Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
I found body positivity in a public changeroom, not Kim Kardashian
A public changeroom is the anti-porn, the pro-reality.
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There’s Kim Kardashian nude — all pouty and “empowered” on social media.
And then there’s changeroom nude.
Where Kim is never short of vapid, Hallmark-inspired defences of nude selfies and her right to “be allowed to be sexy,” in the changeroom at the downtown Jewish Community Centre, nudity is allowed to be saggy.
All day long, women file in and out, coming in clothed, exiting clothed. In between? They’re naked. And not for self-promotion purposes.
A public changeroom is the anti-porn, the pro-reality. It’s not that these average, assorted bodies can’t be sensual, but they aren’t naked for sex, or even sexiness. And in our culture, that is refreshing. No one is stopping to snap selfies tagged #liberated. They’re busy applying lotion.
Some women are tall and thin, or short and round, small breasts, large ones, slumped shoulders, knocked knees, loose skin, flat bottoms. Chatting in various states of dress and undress, calloused feet on tile floors, blow-drying their hair with a small towel over their bare shoulders to catch the wet drips.
They get dressed in helter-skelter fashion while passing by mirrors for makeup and hair primping.
The clientele skews older, which is enlightening for a young(er) woman. This is your future, their bodies announce, and no amount of #goals will save you from #time.
This is an oasis from beauty norms, even household norms (how many adult children are openly nude with their parents?). I’ve even seen a naked woman in the hot tub sing to herself, something bluesy.
As a teenager, I hated the flagrant disrobing. I used the private stalls, cringing at even my own mother or sister’s bare bodies slipping in and out of swimsuits. Mortified most of all by the shower.
I grew into public nudity as I grew out of self-consciousness. Perhaps changerooms, then, are good barometers for how comfortable you are in your skin. But they’re also an opportunity to see how comfortable others are. Others who aren’t a Kardashian. Others who probably don’t prize looking hot quite so much, and who take interest in other measurements.
It’s not syrupy self-love on display, only self-acceptance.
Undoubtedly, most women could criticize their bodies, if asked to. But who would bother? And what’s the point? You’ve already dragged yourself here for some kind of fitness effort, and your limbs are working to whatever degree, and you’re not thinking about the size of your tits while you strap on a bra. Blessedly, neither is anyone else.