Sarah R. Phillips is very detailed and analytical as a Sociology Prof should be. That much is for sure. Facts and quotes are scattered amidst her prose work in a way that draws you into believing what she says. She makes a statement and offers proof much like a prosecutor draws a conclusion and offers evidence for which you are dared to disprove. I like her presentation and am half way through the book “Modeling Life“. At this point, I can say she doesn’t leave anything out. Having been a figure model myself, I fully relate to all the issues, concerns, and stories mentioned by her interview subjects. She doesn’t ignore anything. She offers historical insight and elaborates on the relationship between artist(s) and model, boundaries, sex, the penis, people’s ill-perception about models vs. their admiration for the results rendered by the artist.

Let me clarify, Chapters 4-7 deal with sex, erotica, and genitalia in some way, shape, form or fashion, but its cleverly done, informative, and I would stretch to say even necessary. In particular, she discusses moments when male models have that uncomfortable moment when an erection may occur and how they deal with it. She goes into how female models may feel violated when an artist constantly positions himself for the best view of her genitals or may illustrate them in an exaggerated fashion in their work. She covers instances when models may have an accident while posing during their menstrual cycle. Sarah covers it all and expounds upon it. You can tell she feels totally at ease discussing and reporting the subject which obviously bespeaks her sociology background and research on matters inflenencing human sexuality.

At the same time, I am still not totally sure I can concur with some of her findings. She is definitely an outsider looking into this world. I wish she’d have left Portland and sought out models in California, or maybe some from the Midwest. I did not like some of her associations with art models and sex work. Case in point, she speaks to the prostitute who doesn’t want to be degraded by being called a whore; and then the stripper who feels the same about being associated with a prostitute; and finally the art model who resents being referred to as a stripper. I felt there was an allusion to the fact that [she believes] we are who we are despite our resentments for derogatory titles, a prostitute may not like the title of a whore, but that’s still what they are…Just as art models may not like being called a stripper but in essence, that is indeed what they are. I’ll keep reading, so should you. Enjoy these images of Laura.