Y'ever get a good look at the average American? We are not an attractive people.
"If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on manners
"It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether I win or lose." - Peter David, on life
Taylor, who has fully adapted to Dutch ways, has taken her American sisters to the sauna when they visit and watched their transition from shock to comfort. "They're both overweight, so at first they were horrified. But one of my sisters quickly got used to being naked and it felt natural. When you see that other people are flabby and kind of falling apart, it's OK," she says, laughing. "Listen, you got to check out each other's parts, but seeing the Cesearean scars, fat rolls, cellulite, eczema and aging bodies of the over 50s crowd puts it all in perspective -- you realize how absolutely unique a gorgeous naked body is. Americans might associate nudity with eroticism but here, it's only associated with nakedness," she says.
well i think it stems from a puritanical standpoint America was founded on.
A civilized society is a modestly covered one. Viewing other cultures as savage and less than human in some casesm becuase of how they chose to dress, or what the other cultures felt comfortable exposing. Also in the media there is a standard of beauty that shames people if they are even slighty overweight. How they were damning Tyra Banks because she put on a few pounds. The tendency to show slim women in a two piece bikini and a woman pushing plus size in a one piece, often with other flab masking accesories.
So there's the antiquated false modesty, and the constant barrage on the ego.
The bashing of the ego might even reinforce the false modesty, where we resent those sslender enough to be comfortable with their bodies, condemning them for our faults.
We Americans are nutjobs.
It seems to me that Americans closely associate nudity and sexuality, which is not necessarily the case in other cultures. Sometimes even partial public nudity seems to trigger the same reactions as a full sexual act would - the Janet Jackson "nipplegate" is a good example of that kind of association.
Although it's obviously much more complex than that, that reaction can be summed up in two equations: nudity=sex and sex=bad. It does sound like something that America could have inherited from the Puritans.
So how can we put this in the context of the comics industry, as pointed out by Greg?
Personally, I suspect it's more than just merely "Puritannical." There are so many layers or reasons as to why censorship of nudity happens in American comics.
One of Greg's commentors is correct: Puritan is a too lazy as a label to explain away why such general atitudes exist in American comics.
Alternet's article, as well as Your Imaginary Pal's response, does point out about body image issues, which might explain one of the reasons why this nation fears being nude.
When we're naked, all our visible scars are there. The wounds, the zits, the scratches, the blemishes, the wrinkles; all of these are apparent on our bodies. Perhaps we fear our imperfections, and we wish too hide them.
Such flaws, could've made an interesting sub-topic for comics, like seeing Batman's scars on his body, showing us at once the hero is vulnerable & human yet have strong willpower to carry through.
On the other hand, Greek gods are always shown in the nude, as if they are proud of their heavenly forms. If only heroes have that kind of attitude like the Greeks.
But that's just me talking.
It's not specifically American. It's British too.
On continental Europe though people do seem a lot less inhibited. I think Europeans have got this right, but at the same time I don't like being seen naked by anyone outside my family.
Privacy is something we all wish for ourselves, it's not a rule of conduct we wish all people would adhere to. Privacy is not a matter of morality, it's a matter of freedom. I don't want to lose MY privacy, I'm willing to respect YOUR privacy. But if YOU're not interested in YOUR privacy, it's not my business. I don't care if people want to spend all their time naked.
As soon as you start wishing that everybody would adhere to your own standards of modesty, it's no longer about freedom, it's about morality. For morality to exist, standards of right and wrong must be defined. Therefore, that strong reaction I'm talking about can only be the result of nudity=sex, sex=bad.
so the few people who were hysterical do think sex is bad. But most of us didn't care. When you don't care, you don't say anything, so your opinion doesn't get heard. Hence the false impression that most people were upset.
I don't think it's that bad that Janet flashed her breast, but I find it innapropriate that it was done during the super bowl. What's the point of doing stuff like that using a platform that's all ages? It's to create cheap shock and generate easy publicity. It's just crass. I doubt anyone objects to nudity in entertainment that's clearly labeled as 18+. And what's wrong with waiting til you're 18? Do people just die once they're past that golden number?
This week at Comic Critics!: Sexual Harrisment
Just wanted to add that anyone SERIOUSLY interested in investigating the social nudism movement in America could start by going to either website:
www.AARN.com or www.naturist.com Both are serious NON PORN organizations that promote family social nudism either at private resorts or at public/private beaches throughout america. I have been to many in my day, and I can agree with virtually everything mentioned above...
American's are initially uncomfortable, but after some relaxation, they settle down and can ignor the cultural connection we have in this country between nudity=sex.
SOME of us can break that connection, and others have broken the Sex=Bad, preferring to keep Sex=Private value.
Our European brothers and sisters have always been more relaxed in these areas, but they also are crammed into a smaller space, living quarters, and congested communities and housing. And the french/italian/Spanish beach scene has always supported top free sunbathing or swimming as acceptable.
Here in America, it is typically greeted with a vist by the police to explain our culture and values.
As this relates to comics, I am uncomfortable with the injection of nudity (specifically female breasts) into a story where it is not necessary. Ex: Black Widow, and most recently, the latest version of Ultron as a nude female Jan.
But, I am willing to let the writer/artist have his way until the story plays out before I pass judgement.
As mentioned before, the New Avengers Savage Land nudity was unusual and not necessarily bad... just totally unexpected. I would have expected more of a reaction.