Finding trustworthy naturists/nudists is like trying to find real, healthy food.
If you’re in the United States, you might have seen “natural” scribbled on everything at the store, right? Then you hear about workarounds to getting food certified as “natural.” They don’t have to actually be 100% natural. So now when you see something marked as “natural” or even “organic” you wonder, “Hmm… but is it really?”
That’s how I see the naturist / nudist community, especially given online behavior.
A recent comb-through of Flickr and Twitter revealed that a number of “bona fide” naturist/nudist accounts collapsed into sexual material. Some of them frequent naturist or clothing-optional venues. Others claim to be well-seasoned nudists promoting nonsexual nudity and warning that they will block p~rn. Yet, a review of their likes/favorites, comments and follow behavior demonstrates otherwise.
Sometimes these accounts follow particular patterns. They might start with personal statements and the usual, “Ugh I hate clothes. I just want to be nude!” Then come the mass naked image retweets – 20 of them in a row down the timeline. The people in the images might not be doing much of anything at first. Then finally the day comes when you see either an odd comment from the account or an erection. Check what they’re following and sure enough: p~rn. You know, even though their profile states “P~RN WILL BE BLOCKED!” Of course they are indignant when people subsequently block them.
People don’t understand the impact of their behavior. They assume themselves to be evolved, “open-minded” (that’s my favorite), immune. Yet, they act like everyone else in society: obsessed with bodies, reverting to sexuality at every opportunity, ignoring human beings.
More convinced than ever that the sexual proclivities of online "nudists" will lead to nudism/naturism becoming more socially marginalized
— clothesfreelife (@Liveclothesfree) November 29, 2016
It's why bona fide naturist/nudists get caught up in the p#rn dragnets on social media
— clothesfreelife (@Liveclothesfree) November 29, 2016
Do you care about how your behavior impacts others?
Look at what you follow, what you like/favorite, how you comment on images. Do you care that following, liking, re-posting and commenting sexually perpetuates the notion that nudity is inherently sexual and that naturism is just about naked bodies? Do you care whether your behavior continues to show people as commodities rather than human beings?
And do you care whether your behavior overshadows the good will of men and women who are trying to do something positive with clothes free living? Artists, writers, fitness and recreation groups, etc. all of them working tirelessly and making no money to do awesome things to promote wholesome clothes free living while you tweet up-skirt pics. Do you care?
“Naturist/nudist” labels have lost their meaning to me. My in-person experiences have been extremely positive. I have also met a handful of good people online. However, when I see naturists who frequent resorts and claim to be 15+ years into naturism get into heated debates about how clothing-optional is evil and nudity should be mandatory and yet follow all kinds of p~rn even material that would get them jailed…I wonder. Who can people trust?
I talk about my own clothes free experiences and adventure and promote a handful of websites (like two). However, I don’t tell them to get into the social media of it, because I don’t want their attempts at following “naturist/nudist” sources to turn into them receiving sexual material in their feeds. These people work in many different places, some have small children in their care. They cannot afford to have false naturist/nudist material pop up on their feeds and, subsequently, on their family members’ recommended follow lists.
People forget that our behavior entrains our tools and environment. Like memory foam, online platforms get to know our behavior and adjust based on what we do. @Liveclothesfree tweeted an article in the New York Times that speaks directly to this.
“I’ve spent nