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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> Are "anorexic" comments uncalled for?
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03/26/2007 03:37:50 PM · #1
Personally, unless anorexia was the theme of the image, I wouldn't be comfortable pushing such labels on people I don't know and have never met. I think the word as an adjective gets thrown around way too much. Not every thin girl is anorexic.

In Laurent's photo, it seems to me that because her breasts are obscured it helps maintain the illusion that she is that thin straight up to the neck. Maybe people are reacting more to the illusion than to what is likely. What little I can see of Romy's body in this photo indicates to me that she's built much like Audrey Hepburn - long and slim.

In my opinion, the bashing comments are just uncalled for, on both sides. How sad that our society is so stuck on body image that the first thing people do is attack a model's thinness as if it's something of which to be ashamed. How sad that anyone could presume to know the condition of someone they've never met better than those who do know them just by looking at a single awkwardly posed torso-up photograph.

I don't blame Laurent for being protective of his model, though responding with personal attacks isn't the best way of going about it. But here's a thought: Why should either of them have to shoulder any kind of attack for being slender in a world that values slenderness? Why should they have to receive advice like "let it slide" in the first place? What does that say about society and why aren't we willing to adjust our behavior to fix it?

I'm not saying we should turn the other cheek to those who are clearly sick, but this girl is not. It's merely something projected onto her by people who don't have any means to know. If she is sick, it's up to the people around her to intervene - it is NOT up to you, or me, or any other random stranger. We simply cannot judge. Making such assumptions, based on nothing more than a single art photo, is hurtful - not just to Romy, but also damaging to society's perception of body image as a whole because it reinforces the idea that it's perfectly acceptable to criticize a woman's body when it simply is not, never has been, and never will be.
03/26/2007 03:41:42 PM · #2
I think all comments "attacking" the model are uncalled for. This is a photography site, not a modeling site. The model is not here to defend him/herself. I've reported a few comments aimed at the model to SC to have them removed.

ETA: I find such comments both shallow and mean-spirited.

Message edited by author 2007-03-26 15:43:55.
03/26/2007 03:46:36 PM · #3
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I think all comments "attacking" the model are uncalled for. This is a photography site, not a modeling site. The model is not here to defend him/herself. I've reported a few comments aimed at the model to SC to have them removed.

ETA: I find such comments both shallow and mean-spirited.


I agree. They have no point on this site, even if it WERE a modeling site. If you don't like it, vote accordingly but keep your nasty comments about the photo (and everything in it) to yourselves.
03/26/2007 03:50:34 PM · #4
I've not looked at that image past the voting stage, but I do remember it. That being said, I've not looked at any comments left on the image this post is about.

Personally, I find the image uncomfortable to look at. At first I was surprised that it scored as high as it did in the challenge, but then I started thinking about how popular thin models are in society, so maybe it wasn't unusual for it to reach the top in results.

On the other hand, I also started thinking about why in some places models now have to meet a certain weight threshold or they cannot work. I do not proclaim to know a lot about this, only the little I've read as it pops up in the news online recently.

In defense of the reaction to thinking 'Anorexic', that was the very first thing that came to mind when I viewed that image for voting - right or wrong.

That being said, having that reaction shouldn't preclude people from having some tack when making comments attached to the photo. Unfortunately, many things get said freely in this day and age, especially in anonymous (mostly - who knows the individuals on the other side of their username) online venues.
03/26/2007 03:53:50 PM · #5
Yup well said, people seem to forget that this is a photo site not a personal judgement site. Only exception is if the photo is in real bad taste and was mean to be that way. Come-on guys and gals, treat this like a photo site, a place to learn and teach, a place to critique the photographic skills and technques ... NEVER a place to attack anyone personally about anything.
03/26/2007 03:57:44 PM · #6
There are many ways that these feelings could have been expressed tactfully - without coming off insulting or attacking. I just wish that commenters had chosen one of those.
03/26/2007 04:00:49 PM · #7
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:


ETA: I find such comments both shallow and mean-spirited.


