September 30, 2013

Dancing Woman poses naked

Dancing Woman, at rest

I no longer have to bribe or cajole my friends into posing naked for my blog. "I love posing," Dancing Woman said to me, as she stripped off her clothes last weekend. "Your readers always say such nice things."

It’s true. I have wonderful readers.

People often complain about how many trolls – or complete assholes — there are on the internet. It’s amazing what jerks people can be in a medium that allows them to be anonymous. Popular Science recently turned off comments on their website because “the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine” was being done beneath their own stories, on a website designed to promote science.

But my readers are an exception to that. About 99 percent of the comments I get here are supportive or positive or add to the conversation in a thoughtful way. The emails I get are even better. Ever since I began posting naked photos, women have been writing to me about their body issues. I've heard about bulimia, abortion, pregnancy, menopause, you name it. Oh, sure, I occasionally get the obnoxious email from some guy who feels obligated to send me a naked photo of himself. But those emails are easily deleted, and far outweighed by the wonderful emails from women (and some men) all over the world who write to confide in me about the struggles they've had with their own body image.

These stories don't go on my blog. But I read them, listen to them, try to honor them. And I love it when I get to take a photo of a friend. We already know each other's stories, the scars and baggage we carry with us.

You can read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos. 


Tina said...

Another beautiful shot! And let's hope the trolls STAY AWAY! Because we love the Project Naked!!!!

susan said...

Another beautiful photo and beautiful story. I love the way this photo series links us together in a commitment to finding the beauty and loving the experiences life hands us, and celebrating friendship.

jo(e) said...

That's a great way to say it, Susan.

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman in my early 30s. I've been reading your blog since I was in my mid-20s. Like many women of my generation (well, every generation really), I've been bombarded by images of air-brushed, half-naked nymphs with impossible bodies, and by the message that my value (particularly to men) lies in my ability to ape these images as closely as possible, for as long as possible. While I am lucky enough to have family, friends, and community that validate my intellect, my curiosity, my creativity, my athleticism, and other parts of my being, I admit that one of my secret fears remains the inevitable wrinkles, lines, and extra flesh that aging must bring.

Your naked photo project is beautiful and inspiring on many levels. But for me (and maybe for other readers like me), the most inspiring part of it is how firm and beautiful the women (and men) of the generation ahead of ours appear in your portraits. And I don't mean "firm and beautiful" in a purely physical way, though many of them are. Those qualities clearly come from the inside out. Your friends and acquaintances are special people, and it shows. I can see in your photos the years of walking in the woods, reading good books, eating good food, talking, laughter... and, I think, a good dose of caring not a whit what other people think. I hope to ape THAT: as closely as possible for as long as possible.

Thank you for that.

jo(e) said...

Anon: Thanks for your comment. Yes, most of the folks who pose for me are in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s. And I think you're right about how those wonderful qualities shine through.

Cindy said...

I love the light. And the trees outside the window. And how we can see just a glimpse of her face. Beautiful.

Wendy said...

Here I am trying to figure out how to get to the same conference as you some day because I want to pose. Who'd have thought?

Zhoen said...

Good moderation does keep the trolls away. I've learned from you, thank you for your assistance with my trolls a few years ago.

I love her pointed feet, delicate toes (belying inner strength.)

Liz said...

I do love this series so much.