A while back, I was having coffee with an old friend of mine, Tara, who was a top model for well over a decade. We were speaking about models and fashion, and how it was such a meat grinder for women, when she made an interesting statement. The whole time she was modelling her predominant feeling was, to quote her, ‘I don’t matter’. I don’t matter.
Tara felt that she was just a disposable object, judged only by her looks and not by who she was as a person.
That’s a horrendous sentiment and something I had to explore. And that exploration became this image, which expanded into something broader than just modeling.
In the image, the girl is both pushing him away and pulling him close. He’s both dropping her and holding her up. There’s a lot of tension there. Is she trapped?
There is a constant stream from the news of blatant and violent misogyny, of rape, of domestic violence. The #metoo movement has only exacerbated this. This shouldn’t be happening, but it is. Men who feel they’ve lost their place in the world lashing out at the women they perceive as their rivals. I am a man and profoundly an equalist. I’ve never cared whether someone was male or female, just who they were. I cannot and will not sympathise with those men.
I don’t matter.
If you know that you don’t matter, do you need to be treated with respect?
The obvious answer is yes. And please don’t misconstrue any part of this as victim shaming. What I was trying to explore was the mindset, originally through the lens of a model’s experiences.
In the end, both Tara and I wanted to create an image that would only lead to more questions, which is a good thing.
And for anyone reading this, please remember: you always matter.