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The Nudity Cult

Posted 08-20-2008 at 04:04 PM by MathGuy

First, I highly recommend the SI Vault at, which has an archive of every SI article ever published. That being said, I found the following article, and was intrigued by what I read:

The Nudity Cult, by Liz Smith
July 16, 1965
"Six months after the topless-swimsuit brouhaha, bare skin—or styling that gives the illusion thereof—is the thing to wear under the sun. Where do we go from here?"

Feel free to read the article if you wish. That's not really the part that I found intruiguing. Instead, I found this on the second page of the article:

In the year 2000 A.D. some 63.6 million Americans will be between the ages of 15 and 24. And one may presume there won't be a scopophobic in the lot. (Scopophobia, as all collectors of phobias must know, is the fear of being seen.) That set of youngsters will doubtless have totally discarded any old-fashioned concept that links nudity with immorality.

I checked with the US Census, and it looks like there were only around 39 million Americans between 15 and 24 in 2000. I also haven't really noticed a significant increase in the amount of public nudity. I think we can safely call the magazine wrong on both these predictions. I guess it's just every generation's responsibility to lament the conduct of its whipper-snappers, and to blame the (predicted) downfall of society on their clothes (or lack thereof), or music, or whatever.
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