Sexuality, Gender and Nudity

nudecover

This topic has been on my mind for years, but it really hit me in a different light when I saw Rihanna’s dress at the CFDA awards in 2014. My initial thoughts were quite common like why do us women feel the need to be nude and naked to sell ourselves? Why do we feel the need to expose the most intimate parts of our bodies for a fashion statement? I thought about the example we were leaving for our young women and then a very human thought dominated all my other thoughts. The woman looked absolutely drop dead gorgeous and flawless in her dress. Regardless of how my societal mind worked I could not deny the fact that her nudity was a beautiful form of art and that’s how she chose to express herself. After visually dissecting her picture, I felt that she was appropriately dressed per her petite, slender figure. As a full-figured woman myself, I have definitely determined what is appropriate for my shape. I have accepted the fact that I may not be able to wear a halter top and look the same as my friend who is 6 sizes smaller. Does that mean I am not happy with my shape? Absolutely not, it just means I’m honest with myself and try to dress appropriately. But even after these thoughts I couldn’t help but think who determined what was too much for a woman to show? My mother always taught me if you’re going to wear something sexy, don’t show it all at the same time. For example if you show cleavage, cover up your legs and if you wear a short skirt, cover up your breast. For the most part, I agree with this statement and try to follow these fashion rules. However, I couldn’t help but focus on the apparent discrimination between women and men when it comes to this rule and nudity.

Male nudity has never really bothered me until I started to think about why it’s okay for men to be nude compared to women. I’ll never forget when streets were blocked downtown while people were running a marathon in the middle of a hot, summer day. Most of the men running the race wore shorts or pants with a top, but the majority wore small biker shorts with no top. Visually, they were practically naked aside from headphones and shoes and socks. I then looked at the women who had on both a shirt and sports bra paired with either shorts, cropped pants or long yoga pants. Some women sported just a sports bra, but that was rare. I was thinking to myself why is it okay for men to walk around downtown with no shirt on, but not women? I do understand the differences between the female anatomy compared to men and how sacred women’s bodies have been revered, but it still didn’t clarify why female nudity is worse or more naked than male nudity. I then thought about movies and nude scenes. It is extremely rare to ever see male genitalia exposed in a movie. But showing breast, something our society deems to be so nude, is shown all over movie screens. Not to mention, baring it all in the entertainment industry has become some weird, unfair passage rite to celebrity stardom for women. Again, this double standard does not make much sense to me. We say that female bodies are the mother of procreation and should be honored and protected, yet in the same breath it’s okay to show our bodies and exploit our sexuality in movies and videos. It seems when people can profit from the female body it is okay, but if she chooses to show her own body then she is some type of media whore.

nudemalejogger

I have a radical idea that female nudity is not acceptable because men are not expected to control their sexuality to the same degree as women. My idea has some hints of truth when we think about rape cases. Most men and comedians argue that if a woman did not want a rapist bothering her then she shouldn’t dress in a manner that would attract them. This idea strips all responsibility from men and puts both the shame and blame on a woman for choosing to dress sexy and allow predators to invade her intimate privacy. Women are held to standards that most men are never expected to as if they are handicapped. Women are expected to suppress their sexual desires, censor how they dress as well as be concerned with how others will perceive their dress of choice. Our society has become entirely too dependent upon the idea that men are the most sexually driven creatures and therefore should be forgiven because they can’t control their sexual urges. Yet women are the same creatures who cycle through their menses every month which has been scientifically proven to both alter their mood as well as affect their libido and increase sexual desires. Most women go through intense sexual cravings during the week of ovulation and a week before they flow to the extent that our bodies want us to become impregnated. Yet there are no universal rules for women that it’s okay to be sexually rampant during this time because of their hormones. However, we constantly excuse men with societal and biological evidence by saying their pituitary glands are larger and they are natural predators, yet don’t do the same for women. We act as if women do not become sexually aroused when they see a strong man with carved pecks, muscular forearms, defined calves and a strong back with chiseled deltoids. Why is it not normal for a woman to sexually violate and assault a man for the same reasons a man would if he encountered a pretty prostitute? I suppose genetics can explain that phenomenon to a certain extent because most women can’t physically dominate a strong man, but other than that there are no reasons. We as a society put men on this pedal stool and praise them for the same actions we would shun a woman if she ever dared.

Since the age of the Roman Empire and gladiator wars, men’s physiques have been hailed as the ultimate athletic figure. I suppose this is why it’s okay for Terrell Owens to pose nude on a football field but an abomination for Kim K. Or for Nick Jonas to practically bare it all but an uproar occurs when female celebrities have the same poses. I honestly don’t think one is more nude or disrespectful than the other. The only difference is maybe the principles behind their intent and motivation to pose in such a manner. Perhaps because TO’s photo shoot was sports driven and Kim K’s was fashion driven dictates their level of sex appeal. Media have also exposed Kim K’s message that she would never bare it all again which makes her stance lose artful credibility. My question is other than intention, why is it okay for football stars to pose nude on the cover of magazines, but not for women? For those of you who say male breasts and areolas are not as attractive and full as female breasts, then why is it not okay for cup size-A women to bare it all on a daily basis? Or better yet, why is it not okay for a nursing mother to feed her child in public?

nickjonas          riri2

Honestly, I’m just over the double standards. Personally, I feel like your attitude and the way you carry yourself can override your style of dress. Back in my party girl days, I will admit I wore clothing that I wouldn’t necessarily wear in front of my father. However, I was never treated any different because I carried myself with respect. And let’s be honest, showing a little skin is different than walking around with a leotard on and plastic 6-inch heels. I’m just tired of women having to feel ashamed of their bodies and suppressing their beauty simply because society says it is an abomination. The same way men workout and choose to show off their bodies is the same way women like to showcase their hard work as well. And the same way that some men feel they are lacking in the attractive department and focus on their bodies instead, is the same way some women may feel about their physiques too! Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe one must employ tact, moderation and decency, but showing cleavage and rocking a mini skirt should not make a woman be considered a whore no different than a man who wears tight pants that outlines his entire genitalia with a t-shirt that exposes his breast from the sides.

These are just my thoughts stimulated by current events. I promise I won’t show up to church and work with a sheer dress on, ha! There is a time and place for everything and people must use mature discretion. And of course I feel that mothers are naturally held to higher standards, but how she dresses should not be any worse than her husband who can jog around the neighborhood while wearing nothing more than basketball shorts.

#bfryspeaks

 

 

 

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