Body of evidence: do we fear nudity or nakedness?

Body of evidence: do we fear nudity or nakedness?

Irish paper explores the question of why we fear being clothes free

And then there is innocuous nakedness. The ‘calendar girls’, the naked rugby players, all raising money for charity, with a carefully discreet nakedness designed not to raise any eyebrows. No fannies, no willies. Nothing to worry about.

Because we do worry. ‘The naked rambler’, that chap who insists upon walking around Britain in all weathers with nothing on, has been repeatedly jailed in Scotland, because he refuses to be clothed. Nothing more than that. Yet he is regarded as a criminal. Brrrr.

“Stop reading and take off your clothes,” says Philip Carr-Gomm, in A Brief History of Nakedness. “If you’re about to read this in the bath, this would present no problem, but if you happen to be reading it in a bookshop or as you wait for a bus or a train, your life is about to change.”

We freak out at non-contextual, individual nakedness, calling it indecent exposure, or, at best, streaking or flashing. Yet, as a group activity in designated areas, you can partake in naked anything — sky-diving, beach rugby, bungee-jumping, surfing, boxing, swimming, skiing, yoga, dining, air travel, weddings. (The last three are not made up).

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