[Commons-l] Fwd: Re: [Gendergap] Fwd: Photo of the Day on Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Stierch sarah at sarahstierch.com
Tue May 17 05:37:02 UTC 2011

 From the Gendergap list, a really nice post, IMHO, from a newer female 
user from Australia.  Shared with permission.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [Gendergap] [Commons-l] Fwd: Photo of the Day on Wikimedia 
Date: 	Tue, 17 May 2011 13:52:44 +1000
From: 	<whiteghost.ink at gmail.com>
Reply-To: 	Increasing female participation in Wikimedia projects 
<gendergap at lists.wikimedia.org>
To: 	Increasing female participation in Wikimedia projects 
<gendergap at lists.wikimedia.org>

This anime image is not appropriate on the front page. Questions of art, 
of education, and of publication, all require judgement. Judgement in 
these matters is normal and necessary and is not of itself something 
which needs apology. Here are some reasons why I think it is okay to 
decide NOT to put this picture on the front page. This is not to say 
that it should be deleted, it is simply not appropriate for the front 
page – and that does not constitute censorship.

The commonality of discriminatory product placement

Most areas of endeavor exercise care and some discrimination about their 
products. It's not that they are illegal or censored; it's that they are 
inappropriate in some places. For example, at a recent exhibition in the 
Art Gallery of New South Wales, a very explicit drawing was placed at 
the far end of the exhibition and a sign was placed discreetly to inform 
members of the public who had to make a choice about whether to view 
them. In the case of Wikimedia, there might be gory images, for example, 
of the effect of land-mines which explode in children's faces. They are 
probably valuable – encyclopedic and even educational – but would they 
be appropriate on the front page? Their value is not diminished by 
leaving them in the body of the repository and it is not censorship to 
make some small efforts necessary to access them.

The woman's body

If you put a large-breasted indigenous naked woman in an image, people 
would not be commenting on the size of her breasts. They would see them 
as part of the woman herself, whereas the breasts on which people have 
commented in this anime are plainly “designed” for service to (some) 
viewers. In fact, this image's offensiveness to many comes not from the 
size of the breasts but rather from the whole backbreaking pose of the 

Art and education

If this is a form of art, the question is not whether or not you like 
the breasts (there are lots of breasts in art) but whether the art has 
its own integrity. That is an aesthetic question, which is why the 
colour palette is not under challenge as it contributes to the integrity 
of the image. Commons has criteria for aesthetic quality, but they do 
not specify or restrict subject matter. However, whether you like this 
art or any component part of it in any image is irrelevant. Audience 
approval of the “tits” is only relevant if the image is about 
titillation. Only if this is the purpose, does the approval of the pose 
and body parts become relevant.

If the image is not about art but is rather about education, then the 
subject's body and pose are misleading, as are the clothes and 
everything else, even the colour palette. Above all, if it is about 
education, then an argument that its primary purpose to educate about 
the art form (manga) or the medium (the software) is spurious and 



PS I am a newbie female Åustralian Wikipedian and have been following 
this list for a while but this is my first contribution to it. I really 
think this is the wrong sort of image for the front page. Apart from all 
the other arguments, I think it is likely to deter whole demographics 
(plural) from contributing to any of the WM projects.

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