As Channel 4 release another show about nudity, writer Lauren Windle asks if they are really reaching their goal of normalising different body types
I don’t want to sound like someone’s grandma here and I don’t think I’m a repressed prude who would put a pair of shorts on the statue of David, but can we all agree everything’s really naked at the moment?
I remember years ago when I first watched Naked Attraction, gaping in horror as the screen raised to reveal six unfiltered penises. Just there, dangling in all their glory. The fact that we couldn’t see their owners’ faces made it feel just another level of perverse. My first thought was: “Surely they can’t broadcast this?!” I dove for the remote to turn over but then, just held it in my hand lingering over the change channel button, as I stared at the screen, transfixed.
Taking things a step further
Years on and the initial shock factor of the show has well and truly worn off. But now, Channel 4 have another two more au naturel offerings. The first is Naked, Alone and Racing to Get Home where two teams are stripped bare of their possessions and race in the buff across the English countryside to win a cash prize and their clothes. I’m sorry – has no one heard of indecent exposure laws?! Also, I hope they filmed in summer. I’ve not watched it as it sounds like one of my anxiety dreams and I can’t put myself through that in my waking hours.
The body is incredible and we need to be comfortable with ours and celebrate other people’s
Next up, and more recently, came Naked Education, in which Naked Attraction’s Anna Richardson and two co-hosts tackle issues including body hair, male body image, the effects of ageing and cosmetic surgery. They have featured participants posing nude in front of a class of young people – which ruffled feathers and resulted in more than 1,300 complaints to Ofcom.
We are beautifully made
Their aim is noble. It’s to stop people obsessing about the ‘perfect body’ and start loving the glorious bodies we’ve been given. In a world where plenty of people only see nudity in pornography, where bodies are taut and toned and waxed to within an inch of their lives, this is a valuable message. I just wonder if a sensationalist TV show is the right way to go about it.
I believe God made our bodies beautifully. I have friends with disabilities and when I see how their bodies have adapted, I am amazed. I feel the same when any friend gives birth. God made our bodies as functional, adaptable and awe-inspiring. Anyone who hates their body because of their shape, size, hair or any other factor – should know that that is the work of the enemy. God speaks good things over us and we can partner with him by agreeing with them.
We need to realise that we won’t have ‘perfect bodies’ and nor will those around us. I think that probably does mean seeing better representations of various bodies in magazines, adverts and on our screens. But do they need to be completely naked to make that point? Should school children be presented with a line-up of fully nude adults to examine in order to empower them? Or have producers just come up with a controversial format in order to boost views?
The body is incredible and we need to be comfortable with ours and celebrate other people’s. But like a lot of things God created, I believe that it is best in its right time and place. And for me, that’s not Tuesday night at 8pm on Channel.