Mary Loeffler


High school artist Mary Loeffler wanted her self-portrait to make a statement about freedom and women’s bodies. Instead, it prompted a schoolwide discussion about age-appropriate art and censorship.

Mary hung the painting in the lobby outside the Wheeling High School cafeteria. Within an hour, administrators asked her to take it down. “It did disrupt the learning environment,” said the principal.

Mary said the naked breast was included in the painting as a symbol of feminism. “I was not trying to shock anybody. In today’s society, women are expected to have certain body types. I painted her not perfect. The breast shows her vulnerability and pride in herself.”

© Mary Loeffler