Nudism with a Feminist Twist
Nudism , Feminism and Women
Nudism with a Feminist Twist:
I’ve been reflecting lately about why there aren’t more women, especially young women, involved in nudism. Generally speaking, it’s obvious we live in a society where people are afraid of nudity, ashamed of it, and deem it only acceptable during sex or bathing. But when it comes to women and nudity, is there another factor at play called patriarchy? There was a recent post from a feminist blog entitled “Go Naked; it’s good for everybody (but particularly for women)” about nudism and feminism that got me thinking.
First, the “naked rambler” story from a feminist point of view. A man named Nigel Keer was recently was fined under the Public Order Act for walking nude at Otley Chevin, a popular nature spot in the UK. That’s all he was doing. He was spotted by a woman who had a “distressed frown” on her face, according to the off-duty police officer that stopped him. (This story is a lot like the case of nude hiker John Cropper, except he wasn’t seen by anyone else. Perhaps it would have turned out differently if a female witness had been involved.) This woman was never identified, never testified, and never spoken to. However, it was enough to convict Nigel. As a feminist would immediately point out, the woman was assumed to be a “victim,” helpless in front of this strolling naked man. Ironically, this officer unwittingly offended women everywhere by deciding this female victim was distressed and needed his protection.
However, in one of the comments, a woman identified with the female victim. She says,
“Yes, not all men are sexual predators, and walking naked doesn’t necessarily equate to predatory behaviour, but the sad fact is that many, many women have experienced sexual violence at the hands of men and seeing a naked man when you’re out for a walk could well make a woman feel threatened, and could even trigger her.”
Yes, many women have been victims of sexual assault or rape, and I can understand a lone woman feeling threatened or disturbed seeing Nigel. But when does walking naked ever equate to someone being a sexual predator? When they attack. It doesn’t make sense to arrest someone for simply “causing alarm” because they are doing something unusual.
A lone naked man is an assumed predator, maybe even a rapist? As the writer, CP Reece, intelligently remarks, rape has nothing to do with nudity, but with exercising power over someone.
Reece points out the hypocrisies of female nudity. It’s OK in advertising and trashy magazines, but not OK in the park or on the beach. Breasts are not even ok to show in public breastfeeding. She notes that we live in a patriarchal society where men have always had control over how much skin ladies can show in public. Is this why there aren’t more young women involved in naturism? If women associate taking off their clothes just with sexy modeling, acting, and showing off their bodies, then they might think they have to look good enough to go nude in front of others. Of course looking good means being tall and thin like the unattainable ideal we see everywhere in the media.
For female nudity, patriarchy seems to play a significant role, especially in regards to topless rights. Reece says, “To require women to cover up their breasts in public is a highly visible expression of patriarchal control.” Indeed women don’t have to cover up breasts because they are breasts, but because they are women. Reese reminds us of the policeman in the documentary, My Daughter the Teenage Nudist, who, between the topless girl and guy, went after the girl to put her top back on. “Why?” Reese asks. Because she has a vagina. It’s a sexist, partriarchal law; or in this case, a sexist norm enforced by this officer, since it’s legal to go nude in public in the UK. It exists in a society in which men hold the power.
But what about male nudity? They gained the right to go topless first. Will they be out enjoying nude hiking before us ladies? Sounds crazy, and I hope that won’t be the case..
Referring back to the title, how is naturism good for everyone and especially for women? It fosters gender equality, which is particularly great for women whose bodies for once are not being put on display for male enjoyment. (Yes there are men who will still stare or join for that purpose, but it’s a totally different atmosphere in a true naturist setting. As Reece says to ladies, “a naturist man will look you in the eye!”) Naturism also advocates positive body image and celebrates all body types outside of the media’s ideal. Everyone is naked and equal, free of any sexist textile constraints and with much less stereotyping, judgment, labeling, profiling, etc.
