Friday, July 15, 2005

Apartheid Chic

No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is in fact a photograph of a fashion shoot against the background of the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Or, as Conal 'What Ethnic Cleansing?' Urquhart prefers to term it, the 'security barrier'.

This little artifact hails from G2's latest self-disgrace gambit, an article calling our attention to the heartbreak of anorexia among Israeli fashion models. Honestly, you can't even make this shit up. Not a word in the caption to indicate awareness that it depicts couture being photographed leaning on the apparatus of ethnic cleansing; it's more concerned to inform us that the photograph below it presents two young Israeli models, one of whom is anorexic. Well, you know, space is limited and all.

Now before anyone goes and gets all flapped and squawky, let me say right off that I do not for a minute dismiss the seriousness of eating disorders and women's body image issues. Big, real problems. However. Let's have some fucking context, people. Do you honestly expect to show me pictures of models lounging on the fucking Wall, and then enlist my sympathy for their troubled self-image?

And leaving aside the poor wee waifs, what about the government? Taking time out from its busy demographic-fixing schedule,
[t]his Sunday, a committee of...the Knesset, will decide whether to proceed with a bill to compel model agencies to monitor the health and body mass index (the ratio of height to weight) of models. Models would have to undergo regular medical tests to ensure their body mass index (BMI) is 19 or above.
Yes indeed. 55,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites will not be able to reach their hospitals if they're dying, but rest assured fashion models will have regular body fat checkups. No need to bother checking if the Palestinians are underweight; we know they are.

Think for a moment about what an image like this says about Israeli popular culture. What else do you think ended up in that spread? Cheesecake models on the hood of an armored Caterpillar? A Prada boot on the neck of a kid from Ramallah?

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