SuicideGirls

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SuicideGirls
Suicidegirlslogo.jpg
Commercial? Yes
Type of site softcore pin-up photos
Registration Yes
Owner Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney[1]
Launched September 3, 2001
Alexa rank positive decrease 24,182 (April 2014)[2]

SuicideGirls is a website that features pin-up photography and profiles of alternative female models who are known as the "Suicide Girls". The site functions as an online community with member profiles, member blogs, and the option to join networking groups based upon interests. SuicideGirls also features interviews with people from popular and alternative culture, user-submitted news articles, and an online merchandise store. Access to most of the site requires a paid membership.

History[edit]

The SuicideGirls website and concept were created by the founding partners of parent company SG Services, Inc., Sean Suhl ("Sean") and Selena Mooney ("Missy Suicide") in late 2001, and based in Portland, Oregon.[1] In 2003, the site operations moved to Los Angeles, California. Suhl and Mooney started the site "just to see hot punk rock girls naked." Mooney has also stated that the purpose of the site is to give women control over how their sexuality is depicted. The site is privately co-owned.[3][4]

According to Missy, the term "suicide girl" comes from Fight Club author and Portland, Oregon resident Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote in his novel Survivor (1999): "It's the same with these suicide girls calling me up."[5] As a trademark applied to the website and related merchandise and media, the term "SuicideGirls" is a single word, though this is often violated by external sources who split it into two words. The girls themselves are referred to as "Suicide Girls".[6]

Website features[edit]

The website features a community created around the pin-up photos of the Suicide Girls. The members and the models all have the option to have a profile, keep journals, and upload their own photos and videos. There are message boards, public and private groups, and a chat room in which members can communicate with one another. There is a local feature in which members post their favorite local haunts, tattoo shops, and other businesses. Members in your area and regional groups are highlighted, and a calendar of events and map of your area are listed with the location of the previously mentioned businesses. The site features interviews and an ongoing newswire with celebrity columnists.

Photosets[edit]

"Irenella", one of the many tattooed and pierced SuicideGirls models in a photograph from the site

The images are collected into "photosets" that contain 40–60 images that take place in the same setting or theme. Only one photoset goes live on the site per day. As of March 2008 there were nearly 1.9 million images live on the site. The photographs are intended both as an homage to classic pin-up art and a portrayal of alternative images of beauty. The models create the theme of each of their photosets, and each is designed to showcase how each girl feels most beautiful about themselves.

Actress Paget Brewster has photographed models for the site,[7] as have guitarist Dave Navarro and singer Mike Doughty.[8]

Models[edit]

As of April 2013 the website features over 2,600 Suicide Girls, each billed simply under a first name or one-word nickname. Most of the models have nontraditional appearance modifications such as dreadlocks, colored hair, tattoos, piercings, or more extreme body modifications. Images include professionally shot photos as well as self-written profiles and journal entries which they update as often as they see fit with their thoughts, snapshots, anecdotes, rants, and whatever else they wish to include. The girls themselves are involved directly with the community and interact in groups and on message boards. Members can send the models private messages as well. The site receives over "1,000 applications a week" from new models interested in becoming SuicideGirls. [9]

Online popularity[edit]

SuicideGirls has also been featured in press outlets including People Magazine Australia, Tattoo Girls Japan, MTV Italy, Arte French TV, The Washington Post, The NY Times, The LA Times, TMZ, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Soup and Emeequis magazine in Mexico.

Media coverage and spinoffs[edit]

Sam Doumit signing the Suicide Girls mag/book at San Diego ComicCon 2007. According to IMDb, she is the face in the SuicideGirls logo.[10]

Positive reviews of the SuicideGirls site appeared in Rolling Stone, Wired, The New Yorker and other mainstream magazines. It was featured in a 2006 episode of the CBS program CSI: NY titled "Oedipus Hex" (guest starring Missy Suicide),[11] and also on HBO's Real Sex special, on ABC's Nightline, on the G4 series Icons, and on the Showtime series Californication. A number of Suicide Girls also appeared in the 2007 remake of The Wizard of Gore directed by Jeremy Kasten and starring Crispin Glover. The literary magazine Fence used a Suicide Girl for the cover of a recent issue. Rock musician Courtney Love has written what Willamette Week described as "rambling, stream-of-consciousness posts on the site."[12] She also brought along three Suicide Girls (Emma, Robin and Ruby) during an appearance on MTV's "24 Hours of Love." Sixty-six Suicide Girls appeared in the PROBOT music video "Shake Your Blood". The Boston Phoenix did a two-part review of the site and its models. "The Naked Sorority"[13] and "The Naked Sorority Part II"[14] report on and discuss the girls themselves and the phenomenon.

