Megan Crabbe, better known by her Instagram @bodyposipanda, is certainly no stranger for setting haters and body shamers straight with her bikini photos, dancing videos and her empowering transformation story.
However, because this is the Internet, Crabbe’s empowering snaps in her bathing suit or lingerie have garnered quite a bit of hate – notably, from the clothing police.
The activist’s Instagrams are peppered with comments telling her to “put her clothes back on” or agreeing that while they appreciate Crabbe’s message of body positivity, they would agree with it more if she was fully clothed.
In response, Crabbe posted an Instagram attacking just that. The caption included a series of facts about policing women’s bodies, and she reminded us that respect doesn’t necessarily come dressed in a turtleneck sweater and jeans:”Flesh doesn’t automatically equal sex. Our naked bodies are not shameful. We are just as worthy of respect dressed or undressed and how much skin we show is up to us. Take your casual misogyny and slut shaming elsewhere, and I’ll just be over here celebrating myself however I damn well please.”
Is the fashion industry finally waking up to the fact that humans come in all colours? Two companies have launched new initiatives with the specific aim of representing a broader range of skin tones. London hosiery brand Sheer Chemistry last month released a range of
five new tights colours aimed to suit “women of all shades of brown” in conjunction with the hotel W London.
According to the company’s founder Tahlia Gray, the hosiery will serve those who have been “confined to a cycle of disappointment and exclusion from the fashion and beauty industry”.
This month, London-based hosiery brand Heist Studios launched The Nude Project as part of a broader study on diversity, for which it is asking people to send in photographs of themselves to better understand the full spectrum of skin tones. The submissions will inform a “much larger range of nude tights” that will go on sale next year, and the company will share its findings with the industry in the hope it will encourage brands “to open their product ranges and cater to a more ethnically diverse population”.
“Despite the fact that the hosiery industry is projected to be worth $25.9bn by 2018, there is no fabric-ready nude palette that body-wear brands like Heist can use to develop inclusive product ranges,” explains Heist founder Edzard van der Wyck. “Hosiery is woefully under-representative. General retailers sell roughly one-third of all tights purchased in the UK and they only offer, on average, four shades of nude. This gives us some indication of how poorly the 13 per cent of the UK population that are not ‘white British’, are currently catered for.”
Why anyone would require flesh-coloured tights in 2017 is another matter entirely; I had naively assumed the only woman still obligated to wear a garment that gives one’s legs the eerily smooth artificiality of a prosthetic limb was the Duchess of Cambridge. But it transpires a great many people are excited by the prospect of skin-matched hosiery — especially those lawyers and women who work in the finance sector who remain self- conscious about baring their legs at work. Twelve thousand people had signed up to The Nude Project within three hours of its launch, on July 11, and tens of thousands have engaged with it on social media.
We couldn’t agree more! A woman’s naked body isn’t shameful – it’s biology. It’s beautiful. It also doesn’t mean that it lends itself to ridicule, to comments or to slut- shaming remarks. Crabbe chooses to show her body in whichever way she wants because it’s her body and her rules.
We equate a naked (or nearly naked) woman’s body with sex because that’s what we’re taught to believe. The male gaze, which heavily permeates nearly any form of media or entertainment, teaches us that when a woman gets naked, it’s for a sexual purpose. We need
to un-learn that, and it starts by remembering that if we see a woman’s body and automatically think “sex,” it’s a problem with us and not the woman.