Diane Abbott's portrait

(51 Posts)
ThisOneAndThatOne Mon 13-Jan-14 15:48:23

I think it is important to continue our historical record by having portraits made of politicians. So this is not a thread about the cost.

I am just really taken aback that the portrait of our most famous black female MP shows her without clothing (just head and shoulders).

What does everyone else think?

Will find a link and post in a sec.

ThisOneAndThatOne Mon 13-Jan-14 15:49:37
NigellasDealer Mon 13-Jan-14 15:51:37

i think that is weird and she should not have agreed to it, she had her portrait done becasue she is an MP not a swimmer or a porn star

Very odd that she should be without clothes confused

SirChenjin Mon 13-Jan-14 15:56:46

Shouldn't that be most infamous, rather than famous wink

I think it presents her in a very informal light, and probably not appropriate as someone who holds the level of power she does - but then, Diane Abbott is not known for her appropriateness.

Freyalright Mon 13-Jan-14 16:22:52

I can't stand Diane. Why not just have a photograph wearing her day to day clothes. Anyway, I hope they kept the receipt. Not a flattering portrait.

ThisOneAndThatOne Mon 13-Jan-14 16:40:14

I am not a fan of Diane either.

But if we want our female representatives to be remembered as seriously as our male ones. Then surely a more serious setting would be more appropriate.

It looks like she is just off for a bath rather than giving an important speech in the house!

Would any of our male politicians agree to such a portrait?

Sounds like a good feminist art project: to paint male MPs like this.

TiggyOBE Mon 13-Jan-14 19:56:57

I think the painting is crap. Her head goes onto her body, but the body doesn't look like it's got any shape to it, or even arms. And her face kind of looks unrealistic. Like somebody with lots of good quality prosthetics on to look like Dianne Abott.

I'm fine with paintings of MPs.

Mitchy1nge Mon 13-Jan-14 23:16:46

black women pretty much have to be naked don't they, do you remember the M&S ads where it was always the woman-of-colour dancing around in her pants or Lily Allen's recent video

it's some sort of law of the memory of colonialism or something

Back2Basics Mon 13-Jan-14 23:28:29

^ what mitchy said

MomsStiffler Mon 13-Jan-14 23:36:47

That's £11k well spent then.....

She could have got 4 passport photos for a fiver....

I don't think any of them should have a portrait that they're not prepared to pay for & donate....

MomsStiffler Mon 13-Jan-14 23:38:34

Sorry OP - just re-read & saw it's not about the cost.

To be fair - who decided the pose & clothing (or lack) - it may well have been her choice/suggestion. I'm fairly confident she wouldn't have done it if she didn't want to...

Casmama Mon 13-Jan-14 23:43:37

Weird and doesn't really look like her either!

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 07:58:14

Agree with Mom - can't imagine Diane not agreeing to this but being somehow forced to. Which again demonstrates her general lack of judgement.

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 08:17:39

I don't use Twatter myself, but surely someone that does could just ask her?

Would potentially save a few MN blood-vessels from prematurely bursting ....

QueenThora Tue 14-Jan-14 08:25:31

Like somebody with lots of good quality prosthetics on to look like Dianne Abott.

That is such a great description! I was thinking the same (in not such perfect words) - her features look weird, fake and slightly exaggerated. It's awful and that's apart from the naked thing.

I don't have a problem with a clothes-free portrait if they all had the same treatment. When it's a woman, and a black woman, who is the only one that's naked it starts to look distinctly dodgy.

As an aside I LOVE the portrait of Tony Blair. I don't like him much, but I think the painting is amazing – sums up not just what he looks like but his slightly unsettling air. You look at it and you can't decide if that's an expression of moral fortitude or something more sinister. Brilliant.

