Freedom of Expression…Freedom to Create…Freedom to Embrace Who you Are – Is it a Fallacy?

I am calling out Facebook, Instagram, the media… and all those who find nudity – or specifically in my case – nudity in art offensive.  Seriously????  When something as natural as the human body is found offensive, not for public viewing…we have a SIGNIFICANT cultural problem.

In a society where violence, abuse of animals & people, degrading behaviour & comments has become more socially acceptable than a naked body as a social post, a discussion, an article or in a movie, it is time that we take a good hard look at ourselves.

In July 2016 after my first Body Paint photo shoot, I released imagery from the shoot via a blog on my Facebook account…only to have it locked – both my business and my personal pages.  After much discussion, and needing to review all images and confirm that there was no offensive content, I was re-opened.

Well, nearly 12 months on, nothing has changed.  In fact, things have gotten worse.  In fact…I knew that to boost this today…I would need to use an image with no breasts, no nipples…I would need to be fully clothed.  Due to the ‘nudity’ of some of my artwork – a body painted and covered in a variety of textures, then photographed, any ads with such content is deemed to be offensive and not within appropriate content guidelines. Every ad, event or post that has been created that incorporates the art pieces following body painting photo shoots are denied.  Every single one…regardless of the amount of nudity…regardless of whether a nipple is showing – god forbid!

This raises so many questions…both personally and in business.  As an artist, my business – as with any business, means that marketing is a key component to the development and growth of the company.  In a culture where we are censored and shut down….even though we are lead to believe that our culture is progressive, open and happy to embrace all manner of things…do we need to conform to be heard?  I mean…I did it today…I let go of my creative intention to ensure that this would be read.  When the latest buzz words in business are ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘innovation’, ‘creativity’….how on earth is this fostered when, as soon as you step outside ‘convention’…you are pushed back against…hard.  Does that stop us?  No.  Definitely not, but it is damn frustrating.

My latest artistic project Emergence, is all about celebrating women, celebrating the beauty of the female form.  To show women and men – of all ages – that we are beautiful in whatever shape we are.  In today’s society, positive messages about women’s body image, and the beauty and strength of women is essential.  To achieve this, there is a requirement for bodies to be on display.  There is no violence, no porn, no negative imagery of women, absolutely no shaming or degrading content.  Yet…something beautiful, artistic & natural is not acceptable. How incredibly sad.

In art…the naked body – particularly women – has been used as a subject for centuries.  And now, in 2017 – in a ‘progressive’ and ‘modern’ culture, we cannot accept looking at the naked female form. That we should be covered, not celebrate the natural beauty that we are.

In a recent article shared by Janine Garner and written by Liz Walsh – The Advertiser, much discussion was had about body shaming, about how young girls feel immense pressure to act and look a certain way.  And how social media, movies and cultural behaviours are perpetuating such negative beliefs.  How is this ever going to change if we are not able to freely and openly accept ourselves, accept artistic expression of the naked body?  That when we see positive and affirming artistic nudity we have a tendency to shy away from it…block it…that it is deemed to be pushing boundaries…not something that should be viewed openly.

Is it right that, as an artist, I need to curb my creativity.. that I need to conform to rules set out by a small group of people? I mean…if you don’t like what you see…don’t look.  Don’t associate.  Don’t participate.

It is right that freedom of expression is denied?  The fact that a decision has been made and no one has even read the many positive and supportive comments about the empowerment and inspirational content I am offering to people.

The film The Matrix – all those years ago picked it…must we all live with predefined rules – basically clones of each other.  Living the way we are ‘told’ to.  Must we accept inequality, degrading behaviour, being pushed down because we choose to stand proud – be unique, be real.

So…yes…I am calling you out Facebook…Instagram…and any other media or individuals who – through actions of oppression are reinforcing negative and damaging behaviours.  It’s time you changed…to help create the change the world so desperately needs.

Related Tag: Sydney Art