Nudist Women And Why Does Naturism Have a Lady Problem?

| February 22, 2016 | 41 Comments

Why Aren’t There More Women In Nudism / Naturism Today?

It’s no secret to most in the naturist community that naturism has a lady problem. While men tend to flock far more easily to social nudity, as though it’s their life calling to be naked, women tend to be far less open to the experience. While it does vary from place to place, in the U.S., men tend to outnumber women at naturist events, nudist resorts and clubs.

skinny dipping bob's burgers tina belcher women naturism yna

Skinny dipping scene on Bob’s Burgers where Tina notices a gender disparity. Image: Fox / Bob’s Burgers

Sometimes the divide is quite extreme, and sometimes it’s more reasonable. But regardless of the situation, as a whole, the uneven ratio is still noticeable. The question is: why?

For those who may not have experienced social nudism, I know what many of you must be thinking: “It’s all heterosexual men who just want to see hot naked women!” But, from my many experiences, this is generally NOT the case.

Of course there ARE some men who seek it out for that reason. Most of them can be spotted with relative ease at public nude beaches, but they do make up such a minute and inconsequential fraction of the general nudie population.

For the most part, the general consensus is that men are just generally more comfortable being naked in social situations. I’m talking about men of all ages, from teenagers to seniors. I am also talking about men of all / any sexual orientation as well.

While the typical demographic of nudist clubs and resorts is people in their 50’s and up, at YNA, we are happily seeing plenty of healthy interest in naturism among younger men and younger people in general.

There are also numerous “special interest” nudist groups, clubs and events for gay and bisexual male naturists. Although there are a few LGBT-oriented resorts for people of all genders in the U.S., I’ve yet to come across any “special interest” naturist group that’s just for lesbians or bisexual women.

An interesting fact about “single” male nudists is that many are not single at all. Though nudist resorts will apply the word “single” to any heterosexual man that shows up alone, many nudist men do have wives and girlfriends. But many of those female partners are just not interested in joining them.

A Nudist Take Over - Nudist Women Take Over Land to Establish a Nudist Colony!

A Nudist Take Over – Nudist Women Take Over Land to Establish a Nudist Colony!

What about race? Well, while YNA does have a well diversified attendance and following, the nudist world at large does have a bit of a diversity problem. The average nudist club demographic is mostly comprised of middle to upper class White people. Public nude beaches, on the other hand, tend to be much more diverse. Also, of the majority of the people of color who are naturists, men still outnumber women. While I can’t prove that with any official statistics, I can say it with relative confidence just based on my own personal observations.

SO, what about the single women, wives, girlfriends and all the LGBT women? Why aren’t they more interested in naturism? Why don’t women seek out naturism with the same level of interest as men?

In most sectors, this type of issue would be something that the “bigger players” of the industry would have researched and published about. Unfortunately, in the nudist world, this is not an easy question to answer because there aren’t any surveys or studies. The best we can do is to speculate and offer our own educated guesses based on conversations and experiences we have had with women.

As a 27-year-old female naturist, I won’t be sharing my personal experience here because I didn’t exactly choose naturism or overcome any barriers to trying it as a woman. My parents raised me as a naturist from the day I was born so my personal experiences will be quite different than most women in society at large.

That being said, as a feminist activist and a woman in American society, I’ve observed plenty of social and cultural issues that may be contributing factors to the lack of female presence in American nudism.

How long have we had this gender disparity in naturism?

To start, modern organized naturism has only been around in the U.S. since the 1930’s. I don’t know if this gender issue goes back that far, but it’s at least been observed over the last few decades. Many nudist clubs have long been restricting the number of single men that can visit.

naturist nudist women natural beauty nudists

A Nude Picture Of A Naked And Natural Naturist Nudist Woman

They mostly enforce this male exclusionary policy based on how many couples / women the nudist club currently has. (Please note – these exclusionary policies are another hot topic of debate for a different post.)

Naturist and Nudist Women in Leadership Positions

It’s interesting to note that women are pretty fairly represented in naturism as far as political leadership is concerned. AANR (The American Association for Nude Recreation) and its regional clubs have had many women as presidents and in other leadership positions as well. The current AANR National president and vice-president are both women (Beverly Price and Sharon McLeod), the AANR-East President is a woman (Gloria Waryas) and the previous AANR president was also a woman (Susan Weaver).

The Naturist Society (TNS) has been owned and operated by women since 2001 (current owners are Nicky Hoffman and Margaret Thomton).

And then of course there’s me, Felicity, co-founder of YNA.

As far as nudist clubs and resorts, many are owned by male-female couples and thus partially owned / run / managed by women. At the co-operative clubs I’ve visited, I’ve always seen women and men equally involved in management and club operations.

