There’s an ancient allegory of the seasons, with spring as birth, summer as youth, autumn as maturity, and winter as old age. Even though the start of the year in the Western calendar – January 1st – doesn’t coincide with the vernal equinox, at some point the ancient allegory of the seasons was accommodated to the calendar by beginning the metaphor of the new year as a baby, replacing the old year – an old man. Still prevalant today, this iconography was very popular in early 20th-century print journalism, such as these classic 1930s examples from The Saturday Evening Post :
From a naturist or nude-friendly point of view, what jumps out about these illustrations is that the babies are depicted nude – no need for diapers, no need even for the sash that proclaims the digits of the new year. (Often in this graphic trope, the old man/old year, too, is shown wearing only a sash covering genitals and buttocks). Nowadays, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, baby new year is almost always depicted with diapers, at least in the mainstream media that censor even the nudity of an infant.
Why not take back the idea of a nude baby new year, and link it to a calendar of nude health and wellbeing? January, for example, would be a great month for educating new parents about the dangers and long-term disincentives of circumcision. For a baby new year, January, naturally, would also be the month for promoting not just breastfeeding but also the right of mothers to breastfeed anywhere, and their right to expose as much of their bodies as they want or need in order to do so.
There are lots of ways to extend the idea of nude growth throughout the year, ranging from “potty-training” in more natural (read: nude) ways that are less dependent on the diaper industry, to promoting the general benefits that growing up accustomed to nudity has on perceptions of sexuality, sexual identity, and sexual responsibility, and building synergy with the latest studies linking brain, skin, and movement development and sensitivity in all of the stages of life.
Nudity is not a shame or a crime. It is a fundamental health right of the body politic, and instead of being promoted by governmental or religious institutions, it is most often denied. Sometimes nudity is denied actively through legislation, penalization, condemnation…, but sometimes, merely, out of a banal inertia.
Let’s work to make 2014 a year of progress in the recognition that one of the fundamental birthrights – of every single person on the planet – is the right to be nude.