Newswire and interviews[edit]

The SG newswire features daily columns, news items and feature interviews covering a diverse range of subjects, including politics, music, film, celebrity, gaming and technology, philosophy, love and relationships, spirituality, and food. Feature articles cover the world of arts and entertainment from underground niche artists to award winning filmmakers, directors, authors and recording artists. SG journalists go on location to movie sets, video shoots, press conferences, and cover festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, CMJ, SXSW, the Tribeca Film Festival, and ComicCon events around the nation. SG also has an embedded war reporter Michael J. Totten who publishes news, commentary and features from the Middle East on the SG newswire. The newswire provides a forum for the SG community to read up on areas of interest and discuss and share their own opinions about the material on the newswire message boards.

The newswire has featured celebrity columnists such as: Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up; Scott Ian, co-founder and guitarist for legendary metal band Anthrax; Wil Wheaton, Geek author and actor; Chris Gore, founder of Film Threat; Margaret Cho, actress and comedian; Jonathan Kesselman, director of The Hebrew Hammer; Rob Corddry, actor and former The Daily Show correspondent; Warren Ellis, author of science fiction and super hero comics, novels and television; Martin Atkins, author and musician known for his work with post-punk and industrial bands such as Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Pigface, and Killing Joke.

SG's feature interviews include both cult and high-profile talent such as: Lady Gaga; Kathy Griffin; Russell Simmons; Michelle Rodriguez; Ice Cube; Steven Adler; Marilyn Manson; Nikki Sixx; Travis Barker; Slash; David Mamet; Audrey Tautou; Benicio del Toro; Rob Zombie; Mike Patton; Maynard James Keenan; Dave Mustaine; Dita Von Teese; David Lynch; Otto von Schirach; Debbie Harry; Jhonen Vasquez; Maggie Gyllenhaal; Johnny Depp; Neil Gaiman; Woody Allen; Bill Murray; Natalie Portman; Christopher Walken; Emile Hirsch; Kate Nash; Del James; Nina Hartley; and David Belle.

SG also produces a weekly radio show on Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles, broadcasting Sunday nights from 10pm to 12 am PST. On the show, Suicide Girls take phone calls, give advice, discuss current events and play music. Past phone-in and in-person guests on the show include Maynard James Keenan, Mindless Self Indulgence, Dave Navarro, Tom Green, the Melvins, Rob Corddry, Ron Jeremy and more. Past Radio Show guest interviews can be downloaded as podcasts from the website.

Other celebrity members include:

Wheaton, Corddry and Isaacs are contributors to the SuicideGirls Newswire. Kesselman is a columnist.

DVDs[edit]

DVDs have been produced under the name SuicideGirls. SuicideGirls: The First Tour released on August 30, 2005 by Epitaph records and SuicideGirls: The Italian Villa released on October 24, 2006. Both were directed by Mike Marshall. The films aired on the US Cable network Showtime in regular rotations beginning in October 2005 and November 2006 respectively. SuicideGirls: The First Tour chronicles the lives of 10 performers on the first North American Burlesque Tour produced by SuicideGirls, while SuicideGirls: The Italian Villa features interviews and photo shoots of 15 girls from European countries including, Italy, The UK, Finland, and Sweden. SuicideGirls: Guide to Living was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16, 2010.

The horror film, Suicide Girls Must Die!, directed by Sawa Suicide, was released in select theaters on March 12, 2010.[25] The film was released as video on demand on July 16, 2010.[26]

The fourth film, SuicideGirls: UK Holiday[27] was released to the web on September 2012. The movie follows 30 SuicideGirls from the United States, Canada, France, Portugal, The UK, and South Africa as they spend a week in a converted windmill in the English Countryside. The movie is available on the SuicideGirls website.[28]

Games[edit]

In May 2013, Suicide Girls came to an agreement with Akaneiro: Demon Hunters game developer Spicy Horse to use likenesses of their models in a freemium browser title called BigHead BASH. Players can purchase premium content for 220 in-game tokens each, to unlock 5 characters in total. The models featured are: Bob, Gogo, Milloux, Venom and Radeo.[29]

