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May 16, 2015

The War on Nipples Reaches Picasso. {Nudity}

picasso uncensored

Fox News has censored Pablo Picasso.

It sounds like a sad joke, but is in fact the latest manifestation of a multi-faceted attack on women’s bodies—or rather our control over them.

Reporting on the sale of Picasso’s “Les Femmes D’Algers” (Version 0) for $179 million—making it the most expensive painting in the world—Fox 5 News (New York City’s local Fox channel) found it necessary to censor out two sets of cubist, nude female breasts.

We decided to blur the nude portions so that we could show it to you on air,” said anchor Dari Alexander.

In case you were wondering, the news team did not find it necessary to blur a cubist, nude derriere, also featured in the painting.

Critics quickly rallied to ridicule Fox 5’s decision to conceal parts of the masterpiece, with New York magazine’s Jerry Salz asking, “Why Did Fox Blur Picasso’s Naughty Bits?”

I’m sure we’re all wondering.

Fox 5 quickly saw the error of its ways, and on Thursday (the original segment aired on Monday) they shared the painting in full on Facebook, saying,

“We get it. A blurred out version of Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece—The Women of Algiers (Version 0)—wasn’t the best move. Here is the art work in all its glory.”

No, Fox 5, it was not the best move.

Given elephant journal’s recent features on “Freed Nipples,” and viral internet-wide attention to high school dress codes, this controversy appears particularly relevant.

Despite the secular trend toward greater acceptance of the female body and women’s agency over it, and despite an effort to “free” our over-sexualized breasts, part of our society is apparently stuck in another century and determined to keep women’s bodies—and power—blurred.

The arbitrary censorship of female nudity extends to social media, with Facebook notoriously banning photos of breastfeeding mothers, while sometimes allowing near-pornographic images to circulate with impunity. And it extends to a recent flurry of attention toward school dress codes that exclusively targets female (and especially, curvy) students.

And now this, the ultimate in absurdity: attempting to “cover up” a cubist painting. That’s a bit like trying to hide an invisible copy of Michelangelo’s David. First, why would you bother? And second, even if it’s not invisible, what’s the problem? It’s art! It’s a perfectly normal and beautiful representation of the human form.

What century do I live in?

I can only hope the backlash against this latest controversy will serve to bring more awareness to the inane boundaries women are expected to respect. If we can’t even handle abstract artistic representation of the female form, we have some serious problems to address.

Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” are only the latest victims of the war against nipples, nudity and the female body. Let’s hope they will be the last.

 

Relephant Read:

Female Nipples causing an Internet Storm. {Nudity}

 

Author: Toby Israel

Editor: Emily Bartran 

Photo: Youtube

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