Monday, September 5, 2011

Promoting Silence

Should Freedom of Speech allow something like this to be published? Yes, but does that make it morally acceptable? Absolutely not.
There has been quite an influx of fashion articles promoting slavery and abuse, but this one particularly outrages me, partially because of the writer's opinion and because of the responses I read about this article.
I found this picture in an article from Yahoo's Shine. I completely agree with the author who feels this promotes domestic violence but differ in how it promotes abuse.
In the comments section, one user responded to the article as follows:
"Back to whether or not it promotes and/or glamorize domestic violence. I'm personally don't see it. offensive how? I think see people are that stupid to look at the pictures and go "wow i wanna be her, all beat up". who's going to go around sporting a black eye. maybe so dumb celeb always trying to set trends or blind to style like Lilo?" And this is where I think both the author and commentator got it wrong. (Wrong even beyond the outrageous number of grammatical errors and very likelihood that this person is no Einstein.)
No, most people are not that stupid to say, "I want to be like her, bruised and beat up." But what it does say is that it is acceptable, it is ok, to be beat up like that. It likely won't encourage younger girls, boys, and teenagers to want to be injured by family, friends, or boy/girlfriends. It tells them it's ok if you are. It promotes the idea that many people are hurt or injured in this way. And by doing so, it promotes silence. Silence from the young women and men subject to this type of behavior. Because if this is something that is "ok" or "common" in occurrence, why would someone speak up against it?
One of the biggest hurdles in domestic violence and abuse is the victim's silence. Their unwillingness, embarrassment, inability, and/or fear to speak up against what is done to them. And who blames them? In a society where victims cannot always be promised protection and face the disgusting potential to be called a liar for 'falsely' accusing their predators, why would a victim-especially younger adults and children-ever feel comfortable telling someone?
Most anti-abuse campaigns harp, and rightly so, about coming forward, speaking up-not ignoring, not silencing- the abuse they see/feel/hear. It is only through their ability to acknowledge and call out the abuse that it can be righted.
This picture doesn't invoke people to want to be abused, it rather hints that one should not say anything about abuse if they are subject to it or know of someone who is...because, "hey, it's ok. A lot of people are abused. It's no big deal. You can make it look cool."

This picture and photo-shoot promote the two biggest adversaries to abuse, silence and acceptance. And the fact that not enough people are acknowledging this is the problem with these photos, well, that is truly heart-breaking.