Why I Support Full Public Nudity Rights
WELLNESS 10/06/2039 7:30 AM ET
Why I Support Full Public Nudity Rights

Philippa Enwright
Americans For Nude Rights

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license Hyde Park by Leonard Bentley | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Hippy by Eugene Wineblat | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Is covering ourselves in layers of restrictive clothing really natural and healthy?
Last week, the city of New York designated its parks "Endorsed Nudity Zones".

The announcement came after decades of work to decriminalize the human body as a source of (particularly female) shame.

I belong to Americans For Nude Rights, a non-profit based in New York, whose goal it is to see Americans who wish to be clothing-optional able to to express themselves in public.

Without shame.

Without fear.

Without harassment.

Though we reject the label "nudist", we embrace much of the same ideology: the notion that clothing restricts us from being the most free we can be. And that, in removing our clothing, we liberate ourselves from society's expectations.

Not everyone in the clothing-optional community celebrates the ideology. Some simply prefer life without clothes, without thinking about it too much. That's ok. Some are academics with fiercely thought-out beliefs about the nature of clothing and its evil effects.

Those of us in AFNR embrace everyone in a big-tent sort of way, who wish to be clothing-free. Almost all our members desire a society where we can be ourselves more freely.

The stigma associated with being nude in public weighs heavily upon many of our members' minds. It is not that they are ashamed of their bodies. It is the outraged, angry, judgemental responses of some which re-shackle us.

We need to progress this debate, until our voices are fully heard, and minds are changed. Until we can legally be nude in public without recriminations, until the public can look at a nude human body without feeling it is somehow "dirty" and until people can undress without fear, we will keep fighting.

We engage many people in conversation on the street in as close to a nude state as we can be without being arrested. We have canvassed people in Manhattan, Memphis, Dallas, Santa Monica and Seattle, and we get the same response 90% of the time - people support nude rights.

Those who don't tend to be religious. That's okay, but if you have your right to your religious freedom why can't we have our right to our freedom? The Constitution does not apply only to you, and I believe the First Amendment points to our right to express ourselves as fully nude people.

We simply want to walk around as people, not aliens or some kind of animal, as people who choose not to wear clothing. We feel no shame.
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