SuicideGirls

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Suicidegirlslogo.jpg
Web address https://suicidegirls.com/
Commercial Yes
Type of site
Nude pin-up photography
Registration Yes
Available in English and Spanish
Owner Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney[1]
Launched September 3, 2001
Alexa rank
14,192 (July 2016)[2]

SuicideGirls is an online community based website that revolves around pin-up photography sets of models known as the 'Suicide Girls'.[3] The website was founded in 2001 by Selena Mooney ("Missy Suicide") and Sean Suhl ("Spooky").[4] Most of the site is only accessible to paying members. It offers members access to millions of images provided by models and photographers worldwide, as well as personal profiles, blogging platforms and the option to numerous groups based upon different interests. There is also an online merchandise store offering a range of clothing, books and DVDs.

Suicide Girls have appeared in a variety of media outlets including television shows and music videos as well as being portrayed by actresses in others, such as the character, Dani California on the show Californication (TV series).[5][6]

History[edit]

In 2001, Mooney returned to Portland, Oregon to study photography after working as director of technology at Ticketmaster.[4] Inspired by Bunny Yeager, Mooney began photographing her friends in the pinup style and wanted to create a website that featured her photographs as well as message boards and blog posts from the models.[3] Mooney's friend, Sean Suhl joined her and the two founded the website.[7][4] SuicideGirls was originally based in Portland,[1] but relocated its operations to Los Angeles, California in 2003 to be closer to its distributor, label and publisher.[8] That same year, 70 models from the website appeared in a music video for the band Probot.[6]

Mooney has stated that the purpose of the site is to give women control over how their sexuality is depicted. The site is privately co-owned.[9][10] According to Missy, the term "Suicide Girl" originally comes from Chuck Palahniuk's novel Survivor (1999): "It's the same with these suicide girls calling me up."[11][8] Missy also states that the name describe girls who commit 'social suicide' by breaking away from the norm of society, and created the site 'as a place to celebrate beautiful women who choose not to fit into the norm and as a corner of the internet where outsiders could congregate and be appreciated for being themselves'.[12]

In September 2005, SuicideGirls announced that it would remove a large number of images from its pages, in an effort to collaborate with the U.S. Justice Department standards at the time. The images involved depicted bondage, weapons, or simulated blood. The Justice Department indicated that images of that type might be the subject of obscenity prosecutions. Although SuicideGirls was not mentioned as a target, they removed the images until the furor passed. In January 2007, the images were made visible again.[4] In 2006, some of the Suicide Girls were featured in an episode of CSI: NY titled Oedipus Hex.[13]

In 2015, it was reported that the website had 5 million monthly visitors, with 51 percent of them being female.[4]

Website features[edit]

Irenella Suicide, from one of her SuicideGirls photosets

The website is an online community, formed around pin-up photosets of Suicide Girls.

Photosets[edit]

Photosets are a collection of images ranging from fully clothed to fully nude that must share a theme or concept and take place in the same setting. Each photoset contains 40-60 images and is created by the model and photographer to portray images of 'alternative' beauty, showcasing each model's ideas regarding their own beauty.

As of May 2015, there were nearly 8 million images live on the site. Each day, a 'Set of the Day' is bought and featured, appearing on the front page, where official Suicide Girl status begins. The photographs are intended both as an homage to classic pin-up art and a portrayal of images of alternative beauty.

The site hosts a collection of staff photographers, however anyone can submit photosets to the site. Actress Paget Brewster has photographed models for the site,[14] as have guitarist Dave Navarro and singer Mike Doughty.[15]

Other features[edit]

The members and the models all have the option to create a personal profile, keep journals, upload their own photos and videos, and join public and private groups.

The site also features interviews conducted by members and a merchandise shop.

Media[edit]

Movies[edit]

SuicideGirls have released seven movies since 2005, each directed by Mike Marshall.[16]

Katherine Suicide, from her featured set Nautical Dreams.
  • SuicideGirls: The First Tour was self produced and released on August 30, 2005 by Epitaph records. It chronicles the lives of 10 performers on the first North American Burlesque Tour.
  • SuicideGirls: Italian Villa was released on October 24, 2006. It features interviews and photo shoots of 15 European Suicide Girls.
  • The horror film Suicide Girls Must Die!, directed by Sawa Suicide, was released in certain theatres on March 12, 2010.[17] The film was released as video on demand on July 16, 2010.[18]
  • SuicideGirls: Guide to Living was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16, 2010 and features many Suicide Girls putting erotic twists on otherwise everyday activities.
  • SuicideGirls: UK Holiday was released in September 2012 and is also available on both DVD and Blu-ray. It documents a week long stay in a converted mill within the UK countryside, featuring 30 Suicide Girls from across the globe.
  • SuicideGirls: Retrospective was released on November 3, 2012 and was a collection of videos from the previous decade.
  • SuicideGirls: Relaunch is the latest offering, released August 8, 2015. It chronicles the recent relaunch of the website, following co-owner Missy Suicide and her team to document the day-to-day operations of SuicideGirls.

