Why is Nudity So Weird??!?!
Last week I was listing to my favorite morning radio station KSON, like I do every morning. I love the DJ’s, John & Tammy, and the connection they have as well as their humor and banter.
Often times they’ll be talking about a hot topic or something that they’ve recently encountered in their own personal life and they’ll ask listeners to call in and give their opinion on the subject. This morning was no different. John had recently house sat, and asked listeners to call in and ask what the weirdest or strangest thing they’ve encountered at someone’s home, implying and joking that they were probably snooping when they found it.
FOUR FOR FOUR of the calls that they aired about the STRANGEST, MOST WEIRD thing listeners had ever encountered in someone’s home was about SEX or NUDITY.
SEXUALITY & NUDITY.
Yep, San Diegan’s weighed in and apparently nudity and or the subject surrounding sexuality is the craziest thing you could find in someone’s home!
One caller in particular felt that finding Nude ART hanging in the privacy of her employers bedroom SO FUCKING STRANGE that it compelled her to call in.
I listened and found myself getting very aggravated that call after call was about this subject. Let me be clear – the DJ’s actually handled each call with sensitivity and did not make fun or mock the people who were the subjects of the call. In fact, I think they did their best to negate the situation and come up with viable explanations as to why this isn’t really “super fucking weird”.
I think an opportunity was missed here. Well, actually I KNOW an opportunity was missed here. You see, after listening to that show I crafted a very professional and informative email to the producer of that show about an opportunity to educate and empower their audience about why these calls were NOT OK, and why nudity (ESPECIALLY NUDE ART) should not be shamed or make the observer feel shameful.
Although I did get a reply, it was swept under the rug as if NUDITY was actually the topic they asked people to call in about – WHICH CLEARLY IT WAS NOT. (insert huge eye roll here)
So let’s get back to the nude art topic and that poor woman who was shamed on a morning radio show for displaying images of herself in her own home – that just happened to be NUDE.
This woman and mom had the courage to be vulnerable enough to take these nude images in the first place, and then obviously felt PROUD enough that she wanted them to be displayed in her home. Three to be exact. And the caller described them as “life size”. My opinion: THIS WOMAN IS A FIERCE BADASS and I want to meet her!
So why is it that we are so ashamed and weirded out by nudity? WHY? And why do we feel the need to shame someone who ISN’T weirded out by it?!
Remember this subject? We first start learning about this period in art history as adolescents. So, are these paintings offensive? Considered porn? Marble sculptures of fully nude men can be found all over Europe. Is that weird? Should we put a loin cloth over their genitals? In the image below her breasts are in full plain view. Is it offensive? NO. It is not. It is ART.
So why is it in this day in age, when women choose to CELEBRATE THEIR BODY, embrace their fierce femininity, and also have the courage to display their art in their home, why is this considered WEIRD, offensive, shameful, strange, disgusting, porn, gross, etc.
Renaissance Art vs. Modern Day Nude Art.
Why is one acceptable and one not?
There are a lot of reasons WHY. I won’t go into depth here, just know this. I am raising 3 little boys, and you’ll never hear me say, “boys will be boys”. No. Not ok. It starts at an early age. I will be teaching my little boys that a woman’s body is HERS to do what ever the hell she wants with it and it is not to be objectified. And I sure hope that we can change the perspective in the future about our bodies, art, and keeping shame out of it.
I tell all my clients who have children and who can’t fathom the idea of hanging wall art of THEMSELVES on their wall, ‘because their kids might see it’ (oh the horror!) to be proud, let them understand why you are proud and show them that they should be proud too. Mama should feel fantastic about seeing herself as an art piece and teach her children that the human body is a magical, beautiful thing, and no one gets to tell you what to do with your own body. Ever.
This topic really does go hell of a lot deeper than just nipples.
This is a vulnerable topic. But here, it is not up for debate. My clients, or any woman on the planet who feel empowered enough to display their images, should never feel ashamed. EVER.
I also have many clients who choose to keep their images completely private, and that is their choice. I respect my client’s decision no matter how they choose to enjoy their images.
My client’s images are a reflection of their personality in combination with my artistic vision and execution. I tend to push boundaries a bit and the resulting images are often my client’s absolute favorites. The sexuality that comes through in some of my images are what I’m most proud of. Most women never get to see that side of herself, in art form, beautifully displayed in an album or a metal wall portrait. Seeing yourself that way can be one of the most empowering things a woman can experience. It’s a gift I’ll never tire of giving.
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Melisa Ford is a San Diego and Murrieta boudoir photographer in Southern California and North County San Diego and a female empowerment activist.