And yet, outwardly, the U. S. and Canada are among the most conservative societies with respect to tolerating or accepting nudity in many situations where it makes perfect sense. We have very few clothing optional beaches compared to most countries in Europe. We are often alarmed even at the idea of women sunning and swimming with bare breasts, which is common in Europe and many other parts of the world. We have essentially no public parks where nude sunbathing is tolerated - again unlike many places in Europe. Our young people are increasingly afraid of being seen naked in a locker room or public shower. Any appearance of nudity in advertising, magazines, television, or movies is routinely met with hysterical protests from over-zealous defenders of (their own narrow concept of) "morals".
What's really going on here? We are deeply schizophrenic. Many more of us than almost anyone would imagine either enjoy non-sexual nudity privately, or else wish that they could, if only it were not considered to be "weird", "bizarre", or even "perverse". We would love to have this freedom for ourselves and our friends, but we are terrified of coming out and admitting it.
And so, nobody accurately knows the true magnitude of the hidden sympathy for freedom from clothes, because we don't dare to tell others how we really feel, even our closest friends and family.
The purpose of this newsletter is to encourage as many people as we can to reconsider this ridiculous situation. We want to stimulate thought and discussion about the reform of our society's irrational and backwards attitudes concerning non-sexual nudity.
We're going to look at dozens and dozens of examples where right now, in the U. S. and Canada, many thousands - sometimes millions - of people are able to enjoy non-sexual nudity, mostly in relative privacy, but sometimes more publicly. We'll try to learn why they do this, what the benefits and rewards are, in spite of all the negative messages being sent by our society about nudity.
If you've read this far, if you have some idea of what we're talking about, and if you are open-minded about investigating the positive aspects of non-sexual nudity - even if you are not yet convinced that this applies to you personally - please bookmark our Front Page now, and check back with us every week to read more about it.
For more information, have a look at the press release from the Institute for First Amendment Studies.
In a nutshell, according to Jennifer, her site is about "living a real life for all to see". In real life, a person doesn't always wear clothes. In fact, apparently, when she's "alone" Jennifer is at ease wearing little or no clothing from time to time. Unlike sites that have the primary purpose of showing off bare skin, this doesn't happen most of the time, but, when it does, it isn't avoided or censored either. It is "a window into someone's private world, virtually live".
Where did the idea for JenniCam come from? According to the site FAQ,
About three years ago (almost 4) a friend and I were arguing over who was more creative: me or him. An independent friend decided that to settle the case, we would each write a short story on "A Day in the Life of Me as a Superhero." I wrote about TurboGal, my alter-ego who could spell huge words with ease, give fashion advice, runway-walk, give bad advice to small children, and obliviously wear little clothes. My story won. :-)And later
Initially I bought the camera to update portions of my webpage with pictures of myself. A friend joked that it could be used to do a FishBowl cam, but of a person. The idea fascinated me, and I took off with it.(Jennifer often writes with tongue in cheek.)
Depending on your point of view, you may find some things about the JenniCam site annoying, or just plain silly. Conventional people, especially the prudish sort, may find it offensive, though there really is not much nudity in evidence. Only as much as one might find in any slice of life, with "real people, doing real things". Naturists may be annoyed that sexuality is not entirely hidden. And smut hounds will be annoyed that there isn't much more nudity and sexuality than there actually is.
Cynics will nod their heads and conclude that what this site is really about is a young woman who has discovered a sure-fire way to get attention, by appealing to the fondness (and in some cases, the obsession) that males have in viewing scantily-clad females, especially if there is a hint of sex involved. They will dismiss Jennifer as just another exhibitionist, or at least a young narcissistic seeker of attention, intoxicated with publicity, celebrity, fame.
Is that the truth, and Jenni's claims about simply showing "real life" just an elaborate put-on? Perhaps. However, there are by now any number of "live sex" sites where Web surfers can (for a fee) watch "real women" fulfill any request. There are also some sites that are a little more subtle, JenniCam copycats with Web cameras trained on teasing, generally naked women - again for a "membership" fee.
Somehow, though, Jenni's site isn't like any of that. Ringley describes herself as "90 degrees from everywhere". Perhaps she really has something very unusual - such complete acceptance of herself and her body that she really is, as she claims, just "living her life as if the camera did not exist".
Body acceptance is one of the primary achievements that naturists claim they gain by letting themselves be naked. Even if one does not closely resemble a supermodel or exotic dancer. Jenni expresses it this way: "In the last year and a half I have gotten so much more confident. So what if I'm fat? Who cares if I have a bad hair day?"
Jenni demonstrates an objectivity about herself and her body, allowing us to see, as we so seldom are able to with either ourselves or another person, that it is just "there". And that, even if we are naked to others, we don't lose the privacy that really counts - the privacy of our own thoughts, our own mental world, unless we choose to share it.
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