Walking home from school today, naked, after reading C.W.Nevius' one-sided, inflammatory column in today's Chronicle I passed two little old women on Castro Street. One whispered to the other in a very serious tone, "See, that's what I've been telling you about." Other than that, all of the comments and looks I received were very positive, smiles, nods, one gentleman stopped me to ask if I was taking my responsibility as a tourist attraction seriously. He told me believed everyone enjoyed the nudity. I know I certainly enjoy the nudity, and I enjoy the freedom I have in San Francisco which allows me to enjoy the nudity in spite of some bigots.
Body hatred is a bigotry, we are not born hating our bodies but rather are taught to hate them. Nudity has never caused anyone any harm that I am aware of. When I am naked, I can feel the sun and the breeze on my skin. All of my senses are heightened and I feel closer to nature as there is less that separates me from the nature around me. My animality is exposed, along with my body. I am more equal to nature, rather than removed from it, or above it. I can understand how THAT is a scary and threatening concept for some.
It threatens the status quo, the belief that we are individuals looking out only for ourselves and everything else is put here for our use. That is the paradigm which is getting us in so much trouble: rapid use of global resources, the betting on others losing their homes in the mortgage markets or not being able to afford food in the commodities market, causing untold suffering for millions just so a few of us might profit.
Clothing compulsion is more harmful, I believe, than public nudity. To always hide who we are and seperate ourselves from nature and each other with clothing, no matter what the situation or weather, seems very harmful to me. I believe we would be much better off as a society and a world if we could all experiance casual nudity from time to time. If you have the oppurtunity, and haven't tried it, I would urge you to take a step and work on overcoming some of your fears. You just might like it.