A small Indiana art gallery came under fire because they were displaying a painting containing a woman with bare breasts. According to KCRG Channel 9, Hugh Stumbo, the owner of the gallery in Tipton, Ind., put paintings of his own on display in the gallery’s window. People began complaining, and Stumbo received a phone call from the police chief, telling him to remove it.
KCRG says that the police chief told Stumbo that Mayor Shirley Kepford had complained about it. She said that she was getting complaints about it from people in Tipton’s downtown area:
This was not the kind of art they wanted to see, and right down on Main Street where everybody walks by.
She also said that people were offended by the gun, but would they be offended by the gun if it weren’t for the bare breasts? Kepford asked Stumbo to remove the painting, but apparently, there’s no city ordinance prohibiting the display of that kind of art. Regardless, she could also understand why people were upset, with children walking by who could see that.
What this really boils down to is the idea that women’s bodies are somehow shameful. Men’s nipples are okay. Cleavage, sideboob, and even underboob, are okay. But as soon as you display the nipples on a woman’s breasts, it’s indecent, it’s pornography, and won’t someone please think of the children?!
We have problems with people saying that breastfeeding is indecent. Facebook pulls photos showing women’s bare breasts, even if they’re breastfeeding pics. People think that women’s breasts are sexual organs. While they play a role in sex, they are not sexual organs. They’re food sources for babies, like a cow’s udder, or the nipples on a cat. Nothing more.
According to The Raw Story, if Stumbo doesn’t remove the painting, the city might move to censor it. If they do, it just pushes the idea that women’s bodies are dirty, and something of which to be ashamed. It teaches that idea to children, too. This is called “modesty culture,” which is a part of both religion and of rape culture.
As for Stumbo, he plans to start showcasing work from other artists in his gallery, including an artist that specializes in nudes. KCRG reports that Stumbo said:
It seems to me we have to make room for that sort of thing. If we’re going to have a gallery, we have to accept what artists do.
We also need to accept that there’s nothing about breasts that is offensive. If a man’s nipples are okay to display in public, why not a woman’s? Why are hers off-limits as “indecent?” This needs to stop.
Watch KCRG’s report below:
Featured image via screen capture