Stripperazzi

Friday, December 03, 2010

Question

I'm really disappointed with Torontoist.com’s unprofessionalism in publishing photos taken by Brian Cameron of the Zanzibar roof.

I hope legal action will be taken against Torontoist (though I fear the publicity would simply work in their favour), and I would be glad to contribute to a legal defence fund. Please let me know if you hear of any plans for one.

Answer

The Zanzibar photos – snapped non-consensually while strippers were taking a load off between stage shows and lap dances – bring to mind a similar incident that occurred in Hamilton earlier this year when photographer Gary Santucci released a series of images of unsuspecting (and presumed) sex workers.

“Santucci’s exhibit,” writes Sarah Mann in Briarpatch Magazine, “was a slide show presented on several TV screens which displayed photos of several different women – some whose faces could be identified – standing alone on the corner near his Landsdale gallery and performance space, the Pearl Company.

“One photo showed a partially nude woman seeking privacy to urinate behind a building. The photos were taken from surveillance cameras mounted on the walls and roof of the gallery and from Santucci’s personal camera, shot from the third-story window of the gallery.” (Read more at briarpatchmagazine.com/creative-​class-​struggle/)

Hamilton is in the middle of quite the gentrification process and a lot of people who work and live on the streets are getting Starfucked hard.

Sex workers being photographed without their consent isn’t unusual, Model. Even when permission is granted, a certain prurient view often pervades representations. In the case of Torontoist’s turdy decision to publish those voyeuristic images, I ask: what would they have done had Cameron taken shots of unsuspecting civilian women chilling in their gaunch? I suspect the files would have been met with a concerned “We should call the cops.” Or, if the Torontoist understands how the police often re-victimize women in situations like this, it could at least let the women know they were being photographed.

Voyeurism released for public consumption is often only deemed unacceptable when the subjects are deemed worthy of protection. I think Cameron would’ve thought twice about taking similar pictures of residential women.

I know of no legal defence fund but it’s important to let the women involved take the wheel. The impulse to get righteous comes from a good place but sometimes we have to remember on whose behalf we’re doing it. Maybe the women just want the whole thing to go away. Let’s not get caught up rescuing them to showcase our ability to be skillful allies