To be continued in a second post about Reece’s call for radical action for naturist rights…
About the Author (Author Profile)Author of Felicity's Blog. Co-founder of Young Naturists America. 3rd-generation nudie. Avid reader. Feminist. 70% vegan, 30% vegetarian. When I'm not busy eating, I'm writing about naturism, censorship, topfree equality, body image and other fun topics. I like feedback, so plz leave a comment when you've got something to say!
Who doesn't know that men and women are both different and the same.
Same: Either can sustain the children if need be until the kids reach adulthood.
Different: If all but a few guys die protecting their families, the women can replace the guys. If all but a few women and girls die, the whole society faces extinction.
So, men must be the ones to face death and women childbirth. Who would ever do that without nature shaping us to that end. Successful societies also help out with powerful ways to shape men and women to those roles.
In the last 6000 years, such role shaping has at times taken the form of a patriarchy, where clans are based on family and are ruled by some sort of male head of clan or tribe or family as in the Bible. You might think "Danny Boy" was all of human history and that women were just there to breed.
Marija Gimbutas, IMHO one of the best archaeologist ever, showed the Neolithic (10K to 4K BCE - as far in time from the pyramids as the pyramids are from us) was a fertile human explosion with neither patriarchy or matriarchy. Then the weather changed; war was invented; and for some it was kill or be killed.
Even under such stress, there have been plenty of societies with a fairly equal social balance. See Wiki on "Women in Ancient Sparta," for example; also for how the Spartans regarded their bodies and their clothing.
None of this matters today. Anyone still trying to defend some silly notion of male supremacy or forced androgyny is missing the point. The question is what we need to be doing right now, today, in order to raise and protect our children. We know there are big rocks flying around, some barely missing Earth, that would devastate mankind; many killers like Ebola waiting to strike; a very finite supply of oil, land and water; and enough nuclear bombs to kill everyone in the World.
How are we going to manage these kinds of real and present dangers? Will we need to be more knowledgeable, healthier and live longer and work harder?
It will take both men and women together, bravely with purpose, and all our strengths to defend and protect Earth, mankind, and our children. We must see ourselves as we actually are, no silly worries over small matters, to both see nature and manage it so that we not only sustain it but nurture it.
That's why everyone needs to become a naturist IMHO. Besides, naturism is fun.
:-) Let's make Nudism cool!
As this may not have posted over at Diary of a Nudist, (needed Google account), I repost it here: Nudiarist, you are something of a polymath. You see the bigger picture, the connectedness of things beyond the mere narrow niche of social nudism. You are a veritable general in these cultural wars. These wars have been going on for a long time. Billions were spent to foment fears. To stoke these moral panics, CNN used to run banners asserting that over 2300 kids went missing in the US alone, every day, with three-quarters of those kids killed in the first three hours. MSNBC went nuts with around-the-clock hysteria programming about the "child-sex-abuse pandemic", Chris Hansen became ubiquitous. Yet, TheRegister, in UK, recently reported that world-wide, last year, combined global police rescued three kids from sexual abuse and pornography and over the last 2 years, seven kids, with one in Sweden. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch were two original masterminds behind these wars. Feinstein knows how not to wage a full-frontal attack on the Desert Sun skirmish and so is now making attacks on the flank, framing the issue more broadly, ostensibly focusing on the ADA, but still managing to frame it as about "predators". Google "predatory lawsuits Dianne Feinstein", in order to see how she (they) have already managed to frame the rhetoric in the controlled media. Those less sophisticated, or not in the know, would probably never suspect it is really the Desert Sun issue, about which Feinstein is really most concerned.
