Clothing Optional

by Lizzie  (’14)

When we think of the people of this world, we picture them clothed, all their subtle ridges and proportions masked. One could argue that clothing is a vital armor of day-to-day life and one could also argue that the coverage of the human body is directly correlated to the insecurities we hold toward our image. Yes, clothing protects us from the cold and the brutalities of the weather, but what about when clothes are not necessary? More often than not, clothing is used to smother our self-consciousness, hiding what we’re uncomfortable with—but what if we did not have that defense mechanism? What if clothing was not only optional but useless?

Everyone in the world has something they wish they could change about themselves, and that something tends to be physical. For example, if someone is not pleased with the appearance of his midsection he is able to cover it up with flowing or bulky shirts. He is insecure because he is afraid of what people might think if they saw it. However, if nudity was the norm, he would have nothing to hide; his body fully exposed lifts the veil of secrecy.

Not only would nudism diminish physical insecurities, it would also dampen the separation between the rich and the poor. “They buy me all these ices. Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and that Donna Karan, they be sharin’, all their money got me wearin’ fly,” sings Fergie in the famous Black Eyed Peas song, “My Humps.” The clothing brands mentioned in the lyrics are notoriously expensive. A fan of the Black Eyed Peas may listen to the song and find herself desiring the brands Fergie mentions but she may not have the money to spend on such frivolous investments. This digs a deeper trench between the rich and the poor. Without clothing, that trench between the affluent and the less wealthy would be shallower and easier to pass through, thus creating a more united society.

If society came to the point of simply viewing humans as naked, in their natural state, physical insecurities would be dissolved and class alienation would be less definitive. So when hip-hop artist, Nelly, sang, “Take off all your clothes,” in his smash hit, “Hot in Here,” he was not only making a statement about the heat but also about how to subside many people’s irrational and unnecessary insecurities.


One thought on “Clothing Optional

  1. Heather Woodward says:

    Hey! I recognize that sign!

    Your post makes me think about my experience in Berlin on a river beach, where I was the ONLY person in a swimsuit and felt embarrassed, because everyone else, regardless of age, size, or gender was nude. It’s funny how when everyone is naked bodies become, well, just bodies. You see yourself in a continuum of bodies–where you were and where you are heading.

    I should mention that some individuals were wearing hats.

    Heather Woodward

    Director, Creative Writing

    Ruth Asawa School of the Arts

    555 Portola Drive

    San Francisco, CA 94131



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