Any healthy society needs elements that refuse to behave, that don’t follow the rules, ignore what is expected, or what is required.
It’s the punk ethos that we celebrate and scorn in equal measure.
In a modern sense being a supermodel epitomises the punk, a self obsessed individual refusing to conform to a way of life. Being a supermodel, or indeed any kind of model, requires no performing talent or formal education of any kind, and you can’t buy into it. It is just gifted to you on a plate when someone sees you waiting for a bus sometime in your teens.
It’s been on the cards since the punk baton was handed over by fun loving footballers, they’ve been forced into line by commercial requirements and are now about as interesting as Coldplay. Once the demons of working class Britain who dared to enjoy their success, now they’re more likely to stay at home and eat skinless chicken breast and salad with no dressing.
Music was the original and most obvious place for punk until middle class students took it over by filling gaps in the market with their mum friendly acoustic waffle. Today’s requirement is of an artist who’ll pretend to be everyone’s friend and actually give a shit about the people who consume their product – ‘I’m just another guy down the pub’. Like it or not, Cara Delevingne is a universe more rock and roll than Ed Sheeran, who is essentially light entertainment for the family.
What we’ve been left with is an easy listening compliant society, terrified of stepping out of line and incurring the tabloid wrath, a criminal record or worse still, making the wrong career move. It is the supermodel that doesn’t give a shit about any of this and can offer a glimmer of hope.
Like footballers, supermodels are continuously having to justify their earnings against a mythical scale of worth created by jealous journalists and those bent on diverting attention away from the real greed.
It’s the market economy that we’re assured is the only system that works, yet it seems that it’s only acceptable for bankers and their Eaton chums to exploit this system. Wealthy financiers are more than happy for the obedient tabloids to point the finger elsewhere on their behalf. Anyone else enjoying ‘The system that works’ using a gifted talent outside of being a clean living pop role model is derided along with whoever else is the enemy of the moment.
And what of the detractors who point to a lack of any real talent?
What is a girl supposed to do? Ignore the easiest and most pleasant way to a comfortable living by studying Law in a provincial university town? Ignore the first class international travel and complimentary coke in favour of a load of debt and bitterness? Become a nurse so that people can marvel at her commitment but not give a shit that she has to drive a beaten up 15 year old Nissan Micra?
We were urged by our parents to follow our dreams and hearts and use our natural gifts. But when that means walking down the catwalk rather than working at the BBC or being a travel writer, the dream and heart rules no longer apply.
Follow your dream sweetheart – just don’t follow them too far.
And what of the tabloid suggestion that Kate Moss is the worst role model of the century? So what if she is? What’s a role model anyway? A tabloid role model is someone who does what they’re told, keeps their mouth shut and works hard – Middle class and boring, someone like JK Rowling or the minted hippy Richard Branson.
Rather than deride these people for their choice and behaviour, we should be celebrating the minuscule gaps that exist in our brutal market economy for those that fit perfectly into them.