Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | June 19, 2013

Body of Evidence: A Brief History of Nakedness

'In Gay We Trust' 'In Love We Trust' - Femen protests in Paris against Anti-Gay Marriage demonstrations

‘In Gay We Trust’ ‘In Love We Trust’ – Femen protests in Paris against Anti-Gay Marriage demonstrations

Anyone who has written a book knows (a) how hard it is to get reviewed and (b) how disappointing many reviews are, when – as the author – you realize that the reviewer has only briefly scanned the work you toiled over for years, because he or she is in a hurry.

How nice then to read a really intelligent well-written review that even builds on your own book, adding information and perspective to the subject you covered…or in the case of A Brief History of Nakedness, uncovered.
Suzanne Harrington in The Irish Examiner has just written such a review:

Body of evidence: do we fear nudity or nakedness?

By Suzanne Harrington

IT is the season to take your clothes off, not just for the beach, but to protest. Nakedly. Want media coverage? Get naked. This month, there is a naked bike ride in Cork, on the 22nd. Naked cyclists ride their bikes through the city to raise awareness of their physical vulnerability in traffic. Naked bike rides in chilly Ireland and England show the determination of cyclists to assert their place among the motorised. Brrrr.

Mass nakedness is endearing and non-confrontational. Naked bike riders are cheered on as brave, determined, perhaps slightly bonkers. They don’t cause fear or offence.

Spencer Tunick’s art installations, in which hundreds, or even thousands, of naked people assemble in public places to be photographed, creating a vast skinscape against a well-known background, are not protest or demonstration, but a celebration of naked humanity as art.

The feminist group, Femen, are visually confrontational, using their bodies as billboards of protest. This blows people’s minds — the naked female body, traditionally something passive to be gawped at, is covered only in thick, black letters demanding social change. Vladimir Putin reacted to Femen protests with the leer of a dirty old man, even as he incarcerated fully clothed, but equally vociferous, feminist protestors, Pussy Riot. To present yourself to riot police wearing only flowers in your hair, and ink on your flesh, takes suffragette-levels of guts, even as it guarantees you tabloid pages.  Read more

See also the Guardian article about Femen here.


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