Dance between raindrops

When does art become dangerous? At what point do we say that the consequences of self-expression outweigh the expression itself?

Controversy is not generally something that concerns me. I support using art as a forum for political discourse. When I choose a scene or a monologue, I generally look for what’s most likely to make someone cringe. Many of my poems and paintings are fairly graphic. I like to shake people out of the norm. Which is why I feel like such a hypocrite when I say that I’m uncomfortable with something like “Thirty-Two Kilos”, a new art exhibit at the Goethe-Institut Washington.

There’s nothing wrong with the exhibit, per se. All of the photographs are digitally altered. I do have concerns about the pro ana/mia audience, though. It doesn’t matter that the girls in the pictures don’t actually look that way, that the photographs don’t represent reality. They stand as a new example of what these girls want to be. And it’s so easy to fall into that trap. A few years back, I wrote a paper on the ana/mia online community. Even though I had my diet well under control by that time, I found myself getting sucked back in, just from reading the blog posts. I have never had the frame of someone like Gabrielle Anwar. No matter how much I wish otherwise, it is physically impossible for me to be that skinny. But after a few days of my…I guess it would be considered research…I was back to kicking myself for having a piece of cheese. I still have my old thin-spo collage hanging on my door. I understand that “Thirty-Two Kilos” is supposed to be a negative representation on the fashion industry, but what it’s really doing is giving more fuel to a physically and mentally unhealthy movement, and possibly acting as a trigger for girls (and boys; ED males are rare, but they certainly exist) who are trying to heal.

So, what’s to be done? I don’t think censorship is the answer, but it has to be made clear that these images are not something we should strive to be.

….if it were my exhibit, I’d probably just smear “EAT A CHEESEBURGER” over the photos in bright red paint.

5 Responses to “Dance between raindrops”

  1. Angela Says:

    Yikes! Seriously, eat something… I find the problem with this art exhibit is that it doesn’t express its message clearly enough. It’s trying to condemn unhealthy eating habits, but due to the ambiguity of expression, the pro-ana crowd can take it as an example of what they want to be.

    I favor a more direct approach:

  2. Myra Says:

    Mildly ironic:

    I followed the link, read a bit about it, clicked other links, kept reading…

    All while polishing off a package of cookies.


  3. Renee Says:

    I agree. Art is important and we shouldn’t put restrictions on it for the most part, but there are a few cases where the line is crossed.

  4. Charles-Oliver Says:

    So. Totally. Grossed out.

  5. KrisBelucci Says:

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

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