SuicideGirls: The First Tour, SuicideGirls: Italian Villa and SuicideGirls: Relaunch all air on the US Cable network Showtime in regular rotations, since the years of their respective release dates.

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.

Sam Doumit signing a Suicide Girls magazine at San Diego Comic-Con International, 2007.

Books[edit]

SuicideGirls have published 4 books since 2004, all featuring a variety of photos from the website and interviews with Suicide Girls.

  • SuicideGirls (2004, Feral House)
  • SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined (2008, Ammo Books)
  • SuicideGirls: Hard Girls, Soft Light (2013, Ammo Books)
  • SuicideGirls: Geekology (2014, Ammo Books)

Comic books[edit]

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

A SuicideGirls comic book mini-series was released in 2011, by IDW Publishing, containing four issues. The comic books feature pin-up drawings of actual SuicideGirls by artist Cameron Stewart, as well as a historic story written by Steve Niles.[19] Shortly after, a German addition of the combined mini-series was released.

Magazines[edit]

SuicideGirls has published three issues of its magazine, otherwise referred to as their 'periodical art book' or 'pin-up anthology'. Issue 1 and 2 were self-published in 2007 and the third issue was released in 2014 by Ammo Books. Issue 4 can be expected in 2016.

Live events[edit]

Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque dancers performing the Star Wars number

Blackheart Burlesque[edit]

The SuicideGirls Blackheart Burlesque group first toured in 2003 and opened for Guns N' Roses and Courtney Love, before suspending the tour for nearly a decade.[20][3] The show returned in Fall 2013 and has toured across the US, Canada and Australia, selling out numerous shows in each country. The show has also visited the UK and Chile with its high-energy mix of classic and new burlesque dancing, choreographed by Manwe Sauls-Addison.[21][20]

The Blackheart Burlesque hosts a show of cult-classic numbers including performances based on Star Wars and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and pop culture references like Game of Thrones and Fifty Shades of Grey. As of 2016, the show is hosted by Sunny Suicide and Katherine Suicide and features a changing line-up of dancers. During the shows, there is an element of audience participation and guests are encouraged to take photos of the performers and share them on social media.[22][23]

Ballroom Blitz[edit]

The SuicideGirls Ballroom Blitz is a monthly rock and metal club night in the UK, taking place at Camden's Electric Ballroom. It boasts various stage performances including fire performance, pole dancing and classic burlesque, alongside cage dancing and rock, metal and alternative music. Performances come from UK Suicide Girls and Suicide Girl Hopefuls, guest DJs and guest acts from dance and fire performance groups.[24]

Controversies[edit]

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.[25] Numerous members have reported that their journals and message board posts were removed because of bullying other members. This practice of deleting either objectionable content, disagreeable content, or membership altogether is referred to by Suicide Girls staffers as "zotting" and is implemented by the site's owners in the event that members are slanderous or abusive to other members.[citation needed]

Exclusivity agreement and lawsuits[edit]

A primary issue in the past has been SuicideGirls modeling contract, which prevented its models (including past models, for a time) from working for competing sites or agencies (specifically those dealing in nude photography or erotica).[26] In response to this, the SuicideGirls website stated that only models "who have chosen to be involved in special projects" signed an exclusivity agreement in addition to their standard modeling contract barring them from working with direct competitors for a certain amount of time.[9] SG replaced the contract with a model release in 2006. Many models have received many mainstream modeling jobs from the exposure gained through SuicideGirls.[27]

Many of the former models involved in the 2005 dispute are now involved with the competing sites GodsGirls and Deviant Nation. 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.[28][29] 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.[30][31][32] 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.[30] 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."[33]

Criticism by models[edit]

In an article 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".[34]

Other allegations surrounding the SuicideGirls' administration have appeared in a number of established publications, including New York Press and Wired magazine.[35]

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".[36]

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.[37][38]

Richard Prince[edit]

