We’re not shy in our house. We have two toddlers, so we’re quite used to roaming hands in nappies, ‘surprise’ nuggets down the side of the sofa and bouncing bits as one of us charges upstairs naked at 3am to deal with nightmares/bedwetting/inappropriate singing and etc. We’re not sexually repressed or particularly shy about our bodies. My other half would probably roam about naked all day given half the chance. I’m perhaps a little more restrained, though getting better as the years progress; I’m more concerned about the recurring spots on my arse than my spaniel’s ears or baby gunt. That said, I’ve never worn a bikini. I don’t show my bingo wings. I’m aware that in the harsh light of day, upright, my torso looks a bit like Homer Simpson’s face. But then, what do you expect? I don’t exercise, I’m not keen on getting out of breath and I eat too much.
I’ve always sort of admired people who are liberated about their bodies. On a rare night out in a town where most people keep seagulls as pets and play ‘I Spy With My Middle Eye’, you see some of the largest people imaginable in very little clothes, bruises all over their (very visible) flesh and no teeth. They’re not hiding behind a pole trying to cover their belly, they’re wrestling men to the ground and resisting arrest. They don’t give a fuck, and I’ve always held a grudging admiration for their attitude. Like when you go on holiday. I can spend an hour each day trying to wrestle a swimming costume on under a sarong. And then I wear the sarong on top, because This Morning says it’ll disguise my midriff and elongate my torso. ‘Why can’t I be more like them?’, I’ll invariably say at some point, gesturing to a middle-aged German woman striding around in the nip with tits down to her thighs and a beaver like Simon Cowell’s emerging for a Bellini. Easy really, I’m self-conscious. I don’t like my body. Nakedness, unless it’s in the house, makes me feel vulnerable and clothes suit me better than skin. Yes, it might be the way we’re born, it might be the way we’re meant to be, but playing tennis with my tits flopping off my Pringles tyre does not maketh a good holiday. Or even an experimental sexual position.
My Daughter The Teenage Nudist follows Mollie and Alex, ‘part of a growing group of teens and twentysomethings embracing the world of public nudity - a contemporary phenomenon that's been driven by social networking sites such as Facebook as well as niche websites like Naked Vegan Cooking.’
Apparently they are on a quest to normalise nudity, question the media's obsession with the body beautiful, and encourage other young people to liberate themselves by simply going naked - in the streets, in cafes or at art shows.
I quite like Mollie. And she quite likes being naked, especially on a bike
‘She’s got tidy little tits’, I comment to Si at a scene where Alex is handing out fliers for a ‘naked art project’ in the high street, topless.
‘I think it’s disgusting’, he says after a good inspection. ‘That’s their choice. They shouldn’t inflict it.’
‘But what about men? You can walk around topless on a hot day. Why can’t we?’
‘Because it’s a man’s world. I’m going for a shit’
End of conversation.
I quite like Mollie. And she quite likes being naked, especially on a bike. ‘I don’t know why’, she says ‘but I just happened to google “naked bike ride”’. As you do. Just like my friend ‘happened’ to google ‘creampie gloryhole’ and is now separated and living in Filey in a flat where you can shit and cook at the same time. Mollie’s mum isn’t too delighted at her daughter’s antics, particularly the uploaded facebook pictures of her posing naked on her bike in the middle of London – sample comment; ‘It was very difficult for your father when his friends could say, “I’ve seen your daughter’s tits on facebook”’. While Mollie is concerned only with the freedom that public nudity brings, her mother is more worried about ‘some dirty old man’ spaffing all over his laptop. As a parent, it’s fair concern.
Darrell, youth leader for the National British Naturism Organisation, is on a mission to get his target demographic of youngsters naked. He’s incredibly militant and slightly odd, especially the scenes of him bent over on a table while a bemused beautician rips all the hair from his piffins bride. Apparently this is the way of the modern naturist, a ‘metrosexuality’ that older nudists don’t adhere too. He’s on a quest to make nudity public and well-groomed, and he’s a smug twat to boot. You have to query someone who’s always trying to get other people naked, especially someone who’s relatively attractive and knows it. What is it, some kind of superiority kick? With him in particular, you sort of suspect it might be. And voiceovers like, ‘Darrell seizes his last opportunity to convert the young ones’ don’t really do him any favours.
My main problem with this programme is the, ‘we’re right and that’s the end of it’ attitude. Comments like, ‘children should see naked bodies so they’ll be comfortable wiith themselves’ really bother me. Isn’t it about choice? My mum was very open about her body, but it hasn’t had a brilliantly favourable effect on me and my body image. One of the young girls witnessing Alex and Darrell giving out fliers topless has an interesting point; ‘you’ve put two more or less beautiful people out there. Why would that make me feel any better about my body?’
I sort of agree. I like the feeling of the wind in my nether regions as much as the next person, but I don’t believe you necessarily have to take your clothes off publicly to feel free or throw off the shackles of a Victorian control-freakery. Be happy, get naked, but don’t ram it down my throat.
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