Newt In A Tea Cup

{February 6, 2007}   Reality body check

Ever heard someone say that porn culture is a celebration of the female form? Newsflash! I don’t look like that! It’s only a celebration if you happen to complete the rigid check-list and if you like men’s capability to wank over your body and nothing else.

The way we see our bodies is so governed by external factors: what we are told to value through lighting, colouring and positioning. Life tries to imitate the art we see and the art we see the most is the art that least applies to us. All the bodies of women I see around me are completely unattainable. There is no way I can achieve that standard and I know that there is no way anyone else I know can either. For one thing it costs a heck of a lot of money. For another it takes up a lot of time. For a third there are natural physical barriers- I don’t tan at all, I’m ridiculous short and I’ve got chubby cheeks that will only go away if I’m near to anorexia.

Celebration of the female body (as marketed by Nuts, Zoo and FHM) is not the celebration of any female body I have ever faced. I do not recognize those bodies and to be honest, the stiff poses, harsh lighting and plastic feel of the affair leaves me thinking that it’s not very… well… skillful? Appealing? Or am I setting the bar too high? It just feels like titillation over a doll to be honest.

Now, I love nudes in art. I think that the human body is one of the most fascinating subjects to look at. I think that tasteful nude photographs are sometimes breathtaking.

It’s the difference between naked and nude.

One is a factor that others remark upon.

The other is a human state of being.

Maybe I’m thinking this through too much. Maybe I’m being too philosophical about everything. But I think that it’s okay to celebrate our bodies – our real, honest, un-retouched bodies with dignity and that being unclothed does not have to feature the degree of exploitation and shame that it does.

Don’t say women in those magazines aren’t ashamed. Maybe they aren’t. But their very function and selling point is based on shame; the shaming of the women who aren’t them. They work by creating a shame in women on how they look and a dissatisfaction in men with their perfectly normal partners.

We can’t live up or with that kind of naked. It’s depressing. Hardly a celebration of being womanish.

But I think that nude is what makes us women; average, normal, of all shapes and colours and sizes, feel happy and thankful for our bodies. It’s what tells us we are beautiful, that there is something gorgeous in us.

Here’s what I mean:

Scott Hutchinson Nude Art Gallery- not worksafe obviously

Maybe it’s just me but those paintings made my day. The lighting, the fat curves – truly beautiful.

I love the serenity of her expression

Another by the same artist as above- Boscoe Holder

Nude by Renoir

SHOCK! Men can be nude too!

I tried to find some more recent stuff but there’s no surprise that there was little supply of what I wanted. Obviously I’ve just exposed myself as a snobby art lover. That done, I’m signing off.


“Ever heard someone say that porn culture is a celebration of the female form?”

Sadly yes – the image of a woman twisted into a pretzle and gang fucked makes me think “Oh isn’t she beautiful and arty” [/sarcasm] Great links – I love nude art.

When I was doing my A level in art, I used to go to a local college to do my “nude study” Mmm brought back memories 🙂

tcupnewt says:

Personally, I don’t go for that either. Tasteless and not enough sustenance; it’s all mass produced and cut up into bits that fit plastic boxes, for a wannabe healthy but ultimately gormless salivating audience. Wait, you’re not talking about pretzels? /sarcasm

You did art A level? I’m so very jealous. The one thing I regret is not taking a GSCE art. I wasn’t good back then but I’ve gotten better in leaps and bounds. S’what happens when you doodle through every single class. But they wouldn’t allow me to take the A level or draw nude models because I’m not “qualified”! 😦

Grace says:

I agree with this post! Nude art can be so inspiring, and it can make you feel beautiful as the onlooker instead of feeling permanently inadequate! Even though I hate the images of pornography, and the airbrushed ‘beauty’ of ladsmags I can’t deny that I still hate my body some days for not looking like, just so that I would feel like i’m saying a big F**K you to high-street-honey competitions because they’re horrid (the real reason) and not because I wouldn’t stand a chance (the reason that any pro-LM person would claim).

The last picture of the man reminded me of a part in a book called The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss – it’s a beautiful story.

I was really good at art at school – runs in my family really, but then when it came to picking options I went for music and drama because I wanted to dance but there was no dance option so I went for the 2 closest ones – also because my art teacher had very high expectations of me, but was slightly pervy and simultaniously disappointed at times and I just thought that would be too much stress!! I’m rubbish now because I never practice and I have nothing to draw!

tcupnewt says:

I think its normal to have off-days- it’s just that the expectation of being perfect makes everything a thousand times worse and should not exist. That’s not an off-day. That’s creating an off-life! The weird thing is that when I accept my body I feel almost guilty for the very lack of self-hatred to motivate me to loose weight etc… It’s not considered normal for a woman to not hate herself in some way – so whether you are striving for those images or accept that you are normal, the label of unnatural cannot be avoided.

I’m sorry to hear about your teacher putting you off, and the lack of options. Maybe you can start doodling to get some practice? I’m always doing that during my commute time.

Grace says:

Maybe so! I have no inspiration though I like I said. I’ve become a bit more wordy in my slight-growing-older I think! I long for this beautiful and yet reasonably priced guitar in the local shoppe, but I have no where to put it until I move…some day though!

I think I know what you mean about the strange dual self-hatred-guilt that seems to occur whether or not you feel happy with your body! [you as in women, not just you as in tcup] It’s almost like as soon as I think I look okay, I have to go and eat badly and not worry about it for a bit just so I can suddenly look at myself and go “ugh” and then all is right with the world again! An unconscious process of course!

I really love the little flowers in the background of this blog, and the shade of green is great too. Actually i have flowers the same shape on my duvet cover! What an odd coincidence!

Liz says:

Thank you – this really cheered me up, fab post. I love the nude women links, they look like real women, with all their imperfections and quirks 🙂

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