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A ‘healthy body’ looks and feels very different on each and every one of us.

Sadly though, research conducted by Women’s Health as part of our 2019 campaign, Project Body Love, found that three-quarters of British women don’t feel confident in their own skin. The reality is, for most women, being naked is not a feel-good place to be.

It’s wanting to embrace the female form in all of its diverse glory that inspired Women’s Health’s very first Naked Issue back in 2014, for which actress Zoe Saldana fronted the magazine’s cover in the nude, with trainer Tracey Anderson and former reality star Millie Mackintosh going buff within the pages.

Then, 2016 saw Lea Michele, Iskra Lawrence and Madeleine Shaw respond to our naked women call out. Come 2017, Jenna Tatum was gracing the cover, with the likes of Alexandra Burke and Melanie Sykes inside the issue.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) amazon.co.uk £10.38

September 2019 saw presenter and singer Rochelle Humes taking the cover, with professional climbers and football and rugby players also appearing in the magazine.

‘Our research found British women are overwhelmingly negative about their bodies and our cover star Rochelle Humes used to be no exception,’ Claire Sanderson, WH Editor-in-chief, said of the decision.

‘It’s taken two children and a lot of soul searching for her to be comfortable in her skin and this cover is a celebration of that. She may look ‘perfect’ to many, but every woman has the right to their own emotions, from insecurity to supreme confidence.’

To celebrate the stars of the Naked Issue, past and present, WH has collected a series of the images of the women who have bared all in the name of body confidence and female empowerment.

Straight up: Healthy is not a body shape, it’s a lifestyle – as the 40 different shapes, sizes, mindsets and mentalities of the women below prove.

40 naked celebrities celebrate their bodies

1. Rochelle Humes

Presenter and singer

She says: ‘I’m a mother of two little girls now, I’m 30 years old and it finally happened: I accepted myself, my body, my hair, my scars and my bumps and my bits on one side that doesn’t look the same as the other, and I bit the bullet.’

2. Molly Thompson-Smith

British champion sport climber

She says: ‘My body looks the way it does through effort and hard work.’

3. Lea Michelle

Actress and singer

She says: ‘I’m not perfect. I’m not trying to represent myself as being some perfect girl, but I love myself, flaws and all.’

4. Chrissy Teigan

Presenter and model

She says: ‘I used to take pride in the fact I didn’t have to work out — then I hit that age where I have too. I want to drink champagne and have hearty dinners, so I would rather work out for an hour and be able to do what I want.’

5. Jenna Dewan

Actress and dancer

She says: ‘There are certain days or weeks where I’m so busy with work it will be harder to get in a workout and other times I’d just prefer to be with my family. I have to make sure it’s something I want to do or I will make every excuse not to work out.’

Women’s Health UK

6. Tara Stiles

Yoga instructor and founder of Strala yoga

She says: ‘As long as I feel good and I’m healthy, the dimensions of my body don’t matter.’

7. Sofia Vergara

Actress

She says: ‘For me, it’s not about having muscles or cut abs – I don’t have abs. I don’t think, “I need to be like a fit model with a perfect body,” because, you know, I’m 45. That would take too much effort. But I have accepted it, because it’s now part of my life. I know that, for my health, it has to be.’

Women’s Health UK

8. Alexandra Burke

Singer and former The X Factor winner

She says: ‘Healthy eating encouraged me to kick-start my gym routine, too. I work out five or six times a week. It’s been a slow fitness process but the rewards are for the long term. Now, my training schedule never changes – not even when I’m on holiday.

‘I begin with a 10-minute run to warm up, then an hour of circuit training. My fitness goal is to run the New York marathon before I reach 30 and kids factor into the equation.’

Women’s Health UK

9. Melanie Sykes

TV presenter

She says: ‘I see exercise as an investment. I’m in my forties and my body has more definition now than it did in my twenties. It also gives me more energy, which is important when you have an active, growing family.’

