We are all born into this world naked. It would be so unnatural to imagine a baby popping out with its small, fleshy, and bloody mass squished into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. For a while, nakedness is accepted in children. As they age and begin to physically develop, however, they are taught to cover up and nudity becomes something to fear, something to be ashamed about. It is arguably our society’s most stigmatized taboo. Nudity has been construed as inappropriate, provocative, pornographic and just plain slutty. If nakedness is filled with such negative stigma, it is no wonder why we, who are all naked under our clothes, are so insecure about our bodies. Nakedness should be freed from its societal restraints — we should someday all feel comfortable to walk the streets in our birthday suits.
In every aspect of culture, norms are made up. They aren’t what people do, but are the ideas about what people do. “Like beliefs, norms refer to some aspect of reality, such as the definition of murder. Like values, norms are linked to cultural judgments about what’s considered more or less desirable: Murder is bad, while killing to protect your country is good” (Johnson, 54). This shows that norms are ideas, not only about how people behave, but also about how they appear. Johnson speaks about how him and his wife were in a remote place about to go for a swim; he automatically put on a bathing suit and then questioned himself about why he had to hide himself when it was just he and his wife. I’m interesting in how studying our culture has told us her nudity has negative affiliations with sexuality, religious sin and indecency.
In Canada, it is not illegal to be naked. However, when it alarms or offends others (in a public location), nudity becomes a crime dubbed “indecent exposure.” The catch is, the way our society has been constructed has overemphasized and over-stigmatized what is considered as “decent” in terms of the way we appear. The vast...