A few years ago, Cheyenne Gil asked me to write about why I prefer to keep my clothes on in photos. I didn’t have a clue what to say. It’s true though; I don’t like to share pictures of myself in only a swimsuit or underwear.
I wouldn’t describe the way I dress as modest, though. I show skin. But in a way I am modest… It’s complicated, and this complication had me stuck on what to write. To me, some of the most damaging stereotypes around those who choose to cover up are that we’re doing it because we’re “oppressed” or on the flip side, that we think less of those who want to wear less. I knew neither of these was the case for me.
But if not, then what? Like I said, it’s complicated.
After months of thinking, I figured out the reason I prefer to keep my clothes on in photos.
I want to share images of women with my body type that are different than those we see represented in the media. I understand that in a lot of ways my body affords me privilege. If we layer on the way Black women are oppressed through sexualization, the privilege remains to a significant extent, just a little fuzzier.
I’m very curvy, and I adore images of bodies like mine that show every beautiful curve and lots of skin.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good booty mirror pic as much as anyone, but at the same time, I stand by the fact that diversity and representation are essential.
People of all genders should feel free to wear dresses. Tall women should feel free to wear heels. And as a person with big breasts, a big butt and small waist, it’s important to me that I adorn myself in ways that feel right.
I’m a rebel. And in this case, to me, being a rebel means keeping my clothes on.