Thursday, December 15, 2016

The "Gift" of Nudity

You can't tell me you've never looked at someone and thought to yourself, "I wonder what s/he looks like naked." I don't think there'd be anything else in this world that would delight me quite so much as a supernatural ability to look at someone and have them appear to me to be naked. Obviously, the majority of the population would not appeal to me, and I might just learn to my chagrin that that beauty I thought looked incredible has something else going on entirely under her clothes (because some people look better naked, and others look better dressed). I don't actually want to violate anybody's sense of privacy, if they have a reason to cover themselves up, but there are some people in this world that are just a delight to behold in their altogether; and all too frequently, I fear, they are not the ones you get the pleasure of viewing that way. Inevitably, the pretty ones will be subjected to an inordinate amount of attention, and are likely to clam up as a defense mechanism - sadly.

And then you have the religious conservatives with their doctrine of shame and sin, and the average layperson who hypocritically (and self-destructively) degrades and insults the very women he appreciates seeing in porn, because...Madonna-whore complex or some bullshit like that. And that's not to address all the slut-shaming that goes on between women themselves, as well as the fashion industry's agenda to make women feel dissatisfied with their appearance - no matter how beautiful they are - so they'll shell out money on this season's hottest trends; and feminists' insistence that when men compliment your sex appeal, they are reducing you to an unthinking, unfeeling object with only two purposes: to be a sandwich-maker, and cum-receptacle. Tell me we don't have issues...

While I believe that making nudity a strict taboo is downright unhealthy, allow me to humor for a moment one of the explanations people give for keeping the human body under wraps. From a certain perspective, you could consider nudity a gift. Clothes are the wrapping, and what's inside is something you want to save for a special someone - a reward for making a deep social connection with somebody. But the trouble with this view is that it's overly idealistic. Not everyone gets an opportunity to open this gift, despite it being one of the most desirable gifts in human nature. Some people only ever get one gift, feeling that that's not enough. What's more, if you keep the gift under wraps until you take it home, you might not like what's inside. That's like shopping for toys sealed up in unlabeled boxes. By the time you get home and open it up, you might find that it's not the sort of toy you like to play with. And by then, it's too late, because it's immoral to dump one toy for another.

Now, if this analogy makes you feel uncomfortable because it sounds like I'm "objectifying" the human body, that's good. Because that's exactly what's going on in this view. Can nudity be an exciting reward? Absolutely! Does that mean we should restrict people's individual liberties and construct an artificial and massively unhealthy taboo (that everyone must follow, whether they agree with it or not) that leads to neurotic sexual attitudes and body image disorders? Just because some special snowflakes want to go their whole lives without ever seeing more than one or two naked bodies? Uh, I don't think so. And should we punish people who don't have the requisite social skills (or other requirements for scoring a mate) by not letting them indulge in the nudity of consenting strangers, and stigmatize people for an arbitrarily "excessive" interest in and admiration for this gift, and those unfortunates who happen to find that the body(/ies) they desire are not those occupied by the person(/s) they meet in their lives with whom they are compatible and decide to build a life together?

God, people can be so uptight. The day we adopted freedom as a guiding principle for society is the day we sacrificed our expectation for other people to humor our personal delusions. You do not have the "freedom" to engage in a lifestyle that requires non-consenting others to behave in a particular way. Freedom means you can live your life the way you want to, but the limitation on your freedom is the restriction of anyone else's freedom. That's where equality comes into play - nobody is "more free" than anybody else. Yet it is human nature to try to expand one's own freedom at the expense of others. At the risk of getting political, this is why in a democracy you will inevitably have a tyranny of the majority - because in a system of majority rule, the largest group of like minds has the power to oppress anyone in the minority on any given issue. Unless we cling to the value of freedom, above and beyond the idea that the largest group of people should be allowed to bully the rest of the population, that freedom will be lost. Freedom is not comfortable; it is challenging. But it's worth it. I just wish it were easier to get that point across.

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