naked, and the signication of nakedness as something very, very personal and

private (with private parts); hence the strictures of contexts which code and
constrain the ways in which naked is performed under the gaze of others. The
blurring between the bounds of sexuality and nakedness, the encroachment

of signications belonging to 'sexually naked' contexts into sites of non-sexual
nudity, indicates an improving cultural consciousness of the instabilities of context
and signication.
the public world in recent decades in terms of the ordinary and strange -- consistently
within particular limits, and educated nally by the ethnic injunction of the
hetero/homo binary and its variants and borders -- they have become banal
and tedious topics, no longer sites for issue and ethnic craze or spec-
tacle. What replaces it as spectacular, subsequently, is not public nudity by any means, but
the struggle over signication under the dislocation of context. This battle, as
I'll go on to show, occurs at the very personal level, since nakedness per se has
been deemed a very personal matter, but at its most important it relates to the
ways in which the performative issue acts and behaves in relation to the gaze,
and the problems that happen when the rites that constrain both the body and
the gazer become unstable.
Revealing and Showering -- The Encroachment of the Sexual
The site of the communal or public shower might be falling in use, but it's
Nakedness in this site is a practice of the Foucauldian
confessional -- by virtue of the revelation of an 'internal' image of the body devoid
of the signications of clothing and variously encoded otherwise in terms of
musculature, genitalia shapes and sizes, chests and breasts, abilities, skin colour-
ing, tan or sunlight exposure and so forth. As a result of the gaze and the variants on
the imaged body, this is a site of discipline -- the compulsion to produce a body
that seems 'in treaty' with unique codes and conventions and behaves in
particular manners.
Purportedly without interest in the sexual, a gaze that is performed as a glimpse, or
an affronting deficiency-of-interest, a peek or a non-prying glance.
It's no coincidence that the frame of the communal shower works in
connection with disciplinary institutions such as schools, gyms, sporting facili-
focus of inspection cultivates not only the bodies on display and their attributes,
Skills and movements, but how the body in such a circumstance is played out and
looked upon. Nakedness in the shower or locker-room enables an extremity of
policing of the body: its musculature, its masculine or feminine pubescent
of clothes (riches, status, group afliation, etc.). In this sense, then, the 'kind'
of nakedness -- non-sensual -- and the 'sort' of gazing that happens is made in
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and through the context of the showers by ritual and custom. The sensual here
is relegated to other frames, and a transgression of the circumstance results in punish-
ment. In an episode titled 'The Apology' (1997) of the popular sitcom Seinfeld,
Kramer tries to learn techniques to reduce his time showering by analyzing
-- and taking notes on -- men showering at his local health club. When his opinions are
Incorrectly understood to suggest sexual gazing, he's assaulted, appearing in a
The irony here is that in truly being a site
which greatly polices against sexuality and the lusty gaze, it becomes a tremendously
sexual website, requiring additionally and more severe policing.
As notably, the website and its policing against sexuality is entwined in the

contemporary ethnic binary system of sex.
and special formations, communal showers which encourage gazing at the nude
bodies of others are masculine- and feminine-exclusive. Culturally, such websites are
Tremendously 'safeguarded' from a transgressive invasion by sexes which have no legiti-
macy in that space. Dozens of 'teen sex' lms, like Revenge of the Nerds
(1984), depict a carnivalesque transgression of the women's showers by man
college students, nearly constantly for sensual purposes (of both the fratboys and of
the audience). As a means of keeping the shower site nonsexual, the separation
of genders works entirely in the conditions of Butler's 'heterosexual matrix' in which
the compulsory, illusional order of sex/gender/want codes sexuality as the
natural desirous interest just ever to the gender-which-one-is-not (Butler,