Sgt. Howie: But they are - are naked! Lord Summerisle: Well, naturally. It's much too dangerous to jump through fire with their clothes on.

The Wicker Man

Why is it illegal to go naked in public? Although I probably wouldn't have the nerve to do it on a really hot day, I'd probably get closer than I do now if it were legal, freeing the more exhibitionistic among us to go all out. And eventually it would become less taboo, freeing 80-year old John to strut his stuff unembarassedly. But seriously, it seems insane to me that the National Guard can be called out to protect a Ku-Klux-Klansman while he's at the podium telling me that black people shouldn't be allowed to own property and should be deported "back" to Africa, but if he took his pants off, they'd take him to jail and possibly fine him.

What's so wrong with the way God made us? I don't understand why fundamentalist Christians would be against it. In Gen 3:6 the forbidden fruit opens their eyes and upon realizing that they're naked, they make aprons out of fig leaves. This is before God "becomes aware" of the fact and punishes them with tough childbirth, hard ploughing, thorns in plants, etc. So it's not a punishment. Besides which, there are still a few places on Earth where people don't feel any shame about nudity and these people presumably don't have special exemption from original sin. Anyway, there are lots of choices people make in the Old Testament that I don't think I agree with, and covering up is one of the least of them.

Remember how funny it sounds when you hear about how women wearing pants were considered obscene less than 100 years ago? It seems so unmotivated. Maybe it's a scam set up by my fellow uglies to prevent any peer-pressuring into taking our shirts off. If we can't be proud of our bodies, then nobody else should be!

I've talked to a lot of people about this and there seem to be some major arguments against it:

  1. It is unsanitary to, for instance, sit on a public park bench.
  2. What about pockets? Women never ask this question.
  3. Ugly people are claimed to be so unpleasant, that to see them naked would put people off their lunch (this is invariably phrased, "No way! I don't want to see X naked!").
  4. "What about when it's cold outside?"
  5. Children would see naked people.
  6. Sex crimes would increase in frequency and/or severity.
  7. It would be harder for people to look fancy.

  1. The first is my only real concern, but I would carry a towel around with me, and there are lots of people who don't put public telephones to their ears and put paper on toilet seats, etc. without advocating keeping their pants on in the bathroom (impossible!) or wearing ear-muffs at all times (stupid!). Some people would risk it (not me!), but this is not a reason for it to be illegal.
  2. I think the reason women don't immediately say "What about pockets?" is because they've always silently suffered this problem. Fashionable women have to wear dresses, skirts, and comically tight and/or awkward pants whose pockets are practically useless. This is why they always have purses, wear irritating little backpacks, or make somebody else (ME!) carry their stuff. I don't know why there isn't more complaint about this, if I were a woman, I'd wear baggy men's jeans with gaping pockets all the time, but I'd get labelled all kinds of ways and probably eventually relent and carry a purse. If I were Captain Naked, however, I might wear a belt with pockets (it could also have a loop for my towel!), or whatever else presented itself as more sensible; I'm no inventor. As for where to hide your money...I'd carry only credit and small change, more creative/brave people could do otherwise.
  3. I hate it when people say, for instance, Al Roker must be clothed to protect us from his "horrific body." For one thing Al Roker has, honestly, lost a lot of weight recently. But mainly, that's a disgusting attitude. People who really want protection from unaesthetic people should bow to the majority and just stay home themselves.
  4. A lot of people say "What about when it's cold?" This is a classic example of changing the subject. I didn't say make it illegal to wear clothes! I said make it legal to wear none if you want to!
  5. What's so wrong with children seeing people naked? Will it "warp" them? Will it make them sexually active earlier or something? Apparently, until we started clothing ourselves, we were all "warped." What is this warping? I don't really think seeing adults naked makes little kids think of sex, it makes them think of adults naked. When they see cable TV, they learn about sex. I can't make an airtight argument against keeping kids away from sex until their older, 'cause it seems like a good idea to me. But how do naked people equal sex and not showering? Children have experience with showering...
  6. As for sex crimes, it seems a little childish to say that a person could be so damned sexy that they turn a good citizen into a rapist. If someone's going to rape anybody, they might pick the one naked person in a crowd or something, but they might do the same to the sexiest dressed in a crowd, too. "She asked for it -- the way she was dressed" shouldn't become "She asked for it -- the way she was undressed."
  7. Those people who want to dress up, can do so, nobody's locking them down. Fashions could still control those people who enjoy that sort of thing, but at least there'd be a neutral fashion that anybody could have for free.

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