Today I felt particularly artistic and decided to snap a couple of photos of things in my surrounding area. By surrounding area I am referring to all that lay within iPhone camera reach of my bed! It was just the coming of morning and I had yet to rise for the day or start the tediously necessary task that awaited me. I planned to hop too and get on with it, but FIRST…..I vowed to post a blog, after what feels like a century.
Lately I have been overwhelmed with resettling into our newly purchased home and life in Texas, as well as truly diving into my passion for art and literature not just as a hobby anymore but a legitimate BUSINESS! I’d hoped to stumble upon something interesting through the aimless snapshots that would spark a bit of festivity in my brain in order to write something worth reading till the end about life and learning.
However, as I’m snapping pictures lackadaisically with my phone, testing the edits, filters, strength of pixels and pigments I was laying next to my spouse who seemed unaffected and unamused by my bits of movement and constant readjusting. Then all of a sudden I had the most wicked idea! I removed my undies and snapped a settle yet candid pic of my nether region for sport.
Before you get off suggesting I am a complete pervert or loony I must add, I precisely remember nude works of art being widely praised and even sought after in locations much further advanced artistically than ours such as France, Greece, Rome etc. In the American culture it seems it is acceptable to show EVERYTHING BUT the actual reproductive organs which most times could result in a male wearing nothing but a JOCK STRAP and a woman a thong and pasties simply to remain in the sheer confounds of acceptability.
Never the less, in the most peculiarly comforting way I absolutely ADORED the picture! Not because it was well…ME…but because of what part of me it happened to be. As a woman, more precisely a BLACK WOMAN, more often than not we are shamed for carrying a womb. Seen as weak, vulnerable, undeserving of certain levels of respect and dignity even a bit exploited in chauvinistic and demoralizing ways all in the name of “music”, “fashion”, and “relevance”.
Amongst the African American culture it seems the vulva is seen as useless other than for reproduction, pleasure or recently unapologetically, monetary value! Ironically for America to be against acts of nudity and “indecent exposure” more often than not women of my race and nationality are exposed in the most unbecoming and misogynistic of ways and found to be “normal”, even celebrated.
While it seems “sex sells” does it REALLY? The saying goes “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”. Currently it seems you can at least WITNESS sex for free anytime and anywhere. Whether it be on the internet, T.V. after hours Etc. As I took in the features of the picture I toned, edited and enhanced the photo in black and white to truly make the relevant details pop and stand out for even greater “appreciation” of what I perceived to be the “origin” of not only life but also the death of something that was once seen as sacred.
After nudging my husband awake finally ready to succumb to any and all consequences of waking him before NOON on a Sunday, he finally rolled over in annoyance to see what was more important than his last moments of hibernation. When I showed him the picture his response was “why are you like this!” Before attempting to turn back to the wall and chase down the remnants of sleep he’d missed in the few seconds he utilized to respond.
Certain that he merely did not understand my vision or newly self appointed need to send the world a message that “WOMAN IS MY SUPERPOWER not my DEMISE”, I decided to call my mother certain she’d be interested in exploring my insight and admiration for simply BEING WOMAN. To my surprise as supportive as my mother has always been she simply did not appreciate the uncensored review of her daughters vaginal region.
Even after watching me birth my son less than 2 years ago and wholeheartedly supporting women all over the world in many ways wether it be spiritually, emotionally or mentally, she still could not find it within to look at the picture as a “masterpiece of self reclaimed acceptance and appreciation”. She did note that she felt my sense of art and taste was beginning to delve a bit into the deep end and I should be careful not to become another “slightly detached from reality artist”.
It is important to note that my mother has been both witness and culprit to many uncensored conversations and reports throughout my sister and I’s life. Up to and including her new found romantic life after the passing of our father in 2018. Never has she grimaced at the thought of sharing with her children the raw and rugged details of her interludes or happenstances. I even welcomed the conversations due to realizing that after 32 years of marriage she was embarking upon a journey of “singularity” and romantic minimalism that I knew all too well until FINALLY meeting my husband after 2 failed marriages.
After making it clear she did not wish to view my curated, filtered and edited vagina, she casually suggested that I send the self-entitled “photogenic masterpiece” to my sister, sure she would be a better candidate for the far fetched and “extreme” ideation I was attempting to suggest as if this form of photography did not already exist. A bit disappointed I hastily sent the picture to my sister. It did not take more than 10 seconds for a response.
Sister: Wtf! Why? I’m literally never looking at your art again and I’m turning my read receipts off!
Me: It’s ART! I will call it “origin”
Sister: I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU CALL IT! No! Just NO!
I sat in awe at how quickly the situation had exited my control and now certain that I was on the outskirts of acceptance with my closest female counterparts. Understandably I could see where they would feel a bit of discomfort knowing that this was ME. However, it is not the first time we have seen one another in the nude and I would much rather see them than a STRANGER, so what was different about this time?!
After sulking to my husband about my failed attempt to create a talking point amongst my valued female relatives, he casually stated “bae, it’s alright, if you see art in it that’s all that matters, it’s all in the eye of the beholder….but you better not post that art piece ANYWHERE!”
Still a bit dismayed by the lack of projected response from those I thought understood and knew me the best I found myself divulging this VERY tale to another ARTISTICALLY INCLINED friend of mine and ex-co worker. Through our conversation I was surprised that the greater vote had been wrong after all and I was NOT UNSTABLE ! Or at least there was someone else out there with the same condition as me so that made it alright!
After sharing the humorously uncomfortable situation from beginning to end WITHOUT ACTUALLY DISCLOSING my “work” for fear of feeling like a pervert after all, she laughed and said “ No, I get it, the appreciation of US as natural beings, just call it Feminist Art and they will go crazy over it!