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?

Things Have Changed

I began blogging as a political writer.  In the beginning that's all I wrote about in this space.  Once I began getting awards for my blog, I had to write pieces that were more personal, since so often awards come with conditions, and those conditions are often of a very personal nature.  And yes, I do believe that the personal is political, but telling you about the minute details of my daily life led me to writing about the interior monologue of an aging solitary woman.  Some of you found that interesting.  Some of you stopped dropping by, probably disappointed that I was no longer sticking to the script.

I am in many respects a diarist.  I write about what's happening in my daily life.  And in truth, nothing much is happening.  I shop for groceries, do the laundry, clean the house, feed the dogs, but other than these mundane matters, I don't do much but think and read and watch the news and write about the politics of our time.  And for a long while that was enough.  I began to be part of a larger blogging community; I visited most of you daily and left a comment.  Then Twitter happened.  And what had been the maim focus of my blog (politics) was satisfied in a far more immediate form on twitter.  I began to gain a following there, and the conversation there is in the minute, moment by moment, following political events as they happen.  During the healthcare debate over this past year those of us on twitter spent days doing little else but watching events unfold on CSpan and talking about it.  It was in this time that I lost most of you.  There are very few of you who got the twitter bug quite in the same way it infected me.  For an isolated person twitter gives me the illusion that I'm part of a very large community.  I had no idea how starved I was for this sense of community, this passionate and immediate camaraderie.

Then I committed the sin of writing a couple of chapters of a new work that is an examination of eroticism.  I have a stat-counter like all of you.  And though traffic has remained relatively steady, comments ceased altogether.  There seemed to be a stunned silence.  I'm not entirely sure why.  As one of a group of female writers who seemed pretty fearless in talking about the most intimate aspects of our lives, I thought I was in the company of women who could say anything and get away with it.  But it seems I crossed some invisible line and delved into forbidden territory.  I have removed the offending stories from this blog and put them where they really belong ~ in the short story blog.

But things have changed for me.  I now spend most of my day tweeting my life away.  The reason I don't make the rounds of blogs with the consistency I once did, is that twitter satisfies my need for a community of like minded politicos.  Twitter is raucous and outrageous and immediately satisfying.  The character limitations was at first a challenge for this long winded broad, but now seems perfect.  At first I thought it was impossible to say anything meaningful in 140 characters, but now I see it as the art of getting to the point.

There will be times when what I find on twitter makes the blog a place to more fully express my passion about this or that issue.  This is not the end of my blog; this is just the beginning of a different phase of my writing life.

To those of you I offended enough to make the silent statement of dropping me, of no long following me, I apologize.  To those of you who kept reading, even if you felt unwilling to comment, I say gird your loins, it's going to be a new, and in my opinion intersting, journey into uncharted waters.  If you enjoyed the erotica despite yourself, you'll be able to find it in the short story blog.