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MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

The bare truth about nakedness
Published: 
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What is it about other people’s nakedness that fascinates us so? I believe that I know no one who would intently walk out their house naked and I suppose and there are many reasons why this is so.

Societal norms have taught us that covering our bodies is acceptable. So I imagine it is straying from that norm that “rouses” us.

How many of us have flirted with thoughts of freedom to walk around in our birthday suits?

There has to be sufficient of us who desire that even if our only measurement are the nudist resorts flourishing worldwide.

There is a deep desire to run free of clothing. We started off naked, if at least you believe what the Bible advances.

In the Garden of Eden when God had created Adam and Eve, the scriptures record in Genesis 2:25: “Adam and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (NIV).

But in Revelations, as the scripture closes, the writer records: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness…(Revelations 3:18 NIV).

There is much that can be taken into account about what happened to move nakedness from the realm of comfort, where people were once unashamed all the way over to nakedness having a reference in the arena of disgrace.

I often contemplate what it would have been like if that lack of self-consciousness had survive and made to my generation.

Imagine in 2018 we were all walking around unclothed. For one thing the loud debate about how women should dress and what it invites would be mute.

But I digress. Many times I have passed naked men on the street. Almost always I have a sense that they may be in mental crisis.

In all my years though I cannot remember being tempted to grab my camera and take a photo of a naked man.

I have seen only one naked woman on the streets and comfort you with the fact that I was too embarrassed and uncomfortable and immediately looked away.

I remember feeling hot tears as thoughts of whose mother or sister or daughter she was started overwhelming me.

But if we understand what we do about nakedness and realise that mainly people who are in crisis would stop their car on Wrightson Road, strip down and head down the street “normal, normal,” then why is our first instinct one of ridicule?

How is it we see a person in crisis, naked, and so quickly and impulsively grab cameras?

What compels a human being to respond in that manner to the obvious suffering of another?

And then, to post it to the shaming social media with many others, without a thought for the person’s humanity and dignity, sharing with memes and caricatures?

Last week Guardian Media’s Kevon Felmine wrote: “While social media users continue to ridicule and share a video of a woman seen dancing nude in public, police said she has been diagnosed with depression.

“Officers said it was not the first time that the woman exposed herself in public.

“It was only last week Tuesday that police received a report of the woman dancing nude in the street in Stanleyville, Ste Madeleine.

“They, along with an ambulance responded and the woman was treated by paramedics and allowed to return home.

“No charges were laid against the woman. Officers were told that she was earlier involved in a domestic dispute over infidelity, which resulted in her running into the road and stripping.”

And on this occasion the response of the TTPS is praiseworthy, dignified, and with humanity.

We discriminate as soon as we encounter someone who is different or appears different from us, but to abuse someone in distress exposes an ugly truth about what we are becoming.

And in just a few weeks we will be glorifying nakedness of people supposedly in their right minds.

n CAROLINE C RAVELLO is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of

Public Health With Distinction (The UWI). Write to: [email protected]

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