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Aliens and clothing.

It's weird when TV shows and movies have really advanced alien species that, for some reason, don't wear any clothes. Is it just our strange luck that we keep running into species that just decided one day, "Hey everyone, let's be nudists!" "Hey, that sounds awesome!"

What's even weirder is an alien species in Torchwood. Called Weevils, they are no smarter than animals, and live in the sewers, yet for some reason they all wear clothes. The same uniform, too.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

Comments

acelightning
Mar. 10th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
Actually, it's weirder if advanced aliens do wear clothes. This presupposes that they are humanoid in form, not covered with fur, possess external genitalia, and have the same social sexual/nudity hangups as 21st-century Americans.

There are only two logical functions for clothing: protection and decoration. Different types of bodies require different kinds of protection, though; I can think of any number of forms that wouldn't require clothes to keep them warm, or to protect against UV. But any technology at all, even at the minimal level of fire and chipped stone tools, is going to require protective clothing for some activities. This needn't be worn all the time, though - just when performing those activities.

Decoration seems to be inevitable in intelligent species. Even among human cultures with no sexual taboos and no need for protection (e.g., on tropical islands), people will adorn themselves with a flower in their hair, a strand of beads around their neck or waist, or tattoos. An intelligent creature might dye zir fur in patterns, or inlay zir scales with glittering metal and colorful gems... or zie might wear a strand of beads or a strip of material as decoration.

Some human cultures consider the genitalia (and often the breasts and buttocks as well) "shameful", and require people to cover these areas in the presence of others. Other human cultures proudly emphasize the same features - yard-long bamboo penis sheaths, jewelry worn on bare nipples. And that's just humans. What about creatures whose genitalia are normally inside the body, or who have more than two sexes, or who reproduce like fish, or who don't reproduce sexually at all? Why should they have body taboos? For that matter, why should we?


fayanora
Mar. 10th, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
Yup yup. Though the article I read that first pointed out the oddity of all the naked aliens was talking about things like protective suits in case something on our planet could hurt them.

Some of the Ah'Koi Bahnis (from my Traipah stories) have tattoos. And a lot of AKB go nude most of the time, only wearing clothing for special weather things or for protection during certain activities. (It helps that Traipah is a rather warm planet.) And most religious/spiritual Orders wear robes, not out of any shame or anything, but as symbols of their journey and accomplishments. In that sense, it serves a purpose not unlike the sashes of the Girl Scouts.

Hell, even my Zedaleph species, a race of machines, decorate themselves. They don't need clothes, but they decorate their cases, or get custom cases. Zedaleph are highly into body mods; some individuals end up looking nothing like they did when they were kids. Things like extra arms, specialized limbs, custom wheels, or abandoning limbs and/or wheels altogether (Zedaleph standard body design is six legs, each leg having both a hand and two wheels. The wheels can turn on their sides to allow them to climb around on places not suited to wheels.)

But when I get back to writing the Traipah stuff, I think I'll have the Duenicallo do more decoration things. They have fur, so I'm thinking braids, beads woven into the fur, dyes, maybe even designs shaved into the fur. And the Shaokennah species have scales, so your ideas help me there, too.

As to human decorations/body mods, I've even seen people with diamonds set into their teeth.
acelightning
Mar. 10th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
Why not have a race of robots who are into case-modding? Don't forget the lighting effects many humans install in their computers, just to make them look cool! And do your fur-bearing aliens have the technology to make genetic modifications, so they can make their fur grow out in stripes or spots, or in unusual colors, instead of dyeing them that way?

One of the niftiest human body decorations I ever saw was on a bagpiper who was busking at Grand Central Station in NYC. He had, not one eyebrow piercing, but a whole row of them, with silver-colored rings; it looked like a chain-mail eyebrow. (And I myself have three tattoos.)


fayanora
Mar. 11th, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
The only problem with the lights is that Zedaleph cases are watertight. (They solved the problem of excessive heat in their circuits a long time ago, and also they live on a planet full of carbon-based life. They don't like getting bugs inside themselves.)

The Duenicallo probably could do things like that with genetic engineering, but I doubt they would. Mainly because genetic engineering doesn't work that way in their world. But they have nanites, so someone who wanted that done to them could use nanites to do it.
acelightning
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Case-modders usually install big plexiglas "windows" on the sides of their machines, so people can see how awesome their machine is, with all sorts of "neon" wiring and extraneous LEDs and stuff inside.

fayanora
Mar. 11th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, cool!

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