Friday, March 25, 2011

Health Movement

The naturism movement, according to many naturist historians, started in the early 1900's in Germany. (See this writeup for a good concise history.) It quickly became attached to the health movement, to the point where doctors were prescribing "air baths, sun bathing, and clothing-free aspects of living" to treat certain diseases. By 1920, there were over 200 parks in Europe that were officially designated and promoted for naturism. The widespread belief that there were health benefits associated with naturism helped it to survive through a short ban during WWII.

As Germans immigrated to America, the idea of naturism came with them. By 1930, America had it's first naturist organization, the American League for Physical Culture. Soon after, Ilsley Boone took over the organization and called it the American Sunbathing Association. (Much later, it became the American Association for Nude Recreation that we recognize today.) Boone "advocated a need for a society that nudism enabled to be more healthy than a textile way of life." Boone produced the first nudist magazine, which the US Mail Service disallowed in 1941. Before the Supreme Court, Boone won the case in part by stating that "nudists were pacifists who abstained from drinking and drugs and alcohol."

In 1963, the British Sunbathing Association and the Federation of British Sun Clubs officially recognized the following definition for naturism: "A health movement which advocates the judicious outdoor practice of nude sun, air and fresh or salt water bathing, either individually, or socially in private grounds (sun clubs, naturist clubs) or secluded places, in furtherance of physical, moral and mental well-being."

The 60's and 70's didn't help with that image. Drugs and free love entered into the picture, adding confusion to what it meant to be a naturist.

What is American naturism now? Princeton's definition simply says that we go "without clothes as a social practice." AANR states that they "advocate nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings, and educate and inform society of the value and enjoyment of such through on-going member growth." TNS's mission is to "promote body acceptance through clothing-optional recreation using the tools of education and community outreach."

The health movement has been ongoing. It has been strong when naturism was starting in Germany. It has been strong throughout the 20th century. It's still going strong, with the current push towards Green living and organics. In the last decade, organic foods have increased in popularity enough to have sections in grocery stores, and sometimes even their own grocery stores. Yoga has become huge, along with many other exercise regimes and diet programs. The Green movement is taking off with reducing harmful chemicals, reducing pollution, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and making things more sustainable so we can live healthier.

Naturism, who was once riding on the back of the health movement, has been bucked off and left in the dust. At best, naturists sometimes advocate healthy living. The health movement no longer advocates naturism.

It seems the majority of naturists no longer strive for healthy living. At all the places we've gone to, we found a lot of people smoking and drinking. People have told me that they prefer campgrounds over beaches because they can drive to their campsite -- as-if walking is too much work. People at Mazo are getting lazy too. Instead of walking, they bring a big vehicle to haul their bikes to the parking lot, which in turn haul themselves and their cooler full of beer to the beach. A day at the beach or resort is often filled with sitting, laying, talking, eating, or doing other activities which require a minimal amount of work. Travel around the resort is often by golf cart. The really ambitious ones play a round or two of volleyball, between beers.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and a minority of naturists do adhere to a healthy, low-impact style of living. I applaud them! I wish more would start doing this, both for their own health and for the benefit to naturism as a whole.

If the health movement no longer advocates naturism, then who does? Who recommends naturism to textiles? Perhaps protesters, who advocate nudity to draw attention. Perhaps groups who need a fundraiser, who advocate a nude calendar. Perhaps artists and businesses, who advocate nudity for profit. All those people do it for their own gain, and it isn't really naturism -- just naked bodies. The only group who really advocates naturism anymore is naturists.

Naturism needs to piggy-back something else in order to grow, like it did in Germany and other areas. Throughout history, it has never grown all by itself -- it has always had some sort of fuel to help it.

What options do we have that might help fuel naturism? (Feel free to add to this list by commenting!)

Body acceptance. People with self-image issues are sometimes recommended to "bare all" either alone or in a naturist setting. This has proven to be helpful with the majority of people who try it. (Have you ever met a naturist with serious self-image issues?) Even skeptical reporters often write positively about the experience. Many start their articles with self-image issues and body phobias, but later downplay these things when they realize that nobody else cares about how they look, and everyone looks "normal". Can naturism be the solution for body acceptance? Maybe. Body phobias seem to be getting more prevalent in our society, so playing up naturism as a cure could be of benefit.

