Amongst Indigenous peoples the naked body is not considered provocative or blasphemous. This image of ourselves and our bodies has been taught to us. It is even carried through in religion; that our naked bodies should be kept a secret as if we don’t know what is hiding underneath the millimetres of fabric we call clothes. Personally, I do not believe that porn and the sex industry would be as big as it is today if we covered ourselves up less. I see how this can seem contradicting so I’ll explain my perspective to the best of my abilities.
In a tribe where women walk with their breasts out in the open, no men are interested in staring at them. Because they see them everyday. What happens when you see something every day? It becomes normal, you get used to it and you find something else to entertain yourself with. Imagine children busy playing. You tell them not to look at what you are doing and guess what? You now have their full attention, and they’ll do whatever they can to see what you are doing.
I do not think the naked body in itself expresses sex, but it is the perceiver who sexualises the body. I do not think we should start walking around naked but that we challenge our perception of the naked body. I love clothes and playing with style/expression. As a young woman I have many different styles and ways of expressing myself. Sometimes my style can make me look like I’m a young man and other times I might look like I charge “50 Dollah” for a hit.
For a long time I used my style to blend in and hide because I didn’t want to be seen and judged. I felt like I was supposed to be “Petite”/as small as possible. That my body was disobeying the laws of man by growing so tall. I wanted to take up as little space as possible because I didn’t have a sense of self worth. I was under the belief that I had to prove myself to be worthy and that women were supposed to be under the man.
It is so funny how I can look at this photoshoot I had with Culvin and Kohli, and feel so proud of myself. Comfortable enough in my skin to share it in such a powerful and vulnerable expression. For me it all depends on the intention, and the line between acceptable and not-acceptable should be on your own terms. I see how some would look at the same image and think; how low self worth one must have to take such pictures. A perception of someone who still feels like women should be as small and quiet as possible. To play out their role and be appropriate ornaments only to be observed in the dark.