Tuesday, 24 July 2012
When Is Nakedness Offensive?
The naked rambler Stephen Gough has been arrested once again and is back in custody.
He was only released on Tuesday after spending six years in goal for 'committing a breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and walking naked in a public place'. It's also claimed he was close to a children's play park at the time and refused to put on clothing or move away from the park.
There is little detail as to why he was close to a children's play park in Cairncubie Road, Dunfermline, although I suspect it was on his route south. The man has never been accused of any form of harassment or the sexual molestation to an adult or child. He has spent most of the last six years in solitary confinement in HMP Perth.
According to his ex-wife Mr Gough has an obsession with nudism. "The human body is not offensive. We are brought up to have a problem with it. It's social conditioning gone wrong," he said. (source)
Stephen Gough is obviously an eccentric but not one to be tolerated in Scottish society. Nakedness is a taboo here. Presbyterian views still dominate our society even though so many insist we're tolerant and liberally minded.We tolerate half naked drunks lying in the gutters at weekends; no prison for them but a visit to a warm, caring accident and emergency and a taxi home.
I wouldn't find it offensive to see him stark naked walking past me, although it has been reported some mothers object to their children seeing him and these complaints result in him being continually re-arrested.
Wise mothers would use Stephen Gough's naked walking to explain many facts of life, including the difference between an aroused and non-aroused male.
When living in Europe back in the 60s/70s, I enjoyed swimming. There was quite a large majority of people who enjoyed swimming naked and it was never a problem with the law. Sunbathing naked was also accepted as quite normal and never questioned. The only people ever to mention the exposure of so much flesh were those from the UK, although I admit many were far more amused than offended.
Putting the man in prison isn't the answer. Let him walk home and see his children. The cost of imprisoning him could be much better spent on those who abuse children. They are the adults who are a threat to our youngest generation, not a 53 year old man who wants the right to wear no clothing.