How Naked Jen got me Naked, an Interview with a Guerilla Nudist

31stJul. × ’09

nakedjen-total

Naked Jen’s nickname is straight-forward. Naked Jen gets naked everywhere: on the street, while walking her dogs, touring on vacation, on the steps of the capitol building and most recently at Chicago’s Navy Pier at it’s most crowded — just after the fireworks grand finale. She records this public nudity on her blog, NakedJen.com

It was at an after party for the annual Blogher conference that I met Naked Jen. As I walked nervously through the party, clutching my $9 vodka and cranberry, a tiny woman with pixie blonde hair made a bee-line toward me. “I love your dress, I have to know who you are” she said.

Later,  Jen disapeared then arrived back at the party, nude coming down the escalator. She did a round about totally naked, then took a different escalator back up.

The idea for her blog came after a stint working the back-end of the Internet porn industry.

“After I left that job, I was kind of disenchanted. I knew we were selling a fantasy but the women the men were paying to see were not real; they didn’t have real bodies.”

This attitude and her casual, non-sexual nudity makes NakedJen a sort of counter-porn site. At it’s core, the site is about body issues, body acceptance and learning to love yourself, a backlash to distorted body perceptions fueled by the media.

Summing this up, Jen says, “Just think how many times a day any person says I hate ______ about myself, I say we try to not do that. My biggest message is ‘love yourself and love the body you have’. I think the more we love ourselves, the more we can love other people.”

Viewing Jen’s rather anti-sexualized naked photos was at once exhilarating and terrifying. Seeing someone put themselves out there in such a vulnerable way caused me a -fit of anxiety, about imagining doing it myself. But weeing Jen’s smiling face atop her nude natural woman’s body — wobbly bits and all — seemed so genuine. It had me wondering if Jen was really onto something.

Jen also admits she has not always been so comfortable in her skin. As a survivor of sexual abuse, getting naked was part of Jen’s healing process. The non-sexual aspect of her nudity then makes sense: getting naked is about reclaiming her body, truly inhabiting it and reclaiming her innocence. “There are a lot of people who have been sexually abused, and I worry that for some women seeing me naked might trigger them, but I do this to empower myself and to empower everyone” Jen says.

Each week Jen features “Naked Fridays” on her blog, with a nude photo of herself and a call for readers to spend time appreciating their naked bodies and loving themselves just as they are. With this segment she hopes to begin to change our perception of beauty, one body at a time.

So why is getting naked a positive thing? “Being naked is awesome because it allows you to live your truth, you can’t hide behind a mask. When you are naked and not hiding the bulges and flaws,  you eventually no longer even notice them” Jen says.

She also points out that just the act of wearing something like Spanx or Yummie Tummie is a constant reminder than you are trying to hide something. Jen is also an advocate of more social nudity in general, something that has never caught on in puritan rooted America but is more acceptable in European counties. “In Europe I am very popular,  they are just excited to have someone that is just so naked! There, people just see a body, they don’t get all like ‘Woooo she is showing her boobs!’” she says.

I decided to take Jen’s advice and celebrate my own nakedness. I’m not a total prude to nudity, I often find myself mindlessly naked at home as I go about tasks. Yet when it comes to focusing on my naked body and it’s appearance, I go into self-attack mode. However, I felt hopeful after having talked with Jen about using naked time to focus on body positivity.

The day after my interview with Jen I woke up early with the intention of spending some quality naked-time with myself. I walked around the house naked and tried to feel really in my skin. As I noticed the areas I would normally criticize or try to suck in and hide, I worked on accepting them, accepting and loving my naked self as I was.

I then ventured outside to my apartment building’s shared back porch. For whatever reason being outside puffed me with a feeling of confidence. I stood taller and felt blissful, focusing on loving myself and staying in the moment — the morning’s gentle breeze didn’t feel bad either.

