Nude in America

Just saying the word ‘nude’ in conversation turns the cheeks red… but WHY? Why here, in the land of the free and the oversexed, is nudity taboo? I can certainly see why it might be inconvenient; sunburn, frostbite, basic necessities, etc… but why taboo? How is it that nudity isn’t shocking in other countries, but you can get arrested here for streaking through your own back yard? How is it that art of the world features nudes of all types; paintings, sculptures, illustrations, statues… all perfectly acceptable in their rendition of human nudity, but to be ‘caught’ viewing such art sets a person in a category of utmost evil? What has happened here, in these (apparently) oh so ‘free’ United States, that nudity is synonymous only with sex, and sex synonymous only with wrongness?

As I was conversing with my lab mate, whom I consider to be my ‘work best friend’, and probably the one person who knows the most about how I think about the world, the topic of ‘art vs pornography’ came up. It’s a topic close to the surface with me at the moment, having reconnected with a long-lost schoolmate, and finding, quite by accident, that the article about a Naturist 5K I had sent him (knowing unique marathons and races were a ‘thing’ with him) was not only something he’d be interested in, but was something he’d participated in recently for the first time. The Naturist lifestyle was not something I had put a great deal of thought into, mostly on account of the fact that I never have found myself questioning whether I felt it was wrong or right… to me it just seemed natural and acceptable, and therefore there was no need to mull it over in my mind. If asked whether I’d be comfortable being naked in front of others, I’d probably say (always the cautious one) that it would depend on who it was, but in general, in the right setting, I’d be comfortable with it. But, I digress into future blog entries… the point is, while I may not live the Naturist lifestyle physically, it’s something I’ve always unquestioningly supported, even subconsciously in a way. So, obviously, art featuring nudes doesn’t raise an eyebrow with me. Primarily neither does pornography if it doesn’t go against my sense of morality (consenting adults, etc etc). Really, there is no ‘vs’ between art and pornography, as pornography is simply an artform, sadly, usually very poorly done, artistically speaking. But, that’s not an opinion for ‘public’ ears, so the conversation with my lab mate skimmed the surface; only going so far as to say that nudity was far less acceptable in American society as opposed to European society, and that the reasoning probably had to do with the Puritan roots of the first Europeans to set foot on this continent. Those roots, or whatever it was that turned nudity from natural to taboo… it runs DEEP! I proved my own point, quite unintentionally. During the conversation I could feel my face was bright red. More than anything, this actually irriated me a great deal. WHY?! How strong is this taboo that even when you completely back something it still embarrasses you? How can it have such a hold on you?! What ELSE is so subversively holding us back… as individuals, as societies, as humanity as a whole? Something to think on…

4 thoughts on “Nude in America

  1. The “judgements” of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers when we reveal to them that we are nudist is our opinion a strong deterrent from sometimes revealing who we really are. Because in the USA the entertainment industry only portrays or shows nudity for the sake of sex, hence the mindset, if you are nude you desire to have sex. So being seen nude is a sexual response to many………so sad. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

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