Thursday, October 08, 2009

Yet More Disinformation About Nudism

Jaunted has a snarky article about the nude hiking trail in Germany.
Do you know why our grunting ancestors decided to cover themselves with animal pelts? Because they realized that dirt is dirty. It must have been a radical insight at the time—"hey, all this sticky stuff doesn't get on my skin if I cover myself, and I even feel warmer"—but nevertheless they were able to apply their chimp-like analytical skills to the problem and crack that nut. Not so much with these hippies.

And don't get us started about the freedom of being able to drop the pretenses of civilization. The idea of covering yourself up to block the elements goes way beyond anything even close human culture. Elephants throw grass on their back to stay comfortable. Rhinos roll around in mud so they don't get sunburned. What's that? These naturists use sunblock? Well that's not very natural.
The truth is, the origin of clothing is still under debate. The most likely scenario is that modern Homo Sapiens migrated away from Africa to colder climates and needed more protection on their skin. Certainly there are a myriad of reasons for wearing textiles - warmth, decoration, modesty, business, religious and fraternal identities, protection from anything which can harm the skin, etc. Nobody disputes all that, so using these factors as a basis for an argument is pointless.

The issue is not that clothing is an important utilitarian and fashion element of our culture, it's that we have steeped ourselves so deeply into the wearing of textiles, that we have lost common sense on when it's appropriate not to wear clothes.

Take swimming, for example. What purpose is served by wearing a bathing suit, other than modesty, or Philistine laws? Hiking is another activity which is far better done in the nude, free of all the sticky clothing causing body temperatures to rise, and skin to chafe.

And don't forget that the original Greek Olympics were done in the nude. With all the recent controversy over new swimsuit technologies which are actually helping athletes to swim faster, perhaps we should return to the original idea of competing without clothes.

As for the sunblock argument, I'm so tired of this old meme which seems to pop up in every anti-nudist argument. Do not people in swimsuits also put on sunscreen to protect from UV rays? What about spectators in open grandstands, landscapers, construction workers, and anyone else being exposed to a lot of sun, don't they also need to seek relief and protection?

And what do people do when the temperature rises? They wear less clothing. They put on t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sandals, flip-flops and anything else which allows the skin to breathe. The only reason people don't take everything off in the heat is because of society and culture, which stand in the way of common sense.

As for elephants, they don't have any sweat glands in their skin, hence their need to roll in the mud or throw dirt and grass on themselves. They do this to protect against sun and insects. Rhinos roll in the mud to keep cool and to kill ticks and lice.

If clothing was a viable answer to the discomfort of rhinos and elephants, would not zookeepers make every effort to cover them, and would not PETA be campaigning heavily against animal nudity?

People wear sunscreen, insect repellent, and they take baths. These habits of personal hygiene and protection are shared by all people, so ridiculing nudists for doing the same is a non-starter of an argument.
99% of people on the planet are not genetically blessed in a way that allows them to walk through clouds of dust Pig Pen-like and still look good at the end. It's not like a nude beach where at least people can wash off, and even nude beaches don't tend to bring out models of Olympian physique. Usually the opposite.
Another argument I'm really sick of. If 99% of all people are not "genetically blessed", then doesn't that make them perfectly normal? And the dirt accumulation argument is also stunningly stupid, as if clothing doesn't attract and hold far more dirt than skin does.

I basically see the same physiques at a nudist venue that I see at the local shopping mall. Perhaps we should only allow the 1% of people with "Olympian physiques" into retail outlets, or onto the beach, so nobody is offended by those who lack the Photoshopped perfection of supermodels and top athletes.

But this is the sort of pig ignorant attitude that we as nudist and naturists have to constantly counter with body positive information. Unfortunately, I think there are an awful lot of people who share this meatball's view that the human body is something to be reviled.

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