Help Hyphen fund an upcoming feature story on the challenges of incarcerating Hawaiians in Arizona prisons, which will appear in the November 2012 issue.
Critics at this year's New York Fashion Week seemed enamoured of Ralph Lauren’s less than pioneering embrace of one of fashion’s oldest tropes: Shanghai Chic. Critics eagerly dedicated valuable column inches to the collection, which featured all the mainstays of Asian-inspired fashion: jade jewelry, golden dragons, cheongsams. While some candidly wondered whether the designer’s invocation of China was a statement about the nation’s growing economic competitiveness, others were simply happy to break out as many tired euphemisms for “Eastern” as possible. (Not only did the “Orient Express” make several stops but East, inevitably, met West.)
At this year's Kollaboration LA show, founder and executive director Paul "PK" Kim said his goodbyes to an audience of 5,000+ people, having realized his dream of taking Kollaboration to 10 cities in 10 years. Fittingly, the 3-hour show was chock-full of memorable moments: Assembly Ted Lieu stopped in to deliver a census PSA, journalist Lisa Ling demonstrated how easy it is to join the bone marrow donation registry, and a girl wearing 3-inch, sling-back heels beat out 5 break-dancing, be-sneakered boys in the freestyle dance competition (no contest).
As if we small-breasted ladies didn't have it hard enough. We persevered through adolescences marred by a devastating lack of top-growth, endured comings-of-age minimized by the diminutive jabs of our bustier peers, and, as adults, find ourselves woefully relegated to Victoria's Secret's
young teen "Pink" section, from where we covetously eye the perfectly impractical lacy/strappy/barely-there/disgustingly-provocative underthings so accessibly-sized for plumper patrons. Since childhood, men, magazines, and our mothers have ridiculed our relative lack of endowment, so maybe it was only a matter of time before whole governments made our bitty busts their business.
The first to do so: Australia, whose government censors are banning adult publications and films that feature women with small breasts, in an effort to -- get this -- curb pedophilia. Now, I'm no porn apologist, but I rather dislike having my body categorically likened to a child's, even more than I vehemently dislike censorship. [As I always say: It ain't much, but it sure ain't nothin'!] And it seems obvious to me that an industry founded on fake tits, fake orgasms, and the general fictionalizing of women's sexuality is only made worse by censors that further restrict it from realistically depicting women's bodies -- however flat-chested those bodies may be.
In the aftermath of the earthquake that decimated Port-au-Prince weeks ago, journalists have worked 'round the clock to keep the flickering screens and hungry eyes of their eager public perpetually engaged. And we, in turn, have consumed, without pause, photo essay upon photo essay of devastated Haitians climbing bloody out from under piles of debris, desperate Haitians knocking over little boys, and homeless Haitians sleeping without shelter, among many other startling images captured by news photographers with Pulitzer-sized dreams (after all, Haiti's last disaster earned this guy one!).
And we are so moved by these terrible, suspended fragments of another's life that it may not occur to us that the bloody woman we saw rising from beneath blocks of concrete probably saw a photographer's lens before she saw the faces of her rescuers. Nor do we wonder whether she'll get a dime if her photo wins him any awards.
But that's nothing new. Photojournalism has always been an ethically shady enterprise. Whether Steve McCurry's portrait of the reluctantly compliant "Afghan Girl" or Kevin Carter's voyeuristic photo of a starving Sudanese baby, the trade has long borne a paradoxical reputation; while widely regarded as a public service, it nevertheless entails a level of detachment that is antithetical to most conventional conceptions of "service." It's a topic I've written about before, and one that I continually revisit, particularly as I get to know more photographers and especially as I strive to critique the ethical implications of my own journalistic projects.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!