Recently, comedian and actress Amy Schumer was praised for posing mostly naked for Vogue photographer Annie Leibovitz's famous calendar shoot. Comments on Instagram praised her for showing what a 'real' woman's body looks like.
Dozens of similar examples, including an Australian Lush Cosmetics ad that featured several nude women was heralded as 'body-positive' could be given on this trend that has emerged in the past few years. It's the idea that taking off your clothes – no matter how large or small - shows confidence; but quite frankly, it's completely destructive.
What they're getting wrong
There are several motives that this movement professes to stand behind.
To expand our – men and women alike - views on beauty.
To help women who think they have a less-than-ideal body feel confident.
To show that each human has value – fat or thin, tall or small.
Considering these are the motives that drive this trend, are they successful?
No. And this is why.
Where confidence and beauty come from
In an attempt to fight beauty and self-worth stereotypes, nude photo shoots only add fuel to the fire of destructive messages being sent to women. It promotes the idea that physical beauty = value.
These campaigns promote the very thing they claim to be fighting: someone's worth comes from how their body looks. Is this the beauty bandwagon we all want to promote?
A study on the influence an individual's body mass has on success discovered that women who are heavy in high school were significantly less likely to earn a college degree, which lowered their ability to have a successful career regardless of wealth, grades or talent. Overweight boys were not affected in the same way.
"One explanation is that overweight girls are more stigmatized and isolated in high school compared with overweight boys," Christy Glass wrote. "Other studies have shown that body size is one of the primary ways Americans judge female — but not male — attractiveness."
Women need female role models who have confidence because they made a goal and went for it. They need models of women who are confident because they focus on the needs of others.
Women do not need models of other women telling them their worth comes from showing their body off.
Confidence has never come from body image; it comes in spite of it. Confidence is how you feel about yourself. True confidence comes from developing your character. It comes from knowing God knows you have value – regardless of how you look.
Amy Schumer, along with the other women featured on the calendar, were chosen because they are women "of outstanding professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment," according to People Style. But all that beautiful accomplishment and talent is pushed aside as we focus on their bodies rather than the things that make them truly beautiful.
Shutting down the haters
These photos tend to divide people into three extremes: people body-shaming you by commenting on their perception of your flaws, people over-the-top supporting your vulnerability, or people sexualizing you. The problem with each of these is that they all do the same thing: place all your value in your body.
Your body will never be able to please everybody, and that's OK. The only person who needs to like it is you.
The attention your mother warned you about
Will posting pictures of yourself naked, claiming that you have true confidence all for the sake of loving your body as it is, get attention?
But it's all the wrong type. Why would you want this? Why would anyone encourage this?
Any middle school girl knows that if you shorten your shorts and lower your neckline, you'll get the boy's attention. In middle school you don't realize that type of attention is toxic. Are we dealing with the same confusion as adults?
Actual, real-life beauty
Real beauty is showing that you as a person are worth knowing – not because of how much skin you show, but because you've used your body to live your everyday life. Covering up your body shows true confidence, because at the end of the day, you know you're a person worth knowing because of the choices you make – not because of the body you were born with.
Amberlee is the content manager for FamilyShare.com and earned a degree in journalism. She creates beautiful things with her experience in writing, graphic design, photography, video and music. She loves her family, the outdoors, baby foxes and podcasts.