Now, let me make one, simple point. For the most part, there is nothing indecent about this ad. HOWEVER, the FCC has made some judgement calls at times relating to showing the naked body of an infant. What I have seen myself is that the showing of nudity of an infant depends on the context in which it is shown.
Given that this ad’s context is not just body positivity, but also implies a certain amount of physical attractiveness and sexiness, the context could be considered too “racy” in that particular advertisement to allow for showing the naked body of an infant, even from the rear.
However, I’m not sure that the FCC or the networks really have a leg to stand upon, as many ads for “normal-sized” women have been known to show naked infants in similar contexts.
Personally, I find this to be hypocrisy at its finest.
If the showing of a naked infant, from the rear, is considered indecent then it is indecent no matter what the context of the adults in the media are.
Even in relation to Christianity, nudity is a confusing situation. In much of the Bible, it’s not necessarily the issue of being unclothed so much as the shame, guilt or other negative connotation. Adam and Eve were naked even before original sin, it is only lust that makes it sinful in a Christian narrative.
Now, as a Neo-Pagan, nudity is a sacred act for me. It is an acceptance of the Divinity in myself as well as the Divinity in those around me. Sexual desire is only a part of that, not the whole entirety of it. And, in my religion, sexual desire is not degrading or “sinful,” it is considered simply a part of being human. If it weren’t for the fact that in our society I can be arrested for public nudity, I would spend the warmer days of the year naked as a jaybird – regardless of what I was doing. But just because I’m comfortable with my own nudity doesn’t mean the next person must be just as comfortable with their own nudity as I am. Relative nudity is an individual choice.
The “sin” (not that my religion actually uses that word) for someone of my religion would be the actual activity of using one’s sexual desire to force or coerce unconsenting interactions. Someone else’s desire for my body does not actually entitle them to use my body as they see fit without my active consent, regardless of whether I am clothed or nude.
I see the women’s bodies in this advertisement as aesthetically beautiful. And the shot with the mother and child is just as beautiful, and does not in any way make me think that the infant is a prop used in a sexual context. To me, it is no different than Raphael’s “Madonna del Granduca” (shown to the right).
The infant in Raphael’s work is just as nude, yet no one considers this painting to be indecent nor in any way sexualizing the infant.
The whole concept of “public indecency” is a moving target. Less than 100 years ago (early years of the 1900s), men showing their chests (particularly the nipples) was considered “public indecency.” In point of fact, there are only three states in the USA (Indiana, Utah and Tennessee) that consider female toplessness to be illegal. Unfortunately, cities and other municipalities inside those states often make laws to the contrary.
The problem is that indecency is defined by the person seeing nudity rather than by the motives and actions taken by the individual who is nude. The only time when indecency is ascribed to the motives and actions of the person being nude is when someone is actively performing indecent exposure (i.e. a flasher).
Let’s just look at that for a moment. It is only in relation to the human body that we allow the issues of others to take precedence over the intent and motivation of an individual. If someone commits a burglary, we don’t blame the home owner/renter for that act, even if they leave their doors unlocked. If someone steals a car, we don’t blame the victim unless he or she was excessively stupid (i.e. leaving the car running in a place considered to be the bad part of town). But we blame the victim when they are raped. We blame the nudist for the offense someone else takes with their nudity.
It’s no different than the same entitlements that plague our lives. Attractive people are often either considered to be unintelligent, or just 2-dimensional beings simply because they are attractive. We consider it appropriate to objectify them. Yes, ladies, you cannot tell me that we women don’t objectify men just as much as men objectify women. How many of us post photos of hot guys on Facebook? It is exactly the same thing that men are doing with photos of hot women.
There are, sadly, too many times that I think our culture requires an emotional enema. This just happens to be one of them.
While you consider what I’m saying, I’ll leave you with this: