When I first saw the reference photo I used for this painting it was among those photos posted on the TERA website (Topfree Equal Rights Association) which had been removed by Facebook. I found the photo riviting- the look on her face expressed all the awe and emotion that I had felt after the birth of my daughter. The fact that the mother and baby were locked in each other's gaze reminded me of what I felt when I first looked into my daughter's eyes- I felt as if I had seen her before. "Hello! Remember me?"
It disturbs me that a photo like this might be removed while others like the one below are allowed to remain.
The first image is not necessarily very nude. No breast area is visable at all, and only a faint shadow can be seen in the crotch area. Her state is very obviously non- sexual; she is nude for the purpose of childbirth, specifically a water birth. She's very real, very female, but not sexualized.
I venture to guess that it's the fact that this image is NOT sexual that people find disturbing. I wonder if it's the fact that she's very human looking, very raw and emotional that upsets people. Her vulnerable state, her love and obvious joy may be off-putting to people, it reminds us of our own vulnerable state, our own humanity. In the same way that people seem to find breastfeeding images disturbing, I think they find childbirth photos equally upsetting. They remind us that we are not the airbrushed, sexualized vision we are used to seeing in the media.
They remind us that we are human.
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.