So unlike, what…the other billion people in the world (?), I didn’t watch all of the Oscars last night. Although I did catch some of it while I was running on my treadmill (pray for me, y’all!) and I caught something that Ms. Anne Hathaway said that was the *perfect* (I thought) intro for this week’s lil’ PSA (Public Service Announcement). James Franco was saying something about how great it was that both of them were nominated and she said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I wasn’t nominated. It used to be that all you had to do was get naked to be nominated. Not anymore…not anymore.”
She’s *so right*. NOT. ANYMORE. The shock value? Has no value. Unfortunately.
If you’ve read either of my books or spent any amount of time on these blogs, then you know that I’ve seen more than my fair share of naked bodies in my day. Honestly, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t. I mean, *unfortunately*, you can’t always control “running into a body” in real time (television, Internet, billboards, etc.), but you *certainly* can control the amount of *intimate contact* that you have with one. God is merciful, though. Now (some of you) don’t spaz out, but I did go to see “Love & Other Drugs” and I’ll just say that I’m glad that nudity does not desensitize me—meaning, I’m glad that seeing a naked body still jars me a bit. In Anne’s case, she was right on this account as well: she was naked…a lot…even when I didn’t really understand *why* she was naked.
Random nakedness. This seems to be where the world is these days.
It made me think of an article that I came across recently. Now some of y’all are *far more sensitive* than others and so I won’t post the link, but as a writer, I will reference the source (writers like their sources referenced, trust me!). It was on Jezebel.com (a catchy/scary lil’ website name, ain’t it?-LOL). Anyway, it was about the effect that nudity has on men vs. what it has on women. Being that this is the women’s blog, I am going to focus on us. How, supposedly, nudity affects us.
Now, let me just interject with how it affects me. Even in my “buckest of days”, I wasn’t the one who really just enjoyed looking at naked bodies. The one time I went to a strip club, it was to support (support?!? I know, right?) a friend (friend?!? I know, right?-LOL) who was stripping. But as far as male reviews or even getting copies of “Playgirl Magazine”…just looking at naked people wasn’t my thing. That seemed pretty boring to me. OK, but remember what Anne said and we’ll come back to that in a moment.
When the author of the article (Lisa Wade, Ph.D) posted two pics of naked celebrities (not the porn kind of naked…the pop kind of naked), she asked the women first what they thought of the woman’s body. It was interesting how they spoke more of how “fat” (fat?!?) they thought she looked or how she needed to work on a body part. Yet, ironically, when they were asked to comment on the male’s shot, they, along with most of the men, felt uncomfortable. Here is a partial excerpt of the author’s findings:
“Many women also did not feel lustful when looking at male nudes and those that did often experienced lust mixed with guilt or shame. Eck suggest that this may be, in part, a reaction to taking on the active, consuming, masculine role, something they’re not supposed to do.”
Now, on one level, this should provide some interesting dialogue in the comment section because if women are critiquing other nude women and they feel guilt and shame watching nude men, then…what is the draw to porn? For women? I’ll speak for me. At the time, it was usually about watching people have sex when I wasn’t. And in hindsight again, some of it was bold (and highly hypocritical) arrogance. Either 1) I’m not going to have sex and so I’ll *use you* to meet the needs that I used to get when I was having sex or 2) *I* won’t degrade myself by doing what *you’re* doing. But yes, I’ll watch you doing it.
But then I thought about what Anne said. How being naked is not enough to get what you want in life (whatever that may be). And then I thought about how the porn I used to watch always had to top itself…in time: man/woman, man and two women, two women, orgy…you get my point. And *then* I thought about how when God created the concept of yahasey min (Hebrew for “sexual relations”) in Genesis (2:24-25), the tone of the translations seem like he was so happy, so proud, so excited to say to a man and his wife, “The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.” (NCV)
OK, but here’s where I’m *really* going with all of this. It’s interesting what I discovered (for myself) about the definition of “ashamed”. It’s not just about feeling shame, but also about having a fear of being ridiculed or disapproved of.
This caused me to think about nudity from an even broader place. We often spend so much time on how “sinful” it is to look at another naked person (if they’re not your spouse, I mean) but I would like to pose another perspective. Could us being inundated with nudity be a set-up for us being ashamed with either our mates or future mates? Cause really…if we never saw a naked body other than our own, then what would all of the plastic surgeries and incessant exercising and extreme critiquing—what would all of the body image issues be based upon? If a man’s first time seeing a grown woman’s nude body was his wife, I mean…how picky is he really gonna be? *And vice versa*. Wouldn’t it just be a joy to be with the one God gave to you…one who looks nothing like you?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times over: the Liar (John 8:44) seems to get the whole “sex thing” far more than believers do. When I say that, I mean that he abuses the power of sex because he seems to understand just how much power it really has. I think most of us reading this have been taught and told that fornication and adultery (and porn, etc.) is wrong…because the Word (John 1:1) says that it is (Hebrews 13:4). But I just want you to consider that above all of the other consequences that come with participating in such acts, could it be that one of the main things that the theif (John 10:10) is after is steal…killing…and destroying the very sacred and special time that God intended for us with our spouses. Nudity is supposed to be a beautiful thing. It wasn’t supposed to be a time of “sizing up” or comparing or feeling like you’re too fat or too thin…that your breasts are too big or too small…that you’re not good enough. No, what being with your covenant partner was *supposed to do* is make you, in your nakedness, feel the very opposite that so many of us seem to: proud, appreciated, content, great, honored, magnificent, respected, sublime, glorious and superb. These are some of the antonyms for “ashamed”. In God’s plan, in his system of operation, *this* is how we were to feel when we disrobe before our spouse.
All of this nudity we’re seeing…it’s setting us up to feel otherwise. To want legs like “so-and-so”, a stomach like “so-and-so”, butt implants at the risk of our own health…instead of just wanting to look like us. Instead of simply *embracing* how fearfully and wonderfully made we really are (Psalm 139:14) and that God gave us *everything* that the mate he intended for us to have would ever want. And more importantly…ever need.
OK, so now I’m even madder about all of the naked bodies I’ve seen. No joke. Cause my future Beloved deserves for me to feel as good about myself as I want him to feel about me. That doesn’t come from comparison. *That comes from consecration.*
Yeah Satan, you’re a slick one. I’m onto you, though.
Watch your back as I keep mine covered up. (LOL)
Oh! And Anne, yes, it seems like being nude is not just enough. It’s actually far more than most of us realize. In the spirit realm, anyway. In the world of lust, nothing is ever enough. In the world of love, we are always just enough.
On another note, I’m a big fan of yours and I’m pretty sure that you can win an Oscar with your other, eh hem, talents. Here’s to hoping and hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5).
I’m rooting for you…and I hate being wrong.
Here’s to believing (Mark 9:23) that I’m right.
Have a good week, y’all…