Images courtesy of Micky Greenfield:[email protected]

In honor of the anticipated FRANK Femmes book release, we asked contributor Emily Choi to give a quick dissertation on what it means to be a woman today. First thing that comes to mind? Selfies. But more specifically: Nudes.

The subject of ‘Nudes’ (nude photographs via Internet) and its positive and negative attributes have become a prevalent, ongoing debate in today’s modern society.

However, when addressing this issue, the reader must take into context that the Internet was created in its entirety as a social platform to share any type of information, data, knowledge, etc. free of cost. It was four college students who conjured the idea to build a communication network of global-scale in hopes of gaining and sharing intelligence without going through the traditional measures our forefathers took to gain such intelligence. They created the Internet on the basis of a non-profitable distribution of information and not on the basis of an inflating, marketable database center.

With this in mind, ‘nudes’ started when pornography met the Internet boom. Women utilized the interrelation between these two as means of profit, whether it was for financial stability or personal appraisal. However, due to recent developments in sexual revolution, women are starting to see nudity as an act of challenging censorship standards and preconceptions of the female body as something to be bashful or humiliated about. The sudden phenomenon of nudes is in direct response to the objectification of the female autonomy and is rising on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit, where instant self-gratification is anointed.

This is where “Break the Internet” comes into play. “Break the Internet” is an ongoing social-media trend that is referenced when people exaggerate a particular event, or photo, to have such an impact as to figuratively “break the Internet.” Also trending with nudes is “Free the Nipple,” which is an equality movement specifically set on legalizing public topless-ness and breastfeeding. Individuals, specifically women, use these trends when posting nudes, as to insinuate sexual freedom and claiming the female body as their own to willingly expose. Conjuring national dialogue on female nudity, such uprising trends as these are altering the meaning of nudes not as a flagrant, immoral act but as a self-righteous, almost civil act.

image2However, there is a fine line I must draw when addressing nudes as a positive pro-feminist act. There is a difference between posting nudes for recognition of sexual revolution and breaking male-dominant structures and posting nudes for self-recognition and supporting male-dominance. I’m addressing the Twitter-famous girls who glorify daddy issues and have a shared appreciation of a Dov Charney-esque world; to be specific, a very close friend of mine, Sophia Johnson or better known as @lilcakes. Followed by 24,000 people, mainly composed of pre-pubescent girls and middle-to-older aged men, her main Twitter account is made up of semi-explicit nudes and other aesthetically pleasing photos, all coinciding with self-absorption and egotism. She also operates a private Twitter handle which strictly consists of explicit, more risqué nudes, where she essentially tries to make money by selling old or unseen nudes to random strangers. Appealing to her male audience, she even Tweets about reviling in submissiveness to men for money when having sex and sugar daddies funding her lifestyle, of which she has three.

This is a clear example of the distinction between posting nudes as a digital cry for gender equality and posting nudes as a digital cry for self-admiration. Even though Sofia uses these trends with her nudes as fitting commentary for positive body image, she is also contradicting herself in that she is desensitizing women as a gender. Admitting to her passive liking in men and using nudes in such connotation, she is devaluing not only a woman’s physical body but also the sexual revolution women worked so ruthlessly for. Twitter users similar to her, as well as others who use nudity in a faulty sense such as Kim Kardashian, are allowing men to objectify their bodies and making it acceptable for them to do so simply because they are being compensated. Going back to previous, outdated pornographic rules, nudes are yet again being exploited as commercial income and revenue, adding to our inherent rape culture.

Aside from my biased opinions, these conclusions are brought from my own personal evidence in correlation to mass media. It is not my position to say whether is it right or wrong for women to use nudes as lucrative sources of compensation or as sources of self-esteem and confidence. I accept that I was essentially conditioned and misguided by our male-dominant culture to view these efforts for nudes as indecent rather than empowering. Needless to say, ‘nudes’ in a general sense are a positive and beneficial aspect in the fight for feminism and obstructing the male hierarchy against women. Overall, nudes allow women all over the digital world to join together as one gender in combating body-shaming and depleting female body oppression. Although nudity is a key component in the de-sexualization of women’s bodies, it should be evident under what context it is introduced, its intentional meaning, and its impact on our culture of sexual aggression and violence. It all depends on how vain you are.