Why your pictures of naked chicks aren’t art

OR: I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED CONTEXT

I want to start out by saying that this is a huge topic. I also think that the question ‘What is art?’ is a bit of non-question, so I’m going to skirt round it because really there’s only an ‘answer’ in the context of particular approaches to the academic study of art, and each approach has it’s own answer.

“It’s art because I say it is”

fountain-2Dude, I totally understand where you’re coming from. You took a look at Duchamp’s ‘Readymades’ and reached the conclusion that if the world thinks an upside down urinal can be art, then certainly anything YOU make can be labelled art too. Or possibly you saw a Rothko, a Mondrian, or even an Emin and thought ‘I can do better than that’.

Well, Duchamp has an awful lot to answer for, I’m telling you now. You see these artists, they have context to their work. There is a message or a story in every image or sculpture, a reason why those works look the way that they do. Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ in particular is an expression of frustration at the art institution, subverting the salon culture (to which many of you aspire, I know) and rallying against the system. In some ways it was him that helped to *allow* you to say it’s art because you say it is. Instead of thinking ‘I could do better’ perhaps you should see his upside down urinal for what it is – the metaphorical great-grandfather of your naked chick. I know, that must really suck. An artwork that everyone thinks is so utterly banal couldn’t possibly be your inspiration.

However you are onto something with this argument. Clive Bell did write something persuasive about work needing to have “aesthetic emotion”. He argued that artwork should be a visceral experience that prompted a response. However both Bell and Kant argued that formalist qualities like composition and colour were the defining features of something being art, and that the most developed work had no subject, only form. I’m afraid that your naked ladies will almost always count as a ‘subject’, so that argument goes out the window too. (Plus… I’m not sure that photography in general has yet has grasped the importance of form – a discussion I’ve had several times with some rather good photographers).

“But X painted naked ladies”

Raphaël - Les Trois GrâcesI know, it’s so unfair. All these incredible artists in the past, they painted naked ladies. However you have to take into consideration the movement of time and culture when you’re making these kinds of comments.

For instance, during the Italian Renaissance nudity appeared to be primarily about the artist showing off their skill as a craftsperson. The meticulous observation and skill involved in painting the mens rippling muscles and the women’s contorted torso’s were really quite something. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever studied anything in the way that Da Vinci or Raphael did, but then again I’m not quite sure I fancy cutting up dead bodies and observing the way that the internal organs sit under the skin. Thankfully we have books for that now. But my point is that they were doing something genuinely unprecedented. As Vasari waxed lyrical, their ‘truth to nature’ was truly the high point of art. (Except later it turns out it wasn’t, he was wrong). But the sad fact is, that as a photographer you’re not producing groundbreaking pieces of artwork based on many, many hours of anatomy studies. You’re photographing a naked chick. It’s not quite the same and it takes an awful lot less skill… dedication… motivation… and so on.

Manet - OlympiaI guess you might wonder why I’ve put a picture of Édouard Manet’s Olympia next to this paragraph. After all, Manet was famously part of the Parisian flâneur culture that basically objectified women for a laugh. Flâneurs were intelligent men in the 19th century who would stroll the streets of Paris and take trips to the parks or the theatre in order to watch people. Mostly women. Some of them, like Manet and Baudelaire would draw the women that they saw on these outings too. I mean, the modern day equivalent is a male photographer following a young woman around with his camera and long lens taking pictures of her. Oh wait…

But anyway, I included the very naked Olympia here for a reason. You see, although Manet was pretty much a pervy creep (although, he is marginally forgiven because he was ‘of his time’) he did paint his naked chicks with interesting context. You see, Olympia broke the mould (as did his painting of Suson in A Bar at the Folies-Bergère) because he understood that him and his mates were being creepy pervs and was actually commenting on it within his works.

Olympia isn’t just a naked chick lying on a bed in her finery being served by her black slave. No. She’s a prostitute. You see the way she’s staring at you? That was unprecedented for the time. She’s looking at you and accusing you, and I guarantee when you went with your wife to view the work in the polite company of the French Salon you would have been rather flustered and embarrassed. You see, she’s not only displaying herself as a prostitute, she’s reminding you that you use her services.

