Chapter Four: Nudity
Please take the time to watch the media above. It is the advertisement that I had previously mentioned at the start of the book. It is amusing, but it also highlights how people see clothing or lack thereof differently.
Wattpad considers these to be Prohibited:
Media containing full exposure of any private parts, such as genitalia, breasts and buttocks.
Media displaying sexual intercourse, or any other sexual act, regardless of whether private parts are visible.
My first thought was fair enough, Wattpad could do without porn. But then I realised that I had used this before in one of my books on Wattpad:
It is a photo of a public work of art that I found on Pixabay, without any age restrictions on the website. I also found that I had used this:
Oh, dear. Jiggly bits. On display, in what I assume would be a public art gallery. Now, I can’t take credit for using this one. But he is 17-foot tall and full of muscle:
Note: Love muscle excluded.
So why did these artists use nudes? The answer was to make the protagonists more human, something that was popular during the age of the Renaissance. When you dress a person, you automatically start to make assumptions about who they are and what status they have. Being naked strips them of all that. There is only the body and the emotion. Surely that is not contrary of the Wattpad ideal of storytelling. Nudes do not necessarily mean sexualisation. They can even be non-sexual. Think how much less meaningful this would be:
It is my belief that the Renaissance was onto something. Nudity and art can go together. When Wattpad prohibits all nudity, they are also prohibiting art, or at least, make it meaningless. It seems strange to have all those sexual guidelines, only to ban nudity outright. I have seen yoga pants and swimwear that are less decent and tasteful than a full nude. Think of the past trend of men wearing Borat suits. Think of yoga pants, without any yoga in sight. Anyone should be able to dress however they want to, of course, but sometimes nudity is preferable, at least to me.
This brings me to the second category — Wattpad’s ‘Mature’ guidelines for media. Here is the relevant section:
Partial nudity means partial or intentionally obscured exposure of any private parts such as genitalia, breasts and behinds.
You will be familiar with my thoughts on this, as I sit, partially nude in my running gear, intentionally obscuring my private parts. It makes no sense. I also find that I ran headfirst into a double standard when I read this part of the CG.
Essentially, the black bar on Michelangelo’s David is a little generous, but he is 17-feet tall. On the average man, however, the black bar that would be required would be approximately the size of my Nexus 6P phone. A slightly larger black bar would be needed for the back of course (let’s say an iPad size), no different from women. Up front, however, things are proportionally different between men and women. But why are David’s nipples covered?
Because they are part of his breasts. Men have breasts too. As Meredith Smalls wrote in LiveScience (June, 2008):
“the human fetal blueprint is initially female. We all begin as a ball of cells that quickly differentiates into various body parts. At five weeks of gestation, the fetus sports a neural tube that eventually becomes the spine, but other than that, we all look like a wad of chewing gum.”
Sure, you say, that is a technicality. Why is that an issue on Wattpad? Because technically, book covers like the one below passes Wattpad’s requirements to be included in the Everyone category.
Why does it pass? Because his private area is covered by his pants. Fine. What happens when you try to substitute a picture of a woman? Half of her body has to be covered, if you had to follow the CG. Only bad boys are officially allowed in Everyone.
The following photo, on the other hand, may have raised trouble for my friend, who’s book was moved to Mature.
So what are we looking at?
A woman… Check.
Covered breasts… Check.
Covered genitalia… Check.
Buttocks… Well, they go around the back.
So why was my friend pulled up for this? Because it implied nakedness? It is possible, although the model may just as easily be wearing a strapless one-piece. Dancers wear similar skin coloured suits, so that the audience can appreciate the movement or form on its own. Hmmm… That sounds familiar. To appreciate the human quality, perhaps?
Should partial or whole nudity be penalised? How many books on Wattpad do you think use variations of this racy image?
I should wryly point out that this image is the most likely reason for Wattpad to boot the Wattpad version of this book over to its Mature category. Go figure.