The question that has been troubling my mind for many years now is how does posing nude on magazines empower women? Fortunately someone else is asking the same question and this has pushed me to conduct a simple but effective desktop research.
Lunceford (2012) states that nudes are effective in “getting the general public to pay attention” to any message people behind the nudes want to pass. The author further states that use of nudes is an extreme form of advocacy.
May 8, 1992, mothers of political prisoners stripped naked at Freedom Corner, Uhuru Park in Nairobi. The Peace Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai was behind the hunger strike and going nude of 6 mothers of Kenyan political prisoners. These women took the extreme measure after their petition fell on the deaf ears of the then Attorney General (AG) Amos Wako (now the Senator for Busia County).
When the police force were sent to disperse them with tear gas and batons, that is when they stripped naked in protest.
On seeing this, police ran away considering that it is believed to be a curse when an old woman strips naked in anger. It is worthy noting that their nudes made headlines on global media outlets.
In solidarity, riots erupted in Nairobi City. The German and US embassies condemned the then KANU Regime for unleashing violence on old women who were demanding for the release of their sons from prison. In conclusion, these women effectively employed nudity as a political tool.
The women who were involved during the nudity protest were: Monica Wangu wa Mwere (mother of Koigi Wamwere); Ruth Wangari Thungu; Veronicah Wambui Nduthu; Gladys Thiitu Kariuki; Leah Wanjiru Mungai and Milkah Wanjiru Kinuthia.
Therefore, a part from seeking publicity, going nude has in the past been used as an extreme form of protest.
Question: Why do women nowadays strip nude?
Answer: Business strategy
Recently Kylie Jenner graced the covers of Playboy Magazine. She was heralded as the “the youngest-ever self-made billionaire.”
Kylie Jenner is a super influencer on Instagram and a reality TV star.
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Here's a little naked fact to ponder while Celine Dion changes looks between shows: for the past five years she has worn haute couture near exclusively for her own performances (in Las Vegas and on her current "mini-tour" of Europe). She performs a minimum two hours a night, five or six nights a week, dancing and curtseying and generally gesticulating sans abandon, in handmade, hand-beaded delicacies designed solely to walk a catwalk or a carpet (and often with handlers). For Celine's orders, the houses send teams to Nevada for typically three fittings, before the garments are ultimately finished in her local, private atelier. Armani Prive, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, Versace…only a partial list. Everyone, basically. In Vegas, Velcro panels are added to allow for her ribcage to expand or for a quick outfit change. Micro straps of elasticized chiffon prevent a slit from becoming a sloppy situation mid-squat. Shoes—always heels, never platforms—are ordered one size smaller (she is normally a 38) and refitted with metal shanks. Says Celine, "We have to make haute couture industrial." And, more enigmatically: "The clothes follow me; I do not follow the clothes." Which is to say: the haute couture, with all its fragility and handcraft, has to perform professionally for Ms. Dion. And privately as well. Years ago, Celine bought a classic little black dress from the Christian Dior atelier when the house was overseen by John Galliano. It is simple, falling to mid calf, and narrow as can be with just a hint of stretch. It requires a minimum of jewelry, a statement bracelet or perhaps one of the major diamond rings she designed with her late husband Rene Angelil: two pear cuts set in a wide pave band, or two hearts of diamond and emerald abstractly interlocking, on a cushion of yet more diamonds. This LBD forces you to walk one foot in front of the other. This is a dress Celine knows well and clearly loves, the simplest evocation of the private luxury of couture and the total antithesis of the red carpet hoopla that attends the union of fashion and celebrity. It is also the dress she wore to Rene's funeral. #CelineTakesCouture Photo by @sophfei.
Lunceford, B. (2012). Naked politics: nudity, political action, and the rhetoric of the body. Lanham: Lexington Books.
The Standard Newspaper: Bare-breasted crusade: When mothers of political prisoners stripped at Uhuru Park.