Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who, Me?

Once in awhile things get wacky on twitter.  I was recently called a "rich bitch ex-fashion model who has no right to call (myself) a progressive."  Aside from the fact that I have never been rich, the statement shows the bias so many have against women who were able to support themselves by their looks.  I suppose if I were telling everyone I'd made my living as a high priced hooker, they might not feel quite the same way.  But still, it is probably true that women with the certain set of appearance qualifications to make a modest living modeling are not exactly beloved by the rest of the population.  Certain assumptions are made about us.  I'd like to dispel a few of them now:

1. All models are anorexic
No, most models are born with the genetic goods and eat like pigs. We come from families where almost every member of the clan is tall and thin throughout all their lives.  It's in the bones, not the diet.

2. All models are narcissists
Quite the contrary.  All the models I knew were deeply insecure and none of them felt "beautiful."  It's one thing to be told you're beautiful all your life; it's quite another to see yourself as beautiful.  We were a bunch of women who knew we were tall enough, thin enough, but beautiful?  Maybe passably pretty, but certainly not beautiful.  And no amount of reassurance and constant bookings can make a woman see herself as a beauty.

3. All models are rich bitchs
Some models marry rich men, but most do not.  And the few who do, don't generally marry nice guys, since nice guys aren't usually brave enough to ask a model out.  Few models make enough over their life as a model to save for retirement.  Most models have self-esteem problems just like most women in this culture.  Modeling is an expensive and usually short-lived career: they have to keep up with trends in fashion and look the part; they have to buy a new shoe wardrobe each season; they have to purchase the exact undergarments the people who hire them want them to wear to fittings and in shows; all models are contract labor, which means they pay for all the things an employer would pay for any employee.  Models need a tax accountant; they pay their agents 15% of their bookings; they have to keep a portfolio updated; they have to get a new headshot or model's card made ever year or as often as they change anything in their appearances, such as haircut or color.  As to the bitch part of that statement? I suspect that models are no more or less likely to be bitches than women in the general population.

Any questions?


Samantha Thomas said...

Excellent post, as usual, Dear Pegasus.

It's surprising how readily people jump to conclusions, projecting their opinions and other nonsense onto the world, as though their projections were "true" and they had "figured something out." Tonight on twitter, I was accused of being a "Jew-hater" by a member of the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF). I must admit, I find it a little creepy that they have formed such an organization, and to name it in that way — especially the "force" part.

As a former (moderately priced) call girl, I don't suppose hookers get more respect or Liberal/Progressive "street cred," than a model would. People don't expect women, in general, to be intellectual, let alone women who have sex for cash, no matter what leads them into the lifestyle, or women who are photographed for a living, no matter how famous or obscure. Stereotypes exist for a reason, just as averages and trends have an existence. Trying to find an average or typical anything, among the diverse and continually changing panoply of Humanity, would be daunting. Perhaps impossible.

I know You to be a unique and amazing Human Being, Peggy, defying categories, pigeonholes, and expectations. My love and admiration for You are boundless.

Utah Savage said...

Samantha, that's a wonderful comment. And yes, you're so right about the stereotyping of women who make their living off their looks whether is on their backs or on their feet. And pretty women are mistrusted and dismissed so easily by other women and most men. I think it seems unfair to many women that one could have both looks and brains, so if the looks are obvious, the brains must be lacking, or so the assumption goes. I am constantly awed by the breadth and depth of your knowledge. I'm a lightweight in comparison. But you have bigger breasts. Oh life's so damned unfair.

MRMacrum said...

I chuckle over the insistence of people to pigeon hole each other. I have been called a pinko liberal loser by some and a Neo con jerk by others. Seems hanging labels on folks they disagree with is easier than actually presenting a logical argument.

You know what you are. That is all that matters. Screw everyone else.

Kulkuri said...

Aren't we all guilty of jumping to conclusions about people we disagree with if we don't really know them personally?? Once you know someone you may still call them a fascist or pinko-commie but at least you have more info to go on.

Remember, on the internet, nobody knows you are a dog or some other species.

Utah Savage said...

MRMacrum you are my favorite. You know why. No one has ever been a more patient and careful editor and since I write fast but edit very slowly I would not feel the first novel was finished if not for your help. You know I've written a lot of autobiographical stuff and called it fiction. Now I'm just using the women I've know and the setting I live in to create true fiction of an uncensored and greatly embellished "reality." Please don't disappear on me. I'm going to start writing all the grownup naughty bits in lurid detail. Keep in mind, even the me I was isn't the real me. Illusion is everything in the fashion world.

Kulkuri, you are such a grounding force. Might have something to do with that chair you're always lounging in. Glad you're dropping by for the strange ride I seem to be trying to take you on. How's that for ending sentences with prepositions?

Randal Graves said...

I'm sure I, like everyone here, has been pigeonholed, but I've never been called a stool pigeon. Take that, The Man.

Utah Savage said...

Hi Randal. Good to see you, you old stool pigeon.

Tengrain said...

And, for the record, the same truths apply to the male models.



La Belette Rouge said...

" I was recently called a "rich bitch ex-fashion model who has no right to call (myself) a progressive."????? Really??? Even if you had been rich and/or a bitch( which you are MOST CERTAINLY NOT) that would still not mean you couldn't be a progressive. Does it?
Only poor, kind and unattractive people can be progressive? Is that what this idiot was saying? That is a narrow pool that they are pulling from.

Good for you, Utah, for dispelling the model myths.

La Belette Rouge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Utah Savage said...

Tengrain, I was hoping you'd see this and add your creds to this post. Yes it is the same for the men. Only this is the only industry where the women earn more.

LBR, I though the same thing about that. I'm sure there are plenty of rich bitches who are progressives. I can be a bitch and sometimes am a bitch, but not all the time. And even if I were rich, I'd still be a progressive, only I'd be able to donate more to the politicians and charity causes I support.

darkblack said...

'Any questions?'

Yes - Did you shake your little tush on the catwalk...?


susan said...

To be "pigeon holed" is to be categorized as having a particular function, without regard to a person's other talents or skills. It's a sure way of missing the important, the contradictory, the things that make a person unique. Someone who speaks with such ignorance deserves only to be ignored.

Pink Liberty said...

My cousin is/was a popular model in the U.K. and here often and she's worked hard her whole life, never had anything handed to her. She now owns a cupcake shop in London.