Well, Felicity, I didn't get to your question yet. Though it seems none of those examples seemed to cause you any thoughts such as if Patriarchy exists, why are men losing their rights and being discriminated against left and right. Men don't matter is the current society and culture we live in it seems. I guess that's why when a man calls a woman slut (uncalled for I agree), the entire population goes crazy, but when women go on national TV last year and celebrate the torture and sexual mutilation and dismemberment of an innocent man by his wife, there is barely a whisper. In fact most women called the woman a hero and the TV show called it a "fabulous" event. No advertisers would drop their support and no one was fired. Talk about the media, It's the men who are portrayed as buffoons and complete idiots and you see women committing domestic violence against them and no one cares. It's humorous and acceptable. I guess you consider that Patriarchy as well. As far as your question and the premise of the article, it's very convenient and easy to blame men for everything. Just say Patriarchy and any shortcomings women have put on themselves can now be rationalized. Feminism has brainwashed people into believing this stuff. Not unlike the Nazis did when Germany was doing poorly and so they directed all blame on Jews (and other groups.) Again, Arab and some African countries, yes, I'd agree. But not here (with the exception of very religious groups). Men are the ones that are being oppressed in many ways. Some I mentioned, more sinister ways I didn't get to. Again, you also blame women not running for office on Patriarchal society - there is nothing, I mean nothing at all stopping women from running for office. They choose not to. Stop blaming men for women's choices and decisions. Are women that infantile and weak? Women need to take some responsibility for themselves. They rather use men as a scapegoat. Even in the new rape definition, suddenly if a couple shares a bottle of wine over dinner and then engages in sex, the man is raping his girlfriend, even if she initiates the encounter. A groom is raping his wife on her wedding night if they both choose to drink a little during the reception. The man has to be responsible for his decisions, but the woman has no such responsibility. It's the man's fault here again. So if a woman drinks a few and drives home and kills a passenger in another car, are we to not charge her with manslaughter? Is she void of any responsibility once some liquor passes her lips? Were her decisions now also men's fault? Do some men care about looks exclusively? Yes. Do women? absolutely. I am a prime example as you know. Hoping to enjoy a nice night out at a party, and all women were allowed in, but if men didn't look good enough, we were kicked to the curb and told to get lost. I wouldn't say it was a Patriarchal society that did that. As far as going topless, it has nothing to do with Patriarchy. Men oppressing or controlling women have zero to do with it. In fact, I bet if you walked down the street and asked people randomly if they thought it would be good to allow women to walk topless in public, I bet more women would say no than men. Why aren't women allowed? As you know, I have no issues with women going topless. (or naked for that matter). But I do understand that some people (men and women) view women's breasts as not only food supply for a baby and a natural part of a woman's body, but also as a sexual part of a woman. Yes, men view breasts as an important part of a sexual encounter. As do women. I have had women orgasm solely from stimulation of her breasts. It's a body part that derives sexual pleasure for both parties. Men's breasts are not sexual. Most men, including myself get no sexual arousal from them being stimulated. And most women aren't interested in them during a sexual encounter. It has nothing to do with men controlling your body. Like I said, I believe more women would be in favor of outlawing women from going topless in public than men. So to display a sexual body part is what lawmakers are against. Nothing to do with control of women. As far as women viewed as sex objects, yes some men do. However, women are more guilty of portraying themselves that way. I can't count how many times I am in the city late and in Penn Sta. waiting for my train when scores of women heading home from a night out are all dressed as provocatively as you can imagine. Boobs barely covered. Skirts rising as high as you can get without showing something. High heels. Midriff exposed. I talk to men and we laugh at how women can go out like that and then complain if someone leers at them. Maybe it's me, but most men wouldn't go near someone acting like that or dressed that way. Sure some do. But blame it on women too. Women are the ones that dress that way at awards ceremonies and photo ops. Men don't force them to. And it's women's magazines that I see in the supermarket that show hot bikini clad women on the front cover. And have photo pages inside of the shockingly dressed stars. Men don't buy those mags. Men don't write and edit them. You do it to yourselves and put pressure on yourselves. It's not Patriarchy. Most men I know hate the look of those super sized fake breasted women. Yet, you'll see them in those women's mags. It's not only women who are self conscious about their bodies. Men work out to get buff to look like those photos on the mags too or those bodies shown in movies etc.. But no one is blaming Matriarchy. Or oppression by women. Just like women, we want to look our best and be healthy. For naturists, it's hard for men too. The article assumes that only women have issues. There are many men I asked to come to the events who would never want to be seen naked. Just more men I think are willing to just not care as much about what others think. We also have pressure to be muscular, have six pack abs and we also are at a disadvantage as we always here jokes from women about small sized men. How do you think men feel if they don't "measure up?" It's much more embarrassing to us than having some cellulite. Trust me. At naturist events, nude women either only show some hair or the outside of her genitals. Men have to let it all hang out so to speak and that's not easy. One last note, if women are allowed to go topless in public in England, let's say, and if a man looked at her chest as she walked by, he would now be looking at a year in prison for such behavior and forced to pay restitution to the "victim". Yes, that's feminism for you.
