“You’re supposed to sell your body in a way that’s like… it’s OK to be sexy when it benefits everyone else. Most of the people who had a problem with it were men. At this point, I feel like I’m doing a bad job of being a feminist if I’m not making someone angry.”
But I’m making art and doing things that are true to my work. I’m not trying to sell my body. But it’s my body to sell if I did want to! This kind of cover isn’t even what sells – what sells is your face, shot by a fashion photographer, but I didn’t want to do something like that. I do that all the time.” – Sky Ferraira responding to criticism of her album cover for “Night Time, My Time” (2014)
We used to be outraged over women being sexualised in the media. But we live in a post Miley Cyrus transfomation world where instead of pursuing men that have taken advantage of women, we’ve started a witch hunt for women who have taken advantage of their gender.
I show you the image above, in its full uncensored nature, because of two reasons. First, the artist, Sky Ferreira, intended for it to be viewed this way. Second, because I believe there to be nothing sexual or pornographic about it. The acceptability of nudity in media always applies to context, except if you’re an attractive female.
When I look at this photo I do not see Ferreira selling out her gender, I see her with her breasts exposed. Iconography is a big part of the way women are portrayed in the media. The reason why people have a problem with this image is because they automatically see nipples as a sexual identifier. The rest of the photo is unflattering and non sexual. It’s a statement, Ferreira is rejecting the way we view women. She’s pointing to the way women have to maintain duelality, must be sexy but not actively sexual, and she’s saying no, it’s my body. I can present it how I please.
The semiotics in this picture portray the message. Of course people were going to be outraged over this image, and that was half the point, but the signs tell of woman who just wanted everyone to get over their expectations of her body.
Sky Ferraira also presents similar ideas in her video for “Night Time, My Time” (2013). You can view it here.