Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Accepting women's nakedness - Eve and the Garden of Eden


Eve was naked in the Garden of Eden.

We're used to those pictures where Adam and Eve have appropriately placed fig leaves. But until they ate from the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve would not have been wearing them. They would have been well and truly naked.

And not naked, in a 'provocative, over-sexualised, look at me and ogle me' way. Naked in a 'this is who I am, exactly as God intended' way.

Unfortunately, it wasn't too long until they ate from the forbidden fruit. It was only after this that they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. It was also after this, that they were removed from the garden and God made them coverings of animal skins. Remember, that Adam and Eve had already tried to cover themselves. And remember that God was quite happy for them to be naked before they ate the forbidden fruit. When God provided animal skins, I don't believe he was saying that they shouldn't be naked.

I should quickly clarify that I'm not about to suggest we all start stripping off our clothes. What I am suggesting is that maybe we need to get a lot more comfortable with women's nakedness - not in the sense of wearing no clothes, but of accepting all aspects of a woman's body.

Imagine for a moment that they didn't eat the forbidden fruit, that Eve remained in the Garden of Eden in her naked state.

She would have gotten her periods, had babies, breastfed. She may have even talked about her vagina! I imagine during the birth of her babies, it may have come up in conversation. She would have grown old. Her tummy would not have been so flat anymore. Her breasts would not have been so perky. She would have gotten wrinkles and grey hairs.

And I kind of think Adam and God would have been cool with that. In fact, I kind of think that if Adam had even thought of complaining, God would have been very quick to tell him, I made her that way.

This is no airbrushed, photoshopped version of Eve's nakedness. It's real nakedness. It's nakedness where nothing about a woman has to be hidden away. It's a nakedness where a woman's natural ageing processes and natural nurturing functions are on view and accepted.

We're a long way from the Garden of Eden.

Last year, a US politician was banned from addressing the Michigan House of Representatives after using the word 'vagina'.

Last week, a woman was told to stop breastfeeding her baby at a public pool. Sunrise host, David Koch, said women should be 'discreet' and 'classy' when breastfeeding in public.

Yesterday, Mama Mia gave a thumbs-up to Nigella Lawson for refusing to allow her tummy to be photoshopped out. (http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/nigella-lawson-and-a-big-photoshop-win/). What's sad about this is the fact that they even want to photoshop tummies out. 

But then someone refusing to be photoshopped is news. The large amount of photoshopping that goes on every day (removing wrinkles, tummies and anything else considered unattractive) is not. It's too common to rate a mention.

We live in a world where there's quite a large amount of women's flesh on show. But it's not real women's flesh. It's not wormen-affirming flesh. It's flesh where all the faults have been removed. It's flesh that is well-presented and 'perfected'. It's flesh that's there to be looked at. (And I use the word 'flesh' intentionally here, because that's what it seems like - that women are just flesh.)

And if we dare to show women's bodies in a way that shows they're not flesh, that they actually are designed for something so much more important than being looked at, we are told to do it in a way that's classy and discreet - presumably not to offend anyone who might be 'looking' at us.

I suspect that Adam liked looking at Eve's body. And I suspect God did too. But it was an appreciation borne out of seeing Eve as she really was, and understanding her as a person and not just something to be ogled. It was an appreciation that could accept Eve in her true naked form.

We can't return to the Garden of Eve. But may we all learn to accept women's nakedness a little bit more - without necessarily taking off any clothes J  

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, I don't think Eve would've gotten wrinkly and old though, because if there was no death before, then individual cells wouldn't have begun to die, and her body would've recovered better from pregnancy, too.

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