QueenThora Tue 14-Jan-14 08:32:08

And the general effect is just as dodgy even if she did contribute to the decision. As a feminist I would not be going there if I knew all the men were going to be clothed – even if I fancied being naked – because of the message it sends.

woodrunner Tue 14-Jan-14 08:37:37

I've just had a look at that portrait and it looks to me as though she is wearing a neutral/flesh coloured round necked top. Take another look at the neck line. But it is ambiguous, and certainly doesn't give her much dignity.

Doingthestats Tue 14-Jan-14 08:50:53

I have been in the House of Commons and Portcullis house a few times and have seen plenty of these portraits. They are all formal, okay some are just head and shoulders but they are wearing clothes!

I think the actual quality of the work is not good but I agree the whole looks naked yet again detracts from women being taken seriously.

I am not white and whilst all women can and are objectified when you are a woman of colour or whatever the correct term is, sorry I can't always keep up with the correct terminology and I don't mind that. I can honestly say my skin colour has absolutely been bought in to sexual harassment over the years and the whole is your vagina the same as a white woman's crap.

Diane has done a huge disservice to all women regardless of skin colour or ethnicity but Mitchy is spot on with this further aspect of it all.

QueenThora Tue 14-Jan-14 08:50:53

I see what you mean but it's very vague and the colour of the top, if it's a top, varies a lot as skin would. So she's either naked or wearing a top that's designed to imitate nakedness, which is a bit weird.

OTOH maybe she was dressed but wearing a top like this

Still think the portrait looks dodgy in the context of the others, however.

QueenThora Tue 14-Jan-14 08:51:37

I like Betty Boothroyd's - glam, but formal clothes and a "don't you dare mess with me" demeanour grin

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 14-Jan-14 10:08:19

I don't like it at all, it doesn't even look like her. Don't know why she has to appear naked. I really like the pic of her that Queenthora linked to, though.

I like Betty Boothroyd's, and Tony Blair's is v.v. flattering. wink I bet he was chuffed.

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 11:41:05

What Mitchy said (hi mitchy!).

Black woman portrayed in her natural animalistic state.

I wonder if they would have tried it with a white woman. I doubt it.

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 11:43:40

hi beach smile am waving excitedly and hoping you are well without in any way hijacking thread

MadIsTheNewNormal Tue 14-Jan-14 11:45:35

I think having a bare top half is a very odd decision for the job she's in, but it doesn't offend me particularly. but God, what a bloody awful portrait that is.I can see that the painter is very skilled but it just doesn't look like her, and it's terribly unflattering. The top half of her head is disporportionately small, her nose is all wrong, her ears look too low, it's just wrong!

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 11:45:42

Am well, hope you are too, good to see you smile . Will stop now!

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 11:47:07

Lot of assumptions that a female MP who is known for being strong minded & not suffering fools gladly was somehow coerced into this.

What on earth about her leads you to this conclusion?

Black woman portrayed in her natural animalistic state says more about that poster than it does about Diane Abbott or the photographer in my mind....

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 11:47:47

for "photographer" read "painter"... blush

weirdthing Tue 14-Jan-14 11:51:00

I find Diane Abbott inappropriate in general and I say that as a lefty.

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 11:58:45

who said she was coerced? we don't have to be coerced into stuff in order to wonder how many of our choices are made in a cultural vacuum or whatever the saying is

QueenThora Tue 14-Jan-14 12:08:11

It may be that she thought it was a good idea. It may be that someone else did and she was persuaded into it, maybe thinking it would be a bit radical or interesting.

I am wondering if she really was sitting in a very low and wide-cut top (which she does wear) and this was the result and there was not really an intent to appear naked as such, but the result is a bit unfortunate.

I also think whatever the reason for the naked effect, the fact that it's so unflattering, and that she looks slightly uncomfortable and ungroomed, all add to the effect of making it look as if it is saying something about her being in some kind of "natural state", and not in a good way.

I mean she can be very groomed, she wears make-up (not that she should, but most women in her position do and definitely would for a portrait), she can be seen in specs and smart clothes. It's very odd that hers among all the other portraits is the one that emphasis these natural aspects.

