Nakedness, why do we fear it so much? The origins of fear of someone seeing our naked bodies can be mapped across most of our lives: from strategically placing a towel when in the changing rooms, to averting our eyes from the TV when nudity is in front of us, to hiding under the covers when becoming intimate with a sexual partner. But why do we fear it so much? There is something so raw, honest and vulnerable about presenting yourself totally bare. You cannot hide behind the clothes you are told to wear or not wear, you cannot hide your body size or shape, you cannot disguise yourself as another, but instead we are forced to feel exposed. But why is naked exposure seen as synonymous to weakness? Allowing another to see you stripped is both an empowering and honest act, but it is intensely feared. At the end of it, really this is all we have left – our bodies and our souls. We are born this way and we leave this way, but something happens in between that makes us question the skin we have been given, but we need to learn that it is nothing to be afraid of.
LUSH Cosmetics have recently come under fire for allegedly promoting ‘pornographic’ and ‘offensive’ images with their new Go Naked campaign. LUSH prides itself on being an ethical, raw and clean cosmetics company – thus the Go Naked campaign was born as an as “inspirational” movement to highlight the issue of too much packaging on cosmetic products and to promote the continuing up rise of body positivity. The campaign image in question features four naked women holding on to one another – some have tattoos, some have cellulite, some have dyed hair, but all are representative of a non-edited, non-altered female aesthetic.
In spite of this positive and non-offensive stance, some took it upon themselves to contact the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) and make statements against the campaign. One woman complained that the advert was at “child’s eye level” and another stated that she was “offended as this is nudity for the sake of causing a stir and is offensive and unnecessary”. I’m pretty sure that LUSH were not up for causing a riot, it amazes me that the nakedness of others can be seen as “causing a stir” when underneath our clothes we all have the same thing – a body. LUSH, on responding to the negative backlash received, defended their inspiring campaign by asserting that “the image is completely untouched, as we feel that we should not be ashamed of our bodies in their natural state, and that every single one of us is beautiful in our diversity”. Hoorah! As far as the complaint against the images being at child level goes, children are exposed to much more harmful images and messages than the one that LUSH is promoting.
These people, who took it upon themselves to complain about such a positive and real message, need to rethink their standards, for if they are going to complain about a representation of un-retouched and realistic female bodies, then they need to tackle the issue of the photo shopped and unrealistic ones that are presented every day in the media too. They need to argue against the display of sexualised images for the sake of selling a perfume, they need to argue against misogyny for the sake of selling an album, they need to argue against the whitewashing of the fashion world, they need to disagree with the promotion of body shaming (as seen in this summer’s Protein World advert), they need to fight against the promotion of a toxic diet culture and they need to fight for intersectional feminist and bodily respect. There are far more pressing issues that they can concern themselves with and much better lessons that they could be teaching their children than complaining about the display of honesty and realness that LUSH have presented.