Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

On Nudism

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

By Diana Hsieh from NoodleFood,cross-posted by MetaBlog

Katie Granju on the fundamental problem with nudism:

I used to know a man who did restaurant health inspections for the state, and one of the food service establishments on his regular route happened to be the cafeteria at some "naturalist" colony in Middle [Tennessee]. I'll never forget his story about how odd and vulnerable and unattractive all the nudists seemed when he would encounter them pressed up against the protective glass on the salad bar line, or queued up for a second helping of banana pudding. Really, nobody, and I mean
nobody
can pull off looking good
au naturel
when illuminated by flourescent bulbs and clutching a plastic cafeteria tray topped with a sloppy joe.

Heh.

I'm not stuffy about my own nudity, in the sense that I don't much care if other people see me naked. However, I presume that other people don't wish to see me naked, hopefully just as much as I really don't want to see them naked. Even if a person is not repulsive, I'm just not interested in observing them in all their glory. Rolls of fat, saggy breasts, and/or a shriveled frank and beans don't augment a person's appeal to the eye. So outside a sexual context, I'd much, much rather admire even the most attractive person in flattering clothing than naked. They'll surely look better. Conversely, if someone other than Paul did want to see me naked, that would be creepy. It would indicate a most unwelcome kind of interest in me.

In any case, the point about all that is to say that (1) I'm not prudish about nudity but (2) nudism completely baffles me. Why do some people -- mostly men, it seems -- feel a need to put their usually less-than-attractive bodies on display? I just don't get it.

(Just to be clear, I have no objections whatsoever to women breastfeeding in public. The objections to that practice strike me as prudish, precisely because the practice of breastfeeding is good and proper.)

aoj4z_pQrE81L_EaHypyJU

Cross-posted from Metablog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not stuffy about my own nudity, in the sense that I don't much care if other people see me naked. However, I presume that other people don't wish to see me naked, hopefully just as much as I really don't want to see them naked.

I don't understand this, because it's very normal and healthy to want to see an attractive girl naked. I mean, this is why they have Playboy!

However, the whole Nudist colony idea has no appeal to me. Clothing serves several practical purposes. There is a time and a place for nudity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The human body, when well maintained, is beautiful.

As a man, I love looking at the nude female figure, and I can appreciate the esthetic qualities of the nude male as well. I look at a beautiful body in the same way I look at a beautiful sculpture -- and for the same reason.

A nude body projects pride. It displays itself unashamed, revealing the purposeful function of every rippling muscle, downy hair, sturdy bone, and sensitive nerve ending.

A nude body projects freedom. Unencumbered by the weight of clothes, every limb can move and stretch without fabric reigning it in. It is free to experience the warmth of the sun, the caress of a cool breeze, or the rush of cold water flowing freely over every inch of skin.

A nude body projects control. Without the protection of clothes, man is vulnerable. Only by mastery of his environment can he stand nude without fear of the elements, or predators, or other men. A nude body symbolizes the transformation of fragility into a display of strength.

There is a reason why Ayn Rand opened The Fountainhead with Howard Roark standing naked on a cliff. There is a reason why she described the Stoddard Temple as having a statue of a nude woman as its centerpiece. Rand reveled in the unadorned beauty of the human form and worshiped man's body as fervently as she worshiped his mind, refusing to recognize a split between the two.

You view the body as "rolls of fat, saggy breasts, and/or a shriveled frank and beans." It is not. A person who neglects and abuses his body reveals his character on his person. It is not its natural state. Your view of the human body is unspeakably disgusting and degrading.

I take pride in my body. I suspect you take none in yours.

Edited by Myself
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You view the body as "rolls of fat, saggy breasts, and/or a shriveled frank and beans." It is not. A person who neglects and abuses his body reveals his character on his person. It is not its natural state. Your view of the human body is unspeakably disgusting and degrading.

I take pride in my body. I suspect you take none in yours.

Rather presumptive statement, I'd say. You are misreading what she wrote.

