Commentary by John-Henry Westen
‘As provocative as possible,’ seems an apt moniker for Britney Spears and for the recently unveiled statue of the pop star giving birth in the nude.Â The sculpture by Daniel Edwards depicts Spears in the highly unlikely birthing – but highly sexually provocative – position of crouching on all fours.
The rub is that Edwards called his work ‘Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston’.Â
Edwards sounds sincere in his proclamation that the sculpture is pro-life.Â“Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the ‘right choice’,” he said in a press release touting the statue.Â“She was number one with Google last year, with good reason—- people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman,” said Edwards.
Sure, people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman, but they are not thinking of the beauty of woman or of pregnancy when they view porn, even if it is ‘pregnancy porn’ popularized in 1991 by Demi Moore.
Pornography, which is the best description of Edwards’ sculpture, is never art.Â
As my friend, famed Canadian artist Michael O’Brien (https://studiobrien.com)Âtells me, “In a pornographic society the degradation of woman in the name of freedom is a symptom of the degradation of all human beings.”Â
Nudes depicted in art are done withÂrespect. “The most intimate and vulnerable moments in human life such as birth and the love between a man and a woman are usually expressed in healthy societies in a way that respects the dignity of persons,” he said.
O’Brien added, “This statue is thus an assault on the dignity and privacy of the two people (Spears and her unborn child) it depicts.”Â He called it “the reduction of woman to the level of animal.”
Whether or not Spears chooses to degrade herself by her sexualized presentations, it is not right for Edwards to do it to her.Â And to do it in the name of the ‘pro-life’ shows a fundamental ignorance of what it means to be ‘pro-life’.
A genuine pro-life attitude respects the dignity of mother and child.Â
Pregnancies still occur through sex, and the unexpected pregnancies which occur out of wedlock and often lead to abortions are fuelled by a pornographic culture.
While he may not have intended it, Edwards’ sculpture adds to the culture of death rather than the culture of life by degrading women rather than exalting them.Â
He has managed though to create a firestorm of attention for his ‘artwork’, and that seems the best explanation of his motivation.ÂÂ
When the Associated Press asked if he was against abortion, Edwards replied, “You nailed me. I’m not saying that I am. I wouldn’t march with either pro-life or pro-choice advocates. This is not meant to be political . . . I don’t judge anybody for the decision they make.”
Britney Spears gave birth by caesarean section.