As you all know, Emma Sage has modeled in the past [nine times to be exact] and from the very first moment till the last, it has been an overwhelming, positive experience. We always have to sign a release and I understand that the client hiring her, retains all rights to her image. For me, the money [while it helps Emma Sage's college fund grow...and YES, I do believe she will head off to college if she so desires to] is just a very small part of the reason I consent to her modeling.........
The first is the experience....this child just adores the whole thing...from start to finish.
Secondly, the exposure....I view Emma Sage's modeling as a way to promote inclusion and awareness in a subtle but very powerful way. Showing the normalcy of people with Down syndrome in ads with other children......smiling, playing....celebrating life.
So you can only begin to imagine the feeling I have after my dear friend Jan had a very negative experience with allowing her son to model.
I was so overjoyed by Nash's gig.....the photograph that was to be used was just delightful.....showing three beautiful children in a neat summer WaterWorks park. A perfect image of Summer-time......and a very gentle and beautiful way to raise awareness of Down syndrome....no mention of it....just three precious, smiling faces having a fun summer day.
Just Wonderful.....a Perfect Image....and then
WHAM........an editorial that slaps the face of every parent with a child who happens to be sporting an extra chromosome. A few little words....and that perfect image is smashed to pieces.
"My daughter was born with no signs of Down syndrome. I was fortunate. That's reassuring." So, what does that make those of us who do have a child with Down syndrome...unfortunate?
This publication is lacking in ethics in my eyes.....and something that was so joyous has turned into something so ugly and sad.
I'm not a very good writer, but here are a bunch of links to some of the emotions that I have felt and others have so eleoquently written about this use of an image and a non-balanced editorial.
I feel raped, used and oh so love my son................. [Jan's telling the story of what happened to her and her beautiful [and very fortunate] son.
"Indy's Child's" Injustice" [Nicole's thoughts on this travesty]
A Travesty [AlwaysChaos's thoughts and sharing of information]
Cute Kids Betrayed Parents [Disability Studies, Temple University]
Rotten Bastards ['Til my head falls off': A very open and powerful response to the situation...and one that has moved me greatly]
Media and Down syndrome [A Bump on the Road]
Spitting Nails [Not That You Asked]
I Was Fortunate [Bits of Betsy.....a must read, and make sure you have tissues handy, as you will need them!]
The Injustice of it [Big BlueBerry Eyes]
My hopes for my daughter is that someday, all people will be seen first as people, not their disability, not something that needs to be seeked out and distroyed.
There are no guarantees in life.........and we all need to remember that Eugenics is real and it is knocking loudly at our door [and it is arriving wearing a sheeps clothing].
Please share your story, and your displeasure, with this magazine:
Indy's Child Magazine
Attn: Tom Wynne, Editor
1901 Broad Ripple Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46220