Nudity is taboo. I get it. We all get it (I think). But what I don’t get is why. I spent my childhood running around naked and talking about my body with my open, loving, boisterous family. And I spent my teens roaming museums for inspiration, studying the work of great artists and designers, and drawing nude models to better understand form, proportion, and movement. The idea of being bare has never been strange to me, and I suppose that is both to my advantage and disadvantage.
In art school, I fell in love with the creative process of modeling. I was approached by classmates to model for photography and drawing projects, and the change in perspective from studying figures to using my own was exhilarating. There is this undeniable power when your only tool is your form, and that became my art.
When I began modeling professionally, I wanted to share work that made me feel empowered, which sometimes involved nudity as creative expression. But I became overwhelmed by the feeling that I was doing something indecent. I was met with uncomfortable and unnecessary sexual comments, and hypocritical community guideline restrictions on social media. I felt like there was no way to share my art in a way that would be understood as I intended. Everywhere I looked, I only saw negative x’s and bars or cutesy hearts covering female nipples. It was extremely limiting knowing I could only resort to these options or be reported as inappropriate.
To my surprise, my family also vocalized their disapproval. They had always supported me even when they didn’t understand my (potentially nutty) motivations. But now I needed to constantly defend myself as if I were doing something misguided or immoral. It terrified me that neither strangers nor family could understand my perspective.
Nudity is a natural part of life, and all of this resistance was baffling. As a model and as a woman, I wanted to choose how my body was being represented without shame, and I knew I was not the only person to feel this way.
nood was conceived in a moment when my self-doubt and guilt were at an all-time high. I was second guessing myself, trying to find ways to continue to communicate in the exposed manner that made sense to me, when I realized an option that had never been presented to me before. What if I literally put ladyparts on my ladyparts? The thought made my nips hard. I could highlight the ridiculousness of social media rules, empower female bodies, and cultivate change! I immediately hunted down my roommate, bosom buddy, and kick-ass designer:
“Michelle, I have the breast idea for an app…”
The negative connotations surrounding the female form are a result of society often misinterpreting nudity for sexuality. When it comes to social media, we are forced to censor the female nipple, while we do not need to adhere to these guidelines with photos featuring topless men. By obscuring this natural form, we are perpetuating the over sexualization of the female body in the misguided interest of protecting younger generations.
If we are going to be forced to cover our ladyparts, what better to do so with than ladyparts? nood is a photo editing application that uses body-positive stickers to undermine censorship of the female form on social media platforms — an alternative to the negative implications of the X’s and bars that are often used. By advocating for the empowerment of the female form and embracing nudity as expression, we hope to change the way female #noodity is perceived.
nood includes stickers that highlight all aspects of the female form: nipples, vaginas, scars, and body-positive symbols. For Artists, Photographers, Models, Mothers, and all who want to share their #noodlife without shame, restriction or hypocrisy. Available in the App Store this September.
With the help of our #breastfriends:
Neil Mullins: App Development
Aarati Akkapeddi: Web Development
Brittain McNeel: Art Direction, Animation
Madeleine Trebenski: Copywriting
Atisha Paulson: Photography
David Pexton: Lighting
Amanda Wilson: Hair and Makeup
Christine Renee Miller: Model
Justine Requa: Model
Tommaso Fontanella: Retouching
Emily Raddant: Copy Editing
Elizabeth Daddazio: Copy Editing
Marissa Szantai: Production
Indah Shillingford: Production