The K-K Modification: On Nudity

Children and conservatives, please do not read.

This is an actual text conversation and hence ideas are presented in their raw form and would require further analysis to be refined.

Me: Nude art seems to somehow "cleanse" the nudity, makes it beautiful even. Real nudity in contrast can often be "Ewww".
Aati: Real nudity: Depends on who's nude. ;)
Me: True. Hollywood flashy skins have distorted our perception of nudity.
Aati: Hollywood and plenty of other things that seek to define nude body as a single type -- and in certain cases, including art, are tempted to hide 'imperfections'.
Me: My point actually was that we are exposed to so much nudity that is glossy and beautiful, we tend to imagine that all nudity would be like that.
Aati: To me, each unique 'ordinary' body is a testimony to itself, a sketch of the life it's lived. Which is fascinating.
Aati: That's something often lacking in nude art, at least the nude art I've seen. Even in mine ... because of our subconscious perception of the nude body? Or lack of skill?
Me: What's lacking in nude art?
Aati: The body's story. No scars, no moles, no stretch marks, nothing that could make the body more than just a body. Nude art in fact distances nudity by cloaking in art -- perhaps that's one reason why you might find it less 'infringing'.
Me: Perhaps the reason of its lack is that we don't get to see much real nudity around us. We only get exposed to a nudity of a flashy nature, a marketable version, slutty beauty with perfect curves. Too much exposure permeates into our subconscious and we forget that a body tells a story.
Aati: Yeah. And also we begin to imagine that at least some nudity will be like that. Whereas nudity isn't all about the body as just a body. Do you ever look at your body as if it's a map? I do -- every part has a history, a reason, or some sort of memory connected with it.
Me: A boy looks at a girl he is infatuated with and imagines her naked. Most likely he'll imagine some figure on the lines of Kate Winslet or Kareena. The K-K Modification. :)
Aati: The K-K modification occurs, I think, due to over-exposure to the K-K stimulus and underexposure to real (actually real) nudity. And in all the anti-aging and anti-stretch marks etc efforts taken by women, you can see a desperate attempt to literally bury themselves; when the body becomes too much of 'us', we take it as a flaw. Ironically, even what we hide can reveal us.
Me: Perhaps perception of nudity as a taboo and sin contributes to that. Nudity becomes a 'tool' of the 'whore'. It becomes something meant as 'enticing'. It becomes pornography.
Aati: To reveal is such a 'shameful dirty' concept, we all becomes exhibitionists. Exhibitionists tend to be very puritanical about nudity. So the more we suppress it, the more it weighs down on us, till we find outlets such as pornography. A pathological view of nudity.
Me: Imagine a community in which 99% women are strictly veiled. 1% are what those 99% percent would call as "whores". That 1% would define the perception of female nudity in minds of men. And they would ascribe the same perception to rest of 99% whose bodies they cannot see. Those 99% now possess a 'marketable potential'. "Marry me and you can have my nudity," says the veiled one. And the man knows of no other nudity but the slutty one. So he marries her in mis-perception. In a way, that society creates that 1% to serve the interest of the 99%.
Aati: Even the Veil, as I said, sometimes reveals as we try to hide. The veil creates a mystery, it screams 'my body is a sex object'. Rather like ultra-skimpy clothing.
Me: Yes, exactly. Nudity is a victim of both bikini and veil. It is a victim by virtue of becoming a sex object.

Comments

Mayhem said…
hmmmm......That was quite illuminating though I'd like to add one thing. Is nudity defined in general of that of a woman, as you put it 'with curves' or is nudity of both man and female irrespective of the gender? Wouldn't that be more beautiful, more defined?
Awais said…
Strictly speaking, nudity is irrespective of gender. But both in media and in art, nudity seems to be more concerned with female, that's why my mind was inclined to think in those terms. Also in society, female nudity is subject to more "regulation" than male nudity.
Mayhem said…
I guess that can't be helped since you are a guy. :D :P

If I think in those terms, the concept is 'eww' to me. But if I think in terms of both female and male, then I can grasp the whole concept of beauty.
Butters said…
What a sinful post! Just kidding :P
Salman Latif said…
I agree that veiling or glamorous revealing of skin, both leave us in faulty, fanciful contemplations of it, removed by far from reality.

However, saying that 1% in a 99% veiled community defines those 99% to men would be faulty since practically, the 1% would be very contained in their influence.

And well....as you put it towards the end, it's indeed true that both veil and bikini place a woman's body in the 'i am a sex object' position.

However, considering basic human instinct, it's very hard, if not quite impossible, to remove nudity from necessary sexual affiliations. That's natural and the perceptional development, albeit faulty, at the overt hiding or revealing of skin are no different.
And so, I personally believe that to study human skin, nudity in other words, as merely a piece of art and remove it from all other notions is pretty idealistic.
Mayhem said…
I have some objection, Salman. 'Bikini place a woman's body in the 'I am a sex object position'.

I know our religion clashes with my idea too, so lets leave it all altogether. But nudity; real beauty certainly does not limit you to pieces of clothing nor do they stamp a complete verdict on such 'pieces of clothing' as well.
Awais said…
@ Salman

saying that 1% in a 99% veiled community defines those 99% to men would be faulty

What i mean to say is that the idea of what nudity looks like would be determined by the nudity that a person gets to see and the person would be likely to ascribe similar features to the nudity that he cannot see.
Of course, this has to be within limits. If there is a slim naked model and a fat veiled lady, then obviously no man can ascribe the model's nudity to the fat lady. But i think that his conception of nudity would definitely be altered, and he would apply that conception of nudity to the fat lady by "adjusting" it for the figure. I mean, nudity isn't just determined by figure. There is also state of body hair, its moisture, its sheen, its complexion, moles, scar marks etc etc A lot of things contribute to the idea of a "nude".