Recreation. According to the BLS: "Rising incomes, leisure time, and awareness of the health benefits of physical fitness will increase the demand for arts, entertainment, and recreation services." With the health part not as big as it should be, the recreation taking place at resorts is mostly in response to a large quantity of leisure time. Resorts have tough competition because they often lack good quality facilities for recreation and health, and often lack good entertainment. Recreation guides rarely recommend (or have much information on) naturist venues, so naturists must self-promote.

Green Energy. Going naked saves a lot of energy during hot weather. It saves big on air conditioning costs, and saves on laundry. But naturists don't want to recommend bundling up to save energy during the winter. People in the green movement have a seemingly infinite number of ideas for staying cool in hot weather, but going naked never seems to be mentioned. Why not?

Fair Trade. Clothing producers often export to other countries and force some nasty working conditions. Nakedness reduces clothing consumption. This also goes with Green Energy because it means less production of cotton, less transport of goods, and less washing and drying. There is increasing support for Fair Trade. But, it might be too much of a stretch to promote nakedness as a method for reducing bad working conditions in other countries.

Arts. People get naked for art, and naturists embrace art, but it's not naturism. It's not a lifestyle change, it's a job. If it's not a paid job, then it's a task. When it's over, the clothes go back on. The art movement is in strong support of nudity. They are also strongly against censorship. This is good for naturist media, but doesn't help naturist practice.

Religion. Christianity supports simple nudity, and many classic Christian art pieces include nudity. (A good example is the Sistine Chapel.) Hunduism promotes nudity as purity, and holy men sometimes live nude or nearly nude. Pagans are tolerant of nudity (among adults), with many participating "skyclad" in rituals. All of these are only subtle connections. The world seems to lack a religion which strongly encourages nudity. If one caught on, naturism would certainly benefit.

Getting Back to Nature. As part of the Green movement, many people are practicing small-scale farming and gardening. They also have a desire to re-connect with nature. City architecture is even starting to include green roofs and big luscious green parks. However, none promote nudity as part of gardening or re-connecting with nature.

Security. With the new super-invasive security measures, airports may soon require everyone to be naked. Sadly, this is a promising group to advocate nudism in the future. (Not really naturism.)

The Free Body Culture. Back in 2008, George Davis tried to piggyback the success of the German FKK by bringing it to California. On the original website, it sounded great. On the TV, it didn't go the same direction. I don't ever recall the German FKK being sexed up. If Americans can bring the FKK home and actually do it right, it might get some footing.

Sexual Liberation Movement. The relationship between naturism and the sexual liberation movement is far too complicated for a single paragraph...

For a while during the 60's and 70's, nudism seemed to benefit from sexual liberation. Nudist magazines grew in popularity, and nudist 'sexploitation' films seemed to promote the nudist philosophies. Cruising through the 60's archives, I found an instance where the NYC League for Sexual Freedom was pushing for the creation of nude beaches. (Note that it was reprinted in the Nudist Newsletter from the American Health Alliance, who were apparently piggybacking the health movement.) The nudity at Woodstock certainly played a part in nudism. I know two different prominent nudists who trace their roots to Woodstock.

Even back in 1962, there were naturists pushing for more liberal attitudes about sexuality to be integrated into naturism. See this writeup from The Bulletin which opposed these new ideas. The author was warning what would happen if nudism became sexualized: "...for the first time in many years we shall be in much greater danger from forces outside the movement than from forces within it..."

AANR and TNS have always shunned the sexualization of naturism, but it hasn't stopped it from creeping in anyway. Numerous resorts have welcomed sex parties because they are profitable. Numerous small beaches have been overrun by people with sexual intents. Depending on the clubs and parties, some are a bit more edgy than others. Most have more swingers in attendance than you'd expect. The flood of pornography on the internet has made it difficult to find credible naturist information.

