S k i n
P o s i t i v i t y
So why do I keep posting those photos on my Instagram? I identify as a body-positive activist. I explore human body, sensuality, and pleasure as much as I can in my daily life, and then share it through radical vulnerability, transparency, exposure, and truth telling on social media in an effort to reclaim and foster humanity in a part of our world that so easily slaughters it. This is more of an ongoing experiment than a practice.
It started in September of 2018 with Ev'yan Whitney's #SensualSelfieChallenge, in which a community of Instagrammers joined together to take and post selfies that "encouraged [us] to take selfies that highlight [our] body, celebrate [our] sexuality, and inspire [us] to take up space with [our] sensuality in bold ways."
Once my skin was out for all to see, I didn't want to stop. It benefitted my self love not only through likes and comments, but through the many face to face encounters it fostered. I formed such beautiful connections electronically and face to face, and these connections inspired me to keep going. I started an Instagram account devoted to more sensual selfies, and accompanied them with radically vulnerable captions expressing the intricacies, the beauties and the ugliness of my emotional state at the time.
Part of this was body positivity: celebrating my somewhere-in-the-middle body allowed others to celebrate their own. But another part of this was to reclaim social media. I staunchly believe that social media is an inevitable medium of our time, so I make efforts to use this exposure and vulnerability to bring a little more humanity to that wavelength which so often goes the opposite direction. It's all performance: I just try to keep mine honest and raw.
When people asked my mother, "What's with all the naked photos," she answered that it was a sort of activism. A mentor of mine described it as a project. Then I read "Pleasure Activism" by adrienne maree brown and my eyes were opened to the depth of social impact this experiment could carry. My mission is to continue to explore this, and to have fun along the way.
photo by Haley Jakobson