On Censorship, June 2017 (10 Images)

This wasn’t originally going to be a piece on censorship.

It was going to be about not taking yourself so seriously.

But then it ended up being kind of serious.

Around a month ago I figured it was high time that I color my hair.  I had never done it before, and I decided that I was going to stop worrying so much about looking exactly like my headshot and to have a little fun.  So I put a little red patch in my bangs, and decided to capture the color rinsing out of my hair and running down my body in the shower.  I thought it would look cool.  It ended up looking like the shower scene in Psycho.  So I played around with some of the images in Photoshop until I came up with a slightly disturbing, somewhat interesting image resembling a multi-exposure.  But I couldn’t post it on any of the social platforms because my nipples are still (kind of) visible.

I’m not a fan of the commonly used dots, stars, and hearts that a lot of nude artists use to censor their work on social media platforms.  I decided I wanted to do something different.  If I had to censor myself, I wanted it to be a part of the piece.  Not an aesthetic detraction from the piece.  I decided that I wanted to use paint, and in order to use paint, I had to print my images out.  And I ALMOST DIDN’T GO to the print shop.  I almost censored my own creativity, because I was worried about the guy at the print shop refusing to print “nudity” or making some unwelcomed sexual comments.  But I went.  And the guy at the shop was great.  He appreciated it as art.

A lot of people seem to have a problem with the #freethenipple movement.  They think that women are just complaining about not being able to take their shirts off in public and calling it “oppression.”  Obviously having to keep your nips covered in public and on the internet isn’t comparable to the violence that women suffer all around the world.  But having to keep your top on isn’t just about keeping cool or avoiding tan lines.  The subconscious message behind the law is where the problem lies.  It tells women that there is a part of us that is so evil, wrong, unacceptable, and inferior that it can not tolerate being seen.  And if it is seen, legal action can be taken against us.  And that leads to women believing we are evil, wrong, unacceptable, inferior, and intolerable.  The whole wage gap thing…?  Ladies it’s partially our fault.  On certain levels we don’t feel that we are worthy, because patriarchal laws have got us thinking that because we are different, we are less than.  It’s time to change our laws.  It’s time to change how we think about ourselves.  There is nothing wrong, evil, unacceptable, inferior, or intolerable about my body.  There is nothing wrong, evil, unacceptable, inferior, or intolerable about your body.  Our bodies are beautiful, sacred, and powerful.  If showing your body helps you get in tune with your inner divine feminine, then show it!  If covering your body helps you get in tune with your inner divine feminine, then cover it!  But make the decision for yourself.  Legally, we can still be censored, but don’t ever ever censor yourself.

And if you want a dose of genius nipple-showing activism on social media, check out @genderless_nipples on Instagram.

Taken on iPhone 6.  New Orleans, LA