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Ok, so I have a fictional world known as ''Ovuran''. The native ''Ovurani Humans'' have absolutely no concept of ''obscenity'', this means that their society is radically, traditionally and historically pro-nudity and clothing is reserved for warmth, comfort, protection, hygiene, fashion, and indicating one's rank and job. While any Ovurani human can be nude at any time and place, they still wear some type of clothing for most regular occasions due to the aforementioned situations.

Despite all this, Ovurani society is capitalist in the same way present-day human society is. I was wondering if the lack of obscenity concepts would cause clothing to be costlier on average thus justifying the possibility of lower-class Ovurani humans wearing little to no clothing on average.

I asked this question on 2 different worldbuilding subreddits and the discussions quickly de-evolved into a debate over the morality of Capitalism and it became clear that I wasn't going to get an actual answer to the question. Stackexchange seems to be the only other place where this type of question may work but I'm not sure if it belongs in Worldbuilding Stackexchange or another platform.

Any suggestions?

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  • $\begingroup$ If they wear clothing for reasons of warmth, comfort, protection, hygiene, fashion, and social rank, I see no reason why the clothing they have would necessarily be so different from ours. True, they'd be fine with people wearing no clothes - but there are, as you listed, a great many reasons to wear clothes, so even if you have nothing against it, there's still a good reason to wear them. It's why people eat steak even though you can survive off of flavorless nutrient tablets. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Sep 3 '20 at 1:43
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First: I don't understand how "obscenity" fits with nudity. When something is obscene, it is foul or dirty or contrary to morality (either objective morality or situational morality). We usually think of obscenities in terms of language: using racial slurs or cursing or using God's name in a vulgar fashion; it can also be an outrageously immoral act like rape or molesting a corpse or torturing someone in a particularly cruel fashion.

Nude is just how everyone is, until they put clothing on, and this is not obscene in and of itself. The society you describe does not appear to be using nudity in an obscene fashion and there do not appear to be any matters of situational morality involved.

Other than that, I think your question about clothing costs would be a reasonable fit. You want to consider clarifying what you mean by clothing that is worn for rank classification or on the job protection. Rank and status have, in Earth human societies, often been displayed by using costly but otherwise useless and valueless bits of decoration. Sea shells used by people who live far from the sea; amber that comes from very far away; gold that's difficult to find. And of course, the classic yet relatively valueless, status symbol: the diamond. Protective clothing is naturally going to incur expense due to materials and workmanship: armour, space suits, heavy duty aprons, and the like.

We're generally a step or two above the average Reddit forum. I think you'll get a range of good answers that are on point and helpful to you right here. The key will be in wording your question properly!

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  • $\begingroup$ Public nudity is often a violation of obscenity laws, hence I think it's appropriate to use the term ''obscenity'' when referring to majority public views on nudity regardless of one's personal views on the matter. $\endgroup$ Aug 31 '20 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't offering you a personal view on nudity. Nevertheless. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Aug 31 '20 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ I was simply attempting to justify my use of that term. $\endgroup$ Sep 1 '20 at 3:17
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    $\begingroup$ @JordanTheCynic: Elemtilas is right. Yes, there are indeed some places on Earth, for example Saudi Arabia and the USA, where nudity as such is considered obscene; but in most places and at most times simple nudity was not and is not considered obscene. And yes, until very recently in history textiles were expensive. In Ancient Egypt, or in Ancient Greece, where the climate allowed it, lower class people wore very little clothing. (Note that clothing serves as mechanical protection too, not only as thermal protection. Dangly bits are both precious and sensitive.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 2 '20 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ @JordanTheCynic: On the other hand, in the modern world textiles are very very cheap. You cannot have a world similar to our modern world where textiles are expensive. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 2 '20 at 18:47
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(a) We recently had a hand-slap from SE over gratuitous/explicit questions, so if you can ask your question in a clinical manner, we're usually good with it (as you've described things here, I don't see a problem). (b) Part of capitalism is marketing, marketing is convincing people they need something even if they don't, so the question of yes/no clothing is much more cultural/behavioral than it ever will be economic - unless the only resource available to make clothes happens to be rare or expensive (hard to justify).

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... I wasn't aware of that. So, all NSFW worldbuilding questions must be clinical? $\endgroup$ Aug 30 '20 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ @JordanTheCynic Stack Exchange corp is very clear about this: there's no such thing as a valid, acceptable, or tolerable NSFW question. Keep it clean or ask it somewhere else. Keep in mind that it's possible to ask almost any question in this way - and if you'll excuse how blunt this is, because we've met all types here and no personal offense intended - it depends more on the maturity of the person asking than it does the maturity of the other participants. $\endgroup$ Aug 30 '20 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ Ok and what about the economic aspects of this question, does it apply to worldbuilding or not? $\endgroup$ Aug 30 '20 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ @JordanTheCynic -- Yeah. Clinical -- exactly how you introduced and approached your question here! Just the facts. "NSFW" implies a somewhat salacious content that we really don't need to know in order to answer your question. Save thát content for r/NSFWworldbuilding! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Aug 30 '20 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Like I mentioned in my answer, capitalism acts to convince people to do things whether they need to do them or not. Specifically, for the purpose of acquiring wealth. If capitalism were the only variable in play, it would act to cloth everyone in clothing that had to be replaced frequently to take as much of their money as possible. Even in the Pacific Islands, once clothing-optional people have become clothed as they interacted with other cultures and people began selling them things. Could you ask the question? Sure, I'm by no means perfect. But I suspect economics alone won't do it. $\endgroup$ Aug 30 '20 at 17:54

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