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Nudity in the name of empowerment

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This is a discussion on Nudity in the name of empowerment within the Trends Forum forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; I am just going to point out that she gave up a career in neuroscience where she could contribute to ...

  1. #21

    I am just going to point out that she gave up a career in neuroscience where she could contribute to society using her intelligence and academic expertise in favor of getting spanked on TV:

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  2. #22


    Sally Mann

    Mayim Bialik: “I’m not a prude. Well, I may be socially conservative, and I prefer that intimacy – for the most part – be a private matter.” That shows the devastating influence of the Abrahamic religions. Let’s phase out that nonsense and encourage good-looking people to show as much nudity as they want. Prudes should buy glasses with an ‘automatic dressing’ mode, retreat to their synagogue/church/mosque or just stay at home and shut the curtains.

    The Conceptions of Modesty and Modest Dress in the Scriptures of Abrahamic Religions

    Naturalism



    Last edited by Ermenegildo; 06-27-2017 at 08:48 AM.

  3. #23

    I think as mentioned earlier, the restriction of women's bodies which in itself is ironically incredibly sexualizing, because what makes more sexual a woman's body than the notion that her entire body needs to be covered?
    But it certainly has shifted to being commodified in terms of selling women's looks and appearance and there's even a new feminity that emphasizes that women have to be beautiful. Which isn't denigrating being beautiful, it's denigrating the positioning of women's primary worth as her looks, which is what the video I think attacks. That people getting naked is often just a means to play into this positioning. So I think she's on the right path but she doesn't go far enough into actually teasing out how this is maintained and how to disrupt it, overcome it other than criticizing nudity of people as not being the path.
    But I think this is entirely not necessarily a fruitful path, in that as mentioned, the free the nipple I think has a lot more promise to it than people at first glance give it.
     

    The normalizing of nudity in the public space does diminish the association of one's nudity with sex which is how nudity is most often presented and so diminishing that association is perhaps useful to not losing one's friggin' mind because one saw a woman's boobs or something. But her point does resonate in warning that nudity within itself doesn't necessarily have the expressed/intended effect because there's more to nudity and the meaning given to it to comprehend and play with in order to use it to one's desired ends.
    And I think there can even be the point that whilst commodification doesn't lead to empowerment, it can be a stepping stone to further positions. One doesn't go from conservative cover the human body all the time to not always sexualized in one swoop.
    Have to break that stuff down which is where I think the shift has its usefulness though it's still quite destructive problematic.
    And to the point about nudists, I don't think it's a failing on nudist's part but that when society still holds one message prevalent, it can be difficult for people to enter the new standards set by many nudist places. You enter from a norm of society that gives particular social meaning to nudity, that makes it alien. I've been to a nudist hot spring in Colorado and people were pretty chill. The point in it is it's not the nudity within itself, but the meaning and beliefs that surround it. This requires an understanding of the individual within the broader culture, one I think that is some sublimation of the individual agency within culture so that one doesn't argue social determinism nor limitless agency. And this would require some theory of subjectivity/metapsychology to put in relation to social.
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/ily...deal/ideal.htm
    We shall go no further in examining consciousness and will (and their relationship to “ideality”) because here we begin to enter the special field of psychology. But the problem of “ideality” in its general form is equally significant for psychology, linguistics, and any socio-historical discipline, and naturally goes beyond the bounds of psychology as such and must be regarded independently of purely psychological (or purely politico-economic) details.

    Psychology must necessarily proceed from the fact that between the individual consciousness and objective reality there exists the “mediating link” of the historically formed culture, which acts as the prerequisite and condition of individual mental activity. This comprises the economic and legal forms of human relationships, the forms of everyday life and forms of language, and so on. For the individual’s mental activity (consciousness and will of the individual) this culture appears immediately as a “system of meanings”, which have been “reified” and confront him quite objectively as “non-psychological”, extra-psychological reality. [This question is examined in greater detail in A. N. Leontyev’s article “Activity and Consciousness” included in this volume.]
    It's useful first to understand the trends of our day and how feminism largely doesn't exist for many who lay claim to it because rather it's just a gendered veneer over neoliberal views that do promote certain individualistic non-emapancatory views in marketing and shit.
    https://personalitycafe.com/critical-...ification.html
    https://personalitycafe.com/general-c...nsibility.html
     
    postfeminism' is routinely invoked but rarely explored or specified. Of necessity, this outline has been brief and schematic, highlighting a variety of themes that, taken together, constitute a distinctively postfeminist sensibility. I am conscious of having paid insufficient attention to differences of various kinds, and would be interested in exploring the extent to which a postfeminist sensibility recentres both heterosexuality and whiteness, as well as fetishising a young, able-bodied, 'fit' (understood as both healthy, and in its more contemporary sense as 'attractive') female body. The ways in which postfeminism marks a racialised and heterosexualised modernisation of femininity require much more analysis than was possible here.

