Sunday, February 17, 2008

Naked and Unashamed

Jan posted about the Lifetime show How to Look Good Naked. If you are a woman and you haven't seen it, I suggest you take 30 minutes of your time and check it out. It isn't what the title implies...or maybe it really is.

When I first heard the title, I thought it would be another shallow show dealing with human narcissism. However, for reasons I will explain later, I watched it anyway. To my surprise, it wasn't shallow, and it reveals the prison of narcissism.

In 3o minutes, Carson Kressley takes a woman on a journey of self-loathing and fear of being seen to the revelation that her beauty is not a size or a number but rather embracing her value as a person.

Jan and I have been emailing about this today, and she suggested I blog about the deeper issues we discussed. At first, I was hesitant but ultimately, I think it is a topic that is too important to hide behind or from.

Candidly, I watched the show because I saw glimpses of the photo shoots. Before you decide what you think about that, let me explain. As a photographer, I asked the Lord for wisdom concerning my niche and specialty. His reply thrilled me, honored me, and jarred me. He said, "Your niche is prophetic photography. You will use your camera to show people how I see them." Obviously, this is not something to take lightly, so my question then became how this looks in real life.

One of the thoughts that came to mind is photography that celebrates women. Not nudes, but pictures like they take on How to Look Beautiful Naked. Classy. Beautiful. Affirming. As I told Jan, this is not something I have pursued because I feared the backlash. Jan said she would not do pictures like that for the same reason.

She said it simply, "Some people view that as porn." I agree with the objection to having one's picture plastered on the side of a building for all to see. However, neither Jan nor I are talking about publishing these pictures for others to see. Pictures such as these are intimate pictures that are to affirm a woman, and if she desires, for her to share with her husband. Hopefully, she would feel the comfort and freedom to do that. The sad truth is some women wouldn't, and that is the bigger issue.

This was our discussion that led to my final email and Jan's response, and I post them here for you.

To me, it has to do with the purpose and the heart behind it. If you do it for your husband, who cares. If anyone is watching us [Rob and me] in bed, it would be porn, but they don’t, so it is natural and beautiful and godly.

I think we have forgotten a simple verse.

Adam and Eve were naked, and they were unashamed.

I know too many women who think once they get to a certain size or have bigger boobs or smaller hips, they will be sexy, attractive, fun, GOOD. How horrible. I think what works with How to Look Good Naked is the overall picture. Carson deals with the lie. He addresses the lie of overestimating a woman’s size. He addresses the lie that runway models are the ones people find attractive. He tears down the lie and builds the truth. The truth that a person’s value is in being a person, not in being a size.

I think the danger with simply doing those pictures, which is why I have not pursued that form of photography, is if the lie isn’t addressed, the woman simply comes out feeling that she has performed well or worn makeup well or the photographer hid her well. The key isn’t the picture.
It’s like I told Anna about being on stage. I said, “You are not joyful because you sing. You sing because you’re joyful.” These women are not beautiful and should not feel good about themselves because they look good in a picture. They look good in the picture because they embrace their own beauty.

Do pictures have the power to create or encourage the change in mindset for that, or is a more encompassing process necessary? God does amazing things through pictures, so I don’t know. All it takes is the revelation of Truth about oneself, whether that is through pictures, therapy, nature, or a sermon.

At least that is where my thoughts are right now.
Jan's response:

Preach it. I think this is a good blog post… I’d love to read it.

Too many women feel like they have to be perfect to be beautiful. But if you look at
women like Uma Thurman, they are beautiful in their uniqueness not because they
look like everyone else. You know?

And forget the competition with every other woman. I hate that. We are all beautiful!

As a child of the Creator of the Universe, the King over all the Earth, you have the right to embrace the beautiful person God made you to be and to rejoice in it. You have a right to be naked and unashamed.

Can you picture that?

3 comments:

Robin said...

Interesting thoughts. I've been toying with some thoughts about body image, etc. that ties into this a little. I will probably post on it after Daniel is better.

I'm waiting on another update from his mom. She was in church this morning and his Dad stayed home with him. Keep praying for them. Daniel had another grand mal this morning.

Jan Parrish said...

Jerri, this is great stuff. I loved it. Right on. We all need to hear more of it.So many women struggle with this.

I don't have complete freedom in this myself. I do well, then I struggle, then I reclaim my beauty once again.

We need to keep this dialog going. :)

Jan Parrish said...

This is up on my site as well. Thanks for allowing me to post it. (((H)))

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