We have a very strange position on nudity in general. Clothing is a tool. A form of technology. It has two core utilitarian purposes:
1. Keep us warm during cool seasons/moments.
2. Protect us from the elements.
Yet when it is not serving those purposes it is still viewed as a necessity for reasons of decency. The reality is that nudity does not cause harm. As a result it should be considered the default state with clothing being optional. Often however it is the other way around, where clothing is the default state and only optional in very few places such as public showers, locker rooms, nude beaches and the home.
Where did we ever get the idea that nudity is a bad thing? That we must cover it up? Just to take a guess I’m going to say it has a lot to do with our religious background and the belief that the physical world is carnal and evil. Because other than that, there really is no valid reason to believe nudity is bad.
Part of our problem is that we associate nudity with sex or perversion. Yet most of the time that we are nude, it is not for either of those things. Taking a shower or bath, changing our clothes, personal grooming, sleeping in the nude. Just a few examples, none of which involve sex or perversion. I’m not even going to go into what defines perversion because that is often a subjective term defined by the individual. But sex at least is only one of the many reasons for nudity.
There are good reasons why people themselves may not go nude. They may feel sensitive about their bodies and the way they look. Although one could also make the argument that it may be healthier for us to go nude and see each other as we really are, so that we know we’re not all that different from each other. Perhaps helping ourselves feel better about our bodies. You cold also say that nudity can help motive people to take better care of themselves by working out and eating better because they know they’ll be seen and can’t just cover up. There may be some evidence to that last one. The best beach bodies are often found in places that are warm all year. Locations where people are at the beach or exposed in less clothing more often.
There may also be some level of controlling mentality associated with nudity. We don’t want other people seeing our significant other nude. But that’s a childish stance that is controlling and should be washed away in our society. It is not our place to say who can and cannot see our significant other in the buff. That is up to them and them alone. But a lot of that mentality also exists because we associate nudity with sex in our culture right now. Take away that culural association and we may see that mentality disappear as a reason for covering up.
Whatever the reasons, we really need to change our stance on public nudity as a whole. We need to stop demonizing the human body and learn to accept it.
I was asked the question once by someone regarding nudity. They said “but don’t you think that if we all went around nude all the time it would numb us to the affect of nudity when it comes to sex and the desire for our partner when we see them nude?”
My answers is yes, it would numb us to it to a certain degree. If we saw people running around naked in public all the time eventually we wouldn’t think anything of it. But rather than being a negative for sex, it may prove to be more positive. The way we are now, we associate nudity with sex so much that the simple act of seeing someone naked turns our thoughts toward carnal lust. To the point where some people view all nudity as pornography. We’ve conditioned ourselves to have that reacton because public nudity is so rare and we’ve demonized it so much. I even had a friend tell me not too long ago that she wouldn’t want her little daughter to see a mans penis in a public park. Why not? More than likely because she is associating a mans penis with sex or perversion of some sort. She’s not seeing it as just a natural part of the human body like any other part such as a finger or a toe or a mans nipple. All of which are perfectly acceptable in a public park for kids to see. The same is true of seeing a nursing womans naked breast. We’ve become so hypersensitive about nudity in a negative way, that seeing a woman breastfeeding her child in public is viewed by some as indecent, irresponsible or lewd. Why? Because again any form of what we have defined as nudity is always associated with sex or perversion. That’s not even to tackle the bigger question as to why we view sex in such a negative light so often. But if we saw nudity all the time, sex would then be defined as an intimate encounter between people. Which is how sex probably should be viewed. So in the end, it may turn our views toward sex around where we see it less as a dirty act and more as an act of passion and/or love.
Another one I get a lot is something along the lines of “I don’t want to see other guys junk.” Which is a typical homophobic-like response of modern day Americans. It also comes from a lack of exposure to nudity and some misguided sense of decency. It’s not about what you want to see or don’t want to see, it’s about the freedom of the invidiual to be nude. The same freedom you would have. If you don’t want to look at it then don’t look at it. But the reality is your eye is probably drawn to it because secretly you do want to look at it. You want to see it and compare it and maybe admire it. All completely natural things whether you’re a male or female. So maybe just accept that fact and once you do it won’t be a big deal anymore and you can move on with your life and stop being so homophobic and disgusted by a perfecty natural thing. It’s the denial of these things that leads to hatred and censorship and inequality between genders.
So in a nutshell, nudity is the default, clothing should be optional. If you want to require clothing on personal property that’s you’re call. In terms of public space, it should be perfectly normal and accepted.