A sketch by Monica Heisey for the new all-women Canadian comedy show Baroness von Sketch
It was interesting to come across this the day after we mentioned a piece that had been done on the question of nudity, body image and younger populations.
One of the questions in the clothes free community is about why younger people do not engage in social nudism, at least in the way that those who frequent resorts do. Some comments on the topic insist that younger generations just aren’t as comfortable with their own bodies, that older people are more confident. But, as other commenting parties have noted, I would say that assumption is too simplistic.
I recall something Chelsea Handler recently mentioned in her piece for Harper’s Bazaar:
“As the youngest of six kids, I grew up spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard and I was always topless. All the pictures are of me in jean shorts, no shirt; with my brothers playing football. I remember one day, my dad came out on the balcony and said, “She’s getting little buds, shouldn’t we put a shirt on her?” And my mom said, “You put a shirt on that girl and she will never be the same.” And she was right. Because the second I had to start wearing a shirt, I felt self-conscious.”
When people throw the age comment out with no context, it fails to acknowledge all the factors that contribute to socialization. What if in the video referenced, for instance, instead of waiting until a woman turned 40, people told all women, all people for that matter (because all genders deal with this), that they had nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to how they look? What if those conversations started when we were toddlers?
And what about the fact that not everyone talks about nudity to begin with? In my case, no one had ever discussed simple everyday nudity in my entire life, so I simply never thought of it until I came across clothes free life posts on Instagram. And, when I first mentioned it to a friend a few years younger than me, she squirmed at first. But when I said, “Oh, I just felt so comfortable just being me outside in the sun while camping,” she immediately responded with, “Oh yeah, actually, that sounds wonderful!” The same thing happened with another female friend around my age.
What about cultural contexts? One of the reports about the nude Shakespeare play that took place in a park in New York mentioned that some of the female international students who had attended as part of a class got up and walked out.
What about activities and venues? I’ve seen a number of folks my age running around naked on a clothing optional beach when I went, even though we were few and far between at a resort. There is also the issue of cost. When you have college graduates carrying 5 or 6 figure loan debts and scampering for entry-level jobs, the basic cost of living (existing) in a city probably wins over the cost of spending a weekend at a resort. I’ve had a few clothes free meals with friends in my city, even though none had been to a resort.
What about the discomfort added by all these reports of people’s nude pictures being stolen from their personal devices, or demanded through pressure, and then distributed around the internet?
So much more goes into the question than simply “age.”