Burlesque tour[edit]

The SuicideGirls have completed five North American headlining tours beginning in May 2003. They have performed at clubs such as: Emo's in Austin, Texas; the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, and The Empty Bottle in Chicago. The SuicideGirls performed in the 2004 Download Festival, the 2004 Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK, and toured Australia from April to May 2005. The SuicideGirls Live show opened for Courtney Love on her 2004 West Coast tour. They also opened for the Guns n' Roses 2006 tour of the US and Canada playing stadiums of 15,000 people including the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon and the James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

A television show documenting the tour, scheduled to air on VH1, is currently in production.[30]

Books[edit]

SuicideGirls have published three books.

The first book, titled SuicideGirls, was published om June 1, 2004 by Feral House. It is approximately 160 pages long and contains over 200 color digital photos that originally appeared on the website. The images were photographed by Missy Suicide and feature primarily the models from the west coast of the United States. Popular SuicideGirls model "Mary" had the SG logo digitally placed on her biceps to appear tattooed on for the cover of the book, which received the 2005 Independent Publisher Book Award in Erotica.

The second book, SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined, was published December 1, 2008 by Ammo Books. It's described as "a 396 page hardcover tribute to the stunning SuicideGirls from around the world. The images are collected by region and represent the most beautiful nude images of SuicideGirls from the past 8 years. This massive tome comes with a discreet black cover that would look good on any coffee table." All copies sold through the SuicideGirls website come signed by Missy Suicide.

The third book, SuicideGirls: Hard Girls, Soft Light, was released on January 1, 2013. The book "is a 204 page ode to the unique beauty, the individualist sex symbol, shot in her natural state". The book was published by Ammo Books and became a best seller on Amazon.com.

Comic books[edit]

Devil's Due Publishing featured SuicideGirls in Hack/Slash: Annual Vol. 1 in 2008.

IDW Publishing published a four-issue SuicideGirls mini-series in 2011. This mini-series features pin-up drawings from actual SuicideGirls by Cameron Stewart as well as a historic story written by Steve Niles. Shortly after a german addition on the combined mini-series was released.

Magazines[edit]

SuicideGirls has published two issues of its magazine. The first, entitled "SuicideGirls: Papercuts", was published in March, 2007. The magazine is 72 pages long and contains collage-style images of models from the website, as well as six interviews that also originally appeared on the site:

"SuicideGirls Magazine: No. 2" was published in July, 2007. This issue is 86 pages long and continues the collage-style format of the previous issue, along with interviews accompanied by illustrations of the interviewees:

The magazine published shortly after the death of SG's star interviewer, Daniel Robert Epstein, was dedicated to him in a handwritten note from Missy Suicide in the back cover of the issue. Both issues were designed and art directed by Courtney Riot.

Music videos[edit]

The music video for Louis XIV's 2005 release "Paper Doll" was released exclusively on the SuicideGirls website. The video, featuring models Claudia, Cricket, and Xtine trying on different outfits in a dressing room, was directed by Eon McKai.

In 2010, Belle and Sebastian included a song titled "Suicide Girl", about a photographer and a friend who wishes to audition for the site, on a limited release of Write About Love (later rereleased on The Third Eye Centre), and SuicideGirls produced a music video to the track.[31]

Probot released a song called "Shake Your Blood" directed by Steven Moreno in 2004 that featured 66 SuicideGirls. The band was represented by Dave Grohl on drums, Lemmy on lead vocals and bass and Wino on lead guitar. [32]

Controversies[edit]

Image removal[edit]

In September 2005, SuicideGirls announced[33] that it had removed a large number of images from its pages, fearing scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department. The images involved depicted bondage, knives or swords, or simulated blood. The Justice Department indicated that images of that type might be the subject of obscenity prosecutions, though SuicideGirls was not mentioned as a target. In January 2007, the images were made visible again.

Censorship[edit]

In 2005, a number of the paid models were reported to have resigned from the site or had their memberships revoked in connection with allegations of censorship and mistreatment of the models by the site's owners.[34] Numerous members have reported that their journals and message board posts were removed because they criticized management. This practice of deleting either objectionable content, disagreeable content, or membership altogether is referred to by Suicide Girls staffers as "zotting".

