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Nakedness and Nudity: A Darwinian Explanation for Looking and Showing Behavior

Leonard Blank
Leonardo
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter, 1973), pp. 23-27
Published by: The MIT Press
DOI: 10.2307/1572421
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1572421
Page Count: 5
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Nakedness and Nudity: A Darwinian Explanation for Looking and Showing Behavior
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Abstract

The author has conducted investigations into the looking and showing behavior of animals and human beings. These investigations have been concerned particularly with the role of clothes and social nudism, body image or one's concept of his or her body, fantasy life, curiosity and dreams. In each investigation, strong differences between males and females have been noted. The most important determinant of extreme looking and showing behavior (called voyeurism and exhibitionism, in pathological cases) is the psychodynamics of the individual. Cultural conditions, however, seem to mediate the expression of this behavior. Thus, when the milieu is repressive, with overtones of severe sexual prohibitions, then pathological or rebellious exhibitionism and voyeurism appear to be manifested. The conclusion drawn from these investigations, based on consistent sexual differences and dominant male visual sexual curiosity, is that the explanation is biological in the Darwinian sense. /// L'auteur a étudié chez les animaux et les êtres humains les conduites de voyeurisme et d'exhibitionisme tant normales que pathologiques. Il a été amené à s'interroger plus particulièrement sur le rôle des vêtements, le nudisme, l'image du corps, le concept que l'on a de son corps, les fantasmes, la curiosité et le rêve. Dans chaque cas, il a noté des différences importantes entre les comportements des mâles et des femelles. La détermination essentielle du voyeurisme et de l'exhibitionisme est la psycho-dynamique individuelle. Cependant les conditions culturelles semblent médiatiser l'expression de ces comportements. Ainsi, dans un milieu répressif comportant de fortes prohibitions sexuelles, l'exhibitionisme et le voyeurisme se manifestent sous des formes rebelles ou pathologiques. A partir de ces investigations ayant pour base les différences entre les sexes et la prédominance de la curiosité visuelle des mâles quant au sexe, l'auteur conclut que l'explication de ces comportements est biologique au sens darwinien du terme.

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