Naked Feminism - Breaking the Cult of Female Modesty

Victoria Bateman


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Polity Press
10 March 2023
ISBN: 9781509556069
320 pages

From the publisher

Is it right that, despite the promises of feminism, women's bodies remain at the mercy of state, society and religion? Should a scantily-clad woman, or a promiscuous one, be worth less than a fully-covered woman, or a chaste one? Are being sexy, and being smart, really mutually exclusive? Can a woman be both body and brain? Victoria Bateman has confronted these questions with actions as well as words. She has appeared naked on national television, on stage, in art, and at protests - using her body, as well as her brain, to deliver her message.

In Naked Feminism, Bateman makes a compelling case for women's bodily freedom, and explains why the current puritanical revival is so dangerous for women. She takes us on a journey, illustrating the swinging pendulum of bodily modesty through the ages, from the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Babylon through to the birth of Christianity and Islam, to the lax morals of the medieval period and the bawdiness of Chaucer and Shakespeare, to the clampdowns of the Puritans and later the Victorians, and, more recently, to the re-veiling of the Middle East and the purity pledges of modern day America. She ends with a plea: feminists must unite to challenge the repression of the female body, as only then can women be truly free.