Nudism is kind of baffling, to me. Clothing was invented for a reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You view the body as "rolls of fat, saggy breasts, and/or a shriveled frank and beans." It is not. A person who neglects and abuses his body reveals his character on his person. It is not its natural state. Your view of the human body is unspeakably disgusting and degrading.

I take pride in my body. I suspect you take none in yours.

I also think you may go a bit far. I took Diana to be referencing the fact that nudist colonies(at least the ones most of us have seen photographs of) do seem to be frequented predominantly by middle aged people in less then perfect physical shape. If nudist colonies were 22 year old naked models, no one would be wondering why anyone likes to go there. So more of a reference to what is than what ought to be.

The ad hominem is unnecessary, and unfounded as I am fairly certain that, assuming nothing drastic has changed recently, she does in fact have some serious interest in her health, evidenced by diet and exercise.

That said, I do think that you make a good point that the naked human form can be very inspiring, and Diana seems to underplay that potential for beauty more than I would agree with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A relative and I were recently discussing the etymology of the word 'prude'. Being derived from 'prudent', it's always struck me as odd that this shortened version has a more negative connotation.

That said, I do think that you make a good point that the naked human form can be very inspiring, and Diana seems to underplay that potential for beauty more than I would agree with.

I agree with the human body being an inspirational thing. As an athlete, I value my body on multiple fronts -- as well as esthetically. That being said, it's only natural for me to be selfishly selective in who I am nude around...and contrary to Myself's post, I do take pride in my body. It is just imperative for me to value those who I am naked around, as well. Teammates in a locker room? Yes. A lover? Naturally. Some random stranger on the street who is pining for something to inspire him/her into a course of action, or with some other immoral motive? Of course not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie Granju on the fundamental problem with nudism:

Really, nobody, and I mean nobody can pull off looking good au naturel when illuminated by flourescent bulbs and clutching a plastic cafeteria tray topped with a sloppy joe.

I think that Katie Granju has identified not the fundamental problem with nudism, but rather the fundamental problem with fluorescent lights!

John Link

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rather presumptive statement, I'd say. You are misreading what she wrote.

Nudism is kind of baffling, to me. Clothing was invented for a reason.

Yes, the reason is to protect us from the elements, which is not an issue on the beach in the summer.

The human body, when well maintained, is beautiful.

As a man, I love looking at the nude female figure, and I can appreciate the esthetic qualities of the nude male as well. I look at a beautiful body in the same way I look at a beautiful sculpture -- and for the same reason.

A nude body projects pride. It displays itself unashamed, revealing the purposeful function of every rippling muscle, downy hair, sturdy bone, and sensitive nerve ending.

A nude body projects freedom. Unencumbered by the weight of clothes, every limb can move and stretch without fabric reigning it in. It is free to experience the warmth of the sun, the caress of a cool breeze, or the rush of cold water flowing freely over every inch of skin.

A nude body projects control. Without the protection of clothes, man is vulnerable. Only by mastery of his environment can he stand nude without fear of the elements, or predators, or other men. A nude body symbolizes the transformation of fragility into a display of strength.

There is a reason why Ayn Rand opened The Fountainhead with Howard Roark standing naked on a cliff. There is a reason why she described the Stoddard Temple as having a statue of a nude woman as its centerpiece. Rand reveled in the unadorned beauty of the human form and worshiped man's body as fervently as she worshiped his mind, refusing to recognize a split between the two.

You view the body as "rolls of fat, saggy breasts, and/or a shriveled frank and beans." It is not. A person who neglects and abuses his body reveals his character on his person. It is not its natural state. Your view of the human body is unspeakably disgusting and degrading.

I take pride in my body. I suspect you take none in yours.

You are missing the obvious reality of a nudist beach, and confusing it with art ,or a photoshoot.

The reason why I don't go to a nudist beach is because I don't want to see a bunch of people in various shapes and ages walking around naked. It's disgusting, and it's definitely not a "celebration of the human form", the way nude art would be. (Just as, in literature, naturalism is not a celebration of values, the way romantic realism is.)

Your view of the human body is unspeakably disgusting and degrading.

