Naked Attraction. The controversial show that left Channel 4 viewers (and a large proportion of the rest of the nation) aghast. If you haven’t heard of it, where have you been?
The basic premise of the show is Anna Richardson (the fabulous woman that she is) introduces a guest who is confronted by 6 booths with 6 naked individuals in. The naked date prospects are then revealed gradually from toe to head until the guest has narrowed it down to 2 when they then have to get their kit off and pick their favourite. Then they go off on a date and when there is a catch up three weeks later they elude to the fact that they drank way too much and probably had sex and then one hasn’t text the other back.
Now, I know, I am so late to the party and you’ll have to excuse my massively convoluted and long-winded description (its better just to see it with your own eyes) but this has kind of revolutionised my procrastination.
Prior to watching it I had written it off as embarrassing and a bit grim- I wondered who would be so brave as to stand naked and be judged on national television by someone in a studio and all of the viewers at home? But after watching an episode (or five) my opinion has completely changed.
Whilst the show is still sort of cringy and at times massively uncomfortable, I got way more out of it than just laughing when the guys got awkward boners (although that is a pretty great aspect of the show).
As someone who has struggled with their image, like so many other people, men and women, this show was a breath of fresh air which couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s no news that we are constantly bombarded with pictures of what the ideal body looks like. I only need to scroll down my Instagram explore feed to work myself up into a frenzy.
It is not surprising that the Heart of Leadership Foundation found that 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships and 80% of children who are 10 years old are afraid of being fat.
‘Alternative’ or varied body types are now so celebrated across the media yet small is still somehow synonymous with happy, successful and sexy. And I am not discrediting the fact that there are so many people out there making waves to change this. You only need to look at the success of Ashley Graham, Naomi Shimada and Olivia Campbell to know that so many women are getting the recognition that they so duly deserve. I mean, look at them…
The show was something different though. Ashley Graham has been heralded as the first plus size model to be a cover girl for Vogue. Yet picking up a copy of Vogue and seeing all of the images of Ashley looking insanely beautiful and turning on the TV to see a line of normal women’s bodies feels completely different.
Maybe, it’s that I don’t have open and honest discussions with enough of my friends about what we consider to be ‘normal’ or attractive that has led to this revelation. But the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report found that only 20% of women in Britain feel truly confident in their bodies. We are so cagey about what is ‘normal’ and what is desirable that maybe we just don’t want to talk about what we have got in case we are the only ones.
Seeing so many women on the show; a full representation of ‘normal’ women almost gave me the sense of ‘me too’. Some of the women looked similar to me, yet others looked completely different, but they were all women and they were all so courageous and attractive. What became abundantly clear was the women who held themselves in the strongest stance and were proud of what they had were actually the most physically attractive too-regardless of whether they could pass as a Victoria secrets model.
So I have decided that it might be time to stop trying to fit someone else’s ideal and let myself off the hook a little bit. I am not saying I am about to completely let myself go (although if uni gets any more stressful I’m not sure I will have a choice) but maybe I will just be a bit kinder to myself.