Naked… Nude… Pornography…

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(WARNING: Content for persons over 15 years old and may offend :-))

Naked… Nude… Pornography…

What’s the difference? Not a lot, and a matter of perception.

As I found out during a tour of the ‘Nude: from the Tate Collection’ exhibition, “naked” is merely without clothes and common and “nude” is an idealised artistic expression of nakedness. And “pornography” brings up the image of unacceptable nakedness and base.

Lord Kenneth Clark, one of the most respected art historians of the 20th century had this to say (in his classic book, The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form),

“To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes, and the word implies some of the embarrassment most of us feel in that condition. The word ‘nude,’ on the other hand, carries, in educated usage, no uncomfortable overtone. The vague image it projects into the mind is not of a huddled, defenseless body, but of a balanced, prosperous, and confident body.”

So naked is vulnerable, nude is power?

What delineates one from the other? Is it a nude because it is deemed ‘art’ or is it ‘art’ because it has been idealised?

Does the classification as ‘naked’ or ‘nude’ make the subject or its message more or less powerful?

Here are some pieces of art (as they have been pronounced to be so and exhibited as such 🙂 ) from the exhibition.

The bath of Psyche (Frederic, Lord Deighton)

Nude, the art form as goddess (yes, usually female) and reverent beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude as a form of ‘style’. Naturalist, and gone is the marble-like skin. Real and vulnerable.

The knight errant

The knight errant (Sir John Everett Millais)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pieces from series in red (Louise Bourgeois)

 

 

Nude as body politics, and confronting.

 

 

 

 

 

Nude denoting distance or intimacy, pain or love. The power of the images speaks for itself.

The kiss (Rodin)

Job (Francis Gruber)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude as eroticism and love.

Etching L.16

Etching L.16 (Picasso)

Nude woman in a red armchair (Picasso)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Split nude (Fiona Banner)

What do these images say to you? Are you enticed, enliven, inspired, repulsed, embarassed,…? The intensity of your reactions to them is indicative of the power of their message, does it not?

 

And pornography? Well, pornography shall be invisible. It subsists in the underbelly of sexual desires, does it not?

Not quite.

Depictions of naked bodies and sexual acts have been around for centuries. But the concept of pornography didn’t really exist until the Victorian era when explicit sexual acts depicted in paintings were condemned for their licentiousness. Looking at sexual imagery became outlawed. Therefore, pornography is not a creation, rather a definition.

Society since then has prescribed acceptable ways for the display of our naked bodies and how to perform sex acts. As I see it, this does not make other ways “wrong” or “bad”, merely uncommon. And the stronger the “rejection” of this recent construct called ‘pornography’, the greater the attraction for its illicit ‘nature’. Fancy that?!

My opposition to sexually explicit images is their treatment of the subjects. Is it respectful? Is it exploitation – physical, mental, emotional or financial? Is it harmful as subjectively experienced (not “objectively defined”)?

So the dilemma is this: the human body, male or female, is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. A line is crossed when it symbolizes, or is in actuality, an ab-use of our bodies. What is that line? For you? Are we guided by societal norms or political agendas when we look at naked human forms – nude, pornography or just naked?

 

Art is conversation, so keep talking 😉
~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

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A woman, loss and politics

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I cannot escape this sense of loss, this great sorrow.

I am woman, and that alone is enough to speak to the many ways in which I am deeply disappointed by the outcome of the US election. I realised the energy, the hope I had invested to see a woman make it in what is purportedly the greatest country in the world.

I am not referring to party politics. I don’t want to speak of claims of fraud or lies, and misogynistic or corrupt behaviour. I am not calling it. My experience is not American, I am not one.

But I know the politics that is played out in my life, whether I have chosen to welcome it or intentionally invited it or have it imposed upon me. And the outcome of the election epitomised it.

So I will speak about being woman. What does it take for a woman to succeed? What does it take for a woman to be acknowledged as ‘qualified’?

Can a woman stand by her man, and not be tainted by the relationship? Can a woman remain loyal to the institution of marriage as many expected of her, and not be condemned for it? What if a woman leaves to maintain her integrity and perhaps ambition, refusing to be marked? What if she doesn’t leave? Can a woman be truly independent? What motivations do we ascribe to her?

Can a woman choose to be strong and ambitious, and still be a wife and mother? How much before she is too soft or weak to lead? How much before she is too ‘cold’, too ‘hard’ to be liked? Because women must be liked as they must be ‘nice’, don’t they?

