Body painting censorship and freeing your mind

April 11, 2014 in Body Painting

So I posted a few photos from a recent body painting jaunt to Cork on my Facebook page. Someone saw it, took enough offence to report it, and my Facebook account was temporarily suspended.

My initial reaction was all:

Eh, what? But it’s art!! Who are these insular prudes – let me give them a piece of my mind! Bring it – I can take ’em!

Later that day I had another body painting job for a corporate client. So I was painting on location in a large disused bathroom. The male model was there in his boxers, with his girlfriend sitting beside me, while I got busy with some gold paint and a large brush. A member of staff came in, was completely shocked at what he found, was outraged, and stormed out.

The story was relayed to me later that evening, to which I laughed and was a bit confused. It’s not like he hung around – I could have explained what we were doing, and he would have understood, wouldn’t he?


Apparently not. His is a very religious man, and felt that the whole set up was extremely inappropriate. So we all got to talking.

It kind of reminded me that I live in a bit of a bubble where I surround myself with people on my wavelength. I don’t tell my grandmother what I do, but other than that I’m pretty open about it. I get so much out of body painting that I had actually forgotten that quite a lot of people think I’m a basket case for it.


Klimt's Judith body painting by Caitriona Giblin

The offending photo – which was removed by Facebook.
Klimt’s Judith body painting by Caitriona Giblin

People seem to think there is some kind of sexual element to it. Maybe for others there is, but for me it’s really not. A very wise former-nun quoted her gynecologist to me “once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”.

It all comes down to the separation between nudity and sexuality. I’m not going to want to throw myself at someone just because they’re naked. 

I want to make some art. Or something cool to look at. Or something a bit weird… or just something. I’m not there looking for some sexy time.

At the same time, it’s just paint – we’re not curing cancer here! So there is much lols to be had.

Body painting has really helped me change how I see my own body and other’s peoples. The media and body image – blah blah we all know the story. I feel like if more people saw our bodies as beautiful art more and less as a yard stick to measure some kind of self worth, wouldn’t we all be better off?

But actually, not everyone is on the same journey as me, and that’s totally fine too. Who am I to tell people what to think?

Everyone should have the opportunity to make up their own mind. But I’ll be over here painting boobies if anyone else wants to come play too.