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Suicide Girls aren’t painless…


The New York Press, on at least its third editor in the last few months, may just have put off its seemingly inevitable demise. This week’s issue contains a piece of proper news reportage by José Ralat Maldonado on the Suicide Girlssite, focusing on the recent resignation by many of the leading pin-ups in anger at what they call exploitation and discrimination.

The Press plays the moral card:

“It’s hard to take seriously girls who took off their clothes for money, and were then shocked—shocked!—that the man giving them money to get naked didn’t respect them.”

Which is all very easy with 20/20 hindsight. But the whole point about Suicide Girls is that it wasn’t meant to be about “the man.” It was meant to be about the woman. And for a while there – make it the last four years or so – Suicide Girls promoted a very post-feminist sexual liberation that genuinely seemed to empower and embolden any number of “outsider”, “alt-lifestyle” girls. (Full disclosure: I’ve been interviewed for Suicide Girls about my novel Hedonism, have appeared at a reading hosted by the site, and have a free membership as payment for the above.)

It’s an inevitable part of trends that the vanguard move on when the rest of the world catches up, and the disappearance from the site of truly hard-core Suicide Girls like Apnea and Katie could just be in frustration at becoming a fasihion. But at a site that espouses freedom of expression, it’s disappointing to hear that those who dare to criticize the organization on their SG public journals have been, according to one girl, “archived or zotted off the site.” More worryingly, according to the NYPress story, some SGs who dared criticize the owners in public found not only their SG journals deleted in entirety but were also banned from the popular “My Space” forums. Who knew there was a connection?

The NYPress knows that you don’t write a front-cover story about naked-women-as-art without featuring pictures of those naked-women-as-art. And so do I. Former Suicide Girl Apnea hosts her own site, Apneatic, is a regular model for fine art photgraphers Lithium Picnic and was probably smart enough to hold onto her copyright. I trust this will be considered fair use.

The Internet is a beautiful baby that, in the case of Suicide Girls, has made a fortune out of showing beautiful babes in various states of pierced and tattoo’d undress. But if you give people a space to express themselves in something other than pictures – i.e. if you also allow your punk pin-ups to keep an online journal – then you must expect the occasional negative comment. It comes with the territory. The Suicide Girls News Section, at which any member can post a link to a published story, and which has proven an amazing source of valuable information over the last few years, is notably devoid of references to the NY Press piece. And that’s a shame. I’d like to hear their side of the story.

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Discussion

4 Comment(s)

  1. Jose Ralat Maldonado

    15 October, 2005 at 1:35 pm

    Great piece. I tried to get the girls’ side of the story but was hindered on every attempt. Then, as you read, Missy practically begged to have girls interviewed. There’s another piece on SG in this week’s press. Here’s the link: http://nypress.com/18/41/pagetwo/conterfeit8.cfm.

  2. 17 October, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    Jose

    Nice to hear from you – always good to know people are reading comments on their own stories, incestuous though it may be. Noting your update in last week’s Press, and in the interests of accuracy, I think it’s fair for you to confirm: Had your subscription merely run its course? Or were you indeed ‘zotted’?

    Have you been able to track down any of the key girls who are “no longer active”? Katie? Apnea? What about any of the key girls who are still active? Someone like Al? There are certain Suicide Girls whom it seems would take no sh*t from anyone and I’d be most interested in their viewpoints on all of this.

    Best

    Tony

  3. marcombo

    17 October, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    a very good explanation is now on the SG site, read Olivia’s Journal.

  4. 19 October, 2005 at 11:15 pm

    Marcombo

    Thanks for pointing me to Olivia’s journal. One of the perils of running a journal of one’s own is the lack of time to browse, surf and read other peoples. If I can parse Olivia’s rant accurately, I see the site as going through enormous growing pains right now: it’s been almost revolutionary in its impact, it’s spawned imitators, it’s made some people some money and maybe even made some other people famous, and as always happens when the underground goes mainstream, there are those on the inside who cry ‘sell=out” just as there are those on the inside who feel entitled to take everything they have coming their way. Internal battles are not uncommon in such a situation. I may be among those who thought SG was more exciting before it got to this more commerical stage but to be honest, I Think that about everyone and everything in pop culture.

    Cheers

    Tony

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