Naked or Covered : from a Simple String to a Three-piece Suit.


When our first ancestors began to walk on two legs instead of four, they gained a new perspective on each other’s physicality. Gradually people invented their own dress codes for men and women. In traditional Japan an uncovered female neck was disapproved of, in Victorian England a heel had to be invisible and in the Middle East women's feet were usually considered to be less problematic than women's hair. Naked arms or legs or breasts are not surprising to those who are used to them, but in the eyes of those who walk around completely covered a glance at such uncovered body parts may be shocking. Throughout history cultures and religions developed specific rules to control unruly nakedness, but in times of globalisation we are all confronted with a variety of perspectives on ‘normal dress’. We live in a world of shouting advertisers, provoking fashionistas and increasing protests against the slightest bit of uncovered skin.



Mineke Schipper © 2015