I stumbled on a light bulb moment in my train of thought regarding wearing clothes and not wearing them. Whenever I toss a controversial idea around in my head to try and get a balanced view for myself, I often look over history, I look at other cultures, I look into my faith. And I realized that GENERALLY the cultures that wore less clothes regarded the woman’s body in a lot less of a sexual way than the cultures that covered their bodies from head to toe. We must also consider that some cultures must wear clothes because of the climate they live in.
Lets look at cultures within our western society. Some countries in Europe have no problems going to the beach with family in tow, all females, girls to grandmas topless. Beaches are covered in people wearing little or nothing at all. Sure males glance around and look, but its the same look they’d probably give to a woman in a pretty dress walking down the street. Come to Australia though, and you take your top off to go for a swim, the whole world stares at you, you are a sexual object only. The kind of look you get from males is not just a glance but either a stare or they are actually so overwhelmed they have to continually look the other way. Some females think your even doing it to get males attention. If you’ve never swam topless you have no idea how lovely it feels.
I have the same view I have about nudity as I do about alcohol, don’t make it “off limits”, don’t make it “rude” or “bad” or “hidden”. When you start doing this, everyone, funny enough, wants to use these things in a bad way. Insert, binge drinking, porn addiction, over sexualization of bodies. We have only just got to the point where a woman feels comfortable to breastfeed with her boob hanging out in public, even then, it’s considered some activist movement instead of normal… and then you have the cracker sales of breastfeeding covers.
I’ve grown up in a christian home, I’ve also grown up in home I can walk from the shower, downstairs with a towel on my head and sort through a basket of washing to find some undies. I did this at every age, till the day I left home, even if everyone was sitting eating breakfast across the room.
I have three sons. I have been appointed to shape how they view women, how they advocate for women. I want them to see more normal naked bodies than they do of the photo shopped, model, kind in movies and what not.
We don’t swim at European beaches where nudity is normal, we don’t sit cross legged in Kenya weaving with our breasts out. We don’t birth at home amongst family and the majority of woman don’t breastfeed past 6mths, if at all, let alone in public. We expose our bodies only in hidden places here. We aren’t confident in our bodies, and I’ll go out on a limb here… we are not as good as we could be at using the parts of our bodies that we use for sex (boobs and vaginas) for much else. We are not confident in birthing or breastfeeding.
Birth videos have taken off, home births are becoming more popular, breastfeeding campaigns are plenty. Everyone is fine with those, mostly haha. But we still have this dreadful unrealistic expectation of what our bodies should look like underneath our clothes. We never see normal naked bodies outside of our own… some people have never even seen their parents naked. So what do we compare to? The images we see that have been photo shopped or images of people who spend hours at the gym or in surgery perfecting themselves.
I’m not going to walk down the street naked to prove anything. What I do is the best I can without everyone throwing me in the lunatic bin. I’m raising three of the millions of males in Australia who I hope will know what normal is. They can’t put me in jail for not wearing a bra or walking around my own home with no clothes on, or posting my graphic birth video that seems to be inspiring hundreds of thousands of people. And mind you, its used to educate Medical students on promoting normal birth, so far no one has recognized me when I’m on placement. But I guess the baby wasn’t coming out of my face.
These are just thoughts of mine, I may look back in years and cringe at my “too confident” written work. But this is my blog, my thoughts or dreams, or both. At the core of it all I love women and family. I want us to love our bodies, use them well and for the glory they were made for, not the shame that was put upon us. We will probably never be naked in a garden again. Adam and Eve covered up because they were ashamed. I’m learning to be less ashamed.
I’ve seen websites dedicated to normalizing women’s bodies, and to tell you the truth, I love them, it has got to the point unfortunately that these things do exist. Why? Because the body battle in this modern day is all about media and visual images.
When Keira Knightly posed for a topless photo only on the condition that she wasn’t photo shopped she said this “I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame.”
Go her. And go every other woman brave enough to inspire women to love their bodies, despite the sea of criticism for going into the taboo. Women have been criticized for breastfeeding, wearing a bikini, not wearing stockings… it just keeps going. Cover your bodies they all scream, hide it away so no one can see, so no one can feel normal, so none can be proud.