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Sunday, March 23, 2008

I've Been Censored!

In my own home too! I'm not really sure how to feel about this. Here's the situation. As previously mentioned, I paint mermaids. Naked mermaids, usually, so breasts tend to show. I don't consider it to be anything other than what it is. It's not pornography, it's not vile or obscene. Nor is it meant to be. It's just that honestly, if you were half woman, half fish, living in the depths of the sea. Where in the hell would you get any clothing and why would you want it?
Being a mermaid is about being free. Free from the confines of human life. Free from the restrictions of human law. Able to live free from the injustices and atrocities that occur up here, on the surface. It's about surviving and thriving in an environment that mankind couldn't inhabit. It's about growing a tail and learning to swim when cast out to sea, expected to drown. I paint them because they represent everything special to me.
OK, so on to the censorship part... Wifester has an aunt and two cousins coming to visit us this week. She gently said to me the other day, " I know this is a delicate subject, but would it be alright if we took some of the mermaids down, just while Visiting Aunt. and the boys are here? Just the naked ones. You know, boobs and all..." I was flabbergasted. I didn't know how to react. I said

"No, it's not alright, but OK, whatever" but in all actuality, I don't want to take them down. So, I think I've come up with a better solution than the removal of my work:

I can make a statement, and hide the
nekkedness from the young eyes all at the same time.

Fat Mermaid"
oil on canvas
by Angela Schleicher

"Birth of a Mermaid"
by Angela Schleicher

acrylic on canvas

So, after a long discussion with my wife, I found out that her reason for wanting to censor me has less to do with hiding mermaid breasts and more to do with trying to make sure that she was not prematurely exposing children who she barely knew to images that she was unsure how their mother would react to. Keeping the peace with family whom you've had a long going struggle with I can understand, however, when my holy roller, gospel preaching,bible thumping, born again parents came over to visit for the first time to see me in over 6 years, I didn't hide my naked mermaid breasts from them. I didn't even hide my paintings of naked alien women embraced and intertwined in love-making bliss, not my naked butt paintings either. I left it all out there for them to see, this is who I am, this is where I am, take it or leave it. I'm not hiding me from you anymore.
Maybe I'm in a different place in my life. Maybe I care less due to having had such an extended period of sheer absence of my family from my life. I learned that I can survive and stand strong without having to change who I am to conform, to satiate someone else's ideal of what or who I should be.

Come on, give it to me... what do you guys think? Let me have it honestly...Should the paintings go in the closet(no pun intended) until the aunt has left, or should the statement be made?Opinions are respected here, even when they're WRONG!

11 cookies cracked:

Karen said...

i am torn on this one. i don't think it is about what the paintings mean to you. it is about the fact that a younger child can sexualize the boobies. how you chose to raise your kids is your choice, but you can't expose someone else's children to anything that is not "vanilla".
and again with my legal thoughts....parents art (not what they made per se, but what they bought and displyed) has been brought in to question in custody cases and parents who expose their kids to naked or sexual art have to defend themselves. i don't know if it is right or wrong, but it is the reality of life. you just have to ultra sensative to other peoples kids.

R.E.H. said...

How can I have read this post previously? Without the pictures? Was that through Google reader, or am I suffering some weird kind of deja vu?

Anyway. I don't really think you should have to take them down - from what I see, they're not too explicit... it's art fercryinoutloud!

Jay said...

Pretty tough call. For the most part I think that people are too protective of their kids and shelter them too much. Then, when those kids get to college or off on their own they don't know how to act and get into all trouble.

But, on the other hand I also believe that people should be allowed to raise their own kids their own way. As long as it isn't anything immoral or putting them in physical danger, etc.

But, on the other hand they're coming to YOUR house and the idea that you should have to do all this for people that coming to your house isn't really fair.

But, on the other hand, we are really talking about doing this more for your wife than for her family or the kid. I would want my wife to help me keep from having to deal with annoying family members and she would probably expect me to do the same for her.

You deal with your family in a different way than she does. She can respect that and you can too.

So .. uh .. what was my point? I yeah, it's ridiculous, but if it keeps the peace and makes the wife happy I would go along with it. If we were talking about adults coming over I wouldn't, but since it's a kid I would.

This has been another installment of "Jay's Worthless Advice." Thanks for participating. ;-)

Fortune Cookies said...

Karen- I do understand about hiding boobies from children who may sexualize them. I agree with that. This is where the censorship label idea came from. My question is more about whether the paintings should be censored via "censored" labels covering the breasts or should they be completely removed from the walls?

r.e.h. - welcome to deja vu! i get it all the time.
thanks for the input! :) an artist needs an ally

jay- i never knew you were so handy! :)
all good points to ponder.

for now all the mermaids are censored and in a closet. Let me say... the censored labels recieved quite a laugh when I showed the wife when she got home the other day...

I love my huny and would prefer to keep peace in the home. For no one other than her would I allow censorship to occur in my home and specifically to my work.

The Mama Bear said...

You have made your choice, and it is probably the correct one.
Art is a touchy point for many I have found and I believe in full expression on art.
My Father-in-law is a nudist and I have had to live with that for 17 years and raise 3 children around it.
I think the censor labels would have drawn more attention to it, honestly I bet had you left them up the kids wouldn't have noticed them as much as some would think.

Tink said...

Personally, I dont' understand why Americans are so uptight about boobs anyway. In Europe they show tits on daytime TV... in commercial ads! It's a part of life. So I don't think I would have taken the paintings down or censored them. Now if it's art that shows sexual acts or anything from the waste down, yes. But if nothing more, that's to avoid having to answer the "what's that?" questions.

Reb said...

You do what you need to do in order to maintain marital bliss. Having said that, it is art and art should never be censored. Maybe move them to a non-public room for the visit.

Karen said...

Just slap a piece of news paper over the "dirty" parts. Leave your art where it stands.

gr said...

holy cats, what can I say? my family is very conservative and I hide a lot from them

Real Live Lesbian said...

I think the adults are who you are protecting. Kids know that mermaids don't have clothes. And they wouldn't pay much attention to it. It's not like it's a REAL mermaiden with REAL boobies, they're fake and out of paint.

But to make a point, I would censor rather than take them down. But I'm bitchy that way.

Fortune Cookies said...

MamaBear- wow! I can't imagine what living and raising children around a nudist was like. Puts a new perspective on things.

reb- you and I are in total agreement- art is art and should never be censored.

gr- conservative family? I feel yah! mine is uber conservative. neo-cons, as I call them. ;)

real live- you are correct, it is surely the adults that are the real concern here. cest la vie... what can a not so fortunate cookie do but sigh and deal with the censorship in order to maintain harmony in the home? Mermaid breasts will be visible again in a few days.
I am like you... I wanted to leave the paintings on the walls where they hung with censorship labels covering the breasts, but, I am ashamed to admit, I lost that battle :(