Entity reports on how Amanda Charchian uses nudity in her artwork.

It’s undeniable; millennials are a generation inspired by sexting, “free the nipple” campaigns and Kim Kardashian’s nude selfies. But is this latest cultural trend of baring it all exploitative or empowering for women?

Although nude photo shoots are not revolutionary, social media has transformed the risqué activity. These days, there seems to be a new standard. Bare-bodied smartphone selfies and high-profile photo shoots blanket Instagram feeds. While revealing pics are often leaked without an individual’s consent, some women intentionally pose sans clothing and post revealing shots online.

Example A? Kim K. The reality entertainment star embraces naked photo shoots and selfie sessions. One Instagram post shows Kim au naturel in front of a mirror with the caption, “When you’re like, ‘I have nothing to wear’ LOL.”

Other celebs jumped aboard the naked train and posted similar shots of their bare bodies for the world to see. Model Emily Ratajkowski posed topless with Kim and argued that the trend only encourages body positivity by stating, “However sexual our bodies may be, we need to have the freedom as women to choose when & how we express our sexuality.”

Comedian Lena Dunham, who has appeared in the buff in her HBO series “Girls,” has also voiced support for the nude movement. “Every version of being female and feeling powerful is f—ing great with me,” Dunham told People. “I don’t have a problem with it.”

While Dunham praises Kardashian’s naked selfie, female actress Chloe Grace Moretz attacked the shot and the new nude standard. “That picture wasn’t linked to body confidence,” Moretz said via Twitter. “It was done in a slightly voyeuristic light, which I felt was a little inappropriate for young women to see. I would hate for young women to feel they need to post certain photos in order to gain likes, retweets, favorites and male attention.”

Celebrities are not the only ones to argue about the bare female frame. In the artistic world, photographer Amanda Charchian embraces nude photography to explore the female body. She believes clothes distract from an individual’s natural pheromone communication, which is the focus of her latest project. However, Charchian doesn’t believe all nudity is justified. She’s been called the ‘antidote‘ to Terry Richardson, a renowned fashion photographer labeled an alleged sexual predator for possible inappropriate actions in the studio. He’s known for placing subjects in front of a white wall and exposing them with his bright flash. The Playboy-esque poses are captured as the models shed their inhibitions along with their discarded articles of clothing.

Neither of these photographers is charting new territory; artists have been obsessed with the female form for thousands of years. While most of this art is PG-13, some classic paintings are overtly erotic in nature. Many old-school painters created works to shake up the artistic world and reject social standards regarding sexuality, justifying these depictions of bare women.

Although society sets different expectations for celebrities and artists, should all women embrace the new naked standard? Social media paired with a progressive generation normalizes nudity but that doesn’t necessarily mean female empowerment is reliant on a nude selfie.

At the end of every Instagram feed or photography session, it comes down to one critical element: intentionality. Bare bodies aren’t taboo anymore, but what’s the nudity for? Strip down for genuine body confidence, but don’t do it simply to gain attention or popularity. If you can’t defend your naked statement, maybe exposing everything isn’t so empowering after all.

Edited by Ellena Kilgallon

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