Dear Troll… Kindest regards, 2013 x x x

Model Jen Brook have been sharing her art with the photography community for a while now. However, after seeing recent trollish remarks about females in the industry she felt the need to hit back. Here is her open letter response..

Dear Troll,

How dare you. Yes you, I see you even though you hide behind your keyboard like the faceless coward that you are. I hear every word you say and yes, they bother me…even when they are not meant for me, because just like you, I am a real person behind this avatar.

You come up from nowhere like a nasty rash, spouting bestial crap about how women are only ever successful based on their shapely figures, luscious locks or pretty little faces…attracting attention purely because of the way they look and not once because of the hard efforts they have endured.

Well more fool you my friend, more fool you.

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I am well aware that this is a mans world, but as James B suggests…it would be nothing without a woman or a girl. In an industry so razor sharp on talent and creativity, why is it refreshing to see a female photographer celebrated for her talents and not patronised or even objectified for having a vagina? Why is it not the norm? Why is it that the person is not judged but saluted, based on the merits of their achievements and obvious skill, rather than their gender?

Hey troll, what is it that you see that threatens you so?

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If I have to defend my gender one more time to a small minded community of crass, demeaning, idiotic bunch of misogynistic twerps, I think my modern day head might just explode. When you’ve dragged your butts back into the twenty first century and have conjured valid points as to why a genuinely talented and hardworking lady in any industry does not have the right to stand in the league of a fellow talented gentleman – then perhaps then….just then, might I take note of your trolling.

Time after time do I see this sort of behaviour and time after time do I bite my tongue. Well not today, because today I bite my thumb at you. I hope you remember when you go to bed at night who it was that gave birth to you, who it was that taught you to read, who taught you to write, who it was that has fed you every night since and who it was that raised your children. Because if we’re going to talk ancient stereotypes, then remember these thoughts…because you can’t have your cake and eat it as well. Are we equal or are we not?

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I’m so glad that I know much stronger men in my life who share the roles of adulthood with equal respect for their partners, their friends, their family and colleagues. The food chain is based on wealth, hierarchy, class and ability – this we will cruelly never change. But never ever should it be age, race, nationality, sexuality or gender. We as a nation, are much better than that now….aren’t we?

It’s worth reminding you also, that in any other institute you would be sued for such remarks. Just imagine what the press would have to say if in the House of Lords a male MP told a female MP she was only there because she was ‘a hot piece of ass’. They would be ripped to shreds and likely fired on the spot, cast out for their stupidity. So I do wonder darling, when you grunt your animalistic noises of non-truths, what it is that makes you believe it is acceptable here online…

Women have run this country, women have diagnosed your illnesses, women have fought on the front line for your freedom, women have taught some of the masters of all arts, sciences and crafts…and guess what, women are so much stronger than you think.

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I look forward to your attempt at a predictable retaliation, no doubt disregarding me as a bra burning, lesbian feminist – which in itself is degrading to the gay community so don’t even go there – but you won’t hear another peep from me on this topic. I hope I’ve made my point and my further silence is my act of power, my act of choice and my decision to let you fester on your own prehistoric thoughts for tonight.

Also when you do, please note that this is not an attack on men; as many good men say much wiser things than I can articulate on the subject and are quite frankly ashamed of your representative actions. This is a defence against misogynists and your out dated sexist behaviour regardless of their gender.

Shame on you to think that a woman can only be successful for her looks. Have some respect for the people who are your equal. I might be a woman, but I am a person first. Shame on you.

Kindest regards,

The rest of us here in 2013

x x x

[screenshots from fstoppers: 1, 2, petapixel and Jen’s facebook page]

About the author

Jen Brook is a creative fine art, conceptual and fashion model based in Preston, England. You can follow her Facebook here and her Twitter here. She writes in the same style over at Tumblr, so make sure you give it a visit. This article originally appeared here.

P.S. Jen have also wrote some inpiring letters to photographers and her fellow models.

  • Joebbowers

    They didn’t say woman can only be successful based on their looks, as I’m sure you know and you’re twisting their words for dramatic effect. They said it’s far easier for an attractive woman to be successful, and they’re absolutely right.

    • Jen Brook

      Hi Joe, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for sharing your thoughts, as I have mine. The ‘troll comments’ shown above as examples weren’t so much directed at me as they were another woman. I just so happened to stumble across them, they angered me and they made for easy screen grabs from very recent articles to support my theory – although I’m sure you can agree that there are many more like these and this reposted blog is not directly aimed at them but representative of a much wider problem.

      For the sake of discussion, I do wonder if you presume it is easier for attractive men to be successful over less attractive men….and if so, is it easier for an attractive woman to gain success over an attractive man – or is it fair game at that point?

      Please forgive me as I am genuinely intrigued if you level success with respect; two very similar but very different words. Is it easy for an attractive person to gain respect, or does that only come with talent? Or would an attractive person be less likely to be taken seriously? Perhaps shown in the disrespectful comments listed as examples in the blog that plagued an article meant only to celebrate a young female photographers success. The two words are so similar that I am interested at which line you draw it.

