Monday, March 23, 2009

Letters to the Foto_Decadent Admin

from The Face, march 1997

First: the text I am referring to that appeared as an apparent warning to foto_decadent users last July :
This is not a debate community. If you don't like fur (or nudity, or expensive clothes, or very thin models) maybe this isn't the community for you. It's a fashion community. These things exist in fashion. Fighting on a Livejournal community ad nauseum isn't going to change a thing. Argue about it somewhere else. If someone is making
personal attacks and being an ass toward you, let me know and I'll tell them to stop being an ass. They'll probably continue to be one but hey that's people for you.

Dear Anteriority/Foto_Decadent Admin,

I would like to inquire as to what you were thinking when you posted what appears to be a timely warning to the users of this fashion-related Livejournal community. While I commend you for not being the typical internetz douchebag moderator whose power over her unseen peasant minions has gone to her head, I disagree pretty strongly with what you have to say here. Hear me out.

Foto_decadent is a community built around a love of "avant-garde" editorial fashion, which suggests that the photos people post are supposed to be in some sense experimental and a little bit out-there, so to speak. Great. But if you're already, in a sense, encouraging people to show pictures that reflect a kind of beauty that challenges the status quo (at the very least, that departs from the idea of "commercial" fashion), does it really follow to then ask people to not question the content of those photos? I agree that editorial fashion showcases clothing that is extremely expensive, and that if you're going to try to enjoy editorials, you probably have to set aside your pragmatism and accept the extravagance as art, even if you don't think that people should necessarily buy a $50,000 dress. I think this is a part of fashion that people almost have to let go, because designer clothing is ridiculously-priced, but without that clothing, there would probably be no photo-shoot; so, okay, maybe don't complain about how expensive everything is, because people are universally aware this is what fashion is today, albeit ludicrous at times. I see fashion as a little bit of escapism from the real world. Fashion, to me, is different than style.

What I don't agree with is that you ask people not to question fur (it seems this is primarily your motive in posting this warning, since it appears outside the parentheses), nudity, or the extreme thinness of pictured models. As far as the fur thing goes, maybe I'm biased because I absolutely abhor the idea of wearing fur as a luxury. Yes, Inuits, go ahead and wear fur because you need to. No, everyone else, you do not need a mink stole or whatever the case may be. I'm going to post this link to a (WARNING!) very graphic video of animals being skinned alive for their fur. These images will never leave my mind, and I challenge you to tell me that hurting another creature like this is okay (NOTE: for the record, I try to keep this blog, my dorm wall that I cover with fashion photos, etc. free of pictures depicting fur, I have never worn fur, and I am not a member of PETA, which I believe has its own serious problems and is another can of worms entirely). On nudity, I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it, but I can understand where there can be a debate over its place in art nowadays in our human-body-sensitive culture. And thin models? I find it hard to believe that a lot of models are actually healthy human beings, because even if they are eating properly, being so slender does have health repercussions. It's also undeniable that people see images of very, very thin women and are brought to question their own bodies against these standards. These women are anomalies and should not be treated as a norm. I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing a skeletal model and saying "I think she's too thin" (in fact, I'm happy when I see people recognizing a line must be drawn, even if I think it should be drawn at a much larger size). Just because something "exist[s] in fashion" does not make it right, and the last time I checked, you don't have to like these things in order to enjoy fashion photography.

Okay, big paragraph. Basically, I think it's ridiculous that you want to take a community that shows images that are, in their nature, controversial to viewers and discourage any discussion of what those images mean. Honestly, it angers me that you want to silence intelligent back-and-forth debate over images. No, foto_decadent is not a debate community, but does being a Pretty Pretty Pictures Place mean that people are only allowed to say "this is awesome!" or "I don't like this!" or "gorgeous dress!" or something of the like? Why not allow people to say "I don't like that so-and-so is wearing fur" and let that turn into a civil debate? Sure, it's your job to quash flame wars and such, but there's a great difference between debate and "being an ass." I don't know, it just gets all up under my skin because it makes the whole site seem so much more shallow to me. Isn't the point of allowing comments on a site so that people can share their opinions? Oy.

Question the idea of beauty in terms of commercial fashion. Be avante-garde! Look at these pictures that are creative and pretty! But if you see something you don't agree with, shut the hell up.

Hmm. Something is amiss.


1 comment:

Mary said...

I love I love I love.
I don't get why people have comment sections if they don't want debates. It's reasonable to ask nothing mean spirited but seriously... do you only want people to agree with you to post? How boring!
Same with facebook.... if you don't want people to comment on your status, why post it?

ps: yep, 4'9 ahah. go us!


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