Exclusivity agreement and lawsuits[edit]

A primary issue is the SuicideGirls modeling contract, which prevents its models (including past models, for a time) from working for competing sites or agencies (specifically those dealing in nude photography or erotica).[35] In response to this, the SuicideGirls website states that only models "who have chosen to be involved in special projects" sign an exclusivity agreement in addition to their standard modeling contract barring them from working with direct competitors for a certain amount of time.[3] However, the standard modeling agreement for SuicideGirls includes a "Non-Competition" clause, barring any model that signs it from modeling for an "SG Competitor" during the one or more years in which the model is under contract with SuicideGirls, plus an additional two years.[36] Many models, however, have received many mainstream modeling jobs from the exposure gained through SuicideGirls.[37]

Many of the former models involved in the 2005 dispute are now involved with the competing sites GodsGirls and Deviant Nation. Deviant Nation was sued in civil court by SuicideGirls. Gods Girls have been sued by SuicideGirls LLC for hiring models who were allegedly still under contract with SuicideGirls and for allegedly violating SuicideGirls trademarks. Several former models were also threatened with legal action.[38][39] In November 2006, SuicideGirls fired one of their main photographers, Philip Warner, (aka Lithium Picnic), for acting as the primary photographer for the website of former SuicideGirl Apnea. The termination was followed in February 2007 by a lawsuit by SuicideGirls against Warner.[40][41][42] According to a press release by Warner and Apnea, as of February 2007, none of SuicideGirls LLC's lawsuits or threatened actions against former models or competing sites has resulted in a victory for the plaintiff, however, the legal expenses in the lawsuits have been costly and time consuming for the defendants.[40] In June 2008, Lithium Picnic and Apnea issued a press release stating "We all sat down together and worked out an agreement that is really fair to everyone... We want to make it clear that we 100% have no hostilities towards SuicideGirls in any way anymore, we all came to a really fair agreement over this dispute, and there were no bad people here, just mistakes and misunderstandings."[43]

Controversy regarding ownership[edit]

Critics have also charged that SuicideGirls has dishonestly claimed to be a women-owned and women-operated business, when it is actually owned by Sean Suhl, who is listed as Company President. According to the Oregon state corporate registry, Sean Suhl is the only authorized representative listed for the company,[44] The "women-owned and women-operated" statement was also repeated in the CSI: NY episode.

The DVD, SuicideGirls: The First Tour, implies ownership, creation, and control by Missy Suicide.[citation needed] No mention of Sean Suhl appears.

Criticism by models[edit]

A number of former models accuse SuicideGirls of failing to remain true to their signature feminist-friendly marketing. Many models, initially lured by suggestions of alternative sexual expression, are now concerned by what they consider contradictions to the professed ideas of empowerment.[45]

In a feature piece released in 2005, the alternative weekly The Boston Phoenix, reported on former models' dissatisfaction with company practices. Models interviewed referred to SuicideGirls president Sean Suhl as "verbally abusive" and an "active misogynist", and described the website as a "slap in the face to feminism".[46]

In a transcript of a SuicideGirls hearing with rival site Godsgirls, Suhl's attorney refers to models facing inconvenience in attending a postponed audit as not "Nobel peace prize-traveling women from around the world" but rather "strippers and nude models." To this he adds, "Not being prejudiced. Just being honest".[47]

Other allegations surrounding the SuicideGirls' administration have appeared in a number of established publications, including New York Press and Wired magazine.[48]

According to statistics released by the website, in July 2005 one model left, followed by 11 in August, 25 in September, and 11 in October. According to former models interviewed in a feature piece by Silicon Valley's magazine Metro Active, this was, in their opinion, due to the general homogenization of the site, "a process that alternative subcultures are unfortunately used to".[49]

Job loss[edit]

Olivia Black, a recent addition to the crew of Las Vegas' Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, and thus the History Channel TV series Pawn Stars, was fired from the show on December 19, 2012 when her previous background as a SuicideGirl was revealed. She was however not fired from the shop and still works there, albeit off camera.[50][51]

In popular culture[edit]

"Goth Girls", a song by MC Frontalot about his goth fetish, references the Suicide Girls while referring to his lack of success with actual goths: "render my intentions in the usual way (home alone, suicide girls up on the cathode ray)". Emilie Autumn's sarcastic song, "Thank God I'm Pretty", mentions being perceived as one. Other artists to reference SG include Sage Francis in his track "Midgets and Giants", Ash in their song "Palace of excess" and Third Eye Blind in the track "Company".

