The Socioeconomic Context of Naturism
Guest Blog by: African American Naturist
Naturism and The Textile Industry:
One of the first things that global mercantile forces did to establish textile markets among the indigenous peoples of the regions and islands of the Arctic, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, and Oceania Polynesian/Melanesian societies) and was to promote and enforce body shame upon subject populations, requiring the purchase of textile clothing.
This was done through religious institutions (doctrines, crusades, jihad, and missionaries), as well as military force. Some of the objectives of textile enforcement were to establish, increase, and solidify hierarchical and social divisions among subject populations according to gender, age, wealth, ethnicity, appearance, status, and many other criteria (i.e. who wears the pants, skirts, uniforms, boots, bras, and badges) among subject populations to keep them more alienated from one another, less cooperative with each other, and more easily controlled.
The global marketing and enforcement of textiles was in part done (in similar manner as the marketing of credit cards and mortgages) by tying textiles to innate human desires for security, social status, beauty, comfort, and convenience. Ostensibly this was to promote “modesty.” However, modest dress simply means humble, practical, and non-ostentatious attire.
Our holistic naturist ancestors did indeed have modesty and shame, though it was shame (and honor) about their behavior, their contribution to their families and their society, not about their bodies or the bodies of those around them. Our naturist (family and social nudist) ancestors were by these standards quite modest, though when viewed through the warped lens of repressive colonizing cultures, they were labeled as “primitive” and “shameless.”
Overtly and covertly textile enforcement and pseudo-religious indoctrination, was used as a means of shaming, devaluing, repressing, and subjugating holistic naturist cultures. Western photographers and authors primarily chose to include only “decent” clothed images of individual, family and social life (often omitting common wholesome naturist practices) in popular historic records.
The colonizing global textile industry and pseudo-religious orthodoxies also plundered local economic resources, encouraged slavery and child labor (including historic agro-textile cotton picking slaves and modern sweatshop factory workers), created conflicts and divisions within indigenous societies, and harmed the mental, physical, and spiritual health of subject peoples, as they continue to do today.
Today, textile products are continually overtly and covertly marketed to almost every single human being on the planet from birth until death. This marketing is often so effective that many of us have come to believe that we could not live without our clothes.
Some of us believe that our clothes define who we are, that they are an essential and necessary part of our daily lives, that they are required for us to be accepted, moral, humble, and good human beings. In the USA and around the globe mainstream media portrays human nakedness as lewd, indecent, offensive, hyper-sexualized, deviant, psychologically harmful, pornographic, shameful, ridiculous, and immoral to such an extent that many mothers are ashamed, and in some cases not permitted by law, to be seen breastfeeding their children.
It is no coincidence that the USA also has much more adult and child pornography, sexual abuse and sex crime, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, bullying, and a larger prison population than any of the more naturist supportive nations in the world today. Around the world, in our modern textile enforced societies, people are routinely ostracized, bullied, robbed, beaten, raped, and even killed because of what they wear.
Before the influence of global mercantile forces (often operating within and through religious, military, and government institutions), many of our ancestors maintained well established holistic naturist traditions in their daily individual, family, social, casual, and ceremonial interactions, including respect for each other, and respect for their environment. Nude Beach PartyThis was true even among Arctic peoples such as the Inuit, Sami, and Nordic tribes. What many of us may not be aware of is the role that naturism played in strengthening communal bonds, local economies, individual and cultural self-esteem, and physical health. Holistic naturism permitted our ancestors to see each other as sacred whole people, and to accept different body types as perfectly natural. Youths were able to see the entire cycle of human development from birth, through puberty, young adulthood, adulthood, elderly adulthood, and eventually death, as a normal part of life.
Much of the sexual misinformation, preoccupation and confusion that surrounds westernized “modern” adolescence was absent from their lives. This allowed the development of better informed and more socially responsible young members of the community. Our ancestors accepted their bodies as they were, without diet crazes, plastic surgery, steroids, harmful beauty products, latest fashions, or bank breaking “bling.”
Though, on occasion they wore textiles and jewelry for artistic self-expression, displays of wealth or status, protection, practicality, and to regulate body temperature when needed, they didn’t mask or define themselves by what they wore, and they were comfortable and respectful with themselves and with each other without any required adornment.
Surprisingly, over the last century, many European and westernized societies have begun to recognize and reclaim the benefits of naturism. Physical benefits include increased vitality and longevity, increased oxygen intake, increased vitamin D intake, better early neurological development, strengthened immune systems, greater temperature tolerance, and reduced allergies.
Social benefits include reduced crime, reduced sexual perversion, reduced teen pregnancy, reduced textile expenditures, reduced textile waste generation, greater family and community harmony and cohesion, greater equality, tolerance, and sense of belonging. Personal benefits include greater self-esteem, positive body image, better connection to our true self, other people, our immediate environment, our Universe, our Reality, and our Creator.
Many European and westernized societies now encourage naturism within families and socially as part of their health and recreational practices. Some of these European and westernized naturist supportive societies are also represented by well-established naturist organizations such as the International Naturist Federation (INF-FNI), and the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR).
It is no accident that some of the most successful, productive, and creative economies in the world today have well established naturist traditions and practices. It is my belief that entrenched socio-economic engineering forces within the global power structure still regard the benefits of naturism as a threat to their continued covert domination of the greater society.
This is because people who are healthy, happier, psychologically whole, emotionally fulfilled and secure, more self-confident, more self-accepting, more united, more cooperative with each other, more sovereign, less hierarchical, more competent, and less competitive, are also less likely to become shopaholic consumer debt slaves, and more likely to become self-empowered producers and investors.
Sources: The health and psychological benefit information is widely documented.
The social benefit information is largely from The Naked Child: Growing Up Without Shame by Dennis Craig, and Therapy.
Nudity and; Joy: The Therapeutic Use of Nudity Through the Ages from Ancient Ritual to Modern Psychology by Aileen Goodson.
As well as my own anthropological and historical studies (read lots of Wikipedia and a few good anthropology and history books from various perspectives) and personal cultural heritage (West African of the Mande’ tribe/people) and personal experience (traveling, living in NYC and getting to know lots of different people from all over the world).
Some of it is my opinion too…I’m sure not all textile firms are evil, and not all naturists are healthier, more friendly, or more thrifty than non-naturists.