Getting naked for a cause

There is probably no group of people I admire more than activists. Most people go through life never considering the plight of others, focusing on their own problems. Activists commit themselves to a cause and endeavour to change the status quo for the better.

However, one thing that I fail to understand about activism is why so many people think that getting their kit off will benefit their chosen charitable cause.

There are many famous activist organisations whose main way of getting people to pay attention to an issue is to do so through nudity. FEMEN is an organisation which is famous for its female topless (and sometimes very close to nude) protests.

PETA’s ‘Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur’ campaigns are also well known and have featured everyone from Eva Mendez to Khloé Kardashian. The campaign also ousted Naomi Campbell as the world’s biggest hypocrite after she continued to wear fur after shooting her PETA ad.

Marie Claire have their ‘Naked Issue’ once a year, the latest one urges people to become organ donors.

A local trend it seems is going for a run in your birthday suite. Ironically enough, to raise awareness about the poaching of rhino’s horns. The Cape Argus even featured a fleet of naked riders who were representing various charities and causes.

When Black Friday was announced to protest the prevalence of violence against women in South Africa, there were a number of people who dismissed it. According to them, wearing black does nothing to improve the plight of women in this country.

At the time, I felt that it was a bit unfair to discount it as some useless attempt at showing your solidarity, but I now agree with them that it is a very passive way to show your support.

So, how is taking your clothes off supposedly getting more actively involved with a charity than wearing black to show your solidarity? Simple - it’s not.

Being naked does not make it harder for poachers to viciously remove a rhino’s horn - it just makes it very easy for the whole world to see yours.

When I saw the pictures of the naked Cape Argus riders, I wasn’t even thinking about their various noble causes because I was so distracted by all the genitals on display.

Getting naked for a cause does nothing but create a sense of hype around it.

In the media, we refer to this as sensationalism. It is the magic ingredient that makes newspapers like Die Son so popular and, yes, resorting to sensationalism is frowned upon.

Is sensationalism helping charities and the many suffering people and animals they aim to benefit?

Should someone’s naked body be the image that is conjured up in our minds every time we think of the fur trade or brutality against women?

I don’t think so and really believe that there are far better of ways to improve the world around us than taking off our clothes. Before you decide to strip for change, ask yourself if you are benefitting anyone other than you inner exhibitionist.

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