When people say that their bodies are gross or disgusting, I hear hatred — a long-standing loathing that has spent years brewing. Even when people say that other people’s bodies are disgusting, I still hear self-criticism.
How old were you when you were first ashamed of your body? Most of us first experienced that feeling in childhood, and it has recurred through the rest of our lives.
Shame is learned. We are taught to hate our bodies. Why? Because insecurity sells. Cosmetics, gym memberships, workout gear, fancy cars and purses… It’s all about money.
Most of my teenage years were occupied with hours upon hours of obsessing over every inch of my body. I spent at least twelve hours each week grooming myself
with makeup, hair straightening, leg and armpit shaving, eyebrow and toe-hair plucking, lotion application (to keep the dead skin flakes all over my arms and legs from showing under flourestcent lighting in gym class), and tanning products. It was exhausting.
Enter nudism. As a teen, I could never have imagined that I would grow up to be a nudist. I devoted so much time and energy (and money) back then toward making my body look perfect, but physical perfection is an unattainable ideal that only leaves a person seeking serial improvements. It’s a vicious, Sisyphean cycle.
These days, I’m more comfortable with myself naked than I am clothed because I feel like there is less to critique.
When you’re naked, you’re vulnerable. You’re real, and you begin to appreciate just how similarly everyone’s bodies actually look.
Now enter the idea of revenge porn. I find the concept repulsive — sharing someone else’s naked body with the world, without that person’s consent, to satisfy your own resentment and frustration with that person. Considering that “revenge porn” is a widely recognized term for a sinister subgenre within the “homemade porn” genre, it’s obvious that this is a despicably common practice, and that doesn’t even include the underaged offenses we keep hearing about in high school sexting scandals.
Revenge porn uses people’s bodies against them.
In contrast, one of the most admirable qualities about nudism is that it takes that power away from the offender. Nudists recognize that our bodies don’t define us and that the appearance of our bodies should be inconsequential to our existence. Nudists accept ourselves as we are, imperfections and all.
When was the last time you felt good about your naked body?