Explained: How Halle Berry and #FreeTheNipples has proved to the world that nudity is an art

Explained: How Halle Berry and #FreeTheNipples has proved to the world that nudity is an art

Explained: How Halle Berry and #FreeTheNipples has proved to the world that nudity is an art

Female nudity must be about honouring women’s gaze and not slaughtering it in the hands of male gaze. Whether naked or well-dressed, Halle Berry is one of the most stunning women in the world. Thankfully actress Halle Berry is garnering praises from her admirers and fans on social media after posting a nude photograph of herself having a wine on the balcony. Sharing on Twitter and Instagram, the gorgeous lady captioned the pic, ‘I do what I wanna do.’

Nudity is an art and now photography and Instagram posts are also an expression of creativity and art. But the way you look at it is what makes the difference. There are two types of gazes- male gaze and female gaze.  I remember an artist once said that the term ‘male gaze’ was coined in 1975 by the film critic Laura Mulvey as a response to how women were depicted in the visual arts and literature, as passive, dehumanised representations of male sexual desire. Down the centuries, art was created by men, in order to be sold to male buyers and connoisseurs, therefore even the classics have a preponderance of female bodies and faces, meant to give pleasure to the viewer, pre-supposed to be male.

The female bodies and faces are often in tune with the preferred body shapes of the time, whether delicately featured as in the works of the Italian Renaissance masters or voluptuous as in the works of Rubens. Having said that, we have exquisite examples of the male gaze being featured on the male body in art as well, a wonderful example is the statue of David by Michelangelo, or even the statues of ancient Greek warrior athletes, or even Rodin’s The Age of Bronze.

Halle Berry’s portrayal of nudity is completely from her point of view. There is no vulgarity in it. While she was hailed on social media as an aspiration by several fans, some joked that they had saved the tweet for their “vision board” to inspire them in future. While one person commented, “Putting this on my vision board for my 50s”, another user wrote, “When I tell you I just saved this for my summer vision board.” A netizen wrote, “Be you loud and proud,” another user added, “Exactly how I’m about to be on my patio all summer and on my lounge chairs.”

In 2001, Halle Berry was in the John Travolta/Hugh Jackman-led movie Swordfish. The movie  was known for one very specific thing: it’s the movie where Halle Berry got naked. It was told that after a lot of discussion, consideration, thought and internal reflection, Halle Berry decided she was going to go topless. It was a big decision those days and even today. One must understand that it wasn’t a decision Berry took lightly.

Talking about her decision to go naked for Swordfish, Halle once told Entertainment Weekly, “So much of my life I was afraid to do a nude scene,” she says. “With the success of my Dorothy Dandridge project and the critical acclaim that brought me, I finally felt that I didn’t have to prove myself anymore.”

Recently Free the Nipples movement took over the Instagram. Models Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner have gone braless several times in support of the movement, wearing sheer dresses and tops and baring it all. The likes of Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Lordes and Zoe Kravitz too have been early proponents of the movement, ditching their bras and baring their breasts. Though women have been trying to free the nipple for a long, the official Free the Nipple campaign was started in 2012 by Lina Esco when she was making a film with the same title. The campaign and film have a message of equality that has spread like wildfire, along with the #FreeTheNipple hashtag: Women and femmes should be as free as men to have exposed nipples in public.

Women fought back vehemently as the laws allowed men to go topless and not women unfairly sexualize female breasts. And with this movement now women can bare the nipples on social media. So, the idea is how you portray nudity on screen and the gaze it is looked at is what makes the difference.

(With added inputs from social media and agencies)

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