Open Thread for Non-Personal Stuff: Feb 2016 You Can Do It Edition

Up and over!
Up and over!

Hey there. Another open thread for non-personal stuff. No Trolls, MRAs, etc.

111 replies on “Open Thread for Non-Personal Stuff: Feb 2016 You Can Do It Edition”

@EJ and Alan, I hope it’s ok to butt in to your conversation; I find it fascinating, and have wrestled with the tensions of being fiercely pro-animal rights but also anti-racist. This has its own particular flavour here in Aust.; e.g. there’s been an ongoing campaign against live export for some years now which I fully support. The organisations involved are great, but there’s a cross-section of supporters who have hijacked the issue to bash Muslims with (surprise, surprise). The same thing goes on with discussions of halal (but not kosher).
With campaigns to end bear-baiting, rabies, etc. in other countries, there’s a tendency to view it as saving the poor animals from those stupid cruel third world people (again, the official organisations steer clear of this).
EJ, I would also like to read the piece you referred to.
Again, please forgive me jumping in, but thanks both of you for your comments 🙂

@IP – who is this kitteh, please? What a beautiful little face! So gentle. And ohmygod more white paws. And such a pink little nose …….

I’m sitting out the back of my place – there’s an enclosed courtyard type space – watching my 3 being very very silly. It’s quite breezy this morning, and you know how cats get when they feel wind in their fur? Very entertaining 🙂


This is Fingie – the very same Fingie as in my avatar. Here he is with his sister or wife, Demi:

Here’s what he looked like as a toddler:

The other set of white paws coming in from the left belong to Fingie’s biological sister, Lisa.

Fingie was born during our honeymoon in 2011, so he’ll be 5 this year.

Back to the modeling discussion, all the points in the vein of “The photographer is the one who does all the work” and “the models are interchangeable” is begging the question. It’s all just another way of saying “We value the (usually male) photographer or artist’s contribution, but not the (usually female) model’s.” But it doesn’t answer the question of why.

I don’t think anyone has provided a compelling reason why a singer performing under the precise direction of a conductor or a dancer performing under the precise direction of a choreographer are considered to be artists, but the model isn’t. We take it for granted that the former two bring their own nuance to the performance and that you couldn’t substitute just anybody and get the same experience, but with models, we take the opposite for granted.

Another way to look at it is: Why don’t you have rights to the image of your own face or body? I find it troubling that an artist could make a huge amount of money and fame literally off a woman’s naked body without the woman receiving any credit or seeing any of the money except the model’s fee. Why is that considered acceptable when, for instance, the Henrietta Lacks case is considered obviously unacceptable? (Consensuality is only part of it; if Lacks had been given a small flat fee for her cells, that wouldn’t seem all that much more ethical, would it?)

And frankly I would have thought everyone would think that treating women’s bodies as interchangeable objects was self-evidently offensive.

@ Katz

I have to shoot out now so I can’t address your points as fully as they deserve but can I just say kudos for using ‘begs the question correctly’! It’s my one grammar nazi thing. 🙂

I think it really is that modelling instructions tend to be more precise and specific; the reason I made the analogy is that demonstrably when the exact pitch and tone and timing of a singer is known to be purely directed by the composer we do not consider them co-creators. Though granted I’m not a professional singer, dancer, or model and may be incorrectly extrapolating from my amateur experiences in school for how all three work at the professional level.

As for the money, well, that’s something of an issue of negotiating power. There’s lots of people who can do modelling work and the artist can find someone else if the model ask for too much money (and the artist’s boss can often find someone else if the artist asks for too much money unless the artist is union). What I consider unethical isn’t necessarily the model only getting a modelling fee, it’s when the model agrees to work for the modelling fee under the false impression that the work won’t make much money. Any large-scale creative project involves lots of people who work for a fixed salary.

It’s also indicative of some broader trends that ironically tend to have the people who benefit use their position to denounce. We like our stories of creative endeavors simple and primarily focus on one or a few people; for books it’s the author, for music it’s the singer or the conductor, for movies it’s the director, for art it’s the painter, for photography it’s the photographer, for video games it kind of depends on the genre. For video/audio mediums we tend to also include the actors. The general cultural assumption is that everyone else involved is interchangeable:
When we see a creative shot in a film we credit the director, not the camera operator, because it’s the director who decided to have it shot that way.
When we see a fun mechanic in a game we credit the designer, not the programmers, because it’s the designer who decided to include it.
When we read a good book we credit the author, not the editor, until the author stops listening to the editor and proves we should have credited them all along.

Ultimately, the cultural assumption is that art comes from a single person’s* unique inspiration and everyone else is an interchangeable cog. We’re more inclined to split credit for movies, but in kind of a weird way; directors and actors both get attention and yet if the scriptwriter isn’t the director their name is an obscure piece of trivia. It’s more obvious with models because they’re treated as interchangeable despite the fact that they’re the only people we actually see. But they’re not really any less interchangeable than the other people we treat as interchangeable.

*usually male, yes, but I think that’s correlation rather than causation; it doesn’t seem any weaker when it’s a woman getting primary credit over men. Anyone know who JK Rowling’s editor is? I definitely don’t. I think her editor is a man; I’ve seen the name maybe twice but don’t remember what it is.

@Imaginary Petal – Fingie is beautiful, as is Demi. How brilliant that Fingie was born during your honeymoon – a lovely joint memory/anniversary 🙂

@EJ – thanks much for the link. Off to read now.

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