21/11/2014 06:54 GMT | Updated 20/01/2015 05:59 GMT

How Getting Naked Really Did Make Me Feel Empowered

Driving to work after days of anxiety over how I wanted to respond to all the stripping down going on lately by mothers: from the Dutch model Lara Stone, who posed nude post-baby for System Magazine, to Kim Kardashian's greased up Paper cover, I finally felt free.

I had just published my blog post, My butt: The beauty of the before and after, on my blog, Stripping Down. As a body image expert, ex-nude model, stripper and author, I often write about controversial imagery in the media.

But after seeing so much of the commentary from people pointing out that mothers shouldn't pose nude, I felt like I needed to do more than just write words.

I felt the need to strip down in solidarity with all those celebrity moms.


Before: Back in my modeling days

The Daily Mail UK says Kardashian explains, "As a role model I'm not saying anyone else should do that, but for me it was an art project and it taught me to do what you want to do."

I took those words to heart: do what you want to do! Don't be shamed by others' morals.

Over the years since I left the adult industry, I have hidden my body away. I covered up. I got more conservative as befits a mother, or so I thought.

And I lost some of my sense of self. I lost some sense of myself as a beautiful, sexual woman. I lost connection to a certain part of myself.

I've watched with interest as celebrities and everyday women claim empowerment through posing nude; it's made me ponder my stance.

Can posing nude really be empowering?

So I wrote my blog piece and got naked again, with the body I have now and with all my insecurities, after 23 years and three children.

My art project was a sort of--butt before and after.

I was prepared for people to be shocked, to disagree, to...something.

But instead...crickets.

This whole posing-in-the-nude-to-make-some-point actually might be getting oversaturated.


After: 23 years and three children later

Maybe that could be part of a solution to how women are portrayed in media. If we see everybody and their mother (literally) in the nude, maybe we'll get to the point as a culture where we'll say, who cares?

It's just another naked butt.

Maybe we'll get to the point where nobody will say, "Oh! But you're a mother! You shouldn't pose nude!"

Maybe we'll get to the point where we really will get to see the diversity and beauty in all different shapes and sizes and ages of bodies.

Maybe we'll get to the point where every nude image of a woman doesn't have to be sexualized and presented for a male gaze, but can just be a photo of a female celebrating her body.

Maybe we'll get to the point where what we choose to do or not do with our bodies will be our decisions to make alone and no one will judge us for those decisions.

And as I sit here now and reflect on the experience of no one caring about my naked butt, I feel kind of good. I feel empowered that I made a choice that felt good for me and what I felt was right regardless of what I thought others might think.

The world did not end by me deciding to be simply, myself. And that is where I found my empowerment.