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April 9, 1993
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A friend of mine recently asked me about my thoughts regarding the concept nudity. With her permission, I wanted to share this conversation publicly.
So tell me what your thoughts are on nudity? I was smoking and i began thinking about why people find nudity offensive. When was it decided that being nude is a terrible horrible ugly thing. i mean i see nothing wrong with it, but my thoughts don't really count because i don't think like the vast majority of people. Neither do you but we are both aware but in different areas of life so i'd like to hear your thoughts. do you think it could be connected in someway to todays insane ideas of body image and where its going? I haven't met many people who are fine with how they look, maybe like one or two, THe rest just absolutely hate there bodies and there is nothing more dangerous than a self hating being. So tell me what you think?
When it comes to a collective perspective on nudity, my views are admittedly a bit fragmented. However, I myself have thought about this topic quite a bit, and I do have a theory about why humans in particular react so strongly to nakedness.
For starters, I don't think our society truly views nudity as this 'terrible horrible ugly thing', as you put it. Instead, I get the feeling that quite the opposite is true. For many people, a nude body is a symbol for sex. Why? Because as a sexual species, sex is instinctually a very prominent part of our lives. Since we as humans reproduce sexually (as opposed to asexual reproduction), we are constantly thinking about mating, either consciously or subconsciously (after all, evolutionarily speaking, surviving is the most important thing an organism can do). At a fundamental level, humans have a deep appreciation for sex, as it is one of the main reasons life on earth has been able to progress for over 4 billion years. However, because our cultural views on sex are so instinctual, and so deeply rooted in our collective psyche, many of our biases throughout history still remain. If you're familiar with Vsauce, he has an interesting video that addresses why humans wear clothing. Now granted, these are just theories, but in my opinion they are fairly valid hypotheses.
There is not much I can say that the video didn't already. I do want to elaborate on Michaels argument about how clothing was possibly adopted as a result of modesty (he also brings up the concept of disgust, but I feel that the sexual aspect is a lot more relevant). Because a human offspring needs quite a bit of time to develop relative to other animals, it made more evolutionary sense for us to be more reserved collectively when it came to sexual activity. If true, this would explain why although nudity is fairly acceptable privately, public nudity is still considered taboo; to display a nude body means that at a subconscious level you are somehow doing something negative relative to our species survival. This idea has been hardwired into our brain, and while it's a prominent part of our psyche, it's not absolute. Given the fact that humans have historically been great at adapting to changing circumstances, this is an issue that we can evolve on.
For me personally, I don't see nudity as a negative. I strongly feel it's something that should be more accepted (especially in the case of female nudity). I will say however, that although I fundamentally disagree with this mentality, at very least I can understand why nudity could make somebody uncomfortable; for many people, it invokes intrusive thoughts. Even so, I don't think that is enough to justify censoring our natural bodies. I try to view nudity the same way I view virtually everything else in my life: From an objective perspective. The cosmos that we live in is not required to be sympathetic to us as humans, and in the scope of the entire universe, I fail to see anything wrong with a nude body. Yes, although I acknowledge the instinctual bias we as humans have, like many other 'conventional' ideas it's not necessarily something that I agree with. If anything, it's an injustice I wish to challenge.