On ‘Australia’s most self-obsessed models’

Why ridicule professionals for sharing images of themselves when that is what fans and professionals want of them, and when nearly everyone online does the same thing without any obvious…

By Tara Moss

Apr 12, 2013

Here is a piece called ‘Australia’s most self-obsessed models reveal all’, published at the Herald Sun. (Linked)

I am sharing this because a) the images were released by the models originally, so don’t compromise privacy. And b) I think the headline, faux-analysis and obsessive collection of numerous unrelated images are needlessly demeaning.

A recent study by Westfield investigated the ‘selfie’ phenomenon (Selfie = taking a picture of yourself using your phone). They looked at 1000 women aged 18 to 35 – incidentally the precise same age range as the models pilloried for taking selfies in the piece above – and the study found that the majority of women polled, 62 per cent, had taken at least one selfie. Interestingly, there is no time period indicated in the ‘most-obsessed’ article. Are the models branded with the ‘most self-obsessed’ tag taking a selfie every hour? Every month? Every year? More often than other women or men in their age group? More often than other models? It is unclear. What is clear though, is that in doing what the majority of women in their age group do, they have been deemed deserving of ridicule.

But why? Why ridicule professionals for sharing images of themselves when that is what fans and professionals clearly want of them, and when the majority of people online now do the same thing without any obvious professional reason?

I welcome your thoughts.


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  1. Tiki Amazon

    Completely a joke. And P.S the part in the article where they critique Megan Gale for posing with ‘the most expensive champagne she can find’ – that stuff is 5 bones at Dan Murphys. I drink it. And I am pretty sure there is a selfie of me on instagram with it. The Herald Sun (and society at large sometimes) makes me want to cry.

  2. Pascal Grosvenor

    I agree with your points Tara. selfies are all the craze these days. Models are an obvious choice since their work is all about their physical appearance.

    I have no issue with Jennifer or Megan’s selfies. I feel Jessica makesthe photo unnecessarily sexualised or suggestive by pulling down the side of her panties/ bikini. But i also note its not a selfie. so maybe the photographer asked her to do that ?

  3. Dallas

    They’re not allowed to get in on the ‘selfie’ craze because they’re famous or because they’re models? Frankly – if you’ve got it, flaunt it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It would seem that people who get paid for their appearance aren’t allowed to do anything to suggest they actually believe they’re attractive, unless they want to be seen as conceited.

    My 17 year old brother makes a habit out of taking photos of himself and posting them online. But I’d hardly call him self-obsessed. Mostly because he has a really down to earth attitude and his comments on his looks, which are good, are almost always said in a joking manner. Yet, why can’t he be allowed to admit that he thinks he looks good without him coming acros as a jerk?

    It’s a society-based double standard. Teach everyone they need to take pride in themselves and appreciate their own beauty inside and out – Berate them when they learn to live that way.

    I mean, I don’t like taking photos of myself (to the point that a certain favourite author of mine, who also happens to be a former-model – not going to name names, Tara – had to ask to take a photo with me) and I’ll admit, there are some people I see online who take selfies and I will see them as self-obsessed. But usually because they are people I know and I’m aware that it is their personality. So while there’s a slight chance I’m being hypocritical here… This was a really bad headline, playing into stereotypes, and mostly it saddens me that they had nothing better to report. (And that someone got paid for it)

  4. freepussyriot

    Tara, I love it when you share private photos behind your professional image. It welcomes fans, admirers and colleagues to peak into your private life. The same thought extends for workers in the beauty industry. Often we see the polished image as the end result, it’s refreshing to view an alternative and see a human side. Forgetting of course you’re all humans and not just a mode to generate sales. As a note, I’d like to see more of the beautiful people submitting ugly selfies. This would rile and confuse the MSM who so often promote a negative picture behind beautiful people. We only have to look to the personal misery felt by Marilyn Monroe. Far too often it is overlooked these figures of beauty feel the same emotions we do. To deny them of their own worth can attribute to illness. Selfies are a girl’s best friend.

  5. Amy Gray

    Bizarre how they are castigated for taking part in a global trend. Also, were it any other profession doing what comes naturally – say, “professional writers and their self obsessed blogs” or “chefs and their self indulgent meals at home” or even “stockbrokers and their frivoulius personal portfolios” – there wouldn’t be this attention. What a waste of words.

  6. Clementine Ford

    Ugh. This is about ownership and resentment. Models aren’t allowed to have personalities and motivations outside of being nicely packaged as a gift to the consumer. It’s the same reasoning that allows for the subtle sexualisation of Disney girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Demi Lovato etc) and then punishes them when they construct sexual identities for themselves (Hudgens’ topless PRIVATE photos). Shame on the Herald Sun, although I can’t say I’m surprised. Mocking women is casual sport for them.

  7. Lady Jewels Diva

    I couldn’t help myself, I just left this message on the page – “Simon, you clearly have an issue with models. Did one turn you down for a date once did they? There are millions of normal average females who aren’t models posting selfies every day yet you have not mentioned them, just models. This is obviously a way to vent your hatred of models, or women even, using words such as narcissist and self-obsessed to get viewers to your story.”

    When I submitted my post I got this message in a pop up window – “Please note that we are not able to publish all the comments that we receive, and that we may edit some comments to ensure their suitability for publishing. Feedback will be rejected if it does not add to a debate, or is a purely personal attack, or is offensive, repetitious, illegal or meaningless, or contains clear errors of fact. Although we try to run feedback just as it is received, we reserve the right to edit or delete any and all material.”