So what are the social and cultural issues that may account for the lack of female naturists?

1. Body Image

The most common and obvious answer to women’s lack of participation in naturism is body image issues. When invited to try naturism, many women respond that they are too self-conscious about their own body or that they need to lose weight first.

While there’s been a noticeable uptick in men’s issues with body image and eating disorders (or just a lot more open discussion about them), it is still a disproportionately female problem.

Why?
Societal Values: Today, society still places a lot more expectations and pressure on women to conform to a certain beauty ideal (tall, slim, flat stomach, perky breasts, perfect skin, etc). There is far more value placed on women’s appearance than on their character, intelligence, abilities and / or accomplishments. And for women in the public eye, their looks are always subject to a much higher level of scrutiny than for men.

body image culture cartoon wilcox women naturism yna

Cartoon about body image and culture by Wilcox.

Big Business: There are multi-billion dollar industries that profit off of women’s insecurities, always trying to sell us new products to “fix” our imperfections. Through advertising and the media, women are constantly told what their bodies are supposed to look like and that their appearance is their most valuable asset.

body shaming beach body ready weight loss ad beauty standards yna

Protein World weight loss ad tried to show women what a “beach body” is supposed to look like.

Studies and surveys about women and body image have produced some disturbing statistics. In a 1997 study of 3,452 women, 56% of women said they were “dissatisfied with their overall appearance,” and 89% of women wanted to lose weight. And 24% of women said they would shave 3 years or more off their lifespan in exchange for achieving their weight goals (15% would give up 5 years or more). In a recent international survey, American women were found to have significantly greater body dissatisfaction than that of women in other countries.

It is well-known that these issues start at a young age, too. In a 2004 study by the Center for Disease Control, more than 59% of adolescent girls (grades 9-12) were trying to lose weight. Older research has found that large numbers of girls as young as 9 are dieting or have a fear of getting fat.

In many ways, naturism is a great antidote to body image issues. As I’ve written about before, being naked around other women in everyday situations (the spa, the locker room, etc) will generally benefit women’s own personal body image in a profound and significant way. By seeing diverse body types, women will realize that nobody matches the perfection of what they see in the media.

Picture Of Nudist Women yna

Picture Of Nudist Women Image credit: naked-club.org

So it’s unfortunate that these issues keep women from trying naturism to begin with. Perhaps we may be able to get more women involved in naturism if more women spoke up about the positive impact naturism and social nudity has had on their own personal body image struggles.

But with nudism as an industry being so resistant to adapting to the 21st century digital world, that message may be harder to get heard than it should be!

2. Sexual Objectification

Women’s bodies are constantly being sexualized in advertising, the media, movies, television and magazines. When a woman is naked (or nearly naked), it’s most often a “sexy” image being used to capture a heterosexual male’s attention. The woman is portrayed as an object that represents society’s idea of what a sexy woman should look like in order to serve men’s pleasure.

i love ugly jewelry advertisement sexual objectification women naturism yna

“I Love Ugly” jewelry ad demonstrating sexual objectification of women

details magazine fashion spread naked woman table sexual objectification women naturism yna

A naked woman is made to look like a table in this image from a Details Magazine fashion spread

As objects, naked women are robbed of their own self power. Their value and worth is based on their appearance and sex appeal and not on their character or intelligence. As attractive, silent and under-dressed submissive objects, the women are frequently placed next to fully dressed men to signify the man’s higher status and power in society.

suitsupply ad campaign topless women 2014 sexual objectification women naturism yna

SuitSupply 2014 sexist ad campaign that showed men in suits surrounded by topless models.

With regards to women and naturism… How is a woman supposed to see being naked as empowering when everywhere she looks, she sees naked women being reduced to powerless, voiceless, sexual objects that only exist to serve the male gaze? (Or to make a straight man look more eminent.)

Research has shown that women who are continually exposed to sexually objectifying imagery will begin to internalize objectification. Meaning, they begin to view themselves as objects for others’ desires and become overly focused on their appearance. Many studies have documented the ill effects of internalized objectification. It’s been linked to body shame and eating disordersmental health problems and a variety of other issues.

Other research has looked at how sexual objectification affects male attitudes towards women. This 2008 study found that when men were exposed to sexually objectifying images of women in video games, they became more tolerant of sexual harassment and rape myths.

3. Modesty and Slut Shaming

Images of sexy naked female models are everywhere. But if a woman gets naked on her own terms, she will more than likely find herself getting shamed, harassed and bullied. Our society clearly still has issues with permitting women to do what they please with their own bodies, let alone giving women the freedom to be sexual for themselves.

