Instagram and Nudity

How much nudity is too much?

With Instagram, I feel like I have been totally desensitized to nudity yet in recent weeks I have found myself noticing it more and more. It wasn’t something that used to bother me really. I always thought that I don’t have to participate in posting photos like that if I don’t want to, so why should I care? But I have found myself caring and I’m not sure why. I don’t need to be bothered by other people’s photos but for some reason I am.

Take Elsa Hosk as an example – a beautiful model who makes a living posing in her lingerie for Victoria’s Secret. Her work shots are fine. They are selling the underwear. She is doing her job. But her Instagram tells another story. It is full of full nude shots and super sexualized selfies, and every time I look at it I am trying to work out why she posts these things? What is her motivation? She is already one of the most well-known models in America, idolized by girls and wanted by guys, yet she seems to be trying to get more attention online, grow her following, and do it by posting her naked body. I find it a little sad that women’s bodies are still their strongest form of currency. I know that we are supposed to have reached a new wave of feminism where posting your body online under your own terms and reclaiming it back is what women are all about now, but I also can’t help but think that by posting yourself naked and doing so for your own gain (financial or followers) is just playing into the hands of men around the world who continue to think of women as little more than their body.

I have noticed this nude trend trickle all the way down from the real famous (Kardashians & Jenners) to the insta-famous (all of those “models” with 50k+) to regular girls that you and I know in real life. It’s just strange and borderline worrying because I hope that it doesn’t put girls in a position where they feel that posting their body online for likes is the best way to boost their self esteem. Your body should never be more important than your mind. I don’t really care if people want to post themselves naked or with very little clothes as long as there is no ulterior motive behind the post, but if the reason that you’re posting it is for likes (which you use, in turn, to measure your self worth) then there is an issue in my opinion. This is a complex issue which, if handled the wrong way, can veer into slut shaming. I’m all about body positivity and feeling good about yourself, but I’m also all about having a life off of the internet and not using social media for personal gain, whether that be amassing a large amount of followers or using your likes to gain a confidence boost. I don’t intend to single out Elsa Hosk in a negative way in this piece. She is a beautiful woman who seems super sweet, has cool style, and appears to be a nice person with lots of friends and a great relationship. Her Instagram is really pretty which is why I initially followed her. I just got a little bit turned-off when I felt like her posts were just full of nudity in an over-the-top way. And hey, I guess if you’re a VS model you are being paid for your body looking great. At least it sells the lingerie. I just feel conflicted and a little bit confused on this matter and I struggle to articulate my thoughts on it properly.

Eve Gardiner is the founder and content creator behind evegardiner.com

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