The Naked and the Nude

The fact remains: not all nudity is created equal

“According to Fortune, Facebook removed the photograph after a Norwegian newspaper editor posted it as part of a series of war-themed images. When the editor attempted to re-post the photo, his account was suspended, and an international furor followed.”

 

The recent skirmish over Facebook’s removal of a harrowing image—the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1972 photograph of a young, naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm explosion—certainly raises questions of censorship. Yet it also strikes me as a symptom of our porn problem.

According to Fortune, Facebook removed the photograph after a Norwegian newspaper editor posted it as part of a series of war-themed images. When the editor attempted to re-post the photo, his account was suspended, and an international furor followed. In response, a Facebook spokesperson explained, “While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.”

I don’t fault Facebook for erring on the side of caution in any case involving nudity, especially child nudity. And the company quickly reversed its decision and issued an apology. Still, the fact remains: not all nudity is created equal.

While in a state of innocence, Adam and Eve were both naked and unashamed. The very first consequence upon eating the forbidden fruit was that they became aware of their nakedness and covered themselves. Later, God replaced the inadequacy of their fig leaves with the clothing of a blood sacrifice. Although our nakedness has been tainted by sin ever since, a culture steeped in pornography can no longer discern between nakedness that is innocent and nakedness that is lascivious. Porn steals our innocence in more ways than one.

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