    In conclusion, however, I want to highlight two key points about the sensibility sketched in this paper: its intimate relation to feminism and to neoliberalism.

    What makes a postfeminist sensibility quite different from both prefeminist constructions of gender or feminist ones is that it is clearly a response to feminism. In this sense postfeminism articulates a distinctively new sensibility. Some writers have understood this as a backlash (Faludi, 1992; Whelehan, 2000; Williamson, 2003) but I would argue that it is more complex than this precisely because of its tendency to entangle feminist and antifeminist discourses. Feminist ideas are both articulated and repudiated, expressed and disavowed. Its constructions of contemporary gender relations are profoundly contradictory. On the one hand, young women are hailed through a discourse of 'can-do' girl power, yet on the other their bodies are powerfully re-inscribed as sexual objects; on one hand women are presented as active, desiring social subjects, yet on the other they are subject to a level of scrutiny and hostile surveillance that has no historical precedent.

    Yet these contradictions are not random but contain the sediments of other discourses in a way that is patterned and amenable to elaboration -- much as I have tried to do here. It is precisely in the apparent contradictoriness of the postfeminist sensibility that the entanglement of feminist and antifeminist discourses can be seen. The patterned nature of the contradictions is what constitutes the sensibility, a sensibility in which notions of autonomy, choice and self-improvement sit side-by-side with surveillance, discipline and the vilification of those who make the 'wrong' 'choices' (e.g. become too fat, too thin, or have the audacity or bad judgment to grow older).

    These notions are also central to neoliberalism, and suggest a profound relation between neoliberal ideologies and postfeminism. In recent years a number of writers have explored neoliberalism, to highlight the ways in which it has shifted from being a political/economic rationality to a mode of governmentality that operates across a range of social spheres (Rose, 1996; Brown, 2003). Neoliberalism is increasingly understood as constructing individuals as entrepreneurial actors who are rational, calculating and selfregulating. The individual must bear full responsibility for their life biography, no matter how severe the constraints upon their action.

    What has not yet been examined, however, is the relationship of neoliberalism to gender relations. But it appears from this attempt to map the elements of a postfeminist sensibility that there is a powerful resonance between postfeminism and neoliberalism. This operates at at least three levels. First, and most broadly, both appear to be structured by a current of individualism that has almost entirely replaced notions of the social or political, or any idea of the individual as subject to pressures, constraints or influence from outside themselves. Secondly, it is clear that the autonomous, calculating, selfregulating subject of neoliberalism bears a strong resemblance to the active, freely choosing, self reinventing subject of postfeminism. These two parallels suggest, then, that postfeminism is not simply a response to feminism but also a sensibility that is at least partly constituted through the pervasiveness of neoliberal ideas. However, there is a third connection which might imply that the synergy is even more significant: in the popular cultural discourses examined here it is women who are called on to self-manage, self-discipline. To a much greater extent than men women are required to work on and transform the self, to regulate every aspect of their conduct, and to present all their actions as freely chosen. Could it be that neoliberalism is always already gendered, and that women are constructed as its ideal subjects? Further exploration of this intimate relationship is urgently needed to illuminate both postfeminist media culture and contemporary neoliberal social relations.


