Writing by Sophie Pellegrini // Photograph by Sandra Lazzarini
Recently someone expressed some concern to us that our Instagram page is too “pornographic” and we thought we’d take a moment to (briefly) address the concern.
There’s a very unfortunate tendency in our society to attach sexuality to a nude body, primarily the biologically female body. For example, male-presenting bodies can be shirtless with no reprimand, but female-presenting bodies are not afforded the same luxury. Our society has been programmed to understand that nipples becomes inappropriate and sexual the moment it is attached to a female-presenting body. While many people are attracted to breasts, that does not mean they are inherently sexual! Boobs do not exist to please or tempt the men around us; they’re life-giving organs with a primary function of producing milk for offspring.
A person who decides to watch TV, swim, or sleep naked, is not partaking in a sexual act, and therefore their nudity is not sexual. A toddler who enjoys running around the house naked is unashamed because she has not yet learned the need to censor her body. We think it’s okay and “cute” because she’s just a child, but as soon as she reaches puberty, we assume she has lost the capacity to be innocently naked with no sexual intentions. But being nude feels good sometimes, and it’s within our innate right as human beings to feel that. People just feel inclined to view female-presenting nude bodies as sexual because women are over-sexualized, period. They are objectified (with and without their clothes on), viewed as sex objects before they are viewed as people. That being said, sometimes nudity IS sexual, and that’s okay too. Demonizing the sexuality and sexual needs/desires/actions of female/femme bodies is also part and parcel of the patriarchy.
Instagram is a platform where we post artwork we love beyond what we share within the actual magazine, often images of naked female-presenting bodies, or art related to vulvas, boobs, and beyond. This causes concern for some people, who consider the images pornographic. With all of the previous thoughts on the problematic sexualization of female bodies in mind, our intentions and hopes are to help normalize — and celebrate — the body and its beautiful diversity. Until we normalize the naked female/femme body, people will continue to view it as a sexual object meant for male consumption. We also think it’s helpful to show the wide range of “normal” beyond what is taught in sex-ed and health class textbooks, which often leave us thinking there is only one “right way” to have a body. In reality, boobs range from saggy to small to perky to asymmetrical; some people choose to groom their pubic hair, some do not; and fat rolls are just as okay as a thin, toned body. We want our teen readers (and anyone, for that matter!) to see pictures and realize that the way they look is a-okay. If some of our more provocative or “out there” Instagram content makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay too! It can be great to challenge your preconceptions and push yourself outside your comfort zone sometimes if you decide that’s something you want to do.
That being said, if you do not like the content we post on our Instagram or in the magazine, that’s completely fine and well within your rights. You have no obligation to follow our page.