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Public Nudity, the beach and a bit of controversy

January 4, 2009

The beach. A place of sun, sand, waves and, if you live in Australia at any rate, bikini clad women and sometimes even topless women. However, there appears to be a small number of people who find the sight of so much flesh amoral and slightly disturbing.

Don’t you find it odd that some people find such nudity offensive? I’m not referring here to full frontal nudity, strip-club style or wandering around the suburbs completely naked, but about the attempt by Rev. Fred Nile to ban topless sunbathing on Sydney beaches. Other conservative MPs have also come out in support. This raises a question; is why do some people get offended by naked, particularly womens’, bodies?

Now there are some religions, Islam springs to mind, where their religious texts bad the womens’ body from sight. And in fact I believe that showing any skin is frowned upon [please enlighten me if I’m wrong on this, my knowledge of Islam isn’t huge]. However no such issue occurs in Christianity. Nowhere in the Bible, as far as I can remember, does it say that a man cannot look at another women. You cannot covet another man’s wife, but it doesn’t prevent you from coveting an unmarried women. In fact some of the characters in the old testament had more than one wife!

So, to be helpful for those non-Muslims, I’ve listed out a couple of points below.

Reasons not to get offended

The best reason I can think of NOT to get offended by the sight of women’s breasts is that about half the population have them, and pretty much everyone has sucked on them at some stage, usually as babies, sometimes as adults. Although, if you believe MLC David Clarke, our children should not be faced with such offensive sights. Personally, I can think of a lot more offensive sights, such as various forms of extremism, that children should not face rather than bare skin. In fact every child that I know are indifferent to the sight of naked flesh – its only the adults who get offended by it. Additionally, almost all children are breast fed, at least initially. Therefore, we’ve all seen them, its not like its anything new.

The female form should be loved, cherished and admired. I’m not sure how any heterosexaul man out there could not admire the beauty in a women’s body.

However too Much of a Good Thing

I can, however, think of one very good reason to ban topless sunbathing and that is to reduce the instances of skin cancer. We spend lots of money educating people about the dangers of too much sun, from the old “slip, slop, slap” campaigns to newer, more graphic advertising. Therefore, we should discourage public nudity for the sake of skin cancer and saving a few lives [and skin from the leathery effect it gets with too much sun]. Maybe if Fred based his arguments on concern for the young womens’ health he might get further.

Our politicians have sensibly refused to endorse this issue. Lets hope it all dies off when we return to work in January.

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