I only know that I love strength in my friends
And hate the way their bodies crack when they die
And are eaten by images.
--Jack Spicer, A Poem Without A Single Bird In It
I am a visual artist who hates images.
Correction: I am a visual artist who hates untrue images.
An untrue image is a picture of a fairy. People believe in fairies. People create their reality. If enough people believe fairies, the fairies become real.
Mainstream fashion is notoriously discriminatory towards most body types. Gemma Ward, a young model, was criticized for looking "bloated" in 2010, when she walked for Chanel in a denim bikini:
The New York Fashion website commented on the issue:
"Coco Rocha has said that when she weighed 108 pounds, at 5'10", clients told her to lose weight. So how much can Ward have weighed at that show? 120 pounds? And that is, according to the industry, "big, almost bloated." A photo agent who worked with Ward said that for every model with staying power, there are twenty who don't make it past age 18 — that time when girls become women, and grow breasts and hips, and gain the weight that is a natural part of growing up."
We've accepted a realistic representation in fashion as a lost cause, but have failed to consider the impact that these images--not only fashion photography, but advertisements, films, etc.--have on a society.
On young people.
On my friends.
And, selfish fuck that I am, on me.
I am tired of how I look prefacing what I do. I'm tired of a society that values a single, untrue image.
So do I think that untrue images--images that diminish a person's humanity--should be censored?
Yes. Why? Because control of media is control of everything. Period. And an image that advertises an agenda rather than the truth is propaganda.
Buy mascara! Lose 10 pounds! Bleach your teeth! THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU YOU FUCKING MONSTER, WHY DON'T YOU CARE THAT YOU CAN'T COOK VEGAN CUPCAKES?
If I'm going to be criticized, I want the criticisms to address my character or my commitment to my craft. Not what I'm eating or not eating for breakfast.
I'm afraid that if anyone reads this post, they'll read it as a "FUCK YOU FOR SAYING I'M PRETTY" rant, when I mean it as a "FUCK YOU FOR SAYING I'M ONLY PRETTY" rant. There's a branch of feminism that maintains that as long as the woman has power, she is a feminist. If she wants to degrade herself, that's her choice, and isn't that just beautiful?
Fuck that. I don't know any human who, outside of fun&kinky sex, wants to degrade themselves. It's a slave mentality, the Uncle Tom of feminism: A woman who, happily, chooses to be seen as two dimensional.
Naturally, the same goes for men who want to be seen as more than muscly, car driving wage earners. This, too, is a single, untrue image often portrayed in fashion, film, and--worst of all--advertising.
Why can't we advertise self-reliance? Confidence? Generosity?
I hate that i wake up an hour early to do my make-up. I hate that all my methods for "self-improvement" revolve around weight loss instead of character. I know blaming the system is futile, that change starts within yourself, but this is the first time i've become truly aware of how toxic tour image culture is.
And here I am, working within it! I have only ever made images. It is all I know how to do, so I will do what I can: