To be nude or not to be nude, that is not the question.
So, on Instagram today @girl_unfiltered asked the question of how celebrity nude selfies effect young women’s self-esteem. So, I asked my 19 year old daughter this question as she was getting ready to go out with friends. “What?” she said as she looked through my walk-in closet to borrow some jeans. I asked her again, “Do celebrity nude pictures affect your self-esteem?” “Do you have jeans in lighter wash mom?” she asked as she pushed my clothes to the side on the hanger in search of the perfect wash. I asked her the question again as I thought that I might as well find out from the source to see if seeing naked celebrity women was having a negative affect on her. “I don’t have time mom,” she said as she walked briskly passed me back to her own closet. I didn’t get the answer from her. But, I can tell you my opinion of it. There is so much in the media right now about objectifying women, and what is appropriate and what is not. It is a long overdue discussion, and I am glad that it is being discussed and thought about. But we are asking the wrong question. The question shouldn’t be about what is the appropriate amount of nudity for a woman, the question should be ‘do you believe that every person (man or woman) has the right to do with their body what they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else?’ If you answer yes to THAT question, then none of the other questions matter. The discussions shouldn’t be about what women are doing with their own bodies of their own free will, the discussion should be about people that are taking this freedom away from women. There are a lot of ways to silence someone, take away their voice and make them feel bad. I don’t think any of these ways include seeing a naked selfie of a woman posted by her on her own social media account. If you don’t want to see it, don’t look. There are a lot of images out there and we all have to be careful what we pay attention to, this current women’s awareness movement shouldn’t be about that. It should be about empowering women, and changing the dialogue and language around how we talk about women being silenced. For example, why is “domestic violence” less of a crime then “assault and battery”. It is a man beating up a woman, and it is worse because the woman is getting beat up by the very person who is supposed to love and take care of her. It would be better to be beat up by a stranger in my opinion, or of course not beat up at all. But the language of “domestic violence ” softens what is really happening. A woman is getting assaulted and possibly murdered, but if it by her husband that is somehow not as bad? It is another way our society has disregarded violence towards women and added shame and confusion to an already confusing shame filled situation. By using certain language like “domestic”, it minimizes the trauma this woman is suffering, not to mention the emotional damage. A woman owns her own body, and does not deserve to get beat up, silenced or shamed by anybody. We should change this minimizing language in how we talk about violent situations. We should also stay focussed on what the real issues are, and we as women shouldn’t be shaming other women if they decide to show off their bodies. If we do, we are doing the very thing that is part of the problem. The fact that a woman’s naked body can still spark such a high emotional charge shows women’s innate power. Why do so many people care? Because there is immense power in every woman’s body. That power is what is taken away when a woman is abused, shamed and silenced. The discussion should be about the people that try and take that power away, and how wrong that is. It is not theirs to take. Women will be truly empowered when women truly own their own bodies, and their decisions about what they do with their bodies are respected and protected. Not giving away my power is a focus of my journey in life right now. There are constant messages in my daily life of how I should let someone else tell me what I need or what I should be doing with myself. It is not easy to hold my ground sometimes and keep my power, but what I have realized is that it must be very valuable because everyone wants it.