There was once a time, in the days of the masters like Michelangelo and Renoir, when the naked human body was considered a piece of art. It was something to be exhibited, celebrated, even worshiped. In the ancient days when culture was evolving and traditions were being set in stone, nudity was a major element in artistic expressions.
Figures carved into the walls of large old temples are a display of Indian nudity art, not to mention the celebrated paintings of Rukmini Varma.
In a darkly hilarious turn, these modern times restrict the public display of the naked body to nudist beaches and racy television. From a world in which women with curves were considered the epitome of beauty, we have descended into one in which even the tiniest amount of “extra” flesh results in body shaming; a world where minds are expanding and thought processes are progressive, yet a basic node of human culture is being covered up for shame.
But, another basic element of nature is very much being kept alive – the streak of rebellion that is called being unconventional. This is found among those people who believe in breaking taboos and bringing them to life to show the others the magic of empowerment. Take what is hidden, wear it with pride and use that confidence to change the world.
There is an annual global event called the World Naked Bike Ride, held in 70 participating cities of the world.
In an unusually unorthodox way of raising awareness about current environmental situations around the world, the World Naked Bike Ride was founded by Conrad Schmidt, to find a way of peacefully protesting the excessive usage of oil by society and growing dependency on already depleting fossil fuels.
The idea of using bicycles is to promote the benefits of an alternate lifestyle, one that can potentially reduce pollution and take pressure off of the Earth’s limited natural resources.
The main goal of the Ride is to encourage the trading in of cars for bicycles. The number of cars on the roads is getting higher every single day as car dealers rejoice in the ever-mounting graph of consumerism. Wanting to be Good Samaritans, moneyed humans go in for “eco-friendly” vehicles that are advertised as metal giants racing through deserts and empty roads.
Bicycles as an alternate mode of everyday transportation has all the markers of a healthier way of living. Cycle to work for exercise, avoid the much-hated traffic that seems slower when you’re late. Set a trend, be “cool”, be that guy who comes in on a bicycle while wearing a suit. I mean, that’s just one way of looking at it, right?
Participating cyclists in the World Naked Bike Ride meet, plan and ride together in a show of unity for a cause. They are encouraged to bare as much as they dare to, and this simple rule has given rise to some beautiful displays of costumes and body painting. Most bikers ride completely naked.
Meenal Jain became the first Indian woman to participate by baring all in the Ride in London 2016. Way to go, modern Indian naari!
In addition to supporting environment causes, the Ride also aims to increase body positive ideas and self-confidence levels.
What better way to make you feel good about your body than getting you to unashamedly display it for a damn good cause?
Paris Jackson, daughter of the late Michael Jackson, recently said – “Nudity is beautiful. Don’t make it sexual.” There is so much more to the naked human body than carnal desires. And there are some wonderful people out there who use their nudity unabashed, to raise flags for global issues that should matter. These are the unsung heroes of the world.
“Our message to the world is one of simplification, human harmony and love. For a future to exist for tomorrow’s generations, we have to stop wasting the life, blood, energy of the Earth, stop fighting and killing in the name of consumerist wealth accumulation and learn to love and respect all life on this planet.” – Conrad Schmidt, founder of The Work Less Party and Artists for Peace and WNBR and organizer for WNBR Vancouver, BC