Nakedness: Reflections from the MIRROR WATER community

Nakedness: Reflections from the MIRROR WATER community

20 01 22

Content warning: This article includes honest discussion regarding body image. If you’re not in a place where you’d like to think about this, you might consider skipping this one. 

By: Julie Tanner for MIRROR WATER

The MIRROR WATER team started talking about nakedness in the lead up to our product launch, which consists of three items of body care. We were chatting about how showering or bathing and applying body care is one of the few ways that many of us are might spend time naked with ourselves. One of us had read that bubble bath used to be thought of as a means to insulate the bath water to keep it warmer for longer and that it’s now mostly just for fun, but together we wondered if it’s also a sort of visually appealing barrier to obscure the view of our bodies in the bath water. 

"we asked you about your feelings and opinions and also for any tips that might help someone else out "

We decided to ask you all for some insights about nakedness so, via the MIRROR WATER Instagram, we asked you about your feelings and opinions and also for any tips that might help someone else out. We turned them into this article, which is the second MIRROR WATER Reflections piece, following the first article about side hustles, here.

The first question we asked was simple—clothes or no clothes? Of course this prompt doesn’t give specifics about the context of the question, so it was mostly to explore respondents’ first impulse, however they interpret what they are being asked. We had over 600 responses! Thank you so much for your participation and for offering such honest reflections. As mentioned on our stories, all responses that are included in this piece are anonymous. 

"One person said they are more confident ‘since birthing a human’ and another, referring to her body, said ‘I am proud of her’, which might be a useful affirmation. "

In answer to the first question, 62% of respondents said ‘clothes’, while 38% voted ‘no clothes’. Our second question ventured a bit deeper: Would you say that you are comfortable with your naked body? Responses varied, including a highlight from our Founder Estée who said ‘Yes I am a sexy beast’ and others who said ‘100%’, ‘Yes very’, and ‘I’m naked the majority of the time I swear’. Reasons given by those who felt that they are comfortable in their bodies often convened on being proud of what their bodies can do. One person said they are more confident ‘since birthing a human’ and another, referring to her body, said ‘I am proud of her’, which might be a useful affirmation.  

In discussion of clothing versus nakedness, several people said that they prefer being naked than being clothed because, when clothed, they don’t feel like they have pinned down their personal style. A similar response shared that clothing sometimes feels less flattering than their own skin. Many expressed mixed feelings, such as: being comfortable naked but preferring not to look in the mirror; only feeling comfortable when alone; or having good days and bad days.  

"Several people said that they are not at all comfortable in their bodies, including when they are alone or around their partners. "

Some respondents were firmly in the ‘absolutely not comfortable’ category. Several people said that they are not at all comfortable in their bodies, including when they are alone or around their partners. We hope that you might find some helpful tips in the latter sections of this article but more importantly we recommend that if it’s affecting your quality of life that you confide in someone such as a close friend or loved one, or seek steps to alleviate this, perhaps with the help of a counsellor or therapist. 

It feels like an appropriate time to move on to some tips for feeling more comfortable naked, and you all had plenty to share! This was our third question to you. Can you guess the most popular tip? Spend more time naked! So many of you shared that this is how you became more confident and there were branches to this advice, the main one being to sleep naked; one person made the helpful observation that ‘you can get used to it while still feeling safe under the blanket’. Our interview with artist Alexandria Coe here also discusses spending time with your body among other tips, including some recommended reading. 

"nobody cares as much as you do. "

A common recommendation was dancing; putting on an upbeat song or your favourite song and trying to let go a bit. In relation to letting go, one person said that nobody cares as much as you do, while another said to practise being kind to yourself. One of the most popular responses involved variations on being grateful to your body for, as one person put it, ‘carrying [me] through life’.  

There were a number of practical tips: exercise; pursuing forms of counselling specific to body image; buying clothes that fit you; finding one part of your body that you love and focusing on that. Several noted that something that had a notable effect for them was paying attention to who they are following on social media. Something we can look forward to: four community members expressed feeling more comfortable with age. Several brave souls recommended a kind of ‘exposure therapy’ (‘wear the damn g string bikini to the beach’) and a couple of people described activities like attending a Japanese onsen (where bathers have to be naked to be admitted) or visiting nude beaches as defining moments for them (good luck to the person who is working up the courage to go to a nude beach, we’re rooting for you!). 

"applying nourishment and using touch is another way of being with your body. "

The use of body care was mentioned several times, including suggestions to develop a fun, loving routine: ‘Bath, scrub, moisturise, then dance to your favourite song’ and ‘Exfoliate, cleanse, moisturise—be in love with your skin!’. Another person added that exfoliation ‘helps me to feel more loving toward my body’. We would add that if body care helps you to feel more confident, aside from knowing that you are attending to your skin’s health, it might be the element of connection that helps; carefully applying nourishment and using touch is another way of being with your body. 

The final question was about body positivity and body neutrality and we asked for your opinions on these concepts. Preference among respondents leant almost entirely towards neutrality than positivity. Reasons for this are that some find body positivity ‘intangible’, possibly ‘faking hype’ for your own body, and that the ‘hyper’ focus on the body might be counter-productive. One respondent said that neutrality ‘offers a more critical view on beauty’, and others said that ‘acceptance’, ‘respect’ and focus on health and wellness are more helpful than outright positivity. 

"treat your body ‘like it’s the love of your life’. "

Lastly, there were some beautifully-articulated affirmative thoughts, which we’ll offer by way of a conclusion. One person said to treat your body ‘like it’s the love of your life’. Another said ‘It’s your palace’.