Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blond Ambitions

So, you remember that David Duke tweet I wrote about a month or so ago, which overlaid a white supremacist headline over a photo of a perfectly blond woman? Well, it turns out Duke and his cohort steal those images from stock photo sites and other websites.

The women in the photos (and the photographers) are just finding out, and they're pissed.

These are blatant uses of women's bodies and faces to sell white supremacy. They often juxtapose an image that has nothing to do with the words, as in this case:

What do those words have to do with this image (which looks like it came from a mail-order catalog)? The juxtaposition supplies the missing words, which say that this frail woman needs "standing up for" against "oppressors" who don't look like her in an important way (and that must be the opposite of White, since that word is used twice and is capitalized).

When actually, what women most likely need assistance with is standing up to men of their own social group.

Other image/word pairings don't leave anything for the reader to fill in:

The tautology of this tweet would be laughable if it didn't have such a long history in mainstream American thought, as illustrated thoroughly in Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People.

The writer who tracked down the women in these photos thinks they bear no responsibility for these uses:

You can’t tell these women, many of whom blog or model as a living, to stop doing that because their faces might be used by white supremacists against their will.
And, obviously, that's true, but I wonder if they've ever given any thought to why there's such a market for their looks in a first place. That demand isn't far removed from the world view of the white supremacists.

It's just that those users are willing to pay for the photos, rather than stealing them.

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