- present participle of streak
Streaking is the act of taking off one's clothes and running naked through a public place.
Definitions and etymologyThe word is recorded in its modern sense only since 1973. Before, to streak in English since 1768 meant "to go quickly, to rush, to run at full speed," and was a re-spelling of streek: "to go quickly" (c.1380); this in turn was originally a northern Middle English variant of stretch (c. 1250).
The term "streaking" was coined by a reporter for a local Washington DC news station as he watched a "mass nude run" take place at the University of Maryland in 1973. That nude run had over 500 participants. As the collected mass of nude students exited Bel Air dorm with the lead runner using a flaming broom to part the 2000 plus crowd of spectators like the Red Sea, the reporter, who voice was broadcast live over the station via a pay phone connection exclaimed... "they are streaking past me right now. It's an incredible sight!" The next day it was out on the Associated Press wire as "streaking" and had nationwide coverage.
Streaking is distinct from naturism or nudism in that streakers usually intend to be noticed and may choose a place with a large audience for their act, regardless of the risk of arrest (sometimes even intending to be remanded into police custody), whereas naturists and nudists generally prefer to be left in peace. It is also distinct from "flashing," in that the intent is generally not to shock or traumatize a victim.
Streakers may streak only once or a few times, possibly as a result of a dare, or may streak so often it can be considered a hobby.
The most public form of streaking is running naked before huge crowds at sporting events. However, many streakers seek quieter venues, such as a neighborhood at night after most people have gone to bed. Some have even found it especially satisfying to streak on rural highways in the very early hours of the morning, when there are not many commuters on the road. A number of streakers do not intend to expose themselves to others, but find it thrilling to do it in places that often have people present, but do not at the time of their streak. Streaking may be an individual or a group activity. It is not uncommon for videos of some of the more daring streaks to find popularity on the internet.
Streaking on college campusesThe first recorded incident of streaking by a college student in the United States occurred in 1804 at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), when senior George William Crump was arrested for running nude through Lexington, Virginia, where the university is located. Robert E. Lee later sanctioned streaking as a rite of passage for young Washington and Lee gentlemen. Crump was suspended for the academic session, but would later go on to become a U.S. Congressman and Ambassador to Chile.
When and where streaking on campus started is unknown. Streaking seems to have been well-established on some college campuses by the mid-1960s.
Time magazine, in December 1973, called streaking "a growing Los Angeles-area fad" that was "catching on among college students and other groups." A letter writer responded, "Let it be known that streakers have plagued the campus police at Notre Dame for the past decade," pointing out that a group of University of Notre Dame students sponsored a "Streakers' Olympics" in 1972.
The current record for the largest group streak was established at the University of Georgia, with 1,543 simultaneous streakers on March 7, 1974. The University of Colorado comes in second with 1,200 streakers, and the University of Maryland ranking third, with 553 naked students streaking three miles in March 1974. The previous record was held by the University of South Carolina, with 508 streakers. Erskine College claimed the highest per-capita streak, when 25% of its 600 students participated in a streaking party in 1974.
The last night before final exams at Harvard University sees undergraduates participating in a Primal Scream. Students disrobe and make two laps around Harvard Yard. This is done in both semesters, even during New England winters. Some of the streakers will dress in capes and masks, or top hat and tails, but their genitalia are still exposed. The walkways through which the streakers run are lined with spectators and the school's marching band plays beforehand to excite the crowd.
Princeton University has had a long tradition of streaking. The first streaking incident in 1970 was meant as a one-time prank, but in time, streaking became a tradition of the sophomore class, and rules were drafted for the event. The tradition declined in the 1990s and the administration chose not to tolerate the event anymore; the Board of Trustees voted to ban the practice in 1999 because it was becoming dangerous and attracting too many outsiders.
Students of Lewis & Clark College began their naked mile tradition as a response to the arrest of some of its students at a downtown protest. Since then the mile has remained as a celebration of body image, encouraging students to come either naked or wearing underwear/bra/whatever they feel comfortable in without question or judgment. Students continue to honor the legacy each year by coming out on prospective student weekend and running in solidarity through the school.
Streaking became an annual campus tradition at The University of Chicago in 1983, during their Kuviasungnerk winter festival, to help students kick the winter blues. There are often more spectators than actual participants.