Women’s Health UK

10. Carly Rowena

PT and influencer

She says: ‘Through seeing what my body is capable of, I’ve been able to beat my body demons. I respect it now and don’t compare myself to the small, thin girl I once dreamed of being. I train three to five days a week, alternating body weight and weighted circuit workouts; rarely cardio unless I go for a run with my dog. I’m a size eight and I weigh just under 11st – it’s the heaviest I’ve ever been but I’m two sizes smaller than when I was 18.’

Women’s Health UK

11. Lucy Mecklenburgh

TOWIE star and founder of Results with Lucy

She says: ‘A few years ago, I started working with a PT, Cecilia Harris. I’d wake up happier, more motivated– I wanted to get to the gym and push my body.’

12. Tracey Anderson

Celebrity trainer, fitness pioneer and author

She says: ‘I don’t train every day to look hot for some dude or to look great on the beach. I train because it makes me healthy, in control and comfortable in my body – like I’m home.’

Women’s Health UK

13. Madeleine Shaw

Nutritionist and cookery writer

She says: ‘I have curves and my work and social life sometimes get in the way of exercise. But I don’t beat myself up about it. Eating all the kale in the world isn’t going to make you happy.’

14. Gemma Atkinson

Television actress and presenter

She says: ‘Eating well and getting fit is about feeling amazing. Looking good in a bikini is just a by-product.’

15. Iskra Lawrence

Model and body image campaigner

She says: ‘I simply want to be the best, healthy, toned, happy version of myself.’

16. Kirsty Gallacher

Sky sports presenter

She says: ‘I’m turning 40 soon, but age means nothing if you don’t look after yourself. I enjoy my body more when I keep it fit and healthy — it’s important to be in touch with your body and I love the fact that I am.’

17. AJ Odudu

TV and radio presenter

She says: ‘These days, I don’t really care about how much I weigh, even though it’s a couple of stones more than a few years ago when I was a size eight and weighed 8st. Now I’m all about personal challenges. I train three to four mornings a week, with a mixture of running, HIIT workouts, Barry’s Bootcamp and BodyPump, and I ran the London Marathon earlier this year, finishing in four and a half hours. My next fitness goal is learning to swim.’

Women's Health UK

18. Lydia Bright

TOWIE star

She says: ‘I’m finally content with who I am inside and out. I love working out, and have built muscle in my bum with weighted squats and lunges and I’ve slimmed down my waist with cardio and side planks.I exercise every day; either cardio at the gym or, if I’m short on time, a quick abs workout or HIIT session at home.’

Women’s Health UK

19. Jada Sezer

Model and activist

She says: ‘My attitude to exercise has changed over the years: in my early twenties I worked out all the time in the gym, desperate to be thinner and smaller than my 5ft10in frame so I could look more like other girls. But after studying for a master’s in child psychology,I learned that accepting who you are is at the root of self-esteem. Now, I’ve come to love my curvy body – especially my hips.’

Women’s Health UK

20. Amy Willerton

TV presenter and former Miss Universe

She says: ‘As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become kinder to myself. I don’t hit the gym to get a body like Kim Kardashian’s, I go to make my body look the best it can. I lift weights once or twice a week and can squat 10 to 15 reps of my body weight, about 60kg. I love and respect the legs I once hated because they’ve helped me achieve so much.’

Women’s Health UK

21. Lucy Campbell

Professional surfer

She says: ‘I’m a size eight and 9st 13lb, which is mostly muscle – I have strong abs and defined shoulders. When I was a young teenager, my body was different from those of other girls my age, which made me feel self-conscious. But now I see the beauty in my strength.’

Women’s Health UK

22. Millie Mackintosh

Former reality star, fashion designer, influencer

She says: ‘People ask, ‘How do you deal with the fact that people think you’re too thin?’ I know I’m not too thin – I’m slim. I go to the gym to feel toned and to build muscle.’

23. Binky Felstead

Former Made in Chelsea star, founder of The Mummy Tribe

She says: ‘Exercise is essential for my mind. I suffer from anxiety, but a gym session chills me out and makes me happier.’