Edouard_Manet_-_Olympia_-_Google_Art_Project_4

All that wonderful French Realist and Impressionist art that photographers love so much? Quite a large proportion is exploitative and objectifying images of hookers that they enjoyed fucking. Not sure I’d take that kind of culture as my inspiration. Unless of course I was producing some kind of counter-culture, revisionist comment on the dispositif of the white-male dominated art institution. However, I think most photographers are not.

A two-tier art system

Mostly art is defined by the art institution. Yeah, I’m afraid that’s people like the galleries, the dealers, the critics and the art historians. You’re probably not part of the art institution and so in the academic sense, you don’t really get a say on what counts as art. You almost certainly don’t get to judge your own work as being art. ‘So it’s all about the money!’ you cry. Well, yes and no. Money and art are intrinsically linked. As an artist gets more well known their work becomes worth more, and then when it reaches a certain point as an artist is worth more their work is more well known. (However, can you name the guy that exhibited at the Erotica trade-show several years ago who sold a single painting for £125k? No, nor can I. Worth doesn’t mean fame.)

However I suppose what I’m getting at is that, in my belief, there’s a two-tier art system at play. The top tier is obviously what we call art. It’s the works in the major galleries and art museums and the stuff that investors look to collect. It’s the pieces that we write about in essays for our undergraduate degrees and the stuff that regularly hits the news headlines. That’s fine, we’re pretty clear about what art is.

ElderlyspinneraWhat about the second tier? I’d like to propose the use of the words craft, craftsmanship and artisan. But they’re shameful words aren’t they? We’ve been taught that craft is a thing that primarily women do in their spare time or to make practical items for the home. It has a bad reputation and the recent hipster interest in ‘making stuff’ hasn’t helped with that perception.

However craftsmanship is a wonderful thing. It relies on dedication, knowledge, skill and countless hours of practice. At the end of the day, most photographers are primarily interested in the technical side of photography, with creativity as an afterthought, it’s just the way that the medium has grown.

In fact, photographers regularly look down on artists who don’t appear to have a good technical grasp of photography. Just look at the response that artists like Andreas Gursky get. Despite his image ‘Rhein’ being the most valuable photograph ever sold, and it appealing to Bell’s ideas of significant form and therefore being wholly placed in the category of art by both academic writers and the wider art institution, we as photographers love to knock it down and say it’s not ‘proper’ photography. Whatever proper photography is.

The Rhine II 1999 by Andreas Gursky born 1955

But I saw this happen with the rise of ‘Front’ style images too (Yeah, I’ve been around the internet photography community for far too much of my relatively short life – about a third of it in fact). Initially lots of photographers really complained about Front style images (which I don’t really want to include here because I think they’re pretty abhorrent) but then after a few years they realised that they were a very quick way to gain popularity with the models. And so we’re now in some kind of weird Frontism era, with some photographers straying into Post-Frontism.

I’d love to see photographers being more honest about their work in the future, identifying as craftsmen instead of artists. Because if you’re focussing on the technical skills that’s really what you are. Lets reclaim the word away from the shameful label it has become and take it forward as a label for ourselves instead of the word art.

At the heart of it: Objectification

This is a really difficult thing to discuss and that’s possibly why I’ve left it until last. In a few paragraphs it has to be pretty simple too, so please excuse me if things are glossed over – I’ll address things further in future blog posts.

I wrote yesterday about how being a feminist is scary. You put your head above the parapet and write something about how you think that people treat women unfairly and you get rape threats. Yeah. It’s true. I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that lots of women are afraid to speak out about issues like this, especially in a hobby/industry that is still so dominated by men. Mostly I’m telling you this so that you think twice before making comments about how I mustn’t be getting any sex, which is so often said in response to women talking about the way that photographers tend to objectify women (those comments even come from female models themselves sometimes – thanks ladies) or before superimposing a labia on my face, as happened to Mary Beard.

Anyway.

We don’t live in a vacuum. Just as we have to think of the context in which we produce ‘art’ we also have to consider the context in which we live. When you get down to it, the images that we make of models are loaded with cultural context and we simply cannot escape the fact that we live in a society that is still dominated by a patriarchal way of living. For the last several hundred years women have existed primarily as a thing to provide for men. From having babies and keeping the house clean to not being allowed their own sexual pleasure we’ve not really had the easiest time of it.

Where this comes into photography is that this patriarchal view of women informs the way that we look at them. John Berger, as early as the 1970s, wrote about how men watched and women watched themselves being watched. Laura Mulvey picked up the baton later and discussed the male gaze within cinema and you can largely extrapolate her views out to photography and then other kinds of artwork too. She argues that women are generally objectified because heterosexual men are in charge of the camera.