    The matter is more complciated than don't get naked, because the problem is that it's not in the act of getting naked or not, one doesn't find emancipation by covering up either, because the meaning inscribed upon women remains the same.
    The notion of women having to conver up or promoting that they should be sexy both positioning women in terms of sexual object. I think what is also interesting is the notion of choice in this which has been problematized, because with the more naked sexual type that is produced within the market. Women are presented as choosing to do that which is constructed in the interest of being sexually pleasing for men. By framing it as her choice and empowerment, it complicates the standard criticism of objectification.
    And this gets into a tense matter of autonomy and such, structure versus agency because many women can be said to desire to be sexually desired, that many women can be said to "want" to be used in that they participate in such things. They feel bad about it but similarly feel driven to such ends, such a tension is shown with catcalling where the woman who acknowledges how bad it is but also feels bad for not being cat called because the dominant meaning of catcalling legitimizes it as flattering to have men appraise your body in public and she begins to feel unattractive.
    But there's also the matter that whilst we can do what we want, we can't want what we want, or at least, it seems this is our biggest vulnerability, the way in which our unconscious desires may be impacted.
    Subject, Ego, Person | Philosophical Explorations
     
    Kierkegaard’s concept of the self represents a religious idealization that is characteristic for the 19th century emphasis on the individual. Marx unveiled it as a bourgeois ideology if seen in the context of historical materialism. Kierkegaard’s individual is a lonely figure; the rootedness in society is not part of its definition. Our experience is different: today people are socialized into masses; and human sciences concern themselves with the prediction, the shaping, and the disciplining of behavior. The process of socialization has itself become a focus of political and economic interest, and, as a result, individual characters and biographies are formed according to the needs of society. The values of today are all related to the needs of the collective: team spirit, hard work, and consumer mentality. What we tend to forget is the fact that the transformation of society into a social machinery becomes a necessity for the reproduction of society in its given form. The “culture industry” knows how to reproduce and utilize our deepest fantasies. The flow of information is filtered in such a way that serious alternatives to the existing system never come into sight. The idea of democracy is endangered through a process that manufactures public opinions. This machinery works as long as it is veiled. People need the illusion of individualism, of unique subjectivity, in order to function as isolated individuals who are not aware of the degree to which they are integrated into the capitalistic totality of the market. In this respect, the idea of the uniqueness of the subject has become a marketing tool, exploited by the cynicism of the rulers: the way to the realization of this dream consists in getting rich.

    Lacan makes it clear that psychoanalysis does not function in the service of this machinery. “To make oneself the guarantor of the possibility that a subject will in some way be able to find happiness even in analysis is a form of fraud. There’s absolutely no reason why we should make ourselves the guarantors of the bourgeois dream.” 27 He declares that the totalizing integration of man into a maximally expanded public sphere requires the sacrifice of desire, and that psychoanalysis works against this amputation – it will explore what (and whose) desire the subject really pursues.

    I think that throughout this historical period the desire of man, which has been felt, anesthetized, put to sleep by moralists, domesticated by educators, betrayed by the academics, has quite simply taken refuge or been repressed in that most subtle and blindest of passions, as the story of Oedipus shows, the passion for knowledge… Science, which occupies the place of desire, can only be a science of desire in the form of an enormous question mark, and this is doubtless not without a structural cause. In other words, science is animated by some mysterious desire, but it doesn’t know, any more than anything in the unconscious itself, what that desire means.” 28

    As the “science” of desire and jouissance, psychoanalysis is the correlate to conjectural sciences. It starts with the discovery that human behavior and subjectivity are ruled by an unconscious will, and this discovery permanently damages the traditional theoretical perspective. We have reached a historical point where we realize that the search for meaning does not coincide with the quest for more knowledge. What binds them together is human desire, but its meaning remains unknown to us. The answers which we find in the search for more knowledge, only produce more questions. We find ourselves in the remote corner of a universe that resembles a construction zone of gigantic proportions, and we are, most likely, not even alone in it. But all this knowledge is useless when the question of desire is raised. At the most, it forces us to pursue the question with increased intensity. Religions give us speculative answers, but they, too, require the sacrifice of desire to the Other (God) in the hope of some future jouissance. Psychoanalysis allows a deciphering of the individual’s desire; in this regard it gives back to the individual what is most precious for it and completes what was already anticipated in the concept of the “person” throughout the centuries.


