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How do you feel about public nakedness? Here's what French women think...

Posted by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 2:57 AM
  • 25 Replies

From Time Magazine

For decades, the French have relished any opportunity to mock Americans for their supposed childish Yankee puritanism when it comes to matters of sex. These days, though, France is experiencing its own blush of youthful prudishness as an entire generation of younger French women says "Non, merci," to the summer tradition of topless sunbathing.

Since France's summer vacation season kicked off in early July, the French press has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the shrinking number of topless women on the nation's beaches. As eagle-eyed reporters have made quite clear, the prevailing trend among sun-loving women these days is to use both pieces of their bikini. Le Monokini, C'est Fini! , shouted Le Parisien in its report from a Mediterranean beach. "Nude Breasts Are Less Trendy" concurred free daily Metro France. "The practice has become common, and therefore less compelling as a fashion," says sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann. "When the local baker takes off her top despite her 60-year age and sagging breasts, the gesture loses its social distinction as one of youthful beauty." Some note that the return to more modest costumes is in part a response to rising concerns about skin cancer. (Read "In France, a Government-Led Revolution in Entrepreneurship.")

But the trend is also part of a wider social movement by younger French women who are shunning the less-inhibited habits of previous generations. If burning bras and going topless were the ways French women of the 1970s and '80s demonstrated their freedom, their daughters and grand-daughters seem less comfortable with exposed flesh. "The values of our time are more conservative, traditional and familial," says Kaufmann.

A survey titled "Women and Nudity" by polling agency Ifop captures the mood. It found that younger French women not only have a problem with nudity — but actually consider themselves prudish. Fully 88% of the women questioned qualified themselves as pudique — a term that can mean anything from "modest" or "prim" to "priggish." And they aren't joking. Though 90% said they get naked with their husband or partner, 59% avoid being nude around their children. Sixty-three percent said they refused to undress around female friends; 22% said they considered a woman in her underwear already naked. (See TIME's France covers.)

With sensitivities like those, it's little wonder the poll found French women had strong opinions about public nakedness. Nearly 50% said they were bothered by total nudity on beaches or naturist camps, and 37% said they were disturbed by publicly exposed breasts or buttocks. Forty-five percent of respondents reported they'd prefer to see a lot less flesh hanging out in full view — male or female.

Those attitudes got even more pronounced with respondents aged 18-24. A quarter of women within that group described themselves as very pudique, and 20% saw any nudity as tantamount to indecency. That, sociologists say, explains the changing scenery on French beaches. Younger women disinclined to baring themselves make up the majority of female sunbathers; those still willing to go topless are usually older French women. (See pictures of sunbathing in France on LIFE.com.)

"There aren't any rules, but, yeah, it's true when you're at the beach and look around, the only topless women anymore are older," says Elodie, 19, as she visited an artificial beach along the Seine known as Paris Plage recently. Elodie pointed out that a municipal fine — and frequently lousy weather — make going topless at Paris Plage a nonstarter. When asked whether she went topless on vacation beaches — and what factors made her decide when she did and didn't — Elodie's reply was as chilly as it was logical. "All those things," she said, "are personal concerns."

The contrast with U.S. practices is hard not to notice. American women visiting France these days have few qualms about going topless. And plenty of young American women are only too happy to playfully flash their wares in exchange for a few beads. In some ways, the puritanical swimsuit now seems to be on the other torso — a new French squeamishness that will doubtless leave some Americans, well, titillated.

* * *

How do you feel about public nudity? 

 





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by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 2:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
jrdnjstn00
by Bronze Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Well I live in Austin,Tx and it is legal for women to go topless if they want and not just at the lake. They can walk down the street topless but I'm sure it'd cause a huge wreck. Not alot of people here in Austin even know that women can go topless. I do see a few women at a popular swimming area here go topless. Doesn't bother me and my kids could care less but i did see some men staring with their mouths on the ground.