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 12:55:52

Aside from the "nudity", it is a bloody awful picture. More like a picture of her Spitting Image puppet....

Pointing out that someone has done something that (to an outsider who isn't privy to their thought processes) appears to perpetuate the oppression of the group to which that person belongs doesn't mean that the pointer outer is saying that the person doing the do has been coerced.

And if you get through that sentence, have some cake. I think the pain and the neurofen is sending my clarity mojo off into space.

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 13:59:39

it makes perfect sense

I didn't know we had cake! am just agreeing with you so I can have some

I don't think anyone did say that Diane was somehow forced to be painted in a way that made her look naked, just pointing out that this is how black women tend to be depicted

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 14:26:47

I'll grab some cake too as I think I got it! blush

I hadn't noticed that black women often get depicted like this - will keep an eye out for this particular practice now thanks!

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 14:33:08

MomsStiffler when I said "Black woman portrayed in her natural animalistic state", I was referring to the common racist stereotype - not how I see women of colour. I would hate for that post to be unclear!

I had just agreed with another poster who said there was something colonialistic about the image.

Women of colour are often portrayed as 'tribal' or 'natural' or 'animal' or 'wild' or 'oversexed' - this portrait of Diane Abbott disturbed me because of that. It smacks of lazy racist + sexist stereotyping to me.

This is a subject that comes up a lot in feminism; how women of colour are subject to a different sort of misogyny to white women, as it is a mix of sexism and racism. This portrait seems to me to be an hugely crass example of such attitudes. Hence why I wonder if a white female politician would have been portrayed in this way - as I say, I doubt it.

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 14:35:41

did you see Lily Allen's recent vid? bit of chat about it here

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 14:36:40

that was to moms something

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 14:49:23

Does Diane Abbott braid her hair?

I don't think I've ever seen her with it braided. Willing to be corrected on that though.

You can all have some cake even if you didn't follow my clumsy phrase.

I was responding to whoever said they didn't think DA had been coerced into doing the portrait. I wanted to express the opinion that just because there may be sexist and racist influences at work, doesn't mean that there was coercion. The two things are different.

Geddit? grin

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 14:58:06

I got it.

So I shall claim my cake



There it is.

MostWicked Tue 14-Jan-14 15:09:33

I think it is important to continue our historical record by having portraits made of politicians

Why? Why is there any need for portraits at all? What is wrong with photos? Portraits were needed in a time before cameras, but not now.

The artistic nature of a portrait, makes the unclothed image somehow more acceptable, whereas a photo would be more honest, accurate and real, and I doubt is would have been taken topless!

Beachcomber Tue 14-Jan-14 15:18:31

Ta Buffy - thought your sentence was jolly good actually. Not clumsy. Tricky thing to put into words.

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 15:27:38

What is wrong with photos? Portraits were needed in a time before cameras, but not now

yeah they should do selfies and do away with all this state importance guff

it is such a horrible portrait though, I can't stop clicking back to look at it

pertempsnooo Tue 14-Jan-14 15:27:43

Haha agree that this could spark off a great (if rather hideously unattractive) feminist art project representing male politicians naked... maybe some with oranges in their mouths...
She should not have done this, ugh! what was she thinking!? Anyone know where this shite is going?

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 15:28:50

I wouldn't mind seeing Dan Poulter naked

Mitchy1nge Tue 14-Jan-14 15:35:44

and that throws up some lovely results via google images even if none of those bodies are him

MomsStiffler Tue 14-Jan-14 15:42:14

@ Mitchy

Hmm, that's 3 minutes of my life I'll never get back!

I must admit, because I was looking at the backing singers in relation to this topic I did notice that there was a mix of dancers - all shades, not all black as I'd expected from the article.

Won't derail this thread anymore, but will keep my eyes open for more "casual racism" in plain view...

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