Decades before the sexual liberation movement really took hold, a war on sexual abuse was slowly evolving into a war on all nudity. Although "sex crimes" have been brought to the public attention for a very long time, it wasn't until 1939 (per Google's newspaper database) that the first use of the term "sex crimes" was used with "nudism". "Blame Nudism for Sex Crimes" wrote Reverend Robert Irons in his UK parish magazine. By 1949, laws for sex crimes were in the works, and since then they have been expanding and becoming increasingly strict. In 1966, the FBI Director was targeting sex crimes, and soon after was blaming pornography and partly the whole entertainment industry. In 1983, nude joggers and exhibitionists were labeled as wackos but police said that it was not a sex crime. Somewhere in the 80's or 90's, simple nudity became a crime. In 1998, Liz Book was arrested for being top-free and at some point was on the sex offender registry. In 2005, sex offenders became listed on the internet, thus ruining their lives forever. Naturism is under threat from the ever increasing umbrella of "sex crimes".

Since naturism is distancing itself from the sexual liberation movement, and is no longer part of the health movement, it has become an orphan. It's a poor orphan who nobody else wants around, and who nobody is willing to adopt. An orphan who must beg for money to stay alive. An orphan who is forced to live in secluded places, out of public view.

Health Movement. Don't forget we're still in a list for options to fuel naturism, and this may be the most important one.

It is unclear why the partnership between the health movement and naturism broke down. Perhaps it's because the health movement turned to science, medicine, and surgery instead of lifestyle changes. Perhaps it's because the main two naturist groups in the US promote body acceptance and recreation. The individuals who promote healthy living through naturism are certainly a minority.

The only resort that I know of who promotes healthy living is Sunsport. They have limited smoking, limited alcohol consumption, and provide vegetarian options in their cafe. I've heard they often have sessions like yoga and fitness classes, but I don't see it on their schedule. Not only does Sunsport advocate healthy living, but they are also part of the green movement by advocating the preservation of nature and utilizing green technologies within the resort. (And they are part of the sexual liberation movement, based on some of the sessions they host at the mid-winter gathering.)

Looking back through time, the American Health Alliance wasn't even serious about advocating health. It was primarily a legal fund supported by a group of resorts.

What we need is a new version of the American Health Alliance, with the word "Health" prominently in the title and the words "Nude" or "Naturist" prominently out of the title. This group must actually advocate healthy living through naturism. They can charter with resorts who actively support and advocate healthy living. Then, research needs to be commissioned and be published which shows a real benefit to healthy naturistic living. (Assuming one exists...) The intent is to get naturism back on the health movement bandwagon. The health movement needs to at least mention naturism as a beneficial activity. After all that, naturism wouldn't be an orphan anymore. It would grow with the health movement fueling it, and the health movement protecting it, just like it was a century ago.

Even if a new organization doesn't bring forth a new naturist health movement, participating in a healthy lifestyle seems like the right thing to do. I've personally been committing to a healthier lifestyle. A few years ago, I decided to heavily limit drinking soda and eating sweets. I've also limited salt since then. I've been eating less meat and more veggies. A few weeks ago, I switched to packing a healthy lunch for work to replace the easy microwave meals I was used to. (Even "Healthy Choice" meals didn't seem that healthy.) The new house has been giving me plenty of exercise. Eventually, it'll give us plenty of naked time as well. When I reach an impressive age and people ask what the secret to a long life is, I'll say "being a naturist!"

For the benefit and possibly survival of naturism, another group needs to embrace it. The most promising group, based on our history, is the health movement. To get the health movement to take us seriously, we need to limit our consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and get ourselves in shape. We need to return the the naturist philosophy from 100 years ago. We should all be taking steps to improve our own health anyway, so why not start now?


Anonymous said...

You seem to use the words "nudist" and "naturist" as synonyms and I believe that part of the problem.

Now in England I believe the term "naturist" is preferred but in the United States both terms are used and have a subtle but distinct difference.

Nudists prefer to go naked mostly at parks and resorts and such. To them, there nudity doesn't need to relate to a larger philosophy regarding health and such. They emphasize stuff like body acceptance and the feeling of equality among those who associate in the nude.