24. Jodie Kidd

Model and TV presenter

She says: ‘Body image is far more wholesome and health-focused than it was in the Nineties. I’ll always be lanky, but having a health goal to aim for has really tightened and toned the muscles I have.’

25. Cherry Healey

TV presenter

She says: ‘It breaks my heart to read my teenage diary now and see how much I used to hate myself. I have a healthier relationship with food now and don’t beat myself up so much.’

26. Fran Halsall

European Champion swimmer, Commonwealth Gold Medallist and World Silver Medallist

She says: ‘Yes, my body is the tool of my trade – but I love looking good in my swimsuit, too!’

27. Zoe Saldana

Actress and dancer

She says: ‘I feel I’m exactly where I want to be. I feel beautiful in a way that even when I was working out a whole lot, I didn’t. Just be happy, regardless.’

28. Sophie Hitchon

Olympic hammer thrower and current British record holder

She says: ‘I love my big thighs. I wouldn’t be able to pick up a hammer without them. I put blood, sweat and tears into building them up. When I was younger, I always wished I was more petite or willowy; now they’re a symbol of my success as an athlete.’

Photograph by John Wright

29. Alex Scott

Footballer for England women, team GB and Arsenal ladies

She says: ‘I’m so proud of my body and what it’s let me achieve.’

30. Chloe Madley

Personal trainer

She says: ‘I’m not saying I’m the ideal. I’m not saying only muscly bodies are beautiful — this is just what I do. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m human and allow myself a few days to lie on the couch and eat burgers. I’m still learning my limits.’

31. Jenny Meadows

800M and 400M runner, former Great Britain athlete, world and European champion

She says: ‘I’m so proud of my body. It’s been so good to me.’

32. Samantha Murray

Olympic Pentathlete and current world champion

She says: ‘It would be an insult to my body to say there are parts I’m not keen on – it’s served me so well and I couldn’t have won an Olympic medal without it.’

33. England Rugby team

Left to right: Heather Fisher, Amy Wilson-Hardy, Danielle Waterman, Claire Allan, Michaela Staniford

She says: ‘I don’t train to look good; simply to be effective. I’ve grown to love my bigger legs and bum – they’re vital for bursts of speed.’

34. Karen Bardsley

Manchester City and England Women’s football team goalkeeper

She says: ‘I used to want to do too much and I went hard on HIIT circuits, but when I joined Manchester City in 2013, I reframed my attitude to fitness. Now, instead of doing as much as my body will allow, I ask myself, ‘Will this help me on the pitch?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ I rest instead.’

Women’s Health UK

35. Katie Stainton

Team GB Heptathlete

She says: ‘Posing naked for a national magazine is a real breakthrough for me;I’m doing this for myself to boost my confidence.’

Ian Harrison

36. Mica Moore

Team GB sprinter and bobsleigher

She says: ‘At 5ft 4in, I’m petite but powerful. I’d clone my legs if I could. Their strength has carried me through a 10-year100m and 200m sprinting career and into bobsleigh.’

Women’s Health UK

37. Zoe Smith

British weightlifter

She says: ‘Looking strong is the biggest compliment of all. People tell me I don’t look like a weightlifter because they’re expecting to see someone with huge muscles, but that isn’t what weightlifting is about. Looking and feeling strong can embody so many things– physically, it means you’re in good shape and can handle yourself.’

Women’s Health UK

38. Sheli McCoy

British weightlifter and Crossfit athlete

She says:’My body is my armour. I train to feel powerful, purposeful and confident enough to withstand anything. My dad passed away when I was three and my brother is away in the army, so I’m the one building my mum a shed or changing her car tyre. I can carry a week’s worth of shopping from the car to my house and when I wrote off my car on black ice, I kicked out the passenger door and escaped unscathed. I’m a strong, independent woman in every sense.’

