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October 19, 2018

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Bravo Haglund, I agree with every word.

That piece is nauseating and nothing in my medicine cabin is a strong enough remedy. Who knew that to be a dancer at NYCB was to live in a "horror story"? I'd hate to hear them describe my life.

And how sad to see ballet continue to succumb to identity politics. Where can we go, now, to escape all the filth?

Surely there are many well-intentioned folks who have contributed to the MeToo movement. But there are many others still who want from it power, and indeed, revenge. When they mention equality it's not as a real end unto itself but instead as just one of many arrows in their quivers.

This is why they must trample over due process, and ignore other critical concerns including proportionality and redemption.

Your penultimate paragraph reminds me of another point that no one seems to be discussing. What if instead of a movement that aimed low and focused on the alleged improprieties of certain men, we had one that aimed much higher indeed?

Surely there is a lot of sexual behavior that hurts other people's feelings. Surely there is a lot of sexual behavior that is immoral, e.g., using sex to win a promotion over an otherwise more qualified candidate. Many of the villains here are of course women, and so we can be sure that feminism won't ever be up to the task.

Lots of good points there, Shawn. No one seems to want to call out the women who play the sex-for-opportunity games and win, let alone shame and shun them. Why not?

NYT has continued to blow this Chase Finlay matter out of proportion. They use the same type of language and emphasis as when writing about serious sex crimes such as rape. I'm sorry, but as melodramatically as Ms. W is portraying her distress and "injuries" on Instagram (including now suffering from PTSS because her nude pictures and sex videos were shared), she was not sexually abused by Finlay. She is a model who has taken her top off for at least one photographer and invited him to photograph her nearly bare ass and then publish the photos on Instagram. She's a former SAB student who still runs with a dance crowd of whom 99.9% likely knew of Finlay's earlier sexting-in-bed incidents with his NYCB girlfriend – because most everyone knew. I can certainly understand Ms. W's embarrassment and humiliation at what appears may have been illegal photographing/videoing and sharing, but she's working her angle too hard. She should have gone to the police, made a report, and let the chips fall where they may. The way she's proceeding now is simply to get money and media coverage. Unless a police report is filed and Finlay has to face the possibility of jail, there will likely be future victims.

And I would have to totally agree that some of the pictures that the ABT and NYCB dancers have engaged the ever-popular "Nisian" to take and which he or they have published on Instagram do make them look like stereotypical "sluts", i.e. the promiscuous woman who is looking for casual sex. They are clearly aiming to be sexually provocative for a large, unidentified audience. So, I don't fault those guys for privately referring to the women as being what they are trying to look like in their photographs. As Polonius once said, "For the apparel oft proclaims the man." Ditto for the ladies who look like they are trying to sell their meat.

I think it is erroneous to say that a woman who gets photographed naked (in an artistic, not pornographic way) looks like a slut. There is nothing wrong with nudity, be it a Greek sculpture or a contemporary woman. We are not talking about the likes of Stormy Daniels who have sex on camera for money, to create masturbation material for men.
The woman (or man) has the right to agree or not agree to be photographed naked. Just because they pose for a nude photo with a photographer, it doesn't mean that any surreptitiously taken photos are fair game.
Furthermore, just because a woman might be interested in "casual sex", like many men do, it doesn't make it ok to treat her like a sexual object. She has the right to choose her casual sexual partners, or the people she wants to see her naked in person or on photos. Victim blaming is not ok.

Oh, puleeeze. Look at the photos that these dancers and their photographer have been publishing. I think you hit the nail on the head regarding creating masturbation material for men. Of course that's what they're doing.

No one said that there was anything wrong with nudity per se. But if women want to sell themselves as provocative sexual objects, which is precisely what they do in these photos, how can they object when men assume that they're objects?

These women are indeed sexually objectifying themselves. That is precisely what they're doing. How could anyone interpret it any differently?

I will use this analogy again:

If someone who is the richest man in New York wants to walk down Broadway screaming about how rich he is and waves $1000 bills, and wears a Rolex with money coming out of his sleeves -- he is completely and totally within his right to do that.

And when the thief knocks him down and takes his money and his Rolex, the thief should be arrested. BUT NOBODY is going to feel a damn bit of pity for the man, because he was a stupid fool to do what he did. [end of analogy]

If a woman is interested in casual sex, of course she is asking to be treated as a sexual object. Of course she is. While she might have the right to choose her casual sex partners, whether she has a right to control distribution of photos of herself is quite another and very complicated matter. Were there permissions or not - a jury has to decide, not the NYT.

Sorry to have to remind everyone, but victim blaming is legitimately inserted into the judicial system and referred to as contributory negligence.

To your point, Ashley Hod and Melanie Hamrick post a lot of those naked Nisian photos on Instagram and they are in really bad taste. There is something to be said for being a lady, having some dignity, and leaving some mystery about yourself.

