Fashion bloggers and nudity…how far is too far?

Is it just me, or does life seem to be imitating art at a prolific rate in the fashion blogging world? And by life imitating art, I mean fashion bloggers exposing a whole lot of skin.

In August last year, I went on a little rant On Miley Cyrus, the VMAs, and Feminism, in which I discussed the backward step many female pop singers are taking by literally stripping during their performances. Unfortunately, this trend has not abated; even Beyoncé writhes in a fancy G-string in her latest, definitely NSFW video, Partition(Why’d you have to go that far, Bey?) And that Miley…oy vey. She’s really pushing the envelope and her raunchy self down our throats in her current tour, Bangerz. But that’s a separate Google search for you, my dears.

Lately, I’m also noticing that some fashion bloggers seem to be jumping on the nudity bandwagon. I’m seeing more and more fashion bloggers posting sexy shots in which they expose their G-strings, are clothed only in lingerie while sprawled on a bed, or cavort in shots with only a strategically placed item to protect their modesty. And it has me wondering: When it comes to fashion bloggers and nudity…how far is too far?

From my perspective, fashion bloggers posting suggestive, partially-nude photos of themselves crosses a line. It’s too transparent, too much information, and frankly, irrelevant. And worse, I’m afraid most bloggers aren’t contemplating the full impact semi-nude photos could have on their lives at some point in the future. Unless a blogger is actually a model, the literal baring-myself-to-you shots seem out of place on a fashion blog. I mean, sure, “bare” yourself to us all you want in prose, but most of us are coming by to see you clothed, rather than not.

While I’m no prude, personal partial nudity on G&G has never been an option, for several reasons:

  1. I’m not comfortable exposing myself in that manner.
  2. I don’t think posting suggestive photos of myself online would go over well in my professional career.
  3. I don’t want to put anything online that could potentially invite harassment or stalking.
  4. Once you put an image out there digitally, it is nearly impossible to retrieve it.

Mind you, I’m not passing judgment, bloggers. Everyone has the right to do what they want to do. I’m just saying that if you post enough scantily clad photos of yourself on your blog, I’m probably not going to be dropping by much, because as I noted above, I want to see what you are wearing, not what you are not. And I want to know your brain, not your bod. But I’m just one person, and I probably don’t matter.

What’s more important is this: If you are posting these kinds of photos, have you thought about what might happen when you [meet the guy of your dreams who is in politics/have to explain them to your male co-workers or manager/have a child and suddenly don't feel comfortable with those images out there/fill in the blank]?

There’s enough “sex” for sale in everyday marketing, in the arts, in everything. Do we really need to push it on our fashion blogs, too?

What do you think? How far is too far when it comes to showing skin on fashion blogs?

Comments

    • says

      Hi Heather…a bikini is fair game…it can be worn publicly. And I know that often, one reveals more in a bikini than some lingerie, but lingerie is NOT intended for public consumption. And your bikini shots are not of you lying around in a come-hither position. Your intent is clear: this is what I wear to the beach.

  1. K says

    As far as actually posing nude for fashion bloggers yes that’s just weird to have yourself sprawled out on a bed. A fashion blogger should be dressed in fashionable clothing. As far as the rest as long as the photo relates to the article I think its fine. I mean I doubt someone that racy would be dating a politician. But remember it THEIR. BLOG it’s their art let them be free to express themselves how they see fit.

    • says

      K, I’ve never proposed that a blogger should limit themselves on their own blog…I’m just asking if they are actually thinking about the message they are sending and the consequences.

  2. Serene says

    To be honest, it’s completely turning me off. One of my favorite blogs has taken a turn down this road and I find myself less and less excited to see what she’s wearing because who in the world walks into Starbucks braless with their blouse unbuttoned to the navel? And why would anyone want to? I truly don’t understand the whole “I have to get naked to express myself”…..this right here is my flavor of feminism: Why does a woman need to play on her sexuality to be successful? Men don’t. I think an air of mystery is far more interesting. And to me, interesting is much sexier than nudity.

    As K said above, it’s their blog, they can “express themselves” as they want. But I don’t have to watch.

