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Nude Modeling and its effect on my own self image

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Flutterby68

My Cups Runneth Over
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In 2002, I became a nude model. A friend of mine was doing something called "the Mask Project" where he took nude photos in certain poses, all of women .... all different shapes, sizes, colors, ages. He had us slick our hair back and put on various masks so nobody could tell who each photo was depicting. (identifying marks and tattoos were edited out) He took about a dozen different photos, some in color and some in black and white, of a total of about 50 women. The women ranged in age from 19 to 68, from several different racial groups including mixed race, various haircolors, and various body types from anorexic to over 400 lbs. He wanted to show the beauty that is women, that has nothing to do with individuality and everything to do with just being naked in front of the camera.

I am completely self conscious in front of a camera, and always have been regardless of my body size. But I noticed that with the mask on, I felt FINE in front of the camera. I thought that because nobody would KNOW it was me in the picture, my anonymity was assured and that mattered to me. After this time, I started going to nudist camps, one in particular.

It seemed intensely freeing to me to be comfortable in my own skin. Of course, I was single at that time.

As time went on, I became more modest to the point where I don't go to nudist resorts anymore .... but that is simply because I put more VALUE on my body and with whom I share it. I am special, and I only show myself to someone special.

Have you had specific experiences with nudity and body size that changed your self image?
 

Sugar

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I became a paysite model a couple of years ago for about 9 months. It was pretty much the worst choice I've ever made. I went from having what I felt like was a decent amount of self esteem to none...zero...zilch.

For me personally I felt like I was constantly compared to other women and it felt like I was being told I fell short. I was told all the time "shame you're not a pear" or "you should be fatter". It was like what I am in all my naked rolls was still not enough for 99% of the jerks that looked. To be fair there were some nice people and the women for the most part are supportive of each other.

The experience exposed me to some of the worst kind of people imo. I realized there would be objectification, but not plain old fashioned jerks and men who really are better suited for a 72 hour hold at the local hospital as opposed to surfing the web.

I quit and slowly started the process to feel good about myself again. It's been a bumpy road but I feel better now. I get asked often about doing it again but for me I know I couldn't. I say kudos to those who enjoy it...proof that people are cut from different cloths.
 

Flutterby68

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Lucky, I'm sorry you had an unpleasant experience but I'm glad that you have managed to find your way back to better self esteem.

I think the nude modeling and nudist camps was a shock to my system to realize that big women COULD be considered beautiful. Now I have come to realize that MY nudity is special enough to only be shared with one person - my husband. Either way, though, becoming comfortable in my own skin was a huge step.

I'm glad that you know what works for you and what doesn't :)
 

Cors

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Flutter. The shoot that celebrates the beauty of ALL women mentioned sounds amazing. They always make me tear up, as with galleries of natural female parts and unedited, in-your-face and full-on artistic nudes. Any chance that it is online?

Lucky, I am sorry to hear that it was bad for you but glad to know that you are recovering from the experience.

I did some catalogue, fetish and glamour work when I was younger. It was not a pleasant experience, especially since I had poor body image and didn't have the thickest skin. I couldn't handle the constant criticism (eg. too chunky despite being underweight, wrong proportions, asymmetrical face, birthmark, scars). I don't even recognise myself in most of the pictures, at least, the touched-up ones. They may look decent, but I am so detached from them. I encountered two sleazy photographers too, ugh. I stuck around for the money (a whole lot for a young teenager) and it is something I regret.

After gaining weight, getting a couple of tattoos and chopping off my hair, I started modelling for my artist and photographer friends. The experience was so different. I got paid much less or not at all but it was so worth it! I actually liked the shoot ideas, had a say in them, felt so comfortable even during nude shoots (though I suppose it could be because my photographers are women or gay men) and never felt disrespected or objectified. The final pictures usually blow me away and makes me feel much better about my appearance. I still look at them when I am feeling down and it really helps!

I guess paysite modelling falls in between the two. You may not have to look as perfect as you physically can or spend hours freezing in a cold studio with glaring strobe lights, but you do have to give suscribers what they want to see. Paysite modelling seems so much more damaging on someone who isn't all that confident - thinking that you have finally found your niche after so long, only to be told that other models are much better. It is also much more personal and focused on the girl (or the fantasy she is selling) - I can't imagine being sexually rejected like that, in public by people who are supposed to be into my type.
 

