Does this image make you uncomfortable? By Anonymous Student

Do these images make you uncomfortable?


Because it’s unfamiliar.

Why is it unfamiliar?

“Wouldn’t touch one of those seats afterwards…” 1 like

“Bring back morals.” 9 likes

“Sorry not appropriate especially for children” 13 likes

What about the same seat you sit on every day to excrete waste?

The same morals as a child born without clothes?

The same appropriateness as a mother breast-feeding her young?

Last Sunday, Melbourne Naturists dared the ‘World Naked Bike Ride’ across the city for body positivity, environmentalism and to draw attention to the scars of cyclists vulnerability on the cities roads. After a sickening load of weather hit the suburbs in the past fortnight, sunshine blessed the skins of the riders on their 10km route through Fitzroy, Carlton and the CBD. The annual event aimed to be a safe place to promote body positivity and non-sexual nudity, and to challenge sexual judgment and objectification of women.

From 24 hours since The Age reported on the event (Written by Carolyn Webb), which I sadly missed. I could not stop thinking of the freedom from a year enclosed in masks and rubber gloves.

At what point does nudity become uncomfortable in a non-sexual environment?

At what point did we stop seeing this as the beautiful, human condition?

Does nudity appeal more to the elderly than the youth… why?

Does age make us lose self consciousness, or do we long for experiences we had missed?

Why does a child born in nudity, a child breastfed to health suddenly get raised to wrap up under the condition of clothing?

At what point does an adult realise that they lost the wings to be free?

I sat in the shower contemplating my body gracing against the wind in a familiar CBD. The chaos of the street against the calm of human nature. The strength of numbers against the system of a coat-hanger economy. The strength of humanity against manufactured design of price tag after price tag.

It’s a simple bike ride, Just a bike ride. So why does it play it on my mind?

Why did I repulse the skin that we are all born within?

Why did I recoil at the nakedness of age?

But why do I buy into the opinions of those who were also born naked.

Like me.

Like us all.

The shock of nudity has been engrained into the human consciousness from a world to shy to understand itself.

We laugh and giggle at sexual education. It is a little funny.

We shame sex, but we are born from sex. I am a child of sexual reproduction, but I am taught abstinence.

I am taught to hide sexuality and my fingerprint body although near 8 billion people share my biology.
I am taught to be insecure about my fingerprint body even if I am one of hundreds with a similar feature.
I am taught that microscopic physiology contradicts normality.
We are beginning to embrace vulvas in fine art, but recoil at vulvas in the mirror.
We are open to brag, but cry to admit.

We are the same.

It all changed around the age of 10 when it was suddenly more appropriate to change in the men’s bathroom instead of the bathroom with my mother. The drifting tides of seeing bodies unlike mine became a subject for a texta on paper in my bedroom. I studied what I did not know. I drew anatomy that was human but was unfamiliar to me, a human. I was not taught to be loving of anatomical uniqueness.

The uniqueness of nipples embodied in speedo-wearing males to outlawed femmes with the ability to feed the young. I couldn’t cover up with 50 cent pieces.

The fingerprint body was overshadowed by lying biology class diagrams that did not represent 90% of the populace.

The sex-ed class did not include the labia in the diagrams. The most recognisable part of femme anatomy. My age group didn’t have a word for it. We chose lips. We were wrong.

Image Description: Participants in the 2021 Bike Ride
Image Courtesy: Paul Rovere

If I had the chance to participate this year would I have? Perhaps. It draws from a deeper level of insecurities than the mirror, even if the place promotes non-sexual body positivity. Like a festival or any Melbourne event I would embarrassingly ask my friends to join in. They would politely decline.

Why would they politely decline? Are they not human?

Perhaps they have fish gills that would make them a target for a couple of weird looks.

Maybe they aren’t human… after all?

Response to comments towards The Age’s Article written by Anonymous Student

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