Thursday, March 1, 2018

Keeping Nudity in the Wardrobe

I've said this many times already, but though I would enjoy living in a nudist utopia, I'd be willing to settle for a textile world that merely accepts a nudist minority among its folds, without discrimination. You see, I don't want to actually force anyone who's considered nudity and rejected it to remove their clothes. I just want to ensure that nudity remains an option, and that those who might like to try it are not discouraged by other people's beliefs and opinions.

Because that's what our culture is doing. People who might enjoy and voluntarily choose to engage in nudism (or even just casual nudity without calling it nudism, and thereby invoking all the baggage that comes with being part of a "lifestyle" or "movement" - because the important thing isn't whether you call yourself a nudist or identify with nudism, but whether or not you like being naked) are being repressed by mainstream values. Ours is a culture of conformity, and not one that values individual diversity. And I think we're worse off for it.

It becomes even more insidious when we consider gender imbalances. "I can't go naked because I'm a girl!" Is it any wonder nudist demographics skew male? It's not because men have any more to gain from nudism, but because we commodify women's bodies and then strive to maintain an economy of scarcity (and girls pick up on this from a very early age), which has ties to the barbaric and antiquated practice of a father selling his daughter's virginity to the man she is to marry (so you'd better stay pure to maintain your market value!).

I want to create a better, happier world for us all, but I'm woefully outnumbered and overpowered. And I can't help anyone if the world ignores or disagrees with me. All I can do is hang my head and sigh, dying a little more each day. As I once wrote in a poem during my angsty teenage years, "I offered you the key to the gates of Paradise, and you turned me down." I've been wondering for a long time why people refuse to let themselves have things that would make them happy, only because they contradict some arbitrary code of morality or propriety.

Although, more often than not, it's people preventing other people from being happy, only because they can't be happy themselves, in a vicious cycle of communal flagellation. When people try to control other people's behavior, it's usually a reflection of their own insecurities. But isn't life hard enough? What's the point in making any of us suffer more than we have to, and denying us things that could make the suffering more bearable? Not things that are dangerous, just things that, as I said, are arbitrarily considered to be "immoral" or "improper".

That rules out true crimes like stealing and raping and murdering, as well as the imbibing of illicit substances that are experientially and scientifically proven to destroy our minds and bodies. And I don't mean anything in excess. For all we talk about how activities like drinking and smoking are toxic (and they are), they're still national pastimes. But flash a little too much skin in public, and who does that hurt, really? What is the big deal if somebody sees "too much" of your body? God forbid you should give some total stranger a fleeting moment of joy. It may be considered a "vice", but I don't believe it even belongs in the same category as those others.

You know, re-reading that last part, it occurs to me that this is undoubtedly exacerbated by, as much as I hate this term, "rape culture". In a world where women are sexually harassed without consequence (although that is changing), and a man may blame his sexual frustrations on the women who inadvertently trigger his desires, covering up is merely self-defense. But how sad is that? That's not the world I want to live in. I want to live in a world where women feel comfortable walking down the street naked in public, and men have the maturity and the responsibility to conduct themselves with dignity. Is this too much to ask? The world says yes, but I desperately want to believe the answer is no...

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