:
“We agree that the “Too pretty” t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale. Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect.”
Again, the image is out there and it, along with the controversy, has left a mark.
Last, the Heather Taylor photo shoot where she is shown in 1950’s style apparel with a black eye all choreographed and created by professional photographer, Tyler Shields.
Shields is no stranger to depictions of women, men, violence..and if you are inclined…you can check out his work on your own.
Shields of course has staunch defenders:
“Art is made to be interpreted by whomever is doing the interpreting. Because of that it will always have multiple meanings. To some this may glorify violence. To others, myself included, these photos empower. I was abused as a child, and I don’t care who tries to knock me down, I’m gonna keep on living. I think most people in this country look for ways to make themselves victims instead of putting their efforts into thinking of solutions to the problems they claim to care so much about, and that’s unfortunate. Bottom line we are all victims of some sort, It’s up to you and you alone to decide how you handle your own personal strife. To me Tyler is merely bringing attention to a very real problem that exists in society everywhere, He should be commended.”
In many ways I get where the defender is coming from when he refers to victimhood. And yes everyone will interpret an image in their own way. Our opinions differ regarding creating solutions and empowering messages…by a long shot.
Another defender states:
“Who cares if this looks like glamorization of domestic violence? It’s a photoshoot, not actual domestic violence. … If this offends anyone, the offended person is just being ridiculous and quite frankly, stupid. Political correctness and creativity need to stay separated.”
And there, tucked between the lines, is the most argued defense. I am not talking about censorship from an outside entity, I am talking about self propelled censorship. There is talent beyond measure out there…what if it was used to make the world better than we found it?
All of this begs the question:
Why do people feel that having a creative license gives the artist carte blanche to do whatever the hell they please?
I am befuddled, angry, sad, dismayed…all of it…
I don’t find anything arty in the depiction of women bruised, bloodied and objectified. I see zero value in messages which undermine the intelligence of girls everywhere. And I cannot wrap my mind around why any woman suffering domestic violence would even remotely give a damn about how they look—or I didn’t anyway—on the contrary, thoughts are of surviving, making it through, getting out, living.
I am weary from the worn down excuse that an individual has the right to create. And please don’t ask me to turn the page—of course I can, and will, and have… but the taste of bile created from these images isn’t going to dissolve nor will the memory of what is now embedded in my brain. —AND I haven’t even touched on the message that all of this “Art” sends to children….tweens…teens.
Anyone, when seen as an object, is just that—their life is suspended in the nebulous zone where ones right to safety is erased. Why? Objects. Don’t. Feel.
But people do, creatures do.
Out of frustration, and the need to illustrate the madness, I created this video:
It’s 2011—this is today…enough is ENOUGH. Isn’t it time to stand up, use our voices, our votes and our dollars?