Why Women Should See Other Women’s Naked Bodies
Underbutt, Naked Bodies & Body Image
Naked Bodies – I recently came across some articles about a trend I didn’t know existed: showing your “underbutt.” This summer a new style of hot pants came to town: shorts so short that a small part of your ass cheeks hang out, ie the underbutt, also known as “butt cleavage.” Thinking about it now, I vaguely recall seeing some cheeky shorts once or twice. Didn’t think much of it. I’m all for wearing the socially-acceptable minimum. And also not wearing anything when the opportunity arises. As one of our bloggers, Erik Jakobsen observed, some women wear the bare minimum in the hot months. I think some of them would join us nudies, but just don’t know that we exist.
But I digress. So I read one underbutt article on Jezebel.com. The author of this article was asking all women to please let it all hang out because it makes her feel better about herself to see others’ fat, cellulite and dimples in clear view. She discusses how airbrushed bums in advertising make cellulite seem like an erasable flaw. In the real world, the average female butt on the street has cellulite (and it’s not going away). By seeing other women’s naked butts, it makes her feel better about the fact that she has these “flaws” too.
In the comments section of her post, I noticed a discussion had started about women seeing other women’s naked bodies (in gym locker rooms for example). The women were sharing a common delight in seeing other naked women’s bodies as it helped them realize that everyone’s naked body is different, unique and not “perfect.”
Here are some of the comments that the women made:
And the comments go on and on….
The locker room or spa is not necessarily a body-positive environment. It could even become a place where women criticize their own bodies together. That said, just the exposure to diverse naked bodies seems to have a strong impact on women’s self image. It’s nice to see some non-nudie women confirm what we hear all the time from people’s tales of trying naturism. It is yet another way to discover that human bodies are very diverse which helps them feel at ease in their own bodies. Social nudity can really help body image and that is a fact!
I also found support for the positive impact of social nudity in Naomi Wolf’s book, The Beauty Myth. In her book, Wolf argues that the focus and value put on women’s appearance is the latest form of oppression of women. She uses the Iron Maiden as a representation of society’s beauty requirements and the current beauty “ideal.” (The Iron Maiden was a German torture device, and as it pertains to the beauty myth, she argues that it’s sucking the power, self-esteem, time, money, life and so forth, out of women.) In the last chapter of her book, she offers ideas for combating the current beauty-centric culture. One of those is having more communal nakedness, or as we like to call it – “Social Nudity.”
“Many women have described the sweeping revelation that follows even one experience of communal all-female nakedness. This is an easy suggestion to mock, but the fastest way to demystify the naked Iron Maiden is to promote retreats, festivals, excursions, that include—whether in swimming or sunning or Turkish baths or random relaxation—communal nakedness. Men’s groups, from fraternities to athletic clubs, understand the value, the cohesiveness, and the esteem for one’s own gender generated by such moments. A single revelation of the beauty of our infinite variousness is worth more than words; one such experience is strong enough, for a young girl, especially, to give the lie to the Iron Maiden.”
Unfortunately, communal or social nudity in locker rooms seems to be declining these days. In U.S. schools, showering after gym class and / or swimming naked together seem to be discontinued practices. In Norway, teens are showering with clothes on. Unless they’re a fellow nudie, it’s not often that women will get to see other women’s naked bodies in all their diverse sizes and shapes.
As far as research goes, I have yet to find a study documents the after effects of social nudity on body image (in men or women). On Google trends, apparently no one is searching “nudity and body image.” There are some studies on nudists (both adults and children) and how they perceive their bodies compared to non-nudists. As far as I can tell, the results have all shown that nudists have a more positive body image than non-nudists do.
It may be important to note that there is no research that says nudity in and of itself can cause any kind of psychological harm to adults or children. After all, I think that if were the case, we’d all be born with clothes on – to protect ourselves from the sight of our own nakedness…
So I think it’s safe to say we need more “communal nakedness,” social nudity and naturism in the world. It may help if women flaunt their cellulite in public and just wear whatever they want regardless of their size or shape. But every woman (and man) should seize an opportunity to see in person what average naked bodies look like. Ladies, try naturism!
I highly recommend reading The Beauty Myth. The book was first published in 1991, but a lot of it still applies today. Wolf is still praised for this piece of work (her other books, not as much).
About the Author (Author Profile)I'm Felicity Jones, author of Felicity's Blog and co-founder of Young Naturists America. I write about nudism and naturism in today's world along with issues like top-freedom and body acceptance, and various naked topics. Enjoy, and please leave a comment when you've got something to say! :)
Body self image seems to be the number one reason why many women will not try nudism in any form. These are the women that don't even allow their husbands to see them naked,,,,make love in the dark, under covers. They can't help how they feel and you can't make or persuade them to ignore it. My wife and I used to go naked whenever possible when we were younger,,,,she was quite the exhibitionist, very uninhibited and daring. Now, at 50, things are drooping and distorting, flattening and bulging,,,combined with an abdominal surgical scar, and I can't remember the last time she let me see her naked. No amount of compliments, persuasion, ego boosting or reassuring can get her to even think about considering nudism again. What a shame. Myself, I'm overweight, pot-bellied and very out of shape, but I love being naked enough to ignore what I look like since I'm not the one who has to see it. I've been an indoor/outdoor nudist almost all my life.
There is so much fear and mythology surrounding our naked bodies. Getting naked with others is like standing at the edge of a tantalizing summer lake - hesitating to take the plunge - then finally you dive in and wonder why you ever hesitated. Give it a try ladies!
@SteveYnaNY I'd say - 'Give it a try, people!' - Whilst there are more men who have tried naturism than there are ladies, I think we need to encourage all gender alignments to try it, and to find out how accepted they are into the movement.