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Debate: Ban on public nudity

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Should public nudity be allowed or banned?

Background and context

Public nudity takes many forms, including nudity on beaches, biking events, and pumpkin head during Halloween races. The question is whether these forms of nudity are acceptable or whether they should be made illegal?

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Liberty: Does a ban on public nudity violate individual liberties?

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Pro

  • Allowing public nudity risks exposure to children Allowing public nudity creates a significant risk that individuals will expose themselves in places where kids are, in play grounds or at schools. Children could react very negatively to this, and potentially incur emotional damage. Parents will certainly be fearful of such a possibility. And, creating laws that disallow public nudity in these areas, but not in others is simply awkward.


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Con

  • Public nudity is a valuable expression of freedom. Nudity is an expression of the freedom of the individual to express themselves, even if others are offended by it. Banning or constraining nudity, thus impairs an important symbol of individual liberties and subsequent - given the value of symbols to individual liberties - impairs freedom itself.
  • Banning public nudity is offensive to nudists. Responding to critics, Mark Storey, who helped bring about 30 nudists together for a "naked beach rally" in Seattle in 2004, said "Frankly, I am offended that they are offended. All I am doing is being a human being ... Being naked does not cause any harm."[1]
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