And the authors doubly so.
03/26/2007 04:19:42 PM · #8
Totally agree Rebecca :)
03/26/2007 04:28:08 PM · #9
about as uncalled for as toyan's response in the image discription of "fat ass couch potatoes" i'd say...

name calling in response to name calling... kinda silly, really...
03/26/2007 04:28:19 PM · #10
It seems to me, judgment comments such as those that are being discussed, are more of a reflection on the one commenting than they are of the subject.

That being said, comments are not always critiques - to me, comments are just reactionary opinions...nothing more, and they are rarely based on facts. Also, being that this is such a popular international site, there is a tremendous spectrum of humor, religious, political, and moral stances that may be attempted to be conveyed through comments. That should be taken into consideration when reading comments...take them for what they are worth. (It should also be taken into consideration when writing comments, too).

-People can be judgmental (like my opening sentence above) :-)
-Many people (unfortunately) don't think before they speak (or type).
-The intention behind the written word can be easily misunderstood.
-Be calm when reacting to comments and take the high road...the view is much better.

And...I found the image to be absolutely striking.
03/26/2007 04:35:55 PM · #11
Originally posted by kudzu:

about as uncalled for as toyan's response in the image discription of "fat ass couch potatoes" i'd say...

name calling in response to name calling... kinda silly, really...


of course but he was frustrated and not pointing to a specific photo or person.

That model let herself go for those images and has been greatly disrespected.
03/26/2007 04:37:54 PM · #12
I would like to say to start, that I think the photograph in question is a great piece of art and its quality can not really be argued. My post is from my own personal perspective, not SC.

I do have a few opinions about this debate.

Firstly, I take heart in the fact that not everyone finds all the dangerously skinny models in the public eye these days attractive - not saying that Romy is one of these, but still it's nice to know. There are people who are naturally skinny, and it can be hard to differentiate, especially in a still photograph from a single angle. That said, it is (unfortunately) photos like this one, with healthy models or not, which are creating a more and more prevalent opinion in teenage girls that they have to look like this, and for the girls who aren't naturally skinny, extreme dieting is the easiest (if not only) way for them to achieve it.

So far I haven't said anorexia, since there is a difference. Losing a lot of weight to look thin like Roma or Victoria Beckham or Kiera Knightly isn't the same thing as having anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is a mental illness which gives the girls a distorted body image, so no matter how thin they get, they always feel they need to get skinnier. They don't just not want to eat, they feel extreme fear when presented with food and extreme guilt if having been forced to eat it.

I guess the comments may just be ill-informed about this, and use anorexic as a generalised term for skinny, for which the media is partly to blame, but to me it does appear that some of them are in jest (particularly the cheeseburger one) and I wouldn't really take them personally. If Romy knows she is healthy then she really has nothing to worry about.

However, if Romy really HAD been anorexic, then I would be very worried about the comments. And the fact that as far as the commenters' knew, she could have been, is very irresponsible on their part in my opinion. Many people suffering from anorexia have such a low self esteem as it is that comments like these could jut make them feel even worse about themselves as they are often very fragile. The fact some are even said in a joking way would make them worse as they may feel people were laughing at them. Even if they know people think they are too skinny and don't like their appearence, they don't then think "I'd better put on some weight to sort it out"; they think "How can I look better? I should get thinner so they will like me more and I can look better".

So really, my point is that unless you know for certain, you really shouldn't make comments like these, if not for the respect of the model then for their safety. Don't throw around words when you don't know the consequences.

Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.

Message edited by author 2007-03-26 16:41:43.
03/26/2007 04:42:12 PM · #13
I agree that comments attacking the model are uncalled for, and not constructive in any way.

Many, many elements of the image, however, seem to converge to create the impression of a sort of surreal thinness (for lack of a better word). The lighting, the pose, even the title. I think that is part of the allure of the image, which I find both striking and stunning. I also assumed that it was part of the photographer's intent.

