I really have to calm myself down just to write this post. I generally have a high tolerance for most things in this world, but one thing I find really hard to endure is blatant stupidity. The logic in censorship of the female body is about the most idiotic construct in the history of all ideas. The arguments for censorship are either that some people may be offended by an image of a naked body or that the image would create lustful thoughts in the mind of the beholder, leading to increased promiscuity, rape, etc. The later not being support by any science.
If you follow either of those arguments then the next question would be: so how much of the body can be revealed? If we cover or mosaic a woman’s nipples and vulva (as required by Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.) would that eradicate the offence or prevent uncontrolled desire, regardless of the pose or context of the image? Or would you insist on a skirt covering her thighs and a top to cover her breast…stomach and…shoulders. Can she wear yoga tights that show the exact shape of her legs, bum and hips but not the flesh colour? You can then see how the Muslims really understand the logic here and you end up with a full burqa.
Below is one of my photos that has recently been flagged on Tumblr for not meeting Community Guidelines. The image has no overt sexual context (unless you have some sort of mealie/corn fetish). The real “problem” is the small number of pixels in the center of the image, to which the eye is drawn. It is this small collection of darker unblurred pixels that are supposed to offend or cause uncontrolled desire.
Or, take this photo that was removed from Instagram (before I restricted access to my account). Some follower obviously took the trouble of zooming in far enough to notice that Tamsin is not wearing underwear. If you have ever tried to zoom in on an Instagram photo, you will know that it is not easily done. I wonder if in that moment the person who reported the image to the Instagram police suddenly became offended or if some weird self righteous satisfaction emerged from their shadow.
The line between pornography and art is really in the eye of the beholder. Traditional fine art nudes are often very beautiful, but in a way they objectify the model more than glamour or boudoir nudes. This idea is argued beautifully by Liz LaPoint in her Youtube video “Art or Porn? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiSZP_E9Gxk). In fine art nudes the models never make eye contact with the viewer and take on sculptural poses that deflect from their sexuality and humanity. In this form they become more object than subject.
Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with fine art nudes or even pornography. For me the issue is one of CONSENT and not CONTENT. I suppose a “dick pic”can be art and someone no doubt will find it beautiful. If you post dick pics on your social media profile, I am delighted that you think your member is a work of art, but I am unlikely to follow your account. Unsolicited dick pics, though, cross the boundary of consent, because the viewer didn’t ask to view them and these images are now being dumped into their personal space. In a similar way, the posting of nudes without crediting the photographer and/or the model is also an issue of consent – the model has not consented to their body being displayed in the forum or by the person who displays it in that instance.
In my view, it is very hard to argue for censorship using any moral framework. Somewhere along the line the logic just falls flat on its face. At its core, it is rather grounded in patriarchy, where men want to control what women choose to do with their bodies. A strong woman, confident in her own sexuality is a threat to weak men who have suppressed their own sexuality and are fighting for some form of control.