Naked or nude?

I remember a discussion in one of my Women’s Studies classes from college. We were talking about the objectification of women in art and viewed a sampling of various paintings by famous, and not so famous, artists. The paintings were mostly of women; but we hit a snag when it came to what type of painting – was the female body in the painting nude or naked? Does objectification come into play when one says that females (or males for that matter) are naked when they don’t have any clothes on? Or are they just nude? What’s the difference? A critical analysis of both the noun nude and the adjective naked and their usage might suggest both negative and positive connotations when used to describe the unclothed human body; especially if the body being depicted is animate. When you look at a naked body, male or female, what do you see? Art, as in a sculpture or painting of a nude human figure; or something that’s defenseless, unprotected and exposed (naked)?

In “The Male Body,” Susan Bordo writes: “For just as the beautiful bodies subject us women to (generally) unrealizable models of the kind of female we must become in order to be worthy of attention and love, they also subject men and boys to (generally) unrealizable models of the kind of female they must win– with equally destructive consequences.”

It’s odd how a writer’s mind works sometimes. You might be wondering what caused me to come up with the topic for this post.

Naked or nude?
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