Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

I’m Obscene, Down Under

A couple of weeks ago, Somebody Think of the Children! reported that the Australian Classifications Board is banning adult publications and films that depict small-breasted women. I kid you not.

The argument behind this decision is that small-breasted young women of legal age (often barely) are depicted so as to evoke the appearance of young girls. While I am sympathetic to this sentiment on some levels, it’s a ridiculous thing to put in to practice. To start with, it makes naked pictures of me illegal. I know that not everyone wants to see me naked, but it shouldn’t be a crime. Besides, Laurie made me look really good when she took this 15 years ago.

waist-up nude photograph of Marlene

Aside from my general dislike of the idea of censorship, this Australian twist is just boiling over with other problems. I’ll skip the details of all the other things they are banning, which I’m sure include me as a trans woman too. Let’s start with the straightforward foreseeable impact, in terms of public perception of body types.

I recently got a collection of truly crappy teen summer exploitation films from the 1970s (corny disco beach party sorts of things). Watching them, I’ve been astounded at the lack of big boobs. The films show plenty of boobs: they’re just small (actually medium-sized, but they sure do look small to a modern viewer). The difference from the range of breast sizes seen on any modern television show is astounding. Modern media is so permeated with big boobs that even I have lost perspective. I can only imagine how this would all look to me if I was twenty years younger.

I have small breasts. I like them that way. I almost never wear a bra (which these days means that I stand out because you can actually tell that my breasts are small). I recently got myself fitted for a bra at a fancy department store and was astounded at what the current standard is for “not much padding.” No wonder everyone else has bigger breasts than I do. My new bra puts me firmly into the range I consider “fairly big” and I didn’t want much padding. All of this is to say that we are already living in an environment where expectations of breast size are drastically divorced from reality, yet another way for young (and not so young) women to feel bad about their bodies.

This phenomenon is bad enough as it is. Australia is about to make it even worse. Small breasts won’t just be unpopular, they’ll be illegal.

Do we really need the Australian Classifications Board further erasing any of the actual range of human variation? I believe any porn where the folks depicted are consenting adults is okay (even if I don’t like it). Perhaps more to the point, couldn’t they come up with a more nuanced way to exclude what they are declaring objectionable? I am not a depiction of a teenager.

I’m so flabbergasted at the stupidity of this that I feel like I don’t have anything of value to say. I guess you’ll have to make do with a few paragraphs of my sputtering and a cute picture of my tits.

One Response to “I’m Obscene, Down Under”

  1. lilacsigil Says:

    *sigh* I’m Australian, and we are having a really bad run of attempted censorship from an otherwise relatively GLBT and woman friendly government. This is the same government that has put married opposite-sex couples, unmarried opposite-sex couples and unmarried same-sex couples on the same legal footing – my girlfriend are legally a family now. They are working on (and actually funding) mental health and homelessness programs and extending hospital access. They’re being relatively humane about asylum seekers, compared to the last government. (Still dehumanising treatment for Aboriginal people, though.) So, with all this relative improvement, they’re obsessed with porn and internet censorship, of all things.

    I’m offended that “kinky” things are banned. I’m offended that, while small breasts are not actually banned as such, the idea that some adult bodies are unacceptable. I’m offended that they want to censor the internet in the name of saving the children, when it will do nothing of the sort. I’m scared that this government will succeed, and I’m scared that they will fail and the opposition (who are far, far worse) will get in.

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Laurie Toby Edison by Carol Squires

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