This major double standard is most apparent when it comes to nudity, sexual expression and behavior. While men are praised and revered for their promiscuity and for being sexually active with many partners, women are denigrated and shamed for the same sort of behavior.

This double standard, social phenomenon is referred to as slut shaming.

Slut shaming also pertains to a women’s choice of attire. It is assumed that the less clothing a woman is wearing, the more of a dirty slut she must be. (By this logic, naturist women must be the ultimate sluts.)

This ties into that old patriarchal concept of “modesty.” In regards to the state of dress and behavior, modesty is very much a patriarchal gendered term. Modesty was never really about fashion. It was about finding a way to control women as well as their sexuality.

Modesty, Women and Slut Shaming

“Same Arguments; Different Decade” Meme about Women, Modesty & Slut Shaming

Given the issues of slut-shaming and sexist double standards, it’s not surprising that the push for topfree equality has been met with such resistance. Women’s breasts have been sexualized and fetishized as titillating objects that were created to excite the straight male gaze. When women go topfree in public (for no other reason than because it feels good to them) or they want to breastfeed their child, they are publicly shamed or treated like criminals or depraved sluts.

In fact, topfreedom is just one of the newest frontiers for women reclaiming their bodies.

Take swimwear, for example:
• In Victorian times, women couldn’t even be seen in their full-body swim costumes at the beach and would enter the water via private “bathing machines.
• In 1907, Australian professional swimmer Annette Kellerman was famously arrested for wearing a one-piece suit that showed her arms and legs. She was charged with indecent exposure.
• In America, during the 1920’s, there were male swimsuit police at public beaches. These “modesty” enforcers who would check women’s hems to make sure they weren’t too short and exposed too much of their skin above the knee.

swimsuit policeman tidal basin beach measures women hem washington 1922 naturism modesty yna

Swimsuit policeman measures women’s hems at Tidal Basin Beach in Washington, 1922. Image: Library of Congress

• Though it was quite controversial at the time, men did win the right to go topfree in public during the 1930’s. Now, over 80 years later, women are still trying to obtain the same topfree rights as men (and they are being confronted with the same controversy and arguments that men faced almost a century ago).

There is a long history of women battling against modesty issues and their legal and / or social repercussions. Topfree equality (and the Free the Nipple campaign) is simply one of the latest challenges to long-held patriarchal control over women, their bodies and sexuality.

4. Rape Culture and Victim Blaming

Rape culture is a culture in which sexual violence, rape, abuse and harassment are prevalent and, to varying degrees, considered normal and / or acceptable behavior.

Victim blaming is when victims of rape / sexual violence / harassment are blamed for what happened to them.

In our society, the overwhelming majority of sexual assault victims are women and vast majority of the perpetrators are men. Instead of holding the actual rapist / perpetrator responsible for their actions, many people in our society will tend to blame the victim (usually female) for what happened to them.

Sexual violence against women continues to be a big issue (20-25% of college women and 1 in every 6 American women overall will be a victim of completed or attempted rape) and it’s upsettingly easy to find examples of rape culture and victim-blaming almost everywhere. Instead of teaching men not to objectify women, not to catcall, not to rape or assault women, we (as in society) tell women it’s their fault for inspiring sexual violence, or attracting negative attention for dressing too provocatively. We tell women they have to cover up for their own safety. We tell young girls to cover up in school so they don’t “distract the boys” from learning.

women naked online public still not asking for it felicity jones yna

Still Not “Asking For It” – Being naked in public does not equal an invitation for sexual assault

It’s a sad fact that for many women, such modesty considerations, for safety reasons, are a part of their daily existence. Women think about how safe their route home will be, what they should or shouldn’t wear, how they might fend off an attacker, and many other smaller precautions they must take with the hopes of protecting themselves.

There are all kinds of anti-rape products made for women, from nail polish that detects date rape drugs to underwear that functions like a chastity belt.

These products can help and women can and should take safety precautions as they see fit. That said, we also need to address the fundamental core issues of our culture if we ever want to live in a civilized society. We need to stop treating sexual assault like it’s a normal, acceptable thing that some men do. We also need to stop acting as though the women’s behavior is the problem!

The Bigger Picture

I have listed these four issues separately but in fact they are all connected. Body image issues can be traced back to sexually objectifying images in the media and society’s pressure on women to fit the “sexy” body type ideal. Objectification fosters sexual violence, rape culture and male entitlement. Slut shaming is a way of enforcing the idea that women are not in charge of their own bodies, and that being objectified for the male gaze is the only acceptable way they can be naked or sexual.

All of these issues contribute to a culture that does not support women or give them the same rights and freedoms as men.

