Nudity-An oppression of human mind!! | Trishila Chatterjee
Nudity...! When you hear this word, what do you visualise? A naked human body? 99% chance! Can it be anything else? Chances are less than 1%.
If you Google, you will see that Nudity is a state or fact of being naked. Simple. It does not mention anything about the object that can be naked. But there is a vibe about this word that almost always triggers weird reactions from everyone around. If you blindly throw the word around, you will either be ignored or get to listen things like “this is against our culture and society”, “is this what we taught you?” “I would never ever support this!” “How can you expect anyone to be naked in front of a room full of people, we will go back to the Neanderthal ages then! What is the meaning of civilization then?” “Has your education not taught you anything??” “Some rules are just meant to be followed.” It’s like everybody is just so scared of that word. But why? May be because it exposes the deep-rooted hypocrisy of human race from the beginning of civilization. Or maybe because it brings out the most prohibited area of human mind.
Nudity does not tell you to be naked in public. It does not define your personality or character. It is in no way related to your education or principles in life. It does not even begin to define the rules of society or any kind of law and order. It may be the reason behind many laws but it does not define them. It is not a distant thing like a celestial body. It is a state everyone is in at least once every day. It is a natural thing as much as taking bath or brushing your teeth is. It is the perception set in our minds that causes all the different waves. This perception prevents you from wandering anywhere close to the vicinity of that zone. But don’t we wonder and wander? Human mind always has had this urge of exploring forbidden places. Otherwise, Eve would not have eaten that apple from the Tree of knowledge and our world would not have been as we know it now.
If we think about it, every biologically significant event in our lives is in the nude. We are born naked. When a mother feeds her baby, she must expose her body to her baby. When she gives birth, she is part naked. When two people consummate to conceive a baby, they are naked. When you wash yourself every day, you are naked? Whenever a doctor examines you, you must expose the body part in pain. Even in times of intimacy when two lovers bare themselves to each other, they can be sharing much more than just their bodies with each other. They are connecting on a deeper level. They are passed all inhibitions and society does not object to that. It is only acceptable in scenarios where it seems natural. I m sure, no one gives a second thought about these instances ever. This is nature’s way of doing things. And none of them includes a cover up or hiding your body parts under a piece of cloth. Still this topic is so sensitive that being neutral about the concept of nudity might raise questions on your character and personality.
Whenever these instances are discussed or focused on in broad daylight, it causes a stir and the waters are not calm anymore. Light is the problem. I bet most of us would have a problem standing naked in front of the mirror. How many couples can have sex with their lights on? Most wont. Not because they are worried about their privacy, but because with lights on, many things done in the dark does not seem right any more, even if it is ideally not wrong. This is how forbidden and lost our mindset is about nudity!
There is a word “animosity” mostly associated with nudity, when it comes to being social about it. It is said that if people roam around naked, it will bring out animals in them and there would no difference left between humans and animals. Okay. But bare upper body of a guy is a normal thing, whereas the thought of bare torso of a woman would rouse all sorts of hormones, questions and brings out the animal within. Have you ever heard any animal being raped? They can be killed, hunted down or eaten up by another animal but being hurt for the sheer pleasure of it? Never! That’s just so human!! Animals always roam around naked, right? If they are not pets, they are never covered ever. But they always respect the choice of others. So, no! Humans don’t have animals hidden inside them; some sick minds have monsters hidden, but no animals. To the point that thereare rules against nudity which should be followed, looking at a woman disrespectfully, gawking or teasing her, or approaching her without her permission and raping a girl is also against rules, but people do it. Do the rules not apply in these cases? All of it is just another of human race’s trick to protect themselves from themselves and their hypocrisy. Again, that’s because when it comes to being naked, lust is the most dominant feeling human mind can perceive at first and not love.
Nudity has led many revolutions in the past and is still raising many protests in the modern times. In many of the European countries, people have walked naked on the streets to earn the freedom of expressing and exposing their body at their will. Women in the west have been fighting for a long time now for the freedom to breast feed in the open when need be. None of these people have ever said that is something they will be doing always, they are fighting for their own right to decide when to and when not to cover up themselves. I don’t see anything wrong in it. At least the mothers should be free to nurse their babies when they need to wherever they are.