Several months ago, I unsubscribed from Lauren Lovette's Instagram. I just couldn't take the non-stop parade of half-naked Nisian photos she kept posting. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who finds this trend distasteful.

Kudos to all the dancers who've maintained a sense of class by not posting naked Nisian photos; amongst them: Sarah Lane, Gillian Murphy, Devon Teuscher and Skylar Brandt. (apologies to those who I've left out)

I'll have to admit that this particular behavior by dancers has dampened my interest in seeing them perform on stage. If a dancer behaves in such a way so as to make himself/herself unappealing, the effects of the behavior immediately transfer into the public's perception of his/her work. People use discretion when deciding how to spend their discretionary income.

I'm puzzled by these photos. I've talked to young women about what they think of self nude pictures and it doesn't seem to dawn on them that providing masturbation material is disempowering and exploitative. There is a very weird cognitive dissonance going on. On one hand they want to be adored and admired for their bodies but then they hate to be objectified, except when they decide they want to be objectified. Yet, they want to be admired for talent and accomplishment despite the fact that they dress and act provocatively. Basically, they want it all. "Let me be a lustful object in the way that I want, when I want. And when I don't want it, stop and treat me as an intellectually stimulating person with all due respect and credibility.
In other words, I decide your response to me, not you.
Completely delusional.

Delusional, yes. Also indicative of immaturity.

We all have the right to make choices as to whether or not to pose nude and how to spend our money. We don't, however, have the right to share sexually explicit photos of anyone without their consent, regardless of what we may think of them and their behavior.

True in many cases, Solor, but consent is sometimes difficult to pin down. One would expect that the popular photographer "Nisian" has his models/subjects/victims sign forms that likely include typical language that he actually owns and controls the photography product. If he distributes photos for free or for a fee without the models'/subjects'/victims' specific permissions, and the recipients, in turn, pass them around to their friends -- is there a crime? If during the course of a photo shoot, a photographer feeds the model/subject/victim a convincing story about how strong, independent and beautiful she is without her clothes on, and she then agrees to a full frontal nude photo which he then passes around, is there a crime? I'm not expecting answers; I'm just saying it's rarely as cut & dried as plaintiffs make it.

That's true. Nisian and others may well ask their subjects to sign away their rights to the material, which many do (and many later regret). But this issue boils down to whether we believe Finlay did the same with Waterbury and whether or not she agreed.

I'm not sure if it's correct to say that there isn't a right to share sexually explicit photos without the subject's consent. If I send Solor a picture of myself, what right do I have to keep him from passing it on? It may be relevant, as matter of taste, both his and mine, whether I'm clothed. But how does that affect any so-called right?

I think we can agree, instead, that a law prohibiting the taking (rather than simply sharing) of sexually explicit photos without consent is just. Indeed, there seems to be such a law on the books in the relevant jurisdiction here. So again, as Haglund has pointed out repeatedly, why file a civil suit but not a police report? The answer is obvious and reflects quite poorly on the plaintiff.

Also, assuming there is civil liability here, the plaintiff's instagram account is especially relevant to damages. One can imagine a plaintiff who would indeed be horrified to have images of their naked body shown to a stranger. But this plaintiff is the opposite, and in fact may have self-posted many semi-nude and perhaps even nude images on the web.

mt is right on about cognitive dissonance. The feminist line here is that the patriarchy is defining not only women's beauty standards but their behavior. It is infantilizing and suggests that women have no agency whatsoever. The truth, however, as is completely obvious, is that beauty brings power. Like any other form of power it should be exercised wisely.

I think Nisian’s photos are actually really ugly. There is something about them that is so off-putting. Even if I was the most beautiful woman in the world, I wouldn’t want photos like that. They remind me of Terry Richardson - another notorious and predatory photographer.

Some fine dancers, like Iana Salenko and her husband Marian Walter, are parents, but some of Mom's photos by Nisian are erotic instead of artistic.

I hope dancers, who have children, will tone things down. It's normal for kids approaching their teen years to be sensitive about immodest family photos even in this culture. And their children's friends may hurt their feelings.
It's important for parents to set standards of good taste with regard to professional artistic images and works they are willing to be publicly seen in. And if their children also enter the arts, they must guide them so they will not be exploited. Brook Shield's mother certainly didn't seem to care about protecting her girl's innocence as she pursued an acting and modeling career for her daughter.

ITA. The exploitation on I-gram of children by dancers in order to further their own celebrity is disgusting and dangerous. I'm not talking about the occasional photo at the beach. I'm talking about literally using the child to advance oneself and one's political viewpoints.

Thankfully, "Nisian" seems to have stopped peppering his soft porn collection of dancer photos with little prepubescent girls, including his own daughter, who were acting seductively for the camera (and Daddy).

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