we are born into this world naked. free and unrestricted, without shame or guilt or pride or any of the constraints that our minds create as we go through life. our bodies are our gifts. we are spiritual beings having a human experience and so the body gifted to you upon your birth is the tool with which you navigate the world. it is the main filter with which we take information into the less physical parts of our body, our minds, our souls. when we cover it in cloth we separate ourselves from the wind and water and the sun, we add a dulling layer to our filter, we numb our flesh to the truth of the world.
as we live in canada, there are many months of the year that going without clothes can be dangerous to your health. during the warmer times why is it surprising to see other humans wanting to engage with their environment without clothes. there is nothing inherently lewd about walking or playing sports or just sitting around. the idea that children will somehow be damaged by seeing the naked adult form is ridiculous, are the children of primitive tribes hurt by everyone running around with as little on as possible? no one is hurt by the older people in gym and pool change rooms that just wander around with nothing.
not only is our culture in danger of becoming pathologically afraid of the naked form, but the only bodies we do see are pathologically similar; young, thin, conventionally configured, symmetrical. should we vanish from the view of the world if we are not perfect in the eyes of the selective clout of the mainstream gaze? there is a collective horror in viewing the weight of standardised beauty. there are so many differences supported by the human genome, why should they not also be seen and celebrated. everyone is going to age and their bodies will change, why should they feel shame and revulsion over what is perfectly natural.
it is our right not to be swaddled and muzzled. the right to be unclothed in appropriate public places such as beaches and festivals needs to be defended. it is generally accepted that the addition of fig leaves by prudish church officials diminished the artistic intent of classical artwork. there is a wealth of history of art created based on the human form, it is a site upon which to find and learn grace and beauty and spirit. growing up, my parents had recreations of david and aphrodite of milos from them i could see the idealised human form and how that was art, while the regular bodies of people i could see were similar but different. my home is filled with art made of the human inspiration and when my peers’ children ask about them we have the appropriate discussion about art and why it is important to us.