In 1986, the University of Michigan's Naked Mile celebrated the last day of class with a group streak across campus along an approximate one-mile path. At the height of its popularity in the late 1990s, between 500 and 800 students would participate. However, due to recent enforcement of public indecency laws and increasing spectator crowds and videotaping, participation has declined, and in 2001, a mere 24 students participated. Students were warned by college administrators that streakers would be arrested and declared sex offenders for life under Megan's Law.
The University of California, Santa Cruz has an annual fall tradition known as First Rain, where students begin the run in Porter College and run naked around the campus during the first rainfall of the fall season, usually in October.
Dartmouth College has two streaking-related challenges: The Ledyard Challenge, in which students swim naked across the Connecticut River and run nude back across the bridge, and the Blue Light Challenge, in which streaking students attempt to press the alarm on every one of the campus's blue light emergency phones. Currently, a Thursday Night Streaking Club exists that regularly streaks various events and public places.
At the University of Virginia, tradition holds that prior to graduating, students must run naked from the steps of the Rotunda and down the 740 foot Lawn to kiss the buttocks of a statue of Homer, before running back up the Lawn to the peer through the keyhole of the Rotunda, which affords a view of the marble statue of the school's founder, Thomas Jefferson, before they retrieve their clothes. In 1995, a mass streak was organized to protest a police crackdown on the practice.
At the University of the Philippines, members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity streak around the campus in an annual event known as the U.P. Oblation Run.
Hamilton College of New York has a Varsity Streaking Team, which, until recently, boasted an undefeated record. The team received positive coverage in the New York Times in 2004 after streaking twelve private colleges in the New England region. Other victories include Colgate University and Princeton University, the latter sparked by a challenge from that school's now-defunct streaking squad. The Williams College "Springstreakers" defeated Hamilton in spring 2005: fifteen members of the Williams team made a full circuit of the Hamilton library the night before their final exams began, streaking about 200 people and giving the Hamilton team their first loss.
The men's and women's rugby union teams at Swarthmore College engage in a streaking fundraiser each semester known as the "Dash for Cash", in which the team members run naked through Parrish Hall, the main administration building. Spectators are expected to bring money, which the streakers grab from their hands as they run by. The activity has been known to catch bystanders unawares, despite heavy publicity featuring the slogan, "Bring money, or you're a pervert."
Streaking in sports
Rugby UnionTwenty-five-year-old Australian Michael O'Brien was the first known streaker at a major sporting event when on April 20, 1974, he ran out naked onto the ground of an England vs. France Rugby Union match at Twickenham. The photograph of O'Brien captured by the police became one of the most famous photographs of a streaker activity. Erica Roe, a bookshop assistant, also streaked during a rugby union Test at Twickenham in 1982. Recently, in New Zealand, there have been incidents of streaking at rugby union matches.
CricketIn the sport of cricket, it is not uncommon for a streaker to run out to the field purely for shock and entertainment value or political purposes. One example was in the First Test of the Australia versus the I.C.C. World XI, when a rather drunken man darted out toward the field naked, shocking the Australian and World XI players, halting play until he was spear tackled to the ground by field personnel after trying to evade their trap (this is the usual method to capture streakers at sporting events) and was apprehended.
In one notable incident in 1977, Australian test cricketer Greg Chappell spanked an invading streaker named Bruce McCauley with his cricket bat; McCauley then fell to the ground and was arrested by police. Former cricket streaker Sheila Nicholls went on to have a successful career in the American music business.
Streaking also occurred during the 2007 Boxing Day test match at the MCG between India and Australia. The Indian media incorrectly reported that local police wrapped the streaker with an Indian flag he was carrying as he charged onto the turf late in the day, at a potential cost of $6,000 in fines. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article§id=59&contentid=200712272007122703333478cf3db11f The flag in question was an Irish flag.http://beefvindaloo.com/2007/12/28/aussie-streaker-causes%20-indian-row/#comments
The most recent streaking incident was during the second one-day final between Australia and India at the Gabba.. A 26-year old Brisbane man, Robert Ogilvy, invaded the pitch during the 10th over, only to receive a Shoulder Barge from Australian test cricketer Andrew Symonds, causing the streaker to drop instantly to the ground where he was apprehended by Police. The streaker has since been fined $1500, with Symonds receiving no charges.
Australian rules footballStreaking became popular at Australian rules football matches in the 1980s, particularly Victorian Football League Grand Finals, with a trend started by Adelaide stripper Helen D'Amico in the 1982 VFL Grand Final between Carlton and Richmond, wearing only a Carlton scarf.
