Going to Bed with Caroline Vreeland: The Nude Feminine is Divine


Going to Bed with Caroline Vreeland is a new column on CR about everything between the bedsheets and more. Have a question? Comment? Flirty note? Email CV at online[at]crfashionbook.com.

There are only a few things that you can take with you when you die. You can’t take your car, your house, or your money. Sadly, I can’t even take my thigh high red leather Fendi boots. Two things that I do forever own though, are my voice and my physical body. And I’m sick and tired of my sexuality being misconstrued as sluttish.

Historically, this hasn’t always been the case. In ancient Rome, Venus, goddess of love, fertility, sex, and—in many cults, prostitutes—was worshiped through countless wine and rose-filled festivals. In the ’50s, Marilyn Monroe brought the words „sex symbol“ to the silver screen. So where do these hang ups about nudity come from? What separates a work of art today from a thirsty Instagram post? We should all have the right to express ourselves as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process.

Take Nicole Kidman’s bare ass in Eyes Wide Shut as an example. Clearly that was not pornography. You can’t deny the film is a work of art and you certainly can’t deny that her ass is a work of art. So what’s the difference between this and a girl posing nude for her self timer? Is it the narrative? Or is it the person—Kubrick in the former—behind it?

Another important moment comes from one of my all time favorite literary passages. Aphrodite (“Ancient Manners”) by Pierre Louÿs explores the world of a courtesan named Chrysis in 19th century Alexandria, Egypt. In her time, people weren’t opposed to Chrysis’ line of work, in fact it was quite the opposite: she was an important and revered woman of society. Chrysis paid her dues and even attended church. She wasn’t shunned in the community as most sex workers are today. The passage I love most describes Chrysis in her chambers, covered in nothing but her long, lustrous hair, and her jewelry, admiring herself piece by piece in a mirror. These words of self love have always stuck with me. For some reason, from a young age, I loved thinking of this woman, owning the value of her sexuality and finding herself beautiful. (By the way, she is described as being curvy with a full belly and thick thighs).

The use of nudity in these cases is instrumental to reveal parts of human nature—and eventually—a bigger narrative. And I think the same can be done through social media. Look at people like Mary Rosenberger or Zoë Ligon. Many of the things I see regularly on Instagram I do consider art. Especially when people use their posts to discuss something larger than themselves: be it about body positivity or just learning to self-express. Nudity is natural and beautiful, and I think everyone should embrace their curiosities and honor their urges.

Most importantly, you cannot forget that no one owns you other than yourself. You don’t need another a man or woman to be excited by you for you to be excited by yourself. Take control of your own sexual nature. Do not depend on someone else for your happiness. Unless were talking about some harmless BDSM action, and if that’s your bag, more power to you!


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