Tag Archives: nude bodies

“My Goal – That You Are Found by Wonder”

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Laurie's photograph of Queen T'hisha, a dark-skinned naked Black woman lying face up on a couch with her breasts showing and her legs crossed
Queen T’hisha, by Laurie Toby Edison

Debbie says:

It’s sometimes easy for Laurie and me to forget that not everyone loves and celebrates the naked body the way we do. That’s why I was delighted that Mona Eltahawy, whose global news round-up we often cite here, wrote her own essay on the subject.

She recounts going to her first clothing-optional party in 2013:

When I was younger, my body was an afterthought. When I started my period at six months past 11, my body changed so much that I barely recognised it. I think that’s where my estrangement from my body and its wonder began.

That nudist party in Cairo, when I was 46, and, unbeknownst to me at the time, in the throes of perimenopause, was the start of a conversation that brought me back to that wonder of my body.

In the beginning was the word. And my eyes said “Look! Look now at these magnificent bodies around you.”

The human body is wonderful!

As I eased into being naked among others, I looked at more than my fellow nudist party goers’ eyes. I took in their bodies in all their wonder and knew that my body was adding to the communal wonder.

It’s a familiar trajectory: you start noticing how something in other people pleases you: their hair, their eyes,  their voice, whatever. And if you’re honest with yourself, you start realizing that that attribute in you probably gives them the same feeling, so you have to admit what you have to offer. I think this is especially true with the naked body, because — even in this frequently sex-friendly time (in many places) — most of us still have limited experience with nakedness outside of sexuality.

To be naked among others is to enter a community of vulnerability–disrobed, disarmed–and risk–will they judge my body; we are all naked in a conservative country that is under the dictatorship of a military-backed regime. …

Vulnerability and risk are the heart and mind of wonder and will fuck whatever preconceptions you brought with you to the party. When the woman who had been sitting directly across from me went into the room where we had all left our clothes and came out to say her goodbyes in hijab–only her face and hands showing–fuck me! What?!

Eltahawy captures what nakedness means to her, and thus makes it available to many people who may not have experienced it or thought it through–and the details of the hijab do the job of making her experience individual while also comprehensible to those of us not from Islamic cultures.

That nudist party, my first but not my last, that woman – hijabi by day, nudist by night – demolished that wall. I went home lighter and able to hear, at last, my body again.

Look at your body! Really look. Listen to it. Can you hear it?

My goal: that you are found by wonder.

My wish: that you intensely live.


Debbie occasionally posts on Mastodon.

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