There’s something about the female breast that seems to terrify both some users and the administration of our favorite social network. They’ve flagged a couple of my photographs and declined to reinstate them. What follows are a few thoughts about g+ policy and erotic images.
As you know g+ policy currently allows nudity in an artistic context and yet images continue to be flagged by users and the censoring of these images upheld by g+ when reviewed. The flagging, and g+ support of it, has a chilling effect on both the type and the quality of images that are posted. Artists and collectors would be right to ask: why take the time to post images that involve time and effort on the part of both the artist and the viewer when they are going to be defaced with an ugly black box.
As people who are posting thoughtful content are driven out by the censorship, increasingly the type of nude and erotic images seen on the network will be of the those that can be produced and distributed relatively instantly, with minimal investment or thought – and so the level of discourse becomes degraded and the ability to discuss meaningful points is lost.
What makes this particularly sad is that depictions of the body and eroticism are both so personal and so socially important. The ability to understand another person or culture is severely diminished when this information is removed. We’re left with a sort of gaping hole in our mental image that then becomes filled with anxieties, prejudices and assumptions.
We all bring to an issue like this our views and biases and I want to be clear about mine. I regard people’s images of the body and of erotic content, either those that are mental or ones that exists physically in the world, of being essential to understanding the human condition. The erotic image, either that of self or other and the way that people construct, collect and communicate this image is a subject of endless fascination for me and uniquely imbued with that feeling of pleasure we get when we see something that increases our understanding of the world and gives structure and sense to our experience.
The pleasures of structure and explanation and a desire for (at least the illusion of) permanency and order in my experience of the world is what leads me to produce images. It led me to study for a Doctorate in Sexology and it leads me to a particularly acute sadness when I see a social network, something that should be increasing human interaction and peoples knowledge of each other dropping black boxes on the very content that is key to both connection and understanding.
Anyway, there are some scary boobs out there; I hope they’re not the folks from g+. I’d like to think better of them.
Here are the two censored images: