To be a nudist or not?

by Thando Mgobhozi

Are we liberating ourselves or just seeking attention?

We grew up being taught that dressing ‘appropriately’ and not exposing too much of your skin is a good thing and a sign of respect for yourself. Of course, as usual, this only applies to women and not men because nobody is going to take you seriously as a woman for revealing your skin in a way that is deemed unsettling. Not forgetting which man is going to marry you when the whole world knows what you look like without clothes.

I think it’s completely ridiculous and totally concerning that the only time a woman is given attention is when her clothes are off, the unnecessary kind of attention that women do not need. The only time nudity will not be seen as a problem is when men stop sexualizing every naked body they see but instead see it, acknowledge that it’s a human body, a natural body of a natural human being that deserves to be appreciated.

We need to understand that there is a difference between nudity and sexuality. People choose to be nudists for different reasons, reasons that have nothing to do with sexuality. For instance, naturism which is a practice of going out without clothes. “Sexuality, when practicing naturism, was found often to be suppressed through the use of rules, geographical isolation and thoughts and behavior. Some participants found ways of exploring and enjoying their sexuality by keeping their feelings hidden and/or seeking out more sympathetic naturist environments. Naturist environments may offer a unique space in which to explore aspects of our sexuality that are currently pathologized, criminalized, commercialized.” A 2009 report where Smith and King conclude that naturists were able to suppress compulsive sexual behavior in a naturist environment.

Nudity is a form of self acceptance more than anything. You are really at an established level of self-confidence when you are comfortable with your clothes off for everyone to see. We live in such a toxic and cruel world where people will do anything to destroy your self-confidence and self-esteem so it is definitely more than just an act of seeking attention from strangers on the internet.

It takes a lot for someone to be confident in their own skin and many people are still insecure about how their bodies look. Body shaming is a real thing and it is easy to feel like you are not good enough when you are judged for the way your body looks. Learning and realizing that your body is yours alone to own and loving it the way it is to the point where you are not afraid to show it to the whole world is the ultimate form of liberation and a different level of expression.

Being a nudist should never be seen as a disgrace because that is essentially saying the human body is a disgrace if you really think about it. I would not like to think that you see your body as a disgrace every time you stand naked looking into the mirror now do you? Our minds have been placed into this box that doesn’t allow us to see the beauty of our bodies, it’s always something negative, something sexual, something harsh, something dirty/distasteful and the list goes on. That mentality is messed up.

We don’t teach our daughters to dress fully and be covered up because it’s the right thing to do, we do so because we know the kind of society we live in. In most cases we do so because we are trying to protect our daughters from this very society. Our society influences a lot of the daily decisions we make. Every time I think of wearing something as simple as shorts or a crop top I automatically think of all the stares that I’m going to get and then I change my mind instantly.

People who choose to be nudists should be judged for their decisions but respected for it. If you are a nudist because you seek attention than the problem lies deep within yourself and you need to evaluate yourself to get to the very bottom of the issue at hand. You should not be a nudist for attention but it should be something that you do for yourself.

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