Naturism - The Naked Truth
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UConn Needs More Skin
By: Cara Reardon
Right now, as I am writing this, I am completely naked. Of course, I am afforded the luxury of this experience by way of having a single. If I had a roommate, I am sure they might be a little uncomfortable. If I stepped outside the confines of this room, I am positive I would be told to put on some clothes and attract some bug-eyed stares. But why? Let's take a closer look at ourselves.
"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." This all too familiar passage from the book of Genesis is an eternal reminder for our self consciousness as a society. Our bodies are the epicenter of our existence. It is the only means we have to communicate and function within the grand scheme of this messy and confused world. If we are born naked, it is arguably the most "natural" state that one can be in - free from all physical constraints and knowledge. Though education can serve practical purposes and is necessary in order to function as a human being, clothing, aside from necessity due to weather conditions, has no real function.
Though this viewpoint is embraced by naturists (or nudists, as they are commonly known), it is not one held by the majority of people living in this country, nor is it supported by our judicial system. In every state, there is some law prohibiting public indecency with a variable fine of no less than $200 usually coupled with a prison stay of up to five years with no parole or probation. Though the specifics of what actually entails "indecency" differs from state to state, here in Connecticut it is defined as, "a lewd exposure of the body with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of a person; or a lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person" done with a "willful and wicked purpose." However, without being lewd or wicked intentions, why is it so terribly wrong to walk around naked, or to a lesser degree, show some skin when the weather permits?
This past week, the campus was bustling with life. It happens every spring - students awaken from a dorm/apartment confined hibernation and eagerly don clothing that was either packed away from the warmer days of the fall or recently purchased for the onset of spring. The females of this campus, particularly, are criticized most severely for their exposure of skin. I have heard it all: "that girl's skirt is really short," "the tank top is too revealing" and "save it for the bar, honey!" are just a few that stick out in my mind. Though, with temperatures gradually rising and more females (and males, too) showing off their pasty white or recently melanomatized (yes, I made up that word) skin, why is it that we criticize those that have taken the initiative to remove more conservative clothing?
When I remove articles of extra clothing, I am overwhelmed with a sense of freedom. I gleefully shed the heavy layers that were necessary during the cold months and move about with less restrictions on my body. However, one of the most common critiques of removing one's clothing is that that a person is trying to elicit some sexually deviant action upon themselves or others, which is the logic behind this state's public indecency law. Yet, how can you really tell what the intentions are of people that are simply wearing a short skirt because it is 72 degrees? Or wearing a particularly revealing tank top because they enjoy the aesthetic quality that it provides for their body? When I slip on a short or sleeveless dress, I am not doing it to offend anyone or entice people sexually. I do it because I like the dress and how it compliments my body, not because I am trying to impress other females (which a lot of heterosexual females do) or males. To a complete stranger, however, my intentions are entirely unknown.
That is why we as a society should be more careful about judging those people who choose to show a bit more skin when the weather permits. It is an act of freedom to express one's individuality and appreciation for one's body. If you do not like what you see, you are free to look away. Furthermore, when the weather is excruciatingly hot in the midst of summer, I do not believe that public indecency should be a criminal act. How could a police officer tell the difference between someone with a willful and wicked intention to offend people by displaying their unclothed body, or someone who is simply hot and wishes not to clothe their body for comfort purposes? If the law is afraid that public nudity will offend and/or induce in certain people a sexual desire, then what if one exposes too much skin that is close to your private part? For example, males wearing jeans that hang halfway down their rear ends to expose their boxers or females wearing low-cut tank tops or "booty" shorts. Where do you draw the line for what is and isn't appropriate bodily exposure?
I suppose the one regret that I have during my four years at this university was my failure to initiate a club. A club on campus where people do not have to wear clothing and can congregate not with the intention to entice sexually deviant acts, but to enjoy one another's company in our most comfortable, and natural, state - clothes free.
Source from: http://www.dailycampus.com
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