Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 11.20

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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20 Comments

  1. The comments under the Rape Awareness Campaign article were quite bithersome. Nudity does not automatically equal eroticism.

    I wonder how many of those who protest the campaign on that point aren’t simply pissed about an equal rights issue appropriating religious iconography.

  2. Yeah, I had to leave that thread yesterday. “OMG NUDITY IT MUST BE EROTIC!!!!!!!” I was like, um, guys? This is Italy. They aren’t purists like the US. Nudity is not automatically “erotic” in quite a lot of the world. Plus, context. CONTEXT MATTERS.

  3. Ergh, those comments ARE bizarre. I didn’t get that from the ad at all. I thought it was very moving, actually.

    But then perhaps I am just corrupted by a childhood spent in Europe. Nothing convinces you that nudity isn’t always erotic like seeing old leathery men in speedos at the beach.

  4. @Amanda: Femministing commenters can be weird sometimes. I enjoy the posts (for the most part), but sometimes I want to smack the commenters. They contradict themselves constantly. “OMG IT IS EROTIC IT IS BAD!” and then tomorrow it’ll be “Women have the right to be nude and sexy and erotic!”

  5. It’s an image that could have been erotic in a different context. Frankly, if I had seen the image without being told that it’s a crucifixion pose, I wouldn’t have made the connection.

    So I think it’s kind of weird to say, “Oh, it’s Italy, they have different standards about nudity!” Because, well, sure, but that’s a non sequitur. Maybe nudity isn’t automatically erotic to them, but at the same time it’s not automatically non-erotic.

    The more important cultural difference is the fact that Italy, being saturated with Catholic iconography, would immediately recognise a crucifixion pose, whereas folks from the more Protestant American culture would probably need more cues (the reference to “sin” in the text being a big tip-off, for example) to make that connection.

    Without the crucifixion context, she looks rather placid and accepting, so its understandable that some people might find the image by itself somewhat erotic or at least not evocative of rape… But the context of crucifixion changes that, because someone in the Catholic culture would be aware of depictions of the crucifixion itself which feature the same placid and accepting pose from Christ despite the fact that crucifixion, like rape, is a violent and painful act.

    There were a few people in the Feministing thread making this point. Really, the context of traditional crucifixion imagery is more important than any difference in expressions of sexuality between the US and Europe in reading the intent of the image.

  6. @Joshua: You make good points, but as you said, context matters, and in that context, and also the context of the country where the ad was, I wouldn’t call it erotic. Sure, some may find it erotic, but some people find feet erotic! (ewww feet.)

  7. @jrpowell:

    “Sex sells.

    Religions discovered this long before Madison Avenue.

    Still, it is a little creepy to see a rape awareness group using this tactic to get attention to the cause.”

    I don’t get it. Having grown up as a fairly pious person who regularly attended church services I don’t think I ever found any reference to eroticism or sex (in a sexy way) in Christianity. If I’m wrong I would love it if someone could point out examples and we could discuss it. I guess maybe in some other religions (Tantric Buddhism?) but I’m not sure Christianity, specifically Catholicism, quite fits.

    Also I just finished a wonderful SETI podcast (Skeptical Sunday this week!) centered on skepticism in advertising. They had an expert who said sex doesn’t sell. Show an ad to men with a mostly nude girl in a provocative pose on top a car and ask the men what they thought of this brand of car and you might get the reply. “There was a car in the commercial?” his point was sex only distracts, it doesn’t sell.

  8. I love the Onion article: “the slow and deliberate takeover of more and more county school boards to get the political power necessary to ban evolution from textbooks statewide.” Yeah, they are VERY NICE folks. They just want everyone else to burn. How kind of them.

  9. I certainly found it erotic, but that has nothing to do with the similarity to crucifixion. I don’t find crucifixes erotic, I do find naked women on their backs with their arms spread erotic. Which is why this ad would have been wasted on me.

    Its effect on a society with a strong catholic culture, like Italy, would of course be completely different.

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