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Worth stripping for?

2010-05-21 14:06
Oh, how lovely! They may be plastic carnations, but it's been about three years since anyone sent me flowers.  Turns out, the motivation for sending flowers hasn't changed at all since 2007: someone wants to see me naked.

And you too, as part of a pro-soccer naked flash-mob on June 3rd in Cape Town. I won't be playing, though. Not because I'm chicken, but because this smells suspiciously like an attempt to market a battery-farmed take-away using a "viral" campaign – the advertising flavour of the month.

But that doesn't mean I'm anti-nudity. I'm fine with nudity for its own sake or for the sake of fun, provided nobody's getting hurt and I don't have to look closely at any thoroughly-plucked, moulding cookies. For example, I don't mind people reading the news naked (coming to SA soon) as long as they never hire Riaan Cruywagen. I'm okay with stripping and pornography in theory – though in practice, we all know it's an exploitative business mostly run by white-collar gangsters. I think nudity in movies is part of the job – what's the point of a sex scene if it's not sexy?

But all that stuff is just stuff I don't mind, and that nobody should mind, because only prudes and closet perverts actually care what other people choose to look at and do.

By contrast, there are also acts of nudity that I actively admire, and applaud. Like the local celebs who took their clothes off in Marie Claire (very artily, I might add) to protest against societal ills like rape and domestic violence.  Or the ordinary people (and one cute boy band) who did a naked fun run on the Sea Point promenade last year, to protest carbon emissions – and let me videotape it and take photos.   

There's been a bit of craziness about nudity lately. Remember how people went off about Lady Gaga's sexily bi-leaning trans-genderish video and photos for "Telephone"? I thought the way she satirised the "chicks behind bars" and the "chicks with dicks" thing at the same time was priceless. I think it promoted dialogue, as well as song sales and her image. She's daring and intelligent – a Madonna for this decade. Her music's merely ok. She, on the other hand, is one of my heroes.

Jazzy R&B musician Erykah Badu also recently stripped for a music video, shot geurilla-style at the location of JFK's assassination, for her song "Window Seat". This was even more admirable for me – not just because the way she took her clothes off was about honesty, not titillation. The usual bunch of reactionaries posted revolting comments on her message board, insulting everything from her motivation to her body (insanely; she’s gorgeous) and even calling her "disrespectful". But the majority of people got the point her critics were accidentally proving: We don’t talk enough. We’ve become afraid to speak out. We’re become reactionary and intolerant  and closed minded.

I'd never kill for my beliefs, but I might take my clothes off for them one day. I'd do almost anything to get people to listen. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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