Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will Ratings Help?

UPDATE: Removed the "X" category, reworded as needed.

Bravo to Nudiarist for a wonderful recent essay on the crossroads of nudism.

I can't help but agree with most of what he says... Yes, SOME "human beings are very sexual creatures." Yes, there is a WEAK "connection between naturism/nudism and sexuality." Yes, "the key component to the success of all social gatherings is BEHAVIOR." I especially agree with that last one, and have noted that behavior is a product of "majority rules". With that in mind, lets fast-forward to the part which concerns me.

I am hard-pressed to find a reason why AANR cannot assign ratings to its affiliated clubs, rather than force those with more adult activities out of the network.

Well, I have your reason. I admit that the rating idea is brilliant and would work, to a point. It needs work, and I hope that my concerns are addressed prior to it being implemented.

A rating system may look something like this, for example:
  • G - General audience, family friendly, anyone welcome.
  • PG - Parental Guidance suggested, conversation topics may be unsuitable for children sometimes. (Maybe more at night.)
  • R - Conversation topics are often unsuitable for children, possible lewd behavior, but no sex (in public).
  • NR - Not Rated, as-in a venue that hasn't been certified to any of the other ratings.
Clubs would work toward their favorite rating, and an external authority (AANR most likely) would certify the resort. Ratings would be published. Couples would prefer the R resorts. Families would prefer the G and PG resorts. Perverts would go straight for the R resorts, and probably leave the others alone. Sexuality would have its place, and family values would have its place as well. Even I have suggested this idea before, although quite indirectly...

Where this entire model falls apart is on the topic of public lands. Nudist venue owners control the rules on the property, but it's the "guests" who control the rules on public lands (within the bounds of the law). Majority rules.

How would the local nude beach be rated? If families are around, and the atmosphere is family-friendly, it would be a G. If swingers are around, it would be an R. The only valid rating would be NR. This is the same with any public event involving nudity.

Consider the following:

Scenario 1: A concerned family wants to try nude recreation. Mazo beach is close, but has an NR rating. Blue Lake Resort has a G rating. Would you take your child to a new NR film? They can only assume that NR could be an R, so they decide to go to Blue Lake instead and enjoy it. They never even try Mazo Beach, even though a family on the beach would almost guarantee a PG atmosphere. Since no families frequent Mazo to keep a family friendly atmosphere, the beach slowly goes to a R (or worse) rating and risks being closed.

Scenario 2: A frisky couple decide to try an R resort and like it. After many trips, they find out that Mazo beach is closer and decide to give it a try. Due to their experience, and the fact that it's only adults around at that moment, they assume that R (or worse) activity is OK. Mazo risks getting closed due to the prevailing activities.

The moral of the stories is that public beaches would likely see a decline of families and a family-friendly atmosphere, and frisky couples might assume that public places have R ratings since they have visited other "nudist" venues with that atmosphere. Beaches get closed when the family-friendly atmosphere goes sour.

Law-makers may jump on the ratings system too. It's easier for them to pass a law that forbids public nudity except at a venue with a PG rating or higher. AANR has already tried to slip in something similar to an anti-nudity law, where nudity would've been prohibited at any place that is not an AANR club. Public lands, with their NR rating, would be left in the dust. By default, people would assume that any NR venue would be rated R (or worse). You never know what you might see at the beach.

Clubs would benefit from this rating system, but public lands would not. This is exactly why I'd expect AANR to try this, and strike another blow to TNS.

Public beaches are on the front-lines of many naturist legal battles. Sure, resorts get some attention from the authorities, but as private venues they are less volatile than public beaches. If a couple behave inappropriately in a resort, they get thrown out quickly and that's it. If a couple behave inappropriately on a public beach, law enforcement notes it and uses it against the whole beach and against any sort of public nudity. A rating system will not help beach-goers at all, and may even hurt in the long-run for the reasons I mentioned above. It'll make NAC's job much more difficult explaining why a NR beach should be treated as a G or PG instead of an R, despite the couple of noted complaints.

Public lands, and public events with nudity, need to be considered before a rating system goes into effect. A poorly designed rating system opens the door for more constricting laws regarding nudity, and may end up contributing to eroding freedoms.