Montag, 29. Juli 2013

"Nude ain't rude!" - A message to the Prude Police...

OK, apparently, not everyone likes this...

It's Monday again... and, as usual, I started the week before work with my early morning ritual, which entails having my morning coffee in my most natural state of being, standing on my balcony, taking deep breaths of the cool morning air (Thank Goddess, it was indeed cool morning air, with temperatures around 17°C/63F!). The last heat wave with day temperatures beyond 30°C/90F had broken on Sunday and opening all windows in my apartment to let cooler air in enabled me to get a good night's sleep. So, I was ready to start the day in a good mood.

When turning on my computer to see, what mails, messages and funny stuff might have accumulated over the past hours, I had to laugh, indeed... sarcastically, though, since I saw a message about someone reporting me for doing something "inappropriate" on what some people refer to as "the digital Evil Empire", also known as "Facebook". My most recent "TGIF" picture had been reported as "offensive" and "violating the Facebook's Community Standards" and therefore has been removed by FB officials.

Of course, the most prominent reason for people reporting pictures and having them removed by Facebook is the display of nudity. And, in my case, I do not share or post eroticism or pornographic images, but merely examples of the most natural state of being. In case of the picture I posted last Friday, it also was humor, since I was also referring to the best possible clothing in hot weather and when being caught in a summer rain shower. But since the couple I depicted showed us their bare butts, someone thought it applicable to push the big red button labeled "Report as inappropriate", thus anonymously calling the Prude Police to take a look and then issue me virtual flashing ticket.

OK, in order to let you judge for yourself, here's the uncensored, original and allegedly "offensive" image I posted:

Quoted from the Facebook Community Standards, regarding "Nudity and Pornography":

"Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding."

This reminds me a lot about the Monty Python sketch with Michelangelo and the Pope, where the Pope censors artistic license by ending the sketch with the all-too famous quote "Maybe I don't know much about art, but I know what I like!" (Ooops, I should have sounded a Spoiler Alert before giving this away...!).

Nevertheless, this regulation opens a large can of worms, since it depends very much on the reviewer's personal taste, whether an image depicting nudity is of personal importance or not. Furthermore, the right to impose limitations is not exemplified or elaborated on.

Actually, one certain Pope is a good source to quote, when it comes to answering the question, whether nudity is something bad or not:

"The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendour and its beauty... Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness... Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person...The human body is not in itself shameful... Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person."

by: Karol Cardinal Woytyla (John Paul II), Love and Responsibility, translation by H. T. Willetts, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York: 1981

In sharing and posting images of natural nudity, I am indeed making a point of personal importance, since I am a nuddhist, as I call it - a naturist with an extra spiritual connection to nudity. What does that mean? First of all, I live naked at home. When coming home, the first thing I do is taking off all my clothes. I have found this to be the most comfortable and most natural state of being. Especially in the warm seasons, I also find it more practical to trust my body's natural cooling and temperature regulation mechanisms by ways of my bare skin, rather than sweating unnecessarily into my clothes. The spiritual side of my being nude is my faith in my unclothed body being a part of Nature (with a capital "N" as in Mother Nature or "Mama Earth" as I like calling Her, too). While I am not really inclined towards Christianity (or any organized religion, for that matter), I can very easily concur with what Mr. Woytyla wrote about the absence of shame when it comes to being nude. Actually, I do believe that there is nothing shameful at all about being nude, no matter when or where. In order to fully open myself to Nature and to take in Her positive powers, I am naked as often as possible when being outdoors, too. It's a liberating as well as invigorating and energizing experience to commune with Mama Earth by feeling the Earth beneath my bare feet, the Air by having a soft breeze waft over my nude body, Fire contained in feeling the sunlight's warmth on my bare skin and Water flowing all around me, unhindered, when floating naked in a lake, river or the sea... all of this is a celebration of Nature and all of Her gifts.

I promote my view of nudity being natural, free of so-called "sin" and definitely free of shame. Shamelessness (meant literally here as "absence of shame") is part of my being. I am not ashamed of being nude and I would like this world to be a more shameless place, in this respect, too. A slogan of Australian nudists protesting the closing down of nude beaches was "Nude ain't rude!" - and they're correct. Being nude is no more (and certainly no less!) than being natural and happy.

Now, when it comes to banning something natural and happy "because we can" (which is basically what FB's guideline means), how about taking a closer look at other Community Standards and how they're enforced (or not)?

Quoted from the Facebook Community Standards, regarding "Violence and Threats":

"Safety is Facebook's top priority. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence. Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site. We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism."

Advertizing a so-called "tower defense" game with the catchphrase "Kopfschuss!" (German for "Head shot!") and the picture of an H&K MP5... Strictly interpreting the guidelines, this ad on the Facebook page violates the Community Standards, too. Indulging in practising head shots virtually might be detrimental to one's personality and foster a possible violent career in the future.

I would have banned this...

Quoted from the Facebook Community Standards, regarding "Hate Speech":

"Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition."

So, are all of the more than 1,000 pages containing "hate" in their page titles merely humor? Is a page titled "I hate Islam" with more than 31,000 people liking it, just some jokes community? I seriously doubt that!

There's something very wrong with this picture, in my opinion!

So, we're dealing with the typically US-American double standards, when it comes to allowing or forbidding certain imagery or content... and most often, the "Prude Police" is called in to put up their "Police Line" banners, issue tickets or fines (mostly in the shape of warnings and removing the "offensive" images) and stay blind on other eyes, when it comes to slander, hate or violence.

It was bound to happen at some point, that one of my pictures posted on my FB account would get reported as being "offensive". But, IMO, there are far more really offensive things going on in the world as well as in many FB accounts.

Let's see, how long it takes, before anyone reports this blog post of mine as "offensive", as soon as I share it on my Facebook timeline.

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