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Born This Way (Literally): Gaga, Mariah and More Celebs on the Power of Nudity

Wonderwall, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 6:18pm (PDT)

So far she has managed to piss off Catholics, homophobes, vegetarians, Madonna fans and people with little patience for performance art, so it's not exactly stop-the-presses news when Lady Gaga gets a reaction from one group or another. However, this time, the ones speaking out might surprise you: They're nudists.

RELATED: Lady Gaga, fashion columnist?

Yep, members of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) are suggesting that Gaga, while great and all, may have overstepped the mark when she said in her latest video diary that she would like to be nude for all television appearances so as to appear "timeless." I know, I know. What the heck? The good people of the AANR -- proponents of "Nakationing," and "nude when possible, clothed when necessary" -- have stated in a press release that they "don't believe American TV audiences are ready for a nude Gaga" but nonetheless have asked her to embrace the clothing-free lifestyle as they practice it. And also, you know, maybe perform "Born This Way" at a nude concert such as Nudestock or Nude-A-Palooza. Great publicity for them, I'm sure. It's good to know that even nudists won't hesitate to use the prospect of naked famous people to get attention.

Some context on Gaga's statement, however: She wasn't making a grand, pro-nakey proclamation in the video. It's more of an off-the-cuff remark that she probably didn't think through. However, given that she's made equally head-scratching statements in more formal contexts -- like her explanation of the meat dress -- it's hard to tell if she's issuing a decree to Gagadom or just spitting out whatever words pop into her head. But the point is worth considering: Is nudity timeless? Has anyone ever thought that timelessness was the best possible reason to take off their clothes? I mean, floppy, dangly parts have been in style since the Garden of Eden and, as Celeb Dirty Laundry points out, shedding her clothes could create certain advantages in addition to extra attention: "She loves her eccentric, revealing outfits but has said that if she was nude all of the time, no one would question her fashion choices, because they wouldn't have anything to talk about." Sure, we'd be talking about her even more bald-faced attempts at sensationalism, but there's an element of truth in there.

RELATED: What was Gaga's mid-concert mishap?

Gaga's naked words came at a time when the subject of clotheslessness is coming up often in celeb news. What's interesting is how the meaning of going au naturel changes with the celebrity. Take Mariah Carey's impression of Demi Moore on the cover of the newest Life & Style. What did posing nude and very pregnant mean to her?" As she told L&S, "I didn't want to miss this opportunity to document this once-in-a-lifetime experience. ... My ultimate goal was to share this incredibly personal moment with my true fans."

RELATED: See Mariah's nude, baby bump-baring cover

And what of the cavalcade of celebrity nudity gracing the new issue of Allure? In it, Keri Hilson, Bridget Moynahan, Ashley Tisdale and Kaley Cuoco each pose in the buff -- tastefully, mind you -- and discuss why they decided to take off their clothes. For Hilson, nudity was about dispensing with all the extras women need to feel beautiful. "We do a lot of things to seek validation: I have to get more expensive handbags or fake lashes or fake boobs. This shoot was about dropping all that." For Tisdale, whose back tattoo-bearing pose takes her a long way from "High School Musical," posing meant growing up. "Being in this shoot was me saying, 'I'm not just the young girl everybody thinks I am. I'm actually a woman." Meanwhile, her "High School Musical" costar Vanessa Hudgens is haunted by a nude photo scandal. ("You say 'tomato,' I say 'to-mah-to'?")

RELATED: Want to see pictures of Tisdale's nude photo shoot?

Timeless or not, a celebrity could offer any number of reasons for showing the world her in-the-buff body. It's interesting, of course, that none of them mentioned the obvious motivation -- "because I want attention" -- since that's always at least one of the reasons to take your clothes off, except maybe in situations in which you need to disrobe because, like, your clothes are on fire. Really, the only people riding this wave of naked news who seem pretty upfront about using the bare human form to get attention are those nudists over at AANR, who tried to use Gaga's statement to bring attention to their cause. It's just brilliant, isn't it? I mean, if anyone is going to be the least likely to put up a front, shouldn't it be the nudists?

Follow Drew Mackie on Twitter.

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