Nudity is the ultimate test of self-acceptance. Why are we so afraid of it?

Last week we reported on  nude viewing of a gallery in Canberra, Australia, as experienced by Guardian reporter Monica Tan.

This week, Ms. Tan has followed up on that report, specifically her friends’ reaction to her participation, in today’s edition of the same paper, entitled ‘Nudity is the ultimate test of self-acceptance. Why are we so afraid of it?’

I won’t rehearse Ms. Tan’s arguments here, just ask you to click the link and read.

 

 

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Monica Tan, who has written some excellent pieces on public nudity, and attitudes towards it, for The Guardian

All I will say is that she makes many excellent points on a variety of topics within a theme, from casual ignorance of the nude form when placed inside that situation, to loss of control over internet photos.

Ella

 

 

Value added tax

Let’s begin the weekend with something sexy….taxation.

Value added tax is added to goods and services around the globe, in various forms and names. You may know it as VAT, or the Goods & Services tax in Canada or Australia). In the US, there’s no ‘VAT’, but a ‘service tax’.

I have absolutely no idea how or why this came to be applied for goods and services around the world, other than it appears to be another stealth tax on those of us who spend money…all of us! In the UK VAT is exempt on some good -food for example- but applicable in businesses where food is served. So your restaurant doesn’t pay VAT on the tomatoes it buys, but applies tax to them after they’ve cooked your meal. Confused? Me too.

There’s a UK election campaign currently going on. Our media is full of exciting photo-ops of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, feeding lambs.

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Or his main rival, Ed Miliband of the Labour Party, awkwardly eating a bacon sandwich.

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‘See?’, their spin doctors say. ‘They’re just privileged millionaires ordinary people like the rest of us!’ Nauseating, isn’t it?

Listening to them tell us how wonderful they are for ordinary people is tiresome. I’m doing all I can to avoid this de facto beauty contest being played out in our living room. There are some things I try to shield my children (and myself) from on the television. Islamic State videos. White policemen shooting innocent black men in the back and acting like it’s OK. Uk politicians telling me how great they are. There’s nothing that will benefit or inform me.  So currently (and until May 10th or so, after the election result has been declared) I’m avoiding the political beauty contest that is a Uk election campaign. ‘Whoever you vote for, the government always wins’, as the old saying goes.

Oh…and while I’m on the subject of rolling out quotations….’politics is show business for ugly people’.

But let me turn my attention to something that does impact on half of the population as unfair taxation, and isn’t particularly sexy. The Tampon Tax. Yes, that’s right. Sanitary products are classified as ‘non essential, luxury items’, a description that could only have been written by a man.

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Richie Benaud 1930-2015

If you live in the Americas, or possibly much of Europe, the name Richie Benaud will mean nothing to you. If you’re reading this from any part of the Britain’s ‘Commonwealth of Nations’, then you almost certainly know the name.

Richie Benaud, former Australian cricketing great, followed by a long career in cricket commentary, died overnight.

A broadcasting colossus, with a quiet, understated manner about him (both as a person and a commentator), his was a velvety voice who soundtracked my summer, sunbathing sessions in the back garden. Off with the clothes, on with the radio, and a chance to sit in the sun with his genteel voice describing the sound of leather on willow. (Forgive me if you don’t understand the terminology).

I don’t even like cricket that much, but it was marvellous to listen to his voice, and his descriptions of the action was perfect on an English (or Scottish) summer’s afternoon.

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Australian wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh wasn’t having a good day behind the stumps (the equivalent role, to explain it to people in the Americas, would be ‘baseball catcher’) when a streaker invaded the playing area. Marsh brought the man down with a rugby tackle. ‘And that’s the only thing Marsh has held onto all day’, Benaud said in his silky tones. Perfect. And a piece of commentary that raised an audible chuckle from listeners and viewers up and down the country.

If you’re like me, you are essentially disenchanted by a noisy, shouty world, a world in which hysteria is a by-word for passion. Naturism is an antidote to that. The afternoons with home-made lemonade, and a more relaxed, laid back and quite way of life, a life that we often look wistfully on as we grow older. ‘Life was so much better then’.

I do like to live in the moment, I’m not a nostalgist, but a slower pace of life would be good for everyone’s soul and spiritual well-being if ‘consumed’ on a regular basis.

Look at film, for example. Orson Welles’ ‘Citizen Kane’ begins with a long, slow tracking shot over 30-40 seconds? I don’t know, I’ve not timed it. But it draws us into the film in a quiet, understated way; scene-setting. Now? If we haven’t had two explosions, three dead and 4-5 jump cuts in the first 40 seconds of a film people are…bored. It’s just all too loud, too shouty.

Music? The Beatles begin with an intro and a verse, building momentum before the orgasmic release of ‘I wanna hold your haaaaaannnnnddd!!!’ Now? Get your chorus and ‘hooks’ in within the first 5 seconds otherwise an audience satiated by music will have lost interest and moved onto the next thing.

Fashion? ‘Something so awful they feel a need to change it every six months’, wrote Oscar Wilde. While the quiet, unchanging beauty of the naked human form remains changeless over thousands and thousands of years. A quiet beauty, not loud, not shouty and, in a way, much less attention seeking than its clothed, tribal counterparts.

Richie Benaud? Quiet beauty in his words, not fixated on himself, understated, building momentum. English summers will be poorer without his voice. It’s a post that has little to do with naturism, but one that carries a sense of nostalgia for quieter simpler times, as voiced by Benaud. Quieter simpler times which naturism remains part of.

RIP.

 

 

Ella