Can a woman be like a man, and not threaten the established order? But a woman cannot be like a man for she will be ridiculed for being an imposter, won’t she? Can a woman choose to be herself and lose the faith of others, as their faith lies with conformity and acquiescence?

How many roles must a woman fulfil in order to be ‘good enough’? How much energy must still be expended for a woman to remind herself she is good enough?

When will fear cease at the sight of a successful woman, a strong woman? When will a woman be permitted to be flawed, to have an agenda or an opinion? When will permission be no longer an issue?

Tomorrow will be another day… and perhaps my daughter and yours will not feel lesser because once again, an intelligent capable woman with ample experience isn’t good enough unless she has impeccable virtue and full of grace, flawlessly perfect as men would have her.

Perhaps sitting in my bedroom in a country far away on the other side of the world, I am merely influenced by the media? What if the demons are not real? Maybe we are ascribing too much power to the US of A, as we see millions of dollars being wiped off financial markets worldwide.

What if we turn away, remove ourselves from the drama of it all and direct our energy to re-imagine a different world… I will certainly wake tomorrow less disorientated by what has happened.

For now, I will speak with my daughter who has been outraged and appalled, and choosing ridicule to cope; now I will share with her the dangers of labelling and dichotomising, and the importance of empathy for a people which she and I know little of.  We will speak of courage to stand out and stand up for being woman, unabashed in pursuing our calling, whatever it may be.

Perhaps, perhaps there is a historical lesson here for all of us, as time will tell, and I hope it is an inspiring one.

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Woman of your dreams

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If you could be the woman of your dreams, who would you be?

My answer: Me, myself and I.  No matter what my experiences might have been, are and may be, they are just that, experiences.  And I live them.  As you do yours.  You are amazing! 🙂

 

 

If you could be the woman of your dreams, who would you be?

In love,
FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Real people in blogosphere?!

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This post is about connection and community, the one I have found here on blogosphere. It is a social experiment in hindsight, and these are my observations and purely subjective :-). But before I go there, some qualifications. I did not have any preconception of what or how a friend ought to be. I have no need for a friend to behave in a particular manner. How should friends behave to be classified as friends? Not wasting my time on this never-ending search for answer.  So when I got to blogosphere, I am perhaps a little more open to different conceptions of friends.

However it is, the friends I have in blogosphere are significant; these are the people with whom I share a common interest or two – blogging, books, writing, the search for self and self-expression… I get to see an aspect to them which they choose to share, as I with myself, and that is enough. The self is constructed at the contact point, the boundary of you and I. We are each different, somewhat, depending who we are in contact with at any moment of time. So what is the true self, I am not particularly fussed… so long as the parts we show are genuine parts 😉 Most importantly, these are people who by their very presence are living proof that I am ‘normal’. Okay, I am not that keen on being normal, however the sense of belonging and acceptance is comforting, don’t you think?

The connection I have with friends on blogosphere are measured by the familiarity of what and how we do things. It is also measured by the support – through their words which I value, and their actions.

Creating this blog was purely pragmatic – to get into a habit of writing, to hone my skills – to express myself without the formality of professional or legal or academic writing. I was tired of self-editing in my head and not producing much. Blogging was my solution. I also wanted to write about something that is meaningful to me, hence Meanings and Musings was born. For a short while I had another blog called Rambling On, which was created for me to experiment with different forms of writing, as I didn’t want to ‘taint’ Meanings and Musings. Ha, that was a beginner’s ‘idea’ which was discarded not too long after, along with the Owl profile picture. I must admit, kinda miss that owl :-). Little did I know I would find a community of like-minded people.

So a few lessons I have learned in my short time in blogosphere:

  • There are real genuine people in blogosphere.
  • At the same time, we must hone our lie-detection skills and bullshit radar. Caution is not a bad word.
  • There is always something to learn from somebody, whether they are friends or not; irrespective of whether you agree with their modus operandi or their personality or their views and opinions.
  • Every post is someone’s perspective. There is no universal truth or the correct way. Or is there? 😉
  • Kindness, humility and grace get you a long way in blogosphere (and in life). So does professionalism.
  • It takes all kinds in blogosphere (in everyday living too) – and the old adage of ‘birds of a feather’ has a ring of truth in it .

Though it may take time, explore blogosphere and find your nest, your herd, your crowd, your people… there, is your connection and belonging. And your community with a voice.