    I suppose at the very least, the simple formulation is that its problematic that women are positioned in terms of their sexual appeal to others and their other talents and things worthwhile about them denigrated or ignored entirely when it's immoral to do so.
    Because it's not a blanket ban on thinking about women sexually, nor of men, but rather that the introduction of one's sexual appeal when it should be irrelevant. This is why it's a problem for many women as they're forced to appeal to others with make up, clothing, their weight and such in order to be treated respectfully, though this doesn't guarantee it.
    And I would rather criticize the system rather than individual women, try and find the means to improve the situation after a criticism as critique only only paralyzes people.
    Living in an unideal world, women have to negotiate these things...
    https://rebeccarc.com/2015/06/25/a-g...n-ideal-world/
    The question of how we ought to behave in an ideal world is a very different one from the question of how we ought to behave before we get there, and it isn’t hypocritical or inconsistent to answer those questions differently. Every individual has a right to do what they need to do to survive and to flourish in this non-ideal world, even if some of those things they need to do setback our journey towards our ideal.
    And I suppose the idea of what would be an improvement upon women's situation would be that they're viewed as human beings who can be sexual beings but are more than that, not reduced to that in most societal scenarios since their sexuality/sexiness is irrelevant a lot of the time. And part of that is transcending the emphasis on women's bodies, but the question is what maintains this emphasis and how can we move beyond it? It's unclear but I suspect that I agree with the sentiment somewhat but think she's too broad, but then it's unclear that she really does broaden it to nudity in general with things such as slutwalks or free the nipple or what ever. Because it feels like she criticizes those that often participate in using their looks for some gain, to which, following the above I'm not sure I necessarily agree with in that I see people trying to negotiate their situation.
    That I differentiate an opposition to such things from what I assume the video takes which is a critique of the idea that it's inherently empowering to get your kit of which is a good message to send out.

    The Free the Nipple stuff won't disrupt things like strip clubs, pornography and such, but it might challenge things in public space where people are still getting shitty that a mother breast feeds her kid in public. Doing for women what has already happened for men's chests, which were previously required modesty more than today.

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  5. #24

    Quote Originally Posted by ninjahitsawall View Post

    Yeah, I definitely didn't agree with the idea that an attempt to normalize nudity would automatically make it not tied to sexuality (though I thought that comment was amusing).

    There are already famous people who do "artful" nudity, and they are generally just taken that way at face value. And there are already the celebrities with nude leaks and such online... and that is generally taken at face value as well (i.e. tied to sexuality). I think there is also a tendency to tie nudity more directly to sexuality when it's lacking an alternative prevailing context. That is an issue I take with common nudist arguments though, that "nudity isn't sexual" and therefore they could just be naked whenever and it doesn't mean anything. I had a friend who tried to get into that culture (usually through nudist friends or romantic partners) and ended up at these nudist parties where everything DID get sexual. Like she would end up between two naked people, getting groped or something. Well of course if you're at a party, that's already more likely to happen, but then everyone also being naked on top of that... even more so.

    I don't remember which one of us said it, but at some point one of us said the whole "nudity isn't sexual" thing seemed like an excuse for them to see each other naked haha (especially for the guys).
    I don't really think that nudity is inherently sexual, though I am sure it has some kind of cultural significance that ties it to sex/sexual behavior in adults. However, that makes little sense to me outside of simply 'not having clothes on' because the body itself is not the same thing as clothing--it's not created by our culture like clothing is--like wedding dresses and lingerie.

    With your friend's experiences with nudists/nude parties--that sounds like a pretty specific subculture and I wouldn't really judge all nudists by her experiences. There are usually assholes that cross boundaries in any subculture--you have issues of priests who abuse people, strangers who look completely conventional etc. It's possible that some could be drawn to nudity because they have ulterior motives, but it's not really fair to dismiss that philosophy because of them. I'm also not sure what subculture you're talking about since there are pretty established, traditional places in which nudity is rather normal--nude beaches come to mind. Some places, it is much more common and traditional. Any practice that is more established probably has more nuanced social rules.

    Too bad, if people really are just using philosophy as an excuse to 'see people naked and grope people, they don't just go look at porn online, since that's probably better suited for them. Physical boundaries don't dissolve with nudity, and people who think they do sound like assholes, and are probably there for the wrong reasons, and at the least, make the experience more annoying for anyone else who is genuinely invested in more than that. I'm mostly thinking of figure drawing right now, and how stupid it would be for people who didn't actually care about studying the human form to go in there in order to see naked people. Sounds like they'd have little understanding or respect for that discipline, which is fine unless you actually care about it, in which case--it would be super annoying for everyone.

