Genitalia: we've all got it. Nipples, we've all got those too. Some of us even have boobs to celebrate on top of everything else! No matter what kind of body you're rocking, we've all got those same parts that we're supposed to cover. Why? Because society says so. I could get super heavy-handed into other arguments, like we need to stop sexualizing nudity, or “free the nipple!” and such. But we're looking at something surprisingly more simple today. How do we treat nudity when it comes to education? For me, education is very clearly non-sexual. Maybe that makes me odd, but I don't think people who are seeking to learn should be thrown off by nudity. Especially in history.
If you want to learn about cultures other than your own, you have to be prepared for the fact that they might see things differently than you. Some people around the world are not as scared of a free nipple or a swinging penis. These are just parts of the human body, and as such they are bound to be visible some times. This is most obvious in various types of art. I'm sure we've all seen a painting, a drawing, or a statue that features some kind of nudity. Famously, plenty of Roman statues have nudity of some kind. It's not there to be sexual, necessarily. It's there to showcase and celebrate the beauty of the human body.
When I learned that Assassin's Creed: Origins' Discovery Tour, an experience all about learning, censored many of the marble statues, I was a little bit peeved. Discovery Tour is literally developed and marketed as an educational tool. Fans of Assassin's Creed: Origins can enjoy it as a deeper dive into the locales they are traversing. Anyone interested in Ancient Egypt can enjoy Discovery Tour as an informative look at their favorite time in history. Last, but certainly not least, anyone who is simply interested in learning about something new can enjoy Discovery Tour. I think the plan was even for teachers and students to enjoy the game in a class setting, if they so chose.
Then why would you censor the dang statues? These are literally part of the country's history. If you want to learn that history, you probably want to learn and see things as they were, not some weird modern censored version of it. If you're unaware, the censorship wasn't even done in a way that makes sense. The nipples and genitals on the statues were literally given seashells. The same exact seashell seems lazily tacked on to everything that apparently shouldn't be seen. At that point, why don't you just stick a banana on top of the penises, a taco on the vaginas, and a couple pepperoni slices on the nipples? It looks incredibly tacky, but especially from a company that can clearly do better.
That's not even the real issue here though. Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt was meant to be a way for people to learn. This is not possible when censorship exists. Imagine if, as a child, when you were first learning about the human body, you were given a textbook that showed a shell where your genitalia would be. You'd start to wonder if maybe you had something wrong with you, because you didn't have a shell. Or maybe that you should be ashamed of your body. Here's another option. Imagine you were shown a print of say, The Sculptor's Model. But there were shells instead of the subjects nipples and vagina. You might think that was how the painting was created in the first place!
In my honest opinion, I don't believe censorship has a place in the realm of education. Information should not be hidden from you, especially if you seek it out. That's a very slippery slope, my friends, and I don't want to see what waits at the bottom. A bit further, I don't think nudity should be so heavily censored either, but that's of course a discussion for another day. What do you think of Discovery Tour's censorship? Let me know in the comments!