“The human body isn’t offensive y’all..”
Dove Cameron, a 23-year-old ex-Disney star, is drawing attention by posting pictures of herself scantily dressed in celebration of “the female body” and as a rebuke of physical objectification.
This week she posted to Instagram a video of herself kneeling on her bed wearing only a thin swimsuit. The video was viewed over two million times. Most commenters applauded Cameron’s beauty. But some were shocked at seeing the former Disney Channel star striking this adult pose.
“A mother said [in a comment] that her daughter had watched the video and ran to tell her,” wrote one indignant Instagram user.
“My cousin’s teenage daughter (she’s 13) is a fan of yours. Do you think this is appropriate for her? It’s one thing to pose in your bikini and be proud of your body (yeah you’re sexy)… But you’re posing and stroking your hair very provocatively on a bed. Considering your fan base… Not appropriate,” wrote another. “Go pose on the beach or something.”
WATCH: Cardi B Strikes Blow for Feminism With ‘Half Naked’ Twerking Party on a Yacht
Of course Cameron anticipated these responses, touting her video with a pre-emptive rebuke of the more prudish element in her audience.
“I love the female body,” she wrote. “Guys if i’m in a bathing suit, and I’m 23 and you’re tripping, you need to re-evaluate what trips you up. and also get more comfortable w the human body.”
Her next post took the point further. Posting William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s famous 1879 rendering of “The Birth of Venus,” she issued a long-form castigation of puritanism and the objectification of women.
“The human body isn’t offensive y’all,” she wrote. “Stop objectifying women so hard that you convince yourself that something natural and beautiful could ever be something offensive… it’s so repressed and unhealthy to look at nakedness and see something bad.”
View this post on Instagram
the human body isn’t offensive y’all. stop objectifying women so hard that you convince yourself that something natural and beautiful could ever be something offensive. also let women define their own bodies & their relationship to their bodies for themselves. stop defining women’s bodies for said women. (goes for women shaming women as well) it’s so repressed and unhealthy to look at nakedness and see something bad. it’s just hundreds of years of social conditioning & it’s super weird. we should be done with this whole shame thing. at any age (children as well and ESPECIALLY) and any gender. we only make nakedness inappropriate when we objectify and sexualize. a body is not inherently sexual. its beautiful and innocent. stop ruining it for yourself & others ((just to be clear to the thousands of people who RAN with this post because it upset them so much, no, i am not saying “everyone should just run naked in the streets like animals and the world should be in total chaos.” i am simply encouraging the embracing of the human body, the removal of the stigma that it is evil, the comfortability and LOVE of ones OWN body, and yes, if it is appropriate, if we are alone of at home, knowing that nakedness isn’t wrong. raising kids to be happy and friendly with their bodies and not sexualizing and objectifying it to the point that they become afraid of it. thanks for your time. please calm down.)
“A body is not inherently sexual. It’s beautiful and innocent. Stop ruining it for yourself & others,” she added.
The core of her criticism is directed at what she sees as society’s double standard regarding the nudity of men and women.
“Men can post photos with no shirt on and such and they don’t get bashed for it at all but when a women decides she wants to show a bit of skin she immediately gets ‘slut-shamed’ and accused of being ‘sexually’ [sic],” she wrote. “If she wanted to be a little sexual she can. It’s her right.”
Cameron joins the ranks of Disney graduates who have veered to more explicit public activities. But she didn’t just stumble into it. Being a “role model” for young girls and encouraging body positivity has been a long-term goal for the young celebrity.
Last year she told StarCaster that having fought with anorexia herself has made her militant in the battle for body-affirmation.
“I realized that if I was going to be a role model then I needed to live like the girls that I needed when I was young,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard to maintain health and a normality. And if someone wants to go on my Instagram and tell me that I am not as thin as I used to be, or I have a zit here, I don’t care about what that angry person has to say. What’s important is the freedom and the quality of my life. As long as my life is happy and healthy, so is my worldview.”
“I became a good role model the day that I didn’t try to be a role model for young girls or what the mothers of young girls wanted me to be,” she said. “But the day that I gained so much independence was when I wanted to be a role model for myself.”
In taking her selfies, Cameron may really be driven by the noblest aspirations. But the debate worth having is whether promoting sexuality for sexuality’s sake — especially by a young, Disney-approved model — really sets an example of personal acceptance to young girls, or whether it simply perpetuates (under the aegis of corporate feminism) the very beauty standards against which Cameron purportedly wants to rebel?