[Foundation-l] Wikipedia is not the Karma Sutra, was Re: commons and freely licensed sexual imagery

Sage Ross ragesoss+wikipedia at gmail.com
Thu May 14 21:18:51 UTC 2009

On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 2:03 PM, David Goodman <dgoodmanny at gmail.com> wrote:
> Perhaps the problem is that the particular photograph sends a
> sex-positive, not a clinical message. Why shouldn't it? It's not a
> pathological state; it's not shameful. Using a clinical image
> indicates there is something about it that needs to be shown in a
> specially restrained manner. The picture  might be interpreted as
> implying that a woman as well as a man might enjoy the practice. When
> we show pictures of people engaging in recreation, we normally do show
> them enjoying it.  We do this even for dangerous sports. Our treatment
> of consensual sexual practices should be as for other non-harmful
> human activities: we present them as part of the normal world.  As far
> as children & sexuality go, I do not see the picture as harmful to any
> young person old enough to understand it. As far as sexual practices
> go, this one is from any point of view  quite innocuous.  If one wants
> to encourage young people to safe sex, this qualifies, though I'm
> aware it seems odd to some people.

I don't think it's so straightforward.  While I agree that a clinical
approach has drawbacks, the whole point of such an approach to, e.g.,
sexual content is to avoid implicit value judgments.  Compare the
pearl necklace photo with
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Semfac01.png ; neither is clinical,
but either one, I would argue, has the potential to violate NPOV
unless properly contextualized and captioned.

In this case, having a single pearl necklace image with woman who
appears to enjoy it may carry the message not just that "a woman as
well as a man might enjoy the practice", but that a woman should or
usually does enjoy it.  And some cultural critics have argued that
some sex acts that have been emphasized in mainstream pornography
normalize humiliation of women through sex  (see [[Facial (sex act)]]
for some discussion of this).  My point is that a sex-positive message
may be even more problematic than a clinical one; if every sex act is
illustrated with the subjects appearing to enjoy it, that gives the
implicit message that, e.g., women are equally likely to enjoy any of
them--which is manifestly not the case.

But of course this is mostly a moot point.  Our sexology coverage
really weak, and nuances of images and POV are minor compared to
textual deficiencies in sex articles.

-Sage (User:Ragesoss)

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