I'm an artist, I have questions regarding ethics

I’ve been a lurker here for a few months. I’m not a MAP, my context is that I draw Not Safe For Work fetish art on social media.

Lately in my community, specifically the fat fetish art community, there has been a large push to ostracize artists who draw characters under the age of 18. Not simply “appears to be prepubescent,” like lolicon, which is already pretty taboo, but “Canon in their Wiki Bio Says Under 18, but without that they could easily be an adult.”

I’ve made the argument that it’s possible to age up characters, especially those that appear to be at or over 18, but I’ve gotten a lot of pushback from other people in the community when I tell them that I think it’s not a problem. The argument is “even if you age the character up, you’re still looking at a child character and sexualizing them.” I find this line of argument to be ridiculous, because there is rarely a line that can be drawn that seems to be ok. What if I were to design an original character who look very similar but is techinically over 18? Is that bad because I took the extra step to do so? It feels like an unwinnable argument. Unless the original IP holder has a design that appears over 18 and you use that. But somehow it’s not ok when I do that same thing and draw lewds of it?

Assuming the base premise is true, (“Loli/Shota or sexualizing characters under 18 in your media normalizes it and encourages predatory behavior”), I don’t see how aging up a character would cause that same harm? I’m writing this in order to feel less anxious about my work. I’ve had anxiety attacks and bouts of severe depression because of this. Working on my art has made me feel a lot better about myself, given me an outlet to express myself and refine skills, and find people who like it. But this conversation keeps retriggering me, I have CPTSD and I struggle with emotional flashbacks, depression and anxiety derived from them.

I am unlikely to change people’s minds, but I want to feel ok with myself. I’ve lost friends over this, I’ve Kafka trapped into being called a pedophile. I don’t feel safe doing this, and it’s making it harder for me to want to continue making art.

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The only thing I can say is that you should draw what you want to draw, not what people censorship lovers demand fit their perceived utopia of what artwork should be.

Their ultimate goal in the end is censorship and… whatever the equivalent of book burning is for art.

That said, I’ve personally always wanted to see the blowback and mental gymnastics from these censorship lovers if people were to draw well developed adult-sized women and give them ridiculous ages.

This blonde haired, well rounded woman with the G-cup tits? Yeah, she’s three.

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Their ultimate goal in the end is censorship and… whatever the equivalent of book burning is for art.

My issue is, I can’t necessarily ascribe intent. I can’t prove ill intent, necessarily.

The fundamental argument rests on one major conceit: that the author’s determination is fundamentally the only one that matters.

And actually there’s a history of that in cinema

The interesting thing is I rarely see this issue with characters that do meet the threshold. Dizzy from Guilty Gear is literally three years old but has an adult body due to Plot Reasons. I might draw her and see if I get a reaction.

I think, at least with the people I’ve interacted with, the intent is ostensibly good, based on how they frame their arguments. “Avoid normalization of viewing minors sexually” is something that came up in almost every scenario, which implies that this causes harm. I’m willing to be swayed one way or the other on the topic, but I rarely get more than intuitive arguments around normalization correlating to increased harm.

I don’t think I can change their minds on that, but I can have a body of evidence that proves my point, or at least throws the assumed premises into question.

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Draw what you want. Those who try to stop you are the ones in the wrong. You shouldn’t prove anything to them. Burden of proof is on them.

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The problem is I’ll absolutely suffer consequences for “just do it.” I don’t need a pep talk. I need data and arguments to prove my point, and data that disproves my point that can stand up to some level of scrutiny. I find power and agency in being able to defend my points, or being swayed by arguments, rather than being overruled by disgust and intuitive arguments that I don’t have good answers for.

What kind of consequences?

Being shunned? Being banned?

Fuck 'em. You’re better off not being around narrow-minded around people like that.

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Exactly. Barring actual law enforcement, treat all your detractors, like the scum that they are.

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What I’m saying is, my goal is to get to the truth of the matter. Does this material cause harm? I need studies to do that. I look bad and my brand gets tarnished if i say “fuck the haters /dab.”

I’m staking my online brand with this decision, and I don’t want to be in the wrong 10 years down the line and get mobbed. Culture doesn’t change from “fuck the haters.” It comes when people without a vested interest come to your side because they see that it does less harm, or that you’re not simply being self-serving. There are material and philosophical reasons for me to push on this. I’m not asking you to defend yourselves. I simply want a better defense than “ignore them.”

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Pitchfork wielders don’t care for facts, but if you still want them: Looking for Research

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As @LegalLoliLover1 said earlier in the thread, the burden of proof is on them, not you.

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Even if the burden of proof is on them, the spectacle of it pushes it somewhat on me. Because of pressure from being in a public setting, and the intuitive nature of their claims, they’re likely to be more sympathetic to a broad audience.

I know it’s their responsibility to do it, but if it’s not enforced by anyone and I suffer the consequences regardless, it doesn’t matter philosophically what should be, only the hand I’m dealt.

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A normie filter isn’t as much a curse as you seem to think that it is.

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They need a life. Not commenting on ridiculous things.

It is irrelevant. Someone will do it whether or not anyone wants them to because that is how the human brain works. Those who don’t don’t. This is a thought crime. Thought crime is fascism. The mere concept that the only thing which is preventing such a thought from being contenanced is “normalization” is deeply flawed.

This preempts any logic about what constitutes morality. It is a matter of freedom and liberty to not be harassed for arbitrary reasons. If they have a problem with freedom and liberty, they can just move to China. Or Iran. They need to stop emulating the United Kingdom and it’s outrage culture which doesn’t do anything useful.

If they are worrying about the big ooga-booga scary people, Dr. Harper’s research suggests “opposing normalization”, or rather, shaming people for thoughts increases the probability of crime across society. This is before getting into crime rate trends in Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic where crime rates dropped with the available of pornography. Most Japanese people I speak with are aware of this. But the West is not.

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I don’t think that antis care whether it’s harmless or not. Their point is that it’s “gross” which is something that can’t be proved or disproved, because it’s subjective. Even so, we are raising money to research whether it’s harmless or not. For now, the only research that we have to go on is summarized in this article.

Also, I have been asked to pass this on from Fay Brown, a counselor who tried to post in the forum but had technical difficulties:

https://youtu.be/sw-GBl9sJWM please get in touch if you feel like unpacking how societal rape culture is effectively giving this person pocd bc of their safe process drawings xx

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Does Fay Brown use an adblocker? Or something else which may be interfering with the JavaScript? Like a browser extension for instance? Have you tried clearing your cache? (Another reason I don’t like Discourse… Any JS problem breaks everything.)

If it is Opera, there is an adblocker in the software itself, which you may miss. Some adblockers are really aggressive and will block the moment they see the word “ad” or advert". There are other reasons their filters may be tripped too.