In a world where birth belonged to women, images like the above photo would not be rare. Every mother would have a photo like that of herself. Imagine a world where the majority of images of naked women were of those women breastfeeding their children and birthing unassisted. Imagine a world where women's bodies were left just as nature intended and wild pubic and underarm hairs were seen on every adult female. That is the feminist future I dream of. That is the feminist reality that exists in my own home and the homes of my closest friends. A woman's nudity goes hand in hand with her unique power as a human female. It has nothing to do with male sexual arousal or fetishism of her body parts. In this environment women portrayed as sex objects is strange and inhuman.
Women portrayed as sex objects is strange and inhuman, but the pornofication of culture and blind acceptance of patriarchal standards of beauty have created a very sick society. In our sick society it is the air brushed, plucked, censored and fake 'woman' posing to arouse men that is 'normal' and the image above is too offensive to share on Facebook.
When I first published the photos of Harriet's birth on a blog I recieved some hate emails for it and discovered some venomous threads across parenting forums. People hated my body, especially my breasts and body hair (one woman commented that she was glad I had reminded her to get a Brazilian before her next OB appointment). People were very threatened by the fact that I had shared the photos at all. At the time their hatred hurt. But the further I walk along this birth serving path the clearer it becomes that what I do is a feminist thorn in patriarchy's side.
I am a threat to patriarchy and I'm okay with that. I am no longer hurt by mysoginist comments about my birth photos. Rather I feel sad for the women who hate their bodies so much that they inflict pain upon them to alter themselves. I feel angry that maternity systems like Australia's prevent women from realising they can experience power during childbirth. This is why I do what I do and why you can cast your eyes upon my glorious naked form on the Internet.
Women need to know that they can birth with power and autonomy. They need to see that other women look like them in the nude and not like the pretend women in magazines. They need to learn that it is normal to be comfortable in their own skin (or it should be) and that every one has unique physical quirks. For, how can women possibly have positive or easy birth and breastfeeding expereinces while they waste their energy on hating the amazing bodies responsible for creating and feeding their babies?
Facebook isn't going to change it's tune while patriarchal values remain dominant in society. So it's up to us to challenge society (and Facebook) by refusing to censor women's awesome birthing and breastfeeding bodies. It's up to us to counter pornographic representations of our sex with images of our unaltered bodies working perfectly.