Birth: “as naked as the day you were born.”
Newborns are wet, covered in streaks of blood, and coated with a white substance known as vernix caseosa…
A baby comes into the world with stuff on it, but naked enough, I suppose. A little being who’s, “genitals are enlarged and reddened,” via Wikipedia. Genitals are organs of reproduction: sex organs. And we don’t think of children as being sexual until puberty, but there they are born with “enlarged and reddened” sex organs. Does it say something about us that we enter the world this way (beyond the scientific hormonal explanation), or is it just a freak of nature (no meaning beyond body chemistry at birth)?
And there is the possibility for a woman to deliver a baby with an orgasm. Here’s a video about that:
So, in light of our sexual nature and possibilities right from the start of life, why are a lot of women so uptight (“uptight”=stereotype) about being portrayed as sex objects (the word “object” to refer to woman is a problem) in media, one might wonder? Sex is bliss, right? Are we just going against the unstoppable flow of nature if we want to limit or change certain kinds of representation? And what’s obscene about being naked? It’s how we were born, right? And yoga is hot and women are sexual, so what could be the problem with a video featuring a woman, in her black lacy panties and bra, doing yoga poses in front of a mussed bed with a sleeping guy still in it?
Hmmm… Here’s the video:
The woman in the video is beautiful, and the poses are awesome, but I’m bothered by some of the shots that are not about the yoga, like this one:
I think that this shot is about consuming this woman with a sexual gaze. And someone might say, “So, she’s sexy. That’s awesome. Beautiful.” In fact it was the word “beautiful” that first introduced me to this video in my Facebook news feed.
The first time I watched the video I stopped it about here. As I was watching, my thought process was set in motion by the establishing shot (shown just below). “Oh look, there’s someone in the messy covers,” I thought. After sex yoga, one might assume…
And I was just sort of turned off by the scenario set up by the video. I don’t really feel inspired by stuff like this. It seems to be more about sexual consumption than yogic expertise. And what the model is doing in this video is amazing and skillful. So why was I put off by it?
I was turned off by the packaging and presentation. There she is in an enormous and sparsely decorated bedroom in the city, apparently just having gotten out of the messy bed. She then must have put on her special “yoga bra and panties” just to be comfortable, or maybe because the producers didn’t think it would be appropriate for Equinox to release a nude video. I can only guess.
Everything we see in the images was chosen to tell us something, and mostly to make it exciting so that a lot of us would watch it. The poses are exciting, but the cowboy boots kicked off to the side of the bed are a little much. So I stopped it early. At first. Then I watched the whole thing because I wanted to write about it. And I’m impressed and confused. Impressed with the poses. Confused by the bedroom scenario and close-up sensuality shots (like the one shown above). I’m confused because that doesn’t appeal to me, and I feel like it’s supposed to.
I love sexuality. I just want to see something that makes sense to me. And I love yoga, but yoga isn’t about “getting off,” is it? Yet if a woman was truly having a orgasmic yoga on her own terms, I think it could be cool. In media, it’s a heterosexual man’s world. And I remain unaffected, if not a bit offended by the subtext of this video. Even though it shows a physically powerful woman, the scenario doesn’t read as empowering to me. Boo.
This week I also saw a picture on mindbodygreen.com that inspired me:
There are other images associated with this campaign by PLUS Model Magazine, but this one inspires me the most. I love seeing the model standing there smiling and looking at us. She seems more in control of her presentation. And the tape measure is usually such an overdone cliché for weight loss ads, but here the model is shown to be measuring her ample buttocks! This is super empowering. What I see here is that she is claiming her fullness. This woman is not trying to be small. Yay! I just get happy looking at this. It is fun. And she is naked.
She is sharing herself with us. It doesn’t seem as if she is being sold.
I think that this is what bothers me about the majority of images of females as they are often shown in advertisements: it looks like they are being sold. I mean it as badly as it sounds. I almost think that it encourages bad, disrespectful and even criminal behavior towards women to show them like a perfect product, available for consumption.
Nakedness is a natural aspect of ourselves. The body is the origin of our physical presentation in the world. It is good, like a baby is good. An infant is a pure, precious little being, and we all are also precious and worthy of appreciation. And sexuality is good when there are conscious, empowered adults deciding to express that way with each other. I think that the scenario in the Equinox video makes us into peeping Toms. I don’t like that.