Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I came across an article this morning in my limited facebook time, about a mural that sparked conversation about women's rights.
I had seen the mural in progress, stunning naked bodies in various tidal pools surrounded by octopi, otters, and coral. Nothing whimsical to see rather, powerfully posed women and a man representing the lush beauty of the ocean and the power of women.
Originally this mural was designed with completely naked bodies, but because of an obscure city ordinance, the nipples of the women are required to be covered while the lone male nipple may sit in pert, naked contrast.
Buzzfeed did an article and a short video on this mural once the ordinance was put into effect. Artist Crystal Barbre had to paint over the women's nipples leaving the mural feeling like something was added awkwardly, because it was. The Stranger covered it as well as Arts, Fashion and Culture site, Vanguard Seattle
No one. NO ONE. Not one person gave a negative remark as Crystal was working on her mural, simply because her mural is beside one of the local Adult Entertainment venues, Deja Vu is it considered to be "lewd material" according to city ordinance.
America has many problems, the majority of which are coming to harsh light with our upcoming circus of an election, but the one that devastates me is our asinine, archaic, and obsolete fuss over women's bodies and how we might display them. We are perfectly willing to sell products using sexualized images of dewy, sweaty women lusting over cars, hamburgers, perfume, you name it.
God help you should you want to paint a woman on the side of a building holding an octopus and looking divine. God help you should you need to FEED your infant while running errands or participating in normal activities.
We are so backwards in what we are comfortable with as a nation that it's all I can do just to try and emigrate to Norway or Sweden. Nudity should not immediately equate Lust or Sexual Desire.
I explained this a lot when I talked about performing burlesque and people would generally consider Burlesque to equate Stripping. It does not.
Burlesque is designed to start ideas, to titillate and mildly arouse. Stripping and other highly sexual performances are designed to arouse, erect, and get off. It's a full service idea.
Burlesque is to Stripping as Erotica is to Pornography. Burlesque is tasteful, powerful, and leaves you wishing for more. Erotica likewise, begins ideas and notions. Stripping and Pornography are (for the most part) base portrayals of lewd acts. They are sweaty and dirty and leave you breathless but feeling like you might need a shower. Burlesque elevates, empowers, and leaves you glowing.
However, because the majority of Americans view Burlesque and Stripping as being of the exact same ilk, they can see no difference. Likewise we view the display of breasts and female nipples with the exact same scorn and derision as if they were offered up in a sexual act rather than being bared because they are lovely and beautiful.
The naked body is beautiful in a non-sexual way. It is also beautiful in a sexual way. Learning the difference is the change that we need as a nation.
A woman should be able to breastfeed in public just as much as she should be able to display herself, sexually or not. The fact that in 2016 we are still shocked by this, and even debating this is utterly ridiculous. Women are human beings just as much as men are and we needed to be treated equally. Full. Stop.