Friday, January 15, 2010

Gymnophobia, in a Nutshell

In a well-intentioned but extremely gymnophobic article, John Hammer frets about body scanners, and in the process provides a glimpse into textile America's disgust with the human body.
I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of strangers have no desire to see my body. In fact, I think most people would not be thrilled to see a bunch of middle-aged men without their clothes on...If the airport was filled with middle aged men in gym shorts, or Speedos, with tank tops, or no shirt at all, and flip-flops, I think the airlines would lobby Congress to do away with the full body scanners because other people would choose to take a 14-hour drive rather than have to stand in line at the airport with a bunch of sweaty old men with their bellies hanging over the waistband of their shorts, or men with unbelievably hairy backs going gray, or men who look like they have birds nests under their flabby arms...if young attractive people want to join in the battle by coming to the airport in bikinis and thongs, I would welcome them. In fact, this is sounding like not a bad idea at all. It would certainly make flying more interesting to have attractive young people at the airport nearly naked, and if that is the sacrifice this middle-aged American has to make to help our government ensure safety in air travel, I'm all for it.
I don't think Mr. Hammer intended to be mean-spirited in his essay, he probably wanted to be humorous, but in the process he manages to expose the underlying problem that nudism has in America - people are conditioned not only to hate their own bodies, but the bodies of others. Hammer is so brainwashed by the perfect bodies he sees on TV, in the movies and in magazines that he has no use for the sight of real people.

This fear and loathing of the human body is a societal disease which is so widespread and insidious that it presents the single greatest obstacle to nudists and naturists in America.


Elton said...

I hate to say this, but its true. Youth and Attractiveness is celebrated so much that people believe that those who are ripped, curved, and young have the exclusive right to wear thongs and speedos or to go naked.

On a rant on another community board, people protested with strong language and great haste. They all said that we gamers are too flabby to be naked publicly. I was shocked at how strongly people thought about the body they were born with!

They say people fear public speaking before death. But, what about public nudity? Based on this article and personal experience, people will publicly speak for many, many dollars before they will get naked in public and act normal as if no one will notice or give a care.

Jodi said...

Yes I think you hit the nail on the head. They not only hate their own bodies but they hate all bodies which would not be fit to post in a swim suit calendar. That is sad very, very, sad. It speaks volumes on the loathing of humanity. Self loathing and the loathing of all but those most perfect in body shape. I have heard similar comments but mostly they come from the young. I think most have these same sort of feelings it probably goes back to a rude comment made to them in the past. I doubt we will see the end of this in our time it is too deeply ingrained in our culture.