    • says

      Serene, I know the blogger you are talking about…have been so disappointed with how her style has evolved from classy to trashy. I realize we all change, but I thought the same thing you wrote. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. says

    Amen, Amen, Amen……. I tune in every day to my favorite blogs to see their CLOTHES not what they are wearing UNDER their clothes…… and great point about WHO could actually be seeing those photos….I wish these young girls would realize that more people than they actually know tune in to their blogs…. I’m no prude either (hell I’m only 25) but its getting a bit ridiculous!
    Brooke @ tigers don’t lose sleep
    http://www.monikabrooke.blogspot.com
    brooke @ tigers don’t lose sleep’s latest post: BoyishMy Profile

  4. says

    Well, I’m sure you know how I feel about this.
    I welcome all kinds of content, may it be for me or not. When I decided to wear (or rather lack thereof) on my blog post, it was an awakening for me of self-love. I brought in a very intimate photographer into my space to share a moment that took years to build up to. I shared my body, I shared my thoughts, I shared my acceptance. Now, I’m not too sure if that’s really the best thing to do professionally. But I ultimately am not worried of what companies will find when they search me as I’ll back every piece of content I’ve posted as there is always a reason for such.

    With posting a sexually suggested image of myself on a bed, per-say, can seem like I’m asking for attention. And honestly, I was. I’m looking for my readership to see I’m normal and that I’m not looking to fit a standard to be on status. I’ve got normal skin, normal body, normal flaws, normal. I loved that I was able to share, while accepting, such beautifully executed images by Emma [who is FANTASTIC, by the way.]

    I get your point – I understand where it’s coming from. In a society where we are constantly sexualized, I understand that modesty should be valued. I agree with this 100%. I hate showing my own cleavage and find that men don’t focus, obviously, when I wear looks that expose. But posts like mine and others, are about acceptance and me sharing that with people.

    I, as well as others, posted about my body because there isn’t enough out there about acceptance. At least, not to my liking. I’d love to see more of it actually. It takes major guts to do what I and others have done. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I knew that, like last time, I changed someone’s mind about their own body.

    • says

      Hi Christina, thanks for your comment. I can understand the intention behind your photos, and yes, it does take guts. We do need more real images of real bodies. I’m just not sure if the ladies posting more provocative photos (for the sake of it) are truly contemplating what they are doing.

      I agree that there isn’t enough out there about acceptance, and you are great at trying to change that. The photos you shot were beautiful and artistic, and certainly within your right to share. But I do think we can still drive the acceptance message home without quite so much exposure…we already share so much of ourselves via social media, and the kids these days have way too much flesh and sex in their faces all the time. Exposing ourselves and our kids to too many adult images and concepts has not had a positive effect on us here in the U.S. I’d love to see us as a society scale all of that back, which is easier said than done.

  5. says

    Interesting post, I’ve not really come across any bloggers like this yet. I’ve seen street style photos of people with see through blouses and the like. But I’ve not come across any bloggers where I’d say they’re deliberately getting naked to say fish for more views. There is still time though…
    Arash Mazinani’s latest post: Are You ‘That’ Guy?My Profile

    • says

      They aren’t prolific, but they are out there. I’m not saying that they are exposing more and more for the views per se, but I’m definitely seeing more bloggers baring more and more.

    • says

      Hi Courtney, I’ve seen some beautifully shot photos of bloggers in various stages of undress, and while I appreciate the art and intention, I still think it’s just too much. The world we live in is already too much…nothing is sacred anymore, it seems.
      Especially with female pop singers giving such sexually-charged performances, I’m looking at my little niece and all of this and it worries me that she might think she HAS to do that, and that it’s OK, when it clearly is not.

      • says

        Well, my hope is that you can be a role model to her instead of the media she sees around her!

        My concern from a longevity and reputation perspective for bloggers. Sure, Miley Cyrus probably has enough money to live forever. As do most women who do what she does. Bloggers put these things online and I wonder if they think about potential employers or how it will affect their income. Even if you’re a full-time blogger, unless you’re huge a la Man Repeller or Fashion Toast, etc, etc, chances are it won’t last forever and eventually someone will have to hire you.
        Courtney’s latest post: Going Ad Free and Other Blogger ReflectionsMy Profile

    • says

      I used to really like Beyonce because she kept things classy. I have to admit that I don’t have the same respect for her now. I get that she’s dancing for her man and all that, but it’s really a bit much. Would she like to see her little Blue Ivy doing that?

  6. says

    This is such a great post V, and I totally understand where you’re coming from — but at the same time, I respect bloggers who aren’t ashamed to expose their bodies. However, it has to be in the right context… the age of the blogger, the subject of the post, the vibe of the blog, the reason for exposing one’s body in the first place, etc. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s definitely a turn-off.

