After reading complaints from cringing Twitter users about Channel 4's new "Naked Attraction", I decided it was something I had to see. One person - assisted by the cheekily hilarious Anna Richardson - judges six participants as they are revealed from the bottom up, completely naked. The chooser must whittle the six down to two as more and more of the body is revealed, at which point they themselves stand naked in front of their selected final two. They then choose which person they would like to go on a date with - dates which tend to go well. I imagine once you've scrutinised each other's naked bodies on television, getting drinks together no longer seems particularly nerve-wracking.
I am not at all ashamed to admit that I love this show; I love its concept; and I love the messages it promotes. Not only is it intriguing, interesting, and entertaining for viewers - but it also is an excellent promotion and platform for the human body.
"Naked Attraction" sends a message of self love, body confidence, and celebrates so many different body types - a much needed but rare thing to see in our media. Even rarer is that this message is not just limited to girls with bigger tummies or smaller boobs (which can sometimes be all that is addressed with so-called body positivity). This programme shows us so much more: men with small penises, men with back hair, men with foreskin, men without muscles; women with pubic hair, women with protruding labia, women with sagging breasts, women with large areola. All aspects of the human body that should be normalised and accepted.
Participants of the show receive compliments on parts of their body that they perhaps feel insecure about, and most say that they feel more confident in themselves after the experience. Even when they are eliminated, the chooser gives their reasons without demeaning or criticising - but simply stating their personal preference and what they are and aren't physically attracted to. These reasons are not based on idealistic beauty standards of society, but instead on the level of attraction felt towards the person.
It is so refreshing to watch a show which utterly embraces the human body, in a society which simultaneously exploits and shies away from it. Unlike the severely retouched images presented in magazines and the unrealistic bodies featured in pornography, "Naked Attraction" isn't scared to show us the bodies of ordinary people in all their glory. Additionally, it isn't scared to encourage its audience to find these ordinary bodies healthy, normal, and attractive.
To all the nay-sayers and the what-happened-to-the-good-old-days-ers, I ask you this: why have you given the naked body such intimate importance? Why do you consider certain body parts as sacred; something to be hidden and kept secret?
"Naked Attraction" is a fun, light-hearted watch, and sparks the same intrigue in people as "Embarrassing Bodies" and "Sex Sent Me to the ER". It enables viewers to see bodies like and unlike their own, and to appreciate all of these bodies for exactly the way that they are - not through the filtered lens of society's strict beauty standards. In contrast to the majority of cringing Twitter users, I do not believe this show marks the end of romance and the demise of our very civilisation - but instead signifies a much needed, positive change in our perception of the human body.