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Reading: Banning Public Nudity: Images of Bodies as Sites of Contested Moral Values

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Banning Public Nudity: Images of Bodies as Sites of Contested Moral Values

Author:

Asko Lehmuskallio

University of Tampere, FI
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Abstract

The article takes as its starting point the debate around San Francisco's ban on public nudity, which came into effect on 1 February 2013. In a city known for its tolerance, the measure banning public nudity explicitly raises the issue of what kinds of images citizens ought to construct in public space, including those shown on their bodies. The example is helpful in explaining how the body can be understood as a site for displaying, and apprehending, images that are considered to carry particular moral values. The nude body, in contrast to the clothed, provides an image of the human body that defenders of the measure consider as a challenge to moral standards of social interaction. Some of
those protesting against the ban underscore the naturalness of the naked body but just as much its role for making a political statement against wider societal values. Interestingly, photos taken of those appearing nude in public are used in widely available news media, blogs, and social network sites to draw attention to the debate. These photos make images of nude bodies in public available and are difficult for authorities to control. The discussion surrounding the measure banning public nudity, along with its pictorial representation, brings out the role of images in societal body politics.
How to Cite: Lehmuskallio, A., (2013). Banning Public Nudity: Images of Bodies as Sites of Contested Moral Values. JOMEC Journal. (4), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2013.10255
Published on 03 Nov 2013.
Peer Reviewed

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