For this to happen, the people and the so- called society should start respecting the individual choices. If a mother had to nurse her baby in a public place people should be polite enough to respect her and give her the privacy she needs by just not looking at her with sad, distasteful or lustful eyes. It is the judgement in the eyes which makes all the difference. You could be all dressed up but still feel naked or you could be in bares and still feel like you are under a 5-inch blanket.
Many artists, anthropologists, authors, literature lovers have tried to explore the world of nude. Many have painted, sculpted models in the nude. Many have been appreciated, many shamed. Michelangelo’s David, the thinker by Rodin are all great examples of nude sculptures which are appreciated and loved all over in the world. Medieval Greece and most of the other western countries celebrated the nude art. Renaissance redefined the modern art with wonderful unexplored forms of human beauty. Where does that leave us? When you can appreciate a nude sculpture, why do you have a problem with the word? Oh wait, because the sculpture is a figment of imagination of the creator and this is reality. How do you know that those were not real people too? Your answer would be, that’s the past. Or even better, you would avoid the topic altogether again.
Indian society, culture and heritage is said to be spiritually much more advanced than the rest of the world. We are kind of the spiritual leaders of the world. In India, I believe it is nothing less than a crime to even utter the word nude. You will be judged even before you could take in your next batch of oxygen. But we forget our country also is the home to temples like Khajuraho, which has beautiful sculptures depicted from the world-famous book of Kamasutra, where nudity is just the beginning of the things described. We have many temples dating thousands of years back which have depictions of beautiful naked ladies and gentlemen (kings, queens and commoners) dining in together, or sharing a board game or a casual evening. In those sculptors, you would not find lust in their eyes, you could rather notice an unknown solace, a comfort, trust in their stare. They respected the individual and had enough control over themselves. Those were all true depictions; at least that’s what the history tells us. If they, our ancestors, could respect each other, where are we lost? Society has changed, rules have changed, but why is the respect lost? We try to hide ourselves behind these unsaid rules because we know we have lost the sense of respect from within ourselves. And we do not have any sorts of self control over our own body.
We, Indians, do not support nudity, it is NOT in our society’s standards, but somehow, we have managed to be the home of the largest red light area in South Asia for centuries now. Your daughter is taught to adjust her out-of-control silk dupatta everytime it is out of place, at the same time, Indians also comprise of one of the largest viewers of pornography in the world. A rape victim, an acid attack victim is shunned from the society along with her family but a porn star is welcomed in the country with open arms. We teach our daughters to return home early and travel safe, to watch what they wear, but don’t teach our sons to treat every woman with respect and not as a substance of use or an object of their hormonal frustration. We miss out on the part where they need to have a grip on themselves. I cannot imagine the profundity of hypocrisy we live in. We are all hypocrites in some or the other way. And when it comes to this sensational, sensuous topic of nudity, we top the list. I guess we are not yet mature enough to understand and take in the reality and truth of life. We always find it difficult to accept that we may be wrong somewhere. Somehow, ironically, we fail to accept ourselves just as we were created.
So, again... When you hear this word, why can’t it mean the naked truth? Why can’t we relate it to the bareness of our soul, or of the mind and heart? Why can’t it be something you can only feel and not necessarily touch or see? Humans are different from animals only due to their humanity, compassion. Why can’t this word be related to compassion and love? These questions are far from being answered now. We need to be the face of change to answer these questions. If ever there will be a change, there is a lot of work to be done. But change will not be right until we learn to harness some control over self and show some respect for self as well as others.
Nudity should just be a plain simple English word which means bareness, not necessarily of the body, it can be of emotions, soul or thoughts, anything at all! And there should not be so much fuss about it. By growing walls of inhibition around us, we have given this word power over us. If we can channel our thoughts in the right direction, we can break down our own inhibitions and look beyond them. Then maybe we could get out of this maze! And as far as the rights of freedom are concerned, I believe every individual should have the right to express or expose their body if they want to, when they want to.
If we can reach even half way there, we would be living in a much safer and independent place where you would be free to express yourself in every way you desire. Then, and only then, will human race be, in the true sense of the word, free! After all, it’s all only in our mind, right??