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I sometimes post about nakedness: being naked, naked hot tubbing, and all.

As much as there is fluffy fun about it, there is a deeper meaning that comes into play.

See, naked doesn't necessarily mean sexual, and that's the big taboo that seems to overshadow everything.

Naked is vulnerable. Naked is equal. Naked is not hiding behind fashions, or styles, or masks. Naked is opening yourself up to the potential for ridicule. Naked is saying "here I am, for better or worse, take me in this form for this is truly what I am".

I am not pretty. I am not the conventional model of hawtness, nor am I happy with my body in its entirety. But you know, my body is not me. It is only a part of who I am and not the entirety, any more than my job describes who I am, or the car I drive describes who I am. I am the sum of a lot of parts, maybe more than the sum.

Yet I am reluctant to post here pictures of me naked, or in any form which is even close to showing me in my entirety. I try to look at why, and I come back to the general ridicule which I fear, though fear isn't the right word. Disdain is probably better. I don't want to be the object of ridicule, any more than the Star Wars Lightsaber Kid or the Tron Costume Guy want to be (though considering the outcome of the two rather different scenarios, it is intriguing to me that maybe I am just being afraid for no real reason).

It comes to mind that there is also a level of trust that comes with being naked. I don't really trust the general public to accept nakedness as something positive and open, any more than I'd want to share all of my secrets with the world, but there is a trust that I do share with friends. Some folks I trust enough that I could be naked (and thus vulnerable) with them; others I don't. It's kind of strange that those that I don't really trust that way are also those that I would be uncomfortable seeing naked myself, like the uncomfortableness is reflexive.

Perhaps I am naked right now, perhaps I am not. It doesn't really matter, as my words remain the same either way. But I ask you to think about who among your friends you would consider as "naked friends" and who you would not, and ask yourself why there is a difference.

The answer may surprise you.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
jmaynard
Jan. 21st, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
If I learned nothing else, I learned that anything you post to the net will spread widely if it can be funny to someone. Yes, I made lemonade from those lemons - but there had to be lemons in the first place. It wasn't an easy time by any means.

If you don't want to become an object of ridicule, then poting pictures that can be ridiculed is probably not a good idea. Yes, those who ridicule are immature kiddies who almost certainly wouldn't look any better themselves in the same situation...but the ridicule is no less hurtful for the immaturity of those slinging it.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
That you turned the ridcule around into a lot of positives is very cool: you grabbed it and you owned it and made it yours, and that deserves no small amount of respect.

(Incidentally, I am happy to discover that you have a Wikipedia page. It needs more info though.)

That ridicule is an inherent risk when opening yourself up to a wider audience on one hand pisses me off, but on the other I know it's beyond my power to do anything about the immaturity of the vast unwashed masses who seem to take delight in ridicule. The only one who I have the power to change is myself, and even that's a full-time job.

We've all done stuff that could be embarrassing if it showed up on camera somewhere: hell, who hasn't pretended that the broom handle was a light saber and had an imaginary battle?

I think though that there are friends who don't ridicule, the ones who say "hey, that thing that you did was pretty cool". Those are the ones that I want to be with me, and that assessment is something that I think I do on an unconscious level. I want to be more aware of how that comes to mind.
molasses
Jan. 21st, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
I certainly think of you as a naked friend. this is about honesty and vulnerability and trust, nothing to do with clothing.
yup.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
:)
g33kgoddess
Jan. 21st, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Dude! I just looked at the time stamps. Were you up all night?!

... and I love this post. Rum and lack of sleep make you particularly insightful. Did you realize that? :-D

Hugs.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
I was up quite late.

The insight is always there, I just need to slow down enough to get at it sometimes.

Of course, a lot of rum makes it hard to type...
croonerboy
Jan. 21st, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
n33d2benak3d
Naked? With you?

in a heartbeat baby. Seriously. I'm ready for our photoshoot whenever you are.

:) BTW I have seen only ONE of my close friends naked. Umm ok 2...or 3...

Anyway--point is--I try to keep friends clothed.
I think because of socialization --I grew up thinking that it crosses a line when you see someone naked.

But alot of that is in how you perceive the friend in question. Like my christian friend --i would feel weird anout that.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: n33d2benak3d
It does cross a line when you see someone naked, though I think the line is different based on the circumstances. I'm talking more about the shared nakedness of gettin' in the hot tub together, or Naked Brunch, and not so much the "wow, look at this video that I found of you and your stuffed giraffe" kind of naked.