Ian Harrison

39. Bianca Williams

British sprinter

She says: ‘No one should be ashamed of their body shape. Embrace what you have. Some people struggle with their size, but I’m proof that you can be slim and strong.’

Ian Harrison

40. Tonia Couch

Former British Olympic diver

She says: ‘My exercise motto is, ‘Enjoy it or you might as well go home.’ You need that passion, that drive. After the last Olympic Games, when my coach Andy Banks announced he was moving to Australia, I decided to call it a day– I wasn’t feeling the same drive to push myself in training. It was a very emotional decision to make.’

Ian Harrison

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Why do some men feel aggrieved when actresses admit that they don’t enjoy doing nude scenes? To listen to men carp, you’d think that viewing on-screen female nudity was a basic human right.

Emilia Clarke has just spoken about doing “terrifying” nude scenes for Game of Thrones. Later, she became more assertive, thinking “fuck you”, when film-makers wanted her to strip, suggesting that, otherwise, she would “disappoint her Game of Thrones fans”. (Anyone else shuddering?) Clarke was only 23, fresh out of drama school, when she took on the role of Daenerys Targaryen, but she’s still been lambasted for complaining about the part that made her rich and famous. Clarke wasn’t moaning about the role, though – she was talking honestly about nude scenes. Is that OK or is it not enough for female performers to disrobe? Or do they have to pretend they like it too?

It was almost comical how stunned some people were that on-screen nudity was not a career high for Clarke. Was she supposed to sigh: “It was magical – I loved getting my tits out for strangers!”? How many of these men would like to spend their own professional lives nude? (Don’t answer that.) Of course, this was Game of Thrones, where female nudity was deemed “integral”. And Clarke agreed to do such scenes, as did co-star Maisie Williams. (All very creepy, given that her character, Arya, started the series as a child.)

But how were they supposed to refuse – how is anyone? Nude scenes are loaded with pressure: first, wanting the job; then wanting to be perceived as a team player. All laudable, but it shouldn’t involve taking your clothes off.

This kind of thing is being addressed with a new set of guidelines, from Directors UK, for the British film and TV industry. Meant as a resource for “grey areas”, bringing the UK into line with changes in Hollywood, Directors UK’s 96 recommendations involve everything from whether nude scenes are necessary to stopping nude auditions, via providing on-set support.

All of which is commendable, but shouldn’t audiences also change their attitudes? As it is, certain men weirdly seem to presume that they have a right to see women naked. Guys, calm down – you bought a television subscription or≈a cinema ticket, not a VIP seat at a lap-dancing show.

Let’s face it, most nude scenes are gratuitous – even when integral to the story, nudity could usually be suggested without anyone actually being naked. Yet here we are, two years since #MeToo, and actresses are still not only having to strip but being denounced for hating doing it. While on-screen nudity is a choice, and some are fine about it, too many others feel uncomfortable and obliged.

Perhaps the new guidelines will help people such as Clarke in the simplest, most effective way possible – making it a damn sight more difficult to justify asking them to get undressed in the first place.

Kindly take your partners… no matter your sexuality

Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA

Fetch the smelling salts – two men danced together on Strictly Come Dancing! The show received almost 200 complaints about the professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima, who danced together during a performance by Emeli Sandé.

Radebe is gay and later commented that getting to do the routine “says so much about the people in this country”. Well, yes, but, going by the complaints, not all of it heart-warming.

Dancing on Ice is planning to feature a same-sex pairing as part of the competition, but Strictly is still murmuring vaguely about it possibly happening in the future. There’s understandable opposition on a technical level (traditional ballroom dances developed with male-female pairings in mind). However, were any of the complaints about technicalities or were people just angry about a same-sex pairing on a “family entertainment” show?

With gay marriage and gay parenting normalised, why are such anachronistic attitudes being pandered to? Strictly should go ahead and feature same-sex couples, gay or straight. If armchair bigots don’t like it, I’ve got two words for them – “boo” and “hoo” (not the first two words I thought of, but this is a family newspaper). When it comes to frugging under the glitter ball, mainstream television is the best arena to make it clear that “family” includes everyone.

