Why is it okay for Michaelangelo’s David to be naked in public but not for me?
Yes, I know I don’t have the same sex appeal as David. I’m not blind. But seriously, why can he stand there naked in public, day and night, with no one batting an eyelid, whereas I’d get arrested if I had to do the same?
While Facebook is changing its ‘nudity in art’ guidelines, thus making it possible for pictures such as Goustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde to do the rounds, many women are fighting for Instagram to #freethenipple.
It’s quite ironic, isn’t it? That we share pictures of men without their top on but report pictures of women with their tops off. And no, I’m not saying this as a horny straight man, but as someone who genuinely believes that all this is quite… ironic.
But let’s take the intelligent way around this. No one in this day and age would really consider Picasso’s Nude in the Black Armchair to be something pornographic because we’re so used to the body’s lines that it just seems too abstract. The same goes for Egon Schiele’s Woman in Black Stockings, although you would if you’re into hentai…
Image: Nude in the Black Armchair by Pablo Picasso
Yet, artworks like Jules Joseph Lefebvre’s La Cigale and Hokusai’s The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife are more realistic and much more hardcore. The first one shows a beautiful girl, naked like the day she was born… not quite sure she’s even 18, though. The second is a woman being given oral by a giant squid, while another one kisses her – yes, really.
Should these be banned on social media? Hardly. The point of art is to take us where our lives cannot, to inspire us, to push us to our limits, to make us wonder, to make us feel uneasy, and sometimes even unclean.
Image: La Cigale by Jules Joseph Lefebvre
But, if there’s nothing wrong with nudity in art, then what’s so wrong with a woman’s nipple popping up on our Facebook news feed every now and then? Are we really so scared of the human body when it isn’t bent by the artistic mind?
In other words, why is one accepted while the other is not? Why do we take school children to museums full of naked artworks and teach them that they are beautiful but then reprimand women who have a nip-slip on TV or who sunbathe topless? Sounds like double standards to me…
Do you agree with James? Let us know in the comment section below.