How Societies’ Attitudes To Nudity Have Changed Over The Years

Nudity is a strange concept as it’s such a provocative or controversial one in society these days. It’s considered not appropriate in most situations, even extreme, or obscene.

But depending on the setting and the context it’s not always been so, or not always is, even these days. So how have attitudes towards the naked body changed over the years?

Let’s take a look.

The Nude In Art

how nudity changed

Quite often art is considered the best place, historically speaking, where we can get an idea of how the nude image of humanity has been regarded in time gone by.

Not only can we see how the form of the naked body is depicted, but this also gives us an idea of what is considered beautiful through the lens of society at a different point in time.

We know that generally speaking, thin is beautiful these days, we can even get medical help to stay that way, as well as healthy eating and exercise it’s never been easier to stay in shape and stay beautiful.

But it’s not always been that way, in the past being larger was a sign of affluence, being able to afford a more lavish diet and being slim may have been considered more of a sign of poverty.

Nudity & the Church

Much of the restriction on display of the human body comes from the expansion of the Christian church, like paganism, which actively used nudity in its imagery, faded into the background and the church became prominent discouraging nude images, with a small level of exceptions such as depictions of Adam and Eve. 

History of the Nude In Print 

Nude images are pretty much as old as civilization itself, you can find cave paintings, carvings, etc. as far back as you can find evidence of advanced human beings. But like so many other things it really took off with the invention of the printing press.

We can see that by the end of the 18th century the prominence of printed nudes in posters, playing cards et, had really taken hold and that this has never gone away since. 

What the Internet Has Done

If the emergence of printed materials did a lot to increase the availability of nude imagery then the internet did the same thing but with a hundred times more efficiency. Ever since the success of the worldwide web in the mid-nineties has there been opportunity online.

This can be a good and a destructive thing, you could make money by running your own live video channel through sites like Ismygirl and people are free, within the law, to share and view whatever they like online.

Nudity & the Law

Now the law around nudity is varied depending on what state you are in and what location and type of nudity we are talking about.

Public Indecency incidents are usually to do with acts that are sexually indecent or inappropriate, so any nudity or sexual acts or content should not be enacted in public or made available to minors whatever way they are presented.

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