Nudes: the 21st century mode of gratification from the virtual and of pulling a nobody into the limelight.
By definition, a nude is a purposefully produced revealing portrait; while in practice, nudes have been stolen and exploited – causing a stigma.
Created by the omnipresence of smart phones, and later seized by Millenials and their virtual desires for all things relatable, the concept of taking nudes has swept this generation and created a trend in popular culture. In doing so, amateur photographers have played with fire, causing an array of dilemmas.
The image of the female nude, once considered the epitome of art’s finesse according to art historian Linda Nochlin, has become stigmatized by Western media in a culture used to the clad. What was once an art has been pushed to the shadows for an inverted use. Nochlin comments that the female nude body was romanticized in the Renaissance as women were portrayed as an art form themselves.
How have we ventured so far from nude for art’s sake?
There are many pros to this craft of the artistic nude. Repetition of nude body images provides a body-positive message of personal acceptance and manifesting one’s own womanhood, in particular. In a Cosmopolitan Magazine study, 9 out of 10 Millenials take nude photos of themselves. Out of 250 individuals, 72.64% of the women reported they do not regret taking these photos, and 55.66% said they would take them again. Taking nudes is a self-empowerment tool, though now photographers who are discovered using this tool are turned outcast by those who should not have the right to access them.
Problems arise in their misuse and the violation of personal space.
The releasing of nudes into the realm of mass media vastly changes consumers’ perceptions of one’s character. Hacking this personal (and private) property has destroyed careers while birthing others. There has been a spiked increase in google searches of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence post-releasing nudes. However, unlike the majority of female celebrities under similar circumstances, Lawrence refused to apologize for her nudes, telling the LA Times, “I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for.” On the contrary, celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens have benefitted from leaked nudes and have publicly apologized for something that need not be shameful of. People Magazine recounted Hudgens’ statement, “I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos.”
Incorporations such as Snapchat, which allow individuals to send a picture or video with a ten-second timer, and iCloud, the information server for Apple products, hold a database with every image ever taken. These servers are notoriously hacked and consumers’ privacy are violated as hackers steal images, the International Business Times reported.
We can also point fingers at the “bro” trade of sharing women’s nude photos with other men that morphed this art into a taboo. The locker room culture has transformed this personal experience into an intrapersonal for the inappropriate gratification of others. Men have used nude photos as a claim to status by owning the stolen prize as a “trophy” of a conquest. The betrayal of trust should be the issue at hand, not the image of the naked body.
Women of all generations are reclaiming this evolved trade, seizing the opportunity to be proud of their own body and preach, “I love my figure.”
The positivity that ensues from taking a nude photo outweighs the negativity surrounding the conflict, as long as privacy measures are taken. Seizing one’s own image with confidence helps internalize ones individuality in natural beauty. Take a nude photo and save it on just the smartphone “Photo Album,” not iCloud or any other virtual sharing space. As for sending nudes to others, allow them to appreciate the real thing. Nudes should be a private and positive experience.
This raises the question: with the plethora of controversies, is it worth it to take a nude?