Naked ambition in 2016

It makes me feel REALLY old to say this, but why can’t women (especially in the eye of the media) make a statement with their clothes ON anymore?

There has been so much ‘blahh’ in the press lately about the reasons why women are choosing to post naked pictures of themselves and share them with the world, that I felt the need to address this topic and explore the ‘trend’ further…

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Terms such a liberation, freedom and expressionism have been banded around, with opinion divided on whether its OK to display this much of yourself for no apparent reason other than boredom or attention seeking.

We live in a world (like it or not) where one person can create a LOT of hype for themselves just by looking a certain way and exploiting that ‘look’. To me these images don’t say freedom, liberation, womanhood or expressionism. To me they show a group of individuals who are actually trapped, limited and tied down by a pressure to perform which they put upon themselves.

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To me, these images represent women who know of no better way to show their beauty and intelligence than by posting a face-value image of themselves, laid bare, for the gratification of others. It actually makes me feel a bit sad that they feel this is the only way to get the attention they desire, it’s not enough that the media pries into their relationships, homes and daily routines – but they then openly choose to show the little part of themselves which remained private.

If these women were truly free, these images wouldn’t be in the public eye…in fact there would be no images. If a woman of freedom, strength and liberation chose to sunbathe nude or walk about the house in nothing but a smile…she wouldn’t even be thinking of capturing this for someone ELSE to see.

We have freedom of expression in the western world, freedom to post a new pic of our reproductive organs every day if we wish….but does doing that make us more liberated than the next person? More open? More fun? More free? No not really.

It depends on the motive… .the driving force.

For many of the celebs pictured above, the motivation for posting these images (despite what they say) is probably for one or all of the following reasons:

  • They are actually quite lonely living in media-circus land and these images are a way of reaching out to the world
  • They want the followers / likes / fame
  • They haven’t been mentioned on the Daily Mail online yet this week and want their spot in the sidebar of shame
  • They haven’t worked in a while
  • They think that their fans will look up to them and admire them
  • They think it will make them seem empowered and unaffected by the opinions of others

I’m actually someone who enjoys looking at the female form, women’s bodies are beautiful, powerful, individual and really represent diversity. Naked can be strong, but naked celeb selfies don’t equal respect, strength or resilience to me.

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The female body is in danger of losing all its magic, its art and its mystery and it worries me that young girls will be frantically scrolling through images of Kim K and others…thinking THAT is ambition, THAT is confidence and THAT makes people like you.

I feel very lucky that growing up my mum never taught me to focus on my looks, never allowed me to get in a tizz about not fitting in and never allowed me to do something which would demean me in order to make friends or get attention. Instead she encouraged my talent for drawing and art, taking me to galleries so I could grow up to appreciate skill, form and beauty in a way that most children today have no idea about. I was able to look at a naked man or woman in a painting and not giggle at the private bits, but appreciate and respect the skills which had gone into producing that image.

By looking at the above gallery, I am reminded that there was a time when art  – paintings, drawings and sculpture was the only way to admire the female form, the only way to see the naked female body in public (other than seeing a lover in the flesh). You’ll notice from these images that the women in question aren’t even looking, they are blissfully unaware of their beauty and of the opportunity they are offering to the artist to see into their private world. They are powerful because they appear as though nobody is watching and that the artist stood nearby is of little importance, which was probably true.

To me naked ambition in 2016 is a very self-destructive thing, and we could learn a lot from the women ‘portrayed to the media’ hundreds of years ago instead. Maybe that’s just me?

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