    Edit: That last paragraph, I was kind of irritated, as I find sometimes obnoxious people really bug me, and I'm just imagining every scenario in which people are trying to step into unfamiliar territory, there's someone like that. But it's definitely possible, and probably likely. Covering up doesn't stop it though, and being nude doesn't really increase the chances of sexual assault though, by my experience. I get really annoyed by people who assume that nudity is an invitation for sexual advances though, because it's really not--especially at a nude beach or in some place where people are practicing nudity for reasons reasons that have nothing to do with sex.
    Last edited by MeltedSorbet; 06-27-2017 at 08:36 PM.
    ninjahitsawall and Mick Travis thanked this post.

  6. #25

    Quote Originally Posted by Tropes View Post
    I am just going to point out that she gave up a career in neuroscience where she could contribute to society using her intelligence and academic expertise in favor of getting spanked on TV:

    But she isn't naked there. And she started acting again because she needed health insurance (or so she says). Totally legit.

    Quote Originally Posted by WickerDeer View Post
    I don't really think that nudity is inherently sexual, though I am sure it has some kind of cultural significance that ties it to sex/sexual behavior in adults. However, that makes little sense to me outside of simply 'not having clothes on' because the body itself is not the same thing as clothing--it's not created by our culture like clothing is--like wedding dresses and lingerie.

    With your friend's experiences with nudists/nude parties--that sounds like a pretty specific subculture and I wouldn't really judge all nudists by her experiences. There are usually assholes that cross boundaries in any subculture--you have issues of priests who abuse people, strangers who look completely conventional etc. It's possible that some could be drawn to nudity because they have ulterior motives, but it's not really fair to dismiss that philosophy because of them. I'm also not sure what subculture you're talking about since there are pretty established, traditional places in which nudity is rather normal--nude beaches come to mind. Some places, it is much more common and traditional. Any practice that is more established probably has more nuanced social rules.

    Too bad, if people really are just using philosophy as an excuse to 'see people naked and grope people, they don't just go look at porn online, since that's probably better suited for them. Physical boundaries don't dissolve with nudity, and people who think they do sound like assholes, and are probably there for the wrong reasons, and at the least, make the experience more annoying for anyone else who is genuinely invested in more than that. I'm mostly thinking of figure drawing right now, and how stupid it would be for people who didn't actually care about studying the human form to go in there in order to see naked people. Sounds like they'd have little understanding or respect for that discipline, which is fine unless you actually care about it, in which case--it would be super annoying for everyone.

    Edit: That last paragraph, I was kind of irritated, as I find sometimes obnoxious people really bug me, and I'm just imagining every scenario in which people are trying to step into unfamiliar territory, there's someone like that. But it's definitely possible, and probably likely. Covering up doesn't stop it though, and being nude doesn't really increase the chances of sexual assault though, by my experience. I get really annoyed by people who assume that nudity is an invitation for sexual advances though, because it's really not--especially at a nude beach or in some place where people are practicing nudity for reasons reasons that have nothing to do with sex.
    It was just parties at the houses of nudists, and I guess they invited friends/friends-of-friends. With all the usual party stuff (drinking, pot, maybe some other stuff who knows), except with everyone in the nude. I don't recall it ever being at a beach or anything like that.

    But like Wellsy touched on, the attempt to normalize nudity within a culture where it already has a certain significance (and is made relevant where it shouldn't be), that I think it the issue with their approach. It's the same reasoning of "if more female celebrities were nude then this wouldn't be an issue". They will have to do more than just be naked, and re-contextualize everything, which also means that profit motive has to be removed from said context (since the profit motive of nude celebrities in this type of scenario is most likely due to association with sexuality). An alternative, more indirect profit motive is possible, e.g. an artistic one. Just that that doesn't seem to be the prevailing one right now.

    And the other part of that is nudity in itself doesn't inherently mean anything. It's been placed into a context that sexualizes it (which I think is really what Mayim takes issue with in her video; if the two were more removed from one another in these nude pics and such, I don't think she would have implicitly connected them throughout the video). So people will just continue to ascribe sexuality to nudity to the degree it has been associated with that, unless it's successfully re-contextualized so that a new meaning replaces it.