Actually, I'd rather say that about people on your side of the argument, if I had to pick someone to say it about. A nudist colony clearly has nothing to do with the celebration of the human body.

Most nudists are not for their bodies (as evidenced by the shape they're usually in), they just hate clothes. They wish to return to a "natural" state, driven by ideology. As I said, it reminds me of naturalism more than of beauty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most nudists are not for their bodies (as evidenced by the shape they're usually in), they just hate clothes. They wish to return to a "natural" state, driven by ideology. As I said, it reminds me of naturalism more than of beauty.

Yep, because they not rational.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nudity is something that should be a private, personal thing. It should be shared with those we value and not with strangers.

Nudist colonies are more centered around an apathy of the human body and not a reverence of it. They see a hunk of fat and declare it as beautiful as a well toned muscle. They say that all human bodies are beautiful regardless of their caretaking.

However, I too had a problem with Diana Hsieh's post, as I took it as a general disgust of the human body.

I've wondered at times why I don't just walk around naked in my house, with my roommates around and all, and I've come to the conclusion that they're not worthy of seeing me naked. I simply don't value them enough, and I they wouldn't appreciate my body as I do. A lover on the other hand...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had some friends who on a regular basis were, shall we say, clothing-impaired or clothing-intolerant...those were special days.

I will say this. I am a great lover and appreciator of the male form. Men are beautiful to look at and I feel this way even if a guy does not have "perfect" form...more or less if a guy is not a twig, morbidly obese, or the victim of some really nasty skin problems I am good to go. Hair, no hair, cut, chub, tats, random markings, I don't mind. BUT...as far as daily life is concerned, I have to admit that no matter HOW attractive a dude is I cannot possibly take him seriously with his meat and two veg flapping nonchalantly in the breeze. Naked dude posing for my enjoyment - sure. Naked dude selling me insurance, weeding his garden, going for a bike ride, or walkin the dog - erm, sorry guy, but you just come off looking ridiculous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However, I too had a problem with Diana Hsieh's post, as I took it as a general disgust of the human body.

I love the human body -- when well-maintained by proper diet and exercise. I'm very pleased with the state of my own body. I most definitely enjoy my husband's body. I'm also a fan of the bodies of many athletes, actors, and others. However, the fact is that most Americans today are disgustingly overweight, and I would pay darn good money to avoid seeing them naked. I don't like seeing wasted human potential, whether in physical or mental form. It's unpleasant, and I make no apologies for finding it off-putting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By Diana Hsieh from NoodleFood,cross-posted by MetaBlog

Why do some people -- mostly men, it seems -- feel a need to put their usually less-than-attractive bodies on display? I just don't get it.

Here's an answer I found at this web site

In her book Therapy, Nudity & Joy, sex therapist and researcher Aileen Goodson, Ph.D., shows that numerous sexual and emotional problems are rooted in attitudes of repression, fear, guilt, and shame concerning the human body.

She presents proof that social nudism, with its attitude of acceptance toward the body, can prevent the development of those types of problems and help people overcome at least some of the problems.

Goodson also provides evidence of other possible benefits of social nudism. These include relaxation, stress reduction, improved self-esteem, satiation of curiosities about the human body, reduction or elimination of interest in pornography, diminishment of a consuming interest in sex, the provision of a natural setting for teaching children healthy body attitudes, assistance in healing the emotional scars of sexual abuse, and development of a more wholesome attitude toward the opposite sex.

Additional health benefits of nudism are reported by Dr. John Money, a renowned author, sexologist, and professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has referred some patients to Elysium Fields, a nudist resort in southern California.

He says Elysium has proved to be "ideal for the referral of patients who have extreme difficulty in establishing social relationships; for those who have an impediment to self-acceptance and self-esteem; and for those who have excessive shyness and sensitivity regarding their body image. . . ."

Money also explains that Elysium offers "an ideal environment for families whose policy it is to bring up their children with a healthy regard for the body, and with a chance for normal, wholesome psychosexual development. It is my opinion that there should be branches of Elysium Fields, or similar institutions, throughout the country."

