Ok, so just what is wrong with nudity and why are people embarrassed about their bodies? And how and why did we get that way?
Well, the ever intrepid Horizon team wanted to find out, so they took a group of volunteers – Rosie, Alex, Kath, helen, Iain, Phil, Lucy and Foyez – and subjected them to a series of “psychological and physical tests” designed to challenge attitudes to nakedness.
Human beings, we were told, are the only creatures that are ‘naked’ in the sense that we don’t have fur or feathers or something, but why, how and when did people lose their ‘fur’?
In the quest to answer that question, Horizon travelled the globe to meet scientists from Africa to Florida, and found some answers in unexpected places such as in the chest hair of Finnish students, the genetic story of the evolution of lice, and the sweat of an “unusual” monkey.
Charles Darwin theorised that it was all to do with “sexual selection” and that we’re instinctively attracted to potential partners who have little or no body hair, but was he right?
The quest for an answer to that question began with the brave volunteers moving in temporarily to the Horizon house and more or less immediately shedding their clothes and for the men, their chest hair, which turned up some interesting little tidbits of info courtesy of a Finnish professor who tested the theory out and found that yes, women were attracted to less hairy men.
On of the many interesting facts proffered during the show was about the Patas monkeys who sweat in a way that’s very similar to humans. Experts in these things reliably informed us that the Patas are “following our very own pattern of evolution” and therefore offer a unique insight into the when, how and why of homosapean fur shedding.
Back with the now butt naked volunteers I must say I didn’t fall off my chair in surprise when we learned that they found it all a tad embarrassing and awkward. And unless I missed a bit – which is possible given I had a call of nature moment – they then went on to paint each other green… why??
In a nutshell, the ‘experiment’ seemed to conclude that we humans need to be ashamed of our bodies and nudity so that we won’t be swapping sexual partners every two minutes and therefore neglect our children… try telling that to people who run swinger clubs! I suspect they’d disagree.
In conclusion, I’d have to say I’ve seen better Horizon films; yes it was informative in many ways and as I’ve always been interested in Darwinian theory I enjoyed the Patas monkey section but rest was just plain squirmy awkward… what did you think of it?