Nudity and Shame

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“Nudity and Shame” – By Frank Jay Leonard – March 24, 2020

Since beginning nude figure photography fifteen years ago I have always operated with the conviction that there is nothing inherently wrong or evil with any square inch of the human body.  Our bodies are expressions of the evolutionary processes of attraction and reproduction.  An arm has no different meaning in value than a penis or a breast or a vagina or an ear or a mouth or an anus or a knee.  Each performs its function and is a part of the whole.

Shame changes our perspective and creates obsession or repulsion in relation to nudity, sexuality, and even breast feeding.  The violence done by predators, rapists, religion, and advertising, to name just a few, skew that which is beautiful into that which is to be covered up, obsessed over, or shamed.

There is no magic wand that will cure us of that which we have learned in a thousand ways.  We all carry wounds associated with our bodies and its parts. And yet the fact remains that there is nothing inherently wrong about our bodies, nudity, or sexuality.

Art is one way in which we can be reminded to be appreciative of the sacred beauty of our naked bodies.  Here too the distortions of abuse and domination and control and manipulation make their way onto the stage under the guise of being art.  They are not.  They are exploitation.

Art celebrates the forms and curves and natural sensuality of the human body.  It is a declaration against that which each of us have been taught as necessary of hiding.  Every member of a nudist society is not only engaging in something natural, but is also making a statement, first of all to themselves, and then to others, that they will not be shamed into covering up.

Will nude art always be open to those who would shame its existence?  Yes.  So, it is with courage that many of us, in repudiation of that which even we carry within ourselves, refuse to take part in the collective consciousness of shame and hiding.  We witness, first of all to ourselves, and then to the world, that there are expressions of the nude human body that reflect its sacredness and natural sensuality and beauty.  It is a perilous task, encouraged by few, but worthy of undertaking in the hope of moving each of us to a greater celebration of the gift and beauty of the bodies we have been given, just as they are.