While Needham was poncing about at some rave or whatever the hell he and his triangular shaped head were up to in the ’90s (and yes, I am going ad hom, because let’s face it, if Needham can write a whole column in a broadsheet newspaper telling a woman that her opinions about her own teenage tits are off the mark, then I can say that his head is shaped like a tortilla chip), Kate Moss was a lonely, hungry teenager, far away from home. That her exploitation, that the use of her body for photographs for which her consent was clearly lacking, should be held up by a journalist as a worthy sacrifice in the name of art, is arrogance of the highest order. It is also, considering the cultural climate in which these words have emerged, somewhat sickening.
It is fitting that these words should come about at a time where Britain is grappling with a paedophile scandal the likes of which have never been seen before. The newspapers are full of articles about institutional cover ups, about how the media in this country turned a blind eye (and in some cases, actively enabled) the exploitation of young girls. In a week where 14 year old Elle Fanning was hailed by the Daily Mail for her ‘womanly curves’, where that newspaper can simultaneously campaign against the sexualisation of young girls and leer, Humbert Humbert like, at their youthful bodies in cocktail dresses because they are ‘all grown up’. At a time like this, Needham feels it appropriate to justify Moss’ exploitation in the name of art. Have I got it right? The teenage girls exploited and molested by Jimmy Savile are victims, but a young Kate Moss’ tits are fair game? Because it’s for art? For culture?