Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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02/16/2004: "Zazzle"

There is this cool website called Zazzle: Turning ideas into products,

You can upload your artwork and then create posters, cards, or t-shirts of your work and sell them directly from you own website through Zazzle. You can also submit images that the public can use where you get a percentage of each card sold using your design.

I want to use this site to order some cards for my opening in July. I was also interested in contributing images to the open galleries…then I read this policy about their ratings system:

The basic rule of thumb for Zazzle contributors is simple: If it's not appropriate for viewing by your child, or by your little brother or sister, then it's not appropriate for Zazzle's public galleries.

Now, in order to get a G or PG rating, your work must contain absolutely no nudity. Here is what is acceptable for an R rating:

Users must be 18 years old to view this content. Credit card confirmation is required for entry. Content may contain some violence, strong language, and artistic nudity (for example, a depiction of Michelangelo's "David").

So by this standard, a depiction of Michelangelo’s “David” is not appropriate material to be viewed by a child. I find American’s attitudes towards nudity troubling. Of course, I’m painfully modest about my own body, but depicting a nude figure, which is one of the most often represented images by artists throughout time, and being told that it’s R rated by the mere fact that it’s a nude figure…that a person can’t view it unless they prove they’re 18 through registration with a credit card…that just seems crazy to me.

And all this ranting and raving about Janet Jackson’s breast, it seems like such a crock. I mean, men have breasts, women have breasts. Men have sexualized women’s breasts so now it’s seen as “dirty” and “immoral” to expose a (female) breast in public. Women can be arrested for going topless on a hot day, but not men. Does this seem like freedom to anyone?

A couple days after the Super Bowl the TV censors blotted out a 70 year old woman’s exposed breast who was getting resuscitated with defibulators!

There are so many other, more important issues today for people to get up in arms about. The flash of one second of naked boobie seems to have made Americans go crazy en masse. And everyone knows that the men making the biggest stink about this issue are probably all watching porn on a regular basis in the secrecy of their own homes. Talk about hypocrisy.

So, earlier I wrote about feeling bad that I had moved away from the more edgy and political topics to concentrate on colorful nudes. How was I to know that my subject matter would one day become so controversial?