It’s time the young faced the truth about tattoos

‘Face tattoos automatically place someone outside society.’
Photograph: Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

Is it a great idea for an 18-year-old to get a spider’s web tattooed across his face? How about flames to indicate how “hot” they are? A spray of stars? A cat hanging cutely out of a nostril?

Well, no, probably not. So, bravo to the British Tattoo Artists Federation for proposing that the legal age for face tattoos be raised to 21. I’d say, older – 25 or even 30.

At present, you’re allowed to get a tattoo anywhere on your body, including face, neck and hands, at 18 years old. These highly visible tattoos are known as “jobstoppers” – because people who sport them struggle to find employment. A survey last year showed that six out of 10 employers would be less likely to hire somebody with a face tattoo. Yet they are increasingly popularised by the likes of Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne, celebrities who don’t have to worry about aghast employers.

Face tattoos automatically place someone outside society, which hits the spot for rebellious teenagers. However, unless they really intend to drop out, join the Hells Angels or become the new Lemmy, they need to get real. Are they still going to yearn to be an outcast when they’re 35 or 50? If they balk at society telling them what to do (ma-aan!), why would they want their tattoos to dictate their entire professional lives?

They also need to understand one of the big lessons of youth: be free, experimental and wild, but travel lightly. You don’t want to be stuck dragging baggage from youth into the rest of your life. Priorities change. Skin bags and wrinkles. If you’re a tattoo lifer, what’s the big rush? If you’re so committed to a face tattoo, have it done at 30. Young people are entitled to get any inking they want – just give the tattoo artist a break and don’t get a job-stopper.

• Barbara Ellen is an Observer columnist

“SEND nudes” are the words every woman using a dating app dreads hearing.

Most of us usually ignore these requests – but thanks to some quick-witted ladies, we’ve now learned some incredible comebacks.

10 One woman cleverly sent a man a picture of her nude lipsticksCredit: Twitter

Over on Pizza Bottle, women are posting the brilliant responses they’ve come up with to shut down men’s X-rated demands.

These include sending a picture of nude lipsticks (they did ask for nudes, right?) to sharing snaps of chicken breasts and legs.

When one woman was asked for a shot of her in her bra, she hilariously popped a passport photo inside her lingerie.

Others wrote out fake error messages, and repeatedly sent screenshots of an iPhone picture loading sign.

10 This bloke got exactly what he was looking for – thighs, breasts and legs 10 One witty lady took the request very literallyCredit: Twitter 10 We hope this guy enjoyed his photo of ‘great tits’

It’s safe to say that the men on the other end of these messages weren’t best pleased.

One told the woman he was talking to that he “hates” her, while another simply wrote: “Stop.”

We can’t say they didn’t deserve it.

10 One woman even managed to persuade a man that he needed a new phoneCredit: Twitter 10 All this guy could say in response to a joke snap was ‘Stop’Credit: Twitter 10 This girl used a Snapchat filter to confuse the man she was talking to – who sounded like a real charmer 10 This person repeatedly typed out an error messageCredit: Twitter 10 One lad simply got bombarded with a picture of actor Michael Cera’s face 10 We love how much this woman played a man at his own gameCredit: Twitter

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This photographer captures people doing normal activities naked

Image zoom @sobirdy/ www.instagram.com

Berlin-based photographer Sophia Vogel takes nude photos of everyday people doing everyday things. First, with their clothes on, and then in the buff. She juxtaposes the two images side-by-side in her amazing photograph series, With and Without. Sophie hopes the intimate series will help us view and appreciate nudity without its sexual connotation.

The photographer believe that by depicting her subjects in their natural state, doing comfortable relatable activities, it will normalize their nudity.

Sophia says:

“The pressure of being a sexual being is omnipresent for every human being… We are observed and judged every day, and the fashion industry lavishes beauty ideals and criticism on us. We set high standards for ourselves… I want to speak up against these ridiculous standards… By presenting all kinds of different body shapes and natural postures I would love to show that everybody is beautiful in their own way.”

