I was just thinking, if clothes never existed, and everyone walked around naked (I agree, it would be great, but hear me out) would nudity still be considered offensive?
Say you go into a movie with a five year old cousin or son or daughter or whatever, which has a rating of PG. Then say halfway through you see, in clear view, a woman’s breasts. Now what is offensive about that? The actual matter shown before you? Or the fact that they’re showing it?
A woman can wear a bra which consists of something the size of a coin alone, with no string whatsoever, and it will be considered not exactly ‘decent’, but generally acceptable, while complete nudity is considered vastly obscene.
I concluded that if clothes had never existed, we would never consider nudity offensive or degrading, and pornography that involves nakedness (not sexual activity) would never exist. I just found it quite interesting to think of a society that existed like that…
…first, not everyone considers nudity offensive. Given, there are plenty of folks I don’t have much desire to see sans clothing, but I wouldn’t classify their nudity as offensive or obscene. I would readily vote for required nudity for the likes of Laetitia Casta, but that’s because I’m a cretin.
Second, this is only based upon flipping channels through National Geographic Explorer or the like – there seem to be plenty of societies (what we might call primitive) in which the women folk walk around with their breasts swinging in the breeze (and sometimes, ditto for the men and their equipment). No one seems to bat an eyelash. Now, perhaps they don’t attach sexual significance to those body parts at all - or perhaps only when they are a-courtin’ for some lovin’.
Here’s my take on why nudity is considered offensive to begin with:[ul][li]Ancient man had no body hair like the other apes did. This was an advantage on the exceedingly hot African plains, but was a disadvantage in cold weather. (Modern man continues to have this trait.)[/li][li]The successful hunters managed to get themselves some animal skins to cover themselves up in the colder months. The less successful hunters had to stumble around naked when it was cold outside.[/li][li]Coverings became a sign of affluence. Having more animal skins (or, later, more garments) meant you had more skill as a hunter or more power/influence in your tribe, or were married to someone who was successful.[/li][li]Thus, everybody desired to have clothing, as they wanted to be seen as affluent.[/li][li]When clothing became more commonplace, only the very poor had to run around naked. Thus, nudity became a sign of being “vulgar” (the word vulgar originally only meant “common” – only later did it gain its current connotation of disgust or nastiness).[/li]Victorian society helped to turn vulgarity into, practically, a criminal state of being.[/ul]Of course, I haven’t the slightest bit of historical evidence to support any of this conjecture, of course.
I don’t think you’ll find a lot of people on this MB weighing in to say, “Yes, nudity is awful, if people were meant to be naked, they’d be born without clothes on.”
People only find nudity offensive because they’re used to seeing people clothed, and assume that that is “decent,” being the norm and all. If everyone walked around nude, we wouldn’t mind seeing unattractive people naked any more than we mind seeing unattractive people clothed right now.
The flaw here is that hair is an insulator, and lack of hair is just as big a drawback in hot climates as it is in cool. It is definitely not advantageous in warm climates to have no hair and no access to clothes.
Why people have any concept of modesty is well beyond me. I can understand why an individual might want to wear clothes, but it makes no sense why anyone is offended by seeing another individual naked.
One theory that seems to make some sense is that humans lost thir body hair for reasons unknown. In males however the penis was used as a symbol of strength much like the size of a deers antlers or the silver back on male gorrillas. The penis got larger and developed a ‘frame’ of pubic hair as a result of this.
When humans began living in larger groups the constant display of the genitals became a liability, since it led to more fights amongst males. Those males who developed an instinct for covering up had less injuries and the concept of modesty became instinctive.
This being the case I think that perhaps modesty clothing ws invented because nudity was offensive, rather than nudity being offensive because clothing was invented.
Nudity isn’t offensive because of what it does to your eyes, it’s offensive because people’s naked buttholes & naked genitals are rubbing who knows what germs on everything & being rubbed right back on yours. Now, thats offensive.
My take on the penis-size issue is that the penis probably grew larger because the birth canal grew larger. (The birth canal grew larger because the cranium grew larger, and a wider passage was needed to deliver a big-headed baby.) The association of penis size with male power was a side effect, not a cause, of this penis enlargement, and is not in fact shared by all human males.
As far as pubic hair goes, I’d have to know if the hair around other apes’ genitals is any different from the hair anywhere else on their bodies. The perspiration glands around the pubic region are almost certainly sexual in nature, and pubic hair thus serves to trap the perspired pheremones – in both sexes.
Ancient man had no body hair like the other apes did.**
Untrue. Humans have as much body hair as our pongid relatives per square centimeter of skin surface, only it’s much finer and generally colorless.
As to why nudity is considered “sinful” in western culture, I think one reason is the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. After eating the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they discovered they were naked and became ashamed. Why they became ashamed after discovering themselves naked isn’t given.
Part of this (at least in the United States) is probably leftover Puritanical thinking from our early history. A big part of our Judeo-Christian background is the idea that “nudity == sin”, so nude people are considered “offensive” by this form of brainwashing. Contrast this attitude with various parts of Europe, where naked people, nude beaches, and similar features hardly raise an eyebrow for the locals.
Western culture views the nude human body as needing to be covered up except for the purpose of intercourse or being partially uncovered to entice a mate. We all know what the opposite sex looks like nude, the mystery is over for most of us before we are age six.
If the general population were to be in a warm climate without clothing we would all become quickly used to the nudity of each other and carry on with our lives. The bible starts the ball rolling on nudity and sin with Adam and Eve but the bible also states humans are made in the image of god. So, are we supposed to worship everything about god but only so long as we don’t stop to ponder if he or she had genitals?