Sexy Controversy - A Chat With Amy
By your own efforts,
waken yourself, watch yourself,
and live joyfully.
- The Dhammapada
Amy is a long time friend and has no connections to the controversy that exploded on my blog earlier today. I think that the discussions have raised some important social issues, and that if we are going to solve these problems, we need to raise a candid dialog, in the same way that I've been open and candid about my photography, and my business. This is what Amy had to say. I enjoyed it.me: my blog is under comment siege
Sent at 1:43 PM on Saturday
Amy: well deserved :)
you do know that several people are throwing rocks at me, right?
is that the part that's well deserved?
me: the original email is a woman bitching me out for posting sexy photos
me: some of the comment posters want me dead
Amy: ah, i didn't read that far
me: and a mother thinks I caused her kid's drug problem..
I hope you're not saying that stuff is well deserved... [wink]
Amy: well, obviously that is ridiculous
i just meant that i understand the original woman's point
not so much any of the violent crazies :)
can you make an elegant case for that position as a blog comment?
Amy: probably not any moreso than anyone else has
me: do you honestly believe that those photos are doing any sort of harm to anybody?
Amy: not your photos in particular, but those type of photos in general
me: so far I haven't seen any eloquent points made by any of the people posting negative comments
Amy: but i wouldn't say for you to take them down, because i believe in free speech
but would i direct my daughter or my sisters to look at them? no, absolutely not
me: shouldn't those girls be allowed to dress how they like in an appropriate venue? it's not like they're wandering public streets dressed like that.
me: people go to those shows to see them dance on stage -- they're part of the act
Amy: people should be free to do whatever they like, look at whatever they like, photograph whatever they like
me: and frankly -- it's my job to take pictures of them.. honestly I wasn't interested in that part at first -- I completely ignored the crowds and the girls and focussed my photo snapping almost exclusively on the djs
but when I started getting hired to cover the events in a more general way, I learned that I really enjoyed the people interaction
Amy: but personally, i feel that pictures like that feed into society's obsession with unachievable body types
and i that's not something that i would want anyone that i love exposed to
but that's not your responsibility, it's mine as a parent, friend, sister, whatever
but it would definitely be a lot easier if images like that were not plastered all over tv, movies, the internet, city buses, etc :)
me: people can watch disney movies instead of look at my website
me: it's not my fault if they get sucked in and start gawking at girls they wish they could look like, and frankly, it's not the girls' fault, either.
Amy: if they don't like what they see, they don't have to look at it
me: it seems to me that people who are offended by those images almost universally half deep-rooted self esteem and body image issues
Amy: of course they do
me: and they need to take responsibility for that and work to change their thought patterns
Amy: because society tells them every single day that because they don't look like the girls that you photograph, they are worthless
me: rather than lash out at innocent people
Amy: it is a societal problem, not an individual one
me: you think I'm saying, "look, she's hotter than you, you're worthless"?
Amy: not you as a person
me: I'm saying it isn't society.
Amy: then you need to open your eyes
me: it's the person with the self esteem problem.
Amy: how do you think a person gets a self esteem problem?
you think they just wake up one day like that? or they're born with it?
people have low self esteem from being systematically told by their peers, the media, their family, their friends, strangers on the street that they do not meet up to what is expected of a person in their community
if it's because they're fat, or they have bad skin, or a big nose, or whatever
me: Amy, when I was younger, I was one of those people.
me: I had a real hard time with negative thought patterns.
I made a conscious effort to change
and I did change
and then it didn't seem so much like I was being bombarded by negativity anymore
Amy: yes, the effort is something you have to do yourself
because you have to overcome the negativity that is being pushed at you all the time
me: it's not that the world around me changed, it's that my attitude about it did a 180.
me: you realize that those girls are constantly hounded by the same sort of negativity, right?
Amy: but that doesn't mean that because you were able to overcome a society shitting on you, that it is not a social problem
me: only it's "OMG somebody give that girl a sandwich!"
Amy: i am sure they are
Amy: and that is a societal issue also
and a feminist issue as well
why do women who choose to portray themselves in a sexual way automatically get labeled a slut or a whore?
Sent at 3:18 PM on Saturday
Amy: it is all a system of oppression, the only variable is which end of the oppression you are on
Sent at 3:19 PM on Saturday
Amy: did i make you mad? :)
Sent at 3:20 PM on Saturday
me: so people are unhappy with themselves, and they try to oppress the people around them to make themselves feel better?
so is it okay that people want to censor my blog?
me: because that oppression is justified somehow by those insecurities, social anxieties, and internal pressures?
Amy: i never said that you should censor your blog
but that people would WANT you to, i can understand
me: you understand where she's coming from.
me: so do I, I think.
What I don't understand is the need to lash out at innocent people.
Amy: but i understand where you are coming from, also
well, that is the last resort of an angry person
someone who feels powerless
like a cranky dog in a corner or somethin
me: I don't understand why people think that my photographs and comments justify insightful suggestions like, "die please"
and perhaps it's better that I don't.
Amy: that's the internet, these are the same people who carry around big posters of aborted fetuses at every political rally in the country :)
Sent at 3:26 PM on Saturday
me: Can I post this whole chat on my blog?
Sent at 3:29 PM on Saturday
i don't need any hate mail :)
me: You'll be known only as "Amy"
Sent at 3:32 PM on Saturday
me: Thanks, Amy. No, I'm not mad at you. I think your perception is spot on, and I think it reveals a lot about why my photos have raised such a stink today. You're wonderful, as always. =)
Amy: be glad your photos raise a stink, that means they make an impact :)