Prude vs. Pride

So this is a topic that could potentially just get more people’s knickers in a twist – pun intended – or you know, perhaps people will take it with a grain of salt because it’s my own personal opinion, but this seems to be a highly debated topic depending on people’s perceptions and what they think is right and wrong.

Now the inspiration for this post actually came both from my own thoughts on a current issue and from my fabulous pole studio’s owner and a photo that she had posted on Instagram just a couple of days ago. Not only is she a beautiful lady, but she has an amazing body and strong words to accompany it.

“Yesterday I was made to feel like I SHOULD feel ashamed or embarrassed of sharing nude photos because “What would X think”?” – @eleanorhadley

My Instagram is most definitely my main form of expression on social media at this present time, however that does not mean I have my head buried in the delusion of it so far that I abandon my own morals and self-respect. The content that I post is a mixture of many things, be it my pole dancing, or my cat, or my outfit, or what I am having for dinner.

And mixed in between those posts, few and far between, are some lingerie posts. Heaven forbid that lingerie dare be seen by the general public. Now this is particularly the topic of interest, by some they’ve been deemed “inappropriate” or “disgusting” or “shameful” or “not right for people to look at”. I was told that both myself and my partner (or boyfriend, or teammate – whichever word you want to use) should be appalled that these images were on the internet because it didn’t say much for our respect of my body. Now, I don’t post images because people have stamped their seal of approval on them of what is correct. I make that own decision for myself. We are currently all embedded in a society that faces self-esteem issues every day and is controlled by people and images telling us how we should look, how we should dress, what we shouldn’t wear if we don’t look a certain way.

On the best of days, I often criticise my own body. I could stare at myself in the mirror for ten minutes and pick on my broad shoulders, the fact that my boobs sit too far apart, that no matter how much exercise I do or how well I eat, there is a constant layer of fat on my midsection that I know won’t move, or that my butt just seems so out of shape and flabby that I can’t possibly look good naked or in lingerie.

But then there are absolute gems of days where I wake up in the morning, and my whole figure just seems to be amazing, my abs seem to be there without me trying, and my lingerie compliments my figure so well that I actually feel good when my partner compliments or appreciates me, and then every so often I might post a photo of how I look. Now, counting backwards through my Instagram over the last year there have been a total of roughly 13 of these photos, and none of them have been particularly harsh on the eye. But I have picked that image, because I have taken this photo and said to myself “I am content with my body today. I am happy with how I feel in my own skin. I want to show that I am proud of this body.”

“As a female human it is often confusing for society to comprehend that a woman can like herself. I know we all have our moments of self doubt, and of course I do too, that’s human nature. BUT, in those moments, I recogniseΒ that voice of self doubt and consciously change that to self love. It’s important. It’s powerful. It’s transformative.” – @eleanorhadley

This lingerie and body appreciation started for me approximately three years ago, when I actually worked in the lingerie industry. I had a job where every day, women would come to me, would ask me for help, or for approval of their bodies. To guess what their partner might think, or if it would be appropriate to wear out in public. A few of those ladies would be proud; they knew their own body and were comfortable in it and nothing could bring them down. For the most part however, there were ladies who lamented that they didn’t have a supermodel figure, that the lingerie looked better on the model who advertised it, who loved a piece but knew someone in their life who would hate it, or who thought they didn’t have a body for a certain item. It’s human nature to step into a change room and strip down and feel vulnerable. Our own skin is our most treasured aspect of our body because we are aware of it for every living moment. And yet, there we are, stripped down to it and allowing someone to come in and observe us and our vulnerabilities. Somehow though, a transformation could occur in that store, and women could walk away comfortable in their own skin and want to show that to others. They no longer felt oppressed by other people’s thoughts of them, or bad memories from that past. They were proud of their own skin.

“Now let me be clear, I don’t care one little bit if someone else out there is shocked or offended by my body. It’s mine. I love it. I will do with it what I want. It is always my decision.” – @eleanorhadley

Now, I could post far worse content on my Instagram. It could be so much more provocative, it could be more raw and deliberate for drawing attention. I could invite all sorts of attention and types who simply want to look at that sort of content for their own pleasure or gain. But never once have I posted an image – like I see so many of these days – where a girl is like “Look at my brand new ….. !” or “Check out my cute …. !” and the item or object that they are referring to is either out of focus or small in the image compared to their boobs which will be right in your face, or they’ll be naked to an extent and you sort of stare at the image thinking, “What am I supposed to be looking for in this image?”.

However, I very carefully choose what content I post and the relevance of the caption to follow. I could never post a nude shot, because I myself would not be comfortable with that appearing on the internet. Granted, it nearly happened. Sometime last year, I did a nude photo-shoot down near Point Cook, but upon receiving the photos I asked for them to be destroyed, because it was not good work, nor did I enjoy looking at it as I thought I might. I made that decision to not keep those photos. Since then I have done several lingerie shoots instead, and felt comfortable with showing that much of my body, I also take my own photos when I have those proud days, and then spend approximately 2 days deciding whether or not to post my moment of pride. Once I do post it, I monitor it, because personally I don’t allow people that I myself do not approve of to view these photos. Instead I sit there and check the profiles that either “Like” or “Follow” me on Instagram following that upload, and if they don’t look respectable, they are instantly blocked and removed. I am not like many other people who upload an image and let it run rampant and then cry when creepy people or judgemental people start messaging them.

I control my content. I control how I feel about my body. I control who gets to view it.

I am not being explicit. I am not inviting less than friendly company. I am not attempting to be a bad person by sharing these images.

I am comfortable in my own skin in those moments, I embrace the way that I look and feel that it is appropriate to comment on it. The issues of self esteem and the so-called guidelines of feminine beauty that are written in so many blogs, opinion articles and magazines don’t apply to me. No one gets to tell me that I am doing wrong when they don’t exactly compute what it is that I am attempting to say or show in the first place.

This is my body.

Amidst all of the self doubt and days of putting myself down, I refuse to let anyone make me feel ashamed of how I look. My body is my own, and I will convey my pride of it however I see fit.

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