Review of The Nudist Documentary Film “My Daughter the Teenage Nudist”
Nudist Documentary Review: “My Daughter the Teenage Nudist”:
I was recently reading through several reviews that were popping up all over about the newly-released nudist documentary entitled, “My Daughter the Teenage Nudist,” out of curiosity, and no means of seeing it myself. But then it was uploaded on Daily Motion! Thank you, Daily Motion for being so liberally naked. (Update 6/2016: The film is no longer available to watch on Daily Motion. We will post a new link if it becomes available there again or elsewhere.)
Some reviews were negative, mostly written by people who have no clue what naturism is about. I, however, thought this 45 minute documentary was lighthearted and insightful in some ways. This nudist documentary follows a number of young people in England as they explore the World Naked Bike Ride, skinny dipping, and explore ways in which they can make people think differently about body image and nudity.
The first person we meet is teenager Molly who is 18 years old. Her first public nudity or social nudism experience is the World Naked Bike Ride in London, where many riders went fully nude, decked out in paint and fun accessories. Molly finds it exciting and freeing, but her mother doesn’t share the same enthusiasm, especially after seeing her daughter’s nude photos on Facebook. Molly then decides to pursue other naked activities. She visits a nudist resort with a group of friends, and though shy at first, most of the group shed their inhibitions to take a nude swim. She gets ready to leave for college, not about to become a naturist per se, but still open to having naked fun.
Though the title of this nudist documentary might indicate otherwise (it sort of sounds like when a porn flick tries to guise itself under naturist terms), the documentary is not solely focused on this teenage girl and her mother. The next person we meet is Daryl Jones, youth officer for British Naturism. He is working with BN to recruit the younger folk, who seem to be missing in naturism just like in the U.S. British Nudism has also lost 7,000 members in the last decade, according to this nudist documentary. Daryl spreads the word on the street as he talks to World Naked Bike Riders and university students about joining YBN (Young British Naturists).
During this nudist documentary, we also learn about a small group of young people who cook vegan food naked and write a nudist blog duly entitled, “Naked Vegan Cooking.” Alex, 25, is part of this group and by being nude, she also wants to challenge the pervasive images of flawless, photo-shopped bodies in the media. The group decides to do an event in support of positive body image, a “Naked Tea Party.” They promote it on the streets of Britain, and Alex and Daryl decide to remove their shirts while handing out fliers.
They elicit a reaction from one young woman who says they are contradicting themselves by having two “beautiful” people promote positive image. While Alex does match the idealized body type – slim, tall and tanned – can we hold that against her? She is not allowed to try to change people’s perceptions about their bodies and nudity because she’s too thin or pretty? The young observer is missing the point. (It’s about being happy and comfortable with your body, no matter what size and shape. Sadly enough, even thin girls are incredibly unhappy with their bodies these days.)
I actually really admired Alex after what happened next. It is supposedly legal to be publicly naked in Britain, but she had to confront a police officer asking her to put her shirt back on. She pointed out the absurdity of his enforcing the laws of “decency” that were of course not the same for Daryl, who was allowed to remain top-free. She stands up for herself, but then put her shirt back on, so the courts won’t get to decide what’s decent this time.
The narrator states at the beginning that more and more young people are engaging in public nudity, such as in events like the WNBR, but the naturist community isn’t exactly getting younger. The disparity here is perhaps partly due to the issue of labels. Alex, though she enjoys social nudity, is hesitant to label herself a naturist. Molly and her friends just want to try things out and go nude whenever they want without necessarily committing to a club or group.
The naked vegan cooks opt to use the word “naked” for their event rather than “naturist,” which might “put people off.” So, is there a message here? Do we need to dump the term naturist and nudist to get the younger population interested? The leaders of BN are very aware that there is an image problem when using these terms. While visiting a naturist club, Alex has a chat with a man who tells her that when it comes down to it, being a naturist is just about “taking your pants off.” For some, it is as simple as that.