Posted on: April 19, 2019 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Model and businesswoman, Shashi Naidoo took to Instagram on Monday to challenge sexual views on nudity after uploading a picture of herself lying naked by a pool on Instagram and Snapchat.

The post attracted some controversy and comments with quite a number of Instagram users slamming Shashi for posting the revealing photograph.

“Shameless and talentless, clout chasing… there are kids on this app,” a user wrote.

However, Shashi refused to back down and responded to the user saying: “Honey, there is a lot worse on the internet. And why are we teaching our kids that the human form is something to be ashamed of?” she asked.

Nonetheless, many followers of the 38-year-old agreed with her caption.

“Nudity is not sex, not pornography. It is the human form, reduced visually to its purest state. Uncensored and untainted,” she captioned the image.

Also, some of Shashi’s equally famous friends, including media mogul, Bonang Matheba, Rosette Ncwane and Tansey Coetzee, showed their support for the Shashi’s post by commenting ‘heart-eye’ emojis.

“The human body of a naked woman is a pure art form a wonder that can hold attention of a room,” one follower wrote.

Another follower added: “Very well said…. and when captured and depicted well, nudity and the human form really can be artistic as well aesthetically captivating.”

Despite Indian women sometimes being slammed for not being conservative, Shashi has always defied ‘popular opinions’ by showing that she is comfortable in her own skin.

In 2011, she has featured on at least three FHM covers and was named the magazine’s ‘Sexiest Woman in the World’.

“People need to move away from categorising Indians. I do not like being told that because I am an Indian woman, I must dress a certain way,” she told the Sunday Tribune shortly after being crowned the sexiest woman in the world.

There are several opinions to online nudity in general, with sex therapist Amanda Grace noting that, “sending nudes online is a great way to spice up one’s sex life and can be a very positive thing to  do with your partner.”

But according to Instagram’s and Snapchat’s current community guideline, nudity is frowned upon.

“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks,” stated the Instagram current community guidelines.

“It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.”

However, artist Spencer Tunick has slammed Facebook and Instagram’s ban over nudity on the platform for half a decadedue to its stringent “community guidelines”.

Tunick, who specializes in taking photographs of large groups of nude people around the world, first had his Facebook page banned in 2014 after posting a carefully pixelated photo of 75 women in Portugal. The colour gradations in the nipples of the women in his photograph were too visible, hence the ban.

Since then, Tunick has had to meticulously censorhis artworks in hopes that the images won’t be taken down—or worse, have his account deactivated.

However, just like Shashi, Tunick is challenging the public opinion around nudity and directing his message at those social media platforms. About 100 and 200 people will gather in New York City on June 2, posing naked to challenge Instagram and Facebook’s nudity policies.

The project called #WeTheNipple is organized by Tunick and the National Coalition Against Censorship with the goal of persuading the social platforms to allow artistic photographic nudity.

“I get it. I don’t want my daughters on an Instagram full of pornography,”saidTunickwho has a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old tells Esquire.

“But there has to be a way artists can have a voice to show their works. There has to be some formula, whether it’s the YouTube way where you’re reviewed and there’s an 18-or-older button that’s pressed. Or, for starters, equalize the male and female nipple and not deem the female nipple as violent.”

Censorship is typically a First Amendment argument, according to Nora Pelizzari, director of communications for the National Coalition Against Censorship. However, such “flies out the window” when the conversation tilts to the social networking platforms.

“These are private actors who are free to set nudity guidelines, and by using their platforms you are bound by them,” she notes. “That’s the nature of the game.”

However, these platforms are also becoming the more public as people now share art on Facebook and Instagram, Pelizzari continues. As a result, other people now visit these platforms to discover art.

“It feels disingenuous for someone like Instagram to purport to be a platform for artists and sharing new visual modes of expression and abide by these fairly arbitrary, certainly outdated, and very, very, very subjective ideas of ‘appropriate’ content,” she said.

While Facebook and Instagram prohibit nudity and sexual activity on their platforms, Twitter allows “some forms” of adult content in tweets, marking them as containing ‘sensitive media’—though not in live videos, profile or header images.

However, Google’s SafeSearch feature gives users the opportunity to restrict explicit images, sites and videos from showing up in search results.

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