I wrote this post in response to an award for which I was nominated by Sue Vincent – the Blogger Recognition award. Thank you! Here is a link to the originator of the award – Eve Estelle.

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I am required to nominate 15 blogs. I am struggling with these as some of you may know, I have been somewhat busy so I’ll *cheat*. These 5 bloggers are inspiring indeed. Check out their blogs!

Greg from Potholes in the Road of Life
Michelle from Chasing Life and Finding Dreams
Josh from My Friday Blog
Melissa, the Aran Artisan
Rowena from Beyond the Flow

– FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Debut Novel: Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling-It all begins here… Chapter One.

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I have been waiting for this book… the story of change and a man’s transformation set in the high seas. I am privileged to have read it and it’s brilliant! Here’s Chapter One …

Author Ronovan Hester

Coming February of 2016 is my debut novel, a historical adventure written with award winning author PS Bartlett, titled Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, a prequel to her Ivory Shepard series of books. Through this novel you discover the beginnings of the beginnings. And how Gabriel Wallace is involved with the gentleman pirate who devotes his life to freeing the women kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery.

Here I give you the novel’s first chapter, with a taste of who and what is involved and a way to know in advance the book’s pace and the beginning of Gabriel’s Fall.

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling

Chapter One

“Gabriel, there’s trouble brewing upstairs,” Miles Jacobs said, taking an empty chair at the corner table of the tavern. When I observed my Lieutenant’s set jaw and clenched teeth, I immediately appreciated the seriousness of his words. My eyes followed his to the steps at the opposite end of…

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Love in practice

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Love is undefinable. There may be words, strings of words for the wordsmiths among us, shapes and colours for the artists, to describe the expression or impression of love, yet its essence is mysterious and perhaps subjective.

One of my favourite quotes of all time, which I have shared here before:

“We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” ~Anais Nin

And so it is with love. How do we experience love so that we will recognize it as love, and not something else? For example, when a close one gives you solutions, do you experience it as love, care… or a slight? You know how it is… the ‘don’t you know I can solve my own problems?’ stance. Or when a dear one attempts to lighten the mood with humor, is he or she met with understanding and gratitude, or with annoyance for being belittled?

I know perhaps you may say, he or she doesn’t get me… doesn’t appreciate what I am going through. Perhaps they don’t. When does the judgment of fault or wrong ever improve a situation?

“You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.” ~Miguel Ruiz

So what I am about to say is probably my ’translation’ of love in practice. Do you agree?

  • Love involves an openness to the possibility that the other is trying;
  • Love involves a desire to impute positive intentions by your loved one;
  • Love involves the acknowledgement that perhaps the other may have good intentions (even if he or she lacks the capacity to care and love you as you wish to experience it);
  • Love involves a kindness in spirit to the other;
  • Love involves a willingness to withhold judgment and seek clarification;
  • Love involves seeing the worthiness in another;
  • Love involves accepting when you are not met, in spirit or soul, by the other without blame;
  • Love involves communication in silence, of looks and gestures without words;
  • Love involves sense of safety, of being emotionally and psychically held;
  • Love involves loving yourself enough to be capable of doing all that is before.

Herein lies the crux, the most difficult exercise of all in my view. (By the way, self-love is not synonymous with narcissism.)

Our capacity to love is infinite, and if we allow ourselves to draw from this abundant well then we can love many without taking away from another. And in here too, the love we experience adds to our loving yet it is not overflowing because there is no limit to the love we can receive.

(Without putting a damper on a post about love, when one is love then nothing negative, reducing or hateful can penetrate, yes?)

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ~Stephen Chbosky

Be wonderful, be love.
– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Meet…Florence Thum

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I want to thank Hugh for his invitation to guest post… so head on over to Hugh’s Views and News for a read.

Hugh's Views & News

Welcome to this month’s ‘Ladies & Gentlemen, meet…’ feature, where I invite a blogger to write a guest post.

This month I’d like to introduce you to Florence Thum.  Blogger, lawyer, and a full-time mum, Florence is also part of the Lit World Interview Team, along with myself and a number of other bloggers you may know.  Although she holds down a full-time job and is a very busy mum, Florence always finds the time for her writing, amongst which she has a real passion for poetry.

