Going sleeveless for the summer is one thing. Rocking a pair of shorts, a backless dress, a crop top, or all of the above takes some serious guts. But truly baring it all? Feeling confident naked or close to naked? Getting up on stage and dancing in a way that emphasizes your belly? That’s something else entirely. These 4 women have made peace with their bodies and are now comfortable in their own skin—so much so that they’re striking poses while scantily clad. In a world where most skin-baring photos are selling us products or are shot purely for the male gaze, these women are reclaiming their curves and inspiring others to do the same.
Yoga teacher and author Jessamyn S. finds practicing yoga while nude to be grounding.
“Being naked is my favorite way to get back in touch with my most true self, and this feeling is multiplied if I’m practicing yoga. It reminds me that the skin on my back is all I need to feel free.”
Dia Community Member and Belly Dancer Catherine O. mustered up the courage to wear a belly exposing outfit with the support of her fellow dancers.
“I happen to perform a form of dance that has my belly exposed. I put myself in a very vulnerable position, in clothing that I was not comfortable in, to possibly be criticized. My biggest hang-up was not all the clingy costuming and exposed belly, but that I’d dance in front of an audience. With the support of my dance sisters, I was able to make peace with my body and love me for me. Dancing helped me learn to accept myself. This is how I look and if someone else doesn’t like it, that’s not my problem.”
Yoga Teacher and Mother Brittany R. finds empowerment in snapping photos of her naked body.
“There is something specific about the intimacy of being naked. It’s raw, real, and transparent. When I stand before myself or the camera, wearing only my skin, there is nowhere to hide. I am exposed for exactly who I am in that moment, and to me that is beautiful. The choices we make with our bodies are just that—our choices. For me, taking nude photos is a way to put it all out and say, ‘This is exactly who I am,’ and inspire other women to own their naturally flawed bodies. My body is not here to be policed by anyone. It’s my home, a home I’ve spent years trying to find comfort in.
Nudity isn’t just about being ‘naked,’ it’s about taking ownership of who we are as women. Women’s bodies are inherently sexualized, and perhaps that is why nudity is so empowering to me. It’s reclaiming my own autonomy. It’s being powerful and vulnerable all at once. You can’t take shots at me that I won’t receive. You can’t take power away from me, even if I’m standing before you vulnerable and raw. I carry my own power everywhere I go.”
Plus-size model and body advocate Leah S. first fell in love with her naked body from sleeping in the nude.
“True empowerment comes from a connection with your body that only you can have. A connection you’ll create and build by cultivating a healthy relationship between your mind and your body. Posing nude and just being nude is the perfect way to open the door to a healthy mindset around your body. Seeing your body move and exist nude is totally a different experience than be-bopping around in your cutest outfit. It’s seeing each wrinkle, fat roll, cellulite dimple, big strong arms, and knowing that it’s all part of what makes you you! I’m nude quite often and it’s helped me to become more comfortable with parts of my body that I used to be insecure about. For me, it all started with sleeping nude. I recommend it as a starting point. Then, in the morning, make sure to give yourself a bit of side-eye in the mirror and catch yourself at a different angle!”