Howard, the gender inbalance that you see in many nudist settings speaks for itself - yes, some men are worried about their looks. But CLEARLY they are much more comfortable going nude than women. Why do you think that is? I'm saying they have it a lot worse than men in terms of being viewed as sex objects and being told how to look. I can tell you don't agree with that, but this is my theory on why. Yes women do dress sexy and provocatively. They do it because our culture tells them their value is in their body and looks. Hot=successful. This is not the same for men. I can see that you don't agree, so let's agree to disagree.
Howard, you do have some valid points, but you are also omitting some key data: income level, for example. Men often earn more than women, for doing the same jobs. Another is the male dominance of many corporations and professions. "The Old Girls Network" is seldom referred to in discussions about corporate culture, but "The Old Boys Network" is so common and omnipresent that it's considered a cliche. Another factor is mental health - women are more likely than men to suffer from depression.
You bring up some good points Wylie. I just learned that even today women actually earn 81 cents for every dollar that a man makes. And the higher the level of education, the less they earn compared to men! That's my argument for any man that wants to whine about how men aren't being treated equally in education. Women are surpassing men at every level of education and still making less for it - sad!
Hi Felicity, Great article. I think you hit on one of the biggest reasons more young women are not involved in nudism when you wrote: "If women associate taking off their clothes just with sexy modeling, acting, and showing off their bodies, then they might think they have to look good enough to go nude in front of others. Of course looking good means being tall and thin like the unattainable ideal we see everywhere in the media." Everyday we will get calls and or e-mails form guys who say my wife/gf says she won't come to our nudist resort until she loses ____ pounds. She's been saying that for years, how can I change her mind. The media makes women feel like they are nothing unless they they buy certain make up, clothes, diets, plastic surgery, etc. Men do not get bombarded as much as women do. And the media makes so many women feel so insecure which is what they want to do, so women will buy that junk. Like so much in America, profits are behind everything. An example, dermatologists in the US demonized the sun, so now 75% of Americans have Vit D deficiencies. And the multi billion dollar sunscreen industry was behind this. You are slowing finding research scientists recommending going into the sun with out sunscreen. Nudism does foster gender equality as you write, and men and women have to fight for this. Once the media starts saying people should go to nude beaches, we will start to get gender equality. Thanks again for the great article. Tom Mulhall
Thank you Tom. It's a good point how when it comes down to it, it's all about profit. How would those industries make any money if we didn't feel totally inadequate as we are? Oh man, how DO we defeat the must-lose-pounds mindset? I suppose women just need to go and see for themselves that it's not a beauty pageant, but just the opposite. The clothed beaches / places are actually like beauty pageants! Interesting what you say about the sun! I can totally see that. Plus people incl me are sitting inside in front of screens for too long haha I hope the media will start saying that! For the good of all! Thanks again for your thoughts :) ~Felicity
It's a bit of a tangent from the intent of this article, but I'd like to comment on a sentence in the first paragraph. In that sentence you state that many women only accept nudity during bathing and sex. Sadly, there are women who don't even accept nudity at those times. I became a nudist because I couldn't even handle bathing or going to the bathroom with my eyes open due to fear and shame. Nudism has completely changed that for me. (Sex was, for obvious reasons, not a part of my life yet.). My sister still resists nudity to all extent possible during sex. She will only engage in sex in the dark or with a small candle and prefers to be under the covers for it to prevent nudity from being seen. It's sad, very sad, that there are women who continue to struggle with even this. However, it does provide some explanation to why women are often not as involved in nudism.