You might decide from this that the way to go would therefore be by trying to produce work that looks from another point of view, however this is very difficult. I am specialising in gender studies within photography as my academic discipline and despite understanding the arguments and looking at endless images, I find it extremely hard not to produce images that have a male gaze. You see, I’m cultured into it. I’ve been brought up being fed images in advertising that tell me how I should view the world. It’s only now that we’re starting to see things change, but that does hopefully mean that future generations should grow up being fed a more balanced diet of imagery.

But how does this affect your naked chicks being art? Well, it’s really quite simple. The objectification of women is rapidly becoming completely unacceptable. Viewing a woman as an object for sexual pleasure is an attitude that is slowly but surely being left in the past. Posing a woman for gratification of the male gaze is about as desirable as casual misogyny. In fact it is casual misogyny.

I know that lots of people will be reading this who are from a slightly older generation. I’m very tolerant, it’s taken me a long time to explain to my wonderful father why things like Page 3 are unacceptable but he gets it and understands it. The thing is, you have to remember that casual misogyny belongs to the 1970s. The 1970s was a time when things like driving home from the pub after a few drinks with no seatbelt on and Jimmy Saville were also acceptable.

There’s no place within the the world of art or photography any longer for casual misogyny, which includes the objectification of women. If you’re objectifying a woman there had better be a damn good reason for it and you’d better be making an extremely salient observation on the world around you. It’s as much as a faux-pas as casual racism – which unfortunately still has a place within amateur model photography too.

So when can I photograph a naked chick?

You can photograph a naked chick anytime you like.

I’d like to encourage a liberated wave of photographers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with photographing a nude woman, except when it’s nasty, objectifying titillation that you’re pretending is art.

I dream of a world where people shoot fantastic images of nude people that don’t outright objectify them and draw from an oppressive culture. This is a long way off though and it needs some bold photographic pioneers. And we won’t always get it right, but sometimes we won’t get it wrong either.

Here’s hoping.

  • shaheen razzaq

    Very nicely written.

  • One important area of modern “culture” being ignored by many is also the outright misogyny present in a high percentage of “pop” songs.

    Robin Thicke and Blurred Lines for instance:
    Talk about getting blasted
    I hate these blurred lines
    I know you want it
    I know you want it
    I know you want it
    But you’re a good girl
    The way you grab me
    Must wanna get nasty
    Go ahead, get at me
    [Pharrell:] Everybody get up

    [Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
    What do they make dreams for
    When you got them jeans on
    What do we need steam for
    You the hottest bitch in this place

    Changing direction for a second……how would you review/consider the work of Tom of Finland ?

    His images pushed all of the boundaries at the time but, his images, would/would not be acceptable now ? Perhaps they would also fall into the “objectification” category as well..?

    • Charlotte

      You must have missed the MASSIVE shitstorm when Thicke released Blurred Lines… it wasn’t pretty!

      I’m not overly familiar with Tom of Finland’s work to be honest. I’ve heard of it, but never looked at it.

  • Anonymous

    Probably one of the most offensive piece of inane dribble that has ever been written by someone that claims to be a journalist! Wields a camera! and is allegedly studying Art History.

    I can only presume this is a wind up, and I hope you feel better for your rant!!!

    The fact you are studying implies you are not in full time employment yet? I do hope before you take that leap, that you learn to identify with your audience and not get so aggressive in your accusations or opinions!

    Failing that you might find your career a very short one.

    You could also consider writing campaigns for UKIP or the BNP – they are so far up their own fantasy world that they don’t see the light of day!

    • Charlotte

      Many thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments.

      I am unsure why you seem to believe that I am ‘claiming’ to be a journalist, a photographer and a student. All three are easily verified and you will in fact find, with considerable ease, that I am indeed a working journalist, a photographer and an undergraduate student. I make no secret of these facts.

      I’m afraid that this is not a wind up and I’m afraid that I am not the only person who feels like a distinctly average snapshot of a naked woman is not art.

      Your assumption that due to my studying (although, in your first line you seem to not believe that I am – so which is it? Am I a student or am I not?) I am not in full time employment is correct. I am self employed and I work part time during term time. However during I regretfully inform you that during my summer break I am in demand to the point where I am working more than full time hours. My deepest apologies for bursting your bubble.

