When I first saw the incredible image of a pregnant mother’s body painted beautifully with sunflowers, my first thought was whether or not the paints were safe for pregnancy. Anything you put on your skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and across the placenta. I did not think of this as a photo of a nude or cause for any sort of discretion. In fact, I thought it was quite beautiful!
Oregon Live explains:
Matt Huntley’s troubles started with a warning. The Northeast Portland body-painting artist started receiving emails from Facebook on Monday afternoon that photos of his models violated the site’s community standards. He was given an opportunity to take down his Facebook fan page Tuesday morning, he said, but when he declined the offer, it was taken down for him.
The issue isn’t new. Facebook has dealt with a host of ethical dilemmas involving nude images in recent years, including fiery debates over photos of mastectomy patients and breastfeeding moms (controversies that led to changes in standards). The strict policy has taken down cartoons from The New Yorker and even flagged an elbow that looked a little racy.
Body-painting artists have run into trouble as well. The art of painting nude bodies, often to mimic clothing, is frowned upon because while breasts and nipples are covered, their outline is usually visible.
At first glance, you can’t even tell the mother-to-be is naked, as her body is so covered in paint. It is no different than wearing a tight fitting shirt, and I have seen some seriously slutty pictures on Facebook (even profile photos) that are far more offensive.
This is a sweet photo. It embraces all that motherhood is…there is lightning representing the storm to come at times, there’s the mother’s hands embracing her womb offering protection, there are the beautiful sunflowers representing life and reincarnation by their repetition…this is what I see. I don’t see nudity or pornography.
The gray area lies within the “nudity and pornography” section of Facebook’s community standards. The policy states that, aside from pornographic images “we also impose limitations on the display of nudity,” however, “we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”
Huntley’s work, non-pornographic painted bodies, doesn’t cut it.
I do use Facebook. I am on it a lot connecting with old friends and discovering many great inspirational things about the world we live in from posts people share. I would count Huntley’s work as one of those things!
I don’t want to inadvertently see pornography when I am on Facebook, but I am not for such extreme censorship. It does not help to change our view of the naked body, especially the female name body, as beauty and not an object of sex. Facebook should leave breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be alone!