So, how does Sophia find her subjects?

It’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, they volunteer. They reach out to her through her website, word-of-mouth, and on Instagram. The photographer admits she mostly gets millennial but would like to reach a wide range of ages. Her subjects include teachers, dentists, attorneys, and other volunteers.

Sophia starts each photo session with a conversation. She discusses the subject’s interests. The conversation helps them get comfortable and open up. She then asks them to perform a task they do regularly. She snaps photos of them doing the task with clothes on and then with their clothes off.

According to an interview with Creators, Sophia feels nudity has become less taboo in recent years. But since we still don’t walk around without clothes, nudity is viewed in a sexual context. Sophia wants to liberate us from that constricting notion.

Well, we certainly love the idea of any sort of liberation. If it means an end to tight, binding garments, you won’t hear a complaint from us!

  • By Wei-Ning Yu

Women Reveal the Real Reasons They Text Naked Photos of Themselves

Sexting naked or suggestive photos to a partner is pretty common these days. But why people sext explicit pics isn’t always discussed. Of course, the obvious reason is to heat things up when you’re not physically in the same place as your partner. But as one researcher discovered, the exact motives are surprisingly complex.

Morgan Johnstonbaugh, a PhD candidate in the school of sociology at the University of Arizona, decided to do a study looking into what motivated young adults to sext images. She surveyed 1,918 college students during the 2018-2019 academic year and asked them questions about their sexting habits.

The students were asked to describe the last time they sent a nude or semi-nude photograph of themselves to another person electronically. About 56% said they had sent one in the past. Of those who reported sending a photo, 73% were women.

The students were then asked why they shared that most recent sext. They were presented with a list of 23 possible reasons and told to check as many or as few as they wanted.

RELATED: I Masturbated Every Day for a Week. This Is What Happened

After Johnstonbaugh crunched the numbers, it turned out that the female students were four times more likely than their male counterparts to send explicit images of themselves in order to prevent the recipient from losing sexual interest in them.

At the same time, women were four times more likely than men to say that they sent images as a way to feel empowered, and they were twice as likely to say that sexting boosted their confidence.

Interestingly, it wasn’t uncommon for the female students in the study to select both empowering and disempowering reasons for sexting, showing the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

“These interactions can be much more complex than people realize,” Johnstonbaugh tells Health. “When you’re thinking about sharing a photo with someone, you might have competing ideas influencing your behavior.” For example, you may be doing it to excite a partner or influence their reaction in another way, but you might also be doing it to express your sexuality for your own benefit.

RELATED: Sexting Really Can Make Your Relationship Hotter—Here’s the Right Way to Do It

Johnstonbaugh presented her not-yet-published study at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in New York City last week. She hopes her research will spark discussion around sexting and help people, especially the parents of young adults, to see that it’s a complex activity and shouldn’t be dismissed.

“A lot of parents just don’t want to think about that, or they tell their children, ‘Never do that,'” Johnstonbaugh says. “In reality, kind of like sex education, we should be having conversations about what young people do with their intimate partners and what the consequences could be.”

The results of her study might also help you think more about your own motives for hitting send on those explicit pics, and realize that just like sex IRL, sex via digital device isn’t so one-dimensional.

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If you think creating anyone’s nude photos or deepfake was a difficult task, think again. An app called DeepNude has developed a scary AI that can create a nude picture out of a woman‘s fully clothed photo.

First reported by Vice, the Windows and Linux app was launched in March. DeepNude can take any clothed photo of a woman and turn into a realistic nude picture using its AI.

The app is free to download and try, but you’ll need to pay $50 for the ability to remove its large watermark and export the results. It works offline and requires a 155MB download, as well as 2.1GB of additional files for its libraries before you can use it.

We tried the free version of the app with a few pictures, and it worked to some degree (full-length dresses threw the app for a loop). But the results are sometimes enough for bad actors to use to harass people.

