The Guardian newspaper reports today that there is something of a mini outbreak of tourists in Cambodia posing for nude photos in front of the country’s sacred temples, with several having been arrested and deported.
There’s a time and place for everything, dears, and while we’re broadly in support of nudity in many places, trampling barefoot over a country’s sacred (or other) sites is not the way forward. Basically, you come across as boorish, ill-educated, disrespectful western morons.
A little research has shown that this story is essentially old news, with the Guardian away behind the game in this respect, The Mirror having reported the same story two weeks ago. As for ‘nude’, at least one case appears to show ‘topless’, not quite the same thing, really.
That’s not to condone the behaviour, far from it.
But it’s not just ‘abroad’ that people like to take risqué photos in front of tourist attractions, the Empire State Building also having filed a $1.1m law suit against a photographer who took photos of a bare-breasted model on the city’s observation platform in August last year.
We’re all in favour of nudity. All in favour of ‘Free the Nipple’ campaigns. But there’s a time and a place, and it’s not at Angkor Wat, Machu Pichu or on top of the Empire State.
I particularly liked this almost Second Life youtube video re-enacting two American sisters taking the photos that got them deported from Cambodia.
Not because it was such a smart thing to do, but because the accompanying video does have a Second Life look and feel to it.
So…what to do? Get out into Second Life and start snapping? Would it be possible to get the Second Life equivalent of deportation, banned from a sim, by undertaking such shots?
Let me have a quick whistle stop tour of the grid, taking in some of the world’s better known landmarks…
Amsterdam, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Hollywood and London…
Nope. No one batted an eyelid, despite me landing nude in occasionally very busy SL locations (Ella adds: part of this may be down to the introduction of ‘mesh’ clothing. Previously, landing naked in a sim was immediately obvious and would have resulted in some remarks made. Only very rarely ‘negative’ in intent, and most of the time more of a ‘hey, hun, did you know you’re naked?’ variety. Since the introduction of mesh the clothing seems to tp in horizontally to your body so you might end up briefly naked before mesh clothing fits itself to your avatar. I think most avatars are now used to this to the point where it’s now unremarkable to occasionally see a naked avatar at a clothed sim).
I could have kept on my whistle-stop world tour, but it seemed pointless. Which is a very good analogy to what people are doing in historical sites around the real world. Pointless.
We need to remember that we’re in a different culture, where offense may be taken in situations we might not find offensive. So if you are going to take nude photos of yourself for publication on Facebook or a blog, I’m supportive: it shows that the taboo of being seen, or embarrassed to be seen, naked is no longer the case. We are all becoming increasingly self-aware of the beauty of our naked bodies. That’s a grown up attitude to be applauded. Offending other nations’ cultures is not, however, such a great idea. In fact, it’s dumb. Don’t do it.