I spent most of my teenage years and some of my adulthood beneath the shroud of oversized sweaters. Hiding my body. Concealing curves and cellulite and pale skin. I would pull a sweater over my head—the bigger the better—every morning, willing my body away. Sometimes, I would even swim fully clothed, in a T-shirt and shorts, citing my false fear of potential sunburn. That girl was unwittingly feeding and feeding her shame.
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Taking nudes is not something to be taken lightly. Who knew there was so much to a naked pic? But, all jokes aside, nudes are about a lot more than raking in the desirability points. Nudes can be an empowering act of rebellion. Nudes have a deeper role than fulfilling desires or sating large egos. With speedy cloud networks making it easy to name and shame the faces behind naked pics, reframing nudes as a normal thing for of-age folks to share is important. Even more so for marginalized people who cross over into vulnerable identities.
Nude is a term that gives me the creeps. Nude were the stockings I flipped past when I started wearing them as a teenager, preferring warm bronze colors in summer and dark coppery stockings in the winter. Bold red, ghostly white, or glittery lips were what called me out of the tasteful, painfully alienated, and safely ordered Waspy world into which I was born, and from which I yearned to flee. Nudes were what the portrait photographer showed me when I applied to be his assistant. He informed me that the soft-focus, warm-toned prints were not dirty pictures, but rather high-art testaments to the young naked women who posed in the safety of his studio.