Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nail Art, Bullying & MissJenFabulous

In case you missed it, my dear friend Zenorah posted a comprehensive video on MissJenFabulous and what has been happening the past year with stolen nail art. I've also posted 2 entries here on my blog about the matter. One is about MrCandiiPants and one is about KeshiaLilly. Both posts have photographic evidence of her stealing designs, specific designs mind you and not just generic ones like "polka dots" for example, and techniques (again, specific techniques).
I wanted to write this third blog post just to clear up a few things:
First, Zenorah has laid out all the information and links so that you can all readily make your own opinion. If you are a fan of Jen, you don't even have to read any of it. In fact, you don't have to watch the video. Zenorah's video is just compiling all the information so that it's in one place. It's open to you whenever you feel like you want to get more information on what is going on. If you don't want to, then you don't have to watch it. That does NOT give you open invitation to write something nasty to her.
That's the same with everybody posting links to this video on Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else. It's there so you can watch it and form your own opinion. It's not there so you can form hate groups or threads online. Yes, she has left the comments open so you can write whatever you want. And people will. And she knows that as many of us that support her and this issue realize. Even though we don't have half a million subscribers or even more than a few thousand subscribers, you do learn to grow a thick skin pretty quickly. I've been keeping an eye on people's reposts and for the most part, people are taking their own initiative and exploring on their own and thus, making their own opinions. However, there are some out there, that are taking this opportunity to not only bash the person who posted or linked to Zenorah's video, but are openly deciding to bash the nail art community and are calling what Zenorah did bullying.
Which brings me to my next point. This is not bullying. I think we've come to a place in our culture that is SO sensitive. There is a difference between somebody being made fun of, mentally and verbally tortured, and in contrast, presenting information about a person. Asking Jen to credit a person's specific design is not bullying. And also, what Zenorah is asking is not for Jen to credit whenever she does a polka-dot manicure. It's when Jen takes a very specific design AND technique, for example the MrCandiiPants floral design, re-creates it and then doesn't mention at all where she saw it. I'm going to let you all know, that there's a 1% chance of coincidence that they both thought of the same techniques to come up with the same florals. It's standard probability. Nowhere in Zenorah's video does she attack Jen as a person. She doesn't go all "JENS A COTTON HEADED NINNY MUGGINS" or whatever (just insert your own mean insult there). She just sits and lists off information for you to all go check out. She also provides photographic proof, and links a few major bloggers that you yourself can go contact if you'd like. I think the closest any of us has really gotten to really bullying Jen is when I linked those silly photos of her. Which I've since taken out of my original blog post because I felt bad about that. That I will own up to and I apologize. 
There are people commenting on these various reposts though saying that we are bullying Jen. We aren't bullying Jen. We are asking her to credit people. I haven't read anything truly malicious on her character for the most part. There are a few "I don't like her"s and "What she is doing is wrong"s but nothing of the true bullying sort. So please, if you are one of her fans, please do not automatically assume we are bullying Jen. Do not just comment and say that she may kill herself because she's being bullied. That's not a funny threat and it isn't a threat you should just take lightly and freely comment on anything. 
Truth is, she isn't being bullied. To be truly bullied, is to be relentlessly, viciously and hurtfully attacked everyday. I was bullied in school for having slanty eyes and for not being skinny. I know what it's like. And I've had my fair share of being bullied on the internet. I've been called fat, annoying and ugly. But asking for somebody to credit a source? I would gladly do it because it's the right thing to do. Asking somebody to do the right thing is not a bullying act. And also we aren't asking people to bully her either, and we are NOT judging people who are her fans, and continue to be her fans. We simply want the information out there, so that the lesser known bloggers who she takes SPECIFIC ideas and techniques from have a fighting chance to be heard. 
And here's another truth - blocking, deleting, and not stopping her fans from attacking other people is worse than what we are asking of her. She's not telling them to come and argue with us, she's just not addressing the issue and not asking her fans to be nice about it. WHICH IS ALSO NOT BULLYING - so I'm not saying she's a bully, but I'm saying that she's not doing the right thing, and when it comes to the spectrum of morality, I think we're on the more moral side of things. That last part is just my own opinion though, and I encourage you all to form your own opinions on the matter of morals.
Now going back to the "sensitivity" spectrum of people nowadays? There are also comments by people calling these nail artists who are getting their work stolen "too sensitive." How would you feel if you created something, spent hours doing it, creating blog posts, editing footage, and being really proud of the outcome, to have it be claimed by somebody else, months later, and know they are making a substantial amount of money off of it? I have about 5000 subscribers on YouTube. I average about 600 views a video. Monthly, I make around $40 from YouTube views. Multiply that buy 10, you get $400. She has on average at least 20 times more views, and she has 100 times the subscribers I have. You can now see just how much money she potentially gets off of her YouTube views.
Being an original content creator, and seeing your work monetarily support another person probably doesn't feel the greatest, right? And if you're a nail artist with 500 followers, and you see something that you created, being shown to 500,000 people with no mention of your name, wouldn't you feel helpless and hurt? These bloggers and nail artists are not just simply being sensitive, greedy, "follower hungry", or selfish, they are defending themselves, or at least trying to but it's so hard when they and their fans are getting blocked and their comments getting deleted at the mere mention of another blogger on any of her social networking platforms. I posted "that looks like a MrCandiiPants design" which in my opinion isn't mean spirited at all, and was immediately blocked on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, as well as had my comment deleted. How are nail bloggers supposed to rightly defend themselves when they can't even get a word in edge-wise?
Lastly, is the issue of what needs to be given credit and what doesn't. Here is the MrCandiiPants video, completely on that topic.
Basically, vague concepts like painting dots or stripes on your nails doesn't count as something specific enough to need crediting for originality. Now if you full on copy a manicure, then it's nice to say "these were inspired by _______". Same with makeup - red lip? Not a specific enough situation. Red glitter lip with blue eyeliner? Credit where you saw it. Same with writing a book - book about a dog? Not specific. Writing a rhyming book about dogs in cars? Like Go, Dog, Go? Yeah. You can't copy that and take credit for it. Painting a picture of a woman? Not specific. Painting a portrait of a woman using primarily brown, and copying her expression to look like the Mona Lisa? You need to credit your inspiration. It's all the same. Nail art may seem frivolous and unimportant to all of those subjects, but it still follows the same rules of sourcing. And this shouldn't be a new concept to people, at least in America because it's part of a standard curriculum taught to students age 8 through higher education at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate level.
The distinction is harder to do with like a white pinstripe on a purple base for example. But when we get to flowers, and specific techniques, patterns, color combinations, then it gets more easily distinguishable as to when a person needs to credit and cite sources.
The bottom line is, credit needs to be given. And also, I am aware that Jen isn't the only person that does this. She, however, is the one that blocks, deletes, and denies all responses that mention other bloggers. I've only ever seen her do those things, and not other bloggers. Other bloggers will pretty much always credit if you ask them to.