Public domain over women's bodies has been a thing for centuries -- Kim Kardashian just has more eyeballs on hers than most. Now she's inspired one fierce mom to take beautiful, real pictures of women's bodies and try to show her own daughter how good body positivity looks on everyone. Both ladies are doing our girls an important service.
When Lacey Barratt saw Kim Kardashian's latest nude selfie, she decided to add her two cents to the conversation surrounding whether it's "appropriate" for the famous mother of two to be naked on social media for millions of people. She made a meme depicting her and Kim's bodies, side by side, both naked and neither doing anything remotely sexual. It was a powerful image that just about any woman could relate to.
Women in our society don't just get to have a body. That body is subject to public scrutiny and discussion, and a woman is somehow held responsible for other people's reactions to her body. Kim Kardashian posts a nude picture and people feel entitled to comment on how "appropriate" her body looks. A woman breastfeeds in public, and people get uncomfortable when confronted with the notion that babies get fed by boobs -- and therefore she should find somewhere more "appropriate" to feed her hungry baby.
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In both scenarios, these are just women with bodies doing things. It's the reaction other people have to their bodies that makes them problematic. And ladies like Lacey Barratt are totally sick and tired of it, and want something better for their own daughters. As the mother of a little girl of my own, I'm with her all the way.
Barratt started a photo series she calls the Humans Uncensored Project because, she says, she worried about what effect her own harsh judgments about her body -- or, to put it another way, her reaction to other people's judgments of her body -- might have on her own daughter. And this is something as a mother of a little girl I struggle with, and I bet plenty of other mothers do too.
I find myself getting ready to leave for places. Looking in the mirror, putting on makeup, checking myself out. Silently judging. Whilst I am self absorbed in myself...I fail to realise my preteen is staring at me from the open bathroom door. She is watching me, my body language, my facial expressions and judging me judge myself. It is hard to remember that my children are sponges..and what I put out to them, they take it all in. www.laceybarrattphotography.com taken as part of the #stopbodyshaming project #humansuncensored #mumlife #boymom #4thtrimester #bodyshaming #stopit #laceybarrattphotography #boys #melbourne #altona #humansuncensored
I know my 5-year-old will grow up with the rest of the world offering opinions on her body. So I worry about what I can do as her mom to try to prepare her for that world, and to give her a sense of herself so strong and confident that she's impervious to letting other people define her value. That's a tall order. Lacey Barratt has decided to take raw, emotional photos of women's bodies in an effort to normalize and desexualize our girls' bodies.
And the real beauty is that Barratt's daughter, along with all of our girls, will grow up in a world where women feel strong enough to finally call body shaming out for exactly what it is -- total BS.
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My own little girl was born what I can only call a "naked person." The first thing she asks when she comes home from school is whether she can "get naked now." I let her. Because as a person who gets anxiety at the idea of walking around in my birthday suit, I want to do everything I can to protect her total lack of awareness that being naked could possibly be shameful. And I never want to do anything to change that.
So I let her and explain that being naked at home with her mom is no biggie, but that the rest of the world has rules about these things. When she asks about "fat" or anything else that might put a judgment on her body, I really try to acknowledge the question and move on. I feel like the longer I can keep my girl focused on all the things her body can do, rather than how she feels about her body, the better off she'll be. But that's just my approach. We talk about it.
Kim Kardashian's approach to fight body shaming for her daughter, North, is to proudly flaunt her curves and not give one single f-bomb what anyone else has to say about it. And I think that's really important, too.
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The point is, all kids needs to be encouraged by their moms to feel positive about their bodies in their own way. Whether it's through letting them see their moms comfortably take pictures of themselves naked, normal and beautiful like Barratt, or by giving our kids the space to claim ownership over their own selves, I can't help but feel like there's no way this generation of girls -- and boys, too! -- won't benefit from every individual mom's own plan to push back against body haters. So let's keep it up.
Bravo to Barratt and every other mom out there working to make body shaming a thing of the past for our girls. And PS, you all look marvelous naked, no matter what anyone has to say about it.
Image via laceybarrattphotography/Instagram