Spa nudity: Are we just that modest, ashamed of our body, or is it something else?

Avianca and I visited Burke Williams about two weeks ago to celebrate my birthday and for much needed R &R. As we walked to our lockers, we encountered two fully exposed women changing into their clothes. Nothing odd about that…. After all, we are in the women’s spa area. We proceeded to our lockers to […]

My sister and I talked about it once I finally found her in the steam room. Why are we, as African-American women, modest about our body? Is it a just a L.A. or West Coast thing? Are we ashamed? Are there underlying ramifications from historical injustices that have been passed along through generations thus making us generally more modest and uncomfortable with nudity? Did our moms tell us it wasn’t hygienic to walk around the spa or use its amenities while naked? Are we concerned about what other women may think about us being naked (although they are naked too)? Are we so victimized by objectification and sexualization that we have internalized this to be modest about our bodies even when we are in a relatively safe space away from that level of scrutiny


Curator’s note : The original poster tapped into the underlying struggle African Americans have with nudity which we have been exploring in our black history series. 

About the author: cflmag

Curator of news and information for clothes free life

One thought on “Spa nudity: Are we just that modest, ashamed of our body, or is it something else?”

  1. the thoughts I shared on that post’s original site:
    I am so glad you shared this experience. In the city where I live, I have been connecting with various women, including a number of women of color, around clothes free life. I’ll start sharing my experience, and then they open up with either questions or a recognition that some female in their family happens to actually spend much of their time nude. One of my newest friends who is black recently remarked that, and then had a naked spa experience, too. She said after seeing all the different kinds of women at the spa, all kinds of bodies, she felt comfortable being nude as well.

    For me personally, I have lots of reasons that flow in and out of this question for me. Today, as I sat back and reflected on the question as you raised it here, what stands out in my thoughts is that it feels like a white woman’s world to me. Think about every piece of history and media. She is the icon of beauty, standard, good, morality … bare chest equality / topfreedom didn’t matter until white women started protesting, even though cultures around the world have been doing it all along. Naked yoga didn’t matter until Nude Yoga Girl despite many public predecessors from 2 years ago. No issue or trend seems to matter until it dresses in the costume of whiteness. And so, I felt like there just wasn’t a place for me to be, and that my story couldn’t exist, because I am not white.

    There are other factors, like how I didn’t know anything about being clothes free, simply because no one in my family did or at least never talked about it when I was growing up. We were too busy struggling to keep homes or find other places to live, make ends meet to even think about anything else. I didn’t learn about it until 1.5 years ago. When I started following conversations around it, more whiteness. All the images and everything around white nakedness being called beautiful and natural, I just felt like no one else mattered, like it wasn’t a world in which I belonged, in which I could be.

    It’s such a tough question, because if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably have a whole other set of reflections.

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