There were also incidents in 2004 at Launceston (St. Kilda v Port Adelaide) where a streaker was tackled, while another streaker who evaded security in 2007 at Darwin (Western Bulldogs v Fremantle) turned himself in to police the next morning. Another incident occurred in 2007 when two women streaked onto the Gabba pitch at a match between Brisbane and eventual premiers Geelong. The women were caught by security and fined.
Association footballIn 2005, German football club FC Hansa Rostock successfully sued three streakers who disrupted their 2003 match against Hertha Berlin, to recoup the €20,000 they were fined by the German Football Association for failing to maintain adequate security at their ground.
During a 2007 exhibition match between Wellington Phoenix and Los Angeles Galaxy, a female streaker took to the pitch trying to unofficially promote a business run by New Zealand sporting personality Marc Ellis. Although Ellis is well known for his promotion of streaking and reimbursement for those fined while doing so, he refused to pay the cost of the fine. In order to pay, the streaker unsuccessfully attempted to sell the item of underwear she wore at the time on online auction site TradeMe.
Olympic gamesIn the 2006 Winter Olympics, streaker Mark Roberts interrupted the men's bronze medal curling match between the U.S. team and the UK team, wearing nothing but a strategically placed rubber chicken. He was intending to advertise a well known gambling website, which was written across his back and breast, but in the United States, cameras cut away before viewers could see him. A Polish female streaker showed up at the closing ceremony, but was not on the telecast either.
Professional wrestlingIn an episode of "SmackDown!" in 2003, Sean O'Haire convinced Brian Kendrick that he would get attention for himself if he streaked through the arena. He made the run, wearing only a long knitted scarf. One has to remember that this was indeed under kayfabe.
At WrestleMania 23 a streaker climbed over the fan barricade and climbed on the ring apron right at the start of the main event match between John Cena and Shawn Michaels. The fan was promptly removed by security while Michaels sat on the turnbuckle and mockingly waved good-bye to the crazed fan.
TennisThe 1996 Wimbledon's Men's singles final between MaliVai Washington and Richard Krajicek was interrupted by a female streaker just before the toss. Melissa Johnson, a 23 year student thereby became Wimbledon's first streaker.
In 2006 a quarter-final match between Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon was interrupted by a male streaker, who was escorted off court by police. He was later indentified as Dutch radio DJ Sander Lantinga, who was streaking for a TV show called 'Try Before You Die'.
SnookerDespite the particularly close up nature of Snooker, there have been a number of streakers in snooker tournaments. The first was Lianne Crofts in the final of the 1997 Benson & Hedges Masters between Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Since then there have been two streakers at the World Snooker Championship. The first was Andrew Slater, who appeared in a Sven-Göran Eriksson mask and socks during a match between Paul Hunter and Quinten Hann in 2002. Then, during the final in 2004 between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Graeme Dott, Mark Roberts ran down the stairs and tried to claim asylum under the table. During the 2008 final between Ali Carter and Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Robert ran again across and under the table just before the start of the second evening's session.
NFLIn Super Bowl XXXVIII, streaker Mark Roberts disrupted the game by running on to the field. Despite the worldwide audience, this event was largely unnoticed due to that game's infamous halftime show in which Janet Jackson's nude breast was revealed due to what was called a "wardrobe malfunction". A streaker also ran to the 50 yard line and performed push ups, during a game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, hosted at Wembley stadium, London
CFLDuring the 2007 Labour Day Classic match between the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos, a total of four streakers and one partially clothed man disrupted the game.
BadmintonDuring the 2007 PBO Championships Badminton, Pieter Van Landeghem disrupted the tournament by running naked on the court.
Streaking in popular cultureThe high point of streaking's pop culture significance was in 1974, when thousands of streaks took place around the world. A wide range of novelty products were produced to cash in on the fad, from buttons and patches to a wristwatch featuring a streaking Richard Nixon to pink underwear that said "Too shy to streak." The prominence of streaking in 1974 has been linked both to the sexual revolution and a conservative backlash against feminism and the campus protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Ray Stevens wrote "The Streak", a novelty hit about the guy who's "always making the news wearing just his tennis shoes". The song peaked at #1 on the sales charts in April 1974. Randy Newman also performed and wrote a song about streaking, "The Naked Man," which appears on his album Good old Boys.
The fad soon became a symbol of the decade. In response to streaking, some jurisdictions charged streakers with indecent exposure, but one Maine town voted to pass a law specifically targeted at streaking.
