“The Female Nude and Her Many Characters” by Bianca S. Mendoza

No matter how many discussions, articles, documentaries or books there have been regarding the female nude she never seems to disappoint her ability to inspire good conversation. And how could she disappoint with her ever so mysterious capability to morph into any idea conceivable. We have seen her transform from Praxiteles’s statue Aphrodite of Knidos, so modest and aware, to David Levinthal’s XXX Series, a series of pornographic naked dolls that are blurred almost to make you feel as though you are day dreaming them. It is this reason alone that the nude female will never expire her power to mean just about anything. It is no wonder she is in high demand for almost every industry there is.

Vanessa Beecroft

Vanessa Beecroft

I am a graduate from the California Institute of the Arts and aside from my dance major I would always sign up for classes that had titles like Lady Murderesses or The Hottentot Venus: Introduction to Black Feminism. I chose these classes simply because I knew I would be further augmenting my knowledge of the female gender, a gender I am fascinated by and familiar with being that I am one. As time went on and I deepened my knowledge of woman history, I started to realize one thing all of my classes had in common; the female Nude. She was everywhere. In every textbook I would open there she was. I would pop in a film and again she would show up. Even in literature she found a way to be described detail by detail. I was not bothered by her constant appearance in all of my woman studies but rather I was curious. Curious as to why she was used so excessively to describe, explain and represent so many different feelings, beliefs and opinions. I mean this woman was everywhere. Her breasts, nipples, vulva, limbs, buttocks, her skin; she was everywhere and she meant everything. She represented purity, she represented resentment, and she represented war, religion and modesty. She represented sex, love, and exposure. It amazed me, and still amazes me to see how this nude body, this body that I myself carry, this body that is the giver of life seems to also be the giver of inspiration.

Like an actress, she plays many different characters with various roles portrayed, her nude physique in its different environments, her corpse the landscape for new ideas and thoughts. And so, true to form, this mysterious nude female got me thinking. Thinking and wondering on how this woman is a representation of me, or how I am a representation of her? I too can be a nude female and I feel as though that creates a connection between her and me, a connection through the physical and emotional. When I see a nude female, regardless of the situation she is placed in, I relate to her. And as much as I differ from her in many circumstances I am forced to relate to her because she is still the face of my gender. When she is beauty I feel beautiful, when she is exposed I feel exploited, and when she is, I am.

I am not offended by the nude female, but she has been displayed so often that she has become almost too familiar to me. She has become more like a phenomenon rather than a body used to live out human’s thoughts and fantasies in every which way plausible. And so it is to my belief that it is the nude body of the female that has been exploited through her overexposure by unyielding consumers. It is this reason that I feel that I have become every nude female that you see made available to you and there is a female nude somewhere that has preceded me and in effect my body is not mines, it is the example.

In conclusion to my own thoughts, I had to ask myself:

When I take off my clothes, which nude female form do I exemplify?


Born and raised in Northern California, Bianca grew up training in classical ballet and in her later years began training in Graham modern and hip hop.  A graduate from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia California, receiving her BFA in dance, she moved to the San Francisco bay area where she created her dance company Binki Danz, now performing and creating new work all over the bay area.  A feminist, choreographer, dancer, writer and artist Bianca Stephanie Mendoza is first and foremost a believer in God and a believer in human cure through peace.

“And he turned my sorrows into dancing,” Psalm 30:11

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