For better or for worse, we seem to be living in a clothed era here at Wesleyan. Gone are the days of Art House naked parties (and Art House, for that matter). Gone, too, is the infamous annual Eclectic sex party. There are still whispers about WestCo being clothing-optional, but aside from the occasional streakers or Olin prank, people aren’t exactly running around campus in the nude. Our reputation precedes us.
Is there a stigma around nudity here? Possibly. For those of us who want to combat that stigma, maybe naked parties aren’t the way to go. We can derive inspiration from Brown, where a nude art series called “Nudity in the Upspace” took the stage this week. According to a Brown Daily Herald article, Brown juniors Becca Wolinsky and Camila Pacheco-Fores designed the series to feature “an array of events including yoga, body painting and scenes from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, all conducted entirely in the nude.”
In the article, the creators of the series explained that they hoped to foster appreciation for all body types and to “help themselves and others become more comfortable with their own bodies.” There were also discussions about the “power dynamics of being clothed versus being naked” and the creators’ inspiration for the series.
“We were all born naked, so why not be naked sometimes?” Wolinsky asked. “Nudity in the Upspace” was designed to bring people into an “honest and open conversation” about nakedness, she said. “My family has always been really naked,” Wolinsky said. She said she attributes her comfort with nudity to growing up in a strong, female-dominated, single-parent household
The article ends with a shout-out to Wesleyan—as well as Oberlin and UC Berkeley—as other schools that “have their own naked events,” though it’s unclear what Wes events they’re referring to.
It would be really cool to see something like this project unfold here at Wes—both to revive our aforementioned reputation and to generate interesting discussion. Things like Unlocked and the annual Burlesque show already send out great messages about body image, but we certainly have the potential to take it a step further.