Taking nude selfies was just for bae? Thinkagain: your steamy pics can be about self-love, activismand healing sexual trauma. In 2018, we’re taking nudeselfies for our own pleasure. Here’s how you can, too.
When we talk about sending nudes, it’s usually interchangeable with sexting. But you don’t need a partner to affirm your nude-selfie game. A marvellous lady and sex writer Ev’Yan Whitney, created a digital workshop called ‘Sexting Myself’ at Sexloveliberation.com, in which she teaches women to take sexy selfies as an expression of self-love.
‘As a sexuality doula, I help to educate and support women who want to transition out of a life of sexual shame and into erotic empowerment,’ she told at an interview. If you scroll through her Instagram (@evyan.whitney), you’ll find subtle, soft imagery that reflects Whitney’s narrative. She calls her nude selfies ‘erotic self-portraiture’, and started experimenting on Instagram in 2016. She added,
“I realised that many of those beliefs were still influencing me. I loved sex, I loved my sensual body, but I wasn’t open about it. I was still operating from a place of wanting to be a “good girl”.’
Then there’s Annie Brookstone, a writer and editor in Cape Town (@anniebrookstone). Her Insta is a wash of nude selfies, tattoos and bondage-bound bodies as art. ‘I feel as though there’s this pervasive idea that your sexuality is something you detach from yourself and keep in your bedside table until you need to use it for Sex Things,’ she says.
For Marion* (@marionversatile) – part of NUDE Collective, Cape Town creatives disrupting the patriarchy with performance art – nude selfies are about not being ashamed of her body. ‘For me, body positivity translates to radical self-celebration – not in a narcissistic way, but as a demonstration of the love the body deserves. We hide because we’re told to be ashamed; we’re taught to carry guilt. For instance, I love the scars on my body. I have many. I’ve been told repeatedly I should have them removed but I won’t. They’re part of who I am.’
These women have given selfies on a whole new meaning – one that’s deeply political and very powerful. Recently Kim Kardashian has posted her nude selfie on Instagram and during an interview she said, “I post nude selfies because I feel good about myself! I mean after you have a kid, now if you have two kids, there is a feeling that…I mean I lost 70 pounds! I just think I do what makes me happy and I want women to be confident and I’m so supportive of women.” Kardashian added.
Kim has set a great example daily in the way she empowers herself through motherhood, as well as by becoming an independent and powerful businesswoman in a male-dominated media scheme.
FREE THE NIPPLE CAMPAGIN
Free the nipple, a movement which fights for women to be allowed to go topless in public, has gained popularity after Bruce Willis’s daughter, scout, walked half-naked through New York. The mission behind free the nipple is to raise awareness, and affect change, in the areas of the inequality of men and women that are still being experienced in the world today.
Instagram started flagging my account and taking down my photos for being sexually explicit and pornographic – even though they were not
at all graphic,’ says Whitney. Instagram’s community guidelines prohibit female nipples, pornographic material, and racist, sexist or anti-queer rhetoric. It’s something of juxtaposition, given Instagram is all about self-expression – and of course it’s up to Instagram to decide what crosses the line. ‘I’ve had many of my images taken down,’ says Whitney.
The ‘block’ button is your BFF
‘I’ve had a lot of harassment – unsolicited dick pics, sex propositions and creepy messages from men who see what I do and think it’s an invitation for them to objectify me,’ says Whitney.
How to deal? ‘What helps me take my power back is blocking them on Instagram and my blog – I block their IP addresses,’ she says. ‘Then I text my friends their messages and laugh at their audacity.’