Dresden, GERMANY – When walking through a very crowded square in Dresden, we passed by a restaurant with a statue of a woman. The statue was naked, very skinny, and had unnaturally big breasts.
At first it didn’t occur to us that there was something strange about it.
Looking back a few hours later, we couldn’t stop thinking about that particular image. The unrealistic idea that is often perpetuated by these types of objects is hurtful and creates unhealthy societal expectations for women.
The hypocrisy is that even if you have that so-called perfect body type, it is shameful to show it in real life.
The female body must be perfect, but never shown.
‘Perfect’ female nudity is accepted when commercialized, but when a woman decides to expose her own body, it becomes unacceptable.
This is a reality we are all aware of but are taught to ignore.
Female bodies are a desirable image, but an uncomfortable reality.
We realized that female nudity is continuously present in everyday public life. But when a woman needs to breastfeed in public, it becomes taboo. Men can walk around topless in almost every public space, whereas women are shamed for the same activity.
It is something that is idealized until people are faced with the real and natural body.
It wasn’t just visible on our one day in Dresden. Throughout Youth Journalism International’s 2023 Global Conference and beyond, we saw examples everywhere.
While walking through the city of Prague, we could not help but notice the overwhelming amount of female nudity.
While passing an art shop, we saw statues that reminded us of an archeological find from Czechia, the Venus of Dolní Věstonice.
This small sculpture, whose large breasts and hips were likely a symbol for fertility, dates back to the Stone Age.
The nudity exposed today is only used as a symbol of impropriety and lust.
A naked statue is nothing new, but it is something to think about more often. The message it’s sending does something to public opinion, and that can hurt people.
All breasts are beautiful and can be shown. Maybe it was just a simple statue in the middle of Dresden, but it represents a global issue that concerns us all.
Viktorie Goldmannová, Reporter and Senior Illustrator with Youth Journalism International from Czechia.
Ana Fadul, Correspondent with Youth Journalism International from Colombia.
Anne van Mill, Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from the Netherlands.
Naz Mergen, Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Türkiye.
Cover illustration: Gemma Christie, Senior Illustrator with Youth Journalism International from England.