Monday, May 16, 2011

Formspring question of the week

Yikes- I'm behind.. I started this post on Friday.. it was Formspring Friday- The day that I invite everyone to ask me anything and I always answer. Usually it's fun, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes thought provoking. I got a question today that I really wanted to talk about further. The question came in anonymously and was

do you feel that posing nude and using a banana as a phallic symbol is something your young son will someday be proud of?

They are referring to a photo which I used in my last post "Vegans.. we need to talk" where I talked about sizism and fatphobia in the vegetarian and vegan community. This was the photo:

by Dan Owens

This photo was one from a set of photos that I got after posing for a boudoir workshop for a photography class. Let's, first, touch on the fact that the person who asked the question lumped nude posing in with the obviously sexual themed boudoir photos- the impression is that they seem to think nudity=sexual. A lot of people think this actually and many of them even boil it down to "if it's a woman". Not that the poster specified sexist biases, but they both amount to both disrespect to the human body and to sexuality itself. Above- that's sexual. Now here's an example of the nude photography I've posed for:

"Basic Kindness" by Allen Studios
The fact that anyone can think of nude art like this as no different from pornography is mind blowing. (What's wrong with pornography? Nothing, for the most part, but there's certainly a difference, especially when you're bringing children into it). Maybe I'm just a nudist at heart, or I've befriended too many of them.. but I don't think the human form is inherently sexual. Sure it's capable of sex.. even built for it.. and damn it sure it fun.. but to pretend that that's all there is to a body? That it isn't beautiful in it's own right? Away from the sex and the lust and the hormones? The human body is just beautiful, inspiring and each one is so different from the next and nude art can sometimes say something that a clothed model just can't. This photo above, for instance, wouldn't make nearly the same impact (a statement about body hate and the need for basic kindness) if I were clothed. If someone looks at that and finds it sexual-  that's on them, not on me. I am not the arbiter of their lust. Mostly, it seems that these people have very little appreciation for the human body which is just plain sad because every body is amazing.

For any Parks and Recreation fans out there, the last episode was actually extremely relevant. Leslie Nopes, an employee for the Department of Parks and Recreation attended an art show featuring local artists.. one of whom was her coworker and had painted her as a centaur- a goddess, with naked breasts. It was bought and hung in the government building where she works, sparking outrage from some of the local prudes (really just one). She was interviewed on the local news about the difference between art and pornography- with a surprise guest porn star. The newsman asked the porn actress "To you, what defines pornography?" which she answered "Well, for me, it's the part where the penis goes in".

On to the second issue- that being sexy or sexual is a bad thing. Part of the point of doing the boudoir photos to begin with was to show that fat people, especially fat women, are sexual beings as much as anyone else. Fat people are dehumanized and desexualized. Not only are fat people not supposed to be sexy, we're not even supposed to be having sex. Ask most of society what they think about fat sex and they disgust will show up in there somewhere. For some people, even the sight of fatties kissing is disgusting and offensive.

By Chris Goette
However, the subject of desexualization goes further.. in this case, to all parents.. and that's a hell of a lot of people. You hear that parents? You must be asexual and devoid of lust or sexiness, else your kids or future kids find it icky. That's right.. even you future parents out there must avoid sexy photos at all costs! Oh, but my photos are out there. Out on the internet where just anyone can see them! Because I'm fairly positive my son is going to go browsing through my decade or more old photos. Kids have nothing better to do, right? And if he did it wouldn't be horribly traumatizing.. because I will never  (Are you hearing me on this?), never teach my son to be ashamed of sex, sexuality, nudity, the human body, or expression. The fact that it comes in the form of activism should only add to the ridiculousness of such a notion that my son would be ashamed.

What it comes down to is sex shaming. Sex is bad, sex is immoral and sex should be kept out of public and away from all of the "decent" people- you know, for the children. How dare people like me not be properly ashamed of our public sexiness or sexuality. I don't think my child will be traumatized, even if he does come across that photo-. If you're not aware that your parents do and have done far worse (yes, even when they're older) then you have a few things to learn. Probably more than a few if I'm being honest.

1 comment:

  1. I think it totally sucks that people have such hangups over sex and nudity. As well, I think it is total bullshit the way that our society has convinced millions of people that there is a perfect weight, size, shape, etc...

    Fuck 'em all, Heather. I think your full of awesome.