Family nudity is likewise supported by John Ince, cofounder of the Art of Loving, a sexuality center in Vancouver, British Columbia. In his book The Politics of Lust, Ince reports: "Indeed family nudity has many benefits. In a study of children raised on communes where nudity is common, pediatric researchers concluded: 'The only significant difference between their experience and that of most traditionally raised children was their frequent contact with and comfortableness with both adult and child nudity.'"

Ince further notes: "Other studies have found that children from nudist families consistently score higher than non-nudist children with respect to body acceptance and self-concept."

In regard to nudity in general, Ince says there are "many advantages of occasional nudity. When the temperature allows, nudity is sensually stimulating. Our skin enjoys moderate exposure to the warm rays of the sun or a cooling breeze. Our bodies relish the freedom of movement unrestrained by clothes. Without belts or bras our circulation flows more easily; we can breathe deeper. Nudity also promotes a sense of full-body integrity." Because of such benefits: "Nudity enhances many social recreational activities such as sunbathing, swimming, or relaxing in a hot-tub or sauna."

Moreover, the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of humanistic psychology in the 1960s, states: "I still think that nudism . . . is itself a kind of therapy."

And he asserts that a spread of nudism would result in "less sexual exploration merely for the sake of curiosity. It seems to me also that such love as would emerge would be more on the social and emotional side than on the purely physical side."

Dr. Elizabeth Schmid, a psychiatrist born and raised in Vienna, supports Maslow's position by reporting that she has witnessed healing qualities of European social nudism.

The therapeutic qualities are undoubtedly a reason why nude beaches and spas have become common in Europe. Approximately 20 million Europeans - including some eight to ten million Germans - visit them each year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the reason is to protect us from the elements, which is not an issue on the beach in the summer.

Are you kidding? Sand! Sand everywhere! GAH! I'm also one of those people who gets a burn if I so much as peek outdoors on a moderately cloudy day, so I have to wear *more* clothing when I go sit on the beach in summer.

I don't mind hanging around the house nude, but it's *much* more comfortable to wear clothes even in full air conditioning etc. As for the supposed health benefits of nudity, this hardly sounds like a controlled study. Heck, you can get similar levels of increased social relaxation by communicating only via text. I know several shy people (myself included), who have conquered social phobias via the internet. They might as well have just taken a bunch of people and put them in any peculiar social situation.

A lot of the "benefits" described are not unequivocal benefits, either. What's the point of having a "positive body image" if you're a fat slob? You may as well say "subject became delusional in a social situation where no standards were upheld".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the proof mentioned in your previous post, and what is this study in your second post trying to prove (I don't understand it)?

I haven't read the book so I don't know. The post about the book describes some benefits people claim to gain from nudity which was kind of the original question.

I came across the study while looking for the first one, and Maximus said the first one sounded like "hooey", so I thought I'd post a link to the study to show that there's some evidence for the claims. I haven't read the study carefully, but it seems to study how people feel about their bodies and attitudes that pertain more to men than women, older to younger, etc. It has several conclusions, but the one I quoted was the relevant one.

Peikoff talks about this some in his Q&A collection "Love, Sex and Romance". My interpretation of what he says is that casual nudity has the harmful effect of desensitizing one to nudity, making it less of a "special occasion". This is harmful because having nudity be special is an important part of the value of sex.

But if someone has psychological issues I can see how it might be worth it to them to risk reducing their enjoyment of sex if it improves their general sense of well being.

Edited by Tom Hall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the reason is to protect us from the elements, which is not an issue on the beach in the summer.

I can't speak for men (as I'm not familiar with the effects on the anatomy), but I cannot think of a time where beach nudity would be a rational choice for a female. Lounging around in the buff on a shoreline is an infection, rash, or other condition just waiting to happen.

I take it you've never heard/used this slang phrase before. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:P

This thread is reminding me of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry is dating a healthy, good-looking girl that likes to hang out naked. He thinks it's great at first, but then witnesses her struggling to open a jar, coughing, bending over to pick something up, etc., and it's quite the turn off.

There's an appropriate time and place for nudity, in my opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...