Flutterby68

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I can ask the photographer Cors, but I think he took them down off the internet a few years ago.

If we had the ability to add attachments in this forum, I'd add the one I have of me.
 

Tania

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I haven't modelled nude, but I did pose corsetted ten years ago. The response was overwhelmingly positive and I came away from the experience understanding that 1) I wasn't an ugly fatgirl and 2) I was as beautiful as anyone. A few months ago, one of my male friends from back then told me, "You were like, the prettiest, most popular girl ever and I had the biggest crush on you."

Then he informed me that I'm hotter now, which kinda helped me lay to rest the demons of sizes past. Now that I feel pretty enough again, I want to do another shoot to prove to myself and everybody else that I'm the same girl. Not *exactly* the same - obviously, I'm a little older and chubbier. But still pretty. I want to prove that I'm still pretty and still worth crushing over.
 

Fascinita

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modelling seems so much more damaging on someone who isn't all that confident -
I dunno that it has to do with "confidence" as the word "confidence" is applied to issues of self-esteem, etc. I can imagine a perfectly functioning human being not being able to handle the constant scrutiny on their most private places that nude modeling entails.

I would think it has to do with de-sensitization, rather than with confidence. Not everyone--not even among perfectly confident, healthy people--is able to de-sensitize himself to that level of scrutiny.

And I don't like the idea contained in the "confidence" critique, that people who choose not to disrobe in public must lack confidence.

Great post, btw, Cors. It's interesting to read how exquisitely detailed the scrutiny on bodies can be--viz. your being small yet being told you're chunky. It makes the scrutiny sound a little mad. And maybe we all need to keep that in mind.
 

Sugar

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I dunno that it has to do with "confidence" as the word "confidence" applies to issues of self-esteem, etc. I can imagine a perfectly functioning human being not being able to handle the constant scrutiny on their most private places that nude modeling entails.

I would think it has to do with de-sensitization, rather than with confidence. Not everyone--not even perfectly confident, healthy people--is able to de-sensitize himself to that level of scrutiny.

And I don't like the idea contained in the "confidence" critique, that people who choose not to disrobe in public must lack confidence.

Great post, btw, Cors. It's interesting to read how exquisitely detailed the scrutiny on bodies can be--viz. your being small yet being told you're chunky. It makes the scrutiny sound a little mad. And maybe we all need to keep that in mind.
That a thousand times over.
 

Cors

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I dunno that it has to do with "confidence" as the word "confidence" is applied to issues of self-esteem, etc. I can imagine a perfectly functioning human being not being able to handle the constant scrutiny on their most private places that nude modeling entails.

I would think it has to do with de-sensitization, rather than with confidence. Not everyone--not even among perfectly confident, healthy people--is able to de-sensitize himself to that level of scrutiny.

And I don't like the idea contained in the "confidence" critique, that people who choose not to disrobe in public must lack confidence.

Great post, btw, Cors. It's interesting to read how exquisitely detailed the scrutiny on bodies can be--viz. your being small yet being told you're chunky. It makes the scrutiny sound a little mad. And maybe we all need to keep that in mind.
I guess it is really about how one photographs and not just about being small. You do need to be of a very specific body shape to look tall and thin in pictures regardless of actual height and weight. At 90lbs then I wasn't actually much heavier than other girls, but just appear that way because of my narrow shoulders, large bust, narrow hips and proportionately short legs - pretty obvious when I stand next to them.

I do agree with you. I wasn't applying the term to self-esteem or implying that people who choose not to bare themselves in public must lack confidence, but people who are insecure about their bodies to begin with are far more likely to be negatively affected by nude modelling, at least until they become de-sensitized. I was thinking about women who are new to the world of fat admiration and not quite used to the idea of people appreciating their bodies yet but choose to be a paysite model anyway, only to be mercilessly criticised by people who supposedly enjoy say, tattooed SSBBW pears. They might then feel like it is not just about their weight, shape or race but about other things (bad skin? unattractive face? too many stretchmarks? excessive loose skin? scars?) and end up feeling far worse about themselves. At least, that is how I would react.
 

superodalisque

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I guess it is really about how one photographs and not just about being small. You do need to be of a very specific body shape to look tall and thin in pictures regardless of actual height and weight. At 90lbs then I wasn't actually much heavier than other girls, but just appear that way because of my narrow shoulders, large bust, narrow hips and proportionately short legs - pretty obvious when I stand next to them.

