The Naked Feminist
Feminist economist Victoria Bateman was naked on our Zoom call, and so was I, while we discussed her latest book, Naked Feminism: Breaking the Cult of Female Modesty, which will be released in the United States on May 16. “When I reveal my body, I reveal much more about other people than I do of myself,” Bateman said. As a semi-retired adult entertainer, I can attest to this. Where my nudity is often for profit, though, hers is for protest. She strips down to illustrate that “all women are both body and brain.” She’s out to upend the structures in which women’s “respect depends on their bodily modesty,” which she says undergirds everything from slut shaming to honor killings.
Promoting Naked Feminism during and after its release in the United Kingdom has been a struggle, for reasons anyone who works with nude bodies—much more direct depictions of sexuality—will be familiar with. Amazon initially refused to list Bateman’s book next to other feminist works on their massive retail website, citing the cover art as the issue. Bateman said: “There’s a belly button, there’s lower cleavage. There’s no nipples on display. Amazon’s view was it was drawing too much attention to the breasts. And because of that, it was sexually suggestive. Tell that to infants breastfeeding from their mothers.” When a journalist from The Telegraph contacted Amazon to inquire about this decision, it reversed course—the uncovered belly and underboob could stay and the ads could run.
Bateman’s promotional videos have been marked 18 on YouTube—thus requiring a login to view—despite including large black and white boxes over her breasts and genitals, which cover more than most bikinis worn by influencers on Instagram. The censorship proves one of her points: Women everywhere are still subject to greater nudity taboos than men. What the censors don’t seem to realize is that women are often objectified whether we are clothed or not—as discussed by Mona Eltahawy in Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, whose work Bateman cites in her own book. With 15 years of expertise, I say with certainty that anyone likely to wank over Bateman will be turn
Article from Reason.com