I did it. I posted nude photos of myself online. Photos that can never be taken back. Photos that will be shared, glorified, demeaned, admired, and ridiculed by the world. My body is fully exposed, vulnerably showcased for anyone who wants to view it. And the only person at fault is me. Everyone says I’ll regret it. I’ll wish someday that I wouldn’t have put myself out there, that I wouldn’t have posted “that.”
But I don’t, I don’t regret it. In fact I’m rather proud of my courage, of my ability to put myself on display in a way that so few Americans are capable of grasping. I’m not a slut, I am not an attention-seeking whore. I am a woman, in a beautifully flawed skin, who dared to let every person who wanted to view her- view her.
Now let me just clarify to all you young women under eighteen that may be reading this; You are neither mature enough, nor legally able to do what I just did. If you want to follow in my footsteps, please wait. You are young, dears. And sharing yourself naked at such an age is not only dangerous, it’s child pornography- and yes, very illegal. With that being said, once you are of the lovely legal age of eighteen, if you dare have the urge to post a naked photo of yourself online- I will stand beside you. This little stigma that nudity is ‘wrong’ in American society needs to change, and your body is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
I am not a stick thin bone structured woman. I don’t have perfectly proportioned limbs and glossy long hair. I have a birth mark under my butt that, to be honest, looks a lot like poop. I have a red mole on my chest that literally could be mistaken for a third nipple. My skin is very fair- not pretty bronze tan. And I’m ridden with acne on my chest and back- and face. My teeth are crooked and my hair is a wavy frizzy mess. I grow body hair on my stomach and my butt and my toes- and a lot in my armpits and on my legs. My point? I am not your drop-dead sexy model that you imagine posting nude photos online. I am an imperfect being. I am not stereotypically beautiful, and yet- I posted naked pictures online.
And I think every single damn woman should feel sexy enough in her own skin to follow suit (without a suit- if you know what I mean *wink). Sexuality of women in American society has been condemned since we became a country. We pretty much suck at allowing grown ass females to love their bodies- and show them off without being slut shamed or name-called. I’m not going to go on a feminist rant here, because my point of this article isn’t to compare women to men. My point of this post is to let women know that you are fucking gorgeous- with and without clothes, and you have every right to be totally proud of your body.
Want to know the reaction I got when I first began posting pictures of myself without clothes on, online? A lot of crap. Creepy men invited themselves to discuss whatever God awful sexual fantasy came to their mind. Angry women burst in screaming curse words and calling me worthless in every way they knew how. People told me to take them down, delete them, think before I act so stupidly, and discouraged me from continuing my endeavors in any way possible. But I continued. I muddled through the insults and the rape-mentality of the onlookers and I continued to post pictures of myself nude online. Why? Why- amidst all of the heartache and the ridicule would I possibly continue to post nudes? Because I can.
Because with each nude I post I can send a message. I can say that “Hey- you know what, I love this crazy stupid body I was given. I love the fact that it isn’t perfect and I may not be a model- but I will model my body with pride.” I can stand up against the suppression of women and not agree to follow the societal rule that I should hide my body. I can also respond to the sexualization of my photos. And I can argue that nudity does not invite sex. Rape culture has taught us that nudity invites sex. But we’ve over-sexualized nudity for too long.
We’ve engrained in our children a fear of their bodies- a fear of other’s bodies. We’ve instilled this rape mentality in ourselves. We can’t view another person in their most vulnerable naked state without thinking of sex. And there’s something wrong with that. There is something so beautiful about the ability to view another person’s body without feeling the need to demean it or praise it. We don’t need to admire or hide it- why can’t we just acknowledge it?
Each and every one of us has a flawed and beautiful skin that we reside in. A skin that will be hidden away and kept private from the world for fear of it being seen the wrong way. But it can never be viewed the right way, if we don’t begin the act of reversing our preconceived notions that nudity equals sex. Nudity never equals sex unless we let it. Nudity should not invite onlookers to judge. Nudity is not an excuse to behave in any way that hurts the person standing naked before you. Every single one of us lives in a body.
A body we’ll call home the entire time we’re walking around this earth. And if we cannot accept it, and love it, and find comfort in the fact that it is different but beautiful in its own right- then we do not stand the best chance of finding true contentment within ourselves. So yes, I was the girl who posted nudes online. At 18, and again at 21- and now again, at 23. And I will for the rest of my life. I will take snapshots of my womanly self as I grow and change and remain the beautiful being that I am.
So you can judge, you can discourage, compliment, or ignore me. Or you can join me. You can join me in the invigorating, terrifying, self-releasing act of letting the world view you in your most vulnerable and breathtaking state- alone, in the exquisite body you were given.