A little while ago one of my roommates told me that her friend was shooting for a project called, “The Naked Lady Project.” These portraits are about empowering women; all body shapes and sizes, this concept is about being inclusive and was tastefully presented.
Lauren, the artist behind the project, got approved by our university to display her art in our library, and while it has only been up for a few days, it has already started a conversation we should not even be having.
There are rumors that certain offices are trying to have the project taken down, and Lauren herself is aware of two official complaints that have been filed to the university.
These portraits are about empowering women in their most authentic form. Not only is the community trying to get Lauren’s photo stripped from their display, but social media has also had it taken down. Facebook and Instagram have both gotten her posts about the project taken down, and even my Instagram story about the project was removed for not “following community guidelines.”
I’ve also noticed throughout Instagram that pretty often photographers censor their photographs so that they won’t be taken down. This in and of itself is extremely frustrating to me. Having to censor your own works of art, because the “community” finds it offensive/inappropriate?
Here’s the thing: women’s bodies are BEAUTIFUL. NOT SEXUAL. They are only sexual if you make them, and by making them sexual you are objectifying women and THAT IS NOT OKAY.
The concept of Lauren’s art is beautiful. Promoting positive self body image is wonderful, and if you have a problem with it look away.
I guess I understand maybe not wanting small children to see aspects of the female anatomy that they don’t fully understand yet, but in a college university setting? Why would any small children be outside of our IT office in the library? Maybe they are, I don’t know.
But the fact that this project is being taken down on social media, fought against by the university, and laughed at (YES LAUGHED AT) by the students is disrespectful and by doing so these people lose the message this art is trying to send.
We are looking at Lauren’s art, not hyper-sexualized pornographic images. We are promoting positive body image, lifting up the strong women who posed for these portraits, and appreciating/empowering women as a whole. NOT sexualizing them, NOT objectifying them, and NOT disrespecting them.
I encourage you to share about Lauren’s project, show that we support this concept and appreciate Lauren and all the hard work she’s done on it. This conversation is important.
Let’s change the rhetoric around the sexual-nature of women’s bodies, starting with the planting of this seed.