It was an amazing start to my day, I think some nude porch sitting could be a positive indulgence every now and then, Chicago weather permitting. So now, my Naked Friday call: Try not criticizing your body all day, try to never say “I hate ________”, set aside some time to appreciate your body today as it is, go forth and get naked!

nakedrabbitnakedrabbit2

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12 Comments

  1. Posted 2009-07-31 at 08:29 | Permalink

    Great post! I love your smiling little pixie face. Too cute. :]
    .-= Ms Constantine´s last blog ..Sydney Fife: Style Icon =-.

  2. Posted 2009-07-31 at 08:33 | Permalink

    :) thanks lovie!

  3. Posted 2009-07-31 at 08:50 | Permalink

    Good for you! We should all be proud of our bodies, no matter what size or shape they are. The comedian Mitch Benn put it rather well in a song called ‘Love Handles’ :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/latitude/mitch-benn/
    .-= neil h´s last blog ..Happiness =-.

  4. Posted 2009-07-31 at 10:04 | Permalink

    rabbit,
    great article! i’m getting a great body positivity message from this! sometimes i think we forget that we treat ourselves/body image poorly when we are alone/with our partners without even realizing it! this article has put a great message in my mind to live by! stop saying, i hate ____ ! it’s time to put some more (self) love and kindness in there! thank you! (great pics, btw!)
    .-= Pretty Robotic´s last blog ..Bring Happy Hour Home =-.

  5. Posted 2009-07-31 at 11:36 | Permalink

    Well, good for you. Keep it up.

  6. Posted 2009-07-31 at 12:49 | Permalink

    Neil: Thanks, :) Could not agree more, lol thanks for sharing this video, awesome!

    PR: It is true that we get so used to feeling back about our bodies/talking and thinking negatively about them, we don’t even realize we do it! And I think we all do it, it is an epidemic! I think you are spot on about adding self love and kindness in those blanks :)

    Will: Thank you :) Happy Naked Friday!

  7. Posted 2009-07-31 at 13:45 | Permalink

    A wonderful post, full of life, honesty and celebration. I love good news and the combination of your cogent writing about self-celebration and that beautiful smile at the end…just what the Dr. ordered.

    Have a splendid day, Rabbit.

    -arvan
    .-= sexgenderbody´s last blog ..USA: Treaty signing signals policy shift =-.

  8. Posted 2009-07-31 at 19:32 | Permalink

    What a great article! I gotta say, your positive vibes and gorgeous smiling face have really made my day. :)
    .-= Miss Peregrin´s last blog ..The Happy Book =-.

  9. Posted 2009-08-1 at 12:00 | Permalink

    Nice blog and comments. I read NakedJen and love her openness for life. My only problem is the total bias the public has first againest the human body but more so the male body.
    If I did a blog called NakedJoe and showed up naked at a function I would be called a pervert. Even if in my mind I had the same feeling Jen has.
    I love my body and been a few places where I can enjoy the sun and wind on it. It was not sexual just open and positive.
    Honestly how would you feel if a naked guy was walking around at a blog conference?
    .-= The_Taxi´s last blog ..You Can’t Do That on Television Actor – Les Lye =-.

  10. Posted 2009-08-2 at 05:22 | Permalink

    Here in the UK, a chap called Stephen Gough defied the risk of arrest by going for a ramble from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the nude.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3420685.stm
    .-= neil h.´s last blog ..Sunday Links =-.

  11. Posted 2009-08-3 at 10:18 | Permalink

    Arvan- Thank you, what a touching comment :)

    Same to you Miss Perengrin!

    Taxi- You bring up an interesting point. In society we often paint men as predators anytime they are doing anything remotely sexual. The same is not true for women.

    Neil, lol thanks for the link!

  12. Justin Laws
    Posted 2010-09-16 at 11:57 | Permalink

    Oh, wow. How did I not see this entry, Rabbit? Amazing and awesome! I am an exhibitionist, in a way. I used to run down the streak stark naked some years ago. I’ve even been to a nudist beach a time or two. I walk naked about my apartment; friends have been warned to text me if they didn’t want to see it. A couple of them have even bothered to not text just to see. Ha. My body is lovely, I love my lean, catlike stretching.

    p.s. I reaaally think that photo of you is simply adorable and beautiful. Such a breath taking smile you have!