The line with the shared nakedness is a boundary of trust, and that's the reflection that I was looking at. There's something there that I can't quite get a hold of yet.
molasses
Jan. 21st, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: n33d2benak3d
funny.
we have this womens "camping" trip every May long weekend.
there are tents but there are also cabins and a hot tub in the woods and clothing is optional and I consider it weird when they don't drop trow to jump the campfire, etc..

for me, drugs and burning man opened it up. now I have missed 2 burning mans in a row and drugs is bad, mummy.
but the lesson remained.
jmanna
Jan. 21st, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
To me it's trust. It's trusting someone with complete vunerablitity. I admit trust is something I hand out the most intimate parts of very reluctantly. I suppose it does come down to the desire to be desired, acceptance and safety from being riducled. But I can be dressed and still worry about that kind of stuff.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
Being dressed is a line of defense, much like hiding your social security number, or keeping your phone number unlisted. It is a more intimate defense, certainly: there are a lot more people that I'd trust with my home phone number than I would trust to see me naked.

I think though that naked is one of the last defenses that we have. Some more than others, of course: naturists are far more open to being naked than the general populace, but they still have secrets; exotic dancers, nude art models, and the other "professionally naked" professions wear their nakedness like a uniform, but it's within a context which has its own layer of protection.

Women I think are more inhibited (vast generalization here!) because of the tie in with vulnerability: our society conditions women to be more vulnerable to predation and live in the shadow of fear much moreso than men (that in itself is a pretty fucked up thing, and a topic that deserves its own thread).

I do want to try and separate out desire from nakedness. There are a lot of people that I would be happy being naked with that I don't desire, and others who I desire but wouldn't feel comfortable being naked with (fer instance, Salma Hayek).
jmanna
Jan. 21st, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
I think we're defining different kinds of trust. Because I will change clothes in front of folks and often did in front of 20 some odd people when I worked at cottage.

but naked, truely naked to me is a gift. You trust someone to be vunerable enough emotionally. You give them what you don;'t give freely to other people. Maybe it's prudish, maybe it's niave but I really think sex, nudity are better kept intimate. A gift given to someone who's earned your trust through love.

And I don't care if it's a personal 'hang up' or a social one. I think it is important to have that special intamcy with you love.
magicmarmot
Jan. 21st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it's entirely different kinds of trust, but I think it is different levels. There is something to be said for emotional intimacy, and I am far more disinclined to be emotionally close with someone than I am physically-- I'll get naked at the drop of a hat (well, it has to be a really cool hat), but emotional intimacy and closeness is a lot more difficult for me to trust on. With. Whatever.

I dunno, maybe it is different. I can see being emotionally vulnerable-- naked and intimate-- with multiple people at the same time, and not just "the one", yet I hesitate to call that Big-L Love.

More pondering needed, I think.
leodreamer
Jan. 22nd, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
This is very interesting. I've run into the same issue in a way. I went from being completely gymnophobic for twenty something years, to learn about naturism and social nudity and experiment it. All along I've always been interested in the use of nudity in art.

I had an interesting issue when I started feeling pride in the quality of my work with nude photography -which happened to include self-photography, and it was a struggle as I wanted to be able to share what I was proud of, and yet I was shy on the fact that the images depicted my own nudity. I think this was the last step in overcoming the gymnophobia.

Currently, I share some of those images in DeviantArt. I don't usually share them in my journal, although I may post something to some communities if appropriate. I think that for me, the point is to avoid imposing my images on people who don't expect it. I don't mind sharing them in DA because whoever is in DA is aware of the existence of nudity through the whole site. I don't share them here because I feel I would be imposing them on my online friends, but I wouldn't have any issues with my online friends seeing them if they wanted to. I just don't want people to run into them unexpectedly.

The fear of ridicule exists and comes and goes. It's a struggle we all deal with anyway in different levels in our lives. I figure that life is short. I don't see how being ridiculed could create real problems in my life (except for the disconfort, anger, etc) since I'm not a politician, a teacher or a high manager of some multinational. So if it happens, it happens. I feared being ridiculed for my body for so long that I just don't want to feel that fear anymore.

Many of my LJ friends I would consider "naked friends", some not -including some whose real friendship is very valuable to me. It's not lack of trust, it's again the desire to not impose something on someone. I can be "naked friends" with people who are open to "naked friendships" but I would avoid imposing "naked friendship" on people who wouldn't see it in a positive light.

Come to think of it, I probably don't consider "naked friend" one person in my LJ, and it's probably some sort of weird respect on my side than anything else.

As a young adult, I could only accept being nude around someone I had the most sacred trust. But in an ideal world that shouldn't have to be. We only need that level of trust because there is not a positive acceptance of nudity in our society. We don't need trust to be dressy in front of someone, or dress casual in front of someone. That's the good thing about nudism. It's like dressing up... just without the dressing up.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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