I do agree with you. I wasn't applying the term to self-esteem or implying that people who choose not to bare themselves in public must lack confidence, but people who are insecure about their bodies to begin with are far more likely to be negatively affected by nude modelling, at least until they become de-sensitized. I was thinking about women who are new to the world of fat admiration and not quite used to the idea of people appreciating their bodies yet but choose to be a paysite model anyway, only to be mercilessly criticised by people who supposedly enjoy say, tattooed SSBBW pears. They might then feel like it is not just about their weight, shape or race but about other things (bad skin? unattractive face? too many stretchmarks? excessive loose skin? scars?) and end up feeling far worse about themselves. At least, that is how I would react.
i agree that you don't have to go nude to prove you are confident at all. i think for me the idea is knowing that you could if you wanted to--and feeling very comfortable and free in your own body. there are women who don't even like looking at themselves nude when all alone. but i agree that exposing yourself to people you don't want to expose yourself to shouldn't be anything someone should force themselves to do.

i couldn't be a webmodel because i know i'd feel exactly like Lucky was made to feel. i think thats the nature of porn --even soft porn. but, i bet she would have been fine if she would have been appreciated and treated nicely for who and what she is. unfortunately a lot of people are very backwards when it comes to nudity. they somehow think that if your nude they have the right to willfully intepret it as a character flaw which gives them the right to be abusive and disrespectful. and i also think guys who are extraordinarily sexist would make it a horrible experience as well.

i started working as an artist's model when i was 19. i don't do it as much now because i'm busy doing other things. but it is a totally different feeling i would imagine. you feel safe and appreciated for who and what you are. no one stands around comparing you to anybody else as though your substandard somehow. your appreciated for yourself and your own particular beauty is experienced and explored positively -- even often by people who've never seen a very fat body before. you are given a lot of respect as a human being for allowing people to look. they value the experience and the sharing.

when i first came to dims i would post experimental stuff i did of myself. but the kind of comments and perceptions people had about what it meant when a woman is nude were odd so i stopped. its like people think you are doing it in desperation to get a man. as much as people talk about confident BBWs they couldn't concieve of one when they actually saw one. i have nothing at all against websites but i think when people are paying thier little 15 dollars or whatever it is, they seem to really think they have the right to be abusive to people. they think they own the models. but $15 can't even begin to buy an entire person and the spirit and mind that comes with her body. i think some folks forget that. i've seen guys try to get women fired from thier sites etc... because they refuse to take rude behavior, or heaven forbid try to be real person-- so much for admiration. maybe thats why they have to pay for a woman to allow them to look at her? if the women here felt respected i think there would be a whole lot more nude postings because i know a lot who are extremely comfortable with being nude but not with being disrespected by people making subconscious and conscious jibes.

it makes you wonder about all of this talk about admiration when people always seem to be making subtle and not so subtle putdowns, always trying to elaborate on how someone does not measure up to thier standards or how disqusting everyone but them thinks a fat woman is(a total falsity in my book). a lot of women who are fat love being publicly nude but refuse to enliven something negative with it. many women, that people would be surprised about here are happy to have beautiful photos of themselves posted on other sites where thier beauty is respected and honored for what it is. its a shame the atmosphere of respect isn't generally available , particularly on dims, so that more women who wanted to would feel comfortable engaging and expressing thier love and respect for thier own bodies in public. this could really be a beautiful and excitng place if BBWs felt safe to expose themselves here. there are so many creative people doing things that they can't or won't post. but its hard for women to trust people who sometimes approach thier looks as jokes, freakishness and monstrosities though they claim admiration. i know a lot of people are sensitive about HOW they admire women who are fat. but its important for them to understand what it means to quite a few women to have thier looks lampooned. i believe there are a lot of women here just like me who would love to post some lovely nudes here but they'd rather feel good about it-- but knowing they can't they don't.
 