Naturists, they need their nudity to relate to nature in that in needs to be part of some physical activity such as hiking or something like that. They may go to clubs as well, but being naturists they would prefer to like hike to a hot spring or something like that.

I would say that naturists do emphasis health with their lifestyle.

I am not knocking nudists though because their social "body acceptance" type of nudity I believe can play an important mental health service for those who might not have ideal bodies or might have reached an age where physical activities are less possible.

I guess my question is can nudists and naturists work together. Of course many nudist parks/camps have trails which naturists can enjoy. They can host nude exercising classes at their local nudist club? But can they not be so critical of those who might want to instead adopt a nudist lifestyle?

Naturists might be happier with having "non landed clubs" where they can hike to their favorite skinnydipping spot.

Again, I hate "cutting people out" of the movement which I am sorry it does seem like what you propose actually does.

Anonymous said...

For the Nudist nudity is relaxing.

For the Naturist nudity is invigorating.

For the Exhibitionist nudity is daring.

For the Swinger nudity is racy.

You can have non sexualized social nudity which both nudism or naturism is.

You can have sexualized social nudity which swingers and "lifestyle" people enjoy.

Sexualized and NonSexualized social nudity can never co-exist.

Now I guess the question you raise is can naturism and nudism co-exist?

I could see where healthy young people might not want to be around old fat beer drinking people. Perhaps for them a non-landed club of friends where they can make personal include/exclude decisions would be better then a camp/resort.

Because in the end you are excluding. Now in everything you do exclude. Nudism you are excluding of course people who don't want to be naked, by definition. So the question isn't to exclude but is how much do you want to exclude? How far do you want to close the gates to nonsexualized social nudity?

I guess I am more of a nudist than a naturist. I don't want to exclude the feeling of being naked in an open environment to anyone who is able to enjoy it without being disruptive to others, especially sexually disruptive. As long as they can behave in a nonsexual matter then their sex, age, religion, creed, health status,etc shouldn't deny them the benefits of nudism.

But can naturists be in the same park doing yoga, hiking, and stuff like that? I would think so but perhaps they would feel uncomfortable being around people who aren't up to their standards.

By the way, check into the Naturist Society Magazine. You would see that they mostly emphasize health such as hiking on public lands.

Anonymous said...

Hate to tell you this but those Doctors in the early 1900s were wrong. "Air Baths" aren't healthy. They cause skin cancer.

Now there's ways around that in the modern world namely sun screen but I am not sure when sun screens came into existence so at the time they were prescribing this they were exposing their patients to the very real risk of skin cancer.

I have honestly wondered why it must be a case of either or. Why can't nudists and naturists co-exist?

Look if you want to start your own club based on healthy naturism no one is stopping you.

And if you have enough resources to start up a resort/a camp where healthy activity will be encouraged and no alcohol or smoking will be allowed that's great too. People can go to your place if that is what they want to do.

But it sounds like you want to throw all the fat beer bellied people out of the other resorts. And that is what I guess bothers me.

Rick said...

Thanks for the excellent article. As you know, I've been advocating naturism as a healthy lifestyle for a while now and many of my ideas about naturism stem from the naturist and health movements of the 1920s and 30s.

The emphasis on body acceptance and nude recreation trouble me in that they only scratch the surface of naturism. There should be more to it than that.

You're right, those advocating naturism as a healthy lifestyle are definitely in the minority.

Academic Naturist said...

@Anonymous -- I think you missed my point...

I'm well aware that TNS promotes healthy living -- I wrote a couple articles for them. But the point I was trying to make is that the healthy living movement DOESN'T promote TNS. NO outside movement promotes nudism or naturism now. This is bad for us, especially with further-reaching laws constantly trying to ban being nude.

You're entire comment is centered from within the nudist/naturist movement. You need to think about how other outside groups perceive nudists/naturists. More to the point, do any of them like us?