I’ve met women who are reluctant to try naturism because their first thought is that it won’t be a safe environment. They are afraid they’ll be sexually objectified, harassed or disrespected by men.

After reading the above… Who can blame them? Not only do women have to deal with all this bullshit on a daily basis, but they’re taught that they themselves are responsible for mitigating or preventing it.

So after reading this article what do you think we can or should do in order to get more women involved in naturism? What could men do in their daily lives to mitigate the concerns that women may have?

What could naturist women do to make other women comfortable in a social nudist environment?

Please share your thoughts below and let me know what you think the best way to reverse this trend would be!

Read Next! — Follow-up Blogs:

Young Naturists & Nudists America

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Category: Felicity's Nudist Blog, Feminism and Women's Issues, Nudism and Naturism

About the Author ()

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!
  • ChrisNature

    BobKnows FelicityJones
    “This article is about WOMEN”.  Yes, Bob. Don’t you realize that feminism must be part of every topic including naturism.  And the “man bad/women good” platform is always the topic of the day.   And don’t you realize that feminism makes sure that discussing issues men and boys face is NEVER allowed.  Hence, the women tab on the naturist website that this woman created and the void of a men tab.  And if anyone, as you have found out, dares to bring up any topic that discusses men or boys, feminists will be enraged and angry since it’s misogyny to discuss men and boys and the issues they face.  Yes, this article is about women.  As is the article before this one. And the one that will come after. Every article and topic will only be about women and how oppressed and victimized they are by men.  Men and boys and the issues they face in society, even if it’s the same as women , is taboo.  I used to follow this page until they made it a man-hating feminist site.  I don’t need to come to a naturist page to see how oppressive and abusive I am and how I am the cause of all women’s issues.

  • harryhudl

    Clintons killed 110+ 
    I’m don’t really understand why you should venture into the dark world of Big Pharma to stop hair loss.  I have been bald for close on 20 years now and would never want to have hair on my head.  As an active naturist, I feel even more free without the bother of a head of hair than I ever did with it.  Both my wife and daughter have assured me that from a woman’s point of view, a man’s baldness is of no relevance.

  • Julia Deyoung

    For what it is worth. I think the issue is just reality. It’s a human issues. In our experience the only way around it is to go very, very slow with new friends. And sometimes very slow with old friends. Men are men. And women are women. We are just wired differently. Often masculinity and femininity is what gives some of nudism its appeal and pleasure.  The tension and sometimes the grief is part of life and part of our choices.

  • De McClung

    Clintons killed 110+ Humans are animals…so…maybe some do know.

  • spotnaked

    De McClung It looks fine for me. I have no problem reading it.

  • De McClung

    Clintons killed 110+ How do you know that animals don’t know they are naked?  On the other hand…animals are not naked.  They have fur, feathers, scales, a shell.  That’s the definition of naked.  Humans are naked beings, no feathers, fur, scales, shell covering their bare [naked] skin.  Nude is another thing entirely.  No clothing or artificial coverings over their bare, naked, skin.  Now you know….

  • De McClung

    Why don’t you fix this website…so it is READABLE!  Please.

  • crazyczephyr

    My 15 year old daughter and I were recently discussing a lot of this same issues regarding rape, female body image, and photo shopped images everywhere.
    She has a very healthy body image which her friends bring up weekly, I’m still learning. The rape issue was brought up in one of her classes. One of the young men said that a female asked for it in a case they were studying. My daughter then asked if his mother wanted wear a nice dress did that mean she deserved to be raped.
    I admit over the years I have looked around in shower rooms and various places at the different body shapes people have. Its so amazing how n many different shapes there are, I love it! It would just throw me off that I never saw this portrayed in the media.

  • NomadGeekNudie

    FelicityJones NomadGeekNudie

    Supposedly this guy has a mutual friend of ours.  I may ask them about him sometime.
    I’ll share the details with you the next time we see each other.

  • spotnaked Thanks, Peter! You’ve made many good points here. 
    In the U.S., most people haven’t seen their parents naked, and many still think simple nudity is even wrong or harmful to children. It’s just as you say – no place to find healthy, nonsexual images of bodies / nudity! Now it’s pornography that’s teaching people about sex and what the body looks like :-/ 
    I agree that the problem in naturism is a reflection of bigger issues in society that we need to address.
    Cheers.

  • NomadGeekNudie Thanks! And ugh, that kind of behavior is so gross & unacceptable in a naturist place. Sadly it’s too true that one rotten egg can ruin an otherwise positive experience for women. I hope you reported him to management! (And if that sort of thing is accepted there I wouldn’t return.)
    What else can we do except report the jerks and leave places that tolerate or even encourage them. It can be said that any facility that gets a lot of visitors will unavoidably find someone who acts inappropriately. I think the clubs who want to see more women at their place and in naturism in general will set clear rules about what they do / don’t tolerate, and take swift action to deal with bad behavior, while taking time to listen, be diplomatic and reassuring to those who report it.

