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Sunday, March 8, 2015

My naked picture - six months later

If nudity, especially that of Katrina Haffner, is something you would not wish to look at, then reading this particular post is not for you.

Today is March 8, 2015. Six months ago and six days ago, September 2, 2014, I wrote about a privacy breach that exposed nude photos and videos of female celebrities. The post contained a lot of pent-up anger I had felt every time a female celebrity had private photos exposed to the world. Most of this anger resonated within me because instead of most of the backlash being aimed at the person who released the photo(s), it was fixed on the female celebrity, making it seem like society only cared about how "stupid" the celebrity was for taking pictures of herself in the first place. Not only did I write about the absurdity of the victim blamers, I took a naked picture photo of myself.

I was braced for what I thought was going to be a shitstorm of fury. Despite being warned from my family at a younger age about taking risque photos of myself lest they become leaked later in life, I did not elicit a reaction from them. Neither did anyone else around me say anything bad about the picture. In fact, a lot of people I know were congratulating me on my bravery and offering to buy me beers. I never did think that what I had done was brave. I still don't feel that way. While I feel more exposed, I don't equate my overcoming of that feeling with courage. With so many beer offers, I felt like all of those people could have instead pitched in to present me with my own harem.

Or bring back Marlon Brando from the dead...and have him in my harem

A couple of conversations, both in real life and online, stand out from the rest concerning my choice to post that photo on this blog. One happened while I was at a dance, and a friend came up to me to ask why I had decided to put it up, not in a demeaning way, but in a curious manner. I told him that talking about the normalization of nudity without participating in it felt hypocritical, and he was one of those people who commented on my bravery. After him, I had a few more talks similar to that one. On my Facebook about a month ago, I posted about that nude picture, and a Facebook friend commented how nobody in their right mind would do that. Then he realized that I was being serious. So while that was not a purposefully offensive thing to say, it made me contemplate the mindset of those who judge the actions of other people, especially within the realms of nudity and sexuality.

The conversation that put me on edge the most was from some guy online. He did not shame me for posting the picture, but told me how I will probably regret it later. Sure, I had a few people ask if I had really thought it through (and I was easily able to reassure them that I did), but this time, I took it personally. By saying that I didn't think it all the way through and will very likely regret it later in life, you are insulting my intelligence. Do you not think that this was something I thought very carefully about? I figured when I had made the final decision to take a naked picture of myself that if I came to regret this, then too bad. What if I learned that a potential employer saw it, and as a result, didn't hire me? Too fucking bad. All it would do is prove my point.

Maybe the actual negative responses to the photo were being said behind my back. I wouldn't be surprised. Even though I consciously try not to create any drama, people still manage to talk shit about me. Oh, humans. A few have pointed out to me that the responses may have been different if I looked different, as in if I wasn't attractive. I had definitely thought of that. If any edits to the photo were made, it was probably just cropping or some lighting adjustments - I made sure to leave it relatively untouched and natural. Because a lot of people think I'm attractive, I feared that some would think that I only put up the photo in order to get traffic. I won't lie, it's definitely cool seeing how popular that post has become, but that is not the reason why I took it.

Other than Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra searches, "Katrina Haffner naked" searches make up a good chunk of the keywords people use to find themselves at La Commedia Politica. Are people searching for that specific post, or are they just creeping on me? Who really knows. The weirdest search as of yet that I have seen someone use to find this blog was "Katrina Haffner full frontal" - I guess the logic here being that if I have a completely naked photo of my backside, there must be one of my front too. While I do give people permission to enjoy looking at my naked picture, some also choose to share their perverted thoughts about it with me. I don't exactly know what I want to say in regards to that.

While I am happy with the picture, and happily surprised with the positive responses to it, it never seemed like enough. When I was running the idea through my head of writing about the celebrity privacy breach, the nude photo didn't come to mind until much later into the brainstorming sessions. Once I had it in there, I couldn't get it out, but what got me was the kind of nude photo I wanted to take. At first, I was thinking of a full-on breast shot. However, that seemed too much like a "Hey guy I am hooking up with currently, these are my tits" kind of picture, and if I was going to advertise that post using the picture (because why not milk it a little?), Facebook and other sites would take it down for sure. Funny how ass and breast photos elicit different reactions. Not to mention, I wanted something more artistic, and the kind of photo you would send to your casual partner at 3 AM because you can't sleep didn't really cut it. With the sort of picture I decided to take, I wanted to emphasize the human form without necessarily sexualizing it.

Now, I am taking the steps I was too scared to take six months prior. Like the original post, this is something I have thought well through, and will be damned if I back out. The guilt of not showing any of my front side has weighed on me for months, and it's time to let it off my shoulders.

It's not the best quality photo. Cropping it and changing the lighting was the only editing work done. It took me a few days to figure out what kind of pose I wanted to do. If I had an actual photographer, it may have turned out a little bit different. I could have chosen from tens, maybe even hundreds of pictures to find the "perfect" one. However, by having my laptop set to a timer to take the photo, it took a lot of work to take even just one picture. I had to make sure the webcam was adjusted to the right height, click to take the photo, then run to the chair to do my pose. Because of all of this exhausting work, I didn't have a limitless supply of photos to choose from. This picture was one of the first ones I took. It was probably the first one that I took that was not blurry and where I was in the right pose. I had meant to close my eyes, but in the few second rush to get in the right pose, I forgot to do so. I was meaning to try out a few with my eyes closed, and others with my eyes open, but the more I took after this one, I just couldn't keep going on. I am wearing makeup, but let's be honest, I don't think my face is the main focus of the picture

What stood out to me was the movement. Probably one reason why it's not great quality. To me, it makes it seem more natural. When I first looked at it, I didn't like it. Then I studied it a bit more, and decided to keep it in case no other photo turned out well. After deciding to use the picture, I started disliking it again. It wasn't that I thought I looked unattractive, but I didn't look as attractive as I could be. The most glaringly obvious example would be the curve of my waist to my hips - it usually looks more prominent (makes up my hourglass shape), but at the angle in this photo, I think I look somewhat straight figured. I dismissed these thoughts because I think the world should know that even attractive people have insecurities about their looks, no matter how superficial.

You do have permission to look at and enjoy this photo, but you do not have my consent to use this against me in a negative fashion.

You may call me brave, but do so according to my willingness to showcase my insecurities, not because I am showing my naked body to the world. What will bring me even greater joy than complimenting by body or spirit is to join me in this endeavor to get the world to appreciate the naked human form, without having it always be about sex. Even if it is about sexual appeal, respect people's choices to show themselves off, while refraining from objectification.

Maybe next September, you all will get to see my vulva.

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