Naked and Unashamed

Guest blogging today is my BBFF, Jerri Phillips. She and I have had some interested conversation over the beauty and self-worth. As a result, she wrote this great post on her new blog, and she graciously agreed to let me posted it as well.

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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?

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I also want to add that this show is not like “Extreme Makeover” where everyone came out loooking like Barbie dolls. Each woman discovers her own unique beauty and they build on it.

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11 thoughts on “Naked and Unashamed

  1. I don’t have an intelligent comment to make. But I wanted you to know that I read it and I appreciate it. It’s got my wheels turning.This is such an important topic.

  2. Great post ladies. As I began reading I started thinking about how Adam and Eve didn’t even realize/weren’t ashamed of their nakedness until they had sinned. To me that says that God is not ashamed of our bodies and neither should we be. My only concern for women is that we be healthy. Keeping our family histories in mind is always a good thing when thinking about our weight/body image. Other than that, as long as God is pleased with how I treat my temple and my husband finds me attractive (and if he loves me, won’t he?) then life is grand. Maybe someone should remind society that Bottecelli didn’t use size 0 models and his works are considered masterpieces. Hooray for How to Look Good Naked and Hooray for Jan and Jerri- for encouraging us, as creations of the Father, to look at ourselves as the beautiful works we are.

  3. Hi Jan, This is great stuff! I have seen the show. At first just to see what it was about expecting to be disgusted, but I too found that it was really wonderful how he helped them learn to love themselves. It is empowering for them. I know I could never do the show because I would not want my picture plastered across the nation, but I would love to go to a one on one session just like it. I know my self image is that I look way bigger, saggier, etc. than I really am. I would love to have some nice pretty pictures of me for just my DH’s eyes. Thank you!Have a great day! Sharon

  4. Carson says, “0 is not a size, it’s a warning sign.” I love that quote. In other words, be happy and love yourself in the body you are in.When Greg and I renewed our vows, I was 50 lbs heavier but I was beginning to love who I was on the inside, not only for how I looked. I think it shows. Look at the photo in “I Still Choose You.” You can see the joy and it’s not just about the wedding, it was about accepting myself.

  5. I also watched after your post. Late at night on reruns. It was… tasteful, and hard-hitting at my own problems.I like that the show takes place over a week, not over the year or ten it would take to surgery us all.I have issues with my bright rosy cheeks. But I have given up wearing makeup, saying, “God is the perfect Artist, who am I to argue?” And really, although I am not there yet, I want to be happy and satisfied by that answer.

  6. I’ve been reading these comments, but I’m just now getting time to reply.First of all, thank you, Jan, for allowing me to be on your blog. It truly is an honor. Second, thank all of you for your kind comments. One day soon you can read my blog and understand the importance of them. For now, though, know that you are deeply appreciated.Hynson Family, I think you make great points. If our husband and Husband love us, does the rest of the world matter? Sharon, I’m with you. I don’t want my body seen on TV or the wall of a building, but honestly, I would love to have pictures taken like that for my husband. I happen to like the idea of his having a little black book in his desk drawer that he can pull out, look at pictures of me, and feel excited about coming home from work. He gets hit with all kinds of trashy billboards, commercials, and magazines just because he has to walk outside the door and work in an office. I like the idea of his having something he can open that wipes that garbage from his mind and reminds him of “the wife of his youth”. Proverbs 5 says, “18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” Quite candidly, I’d rather my breasts be the ones my husband keeps in front of him rather than the lady on the billboard on the way into work.Chelf, I admire your desire to be happy with God’s creation. I pray He gives you wisdom and boldness to be the beautiful woman you are.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. - Psalm 34:19

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