The Creators Project has a feature on artist Francien Krieg, who has a series of nudes of elderly women. Aging bodies are hardly anything new in art, but there’s always a fuss. Yes, we all get to see just how much sway aging and gravity have on our bodies, and experience the sad wistfulness in the remembrance of a young, limber body, when the days stretched in front of you seemed eternal. It doesn’t take long before your bits make a rush to hit the ground, and it can be a hell of a lot of work to stave that off for as long as possible. The portrayal of the bodies of old people often elicit a revulsion from those who are young, simply because it hasn’t occurred to them yet that, yeah, if you live long enough, that will happen to you too. I remember that shock happening to me, when in my teens, I had to help my great-grandmother get dressed. That was an eye-opener. Now I’m 59, and my arse is making every effort to fall down to the floor and stay there. I’m not quite ready to let that happen, so it’s an ongoing fight.
So, old bodies. I understand the reasons for depictions, even those done for short-term shock value. What I don’t understand is why it’s always women. Can we not get out from under the constant pressure of sexist judgment in old age? Do we need to be paraded for the “ohgods eeeeuuuw” crowd? Where are all the naked old men, who are also just as subject to gravity as us women. A pair of 80 year old testicles aren’t any more fun to contemplate than 80 year old breasts; and depending on the old man in question, he might have comparable breasts to an old woman’s. I think such portraiture is fine, but I would like to see men included, and I’d prefer to see people who were proud and confident in posing, despite their age.