Is Nudity Criminal?

Now that I have your attention…

Listen to the segment from The Current based on a Charter case on public nudity. Here’s the link:
Based on the Criminal Code and the Charter, what are some other examples of things in the Criminal Code that really don’t make any sense being there? What is the difference between public nuisance and harm? Also, think about some of the themes we have been discussing of late, namely mental illness and youth criminal justice.

6 thoughts on “Is Nudity Criminal?

  1. I do not believe nudity should be considered illegal. The key point is that although some people might be uncomfortable with the concept, it does not harm anyone and should therefore be an option to people if they so desire. Section 174 of the Criminal Code forbids being "so clad as to offend against public decency or order" while exposed to public view. The definition of “public” includes the front door of a person’s home as well as a person’s backyard and inside their car; this is slightly ridiculous as it seems to violate basic rights provided by the Charter. Section 173 is the second law pertaining to nudity, stating “indecent acts” are prohibited in public places. I believe that society’s definition of “indecency” is perhaps too conservative and should be more sympathetic to people with various beliefs. With regards to the argument that children would be scarred upon seeing a naked person, there has been extensive research conducted and experts conclude that there is no emotional damage caused by this. If individual businesses wish to forbid nudity – for instance schools or restaurants – they can do so. Finally, people might fear a drastic change in society should the laws on nudity be reduced. However this concern is irrational because the average person will not take advantage of the new laws and choose naturism. The new regulations would only affect a small percentage of the population and give them the liberty to live as they wish. -Ellen

  2. Nudity being illegal is quite a preposterous subject. Since the dawn of time humanity has used cloths as a way a warmth. This is what cloths are, a way a warmth, nothing more. It is strange to me that in the charter something would breach humanities rights so badly. This is not a question of nuisance or harm. This is humanity once again being to sensitive. The sad part is that it is not even to change. Technically we didn't wear cloths way back. People will not become harmed if they see people naked. The charter needs to be changed. It is appalling to me that it was made in such a way in the first place. Clothing is a question of comfortability and warmth. If all of a sudden the sun started expanding and it was plus 50 every day do you think the average joe would wear a shirt, pants and etc. I think not. So next you see a naked guy running across the street don't think of him as violating the charter, think of it as being too hot for him to wear anything. jack

  3. I believe that nudity is much more of a nuisance than harm to society. I do not think that someone is offended or will be scarred if they see someone naked in their own back yard but will more just not want to look at him/her. I do not think that it should be a criminal act to be naked as it is his/hers right to be naked if he or she pleases. Although at the same time it is a business owner’s right enforce a rule to be clothed in their establishment. Another act in the criminal code that doesn’t really make sense being there is section 213, which is “communication for the purpose of prostitution.” Other people communicating for the purpose of prostitution is not harming anyone else but the topic of prostitution is not generally accepted by the public. For the most part the elements of the criminal code that don’t seem like they should be there, are there because they are frowned upon by the broader Canadian society, not because they are harmful to others.

  4. While I believe nudity might be a nuisance to some, I feel that it is in no way harmful to people or society. The fact that nudity is illegal while many other more harmful things, such as cigarettes and firearms, are legal proves that some sections in the Criminal Code and Charter are less than sensible. This isn't specifically to say that cigarettes and firearms should be illegalized, merely to prove that nudity should not be given the severity is has associated with. Although exceptions apply, such as a place of work or somewhere with a strict dresscode, for the most part people should be able to choose whether they want to be naked or not. One of the only reasons the majority of people do not favor public nudity is because they have been taught to do so by the enforcement of this inane law.

  5. I think the section in the Criminal Code that has public view defined as within sight of the public (like a window or inside a car) is foolish because that is property that belongs to you. If someone were to invade your house and see you without clothes on, which person should be charged? Nudity isn't an illegal act because it's not causing harm such as vandalising or thievery, which happens all the time and I don't think people should be charged.Matthew

  6. Nudity should not be illegal because it is not a crime and does not cause any harm. Although individuals may find discomfort in nudity, it is all a matter of how we perceive such an act as opposed to how it actually physically affects us. Nudity, without sexual connotation, has no physical or emotional harm on us at any age in our lives. Objections against nudity come from our own personal levels of comfort with the idea, therefore, we should not let our own prejudices affect the lives of individuals who enjoy nudity. Section 173 of the Criminal Code prohibits indecent acts in a public place or in any place if done with the intent to insult or offend. Naturism does not focus on being nude with an intent to offend the public through sexual connotations or actions. This section in the Criminal Code should not apply to public displays of nudity, as it is merely an expression and not an attempt to offend or insult the public. Secondly, section 174 prohibits being so clad as to offend against public decency or order while exposed to public view. Public nudity is not intended to offend the public and therefore it is the publics responsibility to ensure that individual prejudice does not negatively affect the lives of other people in society who would like to live a naturist life.

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