When I set out to create Remodel Fitness, I filled notebooks full of ideas for branding, purpose, mission statements, and content. I knew I wanted to help women feel more comfortable and empowered in their bodies, and I knew that fitness was my vehicle to help accomplish that. Fitness is not the only way to feel empowered, however, and today I want to talk about the deeply empowering quality of… nakedness.
I grew up believing in the sanctity of biology. To me it seemed that some stuff was more “natural,” and therefore good, and deserved to be honored. Real food instead of processed food, for example. Spending time in nature. Not using tons of products, or owning tons of stuff. Being barefoot; being naked.
It always just felt right to me to be naked. As a kid I wanted to be naked all the time, and my superstar mom believed in honoring my autonomy. This led to countless times in which I succeeded at being naked when it was objectively NOT appropriate. What felt so good to me about being naked was, for lack of a better phrase, metaphysical rightness. It felt natural, like I was honoring my deepest and most primitive belonging to the earth. Long before my vocabulary adopted “spiritual” words, being naked felt like being Home.
I’ve gotten away from a lot of my guiding faith in “naturalness” as I’ve gotten older, mostly out of convenience and from living in NYC. Wearing shoes feels normal now, I prefer to be clean, and I certainly use many not-so-natural products. But I’m happiest when I honor and chase that feeling of metaphysical rightness, I’ve decided to finally address the naked elephant in the room.
It’s not an easy task to feel Right in a world that body-shames and slut-shames and shame-shame-shames everyone into feeling deeply, inherently wrong. But I’ve always had very strong feelings about natural, real-life nakedness. I think it’s an epic travesty that our culture doesn’t support it. There’s something inherently wrong to me about clothes being the default. I like clothes, don’t get me wrong. I like style, and I like being warm, and there’s no effing way I would ever sit my bare naked ass on, say, a NYC subway seat. But I also think that a huge amount of our cultural issues with body shaming and distorted body image can be traced back to how uncomfortable we are with real, natural nakedness.
In many other cultures, you grow up seeing naked bodies around you. As a girl growing up in Europe or Latin America, you would frequently see all the women in your family naked, and in places like bathhouses and gyms, single-sex nudity is the norm. But not for us. Instead of seeing the real, child-bearing and life-enjoying bodies of our aunts and moms and sisters and friends, we grow up seeing only the tall, taught, tan, and totally photoshopped bodies of Victoria’s Secret models. Instead of seeing that breasts and bellies and thighs come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, we see only bodies that have been surgically and digitally altered to all look more or less the same. Perky, symmetrical, full breasts, gently toned flat stomachs, long lean legs.
It has been shown that even brief exposure to one kind of body type or size makes the viewer immediately prefer that kind of body type. Meaning: we prefer the kind of bodies we see the most often, and in our culture we are constantly inundated with one certain kind of female body. Most women who don’t have that size and shape of body feel so undeserving of showing their bodies in public that they cover up as much as possible, further decreasing our exposure to body diversity. Our culture’s lack of body diversity is really, really damaging to our psyches.
Source: Jessi Kneeland
Original publication 22 September, 2015
Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago
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