This is copied from my <a href="http://foxyfellowuk.blogspot.co.uk">main blog</a>.
Someone I follow uploaded a piece to DeviantArt depicting a character of theirs hunting, with a bow and arrow, naked. That triggered the thought that hunting must be quite a bit easier and more comfortable naked, since there aren't any clothes to tug, snag, or catch on you or other things, to hinder your movement or make any sound to betray your presence to your target. You'd also only have to wash and/or repair yourself afterwards. Many potential benefits. I commented as such.
Someone else then responded that no, it wouldn't be better to hunt naked if you had breasts, since their unrestricted movement when running would cause considerable pain. I had a great deal of trouble accepting this, though I struggled to articulate exactly why at first; it simply didn't make sense. Then I realised why – why on earth would the female of our species evolve two sizeable lumps of fat hanging on the chest without also evolving a means of dealing with their movement, a natural, in-built support system? It seemed a crazy omission if true.
At the same time, though, it can't be denied that for a lot of women, unrestricted movement can be painful. For others, usually those who run naked a lot, there's little to no discomfort. Why? Well, a suggestion I found on a naturist forum seems to explain it nicely – natural support is something that grows with use, much like muscles, so if your breasts spend all their time tucked into bras – artificial support – the natural kind never needs to develop, so when said mammaries move a lot, they hurt. Breasts left unrestricted enough will develop that support, and thus won't hurt. Simple, and makes a lot of sense.
All that then led a friend to note that maybe not needing the natural support system for so long, thanks to the artificial one of clothing, means women don't even have it any more, in the same way we don't have anywhere near the quantity of hair we used to. If it's extraneous, get rid. Personally, I don't think we're quite at that stage yet…but probably not too far off.
The next logical stop on this ever-lengthening thought train was this – in what other ways has our dependence on clothing affected us, and are those effects positive or negative?
For one, our susceptibility to temperatures. Do we feel the cold more because our clothes insulate us from it and thus prevent our bodies from naturally adjusting to cope as best they can? Do we feel the heat so much for the same kinds of reasons? Of course, with the latter, the insulating properties of clothes are only ever a problem, as well as the way they interfere with our built-in heat management system – sweat.
Closely related – the sun. Surely the reason we burn so easily is because we hide our skin from the sun so much, and thus it can't cope nearly as well as it might when it is exposed. I have some small personal experience of this – I used to burn very badly, especially during my teenage period of being so hung-up about my body I couldn't even bare an arm in private, but since adopting as much of a naturist lifestyle as I reasonably could, I hardly do any more. It's tempting to think the pasty white complexion of the westerner isn't a natural skin tone at all…
Then there's the sense that arguably is the keenest we possess, and certainly the most all-encompassing, yet the one we seem to neglect the most – touch. Only our eyes can see; only our noses can smell, only our ears can hear, only our mouths can taste – but everything can feel. Every last part of our bodies can touch and be touched, and yet we swaddle most of it in clothing, thus deadening ourselves more than we might realise. Again, I have personal experience to draw from – the difference between wandering ny garden nude and clothed is just staggering. It really is no exaggeration to say you feel far more alive and connected to your surroundings without clothes in the way. Touch is a sense, I believe, to be treasured and savoured, not neglected. On that note…
There's also, finally, less tangible effects, on our behaviour and relationships. Most obviously there's the body issues that seem to plague us more and more each day. Less obviously, there's the barriers clothing can create, emotional and psychological. Clothes can be, and frequently are, a disguise, presenting an image quite removed from the reality beneath, and thus placing distance between you and those around you. Good thing, or bad thing? Further to that, are we really as close to our friends, family, and lovers as we think we are? Do clothes keep us at as much of an emotional remove as they do a physical one? Can a hug, for example, be as intimate and close clothed as nude? Personally, I don't think so. Personally, the feeling of skin on skin would mean far more than the feeling of clothes on clothes.
After all that, I have little doubt clothing has had a vast effect on us, but is it positive or negative? Has our dependence now become an over-dependence? Are clothes an adequate substitute for the natural things they replace, or not? Have we now reached the point where they're more detrimental than benificial?
Are they actually doing us more harm than good?
Thoughts greatly appreciated.