Maiden Voyages: June 2018

As usual, a few interesting things pile up each month in my in-box. I am taking another research trip to the UK this year and so I would like to advise readers that I will not be available to respond to emails and comments to posts until I return on the 18th. I know I have been acting mysteriously about these trips, but this time I plan to come back with specifics about what this means for the long term of Pigtails. I know Pip and Christian will do their usual good job of keeping the home fires burning.

A Turn of Phrase: I got an unusual email this month from a reader who simply sent a link with little explanatory information. It was a video of 11-year-old pianist Alexandra Dovgan (Александра Довгань) during a 2018 competition. It has been a long time since I just sat and listened to music. The title of the email was simply “Beauty” and a follow up message revealed that the reader did not know much English and could not say much. He said it was Pigtails’ motto “A Girl is Innocence…” that was the impetus for his submission and “Beauty” had a special double meaning for him. Perhaps it is unfair to single out this girl for attention, but I think music aficionados who view this video will agree that Dovgan is a talented and disciplined performer.

Nudity in Commercials: An associate sent me a links to a couple of advertisements in Portuguese and another was kind enough to translate what was being said. Both are remarkable in their seemingly mundane use of nudity. The logic is that they promote products for healthy living and showing healthy bodies drives home the point. The first is a 1987 ad for a probiotic yogurt. The little girl is explaining that Mommy has been taking care of her since she was a baby and now they eat this yogurt together. A second commercial  from 1979 is for a corn-based margarine (Mila Margarina) that keeps you “healthy and strong”; there are a number of similar ads on YouTube for this product as well. I was told that Brazilians generally have a healthy body image and women and girls of all ages can be seen in thongs at the beach. Nowadays little girls are required to wear their tops at public beaches, but it’s still common at private swimming pools for them to be topless.

On Becoming a Model: One of our readers sent a number of links to articles about the world of child modeling and sometimes discussing the issue of nudity. This month’s installment is some advice about how to encourage children interested in performing without pushing them into something they are not interested in.

Eternal Stigmatization: This is a little off-topic for Pigtails but this story has an interesting twist. We have covered news items dealing with issues of decency and legality when exhibiting pictures of children. The artist in question is painter Bruce Habowski who had three of his works removed from a University of Southern Maine exhibit. the paintings were removed by order of the USM president over the curator’s objections after receiving a complaint/tip from a member of the public. In this case the removal was based solely on the artist’s record, not the content of his work; in fact, his work does not depict people at all but was part of an exhibit about Maine’s industrial landscape.

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