The naked body — particularly the naked female body — has carried a stigma with it since the first printing press printed the Bible. In our culture, covering our bodies is the norm.
Naturally, we have evolved socially since then. There was a time when men would gawk over getting a peek at a woman’s ankles. Now, the more cleavage a woman shows, the better.
Remember, it only counts if you saw a nipple.
It is no wonder why we all lose our heads when a female celebrity’s nude photos or sex tape is leaked to the Internet, especially when it happened without their consent. It’s shocking and provocative.
But it appears as though nudity is losing its intended shock value.
More and more films are featuring full-frontal male nudity. I have yet to see “Gone Girl,” but I hear great things regarding a certain scene involving Ben Affleck. Female actresses have been going full-frontal for years, though.
We have become so overexposed to nudity that we have also become immune to it. I wonder, however, why there was so much of a shock value in the first place. I also want to make clear the distinction between “nakedness” and “nudity.” Simply put, nakedness is just an absence of clothing. Nudity is being naked in the presence of another, or others. It implies visibility.
Growing up, we are taught that exposing our bodies is wrong, yet we receive so much attention for it when we do.
Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus are prime examples of how publicly flaunting your raunchy behavior can make you famous.
At least, those are the less tasteful examples.
But the fact that nudity is supposed to be shocking implies the human body is shock-worthy, and I find this problematic.
In November 2014, Dutch model Lara Stone posed for a nude, post-childbirth photo shoot for System magazine. The photos were untouched, airbrush-free and refreshingly honest. There was also nothing sexual about it, for a change.
They were striking, and they didn’t need to break the Internet to get the point across. Our bodies are imperfect, and that is perfectly acceptable.
And still, the human body is continuously scrutinized, photoshopped, airbrushed and put under a microscope.In turn, we nitpick at our own imperfections endlessly. Seriously, my nail beds suck. And wow, my hairline is so weird.
Nude beaches in Europe are customary because it is acceptable for men and women to be topless in a public space. And yet American tourists continue to drop their jaws at a European woman untying the strings of her bikini at the beach.
The shock value attached with exposing the naked body only promulgates the idea that it is wrong and offensive to do so.
If it is unacceptable to show our bodies, then it must also be true that our bodies are something to be tucked away.
Now, I’m not saying we should all start running around naked or join a nudist colony, but I am saying the human body should not be gasp-worthy. Our bodies should be celebrated, not criticized.