Thank you for your comment, Melissa! You're right, some women are uncomfortable even at those times, sad as that is. So from what I understand, you consider it a body image problem. Women have a lot of trouble accepting themselves as they are. Well I'm really glad you got into nudism and that it helped you accept you body! It's terrible that women struggle with this, and I hope more will find naturism as you have!
Actually, my experience wasn't a body image problem, per se. It was a result of lots of childhood "stuff" that made me absolutely terrified to be nude in any way. That fear/ terror rolled over into adulthood and just got out of control. I'm not sure how else to put it. I know there are many with body image issues, but, for me, it wasn't the image of my body that killed me- it was having a body at all. I'm hoping that we can find some way to reach out to those women who are like I was- scared, and for very good reason.
Howard, thank you for this long response, but you still didn't answer my question, which was, "Why, for example, can you go topless in public and I can’t in most states?" Do you not see patriarchal control in the way women are allowed to dress? Women have it way worse in terms of being viewed as simple sexual objects or playthings. Our culture still values our bodies over our brains. It tells us that we need to be HOT to be successful. Which means: Thin, coiffed, big-breasted, wrinkle-free, cellulite-free, perky, flat tummies, very tall, flawless hairless smooth skin, painted face, pouty lips, no curves, no fat etc. Yes, there's a perfect ideal body for men to long after too, but it's not the same. Women have it way worse. Just compare the beauty regimes and the amount women spend on beauty products and plastic surgery. And I'm not saying that's YOUR fault or the fault of all men! I'm saying our society is still a patriarchal society in this way. I think women don't run for office because of the society and culture we live in and what it values, what it tells us.
Felicity, you basically gave the answer. "It tells us that we need to be HOT to be successful. Which means: Thin, coiffed, big-breasted, wrinkle-free, cellulite-free, perky, flat tummies, very tall, flawless hairless smooth skin, painted face, pouty lips, no curves, no fat etc." That, at least I think, is not a matter of culture. It is a matter of 'social influence' created by media and the companies that thrive (make money) off those 'features'. Those companies and media are pushing it so hard, that it changes people's behaviour. Many politicians will have shares in those companies, so they will not do anything to prevent them making money. Perhaps it is a matter of complaining about untrue claims made in adds and even complaining about the censorship that supports the sex industry reduces women to objects of desire.
Health- There are 7 offices and councils that deal with female-specific healthcare. How many for men? ZERO. Over the past couple decades, how much $ has gone to women's health from taxpayer dollars? Trillions. How much for men-specific health issues? $ZERO. I'm not saying it should be 50/50 as women do have birthing and gyno issues but this is ridiculous. And feminists have come out to say men shouldn't have a health council because it's men's fault they die earlier than women. Breast cancer funding gets more than double prostate cancer funding even though 1 in 6 men are affected and 1 in 9 women are affected. Death rates do claim more women but not by a ton, 39,000 to 28,000. How often do you see products or promotions for breast cancer in stores? All the time. How many for men's health? Never. Look through the Obama care bill. There are several sections that deal with women-specific health. All kinds of councils and offices overseeing and approving women's health awareness and drugs and research etc... How many sections for men? ZERO. In fact, women are mentioned 134 times in the bill, and men? Twice, as "women and men". In fact, the bill shows contraception (the pill, and others) will be fully paid for- no copays or out of pocket costs. Even tubal ligation may be covered in full. Male contraception? condoms and vasectomies? Not covered at all or not covered in full. Oh yes, this reeks of Patriarchy. Here's another example: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/ Here is the NIH, promoting heart health last month- TO WOMEN ONLY. Yes, despite their own stat book showing men die of heart disease at rates of 150% of women, they ignore men's awareness completely. Funding is only for increasing awareness for women. Men die of every cancer but one at an earlier age than women. Men die younger period. Yet you never see any male health awareness programs from the govt. Family court: Women get custody of their children 85% of the time. Fathers are deemed inferior to mothers and are usually relegated to wallets to pay child support and alimony. Even feminists (NOW) opposes equal parenting. In fact in Australia, feminists just overturned an equal parenting law that was working well. They portrayed fathers as dangerous to their own children and the feminist driven government ruled fathers have no rights to their kids. Many times here child support is made at inflated levels as the corrupt family courts system profits from imposing high child support. Men are routinely thrown in jail if they fall behind due to job loss, wage cuts or sickness. They have their driver's licenses and business licenses revoked. Child support accrues while in jail. They are released and owe even more every month. Of