DISCLAIMER: This is a strongly opinionated piece. If you feel I might be criticising you personally, please don't feel that way. I am not thinking of, or speaking about anyone in particular. I am generalising and reflecting upon observations made over a long period of time across many sites I have visited.
"Look ma, no clothes!"
Have you ever experienced having to view someone else's holiday shots when all they consist of are close cropped shots of the people with little to no inclusion of the scene itself?
"This is me nude."
"This is me nude from a slightly different angle."
"This is me. Nude. Posing a little differently."
It gets very trite very quickly. As odd as it may sound I don't personally feel pictures of naked people promotes nudity that well. Pictures of people enjoying themselves participating in fun activities where it's clear that they're enjoying themselves. Pictures of people enjoying a beautiful scene. That imagery to me promotes nudity and is quite widespread on the Internet.
To be quite honest, I have little interest in looking at naked bodies in and of themselves. If you're at a nude beach or venue it's pleasant to observe others enjoying the sunshine, air and environment clothes free. One does not go there to sit and stare at naked bodies. At least I don't.
Rarely if ever do you observe others in any great detail. You either observe them at a distance or you're engaged in a face to face conversation.
I'm there to enjoy the outdoors, not to sit around comparing myself to others, or inspect their physical form at close quarters. That's not even normal in a clothed situation.
It's on this basis that I find myself indifferent if not repelled by pictures that consist of nothing more than a naked person. So you're naked in your garden. Great. Naked in the shed, on a beach etc. It's pleasing to see pictures of the beach and wish you were there. That's sharing in the experience. It's great seeing other people's garden. I particularly like hiking scenes as that's one of my favourite activities.
Someone sitting naked in a deck chair. Why? What's so great about that picture? Someone sitting with a group of friends clearly enjoying a joke together. That's a worthwhile picture. You can easily enjoy and share in the fun atmosphere.
It's been suggested that perhaps I'm not accustomed to viewing naked bodies. Give it time and you'll get used to it. Nothing further could be from the truth. There is so much to admire about the naked form. There is so much variety, beauty and so many other facets. That appreciation doesn't compel me towards wanting to view nakedness in and of itself however. It seems as abnormal to me as men on work sites leering at every attractive woman that walks past them. Women are far more than a mere object of desire. Obviously men also.
It is somewhat from this perspective of objectification that I'm not enamoured with viewing posed shots of naked bodies, that basically have no other redeeming feature, other than the fact that it's basically a "this is me naked" shot.
There have been numerous long discussions on the site, within the moderators group etc about what is appropriate imagery and what isn't. More often than not, the pictures that most frequently come into question are the "this is me naked" shots.
Some are seedy. Some offend one half of those commenting, others who are not taken back by one image object to another. It's a pretty big judgement call, and it's very difficult to be consistent.
In my personal view, posed pictures of naked people do not promote nudity well. I feel it's the very thing that compels people to say, "I don't really want to see that. Nor do I want my kids to."
This isn't overly surprising, because many pictures don't reflect the more common reality. Here are some examples.
Two weeks ago my family and I were on an unofficial nude beach. At the far end of the beach was a guy I suspected was nude, but couldn't exactly tell because he was so far down the beach. Not far in front of us was a naked figure. Definitely nude, but facing away from us, and from their build, there was absolutely no way of telling their gender. Down the far end of the beach, another couple. I was pretty sure they were nude also, but a little hard to tell due to the distance.
Overall, there were naked people on the beach, but not so as you'd notice, and my wife who isn't a nudist was quite comfortable there. We spent about 2-3 hours. We walked along the beach, chatted with the couple in front of us. It was a great experience. I know for certain, if there had have been people parading in front of my wife and kids, there's no way we would have stayed. I myself wouldn't have been at all troubled by it. Naked bodies in and of themselves don't bother me.
In a second example, a few years ago, we happened across a naked protest. There was varying degrees of nudity to be seen, and quite a long parade to observe. Nobody was really that bothered by it. If people so chose, they could avert their gaze. Even if you chose not to, at best one caught a fleeting glimpse of bodies. This in my view is the reality of nudity. There's very seldom anything to see.
I've visited a few venues on a number of occasions. You see people from afar. You see them in conversation. You're engaging face to face. Even in a hot tub, you're not sitting there staring at their bodies, checking them out.
This is where posed, close cropped shots diverge so dramatically from what you actually experience in my opinion.
As carefully as I have chosen words and concepts to express my point of view, I'm almost certain that there will be significant misunderstandings and disagreements.
"Well what about my close up shots of body jewelry?"
I enjoy those a great deal. That isn't "me naked," that's check out the cool bling. The picture has purpose and interest.
Perhaps the fine line that separates the interesting from the absolute mundane is intent. Within the moderator circles, that factor has come up a great deal as well. "Why did someone actually think this picture was worth posting." IE: It seriously lacks any redeeming factors or points of interest other than, "hey check it out, I'm naked!"
Like so many other things, I have given this viewpoint long careful consideration. I've thought long and hard about various experiences throughout my life, and one of the reasons the Naktiv principal sounds so loud and true with me, is because it is what I believe nudity is really all about. Get naked, enjoy the natural environment and be active.
I can't help feeling that if the principal focus of nudity was to get out there and enjoy life to it's fullest, rather than focusing almost exclusively on being naked, more people would see the merits of it.
As it is, on almost every site I've come across, except those that actively discourage "this is me naked shots," you get those shots with varying degrees of taste and appeal.
Obviously I'm interested in hearing other people's point of view on this, otherwise I wouldn't have put in the effort to articulate my own views 🙂
Please add your perspective as you see fit.