My Body is a Radical Act

Photo by Dawndra Budd

My body is a radical act.

Let me explain.

There is some nudity from yours truly in Abby and Tabby. There was no budget to hire a personal trainer or personal chef to make me look like an Avenger. No time to spend three hours a day at the gym. Just me and my fairly normal body.

I felt like I was breaking the rules by showing it.

We’ve been taught that 1. Women on screen need to look a certain way 2. Any nudity needs to be in the context of her relationship to a man and 3. She needs to be sexy.

Me getting naked in Abby and Tabby is none of these things. It is silly, has nothing to do with a man, and is very much not sexy.

It felt like the most rebellious and radical act I could do was to take off all my clothes and run through the desert. My body on display. “This is what a human being looks like!” It suddenly felt like a bigger cause, no longer a source of shame or embarrassment.

I also noticed something rather disturbing while mentally preparing for being naked on camera. And I think it’s something every woman deals with:

When I looked at my body, any part of it, it came with the label, “fat”.

Ouch.

So, I began re-training my mind. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I think, “leg” instead of “fat”. “Booty” instead of “fat”. “Tummy” instead of “fat”. My body had somehow started going by “fat” probably since I hit puberty. I wanted to take it back. Call it by it’s real name.

My on screen nudity became a practice in self love and acceptance. And guess what? What I saw in the camera was so much more beautiful than I ever gave my body credit.

This wasn’t about being sexy. It wasn’t about being romantic. Or about being an object. It was about a character embodying her most human and vulnerable form and somehow that seemed like a big deal.

You can follow Abby and Tabby on Seed&Spark for free here.

xo,

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    1. Anna Williams

      Love this Jess. I heard a speaker talk abou the reprogramming of our own body shamming minds as going from negative self talk to neutral just as you did. It’s a hard leap to go from my thighs are disgusting to OMG I love my body but I can look at my thighs and say, I have celulite on my legs, fact. Not good, not bad, just fact. Thank you for sharing, it creates space for me to feel normal 🙂

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