Nudism and Feminism Part 2
In my last post, I discussed a feminist blog about nudism, Go Naked; it’s good for everybody (but particularly for women) by CP Reece. Reece concludes her piece by discussing society’s overall disconcerting malaise in regards to nudity and what we can do to change that. She says, Naturists are often treated as gay people used to be.. How’s that for some perspective? Are naturists as repressed as women once were? As gay people once were? (Or still are in some ways.) It may seem odd to compare sexual orientation to living nude, but when you think about it, there are similarities in how gay people and naturists are viewed by society. Naturists are afraid to come out to their friends and families and feel a need to hide behind pseudonyms and separate profiles for their naturist identity. They fear employers or job recruiters firing or not hiring them because of it. They are treated unjustly by police and the law. Some U.S. states would have convicted Nigel Keer as a sex offender for taking a nude stroll out in a scenic rural area. Naturists are denied the right to go nude in public and even on their own property if visible to others, because someone might get offended or upset. They are labeled perverts, swingers, and exhibitionists as well as harmful to children.
If you are a naturist, you have probably spent much time and energy trying to dispel the misconceptions and puritan attitudes towards nudity (see: Shit Clothed People Say). But Reece says rationality and argument / influence might not be enough anymore. If we’re finally going to get equal rights like women and gay people, we need radical action! And I think it’s safe to say that we are far behind in America compared to many European countries. We freak out about a nip slip on television during the Super Bowl and even waste time issuing fines. The Supreme Court is currently occupying itself counting the number of seconds that a butt can be shown on cable TV. Most of our World Naked Bike Riders can’t really be naked. Nudity is supposed to be allowed for the sake of protest or art, but arrests, fines and court dates will surely ensue if you try it. No topless beaches. Men gained the right to go topless in public in the 1930s. Over 80 years later, women still can’t do the same in most states. (But even when it IS legal, you can still get arrested. See: my Wall Street experience.)
Nigel Keer says he plans to appeal the court decision of a 315 fine for his public order offence of hiking in the nude. And I really hope he does! (If not for a nudism win, then for the sake of contesting them basing his guilt off of an unknown distressed female victim.) In any case, I think we need more activists like Nigel to push the envelope for naturists rights! Some might say Nigel’s actions were over the line, offensive and forcing his naturist beliefs on people. I think he is a great activist and will hopefully help naturists obtain the right to hike nude, which isn’t illegal there in the first place! Of course he gets fined anyway because he’s breaking the rules (Nudity rule #518: Thou shalt not show thy penis on a nature trail). Reece says she’ll be going nude in her garden, at the beach and wherever she can. Here in NY I’ll be going nude or topless wherever I can!
I also want to share this quote from Nurba:
“It’s funny, isn’t it? Funny that we can promote the right to be naked, to enjoy our body, to feel freedom, all from the comfort of our own home. And we can pretend to disregard the idea of shame, all the while we tuck ourselves away into the remotest corners, into the forest, into the desert, in our own home, where nobody will find us. We haven’t fought for our rights, we have simply found places where they aren’t challenged. We haven’t proven that we feel no shame, in fact we have proven the exact opposite, that we don’t have the courage to be outspoken, that we are complacent living secretly amongst everyone else: we have proven that there is shame where there should be none. People fear what they do not know, and we have almost deliberately denied them the understanding of nudity that we have always known.” -Nurba
A call to action! Does this describe most nudists and naturists? Are we being all too complacent and secretive, perpetuating the nudity-is-shameful mindset? He’s right, it is easy to be complacent, quiet and go nude where it’s not challenged. But we want to challenge people and society.
To all of you reading this, I encourage you to push the envelope. To defy cultural norms. To ignore what society tells you to look like and just be as you are. To get radical. Ladies, to challenge patriarchal rules and put down that magazine telling you to diet diet diet, buy a lot of make-up, and obsess about your looks. It’s all nonsense, and real women don’t look like that. Are you real or are you aspiring to be a brainless barbie doll? To turn off Cable TV and run outside naked! To walk your visible or invisible dog while topless. To talk to as many others as possible about naturism. Hell, just use the nude beach and visit nudist clubs, resorts and campgrounds to support them. We are constantly working on making these more accessible to everyone and used by everyone.
Spring is just about arrived, and summer will closely follow! Let’s go nude everywhere we can and exercise the rights we do have as naturists!
About the Author (Author Profile)I'm Felicity, author of Felicity's Blog and co-founder of Young Naturists America. I write about nudism and naturism in today's world along with issues like top-freedom and body acceptance, and various naked topics. Enjoy, and please leave a comment when you've got something to say! :)
I've got an urge just to laugh at this, but I'll take it at face value for a while. I have to say you're being incredibly disingenuous in talking about women in naturism--claiming to be feminist, even--without mentioning the contexts in which women and nudity are presented in textile society. In every form of depiction, from "great art" to the most awful pornography, it's women and especially young "attractive" women, who are the ones portrayed. Any woman who contemplates naturism is instantly going to see herself in relation to this tradition, as likely to be looked at and evaluated, and if people can get away with it, photographed and her picture spread across the Internet. If naturists wanted to reassure women, we'd be spreading publicity and images that feature men and women on an equal basis, with young and old mixed, and which emphatically would not look like an array of pictures of babes with their clothes off. Instead, what naturists tend to produce is more material right out of the textile world's book, pretty much indistinguishable from soft-core porn--"cheesecake", if I can use that old-fashioned term. There are a fair number of blogs around which claim to have a naturist orientation, but which consist mostly of endlessly stolen and re-stolen images of naked women. One thing we can see is that naturists find copyright laws very distateful! I do think we males can repent of our past as consumers of pornography, but we have to start with noticing when we're presented with anything that looks like it. The result is predictable. There aren't many women in naturism, and those that there are, don't participate fully, by which I mean they show an apparently desperate need for wraps and sarongs. I think we'd better get used to the fact that naturism appeals to men a lot more than to women. If we enjoy spending our naked time with guys like ourselves, we can be happy naturists. Otherwise, I'd say we're stuck. And we aren't doing much about it.
