The Body in Public Space

This restroom is quite sensational and yet it is entirely conventional.

While I would understand the apprehension, let’s think about this.  This public restroom in Basil, Switzerland is made entirely out of one-way glass. No one can see you in there, but when you are inside, it looks like you’re sitting in a clear glass box.

So why the fuss?

This cartoon speaks to our cultural norms associated with the body and highlights some tension.

In September of 2012, the whole British tabloid industry (as well as the mainstream media) exploded as pictures of Kate Middleton surfaced.  This screenshot is of the Guardian’s page where the top 3 stories were all connected to this particular issue (who cares about global affairs anyway?)  The British are ordering the return of all copies of the photos and threatening legal action against any and all who publish these images.  At the center of the scandal are competing notions of:

  1. public and private morality
  2. expectations of  privacy
  3. cultural norms of acceptable displays of the human body
  4. Our cultural fascination with celebrity and royalty

WARNING: the following links do not display nudity (as defined by TV) but some of the links connected to them may been contain images that are seen as culturally inappropriate.

VIDEO (with blurred/blacked out images): She walks topless in the streets for women’s rights by Gentside

In many places, women are protesting for “top-free” rights (since the term topless has more sexualized connotations, many advocacy groups opt for a term that desexualizes the act of not wearing a shirt).

2 comments on “The Body in Public Space

  1. The body in public space
    I like the public restroom in Switzerland because I know how much people in streets like New York City need a restroom. However, I don’t agree with the idea of the entire place being out of glass because I believe that going to a restroom is very private and I don’t want anyone to know or image what I am going to do in the tiny glass restroom. For me, it is like training the mind to exhibit the body in public places. Other side, breastfeeding a baby in public place if it is done in a correct and decent way it is good to do it anywhere. Also, everyone around the baby and the mother need to be respectful and give them some space.
    Kate Middleton’s topless photos
    In the case of Kate Middleton’s topless photos, I say that she should know that she is very famous and everything she does will have a lot of consequences… She should watch out her back all the time, because here or there people care a lot about the lives of famous people. I can do things that Kate cannot do in public because she will be persecuted and condemned. I believe this is wrong because everyone has the right to do… Famous people are people too, let them live too.

  2. Well! What can I say about this topic about women right to be topless in public places? I say people are getting crazy and crazier… There is freedom and there is debauchery. Exhibit your body in public place take a lot of courage and indecency. I don’t agree that being topless will gain any right for women. Maybe society is ready to accept those behaviors but I personally don’t agree with this.

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