Last summer the UK’s channel 4 brought viewers a new “twist” on dating, a television series Naked Attraction. Initially I thought it might be a knock off Dating Naked from MTV on their VH1 cable channel. Well nothing could be further from the truth. There are significant differences and similarities between the two shows and the pluses and minuses of the naked dating shows from a clothes free living point of view.
Compared to the US counterpart Dating Naked the British Naked Attraction feels like a meat market, almost in the kind of runway walk out display you hear about at brothels. The show works like this. A contestant gets to chose a potential date partner from a group of participants male and female who are standing naked on platforms behind an obscuring screen. The participants are revealed bit by bit in all their naked glory, as the contestant asks questions of them to determine who they want to ask on a date. At the outset the contestant is dressed but is required to undress for the second segment of the show and remains undressed for the final choice.
Where it works…
Diversity: One of the strong positives of the episodes of the episodes I was able to watch was diversity. It was present on multiple levels. Participants came for a wide variety of racial/ethinc groups. People from a range of sexual orientations were represented. There were even people of different body types. More about that later. So score one for the Brits with a diversity win as compared to the US Dating Naled which usually showcased fit bodies, limited racial/ethnic diversity and a single sexual orientation.
Where it doesn’t
Body-centric not people focused: Because of the reveal is done on this show there is no opportunity for the contestant and the participant to focused on the human being inside the body behind the screen until after the choice has been made. Choice process is very much “do you like what you see” process as the screen rises to reveal more and more of the the participants’ bodies.
Not body positive: Despite the diversity of bodies represented on the show, the tone is most definitely NOT body positive. For the reasons described abone participants find the characteristics of their body and their body parts being judged by the contestant which leads to the description of body characteristics like curves, hair and even size of genitalia, in less than body positive way.
Sex – Ultimately this leads to the showing having a sexual charge from the very beginning. The host Anna Richardson seems to be intent on fuelling that element of the body exposure, by prodding the contestant with not so subtle sexual innuendo.
In the final analysis this show does not work from a naturist/nudist or clothes free point of view. While some who gravitate to anything that has a naked bodies might find some thing to enjoy, I cannot recommend it.