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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Cultures of Silence


In the aftermath  of Terry Richardson getting banned from Conde Nast and other publications and Harvey Weinstein exploding all over the place, it's interesting to ponder on why it takes so long for people to get outed for their abusive behaviour.

A lot of it is down to fear... fear of losing work, of being seen as difficult, of getting abuse for pointing the finger at the abuser, of not being believed in the first place, of getting laughed at, and much much more.

When Manik Katyal was getting fingers pointed at him left, right and centre for his harassment, there were still many, many women who didn't want to speak out for the reasons mentioned above. And when you think of what a low-rent dipstick Katyal is, that level of self-censorship quite incredible.

But at the same time it's not. Because if you do say something remotely close to the bone about anything you will become persona non grata in many quarters. Criticise someone's gallery, publication or prize and be prepared to pay some kind of a price.  One minute you're mates for life, the next you're out in the cold.

So I wonder if in that case, the people who should take responsibility for the culture of silence are those who react in that way to the slightest criticism, who behave as though they are above criticism (and I've actually had people say they are above criticism because they are so great!), and react to criticism as though it's something unheard of, uncalled for and completely reprehensible.




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