The People I Want To See Naked by Chelsea Fagan
I found it to be a positive article, promoting the idea body acceptance and denouncing our culture’s ideas of beauty and whose nudity is and isn’t acceptable. However, I do take issue with one statement she made.
I like nudity. I don’t always enjoy it in an erotic way, but I almost universally enjoy seeing it. (Provided that it is consensual and adult, of course.)
Limiting nudism to only consenting adults makes it an “adult” activity which can be a slippery slope leading to the kind of sexuality and eroticism that nudists have long been trying expunge from how the public views nudism. Our national organizations (AANR and TNS) work hard to promote nudism and nude recreation as a family lifestyle. There is little or no data that shows that nudity or exposure to adult nudity is in any way harmful to children. Most of the evidence that’s out there shows otherwise, that casual, non-sexual nudity is actually beneficial in terms of positive body image and lower instances of sexual problems among young people raised in a nudist environment.
Perhaps I’m misinterpreting or not fully understanding her intent but her use of the “consensual” caveat doesn’t sit well with me. I can’t really put my finger on why it bothers me. In most situations where there would be nudity, there is at least implied consent. Some examples might be a nudist venue, a nude beach, a locker room, a nudist home, or anywhere else nudity could reasonably be expected. A public event such as the World Naked Bike Ride would also be a case of implied consent as anyone attending either as a participant or a spectator can reasonably expect there to be nudity.
I want this because we have come so far from what is, at the end of the day, our most natural state. I want it because none of us should look at our own bodies and think that they are deeply unloveable, or nothing that anyone would ever want to see, or all that we are good for. I don’t want some girls to feel that they are uniquely sexual while others feel that they will never be seen as erotic. I don’t want us to scoff at a Playboy model’s thoughts on politics simply because we have seen her vagina. Because none of this matters. Our bodies are a mode of transport for our personalities and intelligence and collective memory. They are as malleable and as subject to change as any other physical entity in this world. And they are not who we are. Being naked should be beautiful, and liberating, and a state in which we all feel represented — not something that most of us hide away because we assume that being natural is something reserved for a certain caste of beautiful people.
I’m in full agreement with her closing paragraph. Nudity is our natural and default state. There is no inherent shame in our bodies. The only shame is that which we attach to our own. Being naked is not for just for those deemed beautiful by society, all can benefit from it and enjoy it. If you don’t want to see me naked then don’t look. But consider that your disgust is very likely a reflection of your own self image. Why don’t you want to see yourself naked?
Those who say, “I don’t want to see so-and-so or that kind of person naked” miss the point. Nudism is not about seeing anyone naked nor is it about being seen naked. It’s simply about being naked and enjoying the benefits derived from being naked and doing so among others who feel the same way.