course with a record now, they can't get good jobs and end up back in prison. I know several men this happened to. Many men are ripped from their homes and never have contact with their kids again. The women take the home, car, assets, everything including the kids. The man is left bankrupt, homeless or imprisoned. Most due to routinely false domestic violence allegations that VAWA encourages and funds. Men are assumed guilty of many crimes against women solely based on accusation. They have no presumption of innocence. The accuser gets legal aid, not the accused (14th amendment rights lost) and college men can be tried twice by a campus tribunal (5th amendment rights lost). False accusations of rape destroy a man's life and reputation. His name is dragged through the mud (Hofstra, Duke, Kelly) while the accuser is held anonymous. False DV and false rape accusers are almost never ever prosecuted. Many times the above issues lead to a man committing suicide- 4 times the rate of women. So, where is this Patriarchy that you claim is evident throughout society? Oh and VAWA by it's name alone shows that the bill only cares about ending domestic violence for women victims. Abuse of men? who the hell cares. Let them be abused. Most DV shelters refuse to help men. They are either told they only accept women and children (not boys over 12) or insinuate the man is the abuser. Most studies show men and women as victims at equal rates. The latest CDC study shows equal rates and also shows victims of severe violence are 42% men. Yet nothing is done to help them. The DV agencies and feminists lie and distort the stats. They either are one-sided (1 in 3 women are victims of DV, rape and stalking, not mentioning 1 in 4 men are too) or they outright lie and say men are predominantly the abusers. Educational materials state this too and are the cause of male guilt assumption. Only boys will be forced to take DV classes in middle school, high school and college and men engaging men to stop violence will be given. No courses given to women for women to stop violence. Stats show a surge in violence by women recently. Of course that's expected since VAWA doesn't address violence by women. Homelessness: Yes, 95 of the unsheltered homeless are men. Many shelters only accept women or families- of course most fathers never get custody, so that means single men are usually denied shelter. 97% of armed forces killed are men. Homeless vets are 76,000 men and 3,000 women. Yet when last year it came out that women's figure rose from 1,600, there was a big to do of what we need to do to help women homeless veterans. When it was only men, who the heck cared. Jubilee House was set up to help homeless vets- WOMEN only. Again, this is male oppression? This is male privilege? I'll continue more later. Bedtime.
I totally disagree that society still has a patriarchal aspect to it. That is so untrue. To claim that women are oppressed today in this country and other Western countries is a farce. To say that there is male privilege is a joke. As far as having women in government, don't blame Patriarchy. That has nothing to do with anything. Do women in this country have every right to run for office? Is it illegal anywhere for them to do so? Not that I am aware of. Women make up 54% of the registered voters. So, theoretically, if women wanted to, the entire congress and white house could be filled with all women. Just because women choose not to run for office as much as men do, doesn't equal some kind of oppressed society. And those women who do run are not always elected, obviously. Yes, women decide that some men are more qualified for the position. What genitalia one has does not decide elections. So just because women choose not to put the effort in to campaign and rally doesn't equate to oppression. Of course, if women one day voted in 100% women into office, then suddenly there would be no issues. It would be fine. To feminists, that would be equality. This brings me to other areas where this supposed Patriarchy is no where to be seen and where feminists and women suddenly turn a blind eye to inequality. Education- when women made up around 40% of those going to college and when girls fell behind boys in school achievement (1960s) , there was a rush to help them. It was gender bias feminists said. So we changed the curriculum, changed testing methods and brought in affirmative action and special privileges for girls only (such as women only scholarships) and the results seen not long after, and that continue today are boys lagging behind and and now 2/3 of all college graduates are women. When men's rights groups ask for a men/boys council to look into ways to help, feminists come out opposing this (on the premise it's the boys fault, not anything to do with gender bias or education change) and nothing is done. The only thing that was done was form a women/girls council and stunningly, they come out with the finding that despite all this, we need more affirmative action and more special privileges for women such as women-only mentorship classes and first priority in choosing STEM classes while men are left by the curb. If you want proof, here is a link when I Googled Women scholarships. Tons of them: And here is the link when I Googled Men scholarships: There are about six, half for boy scouts or gays. How the hell can you claim Patriarchy when female privilege is oozing out of every aspect? I will continue in a new reply because there's so much female privilege out there it boggles my mind as to how anyone can claim Patriarchy.
