The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.—George Bernard Shaw
I’m rather surprised that I would have cause to visit this topic more than once in a week. Just a couple of days ago, we posted a video from the New York Times and talked about whether efforts by #FreeTheNipple and HeForShe were doing any good. While both are doing a wonderful job of raising awareness, which is a good start, the pace of change in painfully slow in the face of antiquated, hypocritical, and misogynistic moralities.
Just how heavy-handed some entities are become very apparent yesterday when Russian model Irina Shayk shared a collection of images from her recent Givenchy campaign. She appears in the ads with male model Chris Moore. Ms. Shayk is nude, Mr. Moore is topless, but their torsos are pressed together seductively so that nothing is actually showing. At least, that was the intention. Apparently, the fascists at Instagram get their jollies pulling out their magnifying glass and inspecting every little detail of a photo, because they managed to find just the hint of Irina’s nipple in the shadows and took down the photo.
Now, everyone who has half a brain is well aware that the censors at Instagram base their policies on a 13th-century morality that equates female nudity with the very devil him/herself while totally excusing men who do the same. This particular instance, however, is especially egregious as someone has to really get up close and wayyyyy to personal to even notice the hint of areola that can be found in the shadow of this photo. Here, look for yourself:
At this point, I fail to understand why anyone uses Instagram for anything more than photos of their cat and what was regurgitated from dinner. Sure, I have an account, but there are more pictures of cats and food there than people. I especially fail to understand why Tommy Hilfiger is putting in a separate Instagram pit at his Fall/Winter runway show and Burberry has chosen 16-year-old Brooklyn Beckham to shoot its new fragrance campaign, live on Instagram. Not only do both acts offend legitimate photographers everywhere, but they further endorse the sort of idiotic policies that Instagram uses to continue their inequality toward women!
Meanwhile, someone shoved pop artist Rita Ora in front of the lens of Terry Richardson, who has had more accusations of sexual misbehavior than Bill Cosby, but yet someone keeps letting him take pictures of naked women. Why, I fail to understand. Bill Cosby has been shamed into perpetual hiding, but not only does Richardson roam free, publishers keep hiring the creep! Exactly how this all is supposed to make sense, I don’t know. Richardson’s name alone has the power to offend, and perhaps that’s his schtick.
Of course, the photos themselves are, true to Richardson’s form, quite horrid. Again, don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself:
Not surprisingly, there was pushback yesterday when these pictures became public. Some of the criticism was to be expected, given that the music industry as a whole seems to be in this rut of one artist disparaging another. However, I found it interesting that the Telegraph‘s left-leaning Rebecca Reid, who has supported nudes in the past, totally went off on Ora, calling her topless photos, “A slap in the face of women everywhere.” The points she makes, essentially claiming that Ora’s stunt objectifies women rather than celebrating and supporting them, are valid though the examples she uses are a little shaky. Rita’s appearance in the mag is only to promote her new album, not to express some greater sentiment or value.
And Terry Richardson’s bad photography just makes the whole thing trashy.
Let’s face it: our whole attitude toward nipples and breasts and body parts, in general, is skewed. We can’t have one standard for men and a totally opposite one for women. If you don’t think that approach is wrong, then you might be a degenerate misogynist in need of an attitude adjustment.
And through all this one thing seems frightfully obvious: I need to be shooting more nudes and offend more people. Apparently that’s all anyone notices any more.