      I have noticed in the past that those who accuse me of being ‘aggressive’ in my opinion are the same kind of people who also suggest that women should not be allowed opinions at all. I am entirely sure that you don’t believe that his is the case, however you do not give me much to go on and in the light of the article on which you are posting, I’m afraid that is the logical assumption that is to be drawn. I find it strange that your opinion (of which I’m sure is based on solid understanding on building an argument) is at odds with my tutors, who I am assured find my direct style in line with current academic practice. It is certainly less aggressive and direct in nature than many writers producing comments for mediums such as journals, high street magazines and newspapers. Although, most of those writers are men, but I would hate to draw conclusions.

      I am touched though by your concern for my career, I’m entirely sure it’s genuine. However rest assured, I’ve already been offered work for when I graduate in my chosen subject, should I wish to take it (I most likely won’t, I plan to go on to further education and then continue to be self employed).

      Your last comment addresses that I may wish to find work with UKIP or the BNP. You may wish to read up on politics before commenting further on the subject. I understand that politics is a broad and difficult subject to understand and that it’s easy to get muddled up. I mean, I get left and right wing politics mixed up all the time. Imagine how embarrassed I felt as a Marxist Feminist when I found myself considering working for the BNP! It’s an easy mistake to make, so I will forgive you on this one.

      Much love,

      Charlotte.

      • Gia

        I’m slightly in love with you after this comment. Thank you for writing this!

      • Nathanael

        I’m not sure what they were on, but you spent more time responding to their drivel than they deserved.

  • Hannah

    Thank you for writing this! I am a complete novice when it comes to any kind of art, but this piece was very informative and gave a good context for those who are uninformed in the sense of artistic motive. I was wondering if you had any examples of photographers who do break the mould when photographing nudes – as in breaking away from the male gaze – I’d be interested in seeing if it’s possible!

    • Charlotte

      I too am interested in such photographers, and I’d love to hear from anyone who thinks that they have found a rare gem!

      I know that there is such a thing as feminist porn, I’m having explored the subject extensively (ahem) I’m not entirely sure that I can see much difference in most of it. But I’m interested in trying, as an experiment, to photograph some non-objectifying nudes and glamour shots.

      • Pete

        I know that this may seem a complete contradiction but I would love to see feminist porn that featured a male model .I don’t think I have ever found a worthy example. Fem dom is poor because although it depicts a woman IH a position of “power” over the male it is still purely for the titilation of men.

        • Charlotte

          In my experience most feminist porn features men, because women are mostly heterosexual. Who else would it feature?

          • Pete

            I am honestly not sure, on re reading my post I relalise that’s its a bit crap.

            What I was getting at is that I would like to see both genders being equal participants from both their perspectives and also in the eyes of them veiwier.

            Regardless of the content whether its lesbian porn,bi sexual or heterosexual porn (I have deliberately excluded male gay porn we are discussing the female participants)

            What I would like to see is woman being a woman without the nessesity of catering to a particula mandset and a male part that does the same.

            Hope that makes sense

  • Kayleigh Warriner

    Charlotte, as a graduate in Art History and an avid supporter of No More Page Three myself, thank you so much for your well thought out article and brilliant response to the clearly enlightened and intelligent Anonymous.

  • Pete

    I find your article to be insightful and well argued .

    In regards to your view that photography and art as a whole has been shaped by the male gaze I could not agree more. Unfortunately men will always look upon the worldfrom a male point of view and a desire to be titillated will always be a feature of the art that they create. Whether this is a bad thing is a vastly complex debate better discussed elsewhere. What I would like to mention are the two concepts of consent and autonmy.

    Any depiction of a person that lacks the informed and valid (two concepts that are themselves complex) consent of the individual are problematic and in some cases (nudity and sexualy oriented images being one example) are abhorrent. So in this context art must respect both the subject of the depiction and also the veiwer , I would b.e upset if I walk into an exhibition that advertised itself as being about the nature of masculinity and the first thing I see is an erect penis, if the advertising stated that the art was about male sexulity I would not be upset.

    Automy is a different discussion but has links to the above and is, I feel, more relevant to the model. If the model chooses to be depicted in a way that titillates the viewer (of any gender as there have been many sexual depictions of men) then should they not have the right to do so. Also they should also have the ability to gain from an act that while they may not desire they may not object to.

