What is it about a nude that’s offensive?


At my local shopping center there is a massage place. The poster in the window has a nude woman’s back and the prices extending down her spine. It’s a cute concept until you get to the lower region.

This woman has buttocks, but no dividing line.

You can see where the heal tool was used, and you know that even with some shapes there is no way that this woman was born without a buttcrack.

In Japan, anime with nude breasts can be shown on any channel at anytime- providing the nipples are removed.

In many countries the tiniest bikini (an inch covering the butt and nipples) is enough to satisfy propriety while nudity or g-strings aren’t.

The details, it seems, must be covered or removed.

This makes me wonder. Is it the breast that’s “offensive” or is it the nipple? Are buttocks a problem or just the crack? Why are they offensive? Is it because the are the functional part of that zone? Or because they are the defining characteristics of those dodgy areas? If nipples are the offender then why are men’s acceptable?

Consider this an open forum, I want to hear your thoughts on these questions!

13 thoughts on “What is it about a nude that’s offensive?

  1. No clue. I wish I could come up with some pseudo-intellectual epistle explaining it all with reference to Freud, Nietzsche, Shoppenhaur and Nils Bohr, but I can’t. It makes no fucking sense to me that beheaded corpses, and throats being slit can be shown on US commercial tv after 9pm, but not a nipple. The short answer is that society is truly fucked up.

    • Amen to that Mr Furi! It astounds me. What is wrong with nipples? Specifically what is wrong with the female one?

      And why is breast cleavage less offensive than butt cleavage? (back cleavage is a different matter again…)

  2. The reason people fear nudity is they equate it with sex. But on a more primal level, deep down people fear their own humanity. Seeing nudity reminds them of a part of their humanity they’d rather forget.

  3. There is no rational explanation. We have inherited a cultural mindset and we just follow it. In effect things are the way they are because they were like that before. A self-perpetuating convention that feeds on societal inertia.

    • I agree, the sheep mindset is strong in this world! It’s a shame, we need more free thinkers and exploratory out there willing to go against the grain and show that there is more to the world!

  4. Isn’t it obvious? The parts that must be covered, no matter what, are the fun parts! Since hiding or not talking about something makes it go away (like not teaching sex-ed stops kids from having sex), if we hide nipples, labia, and butt cracks we’ll forget the neat stuff we can do with them! Heaven knows that our society has enough problems without being obsessed with sex!

    That’s why it is socially correct to wear clothing that’s as revealing as possible without actually showing the ‘dirty’ bits; the less clothing someone wears, to a limit, the less anyone will think about sex! I mean, it’s not like a model wearing only a thong and pasties is sexy or anything, right?

    And to think that some folks believe our society is all screwed up in its priorities! Nonsense!

    • This is something i’ve been thinking about lately, because sexy is actually about what you don’t show. Hence Victorian ankles. So partially covered up is much sexier than completely revealed. It’s the mystery that causes our brains to go exploring and thinking of all the dirty things..
      Why don’t people work this out? Sexiness is in the mind, not about the amount of flesh showing!

  5. somewhere in this question lies a joke about the camel’s nose in the tent…
    but I think that’s some of what we are seeing. Years ago the showing of an ankle in public was scandalous… now we see a great deal more of that camel (too much? sorry). Sex and danger have always been mixed up together, so skating on that edge is where all the excitement and attraction lays, for people on both sides of the argument.

    The two edged sword for us artists is to 1. embrace this mystery like all the other mysteries of life (which is pretty easy to do, when the mystery is so attractive and offers such emotional conflict in widely common social and personal contexts). 2. Limit our audience with controversy and risk issues of legality. So thanks for what you do.

    I’m mystified by this repulsion in America, where we are so prudish about sexual arousal, but so enthralled by other adrenaline cranking urges.
    Jon Stewart addressed some of this recently by wondering why the display of a butt crack or a nipple is illegal, but dismemberment and murderous mutilation is business as usual on prime time television… The priorities are definitely out of sequence.

    • I’ll have to look up the Jon Stewart bit! He cracks me up! No pun intended…

      It is hard to walk that line, it’s part of the joy of being an artist is making people think about beauty and mystery and question. It’s the best job in the world isn’t it!

      I agree, priorities are screwed, it’s bizarre that we can see more of people but are apparently more outraged by it at the same time..why?

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