DeepNude library files

The unnamed creator of the app told Vice that the AI is based on the Pix2Pix algorithm developed by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, that turns black and white images into color images. He trained the model with over 10,000 images of nude women, and is hoping to create a male version of this as well.

He told the publication that he created the app out of curiosity and just for “fun”:

I’m not a voyeur, I’m a technology enthusiast. Continuing to improve the algorithm. Recently, also due to previous failures (other startups) and economic problems, I asked myself if I could have an economic return from this algorithm. That’s why I created DeepNude.

The creator defended himself saying that anyone can do this with few tutorials of Photoshop. But from his statement, it appears that he isn’t cognizant of the fact that this could allow people to harm women by manipulating their photos far more easily than ever before. We’ve sent an email to DeepNude to learn more about the algorithm and its intentions.

Deepfakes have been around for a couple of years, and mainly to create porn videos featuring women and celebrities. We’ve recently covered advancements in this field that allows you to edit a video just by altering the transcript or create a talking head video using only one image.

Despite researchers claiming that new algorithms will help professionals in various ways, examples like DeepNude show that right now, it’s causing more harm and chaos than benefiting the world.

Update: Readers correctly identified we should not have been linking to this awful, awful app. That was irresponsible. We’ve removed the links, scrubbed the cache, and very much regret the error.

A guy made a deepfake app to turn photos of women into nudes. It didn’t go well.

An anonymous programmer created a new app called DeepNude that uses AI to create nonconsensual porn. If you feed it a picture of a clothed woman, it removes her clothes so that she appears naked. The result is pretty realistic — and blatantly unethical.

This app is the latest evolution of AI-powered deepfake technology, which makes it disturbingly easy to doctor images to make it look like someone said or did something they never actually said or did. Even if you’ve never posed naked for a photo in your life, anyone who downloads DeepNude can make it look as if you did.

So it was really great news when, just days after he released the app, the programmer behind it decided to shut it down on Thursday.

After Motherboard first reported on the “horrifying” new app, other news outlets followed suit with critical coverage. In an excellent example of how public scrutiny can bring unethical AI-powered tech to a halt, the developer then said he realized that “the probability that people will misuse it is too high.”

pic.twitter.com/8uJKBQTZ0o

— deepnudeapp (@deepnudeapp) June 27, 2019

Damn straight. The short-lived app was free, easy to use, and fast — the digital disrobing only took 30 seconds.

In other words, it had all the ingredients necessary to turn an unsuspecting woman’s existence into a living hell. You don’t need a whole lot of imagination to realize how it could be used to produce revenge porn that will be all the more devastating to the target’s life because of how realistic some of the nude photos look. (For ethical reasons, I’m not going to include examples of the photos in this article.)

Although the programmer’s decision to pull his product is welcome, he capped off the announcement with a conclusion that seems naive at best and disingenuous at worst: “The world is not yet ready for DeepNude.”

How could the world ever be ready for an app whose sole and explicit purpose is to transform regular photos of women into nudes within seconds? Or, put another way, of course people were going to “misuse” the app. There was no way to use it other than for that very sort of “misuse.”

Note that the app only worked on women (if you tried to use it on a photo of a man, it just added female genitalia to him) — which right away should make you dubious about the programmer’s original intentions.

Deepfakes are most often discussed as a threat in the political realm, because of their potential to sow misinformation and fake news. You may have heard them discussed in relation to the doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that went viral in May, or the fake video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that made the rounds this month. (In both cases, Facebook refused to remove the videos from its platform.) Congress is holding hearings about the technology, and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) has put forward a bill known as the Deepfakes Accountability Act.

Less discussed is the unique danger that deepfake technology poses to women. It’s time we realized that when our AI systems are not aligned with our ethical values, women are sometimes particularly apt to suffer.

In the deepfake era, every woman is a potential victim

Since the public started playing around with deepfake technology a couple of years ago, it’s been used to harm women.

