Many months ago last winter in fact I posted a poll on the state of fragmentation in the clothes free community. I have not taken it down though I have thought about it many times. A recent post on the blog for a clothes free group geared towards young adults made me realize it continued relevance. It also got me think can the clothes free community survive if it’s simply break off is special interest groups?
American society and to a lesser degree North American society has long tradition of being more individualistic and less institutionally connected. We show a strong penchant for grouping together with our “own” kind (an innate human tendency) and less of a multi generational bent. So it is not at all surprising when any group decides to restrict its membership to a single group of people in order to cultivate a sense of belonging and community for those who fit the group criteria. Consider this recent comment on the YNA blog.
… it needs to come to the realization that there is adult nudism, gay nudism, young nudism, and public nudism (Bare to Breakers, WNBR, etc). There is no longer a “one size fits all” definition.
The question arises can the clothes free community survive if it adopts this social pattern as standard operating procedures? If each special interest group hives off into its own what then will hold the community together. How can we rally support for any clothes free cause if all we have are special “clubs”? Is this the future? Gay naturist, young naturists, straight naturists, Christian naturists, senior naturists, white naturists, student naturists, rich naturists all gather in their own groups to cultivate a sense of community while the clothes free community as a whole disintegrates? Is that strategy to get new people in clothes life bode well for the long term future of the clothes free community?
I ask all these question because I think what is happening in the clothes free community reflects a bigger social trend. I believe leave that trend towards hiving with thinner and thinner networks of people sorting in group of people only like ourselves will have huge ramifications for the clothes free communities.
Instead of focusing on our differences and the challenges they present. I think we should try to find common ground to bring groups together. I realize it is easier to grow community if those belonging to the group are like us this principle has been used for many years in many different circles to grow groups expediently. But is it effective? Is it effective when we realize that these groups often wax and wane over time and if they disappear and there is no connection beyond the group what happens to the clothes free community then? Is it effective when this approach reinforces the kind of separation that the clothes free community experiences from broader society? Is it effective to reinvent the wheel to reach every new group we want to engage in the clothes free life?
Maybe we should take a page for the South African naturist playbook and focus on regional as opposed to demographic groups with a strong connection to an umbrella group. Most of the decision making and oversight should remain with the regional groups so special regional issues can be addressed. This approach I believe allowed the recent establishment South Africa’s first official clothes ing optional beach.
The alternative in my opinion is the clothes free communities disintegrates into a fractured powerless and ineffective set of cliques and special interest groups which eventually become irrelevant. So what do you think?