When women pose thoughtfully and artistically – in nothing but their bare skin – they find themselves. They discover that they are truly alive. They become a Nude. -David Allio
[one_half padding=”4px 8px 0 4px”]All this week we’ve been talking about being naked and how social media inherently dislikes anything too close to showing a nipple. We’ve talked about artistic purpose and artist intention and all the other topics that are inherent any time someone posts a picture that just might make those of impure thought a little uncomfortable. Fact is, no matter what kind of picture one puts online, there is always going to be someone who objects for one reason or another and someone else who is secretly perverting it in their own way. Nothing we do or say is ever going to change that.
What we can do, however, is make sure the act and conversation around being naked isn’t dominated by the negative. We don’t need to be shy about being comfortable in our own skin and no one has any right to judge or speak maliciously of someone who prefers to not wear clothes. Being naked should not be limited to works of art. People who enjoy living au naturale should be able to take selfies just like anyone else without needing to censor who they are or what they are doing. Nudity should be as casual a part of conversation as might be the coffee one had for breakfast this morning or replacing a belt on the vacuum cleaner. No one should be made to feel they have to hide such a normal part of who they are.
I have to admit that the conversation is doing better today than it was a mere 15 or so years ago. On the backside of the freewheeling 60s and 70s came a knee-jerk conservatism that had everyone buttoned up and anything that might be remotely considered sexual was demonized. If one was naked, the public perception was that one was also likely doing drugs and having sex with multiple people and not raising their children correctly. Discovery of HIV and the subsequent AIDS panic didn’t help because during that initial period where we weren’t sure exactly what caused the virus anything that could possibly be considered sexual, including kissing and holding hands, was demonized. Fear drove people to chastity.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 8px”]Getting past those unrealistic and misinformed fears has been quite a chore but from that has come an even stronger urge to make being naked more socially acceptable. We’ve already discussed the Free The Nipple campaign, which is a wonderful thing, but there are also those who look at nudity as a form of expression to be protected under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and judges have begun upholding that right. Portland, Oregon’s annual Naked Run sounds like a lot of rebellious fun, but it is actually designed and intended as a means of peaceful protest, again protected by the Constitution. You have a right to be naked without that nudity being sexualized by someone whose own mind can’t be trusted.
Early in the 20th century, before all those stupid wars and politics got in the way, there was a strong naturist movement across Europe. During that period, doctors were actually prescribing patients to be naked, especially outdoors. The well-to-do would commonly hold tea parties on their patios that were completely sans clothing. Not only were these events largely asexual, but children were also included and there was no fear that a child seeing a naked adult might have any adverse effects. Quite the opposite was true. There was a greater acceptance of homosexuality and other lifestyles during this brief period than there has been at any time since.
Can we again achieve such a level of casual nakedness? I’m not too terribly optimistic just yet because the Internet has allowed those who would impose their own morality on the world a level of volume larger than their actual size. One thing of which I’m certain, though, is that being naked is not something that needs to remain unspoken. Be proud of who you are, the skin you are in, regardless of your size, age, or sexuality. And if someone doesn’t like that, allow them to go away and deal with their problem on their own. [/one_half_last]