Regissør: Jan Dalchow

NUDENESS / Norwegian Jan Dalchow's new documentary series about body shame is honorable, but also trivial and sentimental.


A 2017 report showed that only 58 percent of the oldest pupils in the Folkeskolen in Denmark go to bath after sports. For middle school students, that figure is 88 percent. At a national conference of the student organization Danske Skoleelever, single-person baths were proposed as a solution. But why do so few of the oldest students go to a joint bath? And do we do them a bear service by allowing them to hide their bodies away from bath curtains?

The Norwegian filmmaker Jan dalchow has been ashamed of his body and in the docu-series since childhood NAK ED he explores in ten small paragraphs why it has become so common to feel bad about his body. At the same time he transcends his own boundaries and follows various activists, including Norwegian Kenneth Sortland Myklebust and a group of nudity activists in San Francisco with Gypsy Taub at the forefront.

The form shapes the content

Myklebust invites ordinary people, all of whom have a difficult relationship with their bodies, to shoot a naked selfie without censorship and photoshopping. As the only prop, activists are given a mask that they can do with whatever they want: hide the face behind, hide the genitals with or symbolically step on.

The project is about standing by who you are and putting new body images into circulation. In true American fashion, we follow the characters both before, during and after the photo shoot and get their word that they have gone through a mental make-over, accompanied by an epic soundtrack.

NAK-ED Director Jan Dalchow Norway

The moment is (re-) Defining for the activists. It may seem like a sentimental parody. A deep speaker voice regrets at the end "the censorship due to Facebook's community standards". The lemon is pressed too hard. Facts are given in advance. The setting requires a specific response from the participants. No one dares disappoint the camera, so what can we use the answer for? The form shapes the content.

Nikolas, Pushpi, Nicole and Rachel

As I said, all the contributors have problems with their self-image. Nikolas is gay and well-trained, but suffers from excessive self-monitoring. Pushpi is Indian and grew up in the Middle East, where the body of women is something you cover. Nicole is traumatized after being bullied as a child because of her weight. Rachel is struggling with her age. The diversity of the project is great: young people like the elderly, different ethnicities, disabled and tattooed, powerful and slim. And for everyone, it's a great experience. Some are pleasantly surprised by how they look. Others rejoice in helping others to better themselves. Activism serves them well. They feel empowered. But how long?

Young people like the elderly, different ethnicities, disabled and tattooed, powerful
and slim.

The docu-series message is that instead of covering up, we have to undress. We must set new examples with the body to challenge our collective notions.

Yes, single-person bathroom facilities are a bad idea. The beauty industry lives by selling us lies. There is no business in achievable ideals.

Health authorities' biopolitical initiatives make us feel ashamed. We urgently need other bodies to compare ourselves to, but unfortunately, social media doesn't allow it. That's the big problem.

Of course, we need to fight unhealthy overweight, but research shows that stigma works counterproductively. "Operational lies" (ideals) are a poor strategy for promoting public health. Instead, as the human figure in the NAK-ED logo, we should stand with open arms and "embrace diversity"!

Nudity ban and body as obscene

In the docu-series we see from San Francisco's downtowns that people have long been able to meet people wandering around naked. But a new bill by Democrat Scott Wiener will ban such "obscenities". One of his supporters claims that it distracts drivers and therefore poses a safety hazard. He himself says naked genitals are a problem for the local business and that it can be harmful for children to watch.

Local nudity activists are horrified by the bill. American Gypsy Taub goes in front, dressed and with a megaphone, in close alliance with the lawyer Christina di Edoardo. di Edoardo cites smoking bans as a legitimate law because passive smoking can damage the lungs. But nudity cannot. For her, the limit goes by the physically harmful.

Director Jan Dalchow

Another of the activists describes the idea of ​​the body as obscene – as learned. But most compelling is Taub's speech: the activists' wife must be vowed, and from the entrance to the San Francisco City Hall she proclaims her message in a megaphone: “All of us want intimacy. All of us want to get close to someone. And body shame disturbs that. ”

Health authorities' biopolitical initiatives make us feel ashamed.

The point is trivial. Body shame keeps people from being intimate, and with a "nudity ban" we see no bodies other than those in the commercials. Wouldn't the oldest pupils in the Danish public school benefit from seeing alternatives on a media like TikTok? Maybe they would then be more familiar with their bodies?

In another narrative track, Jan Dalchow dresses up online and participates naked in a great performance. That's very fine. But we can only change our relationship with ourselves if we collectively challenge the notion of what most bodies look like.

Twenty-three minutes after Dalhow's launch, the series was removed from the popular app TikTok despite the censored version being published.

The series can be viewed on Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.
Nak-Ed website.

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