Butt Naked While Brown: Perfection, Normalcy and Taboo….(NSFW)

Does Black Skin Equal Dirty?

I ask that question after an exchange on the front porch (Facebook) that occurred after I posted the link to my Tumblr blog since I’ve made the decision to stop separating my writing platforms.

My Tumblr, titled, My Blood Shot Eyes, contains images that I think are interesting; some of which are of nudity. Admittedly, some of those images are of blatant nudity and the occasional sex act, however, never did I expect that a person would view my postings and consider them to be obscene simply because they contain sex.

As a matter of fact, I was confused by a statement made by a few (supposedly) pro-women online speaker boxes.

*The names and identities of the actors in this crime reenactment have been changed to protect the innocent.*

It still pulls my heart strings that some poor unfortunate souls think it a necessary use of their time to chime in and state the ever useful  ‘THAT’s PORN!!’ 

Naked ethnic black woman covering her breast

Yeah, now you go and click this link and come back and when you do, I want you to tell me if what you see is “Porn” or not.

True, there are pictures on my site of naked ass people such as this young girl right here who goes by the name of Couragous-X  (with 1,900+ re-posts upon re-post upon re-post) whose post on Tumblr inspired me to write about the everyday women that take photos of themselves.

This statement accompanied a very powerful image that she chose to post:

I understand the results of this post after this is published. This may gain respect or lose it. Then again, I really don’t care. You can judge me all you want, and I’ll be fine. There’s no editing of this photo, just an imperfection and a word. Accept. To understand or agree. I agree that I don’t live up to a standard of Society’s perfection; that I do not have a skinny waist or the idea of a perfect body.

I agree that I am different, but that’s okay with me. For years, months, weeks, days, and minutes – my thoughts would always repress to the memories where I would get made fun of because of my weight. Tears would stream down my face and the question would always ask: “Why am I not happy with myself?” The answer? I didn’t accept myself. I didn’t accept the fact that I was unique, not just by looks but by heart. There’s a purpose on why I’m the person that I’m today. I have many faults, too many to count.

However, there’s a new day ahead of me and I will walk in stride that I am a beautiful young woman. There are many young men and women such as myself whose having a hard time, don’t feel alone about it. God created you out an image – HIS image. Remember that you are beautiful. Not just beautiful in a certain area, but by every inch of you. And your beauty is not defined in words, or the media, or the scale, or by pain; your beauty is indescribable. Embrace it. Accept.

I specifically chose to post tasteful images of nude Brown women (and others) to satisfy a purpose. Up until recently there hasn’t been much visual contribution to popular culture that uses the Brown woman as a subject while also maintaining the integrity offered to their White counterparts.

The message we receive when we do not see ourselves in the world around us is that we don’t exist in totality. We remain aspects of a subculture, like pieces of a puzzle, and not capable or seemingly worthy of an independent existence.

We learn that Brown skin isn’t worthy of exhibition for the purpose of appreciation, of celebration and of self determination.

Brown skin is shameful (how dare you be proud of a simple basic you!)

Brown skin isn’t desirable (no one wants to see you)

Brown skin should be forgotten (only white women are allowed to ‘have’ their sexuality)

Many time if there is a woman of color involved in a pictorial project she will be of the lighter hue. I don’t have a problem with that since I am of the lighter hue and how can I complain when I am being represented in mainstream media, however, I do realize that it is difficult to find tasteful artistic images of Brown, or Black women, or the diverse shades of women of color as being simply human.

All too often, any inkling of nudity demonstrated by a Brown women turns the colored folk modesty hounds loose, and the town suddenly condemns her to morality death.

SHAME ON YOU!!

It would be unfair of me to neglect to mention the effects of slavery, and the generational influence of religion on matters of female chaste, and the ‘white man’s’ systematic ‘raping’ of the Black women, because that’s all very real, at a time, and a place, and in context of certain subjects.

But what about us?

It is unfortunate and detrimental that these issues still affect Brown people and their self perception and tolerance for matters of sexuality and the female body. When we neglect to take our own feelings into consideration about how we perceive ourselves and do the uncomfortable work of analytical critique and discussion regarding how ‘we see ourselves’  as almost (alternative) humans, we are still “owned” by White Western culture.

There are many Brown people that look onto the Brown female body and all they can think of is the White man’s lust.

Is it really fair to have an environment that leaves our own men out of the conversation of sex and sexuality. Some of the men who love us have been shamed into silence and only offer affirmations in whispers, apprehensively, in hopes of not insulting, shaming, or bringing too much negative attention to the thing he loves the most about a Brown woman, her brown woman-ness.

If you believe that all instances of nudity is consumable, wrong and inherently evil then what you are saying is that Brown skin is only revealed at the request, influence, exploitation, or compensated opportunity created by a White oppressive culture.

There are many Brown women who feel they aren’t allowed the respect and self ownership that is needed to choose to be human and nude by the condemning Black society we live in.

nudity, Iman, black, woman, sexuality, model, modesty, sexuality, shame,

White men do love them some Black ass, usually greasy, spread on a glossy page of a Black Tail magazine. We know this, but what is to be said about the lack of Black nudity, and how do we develop our perceptions of ourselves through art that helps us to accept our bodies as human?

As beautiful.

As perfect.

As powerful.

AS NORMAL.

What is to be said of the anonymous Black and Brown pictures taken in a moment of intimacy between Black, Brown, or Tan lovers who are reveling in the beauty of their own perfection?

Sex captured in digital form to observe and critique at a later date.

To be shown to the world.

To be saved in secret and never spoken of again.

Where’s the harm in the act of exhibitionism of the Brown body if the people in the pictures aren’t ashamed or exploited?

Does it not show Black and Brown self determinism, expression and security in their bodies?

To many Brown folks, nudity is synonymous with personal and collective disgrace and disgust.

Black nudity represents so many painful things; rape, exploitation, ownership and fetishism. All of these are a side effect of our past living condition in this county. Therefore, Black self perception and acceptance as a product of our own creation and imagination is very much a new concept to us.

If you were to Google the phrase “fine arts nude African American” you won’t find more than a handful of mediocre sites that cater to the African American demographic. The argument can be made that we don’t need any further ‘naked black ass’ on display and there’s Black smut in abundance.

I agree, but what we are missing is our own narration of sexuality captured through art and images. What Brown culture is missing is art created by, and for, people of color that is of the quality great enough to add to the conversation of art.

I think the lack of Black and Brown bodies in pop culture and art has allowed the old archetype of the Jezebel to exist for far too long. I know Brown women can be many things, none of which can be reduced by her choice to be proud, and comfortable enough in her own body that she may show it off. Can Brown women step from behind the one dimensional damaged arch type and onto a pedestal?

Brown women help other Brown women, and women everywhere, when she is allowed to do as she pleases with her own body. This concept escapes those women who feel their bodies should only be utilized in conjunction with male authority.

Brown bodies are only bodies.

Showing them off won’t cause the world to come to an end.

She won’t be damned to Hell by the Gods so that you must lose sleep over her soul. She’s found her innermost being.

A nude Brown breast is and is not necessarily a political statement.

A naked Brown woman isn’t pornographic or dirty.

Sometimes, a naked Brown breast is quite simply a breast.

But can we ever get over it?

Originally posted August 2011 here.