Tuesday, July 13, 2010

nope. can't do that.

Someone submitted this (very cool) photo from adipositivity to poorlydressed.com, one of the user-submitted sites under the failblog umbrella. Before I get to the obvious comment that needs to be made here, a note about photo reappropriation.

I have blogged about this before, but on principle I really dislike when people grab images with an agenda in mind. I don't think photos are delicate creatures that can't live out of a curated habitat, but I don't like when a photograph that is meant to speak for itself, raise questions, is slapped with a caption telling us what to think, which is in effect what happens when a beautifully shot photo like this ends up on a site like that. Not to mention flagrant copyright abuse--when every pixel roaming the internet is free for kidnapping--pisses me off. (FYI poorlydressed.com...you're doing that. Bad karma, bad business.)

So now: Is she poorly dressed, since humans seek protection from the elements with our clothing? Debatable, given that it's a rainstorm in NYC; although, really, a bathing suit is rather sensible from that point of view. The real point here is that only difference between this image and a thousand other daring images of underclad women in New York is that the body shown is fat. And the "poorly dressed" is because she's not hiding it.

There is something fascist about sites like this. They tell you what you're supposed to think, confirm what's right or wrong. Keep the other the other. Which is exactly what this image doesn't do.


  1. Those sites creep me out. Well, the folks who frequent those sites freak me out. They just seem so epically sad to me, desperately searching for something or someone to denegrade so that they can feel bolstered. I can't imagine anything more pathetic and freakish. I mean, really? THAT'S how you're spending your time? That is how you learn to define self and derive a sense of competence? Seriously? Ug.

  2. The few times I've seen that site, I've almost universally LOVED what the people were wearing. "poorly dressed" seems to mean one of two things there: having a body type they don't like insufficiently covered up, or extravagant outfits that are too "gay."

    I did comment on this photo (as mmmj, which is my "fuck you" identity) because I was so pissed off, not only about the copyright infringement, but about the fact that everyone there was acting as if she choose to dress that way just "because." She's an artist's model doing a photo shoot. That doesn't, in any way, qualify as a poor fashion choice.

    And, of course, the comments about her body were ugly beyond belief. I didn't say anything about that, though I wondered if I ought to. It felt kind of hopeless, talking to those crapsacks.

    But I deeply, deeply hate that site for all of the sneaky, un-authorized pictures of people doing their own thing, which were clearly taken because someone (lots of someones)thinks it's so fucking funny to mock total strangers for not looking exactly like they "should."