« Sometimes #FollowFriday Comes On Monday: Kelly Diels' Cleavage | Main | What Can Happen In A Thousand Days? »

April 09, 2010


Heather Carreiro

Wow, facebook definitely seems to be confused about its policies. It's clearly discrimination when they delete paintings like Kate's and leave fully nude paintings. I just responded to someone on the Life article regarding the definition of pornography - basically questioning exactly what do we constitute as pornography? Bring art, particularly non-photographic art, into the debate adds a whole other dimension.

I personally really liked these paintings, especially the one all the way to the right. In American culture we are quite used to seeing paintings like this in museums and art galleries - we also have nude sculptures in parks and on lawns. Seems like there is a different standard for non-photographic art (which is acceptable to show nudity) and photography.

Leigh Shulman

I think it's very difficult for FB to manage these things. They have a huge following and an even more immense number of photos.

Still, it paves the way for people to censor others for reasons that may go beyond what is intended by what FB calls privacy and safety.

My guess is FB keeps it all very vague so they can generally cover their asses.

As for the double standard of showing painting vs photography. There was an old painting of Mary breastfeeding Jesus that was also banned. That seems strange to me, too.


And yet..there are far more obscene photos still allowed to circulate, even when flagged such as sexually provocative photos of women that show more skin, even more breast tissue than what the banned breastfeeding photos have shown. They are definitely discriminating against breastfeeding mothers, that is obvious, but nothing is being done because it is essentially a private service and we are choosing to use it.

Leigh Shulman

I agree, Dominique. And thank you for bringing these issues into the discussion.

There is definitely an uneven way of dealing with these things.

That FB is a private service does allow them to discriminate about certain things, yes. But there are some subjects people won't stand for. Breastfeeding, tho, isn't something that riles people up enough to say something (except with a small group who are directly involved).


As a college writing teacher I am often asked if any subject matter is "off-limits" in my class. I answer it this way: You can write about anything. You can use any language that is necessary to convey the story (play, poem, essay, etc.). But there's a huge difference between a sex scene and pornography. One is simply part of the whole; the other exists only to titillate. The same can be said of drug use, violence, and explicit language as expressed in literature. In visual art, the goal, as I understand it, isn't that dissimilar to literary art. We want to capture beauty, express the human condition, provoke important conversations. Clearly these paintings are of that kind. I see pictures of breast all day long in ads that are clearly meant to arouse. These are hanging unharassed on billboards and storefronts where any kid on a schoolbus is forced to see them several times a day. Isn't it strange that a picture--whether paint or photo--that happens to involve breasts in a non-titillating manner, posted to a private FB page where the user ought to have full control over granting permission to view, is so controversial.

Leigh Shulman

How great that you give your students guidelines and then they have to use logic, reason and all those other things you're supposed to learn in college to figure out what they should do.

I can understand why someone might feel uncomfortable seeing breasts in art, photography and other places even if it's not designed to arouse. I can understand having a different level of modesty and belief in what you think is appropriate.

I don't understand (or better word might be condone?) having different standards of the same breast based on what the breast is doing.

Thanks for sharing your methods of addressing this in the classroom. I bet I'd love to take your class.

veronica towers

I OPENLY breast fed a 4 day old during a movie in a theater...

Leigh Shulman

As well you should.

At first, I was shy to breastfeed in public. But then, the first time I walked home with Lila, and she started wailing. It was either stop on a park bench and do it in public or walk the next 20 min home with her crying.

At this distance of 6 years since Lila was a newborn, it's easy to forget how painful a baby's crying can be. We're literally hardwired this way, I think. I'm not sure someone who hasn't been in the situation can understand entirely.

So for me, the choice wasn't even a choice. I stopped in the park. After that, I never thought twice about it.\

I hope you enjoyed the movie. Bfing through entire films is the only way I was able to watch them when Lila was a baby.

The comments to this entry are closed.