Nudity is a no-no for social change

Social change can be brought about through many forms of useful, deliberate and well planned rhetorical strategies.

One rhetorical strategy that every social change seems to try and use is “getting naked”. Now, I am not saying that it’s not a good use of getting noticed. Seeing people not wearing any/little to no clothing is a real eye catcher. It’s a good way to get an event talked about, making it a rhetorical event.

But I think it’s distracting, and I think it’s a negative form of rhetoric. It moves the focus away from a bunch of people protesting, or demonstrating for a cause to a bunch of people grabbing attention without getting their message across. I think nudity moves the “general purpose” of social change from information, or persuasion to entertainment. There are many blogs and articles that debate this type of rhetoric and it’s effectiveness to persuade/inform.

Banner_protesting_vehicle_emissions_at_the_World_Naked_Bike_Ride,_Auckland,_New_Zealand_-_20050217

Does being naked even relate to vehicle emissions?

While some may say that any press is good press, I argue that, while that may be true. Is it good press if your message is getting misconstrued or changed? Occupy Wall Streethad a large problem with this, not through nudity (although I imagine that happened), but through lack of cleanliness. The media changed them from a bunch of people dead set on informing and persuading the public, to a bunch of hippies camping out for fun.

An example that I’ve seen happen is during high school/college events where something is going wrong – recently the University of California educational system said they were going to raise tuition again. The students did not like that and began to protest. But of course, someone had the idea to strip down and paint something on their chest. It’s not a bad rhetorical strategy on paper, but sadly, the media spun their tactics and made them look like a bunch of drunk derelicts looking for attention.

“SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – University of California President Janet Napolitano remarked to a fellow regent that they “didn’t have to listen to this crap” as underwear-clad protesters denounced potential tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.”

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