Are Naked Selfies Liberating? Photo by Mr Tickle BCN.
Are Naked Selfies Liberating?
I promise you that I do not follow the Kardashians, but when I saw that selfie of Kim Kardashian naked with the hashtag ‘liberated’ a few months ago, I began to pay more attention. It is not the first time that she has made a display of herself online this way, of course. But, to use that particular hashtag and to publish the picture on the International Day of Working Women provoked a great deal of criticism.
Images of the male form do not usually cause those types of discussions, but that is another issue. Without wanting to comment on the case of Kim’s selfie in particular, the issue of nakedness and liberation is something that interests me a lot. Like Kim Kardashian, I’m fond of selfies. Some people believe that a selfie is only an expression of narcissism, but for me it can be much more than that.
We live in a society obsessed with physical perfection and a culture that seems to be addicted to cosmetic surgery and PhotoShop. On the one hand, we are bombarded by advertising imagery on TV and in magazines that lie to us constantly and promote beauty ideals that are unachievable. On the other hand, when a media celebrity is ‘caught’ on the beach displaying a little cellulite, or carrying few extra kilos, they are ridiculed.
I think that nudes can be liberating when the naturalness of all body types is celebrated. This is especially true when its an image that exudes self-assurance, displayed as one really is, complete with ‘imperfections’ and without retouching. In my opinion, a natural image can give a sense of empowerment not just to the model but to whoever sees it.
I want to celebrate naturalness through my images. I want to do this without following the established rules of beauty defined by many women’s magazines. I want to show myself with ‘out of bed’ hair, without makeup and with no Photoshop. I do not want to hide the dark circles around my eyes, my blue veins, freckles, or compression marks. I want to show details that would normally take a stylist or photo retoucher hours of work to correct.
I’m not the only woman who has had positive experiences with erotic photo-shoots. For example, many women of all ages, shapes and sizes who have the confidence to do the same thing, report that it is an incredibly liberating experience. It is something that can help overcome certain hang-ups and raise their self-esteem. Feeling good about your body is priceless. And this has nothing to do with how your body looks: it is something you feel inside.
Going back to the subject of naked selfies for a moment, it can be something liberating as long as you have control over who is going to be able to see them. Or if you simply do not care. Needless to say, they must be taken voluntarily and without any pressure. In any case, you should think very carefully before clicking ‘send’ or ‘publish’ because there is always the risk of being seen by unwanted eyes.
This can happen in ‘Revenge Porn’ where a former partner posts explicit photos of an ex to humiliate them. It can also happen if your private photos are stolen from the Cloud and are posted online without your knowledge or consent. There is nothing ‘liberating’ about losing complete control over your image.
There are even people who believe that showing naked skin is not only degrading for the model doing it but for all women in general. This is because it shows us as a sexual object and it makes us take a few steps backwards in the fight for freedom and the struggle for us to be taken seriously. In my opinion, whether an image is liberating-or not-depends on the motives of the person who is getting naked rather than the opinion of the individual looking at the picture.
In reality, there are very few people who believe that posing naked is liberating. This is why it becomes such a big deal when someone does it. If we really saw it as something natural, Kim Kardashian would not be able to threaten to break the internet with the exposure of her naked charms.
Although the publication of nude pictures makes people uncomfortable and guarantees criticism, it is still a fact that we just can not stop ourselves from looking at them.
Translation of ‘¿Es liberador desnudarse? (a propósito de mis ‘selfies’)’ published in El País.