So... what with the texting thread, and the gay marriage one over in the other sandbox, I've become curious - what are your attitudes towards nudity, would you say? I'm interested in how we relate to it now, and how it was related to when we were growing up (if we ever have ).
What got me thinking about this: back last October I was on holiday in South Wales, on a secluded campsite by a fantastic little beach facing east. One morning, I woke up just after sunup, and decided to go down to the beach. It was a beautiful sunny morning around 6.30, and I decided to get naked and go for a swim. I've never done that before on my own, and only twice before in company. It was fantastic to be naked under the sun, and in the sea.
I was too anxious on following mornings because there was a family on the campsite with kids, and my spidey-sense tells me that there's a huge difference between kids encountering a nude woman and a nude man, as far as the parents would be concerned - so I didn't do it again.
It was a really big deal for me because growing up with a mild disability (and in a house where I was sexually abused) I was really shy about exposing any of my body in public - I grew out of that as soon as I left home (discuss...) but it's still only recently that I've felt comfortable about being nude anywhere I might be seen by strangers. I've no interest in doing it unless I feel 'safe', and no interest in imposing my nudity on others.
So how do you feel about nudity? Get any? Like it? Awkward? Or what? Or rather not say? It's a very different issue across cultures, I'm curious to hear about that too.
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I don't care about it one way or the other. I think that you've taken the right attitude about it though. Just because it's OK for you, doesn't mean it is for everyone. Using common sense like you did around that family goes a long way.
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Not a problem for me, but I would not go nude when there are children around nor when the conditions were against it. I've been skinny dipping several times when I was attending college (guys and gals) and I've been a guest at a clothing optional resort. Recently, the local news ran a story about a local group that wants to legislate minimum clothing standards on our public beaches. My thought was that they'd be absolutely apoplectic in Europe.
I have absolutely no problem with nudity, but what you say about being sensitive to context is spot on. Sometimes, though, I think that we (at least in the US) have really gone too far towards making the nude body something shameful. I remember when I went to junior high school that I hated phys ed because we were required to change clothes and shower after the class was over. Being naked in front of other people seemed to me really nasty. But eventually I got used to it, and in retrospect I see that part of the point of the class was to get kids used to being naked in front of other people. I don't know what the motivation was--maybe a left over from the Greek ideal, which celebrated the body as well as the mind. Anyway, nowadays exactly the opposite happens, or at least that's the case in the school my son went to. The kids in his phys ed classes were told that they couldn't be naked in the locker room--even if they showered, they were to do so with something on to cover themselves. I think that's dead wrong. I think it makes kids think that their bodies are somehow or other shameful. I understand that the motive is probably to protect kids from lecherous adults who might be hanging around the locker room or something--but it still seems to me wrong.
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when we were in Italy in the fall, i saw multiple women sunbathing in the nude. my first inclination was to take a picture. heh. but even my kids stopped thinking it was weird after a short while. but, to be honest, i couldn't stop taking peeks. heh.
I've been to nudist camps back in the day, in my 20s. I'll tell you something: people are always checking people out. They just try and make it subtle. Whether or not one is clothed, it makes no difference. I suppose it's the difference between polite and boorish behaviour.
Hey, if I were in Italy on a beach with topless women, I'd be peeking too. Kinda the way I'm wired.
There are few things that are more natural and innocent than nudity when there is no context attached to it. But context it a tough bullet to dodge. On one hand, we've got this strange confluence of religion and pornography that have cloaked nudity in prurience and sin (the former saying it's bad and the latter saying go for it). On the other hand, we've got issues of self-esteem driven by the fashion and fitness gurus telling us that women bigger than size 1 and six-packless men need not apply for social acceptance.
Were it not for the "sinful" context, one wouldn't have to worry about freaking out children or their parents on the beach. And were it not or the "cosmetic" context, one wouldn't have to care if they look like a Shar Pei with their clothes off.
So... do we all update our avatars with bare nekked self-portraits?
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