In America, nudity is an awesome subject. Not just because it deals with things like boobs and penises, but because it provides examples of all of the confusing and wonky ideas that exist in the country.
I personally love nudity, I like to see my wife naked all the time. When my kids were a little younger they loved nudity to the extent that we gave up trying to make them wear clothes. Even my cat loves nudity; I’ve never actually seen him wear anything and that is some severe dedication to the idea.
However, even though nudity is generally liked in my household, when I google how other people feel about it or read a story about it, I get punched in the face with so many mixed ideas it is incredible. Please find below some of the ideas that I find that just boggle my mind.
- Magical Boobs!
PG-13/TV-14 Nudity used as sexual teasing is just fine.
I don’t understand this thought. Nudity and sexuality are not permanently linked together; each can exist without the other. However, when it comes to movies and TV shows that don’t want to go full out with nudity, almost-nudity that is made as a sexual tease is just fine. See the picture below (yes, I’m including pictures).
Now, you might say: Ray, she’s not naked, I’m starting to think that you don’t know what nudity means. I’m smart, you don’t know me.
Nudity is used in this discussion as a continuum. One of the means by which something can become nudity is when someone uses skin with the intention to induce a reaction in the intended audience; it doesn’t need to be total nudity (that sentence was stupid smart). Pretty much every PG-13/TV-14 movie or TV show has used this tactic. Just look at Megan Fox. I don’t know about you, but wearing revealing clothes while arching my back and pushing my boobs up has always helped me fix my car. I’m not saying the revealing clothes are a problem, but the intent for this scene was not to create a world in which young teenage boys respect women. I personally think this scene was to show that boobs are magical and can fix cars.
2. Evil Boobs!!
Found everywhere there are young children.
Lets observe another side of nudity using the same gender but remove sexuality from it. Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is something almost every mother had done and almost all of humanity has been on the receiving end of it. For some tiny humans it is their only source of food, yet for some reason when a woman does it in public, or shows a picture of it on Facebook, everyone loses there minds!!! It is easy to see why people go so crazy, I mean, just look at the two women in the pictures below.
Another picture with no nudity! Ray, you keep using this word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.
The audacity of these women, having boobs and children! If you look at the this picture and the one of Megan Fox you can only come to one conclusion. One picture is empowering women and showing the use of nudity as a beautiful and useful part of the cycle of humanity; the other is showing two sinful women breastfeeding. Don’t they know that if someone were to walk right by them and try really hard that that person might see a small part of a boob? Children are out and about in the world and they might accidentally see a part of a boob. Come to think of it, those children who are being fed might see a part of a boob! *One clarification here, I don’t think that women should have to use those stupid sheets to cover themselves when doing this, I know that when I’m eating, I love to have a sheet on my face. I just used that image as that was one that was available to me without having to search through pictures of women breastfeeding.
3. Explicit Boobs!
Actual nudity used in both a sexual and non-sexual manner.
Insert: Pixelated picture of the Braveheart kilt flashing scene.
Ray, there is no kilt flashing picture. You’re right, italicized version of myself, I googled Braveheart kilt flashing scene image and instantly regretted it.
Nudity exists in the world both in sexual and non-sexual ways. There are R rated movies in which the actors/actresses bare all and there are people in doctors offices that are taking off their clothes so that someone with a medical degree can practice their witchcraft on them. There is nudity in porn and there are people who are naked because they literally don’t have enough money for clothes.
The point I am getting at after listing all this is that it strikes me as odd that in America, especially in the Christian subculture, nudity is treated as a one-trick pony and it is given very specific boundaries.
The Megan Fox picture is given a free pass because there is no nipple, penis or vagina in it so it is obviously not as evil as a picture that does have those things. Breastfeeding is lumped in with Explicit Sexuality because it draws attention to the fact that women do in -fact have boobs and nipples. Explicit Nudity is all lumped together because who cares about context! If nudity was done in humor or porn it is all the same! It does not matter that all those African women in those National Geographic magazines were not doing porn, just existing, but in this country they are used in jokes about “Dad’s porn stash” of National Geographic in the basement. It does not matter that a woman who is breastfeeding has to deal with the stares and thoughts of people who are appalled by what she is doing while half of the country is trying to convince everyone they go to Hooters “for the wings”.
These ideas have led to more interesting and horrible developments where we try to align the identity and value of a person to how they present themselves and how comfortable they feel in their own skin. We have people saying that females should wear certain clothes of certain lengths so as not to temp males. As if every body type can conform to some kind of code and as if males can’t control themselves. We have people saying that we should all just watch porn because it is just boobs and penises and what is the big deal – screw the basic family unit!
I don’t have an answer to all of this, I’m still trying to think through most of it myself. I know that as a society we take nudity simultaneously way too seriously and way too flippantly. I also know that nudity, in certain contexts (porn for example), has no proven positive effect on anything. Mostly I know that a good deal of our issues and thoughts about nudity and what is too much and what is too little is tied to the idea of gender roles in social, cultural and religious systems.
The main problem is equality. Not just equality for women, but true equality for both genders. The kind of equality that means when a girl says no, no one questions what she meant by that. The kind of equality that means when a guy says he was raped, no one laughs at it. The kind of equality we are NOT just fine with boys having Blue Crush posters on their wall while telling girls to try and wear clothes that makes their boobs look smaller so the boys won’t be tempted (that last comment is directed at you Christian schools).
Okay, I’ve ranted enough.