Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Naked, or Not Naked? Is This Still a Thing?

This is for a book proposal  in progress.

You might notice I've strategically covered up his nether regions because I'm honestly not sure where publisher's stand on the naked issue at the moment, so I've gone this route to be safe, at least for the proposal. I thought this battle was won back in the 70s with In The Night Kitchen, but you never know. The market is always changing, and it's definitely become more conservative of late. I don't blame publishers--I understand that they have to be wary about the public's reaction.  People can be weird about this stuff.

Naked, or Not Naked? 

Most illustrations of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens which features a baby Peter Pan go for strategic concealment:

Charle's Kingsley's The Water-Babies omits genitalia entirely:

And then of course, there's In the Night Kitchen:

When I was doing my Kickstarter for (Mostly) Wordless, someone asked if it had "child nudity" since I mentioned In The Night Kitchen as an inspiration. My book does not, but I honestly don't get the objection to drawings of naked 5 year olds in the context of a children's story.

At any rate, the premise of this story involves a boy who lives in the forest, doesn't wear clothes, and does anything he wants.  Later the doesn't wear clothes thing becomes relevant when someone tries to dress him and he won't let them. For this reason, a little diaper or loincloth would defeat the purpose.

So it's either strategically avoid showing his pee pee, which I think only calls more attention to this idea that for some reason this is not OK, or just go with it. 5 year old nudity is not the same as adult nudity, particularly in this context. But are we over it?

I still have no idea.

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