First, there was the Calendar Girls movie. Then, Dove told us to campaign for Real Beauty by baring it all. Recently, people are asked to wear bracelets with “Boobies” written across them to raise awareness for breast cancer (and who knew that 12-year-old boys cared so much about the plight of women against cancer?). And yesterday, I logged onto Facebook and was met with a picture of a plus-sized model posed discretely nude to help improve body image.
Yes, there is a certain level of marketing genius behind it all (or at least, there was at first). But it begs the question: Size 24 or size 0—why is it that we as women still think we have to take our clothes off to get a point across?
There is a small victory being won here, and that is that women are finally beginning to realize the great power our femininity possesses. There is a line from the movie Eat Pray Love that I have never been able to get out of my head because it speaks so clearly to this:
Julia Roberts’ character is eating lunch with her friend, who expresses dissatisfaction with her body. Roberts, with her newfound wisdom, asks her friend, “have you ever been naked in front of man and he’s asked you to leave?” Her friend of course replies, “no”. Making her point, Roberts says, “Exactly. Because when a man sees a woman naked, all he can think about is how he won the lottery because he has a naked woman in front of him!”
Roberts’ character, and every woman who loves this line so much, has just discovered what we all ought to have engrained in our minds from the time we are little girls. Our beauty is not dependent on what size we are. We have a certain loveliness and grace within us, simply by virtue that we are women, that no amount of pounds or wrinkles can take away (and all of that other, “I am woman. Hear me roar,” stuff).
The problem with all of this is that, even though we have made great strides in realizing the power we possess as women, campaigns that have women of any size pose nude for the whole world to see just show that we have not yet fully realized the gift of our femininity. We’re stuck giggling about it when we ought to be safeguarding it. We undervalue it so much that we treat it as some silly little ploy to gain attention. But it’s more than that. And until we realize that, we are taking one step forward and five steps backwards.
So, women of the world of all shapes sizes, standing up for any and all causes: please, put your clothes back on.