How we are Changing the World, One Naked Woman at a Time
Via Lora Cheadle
Every couple of months, my friends and I head to a local steam bath.
And no, I don’t mean spa. This particular steam bath was built in 1927 as a Jewish ritual bath, and pretty much nothing has changed since then.
Even though swimsuits are technically allowed, one would look, and feel, far more awkward wearing a swimsuit than spending the day naked with 20 strange women—women who have converged upon the steam bath like pilgrims seeking the holy land, experiencing healing that only nudity can provide.
For eons, women have shared a sacred, naked sisterhood with each other.
And unless we return to our ancient, unclothed roots, until we collectively embrace nudity, our culture will remain tormented and sick. We will stay rooted in the bonds of racism, sexism, ageism, and intolerance. Paradoxically, we suffer from body-shame, eating disorders, and depression, yet the obesity epidemic runs rampant. All because of our propensity to stay covered up and to hide.
Unity through Nudity.
I am handed a small hand towel, a sheet, and a locker key. Winding my way into the modest locker room, I feel my pretenses begin to drop. Women, either stark naked or wrapped toga-style in their sheets, lounge everywhere. Shoes off, phone off, jewelry off, clothes off, I feel more at ease, more myself, with every layer that I shed. And so my healing begins.
Entering the baths requires a shower, as all oils, lotions, and makeup must be washed off in order to keep the water clean. Long hair needs to be clipped up and pulled out of the face. Grabbing my small, white hand towel, I walk gingerly across the slippery floor, toward the shower, and into what feels like another dimension. Steam fills the air and collects by the ceiling, which is painted light blue with fake clouds.
A sea of naked women surrounds me. They are old, young, thin, fat, short, tall, tattooed, scarred, powerful, and frail. They speak in hushed tones and carry the same, simple, white hand towel. Free of makeup, hair, jewelry, or accessories, everyone is equal. Women of every shape, size, color, and description imaginable, quietly mill around in the haze. And it takes my breath away.
Nobody is rich or poor, married or single, gay or straight, conservative or liberal, stylish, or simple. We are simply just human; honest and humble in our vulnerability. I am just another naked body with a white hand towel, wet hair clipped unflatteringly to my head. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I no longer worry if my hair is falling or my mascara is streaking. Pulling my stomach in is pointless. The last remnants of the identity I have created around myself fall away and I become part of the naked mass. With nothing covering me, I have nothing to hide or to fear. I’m already naked; there’s nothing left to be taken. I am simply a part of the whole.
The Naked Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
Sitting there, resting my head against the wall, watching the women in front of me, I am overcome with the great beauty of the aging process. All of us age. Yet we are not given access to the beauty of the process. We do not have the opportunity to look upon old bodies. We don’t even have the opportunity to look upon real, regular, raw bodies. In our culture, every time bodies are shown, they are either edited or sexualized. We are never given the opportunity to see bodies as they really are. Continued Here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/12/how-we-are-changing-the-world-one-naked-woman-at-a-time/
Author: Lora Cheadle
Image: Flickr/Ariel Quiroz
Editor: Sara Kärpänen