A Private Underworld: The Naked Body in Law and Society

46 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2016

See all articles by Lawrence M. Friedman

Lawrence M. Friedman

Stanford University - School of Law

Joanna L. Grossman

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In general, the literature on privacy stresses, quite naturally, our right to keep things private, or to make our own decisions. The individual, the citizen, is the center of gravity. There is a great deal of material on the limits of privacy, on threats to privacy, and the like. In this Article, the authors want to discuss what one might call mandatory privacy: those aspects of life that we are required to keep secret, hidden, or private, the things that we must keep private, whether we want to or not. This is a subject that has been mostly, though not entirely, ignored in the privacy literature.

The authors conclude that there is no longer an ironclad rule that the body, or at least the "private parts," have to remain that way: private. It has become a matter of choice. Forced bodily privacy has declined; now it is much more a matter for each person to decide, although there are still strong rules about behavior that seems threatening, abusive or pathological.

Keywords: Privacy, Public Nudity, Law, Lewdness, Simple Nudity, Sexually Threatening Nudity, Indecent Exposure, Public Breastfeeding, Law

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Lawrence M. and Grossman, Joanna L., A Private Underworld: The Naked Body in Law and Society (2013). Buffalo Law Review Vol. 61, No. 1, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865991

Lawrence M. Friedman

Stanford University - School of Law ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Joanna L. Grossman (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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