The Topless Selfie: Why I Post Nearly Nude Photos

Posting nude or nearly nude photos on the interwebs has its pluses and minuses.

Trust me, I know.

I’m a free the nipple fanatic, a lover of skimpy clothes, and an adamant believer in the idea that it’s my body, my rights.  One of those rights?  Posting topless photos if I feel the desire to do so.

Let me explain in a little more detail.  I post nude/nearly nude photos for a variety of reasons:

1.     I love my body, and I don’t see any reason not to express that love via imagery.  I’ve spent most of my life hating on my body, covering up or trying to enhance it in order to make it ‘desirable.’  Fuck that shit.  Every body is beautiful, and I want women everywhere to know that they can be naked, confident, and proud if they want to be.

2.      If men can have their nipples out on instagram and in the world, then why the hell can’t I?  Women’s nipples are no different then man nips.  Our society has conditioned us to sexualize women’s breasts, when, really, they’re just part of an amazing, powerful, life-giving body, which is just the outer casing for a beautiful, one of a kind soul.

3.     It’s a body.  A beautiful human body.  Along the same lines as above, I’ve been told my whole life cover to myself.  That to have my body ‘exposed’ equals sluttiness or sexiness.  When I post nudey pics I’m not trying to be sexy or slutty.  I’m just being me, in my own skin.  And I’m trying to create a conversation around the way our society has taught women and men that a naked female body is for consumption/degradation/judgment.

Of course posting these kinds of photos just a wide array of responses.  Feminists and my female friends are all very receptive.  They get it.  Men (and some women)…not so much.  I get a lot of disrespectful, inappropriate comments (which I promptly delete).  Things like, “if only your boobs were bigger,” or “you’re a whore,” or “hey, you’re half naked so obviously you’re down to have sex.  Wanna meet up?”  Ew no.

Then of course, there are people who say I’m asking for these gross responses.  That I should expect people to judge and comment negatively because, well, I’m baring it all for the world to see.  I’m not naïve.  When I post the photos that I do, I’m well aware that people are going to respond, and not always nicely.  But in no way, shape, or form am I asking for anything.  Being naked doesn’t mean I’m going to sleep with you.  Being topless doesn’t mean you get to call me a slut.  Yeah, I know some people are going to keep saying those things to me.  But that’s part of why I do what I do.  Maybe, if I can educate even one, two, ten, one hundred people on feminism and respect, we’ll start seeing some positive change.

My mum, who I love dearly and consider one of my best friends, asked me the other day why I post so many almost-naked photos.  She confided that she was worried I might be doing it for the wrong reasons.  My mom and I have open, important conversations all the time, but this one was pretty intense.  No one knows better then my mother some of the things I’ve done for ‘the wrong reasons.’  Anyone who’s kept up with this blog knows that I’ve done a lot of things over the years for the sake of being “sexy,” of having men find me desirable/dateable, and of fitting society’s idea of beauty.  I got myself into some dangerous situations this way, made some terrible decisions, and became downright depressed for a while.  So it was with a lot of emotion – and a lot of tears – that I told me mom: “I’m 100% doing this for the right reasons.  I’m doing this for me – for the girl who never felt pretty enough and who didn’t have an ounce of self-confidence.  I’m doing this for the woman I am today – a strong, loud, proud woman who loves her body, her mind, her heart, and her soul.  I’m doing this for every girl and woman in the world who needs to know how special they are.”  I explained how, I know being naked isn’t everyone’s way of expressing their strength or of spreading a message.  She asked me why I had to post pictures for the whole world to see.  How come I couldn’t just spread my message more quietly…less…in your face.  Couldn’t I just hold those views in my heart and embody them in my day-to-day life?

I responded immediately and passionately.  No.  That wasn’t the way my feminism, my heart, or my personality worked.  I wanted my message to be loud and wild and joyful.  I wanted it to be colorful and vibrant and impossible to miss.  It’s up to each one of us how we want to conduct our lives, interact with the world, and make change.  My change is not quiet.  It’s not subdued.  It’s not always what people want to see or hear. 

I went on to explain how I feel more like myself then ever before.  That I finally feel like the woman I’m meant to be.  I feel strong, and inspired, and full of love and life and hope.  I’ve never felt so happy before.

We both cried and I think my mum understood where I was coming from.  And it’s okay if she doesn’t agree with what I said or what I do.  What means the most to me is that she wants to talk about it and that she listens.

And if my photos/blog posts can open up conversations (whether in my own life or in the lives of others) then that’s amazing.

Again, I know my methods and my madness and my topless selfies aren’t for everyone.  But I feel empowered by what I’m doing, and I hope that other people do too!  It may seem silly to think that a partially nude selfie could create change in the world, but I’m sure as hell going to try, one #freethenipple at a time.

XOXO ;)