Censored, Packaged, Damaging Beauty

Censorship of both the male and female body is now more rigid than we’ve seen in the last few decades - largely due to the sheer flood of nude and/or revealing imagery via social media. It’s a complex matter. We’re all aware of the social norm fo beauty and the pressure on women to conform to that - and we’re aware of the fallout - the damaging psychological outcomes. Censorship is one device that contributes to this by essentially “shaming’ various aspects of our bodies; genitals, breasts, nipples, butts and pubic hair.

I’m currently exploring this topic, both visually and otherwise. Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article written by Esther Young in ‘The Owl’; a student edited publication from Santa Clara, California. (https://santaclaraowl.com/). It addresses various concerns from a female point of view, whereas my interest is at a higher level, irrespective of gender.

‘Media’s treatment of the female body is a disappointing reflection of what this culture deems beautiful or ugly. In American culture, body hair is considered ugly and even trespassing social media safety guidelines. Even women’s hair removal product companies, though aimed at selling their razors and shaving creams to women, do not allow the appearance of actual body hair in their ads. This censorship conveys the message that a woman in her unaltered, unshaven state is unacceptable and even offensive. This upholds a double standard of beauty. While photos of bikini-clad women in their unaltered states are censored, naked celebrities photo-shopped to glossy, toned “perfection” are splashed across magazine covers and the same social media sites that censor nipples and female body hair. Women in their natural states are censored while photo-shopped images of the female body are used to sell and make profit, while promoting an unnatural and idealized standard of beauty. Meanwhile, ads showing men with pubic hair peeking out from the top of their Calvin Klein underwear are also freely displayed.’

Concept and Set-up: @staceymikephoto
Photographer: @shotbyminx