Porn, selfies, and getting offended

tumblr_mvx9fhigW91rl3l95o1_500Everywhere you look these days, you are likely to stumble across some form of nudity.  There are times that it feels as though pretty much everyone with a mobile phone has at some point taken a nude selfie and either sent it to their friends or posted it online like the girl on the left, here.  Porn is freely available online to anyone with an internet connection.  There has been a huge growth in blogs and websites where people post pictures of themselves naked.  The paparazzi are always trying to get a picture of this or that celebrity naked, or to get a look up their skirt in case they aren’t wearing any underwear.

That’s just the online nudity.  In the UK we are seeing an increasing number of people who spend some or all of their spare time nude, whether just at home on their own, or socially with friends and family, but who do not call themselves naturists.  Keep your eyes open and you will see that many women are spending their summers wearing short skirts with no underwear these days, and there has been a huge but largely unreported growth in the number of nude (non-sexual) university and college birthday parties being held.

Nudity is everywhere, and yet our media and legal systems are still doing everything they can to convince us that nudity is bad, and that we should cast it out wherever possible.

“Offended”

tumblr_mvwmxhk8Kb1s6zf0no1_500But that makes no sense.  With around 4 million people in the UK who consider themselves naturists, that is a significant percentage of people who clearly have no problem with nudity, and are unlikely to be “offended” by a bit of non-sexual nudity on television.  I have no figures for this, but I would guess that a significant percentage of the people posting nude selfies online (not counting those who had them posted without their knowledge, of course) would also have no problem with everyday nudity, and would be unlikely to be “offended” if they saw someone sunbathing in their back garden with no clothes on.  As a photographer, I work with a large number of models who do not consider themselves naturists or nudists, but I don’t think I’ve found a single one that would be “offended” if they saw someone else naked across a fence or through a window.  So who are all these “offended” people?  And do they have a right to their “offence”?

Societal Hypocrisy

tumblr_mvy5fjrBPN1s7nnzro1_500There is huge inertia to attitudes like this, especially when they are so deep seated into our establishment.  Many of our rules and values are based on a religion that has been interpreted by many as preaching shame, and we have been taught for years that our bodies are a source of embarrassment and that we should hide them at all times.  The fashion industry has capitalised on this and sells the idea that our bodies are horribly imperfect, and that we should only let them be seen after we have sculpted, painted, honed, and polished them to some ideal standard designed by airbrush.  Add to all this the need for people to have a way of feeling superior, and you have a natural tendency for people to mock, disparage, or punish those who behave a little differently to themselves.

Time to Change

But if history has taught us anything, it has shown that attitudes can eventually be changed if enough people begin to protest.  There was a time disturbingly recently when it was considered perfectly normal to keep slaves, particularly if they were of a different ethnic background.  They were bought and sold as part of everyday society and no-one thought anything of it, until somebody finally stepped up and said “this is wrong”.  There was a time when women were tortured and killed in some of the most brutal ways imaginable just for being suspected of being a witch.  There have been times across Europe when being a part of the wrong religion could get you imprisoned or killed.

But these are extreme examples, and I can already hear the protests that there is no comparison between the witch-trials and society’s attitude to nudity.  Think about it though, and you will see what I mean.

People are being accused of sex offences, just for sunbathing naked.  This destroys their lives, makes them unemployable, and tears their families apart, and yet parts of society see that as the correct and measured response?

A fifteen year old boy in the US recently committed suicide because he was told that he would be put on the sexual offenders register after streaking at a college football match.

A local government official in the UK has lost his job and has been banned from sunbathing nude in his own private garden for five years, because someone ‘took offence’ at his actions.

Every day, countless teens are starving themselves to reach an unattainable body ideal because the media tells them they are too ugly to be seen in public.  Boys are being taught that any girl who shows a bit of skin is “asking for it”, and the legal system regularly fails those who are raped or assaulted if they were wearing clothes a judge finds “provocative”.

THIS HAS TO STOP!

*Images in this post were sourced from Tumblr, and believed to be sharable.


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