“Why are you so obsessed with pictures of naked people? What is it that draws you to those in particular?”
My wife’s words stung a bit. We have been buying up art at local thrift stores to cover our walls. Being a nudist I naturally gravitate towards nudes. Her questions demonstrated how little she really gets me.
“I just don’t want a bunch of pictures of naked people all over my walls. Especially naked children.”
It’s rare to find nude art at all in thrift stores. So imagine my delight when I found two paintings in one store, one from an old soap advertisement which holds some sentimental value for me, and one of a nude girl and a dog sitting on a dock.
Both were paintings of children.
This is not the first time I have picked out a nude painting of a child and had her question it. “Mischief” by William Sergeant Kendall is a painting which hangs in the Baltimore Museum of Art. I picked up a postcard of it a few years ago when we visited the museum. For some reason it really bothered her.
I hadn’t really thought about it until she asked her pointed questions. Why do I love nude art? Why children? Why not just adults? Is it just an obsession with nudism? Is it some perverted thing?
Honestly, nudity is an ideal for me. Not only is it an ideal state of being, but it represents an ideal world for me. It’s a return to Eden, if you will.
Nudity is innocence, playfulness, joy, beauty. Nudity in art is an escape from the reality of this dark world and a glimpse of what I would love the world to be.
Images of children are especially indicative of innocence and playfulness. To me, there is nothing sexual at all about them. I’m not alone in this thought.
Prior to the sexual revolution one could find paintings, photographs, and even advertisements featuring nude children and no one batted an eyelid. Children were not sexualized like they frequently are today.
But we live in a cultural paradigm where everything is sexualized. Even children. Just turn on the news and you’ll see reports of child trafficking and conspiracy theories about pedophilic rings among social elites. While I think much of this is exaggerated for sensationalism, it does make us uneasy enough to pause over an innocent painting like the ones above.
Sure, there is such a thing as erotic art, dating from way back when art began, but most nudes aren’t intended to be viewed sexually. Especially not the ones of children.
This is what particularly bothered me about her statements. Because of the world we live in, she sees the nude body as just another sexual object, whether she knows it or not. It makes her uncomfortable. They aren’t beautifully “nude”, they are just “naked people.”
She lives in the paradigm of the rest of the world. The world that makes nudists into “weirdos” and “perverts”. Unfortunately, there are loads of nudists that make these labels stick. They are all over the internet, peddling photos of a sexual nature. They post edited versions on Instagram and tell you to click on their link for “the unsensored set”. This is not nudism, nor is it nude art. It’s porn.
These are the kind of folks that I wish to weed out of nudism. The people that go against my ideal of simple relaxed nudity. Sex has its place, but that place is not in art or the nude beach.
Heck, even that kind of smut has it’s place in the market. As a libertarian, I don’t care if they sell it on the open market. Just stop calling it “nudism” or “naturism”. Call it what it is: exhibitionism.
Let art and innocence return. Let nudity be pure again. Give me back my ideals!
And to my wife: please let me have a few nudes to hang in my house…
Update: I went back and bought it, she doesn’t know yet I think I’ll keep it hidden somewhere.
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