      I’ll try to keep my eye on this thread to see what your respectful response will be, as these are honest questions for debate. If you’d prefer to speak in private I’d be happy to do so should you have the time to reply, as I understand public forums are not always the place.

      Hope to hear from you soon,

      Jen

      • Paul Maka-Kea

        Joe you got owned by Jen…let see what you have to say i doubted you got anything constructive to say mate

        • Joebbowers

          Owned? I’m not sure you know what ‘owned’ means. She didn’t disagree with me, she merely asked me questions to clarify my opinions. And of course I have something constructive to say, rather presumptuous of you to assume I wouldn’t.

      • Alex

        I think the point stands that attractive people are more successful than less attractive people. It’s a thing, regardless of gender.

      • Joebbowers

        > I do wonder if you presume it is easier for attractive men to be successful over less attractive men.

        I don’t presume. It’s a fact.

        > …and if so, is it easier
        for an attractive woman to gain success over an attractive man

        Up to a point, yes. An attractive woman can get an entry level job easier than an attractive man, and would be far more successful in male dominated fields.

        Danica Patrick for example is a world-famous racecar driver. Her name is almost as well known as Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon, yet she is ranked 173rd in the world and has never been higher than that. She gets to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. I bet none of the 172 more talented racers ranked ahead of her have ever been offered that opportunity. Could it be because she’s beautiful?

        Attractive women can marry a rich man and never work a day in their lives. Few men have that same opportunity.

        However, there is a limit. Most positions of real power are taken by men. Being attractive isn’t enough to get you the presidency or a CEO position.

        > Is it easy for an attractive person to gain respect, or does that only come with talent?

        I think it’s much easier for an attractive person to get respect.

        > Or would an attractive person be less likely to be taken seriously?

        For positions where intellect is valued over appearances, being attractive may actually be a disadvantage.

        > The two words are so similar that I

        am interested at which line you draw it.

        I don’t view success and respect as similar. Paris Hilton is very successful but not very respected. Public school teachers are respected but not very successful, assuming you mean financial success.

    • Zord

      Then why are the majority of influential artists dominated by men?

  • http://pixelpaperskin.com/ Hoang Cao Nghia

    Even male clients treat me better when I’m a big muscular guy compare to when I was skinny, let alone how female clients treat me compare to other artist when I show up in fitting clothes, nice shoes/bag and a touch of light smell cologne.

    Being beautiful is not something bad, don’t be too sensitive.

    And if you label them as troll, the best thing you can do is not feed them. Showing a letter like this mean their words work, so you gonna take more and more craps.

  • kiwithing

    “They said it’s far easier for an attractive woman to be successful, and they’re absolutely right.”

    Nah, I think if you’re just attractive in general, people will be more favourable towards you. Don’t get too mad about it. If it really matters to you, why not try making yourself look or even feel more attractive? People pick up on that, and you’d be surprised with the positive results.

  • Gavin

    If they are a troll.. then you don’t engage them. Full stop. I don’t necessarily disagree with her point, but her reactionary/podium-speak is the exact kind of thing that trolls feed on. Don’t feed the troll!

    As far as this discussion goes, personally, I’m offensive on the other end of the spectrum: my image of a successful photographer is more akin to Paul Giamatti in a photographer’s vest.

  • Paganator

    If you’re a photographer who takes pictures of a wide variety of subjects and people, and you get a lot of success and popularity from all of them, I think it’s fair to say you got your success from your photography skills and work. However, if the only pictures that get any attention are sexy self-portraits, your success may in fact come more from your look than your skills. Nothing wrong with that, it just means you’re more successful as a model than a photographer.

    There are a lot of talented and successful women photographers around the world (Sue Bryce, Christa Meola, Annie Leibovitz, etc.). That doesn’t change the facts that there are also a lot of women who get a lot of attention because they are pretty and sexy. You can’t just ignore one side of that coin because it displeases you (and that goes for people who think “women are only ever successful because of their look” and those who think “all successful women got their success from hard work and nothing else”)

  • Rick

    Welcome to the real world. It is not always kind and success is not always related to ability. Whether or not you will rise above the fray however is a decision that is entirely left up to you.

  • Greg Easton

    I’m confused by something. Is the author of this article arguing that being an attractive woman has nothing to do with anything? Because I know several pretty girls who flash their boobies on Tumblr and then whine that “my camera broke” or “my laptop broke” and have faceless men from all over the planet throw money or gear at these girls. And they have exponentially more ‘fans’ or followers or what have you.

    Being pretty won’t make you successful. It won’t make you a better photographer. But if you’re decent at what you do AND you’re a pretty woman, you have a much easier path than say a 40 year old man. To deny this as a fact invalidates the rest of the argument.

