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Culturally Correct Nudity -- Staying Safe

Evelyn Hannon

Depending on where a woman is in the world, she learns from her elders which parts of her body must be kept covered in public. As a female visiting with different cultures around the globe, it's wise for Journey Women to know when and what... to uncover or... not uncover...

Come upon a women undressed and...

Hospital GownA Laotian woman covers her breasts

In China, (before the revolution) she covered her feet

In Sumatra it's her knees that she hides

And in Samoa she quickly covers her navel.

Should She or Shouldn't She Uncover?

She SHould/She Shouldn't

In India, a female's upper arms are considered sensual areas of the body and therefore should not be exposed in public.

In North America, when sunbathing at the beach, a woman is more apt to remove the top rather than the bottom of her bikini.

In Mali, West Africa, women will more easily expose their breasts than their thighs. Shorts seem to be acceptable only for the times when women take part in sporting events.

In France topless sunbathing is considered the norm. Neither men nor women think anything of it.

Outside the big cities in Egypt, local women might swim entirely clothed in accordance with their religious beliefs.

In Rio, even grandmothers wear bikinis. A one-piece bathing suit is unheard of.

Director's ChairWomen's Words on Disrobing...

When actor Julie Roberts was asked to do a nude movie scene, she declined saying...

There are certain people who should know what you look like naked. I just don't think your high school algebra teacher should be one of them.

Thoughts on Her Body... Her Body Language

We should be provided with a new body about the age of thirty or so when we have learned to attend to it with consideration.
(Freya Stark, Letters from Syria , 1942)

If God had to give women wrinkles, he might at least have put them on the soles of her feet.
(Ninon de Lenclos, 1957)

Her large hips fluttered as if a bird imprisoned in her pelvis was attempting flight.
(Maya Angelou, The Heart of a Woman, 1981)

What Should I Wear, Where?

Sun BathingAt Journeywoman, we believe that the way a woman dresses or undresses as she moves around the world is very important.

  • It affects her safety.
  • It affects her social interactions.
  • It can make or break her travel adventure.
  • (And, if she packs too much, carrying her bags can make her very tired, very cranky and very vulnerable!)

For culturally-correct clothing tips in over 50 countries, why not check our Journeywoman feature entitled, "What Should I Wear?"

(Source: Helen Couton - The Gift of Touch, Her Own Way - Advice for the woman traveller, What Should I Wear, Journeywoman files, Do's and Taboos Around the World)





Back to The Joy of Learning New Travel Stuff

Culturally Correct Dos and Taboos



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