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An Unrealistic Body Standard

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3.00 / 5.00

Jul 7, 2015 | 3:43 PM EDT
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950 x 736 px
313.1 kb

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You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions:

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Author Comments

Not even traditional West African sculptors will be safe from online crusaders for "social responsibility" in the arts.

I don't mean this to mock women who seriously struggle with insecurity about their bodies. I believe getting in shape is good for both men and women's health (and good health is the baseline for most beauty standards across species), but there are many more ways to be a decent human being and a worthwhile contributor to society than fitting this or that physical beauty standard.

What I meant to say is that while everyone should enjoy the right to criticize artwork (freedom of speech), those who seek to impose their narrow standards of morality or "social responsibility" onto artists can be obnoxious as hell. I know this from experience. The idea for this cartoon actually came from this list of "commandments" for comic artists that claimed comics should promote "realistic body types", which I felt would discriminate against artists who don't work with realistic comic-book art styles. And that would include most of the non-Western world. Of course there have long been West African artists producing "realistic" art (e.g. the Yoruba busts from Ife in Nigeria, which rival even the best Egyptian equivalents in realism), but in general most of them work with highly stylized, exaggerated anatomical proportions for men and women. They would be among the first to suffer from some universally imposed standard of "body realism".

In short, here's my advocacy for the freedom of artistic vision over certain ideas of forced "social responsibility".