While visiting TNS HQ earlier this year, I decided to buy 6 copies of their latest book: "The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts" The plan was to keep a copy for myself, and give the rest away. Two were given away at the Nude Olympics. The rest are still in my apartment.
I liked TNS's suggestion to donate them to libraries, so I did just that with our small local library. My girlfriend dropped it off a few months ago, and has checked back periodically. She was told that they would put it in the "adult section".
They never had an "adult section". Even if they did, this book belongs in the travel section since it talks about beaches all around the world. It's clearly a travel book.
We got a call recently that they decided not to accept the book. As we picked it up, we were told that "it's a really good informative book, but we don't have a place for it." In other words, they don't want to put it in the travel section and don't want to make an adult section.
Why was it rejected? Nudity! Lots and lots of nudity!
Follow along with my analogy... Alice is a firm believer in the National Rifle Association (NRA). She believes that she should be able to carry a gun with her anytime she wants, and does so as much as she can. She also wants to attend the annual NRA meeting that is many states away. By going, she can contribute a lot to advancing the rights of gun lovers everywhere. She doesn't have the vacation time to drive, so therefore she must either not go at all or fly there. By not going, she can't do anything to promote the right to carry guns. By going, she must leave her gun at home in order to be allowed on an airplane. What should she do? The obvious answer is bite the bullet and leave the gun at home, despite her belief that she should be able to take the gun with. She'll have a much bigger impact on the future rights to carry a gun if she goes without it.
Bob is a firm believer in naturism. He believes that he should be able to go naked anytime he wants, and does so as much as he can. He also wants to promote naturism. Can you see where I'm going with this?
Where the stories differ is that naturists put naked (and exposed) people on EVERYTHING. This is akin to Alice wearing her gun to the airport anyway, and then promptly getting stopped (arrested?) by TSA. Naturist stuff gets promptly classified as "adult" by most of society and then ushered off to places where nobody will see it. Naturists will all agree that this shouldn't be the case -- but it is and we must deal with it anyway. Sorry, I don't make the rules.
How can I promote naturism if no libraries will accept my books? I can't just remove the nudity like Alice can remove her gun and leave it at home.
I have the same problem with TNS's latest tri-fold information pamphlet. I'd love to slip these into tourist information centers guerrilla naturism style, but the cover shows a naked woman with a naked child. If certain things were covered, everything would be OK. Since they aren't, it could lead to a police investigation and a sting operation to catch me for "distributing child pornography" or something stupid like that.
TNS's DVD, Chasing the Sun, is absolutely great for introducing naturism to political leaders and anyone else. However it's scene after scene of naked people with all bits exposed. Those who are seriously offended by nudity, perhaps the very people that SHOULD watch the video, won't because of all the nudity. The nudity prevents it from being shown in a lot of places. I believe they should put a censored version on YouTube for everyone to see.
The answer is that we need to bite the bullet and censor ourselves to get past the firewall of society. It's fine to have uncensored books and DVD's for naturist consumers, but it's also a good idea to have censored versions as well just in case they are required by non-naturist consumers. When the choice is to have a censored video or no video at all, I believe the answer is clear. People can use their imagination to fill in the blank spots, like they do with expletives. We should be educating people before we offend them, because if they are educated they probably won't be offended by the nudity. (My hiking signs are a good example of this.) Currently, we offend them with nudity first and then expect them to hear what we have to say. It doesn't work.
I seem to be the only person advocating for naturists to cover up sometimes. I suggested that naturists should wear clothing to save money during the winter. I suggested to put clothes on and do road cleanups, as we have done several times. We put clothes on and covered nipples to protest. I suggested to do clothed fundraisers at places other than resorts. I suggested a lot of things that require clothes! I also don't post nude photos on this blog, which is why it doesn't have Blogger-induced warning messages. By self-censoring, my words can reach a bigger audience. By getting dressed on occasion, we can have a bigger positive impact on the future of naturism.
I intend to ask the local library if they will accept the book for the travel section if I go through and marker out all of the normally censored bits. I know this action might tick off a lot of naturist purists, but it's the ONLY way that the book will end up available for public browsing at that library.
UPDATE: Wow! It's not the coarse I planned to take, but under NAC's direction we're going to pressure the library to accept it! Apparently NAC won a case a while back that deals with this issue. My fear is that they will accept it, then keep it behind the desk instead of on the shelves. We'll see where this goes... I have a letter to draft!
UPDATE 3-2010: Still working on this one...