Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nude or Rude?

Naturism and nudity in general have finally reached Taiwan’s top forum for expats, One poster put up a poll about nudity in the thread under the heading “nude is rude?”
Of the 55 respondents the last time I looked, 37 (or 67 percent) said we were all born naked, and nudity was non-sexual. Only a total of 7 respondents (12 percent) disagreed, saying bodies should be kept covered.
Those preliminary results clearly shows that the basic principles of naturism are accepted by a wide group of people, mostly from the West. The poll didn’t give a breakdown of the nationalities or regions of origin of the participants, but since this is a forum for expats, most of them hailing from North America, Western Europe, South Africa, Australia, we can safely guess that they reflect typical Western opinions.
One of the topics raised by some posters on the forum was breastfeeding. According to one of them, even women in Middle Eastern countries where top-to-bottom clothing is required for women do not hesitate to give children the breast in public places. An interesting detail I didn’t know about, since I have never lived in a Muslim country. While East Asian mores are generally conservative, it shows that even conservative religions do not have an absolute ban on nudity if and when it is practical.
The forum debate also dealt with whether nudity is always sexual or not. Again, the majority agreed with the naturist view that nudity is natural and not necessarily sexual. One poster argued that if a woman were naked, men would always look at her in a sexual way, but another poster countered that a completely dressed woman could also face such looks.
All in all, the debate on the forum contributed to the spread of naturist ideas without explicitly aiming to do so, and that is a good thing. The next step would be opening a similar debate on a Chinese-language or any other local-language Internet site in the region.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Nudity and theater have a reputation for not mixing in Taiwan, with naked bodies in serious stage art drawing the attention first of the island’s sensation-hungry media, and then of the conservative authorities.
But the trend seems to be changing. A recent theater performance directed by a Hong Kong playwright at Chinatrust’s theater in Taipei hardly drew any media attention. Newspapers did print a picture of the naked man singing during the play, but they put the report on page C6, deep inside the local news section, in a part of the newspaper many readers wouldn’t even get to reading, and readers outside of Taipei probably wouldn’t even find in their local editions.
The newspapers also reported in a neutral tone, leaving aside the sensationalism of the past. They interviewed the theater’s director, a member of the powerful Koo family, who said nudity on stage was fine with her if it was tasteful and classy.
And there we fully agree with Miss Koo. Naturism and nudity on stage are two completely different things – as I have pointed out in previous postings – but if nudity on stage can promote the idea that the naked human body is normal, and not necessarily linked to sex, than such a performance could pave the way for public acceptance of naturism.
If people can accept that nudity in a stage performance is normal if done in a non-sexual context, then they are more likely to accept nudity on the beach, in the water, at the swimming pool, in sports. In other words, any tasteful, non-sexual nude performance can be a milestone on the way to the acceptance and introduction of naturism. I just wish that process could be speeded up dozens of times, and the summer of 2005 were the first summer of naturism in Taiwan.