I have always supported feminism and in recent years, the topfree movement. However, I would stress that we should be careful to use the term "topfree" not "topless", as the latter infers adult entertainment. Best of luck to all women in this endeavor, and the men who support them. Remember as recently as the early 30's, men were not allowed to be topfree in public either.
Seven years ago, four women were arrested in upstate New York for being topfree. Even though it was a ridiculous charge, they had to spend a few thousand $ just to get it dropped. Sound familiar? I don't know how to educate people about this in NY, especially the police, most of whom in NYC aren't interested or are, frankly, too drunk on their own misogynist power to care.
God bless the Naked Rambler! A short video poem extolling Steve Gough and the virtues of his nude walk! http://youtu.be/p_GC89L99Bk
Yes it's true,even here in England we can be fined for simply being naturally naked,even though there is no offence of nudity. And in backward Scotland you can be incarcerated longer than rapists for being naked(poor Steve Gough). Yet the police cooperate with the naked bike rides in Brighton,London and elsewhere, so WHAT is the problem? Section 5 of the Public Order Act and it's misinterpretation by certain police and magistrates,and the mistaken belief by quite a few people that being naked is a crime and therefore police should be called! Well, to be naked is to be YOURSELF! http://naturalian.blogspot.com http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/walking/naked_walki...
My dog and I are with you: let's walk topless! This post reminds me of getting in trouble last year when I went out to the front of my nudist camp in NY topless to clean the sign. Since its legal, I honestly thought nothing of it. Until I was reminded that we don't want to upset the neighbors, who could always raise a stink about having a nudist camp here. Good point, but kind of sad, too. So I guess I'll have to go topless in places other than right outside camp. Let's get some people together and enjoy the sun bare-topped this summer. I'm thinking a top-free reading time in some parks would be especially great!
I have serious doubts whether you know anything about nudism, my friend. In the three resorts I have belonged to, there was nearly an equal number of women as men. On nude beaches, I have also seen the same ratio. In "real" naturist publications, there are just as many old, fat, young, etc. nudes as attractive nudes. The blogs/sites you are referring to are PORN sites, typically with a slant toward pedophilia, which is sad. Do yourself a favor and visit some REAL naturist sites, like AANR, TNS, or just check out Loxie and Zoot comics.
Hi John, This was meant to be a follow-up post about being an activist for naturist rights. If you haven't already please check out my previous post which is more about feminism and how women are portrayed in the media / textile world. I think the Versace ad I included says a lot - http://nudistnaturistamerica.org/nudism-with-a-fe... What you say is true and I don't wish by any means to ignore this point. Women's bodies are constantly on display, and the media / advertising industry is always telling AND showing women what they need to look like. I know what you mean about other naturist blogs sharing the same kind of images. The women may be nude in those photos, but indeed they are young and follow society's description of attractive. We do not intend to be one of those "picture-peddler" sites. Those are usually aimed at using images to get site traffic and money. I would really prefer to share nonsexual images of REAL women and real bodies! However these are actually not easy to come by on the Internet. I honestly have no intention of "getting used to the fact" that men are more into naturism. You're right, we aren't doing much about it. But who says we have to sit back and get used to it? F that. I'm determined to change this! And if you have any ideas on how, I'm all ears!
You're right, Bruce, the word does have a negative connotation to it! It actually makes me think of Mardi Gras with women flashing their boobs. Blegh. Don't like that image. Need to spread the usage of "top-free" more! Yeah but the 1930s is not really that recent - that was over 80 years ago! We're too SLOW to change in my opinion! Thanks for the support and wish of luck! :)
Thank you for the comment and links Mike! Yes whether it's legal or not doesn't seem to make a difference sometimes- nudists are still criminalized! It especially doesn't even make sense when the WNBR is perfectly ok. I applaud Steve Gough and Nigel for going nude in public, exercising a legal right and pushing society to get over its nudity issues! More people need to be made aware that simple nudity is not a crime.
Yay, Melissa! :) That sucks that you got in trouble. I did too. Breaking society's strict nudity rules is bound to upset some people and cause a stir! It has long been the nudist mindset to be complacent, to hide, to not upset the neighbors, etc. But I think we need radical action like going top-free, and good can come of it! :) We can change how people think. You should totally get a group together for some top-free reading in your area, that'd be awesome! You can start something like the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society like we have here! Just arm yourself with the law in your back pocket. I didn't think this was necessary until I learned that it was.