Tan lines are a nuisance. But going topless or partaking in public nudity can get you into some serious trouble.
We’re born naked. We get naked to wash. Some people sleep naked. Naked is not a big deal.
Except, it really is. Public nudity is offensive to many people. In the UK it’s not actually unlawful to get your bits out; but you can be arrested for “breaching the peace” if you are using getting nekkid to harass or scare someone.
So; walking naked in the hills or remote countryside is fine. Public nudity in a shopping centre or outside a school will get you arrested.
The word “naturist” describes someone who engages in public nudity. This is not to be confused with a “naturalist” which is someone who studies nature. As far as we know, you can be both. Even at the same time.
Public nudity dates back centuries. Lots of cultures found clothes a bit of a drag. Spartans would exercise and compete in sporting events in the nude. In Japan going topless was accepted until the 19th century.
Today many countries have nude beaches. France is famed for its relaxed attitude towards public nudity; people regularly sunbathe topless. Germans are notorious for letting it all hang out in the sauna. This tradition dates back to Roman times however, so we can’t really lay that at Germany’s door.
Britain can seem a little more prudish. Despite having four million naturists in the country the Victorian attitude to nudity still prevails. However events like the Manchester Naked Cycle Ride celebrate nudity when hundreds of people cycle around the city naked. We’re not sure how this started but one thing is for sure; the saddle sore must kill.
Public nudity has also been used as a method of getting news coverage. Activists and protesters often use their naked bodies to gain attention for their cause.
Eleanor Hawkins, a British traveller; has been arrested in Malaysia after stripping off at the top of a mountain.
Hawkins had climbed Mount Kinabalu with other travellers and decided to strip off for a celebratory photo. She and her fellow climbers have now been arrested on charges of public indecency.
To make matters worse; 18 mountaineers died on Mount Kinabalu six days after the photo, when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit. One Malaysia official has blamed Hawkins and the other travellers for offending mountain spirits. Mount Kinabalu is a world heritage site; and is considered a sacred site by those in the country.
Whether you agree with the idea that Hawkins’ nudity somehow caused the earthquake or not, she and the other travellers are in big trouble. We don’t know what she knew about the mountain’s sacred status or what the outcome of her trial will be. But this isn’t the only story about Brits getting naked abroad.
The party island of Magaluf has announced tough new laws where naked revellers can be charged up to £500. The crackdown on public nudity came after videos were released last year of Brits getting up to no good.
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