What is Nudity?


The purpose of this thesis is to dispel the notion that any representation of the nude female form is inherently pornographic in nature.


Nude vs Naked (as defined by Dictionary.com)

Nude- An unclothed human figure, especially an artistic representation.
(2) A state of being psychologically and physically comfortable without clothes or covering. It is asexual in nature.

Naked- A state of embarrassed undress.
(2) Being without protective clothing, psychologically or physically uncomfortable, or displaying overt sexuality.


Nudity and Christianity

(A) In Holiness God created man nude…

Genesis 1:26, 27, 31; 2:25- (26) Then God said, “Let us make human beings in Our image and likeness.” (27) So God created human beings in His image. In the image of God He created them. He created them male and female. (31) God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good. (25) Now although the man and his wife were both nude, neither of them was embarrassed or ashamed.

Man was not made in the likeness of any creature that went before him, but in the likeness of his Creator. And his Creator is perfect, having no flaw in Himself. Therefore it is safe to conclude that when God made man in a nude state, it was the perfect state to be in. A state of perfection, purity and innocence.


…but sin made man feel naked

Genesis 3: 1 - 11, 21- The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. "Really?" he asked. "None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn't eat any of it?". "Of course we may eat it," the woman told him. "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not to eat. God says we mustn't eat it or even touch it, or we will die." "That's a lie!" the serpent hissed. "You'll not die! God knows very well that the instant you eat it you will become like him, for your eyes will be opened-you will be able to distinguish good from evil!" The woman was convinced. How lovely and fresh looking it was! And it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit and gave some to her husband, and he ate it too. And as they ate it, suddenly they became aware of their nakedness, and were embarrassed. So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips. That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees. The Lord God called to Adam, "Why are you hiding?". And Adam replied, "I heard you coming and didn't want you to see me naked. So I hid." "Who told you, you were naked?" the Lord God asked. "Have you eaten fruit from the tree I warned you about?" (21) The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them.

The sense of feeling naked was as a result of their disobedience to God and the effect of sin. So they hid themselves in an attempt to conceal their nakedness or rather to hide their sin of disobedience from God. Their consciousness of sin had placed them in opposition to God. Shame, remorse, fear and a sense of guilt were feelings which they had never experienced until now, it disordered their minds, and led them to shun Him whose approach they used to welcome. They now had sufficient discovery of their sin and folly and could discern between good and evil; what was the consequence? Confusion and shame were engendered, because innocence was lost and guilt contracted.

God then sacrificed the life of animals to make clothing to cover their nakedness (sin). This act was a prelude to Jesus (The Lamb of God) who was also sacrificed so that His blood would not just cover our sins but wash them away. Symbolically they were clothed with God’s righteousness as with garments so that the shame of their nakedness would not appear.


(B) The nude form has been demonized to be sinful

“With the advent of Christianity, "The Nude" and the idea of nudity were transformed into reminders of human finitude and guilt, and of the sinful state, especially for women. Augustine of Hippo and Jerome, among other early Church fathers, decried the classical glorification of the human body and denounced the connection between "The Nude" and human sexuality, thereby transmogrifying nudity from a condition of innocence, idealism, and integrity into one of guilt, materialism, and vice.”

“Descriptions and depictions of "The Nude" in Christian iconography were restricted to scriptural narratives. The biblical narratives recount varied episodes in which nudity is appropriate for the story, as in a bathing sequence, and for either men or women. For example, Adam, Eve, David, Bathsheba and Jesus of Nazareth are depicted in states of total or partial undress. However in Christian iconography nudity embodied more often than not the condition of shame, especially with regard to women as the "daughters of Eve." The artistic and literary tradition of Western culture, especially Christianity, may be characterized as influenced by the legacy of Eve, and in particular, established the motif of the femme fatale, or fatal woman, from the characterization of women as seducers of men as prefigured in the scriptural stories of Eve, Delilah and Bathsheba.”

“ "The Nude," which had been a motif of spiritual and moral uplift for the classical world, was transformed not simply into an image of Christian shame and embarrassment but into a modern object of profane physicality.” [1]

During the medieval era, the naked body often stood for temptation and sin. In Christian theology the emphasis was not upon physical beauty but upon the inevitability of the body’s decay and the shame in nakedness which came from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. [2]

Therefore, by intent, pornography is the nakedness that God rejects because it removes the purity of the nude form. And portrays it in a light that is not meant to be seen on public display.