Old, Fat, Naked Women

By Dr. Patricia L. Bay, Psy.D.
Published in W Magazine, December 2010

Why is a naked body so powerful? People from some other countries will tell us that we, in America, put far more mystique and sexuality into the bare form than most. Women spend most of their lives, once they enter puberty and often before that, lamenting about their bodies — too large, not large enough, too tall, too short, straight hair, curly hair, too fat, too thin, too, too, too. We waste a whole lot of time complaining and worrying about something that should not, in the grand scheme of things, be important at all. What if we learned to channel that energy into something positive... like changing the world?

Eleanor, a friend of mine, turned me onto a YouTube video called "Old Fat Naked Women for Peace." It is a riot. It is a poignant message for women if you look deeply into the premise. These women are singing — in beautiful, four-part harmony — about putting our naked bodies to work to create change. I love the lines at the end where one woman yells out "no one wants to see that" and "don't make us come over there." It put a big smile on my face.

I sat for a long time after watching the video and thought about the shift from complaining about our imperfect bodies to using them as a tool to call attention to an issue. These women were singing about injustice, war, poverty and much more, but what if we scaled it down into our own lives. Can you imagine saying to your boss, "Don't make me take my clothes off and protest." What if you said to your teenagers, "You don't want to see me parading up and down the street naked with a picket sign protesting your sassy, rude mouths. Don't make me put my dangly bits out there blowing in the breeze for everyone to see!" Of course, this threat probably has much more clout if you actually are an old, fat, naked woman. However, from a teenagers point of view, anyone past 25-years-old is an old woman. So, we are probably all safe in that regard.

I suppose the lesson for all of us is that we need to get over ourselves. Let's look at our glorious bodies as instruments for change. We can — again since our youth, or maybe for the first time in our lives — find power in our voluptuous female forms. We can truly get it that how we look is really unimportant. What we do with ourselves that helps others, or maybe even changes the world, has far more power. So let's change the world — one old, fat, naked woman at a time.