Thursday, September 29, 2022

Minh-Ha T. Pham's "Why We Can't Have Nice Things"

Minh-Ha T. Pham is Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at the Pratt Institute and author of Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging.

She applied the Page 99 Test to her new book, Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Social Media’s Influence on Fashion, Ethics, and Property, reported the following:
I’d say that the Page 99 Test mostly worked for Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

It’s on page 99 where I introduce Diet Prada, the most famous example of the phenomenon of online anti-fashion piracy shaming that is the subject of my book. (I term this phenomenon “crowdsourced intellectual property regulation.”) As I explain beginning on page 99, Diet Prada presents an instructive example of this phenomenon for a number of reasons. First, Diet Prada's online reach and influence on the industry—what many call “the Diet Prada effect”—are enormous. Second, Diet Prada exemplifies the professionalization of the kind of unwaged, informal, armchair regulatory work that has become so widespread on the Internet and that the global fashion industry is increasingly reliant on. (Crowdsourced IP regulation is just the latest stage in the digital reorganization of fashion work--something I've been tracking for about a decade.) Third (and paradoxically), Diet Prada diverges from this phenomenon in fundamental ways because its determinations of creativity and copying don’t take for granted the racial and colonial assumptions of mainstream western intellectual property thinking. In other words, Diet Prada’s exceptionality “proves the rules” of crowdsourced IP regulation that I analyze throughout my book.

If the reader only read the chapter on Diet Prada (which begins on page 99) or began the book from page 99, they would have a useful understanding of the problems and potential of “crowdsourced IP regulation.”
Visit Minh-Ha T. Pham's website.

--Marshal Zeringue