    Interesting, he can post a story about narcissistic self obsessed models and yet our replies may not be posted if they are offensive or a personal attack.

    So what does the paper call Simon’s post? Hatred towards women clearly isn’t a factor for the paper.

  8. Lee-Anne

    I agree with you. It smacks of blatant hypocrisy and double standards, to take shots of well known models as well as others in poses and out of context, then write a shallow piece, accusing them and a lot of other women of narcissism. It’s like organising some gladiators in a ring, then reprimanding them for violence! The tone of the article is condescending towards women in general, and I am sure a lot of men take photos of themselves and post them on Instagram as well!

  9. Tyson Adams

    The title really should read: News Ltd excuse to post pictures of models whilst pretending to not be interested in pictures of models.

    Sales must be down.

  10. jody dyer

    i have to agree with the article sorry. if more men did it im sure they would be derided because it is narcissistic and cringeworthy to see. at very best these ladies are overexposing themselves, thus shortening their careers. i think the tone of the article summed it up perfectly

  11. Nick W

    Firstly, it is in the Herald Sun, a publication not known for its intellectual discourse on pretty much anything.

    Secondly, it is rather hypocritical of the Herald Sun considering the usual tripe they print about celebrity gossip.

    Anti-Murdoch Press rant aside, I agree with comment that their image is their livelihood and there is obviously a demand for what they post themselves on their own site. I suspect that they are acutely aware of the internet rule that if you do not want anyone to see or know something, do not put it on the internet in any way, shape or form.

    The article smacks of hipster journalism, a blandly written attempt at a humorous critique that is frankly, on par with an average high school blog bitching about the beautiful girls which is essentially what it is. Then there is the matter of a ‘Visual Editor’ doing sub-par gossip blogging……

  12. Lisa-Maree Ellett

    Tara, we live in the 21st Century Society, who survives and demands a daliy diet of media delivered immediately through technology, how can we critizie these women feeding this?
    We want it we look at and often it brings us pleasure or amuzement, staisfies our curiosity and is a form of entertainment to us. The big question it raises for me is how can we embrace beauty of the form with out feeding the fragility of the ones of our society with low self esteem , normally teenage and young women and increasingly young men. We all see this from varying degrees around us as even what si considered ordinary people are reasonably obsessed with looks, the size of thier nose inner and outer thighs, breasts, lips, length of thier hair and what brand of clothes they are wearing. Unfortunately it for some it is driven not by health or wanting to care for themselves better or look thier best for thier own self…but all about how others do or may perceive them? I observe on my own facebook feeds and posts from young women I know who want to look like this, I want these abs I want these legs this hair etc…It is a bit sad to watch as often they are already attractive women but seem pressured to maintain a constant vigil on being thin, in fashion and beauttiful on the outside. This obsession often seems to consume them and there does appear to be a shallowness about the important things in life, like health, happiness, family and our mind and soul and last but not least others. In the end I have to look to myslef and realise we all have to battle with this and keep the balance right and I try and focus on being a positive person for myslef and for the people I love and have relationships with or have contact with. We have to strive for as women is embrace our differences our own unique beautyand never forget the beauty within. With time the form changes, but the spirit and the mind can develop and grow. I take my hat off to you as you show women about enjoying fashion and fun, but also life beyond the catwork where you share your mind, thoughts spirit and parts of your personal life with us including the roles you have as a mother. Congratulations.

  13. Lisa-Maree Ellett

    Sorry about all the spelling and typos! Not my strength yet!
    Have a great day!

  14. Alex

    I don’t know how else to say this, but did anyone else take particular notice of the beautiful photo of the girl sleeping with her tiny dog next to her on the other pillow? What a gorgeous photo. Maybe an article that highlights how posting of “selfies” and blogging etc. is providing a wonderful outlet for artistic and emotional expression for everyone and anyone would be the best answer to this kind of poor journalism. Just look at the diversity that you find on sites like Tumblr. I personally think that this democratisation (right word I hope!) of popular culture is great. We are no longer just being fed what we should like and while there are Kardashians (sorry to any fans, each to their own) there are also some amazingly creative people getting (and making) their own press.

  15. Au pair

    I completely agree with your side of this discussion Tara. It is wrong that anyone be treated differently ‘FULL STOP’

    I understand the fascination people have with celebrities and well know people in general. Although this fascination has been feed by media thinking we will find certain matters of great interest…. and l guess at times we do, but perhaps this is purely a ‘learned behaviour’ which media sources have taught us over time.

    My advice to all well known people is be yourselves, do as you would regardless of your fame and simply ignore any knockers

  16. Eda

    Tara, I agree with you. Feminism is all about fighting the ugly and demeaning thoughts towards women (this article represents such ugly thoughts). Sometimes these ugly thoughts come from other women. We all know that as women we already have too much to deal with and I say, ladies, let’s love and support each other. Judge not lest ye be judged. However, I also think that modeling is a very bizarre profession that may be empowering women in some ways, and may be hurting the majority who don’t fit the “model look” as they’re deemed unattractive by mainstream media that reflects a very, very, very small proportion of women. I just hope that in our day and age where pretty much anyone with the determination to put themselves out there can be a role model and a celeb of sorts, look-ism ends. Those with beautiful thoughts see beauty everywhere and that’s the way to look at life (much more pleasant).


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