    Re-contextualized nudity by a famous person (very subtle, but nevertheless):


     
    Haven't watched this whole thing, but: New upload where she is debating this issue with someone who disagrees with her perspective (re: a woman posting a lower-half-nude of herself on Instagram, which Mayim's friend believes is "feminist")

    Last edited by ninjahitsawall; 06-27-2017 at 09:14 PM.
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  7. #26

    @ninjahitsawall

    Thanks for the other video about the Amber Rose photo. It helps me understand more of the context of what she's talking about. One thing that struck me about her anger, was that she was also thinking of the way people could frame that photo.

    I think a big difference between instagram (or twitter--or whatever platform that was) and a nude beach (or a nudist community)
    is that people can be much more proactive about creating a safe environment when they are interacting face-to-face than in twitter comments. So the experience of going nude irl in a safe place, is going to be much different than being online, where aggressors don't really have to face consequences or be too culpable for their behavior (especially compared to the person who is nude).

    Slut walks are interesting, in that they are almost like 'creating a safe space' by the numbers there, and by creating a little group social dynamic where nudity is acceptable (the ones where people are nude), and it is interesting to consider whether or not normalizing nude pictures could help to take the idk...taboo off of non-celebrities being nude. It really does seem ridiculous to me that people actually try to shame others with their own nudity (like when that happens online).

    Still--it's never really been the same when a celebrity does something than when someone who doesn't have that kind of social and economic support does. In some ways, celebrities are already shrouded in their own communities. There may be effects towards what is seen as 'normal' or 'acceptable,' but I think the discussions that result might be more influential to advancing people's thinking, otherwise they really do seem to just turn into un-analyzed 'trends.'

    There's often been some inequality in who is held to what standard--a poor woman is held to different (and more stringent) 'slut' standards than a rich woman, generally. I'm not sure if celebrity nudity will help that--it could, but probably depends more on people thinking about the meaning behind the nudity, than just as a fashion statement. So I'm not sure how I feel about it--seems fine, for the most part (celebrity nudity). I agree with you that changing the context is important (?)

  8. #27

    Psychologically re-contextualizing nudity isn't something that is going to happen on a TV screen in the first place, the very nature of the medium is an exhibtionist one.

    It happens here:
     




    And here:
     




    And here:
     




    It happens when nudity happens in a context that is inherently non-sexual in the first place.
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  9. #28

    Quote Originally Posted by Tropes View Post
    Psychologically re-contextualizing nudity isn't something that is going to happen on a TV screen in the first place, the very nature of the medium is an exhibtionist one.

    It happens here:
     




    And here:
     




    And here:
     




    It happens when nudity happens in a context that is inherently non-sexual in the first place.
    ..so in other words, children have to be part of the context?

    This kinda goes back to what I think was the fundamental disagreement in my other trends thread, which is when are nudity and other things typically associated with sexuality/romance (e.g. cuddling, kissing) sexual, when are they non-sexual, is there a clear line there or is that line subjective?

    I think kids are an obvious example of a non-sexual context, but is there anything outside of that? I mean, so far we have kids and "artistic" nudity, "educational" nudity. What else is there?

    ..oh there's also "I live in a really hot part of the world so I can't wear too many clothes".
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  10. #29

    Quote Originally Posted by ninjahitsawall View Post
    ..so in other words, children have to be part of the context?

    This kinda goes back to what I think was the fundamental disagreement in my other trends thread, which is when are nudity and other things typically associated with sexuality/romance (e.g. cuddling, kissing) sexual, when are they non-sexual, is there a clear line there or is that line subjective?

    I think kids are an obvious example of a non-sexual context, but is there anything outside of that? I mean, so far we have kids and "artistic" nudity, "educational" nudity. What else is there?

    ..oh there's also "I live in a really hot part of the world so I can't wear too many clothes".
    Medical exams?

    Naturism kind of tries to force it, I used to enjoy it, but I wasn't always fond of the ideologically fueled social company.
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  11. #30

    Quote Originally Posted by Tropes View Post
    Medical exams?

    Naturism kind of tries to force it, I used to enjoy it, but I wasn't always fond of the ideologically fueled social company.
    Yeah, that too. I think clinical and educational have a lot of overlap. Those are the least contentious contexts because people are very removed from the nudity itself in those cases.

    I think the ideological problem with forcing it is that they are trying to broaden the scope, but there are probably limits to how many different contexts nudity can be "de-sexed" in.
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