So, let’s discuss the nude women in the May issue of Allure, shall we? It’s a photo spread called “The Naked Truth,” and it does not start off well:
Indeed. There’s no better way to demonstrate self-esteem than by posing nude in a national magazine!
I’m sure taking the pictures was a life-affirming experience for all involved, but sadly, these photos do not provide the same effect for the rest of us. If I have to look like Eliza Dushku (who has three—three—personal trainers) to feel good about my body, I never will.
Also, how does getting naked reveal their “spirit”? Despite what some people (okay, men) I’ve met seem to believe, my personality does not reside inside my bra, and I’d think a women’s magazine would be more interested in fighting that notion than in furthering it. Or have I not mastered Allure’s little lesson in confidence?
We may know how to “hide our flaws,” but that knowledge is gender-related only in that being a woman means our “flaws” are continually pointed out.
And why does “embracing your body” require taking your clothes off? The answer:
Lakshmi has a scar on her arm from a childhood car accident, so she would know! I understand her concern, and it’s a valid one. But instead of teaching young girls that beauty doesn’t have to be perfect, maybe we should teach them to value themselves and others for something other than beauty. Maybe we should teach them that they can love their bodies without the need to prove it by disrobing. Conflating self-confidence with nude portraiture only reinforces the idea that our value lies in our appearance and sexuality.
Of course, confidence is inextricably linked with how we feel about our bodies. But I fail to see how painstakingly lit, gratuitously retouched pictures promote self-acceptance for anyone other than the women in the photos. Surely there is something more notable about each of these celebrities than the precision of her bikini wax.
One of the actresses pictured, Lynn Collins, told Allure that “It’s hard not to focus on vanity in this industry, because such a large part of it is about how you look.” If only the magazine had realized that such an undue emphasis on appearance exists not just in Hollywood—and that photo shoots like this only exacerbate the problem. Next time Allure wants to demonstrate an actress’ “confidence and spirit,” a simple interview will suffice.