Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Under Our Clothes, We're Not Naked

    I suppose its not strange that we think about nakedness a good deal.  Surely we think of it in sexual terms mostly, and the growing movement for nudism is pushing the desire to be sans clothes further along.  But there is something we really must come to terms with.  If we accept that nakedness is the state of being without clothing or adornments, then we need to understand that in this modern age, even when we are free of clothing, we're not naked.

    Surely there was a time when we existed without alteration, exactly as we were formed.  That situation has not existed for a very long time; most likely tens of thousands of years.  We have altered our physical state with ritual scarification, tattooing, hair dyes, make up, plastic surgery and endless other things that change us from how we were born.  So the question is, is any of us truly naked, even when we bathe or have sex?

    I would say no, actually.  Almost all of us get hair cuts that are specifically designed to maximize our attractiveness.  A lot of women and some men, wear make up to some degree.
 An increasing number of people are tattooed to express some essential part of their nature, or merely to make sure they always have eyeliner.  And all in service of the desire to create a more perfected version of ourselves.  Me 2.0, if you will.  After all, we all want to present the very best impression of ourselves we can.  Technology has allowed this concept to move forward in amazing ways, so now we can be implanted, injected, reduced, exercised, pummeled, sculpted, and otherwise altered in both simple and outrageous ways.

     So what does it mean now, to be naked?   When every piece of jewelry you never remove, the tattoos on your body, or the dye in your hair mean that you are never without adornment of some kind, what does naked mean?  And when body modification is not restricted to the surface, but can be hidden under the skin, what does that mean to nakedness?

    Does naked now mean simply "no clothes"?  Or is naked now a state other than the lack of togs?  Is naked now a state of being; of openness and desire to face the world without societal shaming?  Or is it all these things and many more unsaid motivations?
    In our unfailing desire to move beyond constraints, whatever they may be, we are redefining what being naked represents to us as a society. And as our own bodies become more and more commonly a canvas on which we can paint a fantastical image of ourselves, the older meanings of nakedness are changing; or rather, fading away.
    Perhaps what is really happening here is the demise of nakedness as a concept that carries the kind of full and fraught meaning it has had for so long.  Perhaps naked is simply becoming another state of attire.
    And honestly, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?

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