Jes

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when i first came to dims i would post experimental stuff i did of myself. but the kind of comments and perceptions people had about what it meant when a woman is nude were odd so i stopped. its like people think you are doing it in desperation to get a man. .
What's interesting on the other side is how many women post pix of themselves and don't seem to get any male response. A friend and I were discussing this recently. She posted a photo of herself and she got compliments and rep. From women. Only. I posted a shot of myself some time ago and I got nothing. Nothing. Now, it could be that I'm fug, and no one was about to say that (thank you!), but I also think many FAs feel more comfortable making comments on the Paysite board. I think they fear posting compliments on other boards sometimes. I don't know why, but that's what a few guys said when I asked: Hey, no one commented on my photo, what gives?
I remember reading that the male/female/subject/object dyad is uncomfortable for men, as it can be for women. One can postulate this it's much easier, therefore, for a man to engage in the 'business transaction' that is paying for a commodity about which he can then say almost anything. 'She is showing her ass as a type of business, she knows she'll be getting comments on her ass and she'll encourage them, even if she knows they might be weird, but the customer is King, so now I can comment.' It's tit for tat. Men have told me that they fear saying anything without that kind of 'contract' in place, even when I'm showing my ass and saying: hey, whaddya think?

(and again, my ass could just be fug, so my n=1 data could be suspect!)

whaddya think?
 

superodalisque

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What's interesting on the other side is how many women post pix of themselves and don't seem to get any male response. A friend and I were discussing this recently. She posted a photo of herself and she got compliments and rep. From women. Only. I posted a shot of myself some time ago and I got nothing. Nothing. Now, it could be that I'm fug, and no one was about to say that (thank you!), but I also think many FAs feel more comfortable making comments on the Paysite board. I think they fear posting compliments on other boards sometimes. I don't know why, but that's what a few guys said when I asked: Hey, no one commented on my photo, what gives?
I remember reading that the male/female/subject/object dyad is uncomfortable for men, as it can be for women. One can postulate this it's much easier, therefore, for a man to engage in the 'business transaction' that is paying for a commodity about which he can then say almost anything. 'She is showing her ass as a type of business, she knows she'll be getting comments on her ass and she'll encourage them, even if she knows they might be weird, but the customer is King, so now I can comment.' It's tit for tat. Men have told me that they fear saying anything without that kind of 'contract' in place, even when I'm showing my ass and saying: hey, whaddya think?

(and again, my ass could just be fug, so my n=1 data could be suspect!)

whaddya think?
you make a good point there. i think that in the beginning people assumed i was a webmodel posting. that might have been the difference. also my screen name would make it look like that too. people know me better now as a person IRL on the forums and in chat and i don't get rude comments anymore--just respectful ones. i might not be getting any at all if people were not used to always sending me messages before--i don't know. so thats a very good question.

here are the kinds of things i used to post:

View attachment trnspix 318.jpg

View attachment trnspix 325.jpg

View attachment trnspix 326.jpg

View attachment trnspix 530.jpg
 

Ruffie

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For me doing it in the art world years ago was very freeing. I did self portraits and body casts as a way to draw attention to the way society views fat women. I did so by placing comments over the body, picture collages of my journey to self acceptance, and poetry to accompany the works themselves. I got mostly positive comments to my face and at the time I worked in the arts centre where the work was on display and so could hang back in the gallery and hear peoples comments and they were for the most part positive too. I think it was because they were challenging the status quo and people had never thought about how they view fat women until it was thrown in their face.

I am thinking about doing it again as my body ages and changes. Because of the morals clause in my contract I cannot show the work, but it might be freeing to do the work anyway and see the changes in how I and my art work has progressed. In addition I have friends who would be willing to photograph me and to see their perceptions of me and how they view me might give some more insight into myself. Hmm some thoughts to ponder
 

superodalisque

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For me doing it in the art world years ago was very freeing. I did self portraits and body casts as a way to draw attention to the way society views fat women. I did so by placing comments over the body, picture collages of my journey to self acceptance, and poetry to accompany the works themselves. I got mostly positive comments to my face and at the time I worked in the arts centre where the work was on display and so could hang back in the gallery and hear peoples comments and they were for the most part positive too. I think it was because they were challenging the status quo and people had never thought about how they view fat women until it was thrown in their face.

