naked and afraid of pixels – are we missing the bigger picture


Honestly, sometimes I think some naturists are naked and afraid of pixels. It’s like they can’t see the forest for the trees, when it comes to the hit American TV series Naked and Afraid. Let me start by saying Naked and Afraid is one of my favorite TV shows. It is one of the few shows I record so I don’t miss an episode. If you aren’t familiar the Discovery channel show places two people, a man and woman, in the wild without food and clothes for 21 days. The couple have to survive using their wits and any resources they can find in their wilderness habitat. Many don’t make it.

When the show, which is in its third season, first came to the small screen, I saw naturists online complaining about the show pixellating or blurring breasts of women and genital areas of men and women and sometimes buttocks. Despite this first response from folks who I think should have embraced the show, it has grown in popularity. The Twitter account has almost 60,000 followers and the Instagram account has 22,000.

The show has been so popular that it birthed its own survivalist stars like EJ Snyder and a spin-off Naked and Afraid XL. XL for extra long 40 days in wilderness survival instead of 21. Recently the Naked and Afraid XL (XL for extra long 40 days instead of 21) completed its second season. The season finale was intense and the five people, three women and two men, who survived forty days, (the furious five I call them) managed to pull it off despite some significant challenges getting to their extraction point. The folks from Discovery posted an image of the five survivors on Instagram and Twitter congratulating them for the achievement.

Notice anything about the two images? Looks like it’s the same image censored for Instagram. Someone on Twitter commented that it wasn’t necessary to pixelate breasts for Twitter and the pile-on began.

” we are ALL equal, female nipples are no different from male nipples”

Wait a minute! Five men and women just spent 40 days naked in the Amazon in close quarters in a non sexual survival effort. Three of the five were women (who are badasses in my book.)  Didn’t they prove something about equality? Put the image in context. It was first posted on Instagram which doesn’t allow female nipples to be shown. Why would anyone who believes in being naked in nature fixate on a pixellated image  posted to media rather than the tremendous achievement of the women and men doing something few of us could ever accomplish? Why are we naked and afraid of pixels? In the broad scheme of things exactly how does it hurt the naturist cause?

The participants are living clothes free for 21 days. Maybe you have heard it takes 21 days to for a new habit or pattern. So maybe all the naked living stuck. Even if it doesn’t, viewers see the participants engaging with each other clothes free in a nonsexual way despite the pixellating for TV and that is a step in the right direction. The all-or-nothing approach by some naturists in my opinion misses the point. That sentiment suggests the Lush Cosmetics “get naked” campaign from two weeks ago should be critiqued because the staff (who all volunteered) from their stores wore aprons. I can hear it now. What do they have to hide? Nothing actually. The company was promoting an eco-friendly cause that should be supported by naturists. The company also took some flack in social media for its campaign.

Let’s be clear Naked and Afraid is not a naturist show, it is a survival show. However, many of the key components of naturism’s nonsexual social nudity, in harmony with nature, respect for environment and others are expressed despite the pixelation and blurring. These are necessary inconveniences to get the idea of simple nonsexual nudity out to the public. Going from the responses to their tweets and IG posts, Naked and Afraid has a good fan base. All those fans are one step closer to understanding the concept of simple nonsexual nudity, something naturists should be happy about.

Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Let’s stop majoring in the minors by focusing on the blurring of parts and ignoring the other positive activity. Let’s take the opportunity to find intersectional opportunities to connect with people outside the bubble. Tweets from Clothes Free Life have been retweeted and liked by the Naked and Afraid twitter account. One of the stars of the first Naked and Afraid XL follows us. For my part I will be naked but not afraid of pixels or blurs. It is a positive step in the right direction.

About the author: Verified member Moderator Earl D

Founder, editor in chief, news curator clothesfreelife.com.


2 Comments
  1. Richard Romig avatar
    Rick 1 year ago

    I haven’t been a fan of Naked & Afraid but I”m not a fan of “reality” television in general. And, yes, the pixelation bothers me. The images would be less likely to be blurred or pixelated if they were of indigenous natives. What’s the difference?

    I look forward to the day in our society when blurring and pixelation of nude images on television and other visual media isn’t necessary. a day when the nude human body is seen for what it is, natural and normal.

    Maybe shows like Naked & Afraid do help to normalize non-sexual nudity but if we still feel that certain body parts have to be made unrecognizable because of our cultural shame then our society has a long way to go before we reach maturity..

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 1 year ago

      Rick -Posted this in response to your post on the subject on your blog

      Thanks for the link to my piece about Naked and Afraid and your thoughtful opinion. I am indeed a fan of the show and I don’t think it quite fits into what you describe as reality TV. I don’t think it was conceived that way. There is a whole other genre of survival shows like Man vs Wild and dual survivor that fall into the same genre as Naked and Afraid.

      I agree with you that sometimes the drama seems over the top but I guess I chalk that up to being on 24/7 and the nature of TV. Those of us who hung with the show past the first few episodes saw some real survivalists emerge.

      As with any other entertainment medium there has to be some suspension of disbelief after all there is a camera crew close by documenting the events. So for me the drawn of the show is the personalities and the ability of the participants to function in unusual circumstances that I dare neither I or most of us watching could manage no matter how comfortable we are being naked.

      So I end up focusing more on the fact that at times participants have had their bodies covered by mosquito or ant bites even the the blurred or pixelated places than the fact that those places are blurred or pixelated. Maybe I am just a gullible viewer but I often get so cause up in the experience of the participants that I forget they are naked. Therein lies the genuis of the show in the effort to normalize simple nonsexual nudity. Sure there is some sexual undertones when participants first meet but I expect that in a society where nudity is highly sexualized. In almost all the cases that becomes irrelevant once the participants try to figure out how to survive Naked and Afraid.

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