Over ninety-nine percent of known existence. Our ancestors lived in communal nudity until loom technology emerged into Asia about 6,000 years ago; clothing wasn’t an available option anywhere on the planet unless one was into fur, which of course was a bad choice when it got hot.
The children grew up knowing exactly what their fellow species looked like. Of course, during these times modesty was presumably not an issue, and the thought that someone’s naked body being and obscenity would have never even been imaged. So, I think our ancestors look down on us and can’t believe how we are acting about wearing clothes and not wearing clothes. Some were taught otherwise, but mostly body acceptance was as natural as life and self acceptance.
Social nudity is an old tradition in the San Francisco Bay Area, before the 18th century invasion of their tribal villages by western civilizations emissaries in military armor, and currical robes, the earliest Californians had lived unashamedly nude in this temperate, coastal climate for over 10,000 years. Their sad experience was a familiar story of colonialism, that is, cultural genocide, including a compulsory cover-up of the naked savages in the name of civilized modesty. Steadily, instilling it into the minds of native people, body shame became an essential element in the conversion and control of the native people. This became and effective in clothing issues in over four centuries in the American’s, and in Africa, Australia and also the Pacific Island and most of the rest of the world. Disregarding tropical discomfort, European colonial/religious authorities made wearing clothing the most visible sigh of subservience to the new order. Hawaiian mumu was one such fashionable result.
Social nudity was not always taboo, in Europe. The ancient Greeks found the nude human form both noble and artistically inspiring, competed nude in the Olympics for centuries, and sometimes ever fought wars with new combatants nude.
The Roman’s socialized nudity in their public baths, and also nudity was often part of The Pagan Ceremony and the celebration throughout pre-Christian Europe. Though early Christianity cleverly co-opted key pagan holidays and myths to gain acceptance, it denounced the more flexible pagan attitudes about nudity, sexuality, and the human body.
Though faithfully believing in Jesus’s second coming was imminent for many centuries after his crucifixion, early Christian leaders tended to be extreme ascetics who closed their doubting minds, rejected their sinful bodies and focused mostly on their spiritual here afters. The “flesh” was seen as an evil temptation, especially if it was female. In the 19th century even to see the ankle of a woman was considered a risqué in a “polite society”.
Early in the 20th century, social nudity began its first European comeback since Rome was sacked. “Free Body Culture” in Germany and “Naturalism” in most of Europe, and eventually “Nudism” as it reached American shores in the third decade, the movement’s secular idealistic philosophy included non-sexual social nudity, outdoor exercise, a healthy, non-alcoholic, usually vegetarian diet, and a spiritual bond with nature.
Of course, there came private nudist clubs, which are now big time strip clubs. Social nudity finally won the legal right in the late 1950’s to publish and mail innocuous nude photos, which then publications were swamped in the marketplace in the 1960’s by an explosive growth of unrelated pornography with much more erotic images. Thus, the “Playboy” was born.
Social nudity has driven a bigger issue over the past few years as activist pronounce their views of living in nature the way God intended. Now, Earth is almost polka dotted with destination sites where beaches and resorts allow social nudity.