A good example is families. Nudists promote a "family friendly atmosphere". If a resort doesn't have any kids around, the atmosphere tends to shift to be less family-oriented. (I don't mean public sex or anything -- just inappropriate adult commentary, maybe kissing, likely more drinking, nothing going on that kids would take an interest in.) At that point, the "family friendly atmosphere" that is a selling point is less credible. Adults go there to check it out, see that it's not a place they want to bring their kids, and never go back. Other family organizations NEVER promote nudism as a good place for kids.

The same thing is happening with the "healthy lifestyle" selling point from 100 years ago. People go to a resort looking for encouragement and resources for a healthy lifestyle, and often find the opposite. The "healthy lifestyle" selling point is less credible. The health movement NEVER promotes nudism.

I'm not saying that resorts should "cut people out". What they *could* do is take small steps like Sunsport to encourage healthier behavior. Sunsport, as far as I know, has the highest percentage of young and fit people in the US because they encourage that atmosphere. (Note: They don't discourage anyone from going.) Many of the problems that plague other resorts, Morley (one of the owners) has already solved and his resort is living proof.

We need an outside group to promote nudism/naturism. We can't keep preaching to the choir because nobody outside the choir is listening. Nobody new will join the choir because nobody in the area likes the church.

>>Hate to tell you this but those Doctors in the early 1900s were wrong. "Air Baths" aren't healthy. They cause skin cancer.

NOW skin cancer is a very real possibility. 100 years ago, the ozone wasn't badly damaged. People also spent more time outside, so they were more tolerant of the sun to begin with. (And likely smart enough to know how long they could be in it.) The doctors weren't wrong in their advice at the time. Now, they would be, if they didn't recommend sunblock and didn't recommend limiting the amount of time in the sun.

Tom Roark said...

For my money, Transition and Permaculture are the way to go. I don't know how, though, because social nudity is lower in my hierarchy than social change. I live in what may be the most progressive urban neighborhood in America, and, believe me, I don't prune my trees in the nude.

When I got my permaculture design certification, four years ago near Viroqua Wisconsin, presenter Mark Shepard -- you've probably seen his mug on a sign along Highway 14, flogging his hard cider -- facetiously/not facetiously said something about "dancing naked waving purple handkerchiefs" I thought, "Hmm."

Absent a rapidly discovered and rapidly deployed miracle energy source, there's gonna be a lot less travel in ten years' time. If'n we can persuade transitioners, it could make a historic difference for social nudity.

Rocky said...

I think we need to promote nude living and NOT nude recreation. To the textiled world 'recreation' is a party, fun, sex, etc. We need to promote nudity as living.

I own a small horse farm and work it nude. No one can say that shoveling manure nude is sexual or fun. But it is much easier and less tiring to do it nude. I kayak nude, usually alone. No one can say that is sexual. I roam my home nude.

Now, I do not want to belittle sex. But, even though nearly all of our society 'does it', they still repress it. We have to play the hand we are dealt. We should not be promoting nude 'recreation'. It is to easily pervereded into nude partying! We can allow that we party naked, so long as it is a part of nude living.

I am a physician and I do think that it is healthful to live nude. A modicum of sun is healthy. Increased V-D, less depression, and less rashes, are all benefits of nudity. I don't sunbathe nude. I may wear a broad brimmed hat to protect my face and ears. I am not afraid of the sun but I don't seek a deep tan. I have no tan lines, but I work in the shade when possible and shelter myself from 'excessive' sun. But the world is not 'all' sunny.

I just think we need to promote nudism as a healthy comfortable way of living. We may not do it for health but it is not unhealthy.

Academic Naturist said...

@Tom -- I think it's a stretch to get the Transition and Permaculture folks to embrace naturism. If you have a convincing writeup as to why they should, I'd be willing to post (or re-post) it here.

TNS wrote two years ago that the future of naturism will be in the backyard. With less travel, local parties will probably grow in popularity. I've also found that many who are involved in the green movement are usually more apt to be OK with nudity. Hosting a nude party will certainly bring forth a strong sense of community! Regulars to nude resorts, campgrounds, and beaches often develop a strong community which can survive the occasional legal attacks and opposition.

