I visit Paris every November to see the Paris Photo fair -it’s a very good excuse to visit this beautiful city. Whenever I am there, I make sure to visit Musée D’Orsay because I like to go and have a look at the scandalous painting L’Origine du Monde („The Origin of the World”) by Gustave Courbet, which was painted in 1866 and has provoked audiences since its creation. To this day it shocks, disturbs and makes some people uncomfortable. Apparently humanity has not evolved much since 1866. Of course some cultures are more open-minded than others, but overall it remains not the most beloved painting. It is definitely not appreciated by my father.

On my last visit I took a photo of the painting with my phone and casually posted it on my Instagram profile, not even giving it a second thought. In less than two minutes, I received a message from my father saying angrily: “My daughter, why would you post such a disgusting picture on your profile? If this is supposed to be “art”, then people should go to the museum and see it for themselves. It is not your job to share it. Delete it right away and do not ever tell me anything about “art” or your “art” because this is so inappropriate!” When I said I did not understand what the problem was and that I was not going to delete it, he got really angry and told me not to talk to him for a while. That lasted for about two days.Then he talked to me like nothing had happened. I did not want any more trouble so I deleted the photo unwillingly. 

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I felt almost betrayed. He was not only showing his disapproval of this post, but also his frustration with the work that I do. He has never accepted me as the artist I am and he probably never will. I guess I just need to accept it. After his angry message I immediately blocked him on all of my social media channels. I also blocked all the rest of my relatives.What’s the point of them following me online anyway? I already feel under pressure to act a certain way when I am around them. At least I want to be able to express myself freely online without my relatives or dad’s morals hovering over me. Can’t I escape the censorship and conservative attitudes of my family when I exist online?

Of course my father is not the only person in the world who is somehow disturbed by sharing of this painting. It is, after all, a picture of a nude woman spreading her legs. Facebook deleted photos of the painting that the artist Frode Steinicke was sharing. Had my father not intervened, maybe Instagram would have deleted my photo. Corporations are a bit conservative too, and police what we share. But I have my father for that – he decides what needs to go.

Still, I don’t understand what the big deal is.Why does the sight of a woman’s vulva makes people so uncomfortable? After all, this is where we ALL come from!

All images: Eylül Aslan