I've gotten curious, as you can see, about what it is about nudity that gets people so darn upset. Yesterday I posited that perhaps it's because they equate nudity and pornography.
I will admit right here, right now, I do not like pornography. I have strong judgments about it and about the whole industry that creates it. I worry that women who are involved in posing for pornographic pictures are betraying themselves, despite their assertions that they know precisely what they are doing and want the money they can earn from doing it.
I don't like pornographic images. They disturb me. They make me feel strange - like a voyeur, looking at something I shouldn't be seeing, something tawdry, dirty, nasty, forbidden. But I love looking at a beautiful nude, exploring the forms and shapes and composition. The human form, to my eye, is one of the most beautiful forms on earth.
What is it that makes something pornographic? I don't think anyone has been able to come up with a satisfactory answer to that question yet. I believe one of the Supreme Court justices summed it up by saying, "I know it when I see it." That sounds rather stupid, but on deeper thought, I think there's truth to it.
I hope no one perceives my nudes as pornographic. I do my best to depict the women (and men when I painted them) respectfully - as beautiful, empowered people who love themselves and their bodies. I choose not to paint graphic genitalia because I find there are too many pornographic associations to it. I know of a couple of young women who are still in high school who draw genitalia for their art class and have to figure out how to show it to the teacher and not get in trouble for bringing it to school. I haven't seen their work, but from the descriptions I've heard, I don't believe it's pornographic. It's simply the subject matter that's problematic.