@Rocky -- We can promote anything we want, but nobody outside naturism/nudism is listening. I agree that the naturist groups should probably sell nudity as a 'lifestyle' instead of a 'party', but then the resorts might lose money since they often host the 'party'. I agree that living a clothing optional life certainly has it's benefits. However, how can this idea spread so that others can enjoy it too? How can we (or preferably some external group) convince society that there are benefits, and that we're not just deviants?

E said...

I really have to disagree with this.

First -

If you try to attach naturism/nudism to something that has nothing to do with nudity, you're only going to succeed in alienating people who don't share that point of view. And all the semantic arguments over "nudist" and "naturist" as well as the general infighting about who is and is not a "real naturist" such as seen in the above comments doesn't help either.

For the naturist movement to change itself enough to actually gain the support of some larger group, be it a religious sect or the green movement or anything else named above - you'd only succeed in alienating people who don't share those views but would otherwise enjoy social/recreational nudity. And it seems like a silly idea to me in any case - going nude has nothing to do with being healthy or religious or environmentally conscious, as evidenced by the fact that most naturists aren't any of those things. It's perfectly fine if a christian or a vegetarian wants to become a naturist - but they do it for nudity's sake, not because they're a christian or vegetarian too. And even if they do see a link, it doesn't mean anyone else has to.

The only group in that list that I see as a viable partner is the sexual liberation movement - only because people who are freed of their sexual hang ups will likely be free of any hang ups related to simple nudity too. It's hard to have one without the other, which would make sex positive groups our most likely allies. And as it stands, plenty of sex positive groups do organize the occasional trip to nude beaches, where they're as well behaved as anyone else present. And these groups are also the likeliest to fight for social changes which would benefit naturism - like the liberalization censorship laws and eliminating anti-nudity ordinances. But as the naturist movement on the whole seemingly prefer to demonize these groups rather than work with them, it would appear to be a non-starter.

As an aside, the only other group I can think of which sometimes takes an interest in naturism is one not mentioned above. Feminists generally fight for breastfeeding rights and support top freedom at least more generally, and having rights to your own body generally means being able to display it without fear of legal or social reprisal. But in general it's the sex-positive school of feminism who'd be most likely to see nudity as a feminist issue, so basically you're back to the sex liberation movement mentioned above.

As for healthy living - if going to a resort means I can't enjoy a beer there or have a cheeseburger there... well, no thanks. It's laudable for anyone who wants to eat healthier and limit their intake of poisons, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with going nude - an overweight beer drinker can take their clothes off and enjoy it just as well as a vegetarian yoga master, and there's no reason that they shouldn't.

And there's a good reason that the health movement stopped promoting nudity: whatever (fairly minimal) health benefits there might be to spending more time nude vs clothed, those same benefits are more easily achieved without putting anyone at risk of skin cancer.

E said...

Second -

I question the entire premise of the post. Why do nudists need someone else to promote nudism? If we, its practitioners, can't convince others that doing things nude is fun for its own sake, and feel the need to trick others into practicing it by associating it with something else entirely - well, that doesn't say great things about the value of what we're promoting.

People don't take up hobbies because a doctor recommended it to them - they do it because they enjoy it. They don't generally join clubs because an unrelated organization promoted it; they join them because they're interested in associating with like minds. Plenty of subcultures thrive and grow without anyone outside of that subculture promoting them - there's no reason the naturist movement should be any different.

So if nudism isn't thriving, it's not because doctors or some other group isn't promoting it. It's because nudists themselves aren't promoting it, or they are and they're doing a poor job of it. If we can't make the case that nudity is intrinsically worthwhile and fun, it's wrong to expect anyone else will.

Rick said...

I think I see what you're getting at. We don't promote nudism and naturism very well. AANR and TNS tend to be focused on body acceptance and nude recreation with only occasional references to health. A few try to promote it as a healthy lifestyle but there's hardly anyone outside of our lifestyle with credentials doing the same. We're pretty much preaching to the choir and most of them don't seem to be listening.

