dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,

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The gender imbalance on nudity...

Regarding the Klara and Edda Belly Dancing picture, and it being pulled from the exhibit for being considered child porn, what is interesting is the reaction from people. One of the things I'm seeing is a gender difference in the perception of what is 'okay'. I don't believe this picture would have had quite the same reaction if it'd been a naked boy with another boy. I'm not saying there would have been no reaction, I'm saying it wouldn't have been judged as harshly.

You just have to look at recent reactions to Daniel Radcliffe being naked, when compared to Vanessa Hudgens. That they are older doesn't matter, they were both below the legal age for such nudity in their countries. On the net, some people claimed to be disappointed by Radcliffe's decision, it was very much a case of, 'Oh Daniel, how could you?' Whereas, Hudgens' got labelled with all sorts of derogatory terms immediately.

It doesn't matter that DR's nudity appeared in the context of a play, while VH's was a simple nude taken at home with nothing particularly provocative or sexual about it. However while the most negative reaction to DR's was minor, VH created a furore. And interestingly, the shots of DR were far more stylised and erotic in nature.

Another example is Britney Spears. One of the things being brought up in regard to charges that she was an unfit mother was that she sometimes walks around the house naked in front of her child. It was being lumped in with accusations of drug and alcohol abuse! The child's mother being naked around her offspring was seen as bad parenting behaviour!

It's interesting the mindset that has become so pervasive. Females can only be viewed naked in a sexualised way. I was uncomfortable seeing the Klara and Edda picture simply because of the positioning of the young girl. I could clearly see her vulva. The fact that I have no sexual interest or desire towards her doesn't matter - as a male I automatically feel like I'm a paedophile just for seeing the image. Interestingly, if I were to see a similar picture of a young male, while I would be more comfy with it, I would still feel uneasy for the same reasons - external programming.

This is because what the media has been saying is this. If you even look at a picture that features child nudity, you might be a paedophile, and that makes you evil. My 100 Days post goes into my thoughts on this attitude in more detail. The thing about this is, it's not right that I should be made to feel guilt over desires I don't have, just because others would perceive the context of the nudity differently.

I've been a perve all my life, and as a perve, I know that if I'm in a pervy mood, I don't need porn. I don't need naked women in all sorts of uncomfortable and gymnastic positions. I just need the underwear section of the latest Target catalogue. And if that's all I need, what makes people think that the paedophiles need anything more for their fix of kiddy flesh than the kids section of the same catalogue?

There are many areas where males are discouraged from working with small children because we're automatically seen as a threat, to the point where the discouraging is actually viewed as for our own protection. As a Santa, I'm meant to have a police check done every year. I'm trained to sit a certain way, make sure both hands are in plain view at all times, etc. My elves, almost always played by women, don't have any background checks done. Yes, that's right, because no woman has ever sexually molested a child, have they? And they actually physically handle the children way more than I ever would. Not only that, but they will hug them and tickle them, two thing I'm pretty much forbidden from doing because it can be perceived as having paedophillic intent.

But I've digressed from my original topic, the gender imbalance when it comes to nudity.

Why is it that a naked woman of any age is almost automatically sexualised? And that that sexualisation carries with it a negative spin - if she's naked, she must be sexual, if she's sexual, that a bad, bad thing. It's a layering of shame. Female nudity is bad, (but desired nonetheless), a sexual female is worse (but desired nonetheless).

Is it just our patriarchal society? Is it down to men being keyed to visual stimulus? Is it more to do with our cultural background? In some countries a naked woman is just a naked woman, in our country a naked woman is a slut, which is a bad, bad term because a woman mustn't want sex except when she has one guy in her life. Is it something that is helped along by some women, the ones who automatically proclaim another naked woman as of a lower moral standard simply because of her lack of clothes?

One of the interesting things I picked up on from Questa Casa was the different gender attitudes to nudity, even in a highly sexualised environment like a brothel. In the story I mention from there - where one of the guys got a bit pushy with a girl, she cried out, and ten naked men came to her aid - one thing I neglected to mention was this. All her workmates came too, after they had wrapped towels around themselves.

Another example. Being an old style brothel, it had group showers because it was often dealing with anywhere up to eleven guys at a time (there were eleven rooms). Carmel described how men would go into the showers and be chatting amiably with each other while they washed, and would often wander naked to their rooms with their young ladies. They weren't bothered by one-another's nudity, even in the context of the brothel. But the ladies going into their showers would turn their backs to one another, would tell other girls to wait until they had finished, even if there was plenty of space, would wrap a towel around themselves so their fellow workmates couldn't see their bodies.

So, here's what I find myself wondering - At what point does nudity stop being a matter of privacy and become a matter of shame?

Comments only unscreened if they have a 'Yes' at the end of the post.
Tags: perception shift, rants, serious thoughts, sex

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