Well, I for one disagree. This whole BS about living in a Patriarchal society is nothing but trash spewed out by feminists. Women are not oppressed, not helpless victims of big bad evil violent men that supposedly lurk at every street corner. Yes, the fact that those nudist organizations are run and staffed by mostly women IS proof that Patriarchy is a myth. (I will give you its existence in Arab countries, so don't go there). However, in the US and especially in England, for God's sake and other countries such as Australia, there is no male-controlled society. Men are targets of much discrimination in many areas. Feminists lie and distort the truth to achieve much of the discrimination that men deal with. The idea that Patriarchy exists put forth by feminism in today's world, is nothing more than a way to portray males as the cause of all evils of society and women as nothing but poor helpless victims. So much evidence exists that women have more privileges and rights today that men do not have. Patriarchy is used as a crutch to blame one's own insecurities or poor decisions on and to deflect responsibility to. Yes, some men out there treat women poorly but this alleged Patriarchal society does not dictate the actions of its citizens. Everyone has the freedom to make their own choices and be responsible for them.
Howard, I don't think patriarchy is as evident as it once was. But men have always held positions of power and authority in this country throughout history. In fact even today we are far behind other countries as far as having women in government. Women have always been seen as inferior to men and objectified way more than men have. We have long been living in a patriarchal society, and change has been slow. I'm not saying ALL men are to blame for this. It's that society as a whole still has a patriarchal aspect to it. Why, for example, can you go topless in public and I can't in most states?
Much of the opposition against nudity is probably coming from the glamour/sex industry that makes a good living of exploiting (mainly) female skin. The censorship on media under cover of being PC and protecting the innocent from viewing 'dirty' body parts plays an important part in social influence as expressed here: "Social influence happens every minute of every day. It's the collection of ways in which people can change other people's attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person's behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It's the "Just do it" approach." If you really want to break down the barriers for nudism, I think you need to start at methods in which people are being influenced. A typical example is the tv series Survivor. Here in New Zealand, every little bit of the body that could be associated with 'being dirty' is blurred out. I understand that this comes from the US, not the NZ media. By doing that, a desire is created to see the 'dirty', and that appears to men in particular.
It should be mentioned that a woman, Susan Weaver, is the president of the American Association for Nude Recreation. In addition, the owner of the Naturist Society, Nicky Hoffman-Lee, is a woman. The staffs of both organizations are primarily women, too. This is not to refute your points about a patriarchal society, with which I mostly agree, but women are deeply involved with nudism and naturism, and their contributions should not be overlooked.
It's a wonderful thing that the leaders of AANR and TNS are women and that they are staffed by women! And that they have made great contributions to nudism. But in spite of that fact, I still see a lack of young women in the nudist community and wish to figure out why and change this.
Felicity, like I said, I agree in principle with your points. I just don't think a conversation about women in naturism is complete without mentioning the fact that many naturist leaders are women. Cheri Alexander has set an example for years now as the head of Travelites in South Carolina, a state which is decidedly unfriendly to social nudism. And don't forget to mention yourself, Felicity, as a young naturist leader. Or Melissa DejaNude, for that matter. I could go on.
You've given me a lot to think about, but my first impression is that by embracing nudism women can strike a blow against patriarchy. I can't say that I disagree.