“Who gets to decide whether an image is sexual or art? A Silicon Valley coder, that’s who, and his right-wing counterpart.”
I’ve talked about nipple censorship a lot over the past few years. Specifically, here, here, here, and here. This issue has been pervasive, and sometimes invasive, pretty much from the moment social media became a thing. Turns out, not only do artists not like being censored, women don’t like having their bodies treated differently than male bodies. Gee, who would have ever thought that would be a problem </sarcasm>?
Given the national conversation currently taking place regarding sexual harassment, one might not think now is the time to bring up the whole nipple topic again. Yet, this may be the perfect time for the subject to be discussed because at its core censorship of women’s nipples feeds into the objectification of women in general which is exactly what leads to sexual harassment in the first place. If we are going to do something toward ending sexual harassment, then we’re going to have to talk about how we look at women, how we respond to women, and how we treat women in every different kind of encounter we have with them.
Accenting this need are two articles, with video, that popped up in my newsfeed. One is from Dazed magazine, produced by Matt Lambert and beautifully voiced in a poem read by Adwoa Aboah. “If a guy’s moob is bigger than a woman’s breast, why are her nipples the ones they protest?” she asks. The short film challenges the shaming we, as a society, attach to women’s bodies and our reluctance to talk about it not just on social media but other areas of society as well.
The second comes from Purple magazine, a French-based fashion periodical, highlighting the self-made video by Maria Forqué. The title is impossibly long: Do you have 15 mins to see naked girl Maria Forqué talk about Instagram and censorship? The video is roughly edited even though she doesn’t move through the entire fifteen minutes. I can only assume the edits were necessary as she appears to have some difficulty reading at times. Still, her message is powerful and important. Her Instagram account, which is her primary source of income, was deleted after three years without any warning, all because of her use of nude female imagery in her art. You’ll need to turn up your volume and understand that English isn’t her first language. There’s no question, however, that you need to hear her message.
A plethora of issues surround the topic of sexual harassment and this is just one. While all the issues need to be addressed, we’ve been wrestling with this particular topic for a long time. We’re not going to begin to get a grip on the topic of objectification until we deal with this, have this conversation, and come to an understanding as a society that women have complete control over their bodies, and that includes how they’re presented on social media.
Here are both videos. You’ll need a total of just under 20 minutes to watch them both. Grab a cup of coffee and watch.