I also know that women can go topless in South Padre Island on the beaches. I took the kids to South Padre Island for 4th of July. This lady was diagonal from us and she was topless. Of course I saw a man just staring and staring.

Topless doesn't bother me but full nudity does. I'm sorry but I don't want to see all that


Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 10:19 AM

And yet, they are trying so hard to ban the burqa. Go figure. 

margroc
by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 10:33 AM

I have to wonder how much of it amongst younger women is body-confidence - which seemed to be a North American disease.  I always admired Europeans and their views on nudity - the body in all shapes and sizes was nothing to be ashamed of - they had far less cases of eating disorders or body image problems.  Je me sens triste ....

“The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” - Pierre E. Trudeau
Kassie09
by Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 2:18 PM

I think if your comfortable and confident in your self...go for it.I wouldn't do the public nudity thing.I am very condifent and comfortable wit hmy body,but there are some things the world shouldn't see!



blinkie_ilovemygirlspink.gifblinkie_happilymarried_pink.giffullmom.gif image by Venus853

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:25 PM


Quoting margroc:

I have to wonder how much of it amongst younger women is body-confidence - which seemed to be a North American disease.  I always admired Europeans and their views on nudity - the body in all shapes and sizes was nothing to be ashamed of - they had far less cases of eating disorders or body image problems.  Je me sens triste ....


Awwww.... mon petite......tranquil.  Ne pleurs pas. 

J'aime bien aussi que les francais adore les femmes grosses.  hahahhahaha

For you other guys......I said "be calm, don't cry."  and that I love how the french adore plump women.  They do.

 

 

PamR
by Ruby Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM

All I can say is, I'm not getting naked in public.

margroc
by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Merci

Speaking of plump women - I heard this line once and I love it

"The man likes the meat - the bone is for the dog"  LOL Love it!

Quoting Gypsyuma:


Quoting margroc:

I have to wonder how much of it amongst younger women is body-confidence - which seemed to be a North American disease.  I always admired Europeans and their views on nudity - the body in all shapes and sizes was nothing to be ashamed of - they had far less cases of eating disorders or body image problems.  Je me sens triste ....


Awwww.... mon petite......tranquil.  Ne pleurs pas. 

J'aime bien aussi que les francais adore les femmes grosses.  hahahhahaha

For you other guys......I said "be calm, don't cry."  and that I love how the french adore plump women.  They do.

 

 

Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt. - Pierre E. Trudeau

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:31 PM

teee heee heee....that is awesome.

Quoting margroc:

Merci

Speaking of plump women - I heard this line once and I love it

"The man likes the meat - the bone is for the dog"  LOL Love it!

Quoting Gypsyuma:


Quoting margroc:

I have to wonder how much of it amongst younger women is body-confidence - which seemed to be a North American disease.  I always admired Europeans and their views on nudity - the body in all shapes and sizes was nothing to be ashamed of - they had far less cases of eating disorders or body image problems.  Je me sens triste ....

 


Awwww.... mon petite......tranquil.  Ne pleurs pas. 

J'aime bien aussi que les francais adore les femmes grosses.  hahahhahaha

For you other guys......I said "be calm, don't cry."  and that I love how the french adore plump women.  They do.

 

 


 

ajjs1972
by on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I think it is more modesty invading their country, that is for sure. it is our culture, so to speak to be modest. it is also a form of protection from leering men who may or may not want to hurt you. in columbus, ohio, you are allowed to go topless, male and female, but I lived there for five years and never once saw a woman with everything out!

pisces_chick89
by Member on Aug. 25, 2009 at 7:23 PM

i have more of an appreciation for italy's idea of beauty than France,the french have are fonder of boyish figures,their fashion industry is insane when it comes to whats acceptable..where Italians feel the more voluptuous women are more desired..

Quoting margroc:

I have to wonder how much of it amongst younger women is body-confidence - which seemed to be a North American disease.  I always admired Europeans and their views on nudity - the body in all shapes and sizes was nothing to be ashamed of - they had far less cases of eating disorders or body image problems.  Je me sens triste ....


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