If you read articles about women issues you have probably seen this growing phenomenon: women who shame other women because they are uncomfortable with their own bodies under the guise of feminism.
In an article written by Melinda Lane for the Elephant Journal, she proclaims her disgust over something she calls "yoga porn". So people are probably imagining some insane acro-yoga where insertion must be happening, right? No- her definition of "yoga porn" is any woman who posts pictures or videos where they are not covered from head to toe in clothing. So all you yogis out there, (men, seemingly excluded as usual) don't you dare do yoga in shorts, sports bras, bikinis or *gasp* nude! Otherwise you are simply a pornography pusher who only seeks to gratify your own ego and that is "so not yoga!" She first claims that what bothers her is that "yoga porn" is not what yoga should be about- the typical “anti ego” rant. Yet she soon admits that these images make her feel badly about her own body. Which I believe is the true reason behind her disgust of women feeling uninhibited. It seems to me that her own insecurity fuels her public shaming of women who are actually secure. So is that not her ego coming into play, rather than others? I don't know the exact reason why women post certain images of themselves, their reasons are their own but to automatically label a woman's nude body as pornography is so completely offensive. If you want to look at what men in India wore while doing yoga you'll see a whole lot of skin. Yet somehow, nudity in yoga is now an issue because women are doing it?
So I'll just admit now, I am a "yoga porn” star, lover & promoter! I post pictures & videos of my naked to half naked body while doing yoga for the world to see. And the reasons I do so are my own but mainly I seek to normalize the naked body while Ms. Lane seems hell bent on continuing to make it taboo and shameful. Yet also, I just don’t give a damn what people think about me, whether my nude body is shameful or not, I am secure in my decisions and in my skin. I refuse to change my clothing or put clothing on before I take videos or pictures because some person wants to use these images to justify their public shaming of women. Women are so indoctrinated to not only hate their own body but to hate other women's bodies. I used to look at women who were confident enough to show skin in envy while also trying to find every little thing wrong with them; “look at that dimple, look at that roll, I’m thinner, oh she’s slutty,” to somehow make myself feel better. And it wasn't from a place of a "moral high ground" or a fear of women being objectified. It was because I was insecure about my own body and their ability to be comfortable in their own skin made me angry and sad because I myself was not comfortable in my own skin. That’s ego. Grade A ego. Yet I don’t believe her article is really about yoga at all since its not yoga that is the issue for her, its women’s bodies that seem to be her main gripe.
There is this notion that in order for women to be taken seriously we must extinguish our sexuality. That it is somehow our responsibility to make the world or in reality, men, see us as thinking, feeling, intelligent beings instead of just sexual objects. The objectification of women is not a problem that women should have to solve- we live it and fight it every single day. It reeks of the constant barrage of self-defense videos and “how to stay safe as a woman” articles, pinning the responsibility for us to know “how to not get raped”. Where are the articles and videos teaching men to not rape and objectify women? Where are the people raising these young boys, when these ideas first become normalized to the point where men act out in violence against women? So is it my responsibly to teach every single man to not objectify me or see my nude body as simply a thing to fuck rather than look into my soul and to see who I really am? Is my nudity somehow blocking the depths of my character or is it the person who has been taught from a young age to objectify me and refuse to see my complex nature? Its not my responsibility to answer these questions and further, to solve these moral and social issues.
Women have been pitted against each other for decades. Perhaps its biological or evolutionary that women see each other women as competition for mates or maybe society plays a role. We may not be able to control how young boys are raised or how men perceive our bodies but we certainly have the power to unify with other women and not create divides. After all, Yoga literally means to unite. Perhaps instead of shaming other women for their bodies and sexual freedoms, choose to be secure in your own body with however many pieces of clothing you desire and applaud any woman’s effort to love herself in a society that is constantly telling her she is just an object and not good enough.
I would love to support any woman who feels insecure or ashamed of their body. I want to be an ally to all women and open up these dialogues. To make our position in this world stronger and more unified. So ladies, its okay you're insecure, just stop calling it feminism- and when you’re ready to transcend your ego, or ready to at least try- actual feminism and the unification of women will always be here, whether you do yoga or not.