#SexWeek: N(Y)Udity

Clothing Optional?

Brain Like NYU | Claire Seidler | February 28, 2016

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In Fall of 2014 I started at Smith College, a small women’s institution situated in Western Massachusetts, before transferring to NYU in the Fall of 2015. Why did I decide to go to a women’s college as a heterosexual, semi-normal human being? TBH, it’s a great school academically but the social scene was just not for me.

What do YOU think of when you hear “Women’s College?” For me, it was something like this:

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
In two straight lines they broke their bread
and brushed their teeth and went to bed.”

My roommate, Paulina, was less verbose:


So let’s get down to the sexy stuff: public nudity. Before classes started at Smith in the fall, we had Convocation. I had heard rumors that people usually wore underwear or lingerie but I thought that the older students were just messing with me…oh how wrong I was.

I showed up at the auditorium, which is right on the main street of town, and I shit you not, there were fully naked students standing outside waving to the townies.

There was ducktape, and pasties, and glitter bushes… OH MY. Seriously, they put glitter in unmentionable places. THEIR VAGINAS, PEOPLE.

After getting over my initial shock, I actually began to understand these people for embracing their bodies and giving zero shits. Here’s what I wore btw:

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Pretty sexy, right?

Although it is not explicitly stated in the Smith student handbook, most students I spoke to at Smith claimed the campus to be “clothing optional.” Smith is a private institution on private land, so it makes sense that its students can wear what they want without fear of state or federal laws banning public nudity.

This + hyper feminist, hyper liberal students = public nudity.

Although I did not experience more nudity firsthand, this site has some good quotes from students about nudity at Smith, including the fact that “at room parties people usually end up (mostly) naked.” Smith is also included in a list of “Clothing Optional Colleges and Universities.”

However, not all students at Smith are happy about this tradition/policy. One first year stated,

“I wouldn’t respect a man more for walking around without clothes either. It’s unprofessional for all genders and walks of life. This is a college campus; mind your own business, get a degree and a job because no one cares about your sexual liberation except you.”

Clearly passionate about the topic she went further saying,

“Also, do whatever the fuck you want to do but don’t be surprised when people lose respect for you and you don’t get a job because you look like a dipshit.”

And, ya know, she has a point. Would you want your professor or potential employer seeing you ass naked? I enjoy freedom of expression as much as the next gal, but there is absolutely no way I would let my 70-year-old Latin teacher see me naked.

It would be especially hard to for this to work at NYU because our campus is in the middle of NYC and I don’t think the locals would appreciate our N(Y)Udity. However, there is the possibility of keeping it covered outside and then stripping once you enter an NYU building. Imagine it: bare assed people squeezing by as you attempt to get down the stairs in Silver or floors upon floors of people quietly studying in the nude at Bobst.

So here’s my question, NYU: Do we go naked?

Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline. New York: Viking, 1967. Print.