Nudity, for the masses, is at best titillating, at worst something which sends people running for the hills. We can’t blame the Puritans, nor the Victorians. We can only really blame ourselves.
While nudism has always been a bit of an underground thing, it always looks to me like it was at least somewhat acceptable prior to the late 60’s. The 50’s was a heyday for nudist publications and movies. They were of course a bit campy, but they displayed nudism as a fun recreational activity.
But from the mid 60’s on, nudist publications slowly slid into “sexploitation“. They became more pornographic than family oriented. There were a few that stayed truly nudist and some of those have stayed in business until this day.
Our whole culture has become more pornographic and sexually oriented. As I said in last week’s post, sex is incredibly personal, and when people associate nudity (and naturism) with sex, they begin to be a bit more shy of nudity itself.
So how do we change this?
Well, first we have to start breaking the association of nudity with sex. We need to start separating the fight for nudist rights from the fight for other groups rights, especially sexually oriented groups. I’m not going to comment on the legitimacy of those groups, that’s not the point of this. But in my humble opinion, as long as we mix up nudist politics with other politics we are going to run into issues getting nudism accepted.
Second, we need to start pushing for more non-sexual nudity in media. Most of the nudity in movies and other media is of the “sex sells” variety. It is rare to find a mainstream show or movie with naked bodies in “neutral” situations like locker rooms or at the beach. It’s even rarer that those bodies are of the “normal” variety, most are idealist and “sexy”.
Third, we need to inundate locations where nudity is legal with naked people. And not angry protesty naked people. Not shock and awe naked people. Just naked people doing normal activities in the nude. Places like Federal lands are technically legal, unless local authorities decide to prosecute, or unless local offices decide to make rules for their particular districts. We should make it a point to know where it is “safe” and make sure our presence is known. We should make it a point to be nude in locker rooms and saunas and other areas that are “acceptable” but still influenced by taboo.
Fourth, nudists need to breed. This may sound kinda funny, but outbreeding the competition has long been a way for socially outcast groups to gain traction. We need to shift the average age of nudists from the mid-60’s to the mid-30’s, if not younger. We need to stop having clubs for retirees that “don’t want to deal with kids running around” (this was the response I got from a local group when I inquired if I could bring my kids to events). If we raise our kids with a positive view of their bodies and of nudity, they will likely pass that on to our grandkids. With each generation we will win more and more rights.
Fifth, we need to be clear about what we want. Do we want all public lands to be clothing optional? All pools and beaches? Maybe just our own yards? Everywhere? We generally do well when focused on specific pieces of land, and I think we could be just as successful when focused on specific rights. We should focus on winning rights to be nude in our own yards and then spread out from there. Once we gain traction in our local areas we will start to gain acceptance in the larger arenas.
What other things do you, my dear readers, think we can do to make nudism more acceptable to the world around us?