  • NomadGeekNudie

    Great piece, Felicity.

    I just posted about his exact subject on my blog.  My wife is not a nudie but she does occasionally go to clothing optional resorts with me.  We recently found ourselves at such a resort and she was actually enjoying herself and even skinny dipping in the pool.  Sadly, one person started talking to us – both she and the person were clothed at this time – and he talked about how he liked to meet a naked couple and shake the hand of the husband while looking the wife up and down.  This person also said that his wife worked for the resort, so he was no stranger to the lifestyle, assuming he was telling the truth.

    Needless to say, my wife, who had actually been enjoying herself, was put off by this one single person.  So one bad apple can spoil the whole damned bunch.

  • spotnaked

    HI 

    Being a nudist in Denmark – which is more accepting on nudity than most countries. I see another tendens that might not be that visible in countries with big nudity issues. 

    The new tendens is less nudity in many situations, example on the beach. 10-15 years ago it was normal to see woman topless on the beach, this is not happening much anymore.  More women seems to wear swimsuits instead of bikini on the beach, and the list goes on…. 

    What I think is that there is a growing problem from internationalization of the world. Rules and  censorship is pushed on us from Facebook, Google, Apple and lots of other big corporations and organizations. This changes the norms, what was accepted before as “Just a naked person” is now a Sexual figure. Another issue is “the perfect body” which is shown in all medias, a body which isn’t real, because it is bodies which is made perfect in photoshop. 

    I find it really frustrating that acceptance of nudity in some ways decline fast. This must be changed, just as the acceptance of the nude woman body needs a change from being a sexsymbol to acceptance of our many diversities. 

    Topfreedom organization, toplesspulp, naked bikeride and other similar actions is a good thing. They set focus on the problem and they show the world that we all are different in shapes and that nudity is not equal to sex. This just can’t do it alone, changes is needed and lets start with going against all the censorship of the nude body. Sometimes it seems like people think it is more dangerrous with a naked body than a loaded gun pointing at you. 

    We need to start with parents and their way of thinking. We need to embrace that it is actually ok with a naked body and our strange shapes. I know of parents who has never been naked infront of their children. How should the children know how a normal body looks like if the only naked body they see is in commercial and magazines? 

    If parents wasn’t that afraid of showing their body to their children. 
    If education in school involved how the naked body looks like. 
    If the social medias didn’t censor non-sexual pictures. 

    Then I think we had a solution. I don’t see it as a naturist problem I see it as a problem in general. 
    Peter Terp
    http://spotnaked.com

  • AdamLeeMyers

    JohnAP Indeed, I think that female nude events should be created in order to increase female interest in nudism/naturism. I have a previous comment that this issue might have alternate consequence that are self creating (i.e. the less women interested in naturism/nudism the harder it is the convince other women to get interested or to stay interested in naturism/nudism). I cannot recommend enough that female nudist/naturist should be attempting to host more ladies nights within their social circles, as this is (from my vantage point) the most effective method for decreasing both the stigma of the public to nudity/naturism and the reluctance of female nudist and naturists to enjoy said activity.

  • AdamLeeMyers

    BobKnows FelicityJones Naturism is an activity that is generally enjoyed by those with a more left-wing state of mind. It is necessary to keep that in mind and to try and avoid discussions that deviate from the left-wing worldview. As a conservative (sort of, its complicated) myself, I frequently find myself alone without much sympathy being fielded my way. But, seeing as I suspect yourself to be in the moderate-conservative camp (like myself) I suggest that you try to argue within their framework, and seek to improve where there is common ground. If a Christian Naturist (such as myself) gives a post involving God and Naturism, it wouldn’t make much sense to attack the God portion of the article, but rather to look at the Naturist part and see what parts you agree with and what parts you feel could be improved within the framework provided.