Like there are beautiful people in the world and ugly people in the world, there is also some sort of a "beautiful nudity" and "ugly nudity". If a person is exposed only to a selective beautiful nudity, is his conception of nudity not likely to be altered, and is he not likely to take less into account the ugly nudity?
Awais said…
However, considering basic human instinct, it's very hard, if not quite impossible, to remove nudity from necessary sexual affiliations.

I do believe that there is a certain minimum of nudity that cannot be divorced from sexual affiliations. But i also think that that certain minimum is over-estimated by us. The occasions which arouse a person are determined to a great extent by social convention. As Russell writes "To an early Victorian man a woman's ankles were sufficient stimulus, whereas a modern man remains unmoved by anything up to the thigh. This is merely a question of fashion in clothing. If nakedness were the fashion, it would cease to excite us and women would be forced, as they are in certain savage tribes, to adopt clothing as a means of making them sexually attractive."

I personally believe that to study human skin, nudity in other words, as merely a piece of art and remove it from all other notions is pretty idealistic.

To fully see a piece of nude art in a 100% non-sexual way is perhaps not possible, especially not for us since we are already conditioned to react to nudity in a certain way, but it is possible to recognize what part of one's reaction is sexual and to rise above it; that i believe is very much possible.
Salman Latif said…
@Mayhem
I don't really care about what religion has to do with what we are discussing, so you are at liberty to cite anything you wish. :)

As to the bikini thing, well...what I mean is that the veil, by veiling women, simply becomes a tool that makes them sexually appealing. Likewise, bikini, rather than plainly revealing it, becomes a source of a similar consequence since that's precisely what it's aimed at. And that is, for that matter, what the entire fashion industry and modern advertisement industry believes in - glorifying the female skin, not for the sake of art or anything but rather to reveal what's a taboo, hence cashing upon the repressed, rebellious sentiment and making money off it.
Salman Latif said…
//Like there are beautiful people in the world and ugly people in the world, there is also some sort of a "beautiful nudity" and "ugly nudity". If a person is exposed only to a selective beautiful nudity, is his conception of nudity not likely to be altered, and is he not likely to take less into account the ugly nudity?//

That, again, may have selected, limited influence, or so, until of late (before the strong impact of modern media) since real-life interactions between men and women exist ever since society existed and that quite shatters the facet of this false conception of 'beautiful nudity.' That may define for them the 'ideal', beautiful nudity but to say that it makes them expectant of similar beautiful nudity from every women would be rather not right.
Salman Latif said…
//To fully see a piece of nude art in a 100% non-sexual way is perhaps not possible, especially not for us since we are already conditioned to react to nudity in a certain way, but it is possible to recognize what part of one's reaction is sexual and to rise above it; that i believe is very much possible.//

In our immediate society, call that the entire 'civilized' world, that may not be possible for a staggering majority. For a little minority, with well-defined and refined notions, that may well be possible. :)
Awais said…
That may define for them the 'ideal', beautiful nudity but to say that it makes them expectant of similar beautiful nudity from every women would be rather not right.

That's a very good point. Hmmm. The defining of the ideal of beautiful nudity would definitely be the major influence.

Would it also effect the expectations? I think it is possible, though it now seems that this aspect might be very minor and not applicable to everyone.
Awais said…
Lolz. Yes, true. The staggering majority would be incapable of appreciating such a thing :) but i have never been a proponent of "Nude Art for the Masses!" ;)

I do not mean to say that the ideal of nude art should be "non-sexualized nudity". I can imagine an art critic lashing back at me that what is wrong with a nude painting that intends to affect its viewers in a sexual way. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Art is beyond morality. "Art is never chaste" says Picasso. But what i mean to say is that there is more to nudity than sex, and nude art should and does explore that too.
Salman Latif said…
//Would it also effect the expectations? I think it is possible, though it now seems that this aspect might be very minor and not applicable to everyone//

It certainly would but only of those selected few who are prone to be influenced by that media that is shaping their perceptionsi.e. giving them that perfect model. And the effect would be more like...looking for that best model in every women, rather than expecting it in each of them.
Salman Latif said…
And well...what I think compromises the intellectual dimension of nude art is this very sexual affiliation - since to most it becomes a tool to effect them sexually, it's hardly more than many other 'things' containing bare-skin postures. The question, then, is that what's its use when it offers little more than those 'other' things.

//But what i mean to say is that there is more to nudity than sex, and nude art should and does explore that too//
I agree with most except that it 'does' explore that too. It should, though, true. :)
Awais said…
But it does explore :) You haven't seen enough of nude art, it seems ;)

Here is a famous example. Picasso's Demoiselles d’Avignon. A painting of naked prostitues, and yet no sane man can derive any sexual pleasure out of it. In fact, a critic remarked that “The work destroys the whole western idea of beauty”.

http://img2.allposters.com/images/142/048_P591.jpg

There are countless other such examples where nude art aims something other than sexual-aesthetic pleasure.
Salman Latif said…
@Awais
I admit I haven't taken much to nude art. So I may be wrong on that one :)
Umair Khan said…
A good discussion Awais.

Well I think, no matter its nudity, or clothes industry, or anything in the world, we try to somehow 'transform'it into an art form so that it might look beautiful. And you are absolutely right that our perception of beauty is a socially constructed phenomenon being constantly shaped by the media for its own advantage.
Umair Khan said…
A good discussion Awais.

Well I think, no matter its nudity, or clothes industry, or anything in the world, we try to somehow 'transform'it into an art form so that it might look beautiful. And you are absolutely right that our perception of beauty is a socially constructed phenomenon being constantly shaped by the media for its own advantage.
Anonymous said…
so what is the conclusion?