Nudity is the state of being in which a human is without clothing. Nudity is culturally complex due to meanings given to various states of undress in differing social situations. In any particular society, these meanings are defined in relation to being properly dressed, not in relation to the specific body parts being exposed. Although often used interchangeably, "naked" and "nude" are also used in English to distinguish between the various meanings of being unclothed.
Nakedness and clothing are connected to many cultural categories including identity, social status and moral behavior. Contemporary social norms regarding nudity vary widely, reflecting cultural ambiguity towards the body and sexuality, and differing conceptions of what constitutes public versus private spaces. While the majority of societies require clothing in most situations, others recognize non-sexual nudity as being appropriate for some recreational, social or celebratory activities, and appreciate nudity in the arts as representing positive values. Societies such as Japan and Finland maintain traditions of communal nudity based upon the use of baths and saunas that provided alternatives to sexualization. Some societies and groups continue to disapprove of nudity not only in public but also in private based upon religious beliefs. Norms are codified to varying degrees by laws defining proper dress and indecent exposure.
The loss of body hair was one of the physical characteristics that marked the biological evolution of modern humans from their hominin ancestors. Adaptations related to hairlessness contributed to the increase in brain size, bipedalism, and the variation in human skin color. While estimates vary, for at least 90,000 years anatomically modern humans wore no clothing, the invention of which was part of the transition from being not only anatomically but behaviorally modern. (Full article...)
Depictions of nudity include all of the representations or portrayals of the unclothed human body in visual media. In a picture-making civilization, pictorial conventions continually reaffirm what is natural in human appearance, which is part of socialization. In Western societies, the contexts for depictions of nudity include information, art and pornography. Information includes both science and education. Any ambiguous image not easily fitting into one of these categories may be misinterpreted, leading to disputes. The most contentious disputes are between fine art and erotic images, which define the legal distinction of which images are permitted or prohibited. (Full article...)
Did you know...
... that small Indian ringstones of the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE typically have four nude female figures around the central hole?
Image 11Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos (1808–1812) by John Vanderlyn. The painting was initially considered too sexual for display in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "Although nudity in art was publicly protested by Americans, Vanderlyn observed that they would pay to see pictures of which they disapproved." (from Nude (art))
Image 22A necklace reconstructed from perforated sea snail shells from Upper Palaeolithic Europe, dated between 39,000 and 25,000 BCE. The practice of body adornment is associated with the emergence of behavioral modernity. (from Nudity)
Image 31Families bathing nude at a hot spring in Taiwan (from Naturism)
Image 32David (1504) "What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?" — Michelangelo (from Nude (art))