  • AdamLeeMyers

    De McClung Personally, I think that the over insistence on naturism/nudism being more “natural” isn’t really all that useful. Simply because something is “natural” doesn’t make it good for you, nor desirable. Case-in-point, the flu has existed for hundreds of years, not many people would like to catch it simply because its “natural”. Rather I think that a more effective tactic is to respond on the basis of absurdity. Whether or not a given individual chooses to be nude should be irrelevant in a similar manner as whether someone is a practicing Jew, Christian, Muslim etc. I feel that a better argument is to attack the very premise against legal nudity (that is that there is no ethical reason to restrict someone’s lack of clothing, anymore than restricting someone’s choice of clothing). I don’t feel that someone should even try to win via the 1st amendment as that is not likely to actually succeed (esp. since technically the 1st amendment doesn’t actually protect any freedoms at all [it actually simply removes the federal government’s ability to make laws of any kind relating to free speech, and thus giving the right to say make yelling fire in a crowded theater a power of the states] and it is not going to be able to push past the fact that the founding fathers never intended the 1st amend. to mean freedom of clothing). Rather it should be a more science based argument to push for clothing optional to be a standard federally and statewise. While allowing local areas to have their own laws in relation to dress (such as amish/muslim communities etc.). We simply need to make the case that naturism requires no justification, rather it is the requirement of clothing that requires justification.

  • whynotx

    There is also a snowball effect, where women can feel uncomfortable being outnumbered, hence discouraged to practice social nudity.

  • De McClung

    FelicityJones BobKnows You’re not going to get very far, Bob, talking like that.  The feminists have an agenda.  They mean to castrate you..and the rest of us.  It’s all about them!   They want to lecture us, sorry, I guess i meant to say “educate” us….like we were 10 year olds, admonish us, and…oh, did I mention they want to be MORE equal than us.  I know I know, they mean well, but with all their high phalootin talk about equality they just want to be treated like… little goddesses.  The irony of it all.

    I’m talking about feminists here, Bob, not nudists.  Female nudists are a whole different conversation.

  • De McClung

    BobKnows FelicityJones “We’re all about the feminism here”  

    Sort of says it all, doesn’t it?  BTW, I don’t need “educated” by a bunch of feminists.  Perhaps I read that wrong.  Maybe you meant feminism in a girlie way, and not that militant mob think anti-men, anti-freedom, anti-nature way.  If you meant the former, you have my vote, if you meant the latter…bite me!

  • BobKnows

    FelicityJones BobKnows “we all about the feminism here”
    I’m sorry.  I thought this page was about young naturists, natural men and women.

  • BobKnows Most of this article is not contrasting men and women. The majority of it is about issues affecting women.
    Old tired feminist hate dogma? Sorry but we all about the feminism here. If you lookin for something else, you’re on the wrong website. Thanks for commenting. Sayonara.

  • BobKnows

    FelicityJones BobKnows  This article is about a contrast between women and men, not just about women.  Its about how women respond to nudism differently than men, which requires consideration of how and why men respond differently than women.  Reciting old tired feminist hate dogma does not adequately address the topic.

  • De McClung

    FelicityJones lasparks You DO know we can hear you…right?

  • De McClung

    You do know we can hear you, right?  HA!

  • lasparks

    FelicityJones StineSmith3 lasparks Rewarding good behavior and correcting bad is an effective strategy for enhancing decent behavior whether it’s puppies, children or adults. Men should have their inappropriate behavior “called out” but it can be sometimes be done gently at first. If gentle doesn’t work, firmer measures should be employed. And I’d like to point out that it is the responsibility both men and women to correct inappropriate behavior, but you asked specifically what  naturist women could do to make other women comfortable in a social nudist environment. It’s not women’s responsibility to “groom” men, but women can have a positive effect on men they care about by educating them.

  • lasparks

    StineSmith3 I completely agree (except for the “spreading the lie” part. That’s a little harsh). It would be nice if we were all born mature and in possession of the sophisticated skills of decent human interaction in every circumstance, but these behaviors must be learned. Mixed nude society isn’t a situation most people grow up with. There really is a place for men and women to do someone the kindness of helping a basically decent person correct his behavior before reacting with fear and hostility, which may unnecessarily hurt someone and increase his isolation.

  • lasparks

    FelicityJones lasparks I agree completely, Felicity. But many men are coming from traditional gender roles (even subconsciously). It can be confusing for a man to receive fear and hostility when he thinks he is behaving appropriately unless someone points out what he’s doing wrong. And it is, if anything, more appropriate for men (not just women) to correct other men’s behavior. I think “confident” works better than “strong.” “Insecure” may be a better converse term than “weak” as well. I still like the mental tool of asking oneself whether one would behave toward a “mother, sister or daughter” better than toward “a human being” because it’s more concrete and personal. (I don’t always treat other human beings with the same compassion I reserve for a family member, though I should.)

  • StineSmith3 She’s right, lasparks. It’s definitely not and shouldn’t be women’s responsibility to “groom” men. In fact I think some of what you say about treating men is a little degrading to them…it sounds like you’re talking about training a puppy dog. Like, ‘reward him for good behavior..’
    Men need to be responsible for their own behavior and called out when it’s making women or anyone uncomfortable.

