Saturday, October 5, 2013

Can ANY Nudity Be Celebrated in the Internet Age?

While searching for potential topics for the Bare Platypus, we came across the following article and interesting art concept: Can a naked woman ever be celebrated in the internet age?  By "celebrated," we take it from the context of the article to mean, viewed "dispassionately"... oh to be admired for its beauty, perhaps, but without arousing suspicion or appealing to something base.

The article showcases a couple of examples of a project coordinated by Vanesa Omoregie.  Ms Omoregie encourages women (she calls them cam girls -- her term not ours) to send her pictures of themselves nude, while assuming poses in classic paintings such as Botticelli's Venus .  She then superimposes the "live" (photographed) nude onto the original painting.  After reviewing the works, the author of Can a naked woman makes observations about what it means for feminism in an internet age.  The author asks whether the internet has made it impossible to view the nude female body as, perhaps, artistically as it once was viewed.

What's interesting, however, is that there are other nude figures in classical artworks that Ms. Omoregie and the author of the article ignore.  These other nude figures include "cupid" cherub-like figures and male nudes.  Indeed, a couple of the examples in the linked article still have these other, non-womanly, figures depicted in their original form (i.e. without a superimposed photograph on them).  

We have to ask, would it be any less controversial if a man or tyke were photographed and the image superimposed on a form / in a pose that was once perfectly acceptable in a classic work of art?  We don't think it would be any less controversial than with a woman.  (In the case of the tyke, probably more so).

Perhaps the question to be asked is not whether a naked woman may be celebrated in the internet age, but whether ANY nudity can be "celebrated."  Nudists understand that it can be so celebrated, of course.

But the immediate, incendiary, reactions---whether motivated by anger, controversy, lust, or zeal for feminism or equality---to nude photos on the net by so many people is one reason that the Bare Platypus refrains from using any photographs of persons on this site.  If we posted pictures of nude women, it would be too easy for people, including 'new feminists' to say that they were too young, too beautiful, or all that the Platypus cared about.  If we posted a few too many naked guys?  Well the Platypus must be gay.  Kids? Don't even think about it... call the feds.   Too many old people or overweight people?  We should be celebrating health. Too few, or too many, racial minorities and we either go overboard (risking an accusation of a fetish) or discriminate.

Yet to ignore any one of those groups would be to refrain from depicting nudism in the spirit of nudism as we see it.  To include them all, in proper proportions to their percentages in the real world, would mean tapping into images we do not own or have copyright permission to post. So we'll answer the question that is the title to our article in this way:  Nudity can be celebrated by nudists, but it may be getting more and more difficult to do so in an age where, it also seems, anything goes.

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Bare Platypus now offers products with Platypus artwork at the Bare Platypus Souvenir Shop .  You can get a tote bag or a coffee mug, a t-shirt, or all three!  Plus there's more to come.

These designs are one-of-a-kinds that you won't find elsewhere.  Tasteful enough that you can show or serve them to all guests, but unusual enough (and always bare) that they can help you get a conversation going.

You're invited to visit!