It seems the pirate life may be taking its toll. In a survey of over 1 million Flash animators using unlicensed software, only 16%, 1 in 6, have the courage to call themselves “attractive.” This is in drastic comparison to a 2009 poll of over 800 animators using registered versions of Flash who consider themselves “unbelievably hot.”
The survey, conducted by the Institute for a Better Tomorrow on a grant from the SIIA’s anti-piracy lifestyle outreach committee, was prompted by a government task force looking into the cumulative effects of piracy, societal pressure and high fructose corn syrup energy drinks on the self-esteem and confidence of users of unlicensed software.
The survey found that among animators working with bootleg copies of Flash, almost 40% admitted that one of the biggest issues they faced was industry and societal pressure to be considered “beautiful.” Only 1 in 5 could remember the last time they were told they were “good looking” or otherwise complimented on their looks. In fact, more than 85% reported that as recently as 1 week ago, they were told they should “shower and get out more often.”
The results are hardly surprising, according to image consultant and ActionScript programmer Tad Weiner-Flannigan. “In the Flash world, feeling confident about your looks is a combination of being in a caring relationship and actually having good looks. For most Flash animators using pirated software, neither one is the case.” While more than 35% of those surveyed said that at least once in the last 6 months they’d told a fellow Flash animator they “looked great today,” most admitted they did so “while trying to contain a laugh.”
An SIIA spokesperson commented, “We are not in the least suggesting that only ugly people use pirated copies of Flash, or that continual use of pirated software weighs so heavily on people that it negatively impacts their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. We just hope like hell it does.”
Weiner-Flannigan continued, “It’s clear that the industry has a long way to go in getting Flash animators to purchase working copies of the program, in addition to boosting animator self-esteem. Some of the most productive and prolific Flash animators using unlicensed software are pretty hideous. But that’s OK because inside, we’re all beautiful. Even French-Canadians!”