Game of Thrones versus the naked lawn mower

There’s a lot of nudity about. Have you seen Game of Thrones, the fantasy series that everyone is riveted to? It is violent, addictive television. There’s also way too much naked nonsense going on in that show.

This week’s episode was the big one. It was a no holds barred, brutal affair that fans of the original novels have been quietly waiting to see for years. In a world wide conspiracy of total respect, Game of Thrones readers kept quiet about the particular details so as not to spoil things for the rest of us. My thanks to you all.

A few days later, with the internet fan base still in shock, I realise that none of the Game of Thrones characters took off their clothes this week. An entirely nude free episode. Huh.

But guess what? It didn’t matter. Nakedness for the sake of nakedness rarely, if ever, advances the plot.

Gratuitous nudity is by far the most boring part of Game of Thrones. It does nothing for the story and it’s often quite stupid. In the real world, do women really drop away all their clothing in front of fully clothed men to seduce them? In the snow?

Maybe I didn’t get around enough before I was married but it seems to me that every one of those scenes was written by a fanciful teenage boy.

Whoever he is, that teenager is overdoing it in Game of Thrones. Too much nakedness on screen strips the mystery away. After an initial perk of excitement, everything looks the same after a while. Hey look, it’s a body, just like all those other bodies.

This is where the naturists might have something to say. Naturists take the view that the human body is no big deal. It’s all perfectly normal, there’s nothing worth gawking at here so you might as well strip down and get on with relating to each other as human beings.

By embracing your nakedness you’re effectively rendering your nakedness invisible.

Well, that’s lovely, except nakedness is not quite so invisible to the people who can see you from the street.

Last week one of Tauranga’s more notorious naturists was found guilty of offensive behaviour after he mowed his lawns in the nude. Outside the court a neighbour said they had been putting up with his naked lawn mowing, “but when he brought it into the front yard where other people can see him, including my kids, that’s an entirely different matter.”

The neighbours may acknowledge your right to bare arms, legs and everything else, but they don’t necessarily want to share your views if it means they have to share the view.

It’s a shame the free range lawn mower didn’t listen to his fellow naturists. Back in October 2010 the Bay of Plenty Times interviewed some good natured naturists who stressed that true naturists don’t want to offend anyone. “We wouldn’t mow the lawn or garden out the front of our house naked,” they were quoted at the time.

Naturists must get frustrated by the level of offence they generate. The whole point of their exercise is to not be offended by nudity, yet naturism is by nature offensive if you’re looking at it from the wrong angle.

There’s also a double standard. In advertising, in Game of Thrones, you name it, our culture practically worships the body by showing it off as much as possible. Even cartoon characters are drawn with gorgeous midriffs.

Naturism stands outside of that, asking to be exempt from the sexualization of the body. Put this way it almost sounds noble.

But naturism is a private pursuit and that’s the way it should stay. If you’re roaming free then I’m afraid your freedom to express your natural self stops at the front door.

The world might be able to cope with Game of Thrones but it’s not quite ready for danger mowing.


First published in Bay of Plenty Times 7 June 2013. Reproduced with permission.