From the Stars, and #NudePhotoRevolutionary Calender

Couple of neat things.

First, I found this video at Bad Astronomy.

It’s always fascinated me to know that we literally came from stars, and Neil Tyson explains why very clearly. Truly awesome in that the thought inspires genuine awe.

Today’s other cool thing is the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calender.

#NudePhotoRevolutionary Banner

Click the banner or right here to go to Maryam Namazie’s blog where you can buy the calender, download a pdf of it, or make a donation.

My favorite photos are Mallorie Nasrallah’s December 2012, a clever and stunning reminder that everyone around you is naked under their clothes, and Maja Wolna’s April 2013 which just seems to capture every part of humanity to me; the tool use & technology, the culture & society, and the ape. (The pose looks a little uncomfortable, though.)

This calender project was put together in solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, who became one of my heroes with a single blog post. I’ve written about her before.

I like that idea behind this calender, but it seems strange to me that there’s nobody from Africa or the Mid-East. I realize that this was a global project coördinated with the English language, so there’s going to be a bias towards English-speaking areas. And of course, it’s a lot easier for woman from Europe or North America to participate, because while they’ll still get threats and demeaning bullshit, none of the people calling for them to be publicly whipped are likely to work in their own government. I’m not about to speak ill of this project because the people in the greatest danger got the least publicity, and it’s entirely volunteer so I can’t really whine too much about this, but it bothers me a little that the UK & USA each make up a third of the participants.

And while this was sparked off by Aliaa Elmahdy, it’s not just about her. It’s not just about Egypt, it’s not just about areas with a strong Islāmic influence, it’s not just about places with a strong conservative religious influence. This sort of thing affects women everywhere.

I can give you an example from my search terms, every month I go through them and there’s always at least one looking for “Aliaa Elmahdy Porn” or “Aliaa Elmahdy Fucking” or some close variant. The photo she posted might be called erotic or sexy, especially if you’re into stockings, but it clearly wasn’t porn. It’s just her standing there.

There’s this perception that nudity is inherently sexual, and any picture of a naked person is pornographic. Well I suppose with sufficient imagination it could be, but that goes for any picture at all, really.

While I was working on this I mentioned a little of what I was writing about to a friend and she caught me by surprise by talking about photos of naked men. since naked women are “typically only porn to the sexually repressed and repressive”, while an erect penis is generally considered to be porn by pretty much everybody. I’d been thinking entirely of women, not only because women were the subject of the calendar but because it’s so rare to see photos of naked men. Of course, the sexually repressed and repressive are exactly the people that this is intended to slap in the face.

While interesting, definitions of porn and the effects of penises, erect or otherwise, in photos is too far off-topic to be discussed here. It was a hard decision to make, but I’m sure the subject will rise again soon.

Look, the direct inspiration behind this is just straight up giving the finger to those who say that women should be hidden away behind head-to-toe clothing, only their eyes visible. That’s pretty obvious, “you want us hidden, so here we are naked.” The real message, though, the important point, is about self-determination and personal power. It’s not about showing bare skin, it’s about being able to decide how you present yourself to the world and being able to choose whether or not to be sexual at any given moment.

This is the difference between wearing a low-cut blouse because your boss gets pissy if you don’t and wearing it because you like it. Or between hoots & whistles from painfully cliché construction workers and someone honestly answering your question when you ask “Do I look sexy?” Heck it’s really the difference between finding nude photos of yourself on the internet because you participated in an art project, and finding them because some asshole installed a hidden camera in the changing room.

I think that’s what really pisses off the fucking patriarchy, not the nudity or some imagined moral breakdown caused by seeing nudity, but the idea that a woman has control of her body and her sexuality. That she won’t be unobtrusive or sexy on demand, but will choose when and how and even if to be on her own terms. That she won’t be defined by her relationship with men.

In a far broader context, that’s really what most modern cultural conflicts boil down to in my eyes, people wanting to live on their own terms clashing with people wanting to dictate terms to others.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on March 8, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “I think that’s what really pisses off the fucking patriarchy, not the nudity or some imagined moral breakdown caused by seeing nudity, but the idea that a woman has control of her body and her sexuality. That she won’t be unobtrusive or sexy on demand, but will choose when and how and even if to be on her own terms. That she won’t be defined by her relationship with men.

    In a far broader context, that’s really what most modern cultural conflicts boil down to in my eyes, people wanting to live on their own terms clashing with people wanting to dictate terms to others.”

    A lifetime of frustration and anger for so many of us, struggling every day to insist and demand that we be sole master of our decision making with our bodies, our aesthetic, and our cognition – expressed so simply in so few words. Thanks!

  2. It interests me that the various groups that want to dictate terms all have conflicting ideas, yet often seem quite happy to work together to gang up on those who want to set their own terms. I guess they figure once they stomp us out then they can turn on each other?

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