In 2015, American artist Richard Prince appropriated images from the Suicide Girls' Instagram printed them on canvas and added remarks into comment threads. The works were displayed at the Freize Art Fair and one of the images was sold for $90,000. In response, the SuicideGirls sold prints of the images for $90 a piece with the proceeds going to charity.[39][40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard", Metroactive, January 4, 2006
  2. ^ "Suicidegirls.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Audrey Piehl (October 5, 2015). "SucideGirls Celebrates Alternative Women With Sexy, Pop Culture Burlesque". The Badger Herald. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Julia Rubin (August 20, 2015). "Going Pink: The Suicide Girls Story". Racked. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  5. ^ Ghahremani, Tanya (January 5, 2011). "Best Coast: The 15 Hottest Women on "Californication"". Complex. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Appleford, Steve (February 6, 2004). "Dave Grohl Drums Up Probot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  7. ^ Grace Young (November 12, 2003). "Interview: 'There's Nothing Sexier Than a Smart Person'". The Tech. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Perry, Douglas (April 8, 2016). "SuicideGirls' Sexy Burlesque Comes to Portland: Where to See Them, On Stage and Off". OregonLive. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b SuicideGirls. "The Trash Can". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  10. ^ "About SuicideGirls", Suicidegirls.com.
  11. ^ Missy Suicide: SuicideGirls Feral House, 2004 ISBN 1-932595-03-1 S. 8
  12. ^ "FAQ". suicidegirlspress.com. 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2016-05-31. 
  13. ^ Huntley, Kristine (October 19, 2006). "CSI: New York --'Oedipus Hex'". CSI Files. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  14. ^ Tucker, Ken (2006-11-17). "Paget Brewster". Entertainment Weekly. 
  15. ^ "Pictures of hot pinup girls, naked gothic girls, pics of sexy emo girls, nude punk rock women". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  16. ^ "Mike Marshall". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-05-31. 
  17. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die! in Theaters on March 12th
  18. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die on VOD
  19. ^ Cyrlaque Lamar (May 23, 2011). "The Suicide Girls Comic Book! It's a Nip-Slip Dystopi! NSFW!". io9. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b Janessa Hilliard (November 17, 2015). "Suicide Girls Bring Blackheart Burlesque to The Pressroom in Downtwon Phoenix November 18". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Suicide Girls co-founder Missy Suicide gives us the lowdown about the Blackheart Burlesque". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2016-05-31. 
  22. ^ Sarah Batcha (July 10, 2015). "Comic-Con 2015: Suicide Girls' Blackheart Burlesque Hits House of Blues". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  23. ^ Jennifer Wong (April 6, 2015). "SuicideGirls Give Frisky, Lively Performance at The New Parish". The Daily Californian. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Suicide Girls Ballroom Blitz". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-05-31. 
  25. ^ "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL" by Randy Dotinga, Wired September 28, 2005.
  26. ^ "Suicide Defense" by Ian Demsky, Willamette Week, January 11, 2006.
  27. ^ SuicideGirls. "model testimonial". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  28. ^ Willamette Week Online. "Suicide Defense". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  29. ^ "Suicide Girls Gone Mad" by Esther Haynes, Jane
  30. ^ a b "Lithium Picnic Legal Fund" by Apneatic, Lithium Picnic LiveJournal Community, February 13, 2007.
  31. ^ "SuicideGirls vs. Lithium Picnic", Fleshbot, February 16, 2007.
  32. ^ "SuicideGirls Sues Lithium Picnic Photographer Philip Warner" by Justin Bourne, AVN Online, June 15, 2007.
  33. ^ "LITHIUM PICNIC studio". Lithiumpicnic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  34. ^ Fulton, Deidre. "SuicideGirls revolt: Close to 40 of the punk-rock-porn models walk off the site The Boston Phoenix (October 7–13, 2005)
  35. ^ Randy Dotinga. "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  36. ^ Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard" MetroActive (January 24, 2006)
  37. ^ "'Pawn Stars' shop girl Olivia Black fired after her porn site past is revealed". Fox News. December 20, 2012.
  38. ^ "Olivia Black: 'Pawn Stars' Reality Starlet Fired For Nude Photos From Her Past As A Porn Star". International Business Times. December 20, 2012.
  39. ^ Needham, Alex (May 27, 2015). "Richard Prince v Suicide Girls in an Instagram Price War". The Guardian. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  40. ^ Heyman, Jessie (May 28, 2015). "SuicideGirls Respond to Richard Prince in the Best Way Possible". Vogue. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]