It was a bare desert; we carried in loads of film equipment and props to create a stunning thematic story of forgiveness, set to the backdrop of the Glamis Dunes in Southern California.
I didn’t consider the metaphor of the landscape then; open, exposed, bare and uncovered; a powerful theme considering the thematics of the piece we were filming, and the challenges that exist within such themes.
‘BARE’ is a concept trailer derived from the master project we filmed at the sand dunes, and serves as a promotional trailer for the upcoming second segment of ‘The Trvst Must Fall’. The full film captures the story of a young man and woman, attempting to heal and reunite, but whom are torn apart by the force of fear. Within this narrative, fear is represented by a shadowy figure that physically tears them apart during the course of the film. In this trailer, we catch only glimpses of this character, yet it serves to represent divisional thought, both internally upon ourselves and externally projected upon us and others.
I know what that thought process is like; and can relate. I understand the manner in which It may shock people to visit our Instagram or our website, and find challenging, sensual, and unorthodox images, coupled with messages and themes of "‘human trafficking awareness and experiential healing development”. Truly, throughout our development, this seemingly strange paradox has also challenged me. When I first partnered with advocates and leaders who also blazed trails in pageantry and modeling, I questioned the approach; when we first, as a Movement, merged into dance and the potential of healing through it, the scars of the legalistic and judgmental reprimands of, at times, even well meaning mentors, began to show. Yet never as much as now; when I have been a man who has fought a life long battle with lust; objectification; trauma; fear of women; and a distrust of them as well, all stemming from my own childhood trauma and abuse.
Thus, there exists the real reason we push these images, and I stand behind it; because I know the tensions, the disapprovals, the biases and the scoffs; I know all too well what divides us, as men and women. Yet I also know what unites us; and that is our desire and right to be free. To live a live liberated of fear; and that unites us in the need to be vulnerable; honest; real; and received in our various walks of life.
We need to become bare; open; unhindered; and released; and truthfully, this opens the only true path to healing. The challenging truth is that becoming bare requires the painful surrender of our own biases and inductive reasoning at times; and demands us to turn our attend from broad generalizations and place emphasis and attention to the individual.
The video in this blog may strike some as “erotic”, “revealing”, or a host of other terms. What it strikes me as is beautiful. Let’s not be timid or inaccurate; I notice the lingerie, the curves, the body, the movements; yet I also see the smile, and the eyes. It captivates me and I find myself at a beautiful merging of seeing the body and personality as whole. I don’t finish this video recollecting bare skin or sensual undertones; I leave it feeling like I witnessed the fullness of two people in a powerful story.
Yes, there are images, and all sorts of other media, that push the degrading and exploitation of a woman (or man) through the display of bare skin and erotic undertones. Dually, there are pageants, modeling workshops, fashion careers, and even trauma victims, scarred from years of body shaming and abuse that find peace and liberation in finally being able to wear a sexy dress or outfit and feel beautiful again; what really stabs at the social bias is that these survivors aren’t doing it for us, or for men; they’re doing it for themselves.
We owe it to ourselves as a culture, and and as people, to ask what the details and depths of those exploitative contexts are; what makes an image exploitative? Why do we perceive those elements make it so? And possibly above all, where did we gain this view?
Reflecting on why we see something as exploitative, and working to call to accountability our own real perceptions, as opposed to developing generalizations that shame and demean the human form, is a challenging task. It demands our world to deal with biases that may not have developed out of the most healthy places or stemmed from trauma; perhaps patriarchal influence or legalistic thinking defined our position. At the lowest level of thought assignment, individuals scoff at a sexy outfit and avert their eyes. At potentially the most deplorable level, they attack and assault sexually, and then accuse the woman of “asking for it.”
None of this is too vouch for or support women exposing skin or baring their body as a remedy or approach to healing; because what we’re really talking about here is the power in baring or covering the body, but the power in choice; to feel free to make a choice for oneself, responsibly and in full love of oneself, without the fear of judgment or the attack of a man. Moreover, we are discussing the toxicity of inductive reasoning and generalization; and challenging our world to step back and become open to the idea and concept of the body and sensuality as empowering; as expressive as opposed to exploitative. Imagine a world where a woman could see her body as a point of edification and honor; such a world would clearly not have her bare it on a stage for money or in magazine spread, sprawled out in an erotic pose; yet, such a world would not demand her to cover it. such a world would have made peace with the woman’s body and seen the relation of it to the full woman, not as a separate or exclusive element.
Sadly, that world is not yet here; though we are fighting for it. Still, there exists much shaming of the sensual form that only feeds the brokenness of a world willing to exploit it. If we learned to stop seeing the body as dirty; as erotic; as shameful; then perhaps, that would stop us from exploiting it. Such is the key to why our images challenge and expose; we want you to think about your viewpoints; because while many speak about modesty and covering, the human condition of exploitation has never been impacted by burying the issue. You won’t change the issue of exploitation by covering the human form or averting the eyes of gazers; because this isn’t about what we’re seeing; it’s about what lives in our heart. For many, that is a spirit of judgement; for others, a spirit of lust. We believe the hearts of humanity can change; to value and edify what is now being exploited; yet thats’s one hell of a challenge, because it requires the bare truth. We have to be honest; to spill out our toxic thoughts and opinions and replace them with healthier truths that require us not only to examine the person we are judging, but most of all ourselves.
There, is the greatest challenge of all; and the great reason we unite and create to face it together.
- Daniel V / Lead Conceptualist, The Priceless Movement