  • TedBun1 I don’t know if it’s the photo you were seeing, but the “feature” photo I originally used is a body painting photo of myself and another girl who came to an event. Neither of us considers ourselves to be “models.” I can’t help looking the way I do :/ (Trust me when I say I don’t work for this body lol.)
    But I’m well aware that I fit the mold of thin and conventionally attractive to many, and I do think it’s important to show diversity in the images we use to represent naturism and who participates. I changed the feature image, and will add another photo of women to the article, though on FB that body painting photo will still come up.
    Just as a side note we don’t have a large database of photos to use for articles (something we need to work on) and most of the stock image sites are terrible. All sexy-model type photos. Ugh. Another topic for another day.

  • StineSmith3

    It’s not a woman’s job to groom you. Adult men need to learn to monitor their own behavior and stop shifting blame. Women aren’t responsible for a man’s inability to control himself, and until men realize this rape culture will continue. Stop spreading the lie that men need to be monitored. Adults can and should behave decently even when not being monitored. Even the males.

  • Baviaantje

    If there were no “Lady Problem” I can see this posting as creating it. It seems to imagine a naturist venue as a “Lek” (biological term), a place where males go to strut and preen hoping that females will show up. I’m strongest! No, me! 
    A while ago, a woman ran a session at a Naturist Gathering called “Too many nice guys”, about how in the past she’d been inundated with attempts by males to strike up an acquaintance. Not bad guys, she said, but it was one after another. I really believe that any attention beyond “Good morning” if you happen to pass nearby, is going to discourage women. The ladies won’t show up if they expect to get hit on.

  • lasparks

    corporate news lies This is off topic, but your case sounds like you would benefit from an aromatase inhibitor like anastrozole (0,5-1.0 mg/wk). You’re probably taking an alpha reductase inhibitor like fenasteride for the hair loss, which blocks conversion of testosterone to DHT. This may push  testosterone conversion through aromatase to estradiol, giving you higher levels of estrogen. Anastrozole would block that and lower your estrogen.

  • De McClung

    Instead of trying, in vain, to make out like it’s not about sex [human sexuality]….embrace the sexuality of humanity and make your crusade FIT HUMAN NATURE!  When you, and others, say “non-sexual”  what you are actually saying is  Asexual.  It helps to know what words mean!  

    I’m not opposed to nudism, or nudity.  I am nude as often as it is comfortable to be so.  And I encourage others to exercise their human right to be nude, if that is what they want.  

    I’m trying to HELP YOU get it right.  Like I’ve said before, credibility counts.  

    If you keep getting it wrong, and pushing this un-natural, anti-nature agenda you will never succeed in getting people to accept or understand what it’s REALLY all about.  

    Exercising, as FREE people, the Natural, Unalienable Human Right to be nude.

    -De McClung.

  • hontouniheart Thank you for this comment and thoughts! Glad you liked it & awesome of you to share it. :) (Sorry your comment was unapproved & not appearing, just realized that tonight & fixed it!)
    You make some great points here. That’s totally true about women tearing each other down with slut-shaming. Such a big problem. I haaaate seeing that sort of thing.
    It makes total sense that your conversations with women end up inspiring them to try it. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what a nudist environment is like (ie it’s filled with creepy men) and it makes a big difference to hear from another woman about what it’s really like, how it’s safe, how there are rules, etc.
    Good advice for men too. It really does help so much for men to stand up to other men and educate them!
    These are great ideas and thoughts about how to improve this situation. Thank you for doing what you do to promote naturism & positive body image!

  • lasparks I can see where you’re coming from, but it doesn’t sit right with me to frame it as “weak” vs “strong.” This sounds too much like traditional gender roles that say men must be strong and dominant to appeal to women, who are fragile and need protection.
    I think what you’re basically talking about is having confidence and social skills. After all it’s not generally seen as a bad thing to be “welcoming and friendly” but if you can’t take social cues or push it to the point of being annoying, then it’s a problem.
    I’ve seen campaigns about ending sexual violence that try to appeal to men by saying “It’s your sister, your daughter” blah blah blah. But this sort of thing bugs me because how about we just treat women like human beings first and foremost? Why should they have to portrayed as being your family member in order to be treated like a human being? I understand the sentiment and I know it doesn’t come from a bad place but I find it misguided.
    And I know what you mean about the men who don’t mean to be creepy but come off as such. I’ve definitely come across those types. I agree that a little guidance could help, and also agree that women feel safer around men that have other women’s ‘stamp of approval.’

  • BobKnows 1) This article is about WOMEN. Nowhere did I say that body image and body shame are not issues for men. They are. But this is not what we’re talking about here.
    2) Clearly a lot of men are able to overcome these body image issues, or at least enough to become nudists.
    3) “Women don’t need to show off any more” — Wtf are you talking about? Did you even read this article? Do you understand the concepts?

  • j238

    Thanks for that.  
    Good observation that this pattern happens regardless of orientation. 
    The way I see it, most women are brought up to believe their bodies are to be shared only with their closest significant others, or even just their husbands.  Males may get the same upbringing, but peer influence often tells them otherwise. 
    The above strongly influences how the genders interact as well as the steep ratios seen in naturist settings. 
    Guess some surveys of attitudes of both genders in the general public, not just naturists, would explain things.

  • lasparks

    Naturist men face a dilemma in the matter of mitigating
    women’s concerns. They want to meet women so they try to appear safe and
    non-threatening and in doing so risk looking weak and uninteresting. Weak and
    uninteresting men don’t make friends quickly. Another problem is that in making
    the effort to be welcoming and friendly, they risk appearing too eager, scaring
    the new visitor into not coming back.
    I’ve found that women like a strong male presence if that
    man is trustworthy. Earning trust should be the goal of any man who wants to be
    welcome at any mixed nude social gathering.
    The strong male presence isn’t a matter of physique or
    size; it’s primarily an attitude that shines through in the man’s behavior. One
    of the most effective strategies for projecting that attitude is to consciously
    think of every woman as one’s mother, sister or daughter. When a man talks to
    women like they would talk to any of these, they project compassion, goodwill,
    strength and trustworthiness. (This, of course, presumes he loves and respects
    his mother, sister and daughter.)
    One thing naturist women can do to make other women
    comfortable is be seen with a strong, trustworthy male. When one woman gives
    her stamp of approval to a worthy single male, other women notice and feel
    better about him. Compliment him when he behaves well. Resist correcting
    inappropriate behavior in a way that publicly shames him.
    We all know naturist men who are basically decent and safe
    but still come off a little creepy at times. They stare through dark
    sunglasses. They position themselves directly behind sunbathing women. They sit
    too close. They follow. They say clumsy and inappropriate things. There may be
    an opportunity for some naturist women to put some effort into grooming these
    basically decent men by reinforcing good behavior and gently helping them
    recognize and discard the things they do that are not helping them make
    friends.

  • TedBun1

    Great article … covers most of the reasons I have thought of but ….
    I have seen this reposted on twitter and Facebook a couple of times. Each time it is accompanied by a picture of “model” women. Which immediately puts of the less “perfect” woman from reading the article … “I don’t look like that so it can’t be for me.”

    Could you include at least one picture of a more typical woman so that rebloggers can have a useful image with which to illustrate the article

    Guess it’ll have to be the hem police

  • GBSmith

    I think that it’s best for husbands or men in a committed relationship  to make it a point to go to a nudist site with their partner and not alone.   Unless a woman has a chance to really see that it’s a safe environment there’s the chance that their partners motives will be suspect.  I’m not a fan of nude beaches unless you’re with a group.  A club with families or a resort where you’re with a small group of like minded and friendly people will go along way to helping women to understand and enjoy the experience.  Lastly having intelligent writing about nudism/naturism like you have here at YNA is a big help in showing women what it’s all about.  IMHO.

  • I think the paragraph “I’ve met women who are reluctant to try naturism because their first thought is that it won’t be a safe environment. They are afraid they’ll be sexually objectified, harassed or disrespected by men” says it pretty well. We have a culture which puts women on display via sexually-charged images absolutely pervasively–that “beach body” ad is an example–so women expect to be treated that way in real life. What women have learned to expect is that they can moderate the degree of sexual perception by using clothing, and the idea of putting that clothing aside is very uncomfortable for them. 

    If there’s any hope for nudism, and sorry to sound defeatist, but I’m doubtful about it, then I’d say it’s in demonstrating that naturism is innocent in a corrupt world, that it’s the place where women won’t be objectified. We offer a return to Eden, with clothing to match! But for that to be true, we’d have to act the part, and I don’t think we do, or at least significant numbers of us don’t. It’s difficult to find any mention of nudism on the Internet that isn’t illustrated with a young conventionally attractive woman, and that’s fatal. It makes us look as if the object is to get a look at pretty girls with their clothes off, which is no different from the textile world’s attitude. And then there are plenty of people within naturism who demonstrate sexual interests readily enough. There’s a neighbor of mine who was a single woman who went to naturist events, but a while ago she told me “I’m not going any more. I’m just so sick of guys leering at me.” Thanks, guys. 

    If YNA is doing better, good for YNA. But this posting suggests that it’s a pervasive situation.