From the greek, ritual exposing of the genitals, especially the vulva
Generally considered distinct from exhibitionism and often with an artistic, religious, or political purpose.
Of related interest (suggested by Ouroboros):
- The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black ( http://www.karenblack.com ). Couldn't gather any text material on this so presumably it's pure performance art, samples of which can be viewed at the site.
- Wall of Vagina. Aside from the objective reference to the named tissue, this would appear to refer to a second performance art occurence which took place on February 19, 2000 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC staged as part of a larger event by disinfo.com. Apparently Karen Black and friends created said wall as part of an overall event including figures such as Marilyn Manson.
- "Shameful disrobing such as that used in Africa somewhere to protest oil company land grabbing". I'm not sure what this refers to and I must say the implications of the term 'shameful' are ethnocentric to say the least. While not limited to them, a sense of shame at the natural human form is largely concentrated in cultures dominated by the semitic religions as codified in Genesis where after having eaten of the tree of knowledge Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness. This attitude is not pervasive in human cultures and in fact is antithetical to the true core western humanistic culture. In particular African and for practical reasons, cultures which developed in warmer climates generally have fewer problems with nudity and natural functions of the body.
On a personal note, I certainly don't share such attitudes and consider them sick. My parents were nudists and I attended nudist camp with them as a child, so perhaps I lack sufficient background to properly address the topic.
Back to the original scope of the writeup, I should mention the gymnosophists
which is a term the Greeks used to refer to certain pre-socratic
holy men who either were from India or were influenced by Indian ascetics. We note in passim that the prefix gymno means naked as in "gymnasium" (place of naked exercise). Probably the best known member of this school was Pyrrho of Elis
. As is the case for much of the western philosophy not approved by Orthodox christianity, Diogenes Laertius
is the sole surviving original source on Pyrrho about whom he says:
On being discovered once talking to himself, he answered, when asked the reason, that he was training to be good (
ειναι ). In debate he was looked down upon by no one, for he could both discourse at length and also sustain a cross examination, so that even Nausiphanes when a young man was captivated by him: at all events he used to say that we should follow Pyrrho in dispostion but himself in doctrine; and he would often remark that Epicurus, greatly admiring Pyrrho's way of life, regularly asked him for information about Pyrrho; and that he was so respected by his native city that they made him a high priest, and on his account they voted that all philosophers should be exempt from taxation.
- Diogenes Laertius, IX. 64.