Smysl vizualizace lidského těla: různorodé významy nahoty
The sense of the visualisation of the human body: The varied meanings of nudity
The paper focuses on the phenomenon of nudity as a symbol, and on its different meanings with the possibilities of various interpretations. Its aim is to provide a critical analysis of the growing sexualisation and pornification of contemporary culture. In the first part of the text the historical concepts of nudity in the mode of the natural and the sacred are summarised. Although nudity was invested with various meanings (for example slavery and abasement in Mesopotamia, poverty among the Jews, social superiority among the Greeks), it was always informed by the sacred. Cult rituals securing fertility, but also ceremonies that today we treat as sporting events (for example the Olympic games), were above all a religious rather than a secular occasion. In different religions we can discern different levels of openness or distance concerning the naked body, while at the same time nudity (and sexuality) could become an expression of religious experience. In contemporary times (especially in our geographical area) the element of sacredness is receding from the perception of nudity. Nevertheless we may still meet with nudity in the mode of the natural (especially in the nudist and naturalist movements), and with cultivated eroticisation (with takes its exemplary form in art). A more serious development is, however, the growing process of the sexualisation and pornification of contemporary culture, exploiting nudity and sexuality in order to attract attention, or financial gain. We point to several cultural manifestations (politics, advertising, art and sport), using examples from concrete social signications of nudity in its non-naturalness, that is with the aim of attracting the attention of the public. These are, for example, political protests; special television current affairs programmes („naked news“); the growing sexualisation of advertising (presenting a sexual context without displaying the sexual organs); the merging of pornography and art which does not stop even at the natural boundaries of the human body, i.e. the skin, but enters into bodies; nakedness in sport showing itself not only in sportspeople posing for erotic magazines, but also in the ways that sporting events are recorded, picking up on the inadvertent revealing of parts of the bodies of participators, or on the revelations of the spectators. Philosophy should not give up the ambition of thoroughly enquiring into these cultural forms, despite the fact that philosophical anthropology has so far interested itself in sexuality rather than in nudity explicitly. If one of the characteristics of philosophical thought is being critical, then a critique of the sexualisation and pornification of contemporary culture should be conducted with emphasis on the richness of the human way of being and on human relations that maintain the dimension of love as the essential respect to the other, not on the technical exploitation of reified bodies with the aim of purely mechanistic stimulation or financial reward.
- Filosofický časopis, redakce, Filosofický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Jilská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic