Naturist Living Show: School Project and How Naturism Supports Feminism
As many of you know, for over a year now, I’ve been a regular guest on the Bare Oaks podcast, “The Naturist Living Show.” The podcast is put together by the owner of Bare Oaks Naturist Park, Stephane Dechenes. And I’ll remind you, he has the only naturist podcast in the world. Given that fact and also no doubt the quality of the show, he attracts a huge worldwide audience.
Most naturist living show episodes are around 60 minutes or longer. But Stéphane just announced on the latest episode that he’ll be reducing the length of each show from now on. An hour-long episode takes a lot of editing, and with all the projects he has going on, I can’t blame him for cutting back. Future episodes may be as short as 20 minutes, depending on what the subject is.
Given my participation and the interesting discussions of the podcast, we’re going to devote a new section of our site to posting about the latest episodes.
The 71st episode of the naturist living show podcast came out this past Saturday (Nov 29th), and it’s called “School Project.” Stéphane talks to a university student about her first time trying naturism at Bare Oaks and how her family, friends and boyfriend reacted to the idea of it. She also talks about her photography project involving naturists there.
Then he talks to Alexis Beckett, a former summer employee at the park. You may remember her name from her recent article on the Bare Oaks blog, “My experience in naturism as a woman and a feminist.” I also mentioned it in our Naked News Roundup. On the podcast, Alexis goes into more detail about why she was drawn to naturism and how she ended up working at Bare Oaks.
Alexis opens with her story about being groped by a random dude at the Toronto World Pride Parade. She had just been thinking about going topfree at the parade, til one self-entitled creep made her rethink that idea. Women can legally go topfree in Ontario, just like in New York where I live. I can completely relate to her story. Every time I consider going topfree somewhere in public, I have to think about street harassment and my own safety. I have to think about how much unwanted attention I will draw to myself.
At the same time, I don’t mean to imply that covering up is a solution to prevent street harassment. This is the common “solution” offered by society, and it’s less about stopping street harassment and more about controlling women’s behavior. In Alexis’ case, she was still completely dressed when she was sexually harassed. She talks about how some people would consider it her fault for wearing short shorts. I’m looking forward to the day when people stop asking, “What was she wearing?” when stuff like this happens. It’s victim-blaming and it’s irrelevant, as it happens to women regardless of their state of dress or undress. But most women experience street harassment, and I do worry about it more when I go topfree.
So Alexis discovers naturism and Bare Oaks, a safe place that seems to embody her feminist values. She works in the office sans clothing, just like the rest of the staff. Yet she finds that catcalling, sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, objectification, all these issues that women (and other genders) face, are all just about absent from her new environment. Now it is a private club, so obviously there is quality control and rules to be enforced. But the values of respect and gender equality are typically overlooked when people talk about the naturist movement and philosophy. In growing up at a nudist club myself, these values were present, but never articulated to me. It was only in starting YNA (and teaching myself about feminism) that I really began to emphasize such ideals as an important aspect of naturism.
Alexis also talks about how she doesn’t feel pressured to wear makeup or make herself look sexually attractive at Bare Oaks. She feels accepted as she is. An environment where women don’t have to worry about beauty standards, where they are defined by their minds over their bodies, is a feminist one indeed.
You can hear the rest of Alexis’ story by listening to the podcast, but I also want to share the last paragraph of her published blog:
“I find feminism in naturism. I find equality. I find a place where I am not obligated to look the way anyone else looks, because it is very obvious, when it comes down to skin, that we are all different and there’s no use comparing. I find a place where sexualization and sexual harassment aren’t tolerated. I find a place where people look out for each other, take care of each other, and respect each other’s individuality and individual life experiences. These are all things I hadn’t expected to find in naturism, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. When we loosen the grip of obligatory sexualization for a little while, beautiful things can blossom.”
My segment is at the end of the episode, where I briefly introduce the Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society (KFFBS).
Listen to the whole episode below, or visit the episode’s page on the Naturist Living Show.
This post about the Naturist Living Show and the Nudist School Project About Feminism and Naturism was published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America YNA