    I have actively attempted to keep my comments gender neutral as for every depiction of the female nude I can think of a male nude equivelent .I completely accept that the male gaze has shaped both. Men may depict an ideal man that the aspire to be or one that titillates them, this argument goes beyond my casual study.

    The solution to this problem is that we, as you eloquently stated, need a wider variety of both artists and models who have different visions and goals, who depict the world and thier experiences in aside variety of styles that both appeal to the viewer and respect the consent and automy of both the depicted and viewer.

  • Pete K

    Charlotte, I suggest that perhaps you do take a look at Tom of Finland’s work and relate that to your argument since the issue of gender here is pretty integral. He creates homo-erotic images solely for titillation and the appreciation of form, and would almost certainly be considered “unacceptable” within the narrow scope of acceptability you’ve defined here – had the subject of these images been women.

    “Unacceptable”. Not just bland or tacky or average or even “merit-less” but “unacceptable”. Something which should not be accepted, tolerated. Something that should be banned, perhaps? I don’t really want to live in a world where images are banned because a self appointed arbiter doesn’t like them, no matter how much I may agree with their opinion or whatever the academic consensus may be.

    I’m a strong supporter of the “No More Page 3” cause, but I regard that as an entirely distinct phenomena next to the broad lambasting of entire bodies of art based merely on the fact they depict images of nude women.

    I love drawing nude women, and nude men. I love it for the challenge, I love it because I’m fascinated by anatomy, and I love it for the giddy little thrill I get when regarding the sublime creation that is the naked human form in it’s infinite array of poses and permutations, including the sexual ones. Should I open a gallery exhibiting my work, an unashamedly superficial and aesthetic celebration of this form, would you picket me? Encourage people to boycott me? Would you find me offensive? Every artist has their passion. I would hope that I can indulge my passion free of judgment, which is as integral to me as a human as the blood in my veins and my need for oxygen to survive. Context, history and the dizzying flux of academic epistemology is not going to dictate what inspires me, liberates me and brings me joy, even if I actually felt inclined to pander to your views.

    • Charlotte

      You are completely right in all your points and I see nothing that disagrees with my writing at all.

      I don’t agree with male objectification at all. This piece could have easily been ‘why your naked dudes aren’t art’ and I believe in the message equally as strongly – although lets be honest here, the amateur photography scene is not swamped with pictures of objectified naked men. I find your argument about me addressing images about women specifically about as spurious as when ‘men’ go “BUT WE ARE OBJECTIFIED IN ADVERTISING TOO – LOOK AT THE DIET COKE ADVERT!”. The fact is that the sexual objectification and casual sexism directed towards women within the amateur photography sphere is far, far more rife than it is against men. I mean, even as a female photographer I regularly walk into social gatherings and you can guarantee that someone will ping me as a ‘model’ because I appear to own a vagina and some fatbags on my chest. Inevitably as well these photographers, even once they find out I am a photographer, will try to persuade me to post topless ‘just for them’. Even when I went into a camera shop three years ago to upgrade my camera I made the mistake of going with my Father – the sales assistant repeatedly talked to him over the top of me to the point where he had to point out to the sales assistant that I was the one with three thousand pounds in my bank account to buy a camera and the job as a full time photographer, and he didn’t know which bit to look through. An aura of casual (and more targeted) sexism towards women both as subject and photographer pervades the whole photographic industry and it absolutely stinks. And I’m sorry, but I’m also going to primarily be concerned with the issues that directly affect me as a female – you always have to choose which battles you have the capability to fight.

      However like I said, I equally don’t agree with male objectification and I believe that people like yourself could pick up the baton here, rather than complaining that I have overlooked it. The main reason that I didn’t address it within this post was because this isn’t a dissertation of 15,000 words, it’s a blog post and quite frankly I’ve already written 2500 words above and I don’t think that people would pay attention much longer. Male objectification in imagery is a whole other topic and it’s also an awful lot more nuanced. It is on my list of essays to write in the future, however it also needs a considerably more amount of research because the subject just hasn’t been written about as much (by research I don’t mean random anti-woman blog posts that are on the internet, I mean actually sniffing out relevant academic journals and books). I saw no point in holding back this article because I had not written it’s companion pieces, that’s not how blogs work. I wrote this essay primarily as a hook for me to be able to explore the issues contained within – from Vasari’s treatment of women in ‘The Lives of the Artists’ to the modern day treatment of men in homoerotic imagery.

