Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the first concerns I heard, from multiple people, was, on the surface, safety-related.
As in, “Are you sure you want to use the same name as your other social media accounts? Someone could find you so easily.”
Now, I’m probably pretty findable already. I don’t have any illusions about that.
No, I’m not posting my exact coordinates or sharing my GPS location with strangers, but it’s 2021. I have various accounts, and I was previously putting myself out there a lot when I was marketing my personal brand photography business.
That’s not an invitation, it’s just the reality.
Someone could probably find me if they really wanted to right now.
However, the implication is that they won’t – because I’m behaving in socially acceptable ways.
Modestly, you might say.
So why or how am I suddenly “putting myself” in danger? (Which I’m not actually doing to myself, by the way. Someone else does that. Who are they? Are they part of the invisible patriarchy enforcement team?)
I can be fairly active online in certain ways, but the minute I bring my body into the mix, I’m in danger.
The fear (from others) that I’m putting myself in danger by posting anything nude and/or potentially sexual online comes down to this:
If you behave inappropriately, you will face violence.
If you step out of line as a woman+, you will be forcefully put back in your place.
Though of course, it’s not just women+. It’s anyone who defies gender roles and expectations.
And we all become the enforcers of these norms, even when violence is not imminent. The fear of violence, the subtle/not-so-subtle threat that there could be violence, has us all policing each other (and ourselves) and reinforcing these expectations.
I’m not dismissing these fears. I’m not dismissing the very real fear, violence, and intimidation many people face in their lives.
But I don’t want to give into these fears or reinforce these expectations.
I don’t want to be part of that.
I want to be part of something else. Something that encourages us all on our journeys of self-discovery.
I’m in a position that enables me to do this, to challenge these expectations. I feel a sense of responsibility to do so.
If we never do anything differently, how will this new world ever exist?
If we never change, we’ll never change.
So, yeah, a big part of me is choosing to be defiant about it – to use the same username as my IG account; to write about it on my personal blog; to feel proud and excited about what I’m creating, rather than fearful.
I knew that keeping some self-portraits hidden and private was the wrong decision for me.
I won’t go so far as to say I’m creating art. But I’m creating. I’m exploring and expressing myself. And that process doesn’t feel complete until I release it.
“But people will see. Do you want [insert person] to see?”
The implication here is that I will face judgement from these people and that should bother me (again, we’re all policing each other and how we relate to our own bodies).
And maybe people will judge, but I can’t control that.
And can we finally just be okay with bodies?
Bodies that we all have?
And stop caring so much how others choose to express and create with their own?
- A photo of the Venus of Willendorf was flagged on Facebook for being “pornographic.”
- The Vienna Tourist Board started an OnlyFans account to showcase works depicting nudity because they kept facing problems sharing photos of exhibits on social media.