The latest trending topics online funneled through my Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds have been thought-provoking: namely, an article on “modesty” online, followed up by the “news” on Kim K’s recent exposure in Paper magazine.
While Kardashian’s shiny butt photos thankfully dropped today from top trending twitter news in favor or #rokerthon (Al Roker’s marathon attempt to break the Guinness world record), and the modesty article has also faded from the forefront of my newsfeed, I’ve been thinking about giving them some further airtime.
In my opinion, both articles subtly or not so subtly bring to light a very interesting question:
How much is too much skin?
This question begs others, such as:
- Is your level of public exposure evidence of insecurity?
- Is this a black and white issue… or a personal one?
Let’s explore these questions and their implications, as well as some of the psychology and assumptions behind them.
IS YOUR LEVEL OF PUBLIC EXPOSURE EVIDENCE OF INSECURITY?
In the first article, the writer claims that
“The psychology behind your behavior in taking these
nude pics is very straight-forward: you’re suffering from a lack
of self-esteem and are looking externally to make yourself feel
good about you. But you’re kidding yourself. It’s called self-
esteem because it emanates from the self”.
Essentially, this writer is claiming an omniscient assumption over the motives, character and psychology of anyone who posts “nude” pics (this term itself being very loose because she also references lingerie in her article… and nude certainly implies full exposure).
The sheer ARROGANCE and HYPERBOLE in this article blew me away.
There is no documented psychology behind the mindset of every single individual who posts lingerie pictures, or nudes. There is no documented, fully inclusive psychology on men and women who pose fully clothed or butt-ass naked, from Old Navy to Playboy.
The older I get, the more I realize how immature it is to project your own thought process into the motives of others. For example, a few years ago, I would’ve never even dreamed of taking this photo:
The “me” I was then had not yet emerged from abuse and neglect and betrayal and abandonment. That “me”, many years ago, could never have had the security to show my body in any way. I hid behind baggy sweatshirts, long runs, and sleepless nights covered by ball caps, pulled low. I hid everything: my emotional pain, my destructive and crumbling marriage, my fear and confusion.
My slow emergence from that time period was marked by an increasing willingness to proudly demonstrate my hard work through more exposure AND motivate other women who had been through similar situations, or who were mothers trying to “reclaim” their bodies and confidence. My INCREASE in confidence was what motivated this photoshoot. Not a lack of it.
However, many people jumped in and assumed that I felt I had to show this to get attention. That my joy in the body I recreated and the life I was reconstructing were actually pure insecurity and a plea to “feel better about myself” through “likes” on Instagram.
Note the case, but perhaps, it would’ve been for them.
Take a friend of mine, whose ex-wife was constantly looking for attention from other men. This woman was known for inappropriate flings and infidelity. She got a boob job with his money without him knowing. While I cannot judge her motives, her character as evidenced by repeated decisions to dishonor her marriage and degrade her integrity beg questions about the reason for her breast augmentation. Perhaps for her, her lewd displays online and self-enhancements WERE motivated by insecurity and a lack of moral integrity.
(And THIS is why it is in caps and bolded) I AM NOT HER JUDGE, HER GOD, HER GUIDE, NOR HER CONSCIENCE. This leads into the second question:
IS THIS A BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE… OR A PERSONAL ONE?
Let’s explore this woman’s background, from what I know of it.
Raised in a broken home where her dad abused and mistreated her mom, and then abandoned them both, she constantly lived in the shadow of her mother’s depression, alcoholism, and constant run-through of men of all ages and types. This was her example growing up, from infancy. Her mom refused to show her love or affection, and blamed her for her dad’s abuse and abandonment. From a young age, she desperately wanted to be loved and cared for, and her mom refused to give that to her, after her dad had already abandoned her. She felt unwanted, used, hurt, unworthy, not good enough, and essentially, invisible.
Does this excuse her infidelity? No. Does it lend sympathy toward why she made the decisions she did? It should.
This girl needs a lot of help to turn off of the path she has already run down. But while I have no desire to befriend her, I have no desire to malign her OR to judge her.
I am of the singular opinion that YOU NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHAT SOMEONE HAS BEEN THROUGH, AND YOUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE SHOULD KEEP YOU FROM RAMPANT JUDGMENT OF THE THINGS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
In highschool, I judged everyone left and right. The culture I grew up in promoted this. Roll your skirt? Detention. Kiss a boy? Sexual immorality, indicative of a lack of repentance and a desire to be sexually promiscuous, which probably meant you were hell-bound. I judged anyone who looked sideways at a man or a woman, who watched movies not rated G without “skipping” over the “bad scenes”, who wore spaghetti strap shirts or midriff tops, or who slept with someone and didn’t marry them.
And you know what? It’s exhausting. Because it’s not my job.
And the older you get, the more you should realize you have better things to do with your time and energy.
So to all of the girls posting scandalous selfies online:
You do what you fucking want.
Just make sure that you are doing what is best for you.
I don’t know your journey, I don’t know what makes you tick. I refuse to project what would be a bad choice for me onto your choices, UNLESS what you are doing is directly harmful to another person.
I loved this portion of the second article on Kim’s “shocking” nude photos:
“On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim
Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply
because she is a mother also need to sip a
big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!”
Because this antiquated idea that mothers are
not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is
ridiculous and naive.
I’ve never been a fan of
policing other women’s bodies,
and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that.”
Take the time to focus on yourself. Do not make swift judgments about the motives of people you don’t even know, or even those you do. Allow everyone the privilege and right of policing their own bodies. Remember you do not get to dish out consequences. Don’t degrade yourself by maligning others.
Take a second to recognize that you aren’t God.
You’re just another effed up human like the rest of us.
With strengths, weaknesses, and personal battles.
Leave everyone to their individual journey,
And focus on the road in front of YOU.