At the peak of the fad, even the comic strip Peanuts got into the act, with Snoopy as the participant. Snoopy, being a beagle, is fur-bearing and the only clothing he actually shed before streaking were his dog collar and his "Joe Cool" sunglasses.
Perhaps the most widely-seen streaker in history was 34-year-old Robert Opel, who streaked across the stage flashing the peace sign on national US television at the 46th Academy Awards in 1974. Recovering quickly, the bemused host David Niven quipped, "Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?" Later, some evidence arose suggesting that Opel's appearance was facilitated as a stunt by the show's producer Jack Haley, Jr. Niven's brush with the streaker was voted the top Oscars moment by film fans in 2001. Ironically, Opel's run across the stage occurred with Niven mostly between him and the camera, so nothing below the waist was visible to the TV audience.
During the fifth season (1974-75) of All in the Family, an exhibitionist streaker exposes himself to Edith and Mike at a police station as they report Archie missing. Soon after being verbally reprimanded and released, the streaker unbuttons and opens his jacket (presumably given to him by the police) in front of the two, and shouts "surprise!" The police officer immediately re-arrests him.
Three's Company had an episode in which Larry (Richard Klein) streaked at a party in Jack's apartment.
Joey on Full House recalled streaking on the field at one of his high school's football games while wearing a Richard Nixon mask.
The band blink-182, in their 1999 music video for "What's My Age Again?", run across the pavement with their pubic region and buttocks digitally blurred out (they actually wore flesh-colored swimsuits during the filming).
In The Sims 2: University expansion pack, streakers are added, a college sim can going streaking or a random NPC sim can show up on any lot at anytime.
In response to the resurgence of streaking starting in the 1990s, Blink-182, performance artist John Hassel (popularly known as Bunboy) and others argue that streaking should be considered an art form in and of itself.
In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch ("A Halloween Story"), a clone of Sabrina is persuaded by rival Libby Chessler to streak, to liven up a Halloween party.
In 2003, streaking came to the forefront in New Zealand when television presenter Mark Ellis offered a monetary reward for anyone who streaked in front of Prime Minister Helen Clark. This was part of Ellis' National Nude Day. A TV program he presented, Hyundai Sports Cafe, regularly promoted nudity and asked for people to send in nude exploits, including a The Lord of the Rings parody by nude actors, and 30 naked ballet dancers (both male and female) performing in front of the University of Otago main building.
In 2004, a Nike advertisement for their Shox shoes centered around someone streaking at a soccer match wearing nothing but said shoes.
In 2007 an ironic viral video for an Australian clothing company entitled 'Streakers love story' featured two streakers who fell in love on opposite sides of the world and met for the first time by streaking into each other's arms at a soccer match.
An episode of the sitcom That '70s Show had the main character Eric Forman streaking while the President of the United States was speaking to his town.
During the film Old School, Will Ferrell gets drunk and tries to get everybody at a party to streak, but it backfires and Ferrell ends up being the only person to do so.
In an episode of Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy is sent off to college and streaks to gain acceptance into a false club created by a jealous classmate.
During the second episode of the 2001 animated comedy Undergrads, the main character Nitz grapples with the tradition of the "Exposed Expo" at his college, State U. After the first snowfall at his college, it is tradition for the freshmen to run around the campus in the nude.
On Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, Mac streaks through town after he consumes a considerable amount of sugar to affect his 'condition'.
In an episode of The Chasers War on Everything the chaser boys "streak" at a nudist colony by running around with clothes on to disrupt their activities.
In the computer game Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries, the announcer on the Solaris VII matches, when talking about the eccentricity of the players, mentions that last year, a winner "streaked the crowd".
The Atlanta Streaking Society was created in 2007 in an attempt to become the world's largest streaking organization. A.S.S (as referred to by its members) has 117 members as of June 1, 2008. The Atlanta Streaking Society is registered with the Guinness Book of World Records and will attempt to claim the title when they reach its goal of 500 members. Each member receives a laminated personalized membership card, a bumper sticker and a group of friends who love to drink and lose their inhibitions.
streaking in Danish: Streaker
streaking in German: Flitzer
streaking in French: Nu-vite
streaking in Dutch: Streaker
streaking in Japanese: ストリーキング (パフォーマンス)
streaking in Portuguese: Chispada
streaking in Finnish: Viuhahtaminen
streaking in Swedish: Streaking