Few weeks ago, me and other beginner level debaters in IDC was assigned to make a set up for 8 motions. One of them was “THW legalize public nudity” which definitely interested me. The key for that motion is to find justification to protect an unpopular lifestyle, which majority also reject. While it was also interesting to research and talk about that, I actually more intrigued to the idea of naturism and its practices.
In some part of the world, there are many communities practicing the idea of naturist, this community might be inside the family or some bigger organization which hold the idea of naturism. This idea is practiced with being nude whether in private or public area. This lifestyle is also widely known as nudist, I believe it’s due to how being nude is what stand out the most for most people. But actually, naturism is not all about being nude, wearing no clothes is just part of the practice and they have a purpose for doing so. According to the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Agde, France, 1974), naturism is:
a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.
From this definition, we can see that naturist choose to wear no clothes not for the sake of doing it, but because they believe that doing so will make them closer to their environment. Henry David Thoreau for example, he believe that clothing is getting in the way for the interaction with the nature as it’s artificial and not natural. So rather than the nakedness itself, naturism is more about how human interact with the nature.
Like all we know, many parts of the world give such access to public nudity, you can find many beaches in Europe where clothing is optional. There are also another parts of the city in which given by authority for the naturists to express themselves freely. But the problem is that if you’re appearing nude in public place which isn’t assigned for nudist, people who feel offended might report and you can be prosecuted. Which actually bring me the question, is it even reasonable to do so?
Before we move on, let’s discuss what’s public area is. Public place is an open area which is accessible to every people. As it’s owned by people, the freedom of expression and speech are protected to a certain degree by law. I said “certain degree” because public place is a place where you are sharing it with other people, there are right of others which also have to be uphold, in short, your right is being limited by other people’s right. If what you’re doing is judged as disturbing others then you might be prosecuted by doing so. Apparently, appearing nude also can make you legally prosecuted.
Prosecution towards the nudity is usually be categorized as indecent exposure which also depends on its local community standard. This made it subjective and also dynamic as not all people are bothered or offended for nudity. You might walk nude safely one day, and another day one people might be distressed for seeing you and prosecuting you. What’s actually bothering to see someone naked by the way? We all know what everyone is basically like under clothes, why are we not okay for seeing one? I think it’s understandable to be bothered if the intent is sexual, it can be categorized as sexual harassment. But what about the people who simply live without clothes? Naturism, like what I have talked about, is asexual, they don’t attempt to arouse people with the state of nudity. I don’t think being nude like what naturist do deserve to be prosecuted, they just want to live in the way they like, to be close to nature, which unfortunately be categorized as public space.
I realized that some value in some part of the world still unable to accept public nudity. Public nudity is easy to be judged indecent if we see the existence of cases like flashings, mooning, or streaking. It’s also hard to not see nudity as something not sexual, especially when many societies have seen clothes as a measurement of decency and morality. I believe my country won’t legalize something like nudity, even in special assigned area, and many parts of the world won’t do so as well. My point in writing this post is to contemplate again the logic behind the values against nudity. Do you think it’s reasonable to prosecute someone without clothes who just want to jog? I don’t think so.
For more information, you can go to this website of INF-FNI or go to this site of naturist society. To some guide on prosecution against naturists, you can more here. If you’re interested in scientific discussion about why human decided to wear clothes, this discussion at reddit is interesting.