We really have a problem with certain forms of nudity in this country, don’t we?
Our good sensibilities are offended by the sight of the uncovered human body. Why? What’s to be ashamed of?
I mentally revisit this issue on a number of levels. As a parenting blogger, it often comes up in the context of nursing in public. In case you have been living under a rock, some people are offended when a woman breastfeeds her child in a public place. Rather than using their God-given neck muscles to turn their heads and look away from the offending sight, they instead flex their outrage muscle and complain, ask the mother to leave, or otherwise attempt to make the mother feel like she is doing something she shouldn’t. Fortunately, a lot of people have a problem with this approach and are making an effort to “normalize” breastfeeding so that no one has to clutch their pearls when they see a woman feeding her child.
But this post isn’t about that.
This post is about a sign I found at my gym today:
This wasn’t posted by the co-ed pool, by the whirlpool, in the workout area, or by the weights. It is posted in the women’s locker room. The place where women remove their clothing to shower and change clothes. The one place in the building where you would expect to find women in various states of undress.
I’m actually angry about this. No, I’m pissed off.
At first, I was angered by the message that this sign sends. To all of those women that I see at the gym – from the dedicated hardbodies to the women with less than perfect figures but with incredible dedication – what does this sign say? That your body is inadequate? That it offended someone enough that they caused this sign to be hung? That even though you are among other women – women who have all the same parts you do – yours are offensive to someone, so cover that shit up? It has to be one of those things, doesn’t it?
Then, I started to wonder: what did cause this sign to be put up? I admit, I’m a little bit of a locker room nudist. After my shower, I get only partially dressed: underwear, pants, and bra, and then I do my hair and makeup before I put my shirt on. That buys me a few extra minutes of cooldown time after my shower. So am I, and women who do as I do, the inspiration for this sign? Is my bare midriff upsetting someone enough to inspire them to make this sign? I got fully dressed immediately after my shower today upon seeing this sign, just in case.
Finally, it made me question: why do we even have to have this discussion? The locker room is a place designed for women to change clothing – and be naked in the process – so why on earth would anyone post this sign? What is with this expectation that we should harbor a certain amount of shame about our bodies? What’s the adequate amount of shame for this purpose?
Readers: Am I off base here, or does that sign hit a nerve with you? What are your thoughts?