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Video: The Naked Truth - Society
Do you think your physical boundaries are just skin? Not quite so, they also include clothes, be it a stylish evening dress or a dressing gown with a chamomile pattern. A hundred years ago, one of the founders of psychology, William James, wrote that clothing is a full-fledged part of a personality, a part of its physical boundaries. Our individuality manifests itself through the choice of this or that wardrobe. In turn, "the costume makes the clown" - our sense of self depends on what we are wearing.
Fashionable and decent
Once upon a time, clothing appeared as a necessary physical protection: it saved a person from hypothermia, damage … The simplest clothing of primitive peoples, first of all, covered the genitals - the most important organ in terms of procreation. And then it became a symbol of civilization, acquired an important social function and received psychological symbolism.
From a psychological point of view, clothing has two functions:
This is an opportunity not only to show your individuality (or hide it, to be inconspicuous), but also to declare your social status, claims to a certain place in the social hierarchy (expensive, fashionable, designer clothes).
With the help of clothes we broadcast the message: "I am a member of this flock, I obey its laws."
In the first case, we dress in accordance with fashion and may neglect some of the trends. In the second case, we dress appropriately, and this is serious. For violation of the rules of decency, we are punished with varying degrees of severity by society.
When it comes to clothing, two programs collide in us: natural (innate) and social. They can contradict each other: if in the fierce cold the body is ready to wrap itself in the skin of a cave bear, then in the hot summer it requires freedom and nakedness. But the social program of society prohibits nudity. We have to find a compromise between what is desirable for the body and what is possible from the point of view of society.
It is important to understand that clothes are always a certain convention, each society has its own: loincloth, crinoline, burqa, codpiece … But this convention must be respected and observed if you want to be accepted by society.
The body is the fixed result of history
Gabriel Honore Marcel
It's a shame who can see
One of the most common social mechanisms for regulating our behavior is shame. Shame is not an innate feeling, but introduced from the outside in the process of education, therefore it is called "social feeling." It begins to form after a year and a half and is based on fear of rejection and auto-aggression. In a state of shame, you can do yourself a lot of harm, a vivid example is the Japanese hara-kiri. Socializing the child, he is instilled with a sense of shame, including - associated with nudity. We begin to be ashamed of our nudity even in preschool age, and this is a social, not a natural mechanism.
Every civilized person has the shame of nakedness. But he can be healthy and unhealthy. What is the difference?
The main criterion for healthy nudity shame:
It is adequate to the situation, meets social requirements. That is, at a dinner party you would be ashamed to be naked, while you feel free in a public bath.
Signs of unhealthy nudity shame:
You feel shame and awkwardness when nudity is appropriate: in a sauna, while making love … This kind of problem speaks of a strong super-ego - this is an internal construct, a part of our personality associated with decency, compliance with social requirements … the child had many requirements, teachings, he often faced prohibitions and restrictions related to sexuality.
In your nakedness, you are ashamed of the imperfection of your body as a whole or some of its parts. This is a problem of self-esteem, self-acceptance. In childhood, such a child was not loved enough, was often criticized, or maybe his parents themselves were critical of their body.
Alas, the shame of bodily imperfection is a common problem, little dependent on objective reality. It is heated from the outside, because there is a whole business industry that makes money on other people's complexes … Rejection of the body prevents you from feeling free, enjoying intimacy with your loved one. What to do?
1. Remember that your partner builds a relationship with you as a whole, and not just with your body or its individual parts
To think so would be absurd. He's making love to you, not your penis / chest / thighs / belly - fill in the right one. Body parts may not be perfect, but your partner has chosen you as a person.
2. Try to focus on pleasure, listen to your feelings
Not thinking about what parts of your body look like, but paying attention to what you are feeling.
There is a phenomenon associated with nudity, to which our society still has an ambiguous attitude - nudism. This ambiguity reflects the conflict between the animal and the social in man: is nudity in a public place permissible?.. There is no unequivocal answer to this question, because social obligations are always a convention, but they require respect. Therefore, we are not faced with the task of assessing this phenomenon, our goal is to investigate it from a psychological point of view.
The reasons for sunbathing on nude beaches can be very different. This can be a healthy position: a calm attitude to one's own and other people's nudity as a natural part of life. But the motivation may be different: shocking and defiance, rebellion against society and authoritarian parental figures from their childhood.
In my opinion, nudists are not the part of society from which the threat emanates, they do not harm anyone. Ardent condemnation of nudists speaks of their own internal limitations, a strong super-ego. Censure often hides … envy. Remember the old women at the entrance, who are discussing young long-legged beauties and their too short skirts.
It is important to respect and accept the choice of other people (if it is not dangerous for anyone), to develop tolerance.
How to be yourself
Two out of three of my clients come with a problem of self-doubt, and low self-esteem prevents a person from being successful, occupying the desired position in society, and even condemning him to loneliness, making it difficult to make friends and start families. Fortunately, it is possible to work on self-esteem not only with the help of psychotherapy “from the inside”, identifying and working through the traumas of the past, but also “outside”, correcting the client's image in the eyes of “significant others” today, finding a suitable image for him (clothes, accessories, hairstyle) and demeanor to emphasize dignity. A correctly chosen image can say a lot about a person's inner world, his personal qualities, talents and abilities. The task of the psychologist-image maker is to overcome external barriers in communication. Open up and start getting more positive feedback and acceptance from others. And this,in turn, it helps the specialist - already as a psychotherapist - to more efficiently and quickly "disperse cockroaches" in the client's head and work to increase his self-confidence "from the inside".
psychologist, family psychotherapist, image consultant
More about this
Kilborne B. Disappearing people
Shame and appearance.
M.: Kogito-Center, 2017.
The author of the book, having training in literature, history, anthropology and clinical psychoanalysis, considers the question of how a person, controlling his appearance, tries to control his feelings.