The French have a superb relationship with sunlight. After all, it was Coco Chanel who made tanned skin all the rage among the style set. Photographer Gilles Bensimon snaps the true beauty Edita Vilkeviciute nude and communing with nature for Vogue Paris’ May issue.
Suntanning triggers the brain’s reward region linked to addictions. On a positive note, suntanning seems to cause a ‘runners high’ and positive sense of wellbeing.
When I look at these gorgeous images of Edita as nature girl, I’m swept into the thoughtful consideration of how different Americans are in our relationship with the female body. Due to the primacy of religion in our morality mindset, Americans view the female body with ambivalence and often contempt — much like the Arab world.
This awareness was front and center in my mind yesterday, reading British Vogue’s page-view generating headline Former Angel Slams Victoria’s Secret. The nothing story focused on meltdown, born-again woman Kylie Bisutti who is on a pr campaign to publicize her new book and modesty-inspired clothing line with news that she “has clarified the reasons why she quit as one of the faces of Victoria’s Secret”.
Certainly Kylie takes herself far too seriously and is capitalizing on her brief fame for self-promotion. But anytime the message comes front and center that women must cover-up our bodies, honoring God and husbands, I can only think of the incredible suffering religion has inflicted on women worldwide, in the name of modesty.Therefore, I believe that Bisutti is an agent of women’s oppression.
The fact that the conservative, right-wing morality police buys the most porn in America, only adds insult to injury for thoughtful women like myself. The French are far from perfect, but their relationship with the female body is much more positive than America enjoys.
Just consider the fact that the bare-breasted woman with a snake’s lower parts serves as a beast of temptation on the West facade of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Generally considered to be Lilith, Adam’s first wife in the Old Testament, the French have publicly acknowledged the conflict over women’s bodies for centuries.
Following in the footsteps of former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt herself has publicly struggled with nudity and sensuality. Little by little, Alt has come around in accepting a limited amount of nudity in Vogue Paris, which remains a shadow of its former self under Roitfeld.
Today it’s Edita Vilkeviciute who has the last word on the subject of the female body. Her fearless Gilles Bensimon images are gorgeous and inspiring. If only every woman could enjoy this kind of peace with her physicality, the world would be a far less dangerous place. ~ Anne