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard", Metroactive, January 4, 2006
  2. ^ "Suicidegirls.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b SuicideGirls. "The Trash Can". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  4. ^ "About SuicideGirls", Suicidegirls.com.
  5. ^ Missy Suicide: SuicideGirls Feral House, 2004 ISBN 1-932595-03-1 S. 8
  6. ^ SuicideGirls. "Who are the suicide girls?". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Ken (2006-11-17). "Paget Brewster". Entertainment Weekly. 
  8. ^ "Pictures of hot pinup girls, naked gothic girls, pics of sexy emo girls, nude punk rock women". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  9. ^ Suicide, Missy. "Who are the SuicideGirls". SuicideGirls. Retrieved May 2011. 
  10. ^ Sam Doumit biography @ IMDb
  11. ^ CBS. "Oedipus Hex". Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  12. ^ "The Calculated Assault of Suicidegirls.com" by Amy Roe, Willamette Week, March 19, 2003.
  13. ^ Camille Dodero (2006-05-08). "The naked sorority - Lifestyle Features". Thephoenix.com. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  14. ^ Camille Dodero (2006-05-03). "The Naked Sorority, Part II - This Just In". Thephoenix.com. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  15. ^ SuicideGirls. "Rob Corddry". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  16. ^ SuiciGirls > Members > Chris_Gore
  17. ^ SuicideGirls. "SteveIsaacs". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  18. ^ SuicideGirls. "Jon_Kesselman". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  19. ^ SuicideGirls. "Ian". Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  20. ^ SuicideGirls. "DaveNavarro". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  21. ^ SuicideGirls. "Halsparks". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  22. ^ SuicideGirls. "RStevens". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  23. ^ SuicideGirls. "Wil Wheaton". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  24. ^ SuicideGirls. "Zuiker". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  25. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die! in Theaters on March 12th
  26. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die on VOD
  27. ^ "SuicideGirls: UK Holiday Trailer on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  28. ^ "SuicideGirls UK Holiday". Secure.suicidegirls.com. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  29. ^ Daav Valentaten. "Suicide Girls Join Free-to-Play BigHead Bash + Screenshots". GG3. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  30. ^ "SuicideGirls Casting for New SG/VH1 Reality Burlesque Show « Alternative and Geek Culture News, Latest Music News, Celebrity News, and Current Events | Suicide Girls". Suicidegirlsblog.com. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  31. ^ SuicideGirls. "SuicideGirl Belle and Sebastian Music Video - NSFW". Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  32. ^ Probot.(2007,February 8). "Shake Your Blood"[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T09hBGGpSjk&feature=kp
  33. ^ SuicideGirls. "SG Removing Pictures, You Can Thank Bush". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  34. ^ "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL" by Randy Dotinga, Wired September 28, 2005.
  35. ^ "Suicide Defense" by Ian Demsky, Willamette Week, January 11, 2006.
  36. ^ SuicideGirls. "Model_Agreement". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  37. ^ SuicideGirls. "model testimonial". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  38. ^ Willamette Week Online. "Suicide Defense". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  39. ^ "Suicide Girls Gone Mad" by Esther Haynes, Jane
  40. ^ a b "Lithium Picnic Legal Fund" by Apneatic, Lithium Picnic LiveJournal Community, February 13, 2007.
  41. ^ "SuicideGirls vs. Lithium Picnic", Fleshbot, February 16, 2007.
  42. ^ "SuicideGirls Sues Lithium Picnic Photographer Philip Warner" by Justin Bourne, AVN Online, June 15, 2007.
  43. ^ "LITHIUM PICNIC studio". Lithiumpicnic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  44. ^ "Business Registry Business Name Search".
  45. ^ Suicide Girls' exodus – The F-Word
  46. ^ Fulton, Deidre. "SuicideGirls revolt: Close to 40 of the punk-rock-porn models walk off the site The Boston Phoenix (October 7-13, 2005)
  47. ^ http://www.mediafire.com/?djydgger491[dead link]
  48. ^ Randy Dotinga. "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  49. ^ Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard" MetroActive (January 24, 2006)(
  50. ^ "'Pawn Stars' shop girl Olivia Black fired after her porn site past is revealed". Fox News. December 20, 2012.
  51. ^ "Olivia Black: 'Pawn Stars' Reality Starlet Fired For Nude Photos From Her Past As A Porn Star". International Business Times. December 20, 2012.

External links[edit]