What Are Some Arguments About Nudity?


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One argument on the legality of nudity comes from Joel Feinberg, who said that an act does not need to be directly harmful to others to be banned. If the act elicits feelings of disgust and shame among other unpleasant feelings, then the act is worthy of prohibition. A counter-argument points out that chewing with one's mouth open and poor hygiene produce similarly unpleasant feelings but are generally legal.

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Feinberg further said that nudity is unlike any other legal and shameful behavior because of the sexual response it inevitably provokes. People are drawn instinctively to nudity in a sexual way and then often ashamed of their own responses. Feinberg's theory on people's inherent uneasiness with nudity can be seen in state rules against nudity. Most states ban any naked display of genitalia, but Oregon has a notable exception by permitting nudity as long as it is not designed to arouse.

Other arguments against public nudity claim that it is unhygienic, which seems to be supported by nudist and naturist clubs requiring people to sit on towels while nude. Nudity clubs claim that complete nudity among their members diffuses the exhibitionist, sexual and voyeuristic relationship between clothed people and nude people.

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