It is alleged that when she was 20, Saartjie Baartman signed a contract with an English surgeon to be taken to London and displayed for entertainment purposes for earnings. How could an illiterate have read and signed a contract? Though she was orphaned, at the time, I do not believe anyone would agree, moreso sign a written agreement with certain terms, to be showcased ridiculously as a “piece of art” in a foreign land.

“Hottentot Venus”-“Hottentot” was the then current name for the Khoi people, the ethnic group Saartjie belonged to, now considered an offensive term, and “Venus” referred to the Roman goddess of love. Under this stage name she was showcased, mostly in a cage, half-naked with a piece of cloth covering her genital area. If you haven’t already read about Sara you will be wondering what exactly was intriguing about her or her body. She was the most famous of at least two Khoikhoi women who received absurd, inhumane treatments due to their large buttocks. People paid to see her and her extraordinary features and even made extra payment to satisfy their curiosity by poking at her buttocks with a stick or with a finger. She died at 26 in 1815 of an undetermined inflammatory disease. I’ll choose to pass on the issue of racism in this tragedy-clearly racism is a playground for the greatest small minds. My restlessness lies in the fact that this act is now presented on the cheapest plate in amazingly subtle forms.

It is serious for anyone to consider it as a form of art. Few seconds ago I read on Twitter that “nudity is the higher form of art” and what’s more, the artist who posted that doesn’t have a nude photo or painting of himself but calls himself an artist and applauds “lost” girls who do-the irony!

My concern is not hidden in the fact that only females offer their bodies on a platter as “pieces of art” while the fellow sex sit back and enjoy the sight, offer “honorable” comments and again enjoy the sight, my restlessness lies in the fact that we fail to believe there’s a deeper reason to someone’s decision to expose the very detailed facet of her body she wears garments over. Ask me what Saartjie’s reason was and I couldn’t say, on the face of it, that’s a subject I cannot say much about. Ask me what any other woman’s reason is for going nude and I couldn’t say, that’s a question they solely have the capacity to answer. There’s only one thing you should be concerned about-there surely is a reason!

    So here’s the question for you-what do you SEE when you look at an image of a nude woman? I see a beautiful soul in every single person I walk past. SO WHAT DO YOU SEE, REALLY? A piece of art? What do you see? A means to satisfy a little bit of a sexual need? What do you see, really?

    The next time you come across a nude image of a man, especially a woman, think of all the reasons that could make a female strip naked to demean her image and shed a few tears. If you have ever let an image of the most sacred parts of your body off to the world to see, it’s no big deal now, we all have those things we’ve sworn never to repeat when we look at our images in a mirror. If your plan is to do so, sleep on the thought-major decisions deserve a pillow’s aid in contemplating. LOVE YOURSELF, APPRECIATE OTHERS. ESSY SCRIPTS!

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