Note: This post contains artistic depictions of nudity.
Nudity: The state or fact of being naked.
“Am I obsessed with nudity?”
That’s a question I asked myself recently. Why? I’m worried that, in my writing on this blog, my focus on nudity could turn into an obsession.
After I wrote a blog post analyzing this video:
After I wrote a blog post analyzing this shot from Sword Art Online:
And as I write blog posts analyzing art like this:
I can see why I would eventually wonder “Am I obsessed with nudity?”
To paraphrase Lucy from The Charlie Brown Christmas Special: The fact that I realize there’s a problem means I’m not too far gone.
At the same time, however, I wouldn’t call my current focus on analyzing depictions of, and attitudes towards, the human body in general and nudity in particular a “problem.” Why?
Whenever I look at art like the art of Cortana I posted above, I do everything I can to keep my intent for looking at this art, and the thoughts I think while looking at it, pure. The reason why is because of my Catholic faith. Lusting is a sin.
The reason I watch videos about modesty, or analyze nude art and depictions of the female body in popular culture, is because I feel like, in high school, I was taught to fear the female body. Watching and analyzing is me trying to give myself the education I wish I had gotten earlier.
When I first saw that art of Cortana, I began shaking uncontrollably. The shaking, I think, was a hardwired response to a mindset of “Nudity = Sex, Sex = Sin, Sin = Hell” that I acquired through classes I took about how Catholics were to view the human body, the issue of modesty, and sexuality.
That mindset, I now realize, is only 1/3 true, though: Nudity can lead to sex. Sex can be sinful. Sin will lead to Hell.
I stopped shaking after I did some thinking: After I remembered that God created everything, including the female body, and said it was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) And so, as long as my intentions for looking were pure, there was no reason to worry.
The naked body isn’t inherently sinful. The naked body becomes sinful when the intent of showing it — in art or in real life — is to encourage a person to lust: To encourage a person to value pleasure over the intimacy that God wants that pleasure to lead to. For example: That’s the difference between porn and nude art.
The purpose of porn is to get a person aroused. Porn objectifies a person by reducing them to their arousing body parts.
The purpose of nude art is to get a person to think about the beauty and complexity of the human body by laying it bare. Botticelli didn’t create The Birth of Venus in order to give men an erection.
I also write about nudity because there are people who go naked — nudists — and I feel like, as a Catholic, it’s my duty to reach out: To let such people — people who, it seems, others don’t know exist, or don’t want to acknowledge exist — know: “God sees you and He loves you.”
By praying and practicing self-discipline, I keep my intentions for writing about nudity, and looking at nude art, pure.
It’s a constant battle.
It’s an important battle.
Because everyone has a body. And the Devil’s first attack on humanity was to make us ashamed of that fact. (Genesis 3:7)
Click here to go to where that piece of Cortana art comes from.