Body Positivity: Naturists and Vegans

I recently watched a Channel 4 documentary called “My Daughter the Teenage Nudist” for no particular reason other than the fact that it sounded interesting! The programme interviews and follows various different people, discussing the reasons behind their public displays of nudity. Regarding the naked aspect of the programme, my feelings are fairly ambiguous towards the whole concept of naturism. People should be able to do with their bodies what they like without being judged. What interested me most was the feminist group featured in the programme called the “Naked Vegan Cooks”. This group have a blog in which they combine vegan cooking (again, I think people should be able to choose how they eat and not be judged for it, so no comment on the veganism) and positive body image.

One girl in particular, Alex, was featured on this programme taking off her top in public and being asked by a policeman to put it back on straight away. What was interesting about this was that she did this to demonstrate how women’s bodies are objectified and sexualised in a way that men’s aren’t. In her blog she writes that “the issue is not having breasts, it is being a woman”, drawing on the example of the androgynous, male-bodied model Andrej Pejic: when presented as a topless female on a magazine cover, his “acceptable male chest becomes an unacceptable female one.”

I find this fascinating, because it looks at the idea of nakedness and the objectification of the female body from an entirely gendered viewpoint. That a naked man’s body can suddenly become unacceptable when presented as female (without any alteration to the male chest to make it appear more female) demonstrates that it is indeed the way in which our society view women as sexual objects that is the issue. I’m not sure I’ll be walking around naked anytime soon, but I applaud this group for their efforts to tackle body image as well as the objectification of the female body through their naked vegan cooking. Food for thought!

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