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Boys swam naked in American high schools and sometimes teachers or coaches were naked too (although my swimming teacher always wore a swim suit). social history that a practice that millions of men experienced as boys has been suppressed in our collective memory.I set this in the broader context of naked swimming in America. This reflects a radical change in social mores today that reflects different attitudes toward nudity, privacy, and the body than were common in earlier times in America.We tend to reject the attitudes and views of previous generations because they contradict our own (more enlightened?) attitudes and views, as if our attitudes and views can’t withstand the challenge of different standards.
A fifth reason for writing this article is that religions have played a role in inculcating negative attitudes toward the body, for example, by their emphasis on modesty in dress.
Rather, I was created as a body—a body with a mind and a soul. So it is a serious thing if the body becomes a source of shame because then we’re talking about my shame.
There may be issues of which I am ashamed, but my body is not one of them. So this is a fourth reason for writing this article.
Even when I was a youth there were muscle magazines encouraging boys to bulk up so they wouldn’t be the skinny kid having sand kicked in his face on the beach—in front of his girl friend, who then walks off with the muscle guy!
Today youth use steroids and consume protein shakes to bulk up in order to compare more favorably with ideal models.These boys are younger than 9th grade, but the diving board looks similar to the one I remember in our high school pool. So a physical activity that I was actually good at has been removed.