Sunday, November 2, 2008

Artistic Nudes

The big question of "mature" listings and "artistic nudes" and "I don't want to be slapped in the face with a giant cock"* is buzzing again in the Etsy forums.
LovingLee's original oil painting, mouth-watering and available on Etsy

When you list certain things on Etsy, you have to include the tag "mature" so that people who don't want to see explicit content can opt out of it in their searches, while others can look for it directly when they want the dirty shit fast.
Give it a minute. This go2girl trinket treasure box actually is a nude. Should it be labeled "mature?"

From the "Dos and Don'ts":

Mature content

  • Mature content is defined as: sexual activity or content, profane language or graphic violence.
  • Items containing mature content must be tagged "mature".
  • The first thumbnail image should be kept appropriate for general audiences; additional images in the listing may show the item in its entirety.
  • Artful representation of the nude human figure is allowed. The context of the nudity determines if it is a mature content item.
  • Items are subject to review on a case-by-case basis. If Etsy evaluates the content to be mature, you will be asked to edit the listing to comply with these policies or remove the listing entirely.

Mature content listings will remain in all public searches by default; users can restrict results by using the exclusionary search term "NOT mature" ("opt-out" search status).

Some people are concerned that photos and other "artful" representations of things normally covered by bathing suits should not appear in the first photo of any listing. They don't want to be looking around at handmade mugs and jewelry and sweaters and then see a penis. They worry their children might be in the room when a boob appears on the screen.

Others site famous works such as the Sistine Chapel, Venus De Milo, and DaVinci's Vertuvian Man, only to be reubuked by parents who wouldn't allow their children near such art (or any television, movies, or life experiences they deem unsuitable) until they are "older." The United States was founded by Puritains. Some days that's clearer than others.

My parents chose to raise me by awkwardly explaining everything related to sex and sexuality in the most scientific way possible. But they never hid art from me. We went to the Art Institute all the time. I was embarassed. I wish I hadn't been. I hope if I ever have kids, they will be aware that they need to stay covered in public places and that no one has a right to touch their private parts unless they say ok, but that there's nothing ugly or dirty about a breast, penis, or vagina. I still think breasts look like udders and vaginas are the grossest, ugliest things on the face of the earth, and I have these parts. I see them daily. I'm used to my own, but it's a damned shame that something that shouldn't be seen as vile or wrong so frequently turns my stomach or makes me giggle.

It's funny, but the "mature" items are actually the least mature way of looking at nudity.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for immaturity. I sell cards with swear words and poop on them, for fuck's sake.


For whatever reason, more conservative parents tend to like the argument that they should be the ones to decide what's best for their children. I don't know why this sentiment doesn't echo at the other end of the spectrum, since a stronger governing body is more likely to push towards the middle of the bell curve, alienating both "No seeing skin below the neck until he's 18" and "If I want to buy my 5-year-old a lap dance, you can't tell me otherwise." But while right wing totalitarian governments should theoretically scare the crap out of the "libral"-minded, "states' rights" and "parents' rights" and what're basically the great great great (etc.) grand-children of the anti-federalists in the United States all seem to be the conservative right-wing element. When an ideology that should, in theory, spread out in a much less partisan way, goes flopping quite so significantly in one direction, it means one of two things. 1) The other side is totally missing the point/oppertunity/hysteria of the ideology and should really start checking out the Kool-Aid or 2) the ideology is being used as a front or an excuse and isn't tied to the cause at all.

I think slavery and gay marriage are #2s (states rights my ass). I think this may be closer to a #1, since I really believe this is all an issue of control. But what the hell do I know?

*Not QUITE a direct quote, but dear lord I wish it was.

1 comment:

T.Allen-Mercado said...

I'm sure I once had a profound answer to this dilemma. I probably spoke on it one of the far too many times the debate was sparked in the Etsy fora. Left/right aside, if Etsy admin sees a reason to remove the item(s) they will do so (or warn the artist) based on the flagging alone. No need to call in the Penis Prohibition league and start a coup. Chill out folks.

To your commentary-I dig small perky breasts, but vaginas are pretty foul looking and penii are awkward, clumsy looking appendanges as well. Butts make me giggle...they're a true art form;so many different styles and shapes.