I posed nude for Valentine’s Day.
This isn’t a regular thing for me…to say the least.
Leading up to this shoot, I had spent many years in college studying gender and sexuality, delving myself into the works of Freud, Butler, Foucault and the such, however, what was always missing for me was a practical application beyond the shimmer of theories galore.
Sure, we could all sit there pontificating the absurd notions of penis envy, but what did this really mean for me as a woman living in the 21st century?
Into my post-college years, I explored my sexual expression through dance, recognizing ever so incrementally, experience by experience, reflection by reflection, that this was not a separate thing reserved for bedroom hours, but really an essential and beautiful part of my sense of self.
This was a challenging concept for me to understand.
Inundated daily with sexually associated material, how can we tease apart what is exploitation and what is empowerment, when in the end we are just taught via various systems of power, that anything with sex, the body, nudity, and pleasure is wrong, shameful, and guilt-inducing? It’s almost as if there is no distinction anymore between exploitation and empowerment because we are solely focused on the action (posing nude, having sex, expressing attraction) and not the epicenter of our soul, our intention.
I posed nude not for validation nor attention, but as a bold statement to all women and men that hiding our body in shame, is hiding who we are.
The body in it’s purest form is not an offense, nor an invitation.
Being naked, contrary to popular belief, does not imply we want are wanting of anything.
I don’t want young girls to grow up in the patriarchal world that my generation along with many previous generations grew up in. I want them to feel at home in their skin. I want them have the support, the means, and the resources, to healthfully explore their sexuality, which is an integral part of our personality.
My choice to pose nude is an example of our freedom as women to make our own choices relative to our body, our sexual expression, and our sexual experiences that are not swayed or tainted by the fears and narrow-mindedness of detractors.
The more we extract this volition from women, the more we teach the female gender that someone else has control over their right to live and learn in all capacities of their existence. It is in allowing ourselves the space to grow, explore, and learn in sex and sexuality, that it will no longer be a taboo subject, but one that is the general concern of all humanity, just as our diet or fitness is.
Our sexual health is not just about practicing preventative measures relative to STDs or even in choosing apt sexual partners that are emotionally prepared for the journey. It begins with our identity, with looking at ourselves as sexual beings and being comfortable and embracing in that very wondrous fact.
When I laid upon that bed, time for my shots, I was so relaxed in the bareness of it all. I didn’t feel like I needed to cover up any part of myself. I wasn’t too fat, too ugly, to big, too small, too dirty. I was…myself.
The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory is a company for dancers by dancers aimed at cultivating an environment of sustainability and longevity within their craft. We focus on advocacy initiatives centered on what love is and how we practice it.
This year’s campaign was entitled “Pillow Talk®” where the dancers shared candidly about their experiences surrounding love, gender, sex, sexuality, and body image.
The images accompanying my personal written piece is a confident stance for each one of us to be brave clothed or unclothed, thus challenging the negative associations shrouding nudity and the purity of the human body.
Author: Yvonne H. Chow
Editor: Renée Picard
All photos used with permission and originally posted at HDCNY.
Facebook is in talks with major corporate media about pulling their content into FB, leaving other sites to wither or pay up if we want to connect with you, our readers. Want to stay connected before the curtain drops? Sign up for our curated, quality newsletters below.