    I’ll give an example I saw very recently (that another blogger friend and I were just emailing back and forth about). A really awesome blogger that I follow posted photos of herself in sexy lingerie on a bed. But it was super classy, the photos were beautiful, and it totally went with the edgy fearless mood of her blog. I was all yeah, you go girl! However, I clicked over to her Etsy shop, and she was modeling scarves she was selling — topless! Her nipples were covered, but it was totally pointless and weird. No one wears scarves naked! It was totally strange and a turn off for sure.

    As for me, I’ve put up a few posts of myself in lingerie or with side boob, but (at least in my opinion) they’re cool or pretty pictures that aren’t totally out of left field. I’ve always set the tone for a blog that isn’t afraid to be unique and a little weird, so I hope that people wouldn’t be thrown off by them. It would be super strange if, say, Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess posted pictures in their underwear, because their blog is so oh-my-god-I’m-so-DIY-and-cutesy. Also, my goal behind posting those photos is to empower women, especially those that are curvy and/or plus size (even though I’ve lost weight, I’m still considered on the larger end in the modeling world). I also do hope to become a full-time model and writer someday, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem with future employers. Plus, my current co-workers and bosses have seen my blog and love it!

    As for kids… well, I wasn’t planning on having any so I didn’t even think about that before, but now that I’m expecting (crazy right!?) I would hope that my child will understand that I posted those photos as a 26-year-old woman, not a little girl, and those are things for adults to do and not kids. I plan on teaching my child about morals and values, but will allow her to make her own decisions once she’s an adult. When I was a teenager, my parents were very conservative and didn’t even let me wear a two-piece swimsuit, and now I’m a little glad they were like that.

    Okay, I think I went off on a tangent there… but I hope I’ve properly explained myself, ha!
    THE-LOUDMOUTH’s latest post: Life :: February in ReviewMy Profile

  7. Victoria says

    I have a problem with this post. I’m going to try to adhere to your rules for dialogue that you outlined in your next post as best I can.

    I have a problem because this post and your post about Miley Cyrus are dripping with misogyny.

    Believe what you want about other bloggers, about modesty, about nudity. But don’t shame other women for doing what they want with their bodies. I know you don’t think this is shaming, but suggesting that a woman is negatively affecting her career for doing what she wants with her body and her space IS shaming.

    Furthermore, the idea that posting a revealing photo could “invite” harassment or stalking and suggesting that women hide themselves to avoid these things is a perpetuation of rape culture and victim blaming. To me, telling a woman to hide herself so she doesn’t get stalked is similar to asking rape victims what they were wearing when they were attacked. It is suggesting that of the women who do post these things and do end up getting stalked or harassed, it’s their fault. It is not their fault. It is ONLY the fault of the stalker or harasser. Nobody invites sexual harassment or sexual assault, and to suggest that they do is unacceptable and it is dangerous.

    I don’t read your blog on the reg, but you seem pretty popular. You have the ability to influence a lot of women, so I’d encourage you to read up on rape culture, and maybe feminism in general if you so choose, and say things that can help the cause of giving women the ability to choose what to do with their own bodies forward, not backwards.

  8. says

    Thanks to all for sharing your perspective. Clearly, everyone has the right to do what they want on their blogs. And I reserve the right to have an opinion about it on my own. I didn’t name names, point fingers, or leave nasty comments on anyone’s blog. I’m not “shaming” anyone, which is a ridiculous concept that has sprouted in the last couple of years.

    The way I was raised, if you did something inappropriate that could invite shame, then you probably deserved to feel it. When I was a child in the late ’70s and ’80s, exposing yourself inappropriately WAS shameful. Promiscuity WAS shameful. Pole dancing WAS shameful. Just because the pendulum has swung the other way and our society has lost its moral compass doesn’t mean I have to change my opinion to make people feel better about their own actions. If you like sharing your body with the world, by all means, go ahead. But most of the bloggers doing this are twenty-somethings who just cannot fathom that even by age 30, 35, they will probably feel very differently about a lot of things.

    Again, I haven’t gone around to anyone’s blog saying “shame on you, you shouldn’t shoot sexy photos in lingerie.” I posited my opinion on MY blog, and very tactfully, again, not naming anyone in particular. I didn’t go on any “shaming” witch hunt, unlike all the Internet trolls who post on GOMI.

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