I am not surprised many people were struck by this aspect of the image/model's appearance in this particular image. Again, I don't think that name calling is in any way appropriate. I just wasn't surprised that people reacted to it. Reactions are part of the artistic process.

Liza

Message edited by author 2007-03-26 16:43:44.
03/26/2007 04:42:16 PM · #14
Let's call it what it is....a terrific photograph.
03/26/2007 04:45:38 PM · #15
Well Ben. Bravo for bringing some perspective to this. That was really great!

I would like to say I think if she had long hair and some sexy outfit on (or perhaps showing T&A as per request in the comments) all posed in a Vogue manner no one would give a darn that she was thin. But the fact that the image is unique and the model has a very interesting, out of the box look, and it made some peole "uncomfortable" made degrading comments fly.

I did not get the thought that she was TOO thin. She is thin. I am thin and always have been. I know a few girls that are much thinner than her and are certainly NOT anorexic.

And as Ben said, anorerxia is a mental problem. It's a problem with control. They must control what they eat. And let me add, not all anorexic (or bulimic) people are THIN! You can have the problem and bounce around binging and purging and starving and getting back on track and have tremendous internal problems and still look like everyone else.

Message edited by author 2007-03-26 16:47:27.
03/26/2007 04:45:54 PM · #16
Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?
03/26/2007 04:49:50 PM · #17
Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


OF COURSE! It's way less acceptable to point out someone as being fat than skinny. There have been many photos of overweight people on here and I don't think anyone would comment on them like they have this model.
03/26/2007 04:51:20 PM · #18
Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


I think it would if it had the same attention (winning the blue ribbon with the photographer engaging in an argument) yes. Lots of issues have been brought up before from photographs. I don't see why the 2 should be compared though. The model wasn't overweight and those comments were not made.

I've found in general people tend to hold back more with their insults towards people with obesity, as it is an known taboo in society that things like that just shouldn't be said. Anorexia has been brought the public eye much more recently though, and people still don't know enough about it or what boundaries should or shouldn't be crossed.

Message edited by author 2007-03-26 16:52:29.
03/26/2007 04:52:49 PM · #19
Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


Probably. People with good sense and taste will usually take the same stand.
03/26/2007 04:54:02 PM · #20
It's a compelling and stunning photo, and I think Toyan's strong reaction to the comments is understandable. I'm also surprised (once again) by the lack of maturity of some of the virulent commenters. It's kinda sad. And I think study of the image and the outtake of Romy would show that she is certainly not anorexic. Her face is positively plump. (In a good way!)
03/26/2007 04:54:02 PM · #21
Originally posted by escapetooz:

There have been many photos of overweight people on here and I don't think anyone would comment on them


It has been done before.
03/26/2007 04:54:26 PM · #22
Originally posted by quiet_observation:

If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


good point, i think it would not.
03/26/2007 04:54:31 PM · #23
Originally posted by Konador:

Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


I think it would if it had the same attention (winning the blue ribbon with the photographer engaging in an argument) yes. Lots of issues have been brought up before from photographs. I don't see why the 2 should be compared though. The model wasn't overweight and those comments were not made.

I've found in general people tend to hold back more with their insults towards people with obesity, as it is an known taboo in society that things like that just shouldn't be said. Anorexia has been brought the public eye much more recently though, and people still don't know enough about it or what boundaries should or shouldn't be crossed.


You can bet your butt that if someone said this model is morbidly obese... get her a salad (like the comment about getting this one a burger) there would no doubt be HUGE controversy.
03/26/2007 04:56:05 PM · #24
Originally posted by Qart:

Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


Probably. People with good sense and taste will usually take the same stand.


I agree.
03/26/2007 04:57:10 PM · #25
Originally posted by quiet_observation:

Originally posted by Konador:



Anorexia nervosa is a killer and shouldn't be joked about.


As is obesity. If the model had been overweight and comments made about that, would this discussion be happening at all?


I agree.

..and so are steroids.

Is the same discussion happening with other images I have seen on this site?

(I'm jus' sayin').

I'm just here to enjoy the purty pictures and learn me a thang er two.

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