On Thursday night, every potential status update came out wrong:
“I have always loved Keira Knightley’s breasts, but now that she’s exposed them, I love them even more.” Nope.
“Seeing Keira Knightley’s un-photoshopped boobs confirms my early adoration of them.” True, but still nope.
“Hey, I think I look like Keira Knightley!” Shit, no.
I didn’t want to make it sound like I loved seeing Keira Knightly’s breasts simply because they actually are spectacular, but after seeing the picture of her and her un-retouched boobs, I desperately wanted to share it.
In the moment, I couldn’t have explained why I wanted to do it. Even now, a couple of days later, I still don’t know if I can articulate it. But the photo was more than poignant for me. It was powerful, and I was moved but not exactly inspired. Deep down, I felt something akin to relief but stronger than validation.
Ultimately, I think it was the feeling of reclamation.
I’m not about to post my own topless photos, but I did want to show what reclaiming my own chest looks like. Apparently, it looks like a no make-up selfie in an American Apparel bra because I’m not a professional photographer, it seems like making nudity a political statement is a special move reserved for celebrities and artists this month, and I’m not Keira Knightley or Chelsea Handler.
If this all seems a bit melodramatic, don’t worry, I know how it sounds. And I’ve been waiting for the feminist critiques of Knightley’s so-called “brave protest” to start rolling in (read more about this online trend here). After all, Keira Knightley is a stunning woman who, like so many famous celebrities, is a thin white woman with great bone structure who naturally fits nearly all of the beauty norms and standards of American culture. (Also, perhaps especially because she is a famous actress, Knightley’s intentions are completely irrelevant to the swaths of wide-eyed, sexually-exploitative, BroBible-thumping straight dudes who are thinking, “BOOBS? SCORE! And I don’t even have to hack, creep, or coerce to get a look?!?!”) Finally, maybe the whole thing really is just an ingeniously-timed publicity stunt to help promote her next movie.
We could raise many a skeptical eyebrow to Keira Knightley’s boobs and the effectiveness of this particular anti-photoshop protest, but I just don’t care. For me, this is personal.