I don't think we need to ride on the coattails of just anyone who can call attention to nudism. What we need are credible people or groups outside of our ranks to substantiate and validate what we're saying amongst ourselves. They need not be groups that are currently nudist-friendly. Rather, groups that promote and advocate other aspects of our lifestyle and show them that the nudity is conducive to their ideas and may provide added benefits. Our job is to make them our allies.

Academic Naturist said...

Well said, Rick! Thanks for the post!

@E - People won't be alienated. You're welcome to go to Sunsport and have a beer and cheeseburger if you'd like. You just need to bring your own beer.

The sexual liberation movement can't be an ally. Everything that becomes part of that movement gets heavily scrutinized and regulated, and those same laws and regulations are creeping in on simple nudity. Resorts will become shoved into rural areas and be 18+, free beaches will cease to exist, and it'll be illegal to be nude in public anywhere for any reason.

>>"And these groups are also the likeliest to fight for social changes which would benefit naturism - like the liberalization censorship laws and eliminating anti-nudity ordinances." -- Please name ONE group who is leading the sexual liberation movement in this way. The primary groups who fight against censorship and anti-nudity ordinances are art groups, the ACLU, and naturists (AANR's GAT and TNS's NAC).

I like that you brought up feminism -- it should've been in my list. The problem, however, is that they primarily fight for equal rights on top-freedom. You can't argue that this is a step closer to nudism, because it isn't. Once they obtain equal-rights, they will not push further. Lastly, feminism dealt a blow to common skinny-dipping in the 60's, so they haven't always been an ally.

>>"Plenty of subcultures thrive and grow without anyone outside of that subculture promoting them - there's no reason the naturist movement should be any different." -- You're forgetting that most subcultures don't have the scrutiny and regulations creeping in. They survive only because nobody pays much attention to them and most see their actions as harmless. Nudists don't have that luxury.

I agree on your last point -- naturists do a bad job of self-promotion. Many in the lifestyle hide it from friends and family. TNS does far too much preaching to the choir. AANR tries to associate with every news story that mentions nudity just to get publicity, without regard to the harm some associations might cause.

So how do we make the case that nudity is "intrinsically worthwhile and fun"? Does drinking beer, smoking, eating cheeseburgers, and doing nothing all day help to convince others?

Hank said...

Our greatest ally right now is the Go Green, Back to Nature, and Free Speech groups in the liberal Blue States.

Nationally, our greatest ally should be the media. The World Naked Bike Ride has done more to promote everyday nudity than everything else done in the last 100 years put together. If Joe the Neighbor can go naked on Main Street on WNBR day in June, we all can go nude in our backyards whenever.

Our greatest need is a movie celebrity who embrace a nude lifestyle. Actor Christopher Atkins (Blue Lagoon) is a nudist but he's retired from show business. If a hot actor or actress came out as a nudist, our lifestyle would sky rocket.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but I'd like to refute your statement that The Naturist Society does not have a Mission Statement on its website. Very clearly, about halfway down the landing page of there is a clearly marked section that is titled: MISSION STATEMENT. Now I'm no Einstein, but I think that means that their mission statement is posted there....

Academic Naturist said...

Hidden in plain sight apparently! I updated the original post.

Anonymous said...

Your write-up reminds me of reading, "Nudism in Communist East Germany" in N 30.1
It almost says the same thing: "When possible, nudist individuals and groups joined larger non-nudist organizations to increase social nudity's legitimacy and influence. ..."

The economy might also help advance clothes-freedom in America & elsewhere. Americans are very ethnocentric (which also might include clothes-minded aspects) so in a few years when the dollar collapses they will stop judging other cultures like ours is the best & most powerful country on the planet. America won't be able to export its censored media either (movies, TV shows, games, Facebook & Youtube power & other internet censors will be reduced) With worthless dollars Americans won't be able to pay the laundry water bill, electric, soap, or buy new clothes.
The coming despression will be worse then 1929. Other good parts is less police and anti-nudity textilers out hiking and immigrants from Mexico will have much less reason to come (they don't seem to be into clothes freedom). A huge economic shakeup might benefit us in the long term.