The other week (okay, it’s been nearly two months… I’m sorry!) I was asked why I hadn’t commented on this post: Naturism and Nudism have a PR Problem. Frankly, I really thought I had nothing more to add to the comments. Then I was asked if I would write another piece for CFL (doesn’t anyone else feel like an efficient light bulb when they type that? No? Just me? Okay) and I thought, “How opportunistic!”
Right there in the first paragraph is reason numero uno why I refrained from calling myself a nudist: “the term has become associated with sexual nudity”. If I declared myself even a casual nudist, I knew I was going to have all of the “pornmongers, pervs and sex trolls” coming out of the woodwork. Why? Because even with my clothes on I’d had enough issues with people of that ilk. Were I to burn my bra, so to speak, I would be tossing my hat in the internet ring of Open Season on ALL THINGS SEX ALL THE TIME!
But, I can hear you all asking, “What actually happened?”
On Facebook, I received messages from a few moon-eyed admirers. Some turned sour when their advances were spurned.
On my own website? New followers unsubscribed just as quickly as they had signed up because I wasn’t flooding their inboxes or reader pages with my nude images.
My Instagram? Not as much action, but I know they are there… just waiting for a nude to show up. Sorry, you’re more likely to see photos of adult beverages, flowers, honeybees, and Cedric the Roaming Gnome.
On Twitter? Well Lovelies, that is where I got more new followers than I could count who were tweeting and retweeting every photo of tits and ass, cock and balls, or even all four together (literally) with the hashtags “Naturism/#Nudist and every derivative thereof that were blatantly NOT naturist or nudist in nature. It was porn. So I reported… and I blocked.
Also, I’m pretty sure I got at least one stalker out of the deal. Super Fun!! (No, not fun.)
“But Sarah, you’ve been on nude cruises and ‘nakations’! Surely they are events to make Bacchus proud!”
Yes. Yes I have. No, no they aren’t (at least not that I’ve seen). My eyes were opened to the wide world of naturism/nudism, and just like the textile world, while there are some bad apples in the barrels, most of them are good. On nude cruises and nakations there are people from every walk of life. They also come in every size, shape, color (some more than one thanks to tattoos), and often with extra hardware (piercings… I’ve seen a LOT of piercings). While there are people who enjoy swinging or casual sex who are on the look out for other like-minded, consenting adults, the vast majority of folks are people who just want to sun their buns, relax without clothes, meet friends old and new, and not think too much about the rest of the world. Through both venues, Mr. Muse and I, made some great, long-lasting friendships.
So, it’s not ALL THINGS SEX ALL THE TIME?
It’s not ALL THINGS SEX ALL THE TIME in the textile world so why would it be in the naturism/nudism world just because there aren’t clothes? That’s just silly to think so.
So, how do you get western culture to see that being sans clothes isn’t just about free love? Well, the original article covers those steps well; if you’ve not read it yet, I encourage you to do so. Does it mean that as a naturist/nudist, even an accidental one, that you absolutely must stop posting nude photos of yourself? No. You should, however, be conscious that posting photos of just your genitals or breasts perpetuates the reduction of the body, your body, to an object. You’ve effectively dehumanized yourself.
The fact that photos of that variety are of anatomy seen in Western culture as sexual does nothing to break down the stereotypes, only to keep them going. (Can’t show your face but want to show you’re proud to be a nudist? Get creative! Take an image from the side or the back where you’re not looking at the camera.)
It means that you need to divest yourself of the naivety that is held so dear about body freedom and invest yourself in creating an environment, a culture, a society, a group, that is beneficial to your beliefs and a reflection of the reality that being without clothes does not equate a lifestyle of overactive hormones and imaginations. It’s great that you believe and know that naturism/nudism isn’t all about sex, but a good portion of society does not. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Are you against using the terms “nudist” and “naturist” as identifiers for people who are only looking to pop their weasels? Then enforce that belief! Don’t condone by silence. Don’t just “follow back because they followed [you] first”! Report. Block. Publish that they are “porn mongers, pervs and sex trolls”. I do.
The Amusing Muse lives in Southern Wisconsin with her husband, Mr. Muse, along with their menagerie of livestock and pets. She has had images appear in print and online for ISLANDS and N magazines and has written articles for both Clothes Free Life, AANR, and N magazine. She is an online extrovert and an in-person chameleon confusing people and making them wonder if she’s really an introvert or not.