Creation of art knows no limits in terms of societal norms. Before digital media evolved, there were not many restrictions imposed on artists on basis of ‘nudity’. In this day and age when artists get digital platforms to showcase their talents and creations, new norms are being introduced that thwart their freedom of expression.
This has become a global movement as artists have come on streets against the social networking platforms' unfair policies towards art-based nudity. Not just international but the Indian community of artists has also come out in their support, detailing their own experiences and demanding the digital platforms to have a clear differentiation between vulgarity and art.
In a campaign titled #WeTheNipple In a protest in June, nearly 100 people stripped naked holding pictures of nipples in their hands in front of Facebook's New York headquarters, demanding allowance to showcase artistic nudity on the popular apps.
Not just artists but adult film stars joined this movement too. The adult film artists have described Instagram's nudity rules vague, inconsistent and threatening to their livelihood, just as it does with the artists.
Works of several artists were taken down without any prior notice, therefore affecting their reach and followers. In the end, digital media is all about its power of reaching more and more people if the content is liked by people. However, after allegedly flouting norms of websites like Facebook and Instagram, their posts were removed.
Hashtags like #fineart and #nudephotograph, that have come into notice and have gotten deleted under 'policy violation', that restricts them from activities on the platforms. This issue has to be of course, addressed by the social media giants as putting a stop to products of photographers, painters, models and even graphic designers is definitely not a solution.
The global demonstrations have convinced Facebook to re-think its stance on artistic nudity. At the end of the day, careful curation can make platforms understand that all nudity is not vulgarity especially when it is in the form of art – be it photographs, painting or videos. It does become scary when imaginary uniform sets of rules are imposed on all to suppress the old fashioned mindset and tendencies.