Plain: never felt sure

Oddly enough, man has never felt sure of himself in the nude. This in itself has made an end of the struggling cult of nudism. Men and women will never trust themselves to the opinions of their fellows, based on their unadorned bodies. People do not dress for modesty. Modesty, like many other excuses in our moral codes, serves a better reason.

Human beings wear clothes to shield their nakedness, to keep them warm, and to adorn themselves. But a woman can hide her nakedness in fifty cents’ worth of cotton cloth. She can keep herself warm in six dollars’ worth of wool. Nevertheless she spends fifty dollars for her coat and five thousand if she can afford it. This will serve as a measure of the relative importance of these three influences in feminine attire. People dress to conceal the defects of the body, to neutralize the onset of age, to hide the effects of gluttony and sloth.

Source: Men of wealth: the story of twelve significant fortunes from the renaissance to the present day by John Thomas Flynn (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1941)

Bravery By Rsms | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Bravery By Rsms | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Image: Bravery | Flickr – Photo Sharing! (under Creative Commons license)

3 comments
  1. Rick said:

    “Oddly enough, man has never felt sure of himself in the nude”

    That’s an interesting observation and I’m sure there’s more than a bit of truth to it, even for nudists. Within the context of a nudist venue or with other like-minded people in a particular setting we can be relatively sure of ourselves but outside of that, maybe not so much.

    While a simple and inexpensive garment will provide for utilitarian needs, people obviously have a greater purpose for clothing whether to display their assumed status, present a facade, cover up our inadequacies or any number of other purposes.

    Personally, I take a more utilitarian approach to clothing and hate spending a lot of money on them. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m less influenced by the opinions of others and following my own path. Maybe I’m not completely sure of myself in the nude but I’m working toward that end.

    • I came across an article on ‘Nudity’ in Sex and Society (Vol. 2, Marshall Cavendish, 2009)

      Anthropologists believe that early people lived without clothing. It is thought that it was only as humans migrated to different climates, with extremes of temperature or rainfall, that clothing became necessary. Anthropologists also believe that clothing began to assume other roles at this time, with certain garments acquiring spiritual, social, or sexual significance. Attitudes regarding nudity vary greatly between different time periods and cultures. In many cultures, including the United States, simply appearing nude may be
      perceived as a sexual act. In other cultures, nudity is widely accepted simply as a natural state of being…

      Rather trivial but none the less.

      • First of all, I’d like to emphasize that since ancient times clothing was a big indicator of where you stood on the social hierarchy (see Social Status and Clothing in Medieval Times). So that human clothes have over the years evolved into a symbol in itself conveying a social message (The Social Effect of Clothing). An individual knows that to be deprived of clothes is to be humiliated and to be made powerless (In particular, this subject was touched upon in christian apologetics, e.g. Crisis and continuity: time in the Gospel of Mark by Brenda Deen Schildgen), and feels uncomfortable in the nude. Maybe I’ll write on the subject in detail.
        Truth (La Vérité), 1870, by Jules Lefebvre

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