Friday, September 30, 2011

Nudity. Is nudity with some people a statement? Remember the days when nudists were coy figures of fun to be sniggered at: the magazines and those dreadful movies of naked people in colonies walking behind low cut hedges and in other ways discreetly covering the genitalia, always with fixed smiles on their faces; the reasons or excuses for indulging in such bizarre behaviour consisting mainly of nudity being perfectly natural and healthy and giving folk a wonderful sense of freedom! Yes indeed, having stripped off on a nudist beach here in Crete, I can vouch for that sense of freedom and, once you’ve been swimming in the buff, having to wear a bathing costume is an encompassing pain in the arse if you will pardon the expression. Kids skinny-dipping in a pool is one thing and innumerable naked bodies on the beach is something else. I suppose those who have never experienced it must automatically think of it as sexually arousing, titillating at least as Frankie Howerd might have said, but in fact, with exceptions, I suppose there are always exceptions, at the sight of so many nude bodies sexual desire is curiously lacking

One day on another Cretan beach, one with far fewer bodies, probably only half a dozen, there was a large sign on the sand - NO NUDE BATHING - and using the sign as a backrest was a woman completely nude. Now, not to put too fine a point on it, this particular lady was fat. She was obese. She was gross. Rubins would have adored her. Later, in the sea, she sat on a protruding rock laughing with delight as the waves splooshed over her and here is the remarkable thing - she was absolutely beautiful, a giant flopping in every direction mermaid but so beautiful. Now had she been wearing even a bikini that beauty would have been lost and she would have been most unattractive.

So what about all the laws and municipal by-laws regarding nudity and the forbidding thereof? We’ve had the “Calendar Girls”, middle-aged ladies stripping off and posing for the camera all in good causes but they didn’t actually do it in public, and now we have a photographer who can persuade hundreds of people to strip off so that he can photograph them en masse and in public. The pictures I’ve seen have been most discreet; a display of hundreds of bums, in other words the equivalent of people walking behind low cut hedges.

But getting back to nudity masking a statement – Headlines – ‘Women Pose Nude To Combat Ageism On Television.’ Four actresses have stripped off challenging the powers that be not to ignore them. ‘Look at us,’ their action says, ‘we’re still beautiful, gie’ us the jobs.’ As the journalist Jan Moir writes, ‘What does their nakedness prove? Nothing except a bit of naked ambition’ and good on you, ladies, but is it going to have the slightest effect? I doubt it but you have to give cat in dog shows thumbs up for trying.

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