“we live in a world where we have to hide to make love,
while violence is practiced in broad daylight”
I saw the above quote this morning, and like so much of John Lennon’s perceptions, it was awesome in its simple clarity. A clear perception makes questions possible.
Coincidentally we were in town yesterday sitting outside a cafe, and a really delightful thing happened. An enormous and joyous naked bike ride went down the end of the road. Just lots and lots of naked people on wheels, all shapes and sizes, ages, sexes, naked and beautiful and bringing laughter and surprise. Also a few disgusted expressions from passers by, just a few, but mainly people seemed just amused or supportive.
My reaction, after simple delight, was that we so need more nakedness. It was so healthy to see naked people, not naked models, or the standard (usually slim, young and female) consumer depictions of the unclothed, but real naked people, with bellies and dangly breast, smooth and hairy, genitals showing without it being a big deal. Happy, real nakedness. It was wonderful.
Yet as per Lennon’s observation, our culture still finds it hard to get it. You can have films that show appalling violence, and video games that do the same, but passionate consensual sex gets hedged around with restrictions. A face full of hate is ok, or a fist used to hurt, but what is dangerous and too much? An erect penis, a vagina, an anus.
Moreover, what is the spill over of this into our life and living culture? What on earth is wrong with public nakedness? What is wrong with seeing someone have consensual sex? We watch people box and bloody each other, and seriously injure each other at times. Why is watching people fuck less acceptable than that? We can happily see someone dressed to kill (literally) for war, but we shy away from someone dressed for something entirely natural and pleasurable, and overwhelmingly associated with affection. What is our culture saying to us, and to our children?
We need less violence and less hurt, and less valuation of violence. We need more nakedness, more life, more love and more sex.
I don’t think the promotion of the one is unrelated to the suppression of the other. On that I tend to feel that Wilhelm Reich may well have been on to something.