For generations there has been a stigma against nudity. It is seen as racy and sexual and the closest it comes to mainstream is its portrayal in men’s magazines.
Nudity can be so much more though. The human body is one of the most beautiful forms on Earth and it is a crime that we keep ourselves caged in clothing anywhere except the bedroom.
This topic can get out of hand easily, so I will focus on the artistic aspect. Nudity in the art world is not seen as taboo; to the contrary, it is often embraced. At Oswego State, there are two figure drawing classes where students draw using live models for reference.
This is a great idea. It acclimates students with the form of the body without over-sexualizing the matter.
Though I have not participated in the classes, either as an artist or a model, I have accrued a fair amount of experience with the blending of art and nudity over the past few years.
My experience with nudity as art began almost two years ago in my photography class. Since then, I have done several other shoots and plan to continue pursuing the crossover between art and the body.
As an artist, I have gained an appreciation for the body, regardless of body type. Whether you are a 300-pound woman or a 150-pound man, you are beautiful.
This does not mean I am sexually attracted to every person I set eyes on, but every person should understand that they are beautiful for who they are.
Most people wear clothes for, basically, 100 percent of their life, even though nudity is our natural state. As a result, we usually view ourselves through a flawed lens, since we rarely see our bodies in totality.
This is why I often tell friends they should try a nude photoshoot, assuming the photographer maintains a professional attitude. The first time I saw images of myself, I gained a deeper appreciation for who I am. Not only did I see good qualities about myself, I was more accepting of the physical qualities I thought I should improve as well.
This is why I say everyone has beauty. An obese person, extremely skinny person and the idealized, physically fit person all have qualities about themselves that are beautiful. Not even the idealized person is perfect, however, and the aspects they want to improve should also be communicated through their images.
I believe even this is beautiful though and our physical flaws should be accepted as a part of who we are. If I have ankles I view as too skinny, I should not dislike the lot I drew, but instead realize it is part of who I am.
My body image problems do not stem exclusively from me being overly skinny. They may be a part of my neurosis, but they were learned from what society says is the ideal body for a man.
I am not saying a more open attitude toward nudity would cure this, but the ability to more readily view our bodies in their entirety is a start toward loving ourselves.