      And I also agree with you that we should be free to photograph naked men and women. Hell, I love photographing men. Not usually naked, but often glamorous, as you can see on my business site http://www.charlottemoss.co.uk. However I also am often uncomfortable with my own work because I don’t feel like I’m doing enough to not objectify my subjects, and this piece of writing is a foray into those feelings in some respect. However I’m not suggesting that ‘nudes cannot be art’, I’m suggesting here that ‘naked chicks’ aren’t art. By using the phrase ‘naked chicks’ instead of ‘nude women’ I’m targeting a very particular type of image and demographic of image creators. From comments I’ve had I appreciate that perhaps I did not make this clear enough, but we are all learning and I am just at the start of my career as a writer. I promise I will get better.

      I wish to have no boycotts and no bans. I simply wish for people to think twice before objectifying someone and calling it ‘art’ to make themselves feel a little better about what they do.

  • Peter Kasim

    Thanks for the response Charlotte. I didn’t aim to re-frame the original subject in order to include men’s objectification, if that’s what you thought then that was a failure on my part to convey myself.

    I brought up Tom of Finland because I think his work is both technically accomplished, wonderfully humorous and beautifully visceral beside being tacitly crude and gratuitously sexual. I love it, and I think the world would be a duller place without him. Likewise I enjoy some admittedly shallow, sexually charged artwork that depicts women as the subject matter. Therefore I’m dubious as to the merit of arguments that define “acceptability” along lines of gender.

    It sets a dangerous precedent to establish a mandate that we should, by default, be cautious of the depiction of women in art, or seek to define what constitutes art based on the author’s awareness of history and ability to convey that context within their work.

    To me, that’s putting the cart before the horse. Societal values vis-a-vis gender equality aren’t eroded by the proliferation of images of “naked chicks”, rather the widely entrenched prevalence of sexism leads to the imbalance in the way the genders are represented.

    Rather than dissuade people from making images that depict “naked chicks” – no matter how “average” or devoid of meaning they might be – I would call on the collective artistic industries to make more equivalent images of naked men in order to redress the balance. We should be addressing the underlying attitudes that allow this hypocrisy to exist in the first place.

    Women are no more “cheap” than men are for exhibiting their sexuality. They are no more reduced to the status of objects by doing so – apart from in the minds of sexists. Rather, it is sexism that compels us to construe women in that way.

    I agree there are definitely an alarming number of men who masquerade as “artists” looking to exploit women, but I fear this back-to -front approach of defining the sexist by his perceived level of artistry (or lack of it) could lead to censorship.

    • Charlotte

      But I don’t want to live in a society where it’s on to sexually objectify, exploit and be generally misogynistic towards women, as long as you’re exhibiting the same attitudes towards men.

      I want to live in a society where *no one* is sexually objectified or exploited.

      Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Peter Kasim

    I don’t endorse any form of exploitation. The assumption that erotic or titillating content is inherently cynical or exploitative runs counter to my own beliefs and intentions as a creator, and consumer, of art.

    This rather damning viewpoint fails to take into account a couple of important factors: consenting parties and appropriate access to content. Exploitation, to me, implies that there is an element of coercion, deceit or malign intent behind either making the material, or distributing it.

    The Sun is exploitative because it subversively infiltrates ostensibly news-based media with images that are contextually inappropriate, and it cynically preys on both the models’ and audience’s naivety in order to create sales. Similarly, whenever I go on Yahoo to check my email I’m almost certain to be presented with some celebrity’s (usually female) buttocks prominently displayed among the day’s “news” stories – which offends me to the point I’m seriously looking at how I can migrate my email services elsewhere.

    The consumption of sexually tinged/adult-oriented material should strictly be afforded to those who actively seek it out, not plastered everywhere as it is by media outlets. Saturating our day to day lives with these sorts of images distorts children’s worldview and sets the groundwork for sexist mentalities to take root in a new generation. It indeed normalizes and perpetuates the idea of woman as sexual object within a wide societal framework, rather than establishing a safe space where people can enjoy what is being presented with a unanimous understanding of the intentions behind it.

    Conversely, if nobody has been forced, duped or misled into making an erotic image, and it’s access is limited to those who want to look at it (on an appropriate website, publication, art gallery, etc) then I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, and its only within that context that I mean genders should be more equally represented.