In 2017, fake celebrity porn videos started appearing in the subreddit r/deepfakes. People had altered videos of actual porn actors, swapping out their faces for those of celebrities. In February 2018, Reddit banned the community for distributing “involuntary pornography.”

Motherboard’s Samantha Cole, who first reported on the DeepNude app, noted that it “dispenses with the idea that deepfakes were about anything besides claiming ownership over women’s bodies.” She wrote:

In an email, the anonymous creator of DeepNude, who requested to go by the name Alberto, told Motherboard that the software is based on pix2pix, an open-source algorithm developed by University of California, Berkeley researchers in 2017. Pix2pix uses generative adversarial networks (GANs), which work by training an algorithm on a huge dataset of images — in the case of DeepNude, more than 10,000 nude photos of women, the programmer said — and then trying to improve against itself.

The programmer, Alberto, said it was “fun and enthusiasm” for new technologies that drove him to create the app. “I’m not a voyeur, I’m a technology enthusiast,” he said. “Recently, also due to previous failures (other startups) and economic problems, I asked myself if I could have an economic return from this algorithm. That’s why I created DeepNude.”

Translation: He realized he could profit off women’s bodies and the invasion of their sexual privacy. Although he offered a basic version of the app for free, the nudes it churned out came partly occluded with a large watermark that said “FAKE.” For $50, though, you could get a version of the app that only put “FAKE” in the upper-left corner, making it very easy to crop out.

What’s more, as late as 1 pm on Thursday, the DeepNude website read: “Are you interested in investing or buying our startup? We are evaluating offers.”

Alberto told Motherboard that he’d asked himself whether his app should have been made in the first place. “Is this right? Can it hurt someone?” he mused. But he dismissed his misgivings.

“I think that what you can do with DeepNude, you can do it very well with Photoshop (after a few hours of tutorial),” he said. “I also said to myself: the technology is ready (within everyone’s reach). So if someone has bad intentions, having DeepNude doesn’t change much. … If I don’t do it, someone else will do it in a year.”

This is a rationale I’ve often heard trotted out in relation to new technologies. Some people working on cutting-edge AI systems tell me there will always be bad actors; if they don’t create these systems, the bad actors will. Sometimes, they argue it’s better that well-intentioned people release the new AIs while making their process fully transparent and warning about the ethical dangers inherent in it.

But releasing new AIs that are misaligned with ethical values inevitably contributes to changing the norms in the AI community. If one person releases an app like DeepNude, they open the gate for others, who will arguably find it easier to justify charging into the space.

As the threat from deepfakes becomes more obvious, politicians, lawmakers, AI experts, and even CEOs like Zuckerberg are beginning to realize we need a harsher approach to them. It’ll probably take some time for new legislation to be put in place, though. In the meantime, the threat from deepfake technology is something every member of the public should be aware of. With free apps like DeepNude entering the market, we’re all at risk of being the next victim.

The good news is that, as the DeepNude episode showed, journalistic scrutiny and public outcry can sometimes stem the tide.

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Nearly naked woman doing yoga in Ocala road arrested for heroin

A Texas woman has been arrested in Marion County on drug charges after Ocala police said she was caught doing yoga and stripping in the middle of the road Wednesday.

According to a police report, witnesses said 51-year-old Michele Rene Cernak appeared to be intoxicated and doing yoga exercises in the street around 3:40 p.m. on the 300 block of Southeast Sanchez Avenue, just a few blocks from Osceola Middle School.

As police were headed to the scene, another witness called and reported that the woman had begun taking off her clothes. When officers arrived, they said Cernak had stripped down to her panties, with her jeans down at her ankles.

Police said Cernak’s pickup truck was running with the driver-side door wide open fewer than 10 feet away from where she was in the road. Inside the truck, police found heroin and drug paraphernalia. Officers also noted Cernak had a bleeding wound on her ankle, which she said was from shooting heroin.

Cernak was booked into the Marion County Jail on a bond totaling $5,000.

Women doing yoga naked

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