Good Nudes vs. Bad Nudes?

DeviantArt Headquarters asks the community about nudity in art. This was my reply to their questions on the subject, plus my additional reflections further down.

1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you? How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
There can never be too much of any genre in such a site as deviantArt. In my eyes, my gender has nothing to do with this opinion.

2. When is censorship of art permissible? Where would you draw the line? What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
Censorship of art is NEVER acceptable. Censorship is based upon the fear and lack of acceptance of a handful of weak-minded people who let their shortcomings limit the joy of the majority. A lot of people who never asked for censorship might never know what they are missing out on.

3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?

4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art? Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
Censorship ought to be criticized; there are only weak reasons as to why anything should be censored. I would respond angrily, as a part of my creative freedom would have been taken away from me. Weak-minded people should use personal filters instead, so that the artwork appears censored only on their computer, thus not affecting anyone else.

5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?
Nope, I would not. At least I haven’t yet.

Additional reflections: If you look at an image of a nude woman as “objectifying”, it might as well be yourself subconsciously objectifying the image of a nude woman. You would probably not react the same way looking at a nude man, as nude men are not in general as uplifted when it comes to sexism. There are people who do get offended by pictures of nude men, but they are often men themselves, and often only bring forth their opinions during discussions of objectified women, and as a counterargument to any accusations on them being sexist.

This is no one’s fault; not the artist portraying a nude woman or the one portraying a nude man; nor the nude model “allowing him-/herself to such low levels”; nor the objectifying view of the spectators. It could simply be your mind associating the nude image with what you believe is the general (negative) opinion of the female body exposed as seen through an objectifying perspective. All based on subjective experiences throughout life, of course.

Emotions connected to taboo subjects such as the woman in an inferior position to man might stir up. I am thinking about “[…]men enjoy looking at nudes. And women not nearly so much – because they have to endure the daily indignities of being treated like mindless “objects” by clueless men,” cited from deviantArt’s journal post (link above). Frustration as a consequence of being mistreated by such “clueless men” can in discussions like these mark the whole group of men. “All men are objectifying pigs”, and so on.

Could it be that you are misjudging nude art because your interpretation of it has been roughly mixed with negative feelings around objectified women? Did the artist actually intend to just shoot a sexy woman from a couple of intimate angles, or is there something deeper to it? Could there be anything deeper to it? Who decides when there is a deeper meaning behind the nude woman and when it isn’t? And what does objectifying mean? What does the image signify and/or objectify, and how does it objectify?

It is your interpretation after all, so you are the one who holds the answers. To interpret an image as objectifying, your mind will first have to interpret the objectified as an object. At first you might disagree strongly, but there is nothing wrong or sick about this – and who is to deem what is sick and wrong? Everyone reacts differently to their interpretations. Some people might laugh, some might get upset. And that is just the thing, the core of this problem.

Maybe this is what stirs the emotions; the inner realization of how tainted the human mind is; how it can take something complex and divide it into something simple -an object- and laugh at something that for you is deeply upsetting. Stirred up emotions aren’t always good, especially not when they are unleashed in a way that they affect others in a negative manner. E.g blaming all men as objectifying pigs or laugh at an objectifying image in the presence of someone who is offended by it. The strong word “objectify” has many meanings, but it need not be negative. It could be negative or positive depending how your emotions react to the situation, alas it is your interpretation. Sooner or later, it all comes down to you.


3 Responses to “Good Nudes vs. Bad Nudes?”

  1. I think everyone are good nudes, exept the ones exposing whatever kinds of penis or otherwise stuff they have.. hahahaha.
    Beside of that, I really like what you’ve written 🙂

    • Thank you! I was a bit unsure about this text at first as it was more like random thoughts rather than my personal opinions, but I think there is some sense in it 😀
      Considering that everything’s relative, I think that a good nude isn’t something that I can determine solely by myself. It can be somewhat like defining art. A random low-quality photo of a penis is a quite repelling picture to me, but to the photographer it is the deepest and most meaningful work of art ever! 😛 Therefore my opinion doesn’t make it bad art nor a bad nude, there is just my negative opinion against his positive opinion.
      Okay I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore, but thank you for the comment! 😀

      • there are 🙂 Believe me. You’re good at writing!
        I think you have the sexual nude (what we’re attracted to) and the expressive nude (artlike) 🙂
        hahaha. lol. well you have a point 🙂 I am positive to nudity as long as it doesn’t become too much… or awekward. And by that I mean the nude which is not in pictures, but people you might know. ahah. Oh well :3 UR WELCOMEEEE. ^^

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