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Leave your hat on (you can)

The idea behind the tweet is that if you can get children used to the unclothed body then they will grow up without “complexes” or “hang-ups” about their body image. What the user doesn’t realise is that context matters in social relations—and that’s why their tweet is so disastrous.

In our culture, to be clothed is the norm—to be unclothed as an adult is associated with sex, almost exclusively. It changes with culture—there are Amazonian tribes where to be “clothed” just means to have a gourd that covers most, if not all, of the penis. To us, these people look “undressed”—but to them “undressed” is to appear without the gourd.

Due to the fact our culture considers nakedness to mean “sex”, if you walk around naked before your children you are engaged in sexual exposure. That is how it is read—and will be read in the retroactive sense. There is a difference between nudity—as in a Greek marble statue—and nakedness that implies sexual activity.

We do not live in ancient Greece where men would exercise in the nude without sexual connotation—if you exercise in the nude in a gym today you will be attacked, wrestled with, and, finally, arrested. That is because you are naked, not nude—and that’s how the whole culture is constructed, you can’t just short-circuit it at will. If you’re naked in the gym, you just attempted sexual assault on a group of well-built men.

To be unclothed in our societies just means “sexual activity”—if you go to a nudist camp where everything is done in the nude so as the sexual element is forgotten, then, yes, it’s not “sexual exposure” (in those circumstances to put on clothes, like lingerie, might signal sexual activity).

Almost nobody is a nudist today—and even nudists don’t grow up in nudist camps. Hence to suggest that parents walk around in front of their children without clothes means that you have suggested that they engage in sexual exposure. Now the woman who tweeted this out doesn’t mean that, she’s not a pervert—she’s a narcissistic solipsist, so what she thinks is “it will get them over their hang-ups over their body image” (because, of course, all women, narcissists in particular, are hung-up on their body image). In the process she de facto runs cover for actual perverts—because when a woman talks about these topics we read it as not a threat and as non-sexual.

Where did I learn this analysis? From a book on narcissism—from Lowe’s book on narcissism from 1985 (because people have put about this idea for decades now—in particular, narcissists). Lowe actually says “some parents think it is smart”—well, nothing has changed. He also notes that society is over-sexualised—lol, if only he were alive to see it now. I mean I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written these articles with a yoga-panted waitress’s intergluteal cleft outlined in contour in grey fabric—and mere inches from my face.

Anecdote: I once arranged to meet a friend at her friend’s house—her friend, an academic, was good-looking in a tousled surfer-boy hippy kind of way. He happened to mention he walked around naked in front of his children, who were probably around eight and eleven. At the time, I sort of clenched inside—but I couldn’t say what was wrong with it exactly, aside from the fact that’s not how I was brought up and also the biblical injunction against it. But I know now.


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1 Comment

Some guy with no plan
Some guy with no plan
Jul 12, 2023

I went to a poor man's Burning Man once with about 2k people. I was camped next to a giant homemade geo dome that accommodated orgy's all throughout the night. A lot of the people would seamlessly walk around naked all day and then go have sex for hours inside. I remember over hearing some women making a big fuss that they felt men kept kept staring and objectifying them when they weren't trying to be sexual. They had great bodies, what did they expect?

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