    • Zord

      Women have an easy path to becoming objects of admiration due to attractiveness. But to say they have a simpler path compared to men is outright wrong.

      In the arts, as well as other fields, the top echelons of influence are all dominated by men. Being an attractive woman may get you in front of the lens, but it won’t put you in the ranks of notable photographers.

  • Renato Murakami

    Truth is, good looks will always be a helping point for any gender in any job (that requires costumer relationship) in a society that puts too much value on that. It doesn’t even have to be natural looks… knowing how to present yourself, dressing the right clothes for the job or whatever. And here’s the thing: no one that benefits from this should feel bad about it.
    But I think the main issue that bothers Jen and bothers me too, is that aside from trolling, there actually is a group of people that truly judges and thinks people can be sucessful with that alone.
    So, some people are quick to dismiss hard work, a good eye for timing, seizing opportunities, sacrifices, having real talent and several other more important points to say how he/she got it because he/she looks good, is young or whatever.
    And the worst part is that those who usually makes these sort of judgements have no idea about what they are talking. It’s pretty confortable to do it too… it’s a self excuse for not doing hard work and going after their own dreams. “I don’t look good and am not young, I have no chances to compete, so I won’t even try”.
    See that most of the criticism backfires. It’s less an accusation to people who they don’t even know, and more about trying to feel better about themselves. Which is kinda pitiful. Keep that in mind.
    All in all, achieving success in several forms of art that includes subjective and objective talent will always be about a wide bunch of factors, and it’s quite naive to think that stuff like “technique”, “knowledge” or even “results” are what’s most important. It varies from job to job.

    But let’s say that ignoring all evidence of that not being true, that the photographer really has only good looks and being young as factors to be sucessful in his/her career. So what? Are these people saying to abandon the career just because? Are they saying he/she should make himself/herself ugly because of it? What are these people expecting?
    The plain and simple reply should be: “If you have a problem with my work, try to do better or go complain with my boss/clients, they are the ones who hired me. Everything else is just whinning. The difference between you and me is that while I’m working hard at my job, you are wasting your time here running your mouth (fingers) off on the internet”.

    • Jen Brook

      Oh Renato, I love everything about this post!

      • Zord

        Renato is an awesome guy. Unlike the myopic goofballs who seem determined to stomp on anything new and innovative… of which there are many on the net.

  • Zord

    LOL of course Mansgame is one of the first examples. That guy is an insane douche of epic proportions. He’s determined to berate the photography of EVERYONE he comes across, women especially. Nothing is suitable for his tastes. Yet for all his gusto, he has not once show a single item of his work.

    Maybe he is a terrible photographer, maybe not. He still deserves to be called out as a terrible person.

    This is the same guy who berated a person who captured video of a hurricane or tornado through a crack in a storm cellar because it was vertical instead of horizontal video.

    Screw the whole “don’t feed the trolls” approach. Shame them and call them out. If everyone did that, they’d decrease in number quickly. The important thing is to not lose your cool about it.

  • schnellman

    I personally have followed Jen’s work and have been very impressed with where she has taken her career. Very few models have ever had the courage to do what she has done. As a not very attractive 40-year old man, I have not had too much trouble finding work, nor finding others to work with. I am fun to be around, so I think that helps. Besides talent, that is more key to me for collaborators – whether we can have fun while working – than anything else. My suspicion is that people who knock successful people for being beautiful are people looking for an excuse for their own lack of success. Easier to blame it on God for creating me with these looks than to realize that we can be good people, hone our skills, and have our own successes. Someone else’s success does not mean I lost an opportunity, so I celebrate someone else’s success and hope that one day they will celebrate mine as well.

  • ext237

    Unfortunately, trolls are often the most vocal. So there’s one very strong take-away here: if you think someone is having a positive impact or is inspiring to you — TELL THEM. Mask the noise of hate with your positive and/or constructive, respectful comments.

    There’s always going to be the kid in class that blames his unhappiness on everyone else’s unfair advantage. He’s not going away, he just uses internet comments rather than crying to the teacher.

  • Jorge

    Your point was well made. I have a comment based on your first picture of comments made by Mansgame. As a person who I guess is labeled a gamer, or even a youtuber. I sadly see the point he makes. I don’t entirely agree but I see the famous youtube girls who have the camera facing down towards their chest and get millions of views and subscribers and make money off of that. Nothing wrong with a girl who takes advantage of her looks to get ahead, I say its pretty damn smart if all you want is some quick cash. I don’t want to judge those girls. But I make a video trying to educate people about certain things and get only a couple hundred views. This girl who is obviously attractive, made a response to my video and got 1000x the views in no time.

    I don’t disagree with your point. I just feel that there still is a sad dark corner of truth to what they say. The issue is Men who support these women who thrive on good looks. But the sad part again is that there are more of those who are superficial than those who aren’t

    So in the end I feel you and the commenters both speak the truth. I’ve seen the “trolls” side and I have seen yours in my experience.