Blogger & Writer: Florence Thum Blogger & Writer: Florence Thum

Some of you may already know Florence and, for me, she is one of the most kind-hearted people I have come to know here on Planet Blog.  She recently started up an appeal for our very good friend and fellow blogger Ronovan (aka Ronovanwrites), after the hard-drive on his laptop failed.  She managed to raise enough money to…

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Life lesson: I am a human being

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I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.
~ Terence circa 170BC

 

I stumbled upon this. My takeaway is… okay, here’s an aside. ‘Takeaway’ refers to ‘lesson learnt’ or ‘light-bulb moment’ – a term which is rather common in therapeutic circles in Sydney.

So my takeaway from this video is that we, no matter the sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, religious beliefs, nationality, age, talents and abilities, are the same.  We are all capable of the horror some have inflicted, or the love bestowed, or the pain suffered. We are the same in our humanness.

I recall the exuberant youth I was, die-hard feminist exclaiming to a classroom that ‘all men are potential rapists’ – to parrot the words of a renowned radical feminist whose name escapes me now. Marilyn French?

Now, before you get all a-fluster, upset or angry, hear me out.  Firstly, that statement does not suggest that women can’t or won’t. Further, that statement was made in the context of socio-political and legal discourses. The legal definition, at least in Australia, for ‘rape’ is such that only a male person can do so… so yes, the penetration of Y into X.  So, the ‘potential’ part refers to the capability by reason, in this instance, of the male anatomy. It does not suggest probability nor is it definitive. Okay, If you are to return to the provocative statement, can you see what I was referring to? Thirdly, then the corollary was perceived as some to say that ‘all women are potential victims”.  Again, true if taken at face value. Again, it doesn’t mean men can’t or aren’t.

And how did I get here?  Oh right, we all as human beings have the potential to inflict pain, to be cruel, to be selfish… Our shadow follow us. And so does our light. We have the potential for kindness, compassion, generosity, love…

This is humbling. I keep reminding myself in moments of righteous indignance, of snobbish intelligence, of wallowing sadness,… that we are the same.

I know what I can be, and I know who I am.

We are each on our own journey 🙂  What do you make of this quote or even Maya Angelou’s video?

In light and shadow,
– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

We got to go through it

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We can’t go over it
We can’t go under it
Oh no, we got to go through it!
Excerpt from ‘We’re going on a bear hunt

Today, I am acutely aware this is how we sometimes must approach life.

“We’re going on a bear hunt” is one of my favourite children’s books. Our copy is kept safe in a box of ‘Books to keep’, waiting to be displayed when the bookcase is built. Its hard cover survived two toddlers and their nightly use for some 7 years.

Then, I had found the rhythm of the writing addictive, filled with spaces for imagination and exploration, and a storyline that is soothing (for me, at least). The kids giggled their way through the nightly reading of this book, and eventually we had it memorized. When asked if she remember it, my daughter S smiled and recited the three lines above. It seems this book holds great memories.

Little did I know I would also find a life lesson.

Whitman quoteSometimes we can’t go over it – stepping over it in our bid to ignore, to avoid; hoping it’ll be alright in the end or that we can bear it, cope with it, handle it. Words that to some extent comfort us and excuse us from looking within, from seeing our light, our truth. To live with integrity, perhaps we must not just ‘go over it’.

Sometimes we can’t go under it – allowing ourselves to be brought low, believing that we are less than, that we are not worthy, that we are not enough. There are times when there are more at stake, when we must dig into our deepest reserves and find that little nugget of courage, will, desire to greet the dawn. It is then we know who we truly are, that we did not ‘go under it’.

And so we got to go through it. Whatever ‘it’ may be. My intention is to do so with grace and dignity, with love and compassion, with courage and insight.

But why must these days happen to us? Because there are lessons to be learnt, not punishments or consequences, but lessons pure and simple. We may not know what they are, perhaps even for some years to come. And the lessons can only be learnt if we open our hearts to them – let go of anger and resentment, free ourselves from the grip of fear for they will not give space for these lessons.

i've learned

And lessons will repeat themselves until they are learnt. A cliché? I don’t believe so. It is the patterns in our life which unless we break out, will perpetuate whether a relationship or a behaviour or a thought process …

So how do we go through it? I have no universal one-size-fits-all answer, except I suspect it involves some ‘doing’ and a whole lot of ‘being’.

In moments when you need answers,

Breathe and drop your awareness into your heart space…
Listen…
Within you is your knowing.

Hold the possibilities lightly, play with them a little… you will know the answer and the lesson’s learnt when you are at peace.

And one day soon, I promise you, you will sing a love song to yourself and your life, and wonder why ever did you doubt.

Namaste!
– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.