How do we decide what is and isn’t appropriate? How do we know what to share with whom?
Once when I was young and foolish (at least younger and more foolish than I am now…) I was involved in a conversation with two friends, a missionary and an art student. The missionary accused the art student of participating in the creation of pornography because she was in a class where they were drawing a nude model. The art student countered that her drawings were not pornographic because they were an assignment to learn to draw the human form…
I have some books that include pictures our young missionary might also classify as pornography. I would have to argue that they are not pornographic, unless you were to use them for pornographic purposes. In my world and for my purposes they are not.
The pictures in question are appropriate subject matter in textbooks on human anatomy and developmental psychology. The pictures are meant to help educate the reader about medicine and human development (something that’s kind of important and necessary). But, it is possible for someone to use them for other purposes.
We can see similar things in other arenas. When I worked in mental health I had information about my clients that was important for me to know, and sometimes important for me to communicate to other people. There were also people who should not have been given (and probably still shouldn’t be given) access to that information. But, how do you know who, and whose purposes, are on the right side of the boundary?
This is a question and a subject that can be important to us as writers and consumers of books and other media. Sometimes it is not an easy question to answer, but it needs answering. And, since this is a writing/publishing blog it is a question that is probably worth discussing here.
This is meant to be a discussion and I really do encourage questions and commentary from readers. So, any one with initial questions or comments feel free to comment on this post or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to hearing from you and discussing this topic more in the future!