Photographer Anastasia Kuba has learned that although body positivity is important, beauty is much more complex.
Kuba’s self-identification as a beautiful woman shaped many of her life choices growing up. “There was nothing else I thought I had to offer. I was young — I hadn’t really established my identity yet, who I was.” To support herself in her early 20s, after moving from Russia to the United States, Kuba worked as a topless dancer. It wasn’t a defining moment in Kuba’s life, but an affirmation of what she already felt — that her value was affixed to her appearance.
A lot of contemporary feminist discussion focuses around ideas of empowerment and body positivity, propelling the belief that every woman, or more aptly every human being, is beautiful. Although Kuba doesn’t disagree with the sentiment, for her, it misses the mark. “We usually talk about the body positivity movement by saying ‘everyone tells us we’re not beautiful enough, but look at us, we are.’ I was in a different boat. I was told I was beautiful, but that was kind of it.
“I joined this project because I want to love myself and I know I’m on that general path. To me, self-love entails being comfortable in this bag of skin and bones that I have been decidedly uncomfortable in for the better part of 30 years. What might come from allowing yourself the ultimate vulnerability of having no protection, no makeup, no clothes, just you and documentation? The thought terrified me in such an exciting way, I knew it is something I had to pursue. I’m a sucker for life lessons. So I thought, ‘I’ve done so much work, I really like myself these days. This will be a great and easy way to see myself, then get some beautiful photos after!’…. Not quite.”
Source: Huffington Post Arts & Culture
Curator’s Note: please visit the original post to see the incredibly diverse group of people clothes free and expressing love for themselves through the words they share. This is how clothes free images can be used powerfully. When the story, the context, the person behind the image is revealed.