Nude or Never

Telling a woman how she should dress is one part of a problem, telling a women how to think she should dress is the core of the problem itself. Let me tell you why.

We live in an era where self-expression is parallel to the self, not knowing who are will directly impact how you are. What’s inarguable is that an element of choice should be at the centre everything we do. We live in a era of a fast-paceness and interconnectedness that still overwhelm us; we get signs from everything, sounds from everywhere and influences in every millisecond of our everyday lives. We are so often and so quickly faced with things that thinking for ourselves is no longer a choice. This is a concern, not a comment and for women today, it’s a serious problem.

Women are taught by society to flaunt their femininity  in ways that please everyone before themselves, in no way am I stating that women MUST cover, but I am saying that women are repeatedly taught that strength of character, sexiness and fierceness are only visible through the dress code, in the “less is always more” sense, and THAT is bullshit.

I can’t think of the last time I saw a woman express her femininity through means other than sexual. It’s always the same depiction of courage through the same means and I am personally getting a little tired of it.

If modesty is a choice, then so is nudity, it can’t and shouldn’t be a requirement for progressiveness! I had a conversation with a ‘gentleman’ who tried to convince me that posing nude is actually the  much more expressive and attractive way of posing for pictures, he also added that stripping should be seen as significant since society strongly stands against it. When I said that I wouldn’t do either one, someone asked if I was “Religious” – so to him my choosing to not look a certain way and controlling matters instead of letting matters control me is dictated by religion, never by my society. I disagree. If religion forces someone in a direction, it’s possible to (want to) fight back, but society is the hardest thing to fight, because it’s everything around you; it’s the movies you watch, that ads you see, the people to talk to, the conversations you have, and the thoughts that are generated from all that.

The scariest thing I’ve seen to date is the amount of time women spend in front of mirrors and it’s rarely for themselves. Presentability should be the comfort you feel when you see yourself before the pleasure others feel when seeing you. The fashion, make-up and entertainment industries put a strong emphasis on perfection; “you must look it to feel it” is what echoes through their messages. Perfect hair, perfect make-up, no scars, no split ends, not a pound of over-weightness, and tons of skin- THAT is the new-school definition of sexy. And I liked the old-school system where she was who she wanted to be, how she defined herself, how she felt, where sexy meant confident and not sexualized, THAT she is the one I struggle to stay close to. THAT she is the one society tries to separate me from daily. I am not a product of my surroundings, I am product of my own beliefs, values and feelings.

Society stripped choice from she, divided progressive and modest, split liberal and reasonable, and shamelessly blamed religion on anything and everything that’s not connected to societal beliefs. That, to me, is more dangerous than being told what to wear. I can fight back if I am forced to dress a certain way, but if I’m swayed by a compliment that I am taught is essential to my self-esteem, then there’s nothing to fight back, because I’m taught to “need” compliments, that’s the drug that’s being fed to women and that’s dangerous.

Marwa Siam-Abdou

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