Being completely naked strips us of more than our fabricated materials – our choice of clothes, shoes, shits, colors, styles, material, etc., are a part of our identity; who we are is defined by our choice of packaging. In a sense, clothing can provide an artificial identity. Depending on the event I might attend, my choice of clothing can profoundly affect my behavior, attitude, and mood. A two-piece suit gives me a level of confidence and security that I do not experience in cut-off shorts and a t-shirt. What if, however, I chose to attend a social event in the nude? Am I committing a deviant behavior or is social nudity a natural state without the need for a textile identity?
Depending on whom you talk to, nude
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We make assumptions about each other based upon our clothing. In The Deceit of Dress, the author references poet Adolf Wolff: “We who have but rags to wear, let us go out on strike and face the robber-master class in all our naked might. Let us arise from our bodies tear the feted uniform that brands us slaves (Martin, 1991, p 80). Wearing clothing protects us to some degree but also identifies who we are – whether it is an executive or slave. In his poem, stripping down to nothingness puts everyone on even grounds and as equals; which coincidentally, is a common theme throughout the nudist communities.
Can Social Nudity be Healthy?
There is research that suggests social nudity increases self-esteem. However, some believe this behavior is unthinkable, immoral, and those who are engaged in this behavior or support it, are over-sexed and exhibitionists. And in some communities, being nude in public is not only considered deviant, but it is a crime.
Is Public Nudity Deviant?
Some research suggests that nudists display more deviant behavior than that of non-nudist. In fact, Leonard Blank’s (1967) research found that nudists have an excessive concern with their “body and the bodies of others” (p 225). He continues by saying nudists display “deviant features” including a preoccupation with sex and body image distortion. Finally, Blank infers that willingness to non-conformity may be a factor in one’s choice to be a nudist (p 225).