On-screen nudity should represent women of all sizes

Opinions Columnists | Journalism sophomore

The entertainment industry has chosen a narrow, cookie-cutter version of beauty when displaying nude women on screen—an ideal that needs to be changed so women of all shapes and sizes can be represented and embraced without criticism.

It is no secret that the entertainment industry has a hand in shaping the world’s view of what is beautiful and what is not. Companies have created an unattainable idea of beauty by airbrushing and retouching drop-dead gorgeous women as if they were not beautiful enough already. This standard is impossible to live up to and can take a toll on a woman’s self-esteem.

In the HBO series “Girls,” writer and actress Lena Dunham is a woman of unconventional beauty. She is seen nude on more than one occasion throughout her show, but because she is not a size two, some people openly criticize her frequent on-screen nudity. Of course, this would not have been the case if an actress such as Scarlett Johansson was the main actor baring all for the audience to see.

Nudity is natural, but the bodies being portrayed in American media are not. When shows or films stray from the norm, like “Girls” does when displaying Dunham nude time and again, they often receive criticism and backlash. This should not be the case. Shows and films featuring women of different sizes are merely displaying the truth. They are showing real women in real bodies that do not need to be Photoshopped.

That is not to say slender women are not real, only that their overwhelming presence in media does not reflect the fact that most Americans do not conform to the beauty ideal they represent.

Women should not feel compelled to achieve the unattainable perfect bodies popularized by the entertainment industry. Women should be okay with their bodies the way they are. In fact, they should be more than okay with them.

The entertainment industry has become stuck on one cookie-cutter ideal of beauty, but this just does not cut it for the average woman. Modern media outlets should be portraying reality, and part of that is including real women who are not airbrushed. By portraying and embracing the idea that real women, no matter the size, are beautiful, the entertainment industry can change perceptions.

If all the naked bodies seen in media are of smaller sized women, this helps mold the ideal body type in society, a fact that takes a toll on women who do not fit this expectation. If this standard is changed to include women of different sizes, it sends a message that everyone is beautiful. Thin is wonderful. Thick is
wonderful.

The entertainment industry needs to realize its audience is not buying the narrow version of beauty it is selling. It is time women embrace how they are naturally. Forget Photoshop—beauty should be redefined as being natural.