I am thinking about doing it again as my body ages and changes. Because of the morals clause in my contract I cannot show the work, but it might be freeing to do the work anyway and see the changes in how I and my art work has progressed. In addition I have friends who would be willing to photograph me and to see their perceptions of me and how they view me might give some more insight into myself. Hmm some thoughts to ponder
you should do something! i loved the body casts that i saw of yours. and you could also do photos that obscure your face. i think that would be an amazing way to show the nude ones and you could keep the others until you retire etc... this will be a lot of fun to do too when we are older women and have more freedom. can you imagine all of the pent up art from women thats going to come out once they are freed up from those kinds of restraints?. i think its going to be a really exciting world of the art of women.
 

indy500tchr

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I posed for adipositivity and loved every second. I want to blow up both shots and hang them on my walls. Actually there are dozens of her pics I would hang on my walls. They were done so artistically well.
 

steadydecline

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I had the opportunity to post nude a while ago, but had to cancel the shoot due to unexpected work hours. We never rescheduled, and that was about a year ago.
I'd like to again, but unfortunately I doubt anyone would want to photograph me now. Not necessarily because of my weight, but because of an incident two months ago...my hand caught on fire and left it pretty badly scarred (remember V for Vendetta? Kind of like that...on about half of the top of my left hand and my thumb). So unless I wore gloves...yeah. I'm sure nude photography can build confidence, though, and I think that it's something everyone should do--even if they do it themselves, and no one else sees the photos.
 

BBW4Chattery

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I wish I had ya'lls... ummm... not balls, but something similar to balls!!

I've never posed nude for anyone else though I did have previously experimented with a self-timer. For me, the entire experience is absolutely what helped me learn to love my body. In fact, I feel like if I had the opportunity to do it now, I'd gain back some of that confidence.

I never really shared them much... save for one fishnets photo that was my favorite. I think, though, if others had been the audience for the pictures, they might have came out differently. Taking them for me, I was a bit less cautious. Also, if I would have been criticized, it might have shut me down completely.

It's so interesting to read your stories. What exciting lives you guys have led... I feel so boring. Ha.
 

Fascinita

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I've modeled for an artist friend, years ago. The experience was fun overall, and neither helped nor harmed anything even remotely related to my self-esteem.

What did harm were the "tapes" (the repetitive self-hating thinking) that used to play through my head. And, in turn, what helped was simply (well, not "simply," since it wasn't simple and, in fact, took a lot of work and time...) changing those "tapes" so that they were more compassionate toward myself, and understanding that I don't need to let others define what I'm worth.

I wish that for everyone who's seeking self-acceptance.

If it helps at all, in case anyone needs to "hear" this, please know that I accept you for exactly who you are--even those of you I don't know yet. It's just me, just one person, but maybe that counts for something. And I think you are all people with the capacity for great compassion and the potential to do much good in the world.

Peace and love to you.
 

sweet&fat

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It is wonderful to hear all your experiences- I love the women at dimensions!

I've modeled nude for artist bfs in the past, but I think the experience that had a huge impact on my self-image was posting for Substantia Jones for the website www.adipositivity.com. That's actually me in the current picture (Oct. 7 pic). Never in a million years did I think I would pose nude on top of a 50 story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, but last summer I did!

I think for me, having such beautiful images of my own body taken by another woman allowed me to put away my overactive self-critical eye and adopt an outsider's perspective, so I could finally see that my body was just as valid as the other beautiful women on the site, whose beauty I somehow never questioned. Like all the times that I said, "oh SHE can wear that and look lovely, but I can't because (xyz)." I actually still do that to a large extent, which I find troubling. And I would like to say that the copious outside praise for these pics wasn't hugely important for me because I was strong enough on my own, but in truth it was absolutely fundamental to my process of self-acceptance and love. I hate admitting that, but it's true!
 

olwen

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I've also posed for Substantia and I have fun every time. I think it helps that she is als a bbw so she "gets it" so to speak. She understands bbw body topology and knows how to make it beautiful.

I'm taking a life drawing class and I've thought of posing for the class, but then I wouldn't be able to draw. I'd love it if we had a bbw nude to draw...I find myself a little uncomfortable staring at people who aren't my size and their topology a bit foreign, which surprised me. You'd think being surrounded by images of thin nude women would make seeing someone like that seem like no big deal but it was, and I'm not sure why. I found myself drawing lots of hard right angles, which again surprised me. I didn't realize how uncomfortable I was at seeing thin people nude. That same feeling would be extended to me were I to pose nude I'm sure and so knowing I had that thought was quite troubling and I'm not sure how I got there. I am hoping that the more models we draw the more I will get used to it.

In general tho, I have no problem with public nudity - to an extent. I wouldn't walk down the street nude, but I could be and have been nude on a balcony or on a rooftop or in a room full of people. I just put whatever criticism they might have aside for the moment and just enjoy the freedom of it. I admit too I do enjoy the subversive nature of it as well...
 

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