As we embark on another year you surely have a list of goals, maybe they’re saved on your dropbox, or maybe you’ve embellished a special page in your bullet journal with your aspirations but wherever they may be I suggest adding one more: I resolve to explore a nudist lifestyle.
This may seem like a weird suggestion to those of you out there who prefer a one – piece to a bikini and like to keep the lights off during sex which is A-Okay too. I’m not here to tell you how to express your sexuality.
But and I’m going to shock you with this one, a naked body doesn’t have to be sexual body. Our society has regulated nudity into the realm of sexuality. The majority of representation you see of the nude body in film and tv is alluding to either the physical act of sex or used as a plot device to show how desirable / free-spirted a woman is. This plot device thrusts us the viewer into the position of the male gaze it tells us to see her, how they want us to see her. These kinds of depictions have an insidious effect on women’s relationship to their bodies, we have been trained to see the female nude as an object of desire and simultaneously to judge it as too overtly sexual.
The only other type of depiction we see of nudity is humorous or degrading. Nudity is sometimes used in films as the ‘sagging’ butt of a joke. When nudity is depicted this way it’s either an unattractive man or older woman. A prime example of this is Cameron Diaz’s firecracker of neighbour in There’s Something about Mary. The irony of this depiction is that character was fantastic, she was sharp, cheeky and lived life on her terms. But our society would mock her body for what exactly? For aging, for a life lived in the sun and not the shadows? These mocking depictions of nudity in film and television tell us that if you’re going to be naked, you really better be undeniably sexy because the only other way you can be seen is if you are shameful or laughable. This is equally toxic to our relationships with our bodies.
This is an issue that is much more prevalent for women than for men. Though there needs to be a revision of these naked ideals for both, men suffer from body confidence issues as well. But the depiction of nudity in film and television is heavily weighted towards women with a report on the status of Women and girls in California finding women were appearing nude in film three times more often than their male counter parts.
I say use your New Year enthusiasm to embrace your birthday suit, try dancing naked at home, or doing yoga in the buff and if you have enough privacy try sun bathing naked. Reclaim your nude body not as an object of desire to be sexualised and viewed but as a miraculous vessel worthy of celebration because that vessel carries you.
Rochelle is an artist, art historian, card-carrying feminist and frustrated writer. Between painting and ignoring the still-unrevised draft of her first novel, Rochelle enjoys running, travel, live music and getting into spirited discussions in beer gardens. Rochelle is the gallery director and curator of a not-for-profit art gallery in Brisbane.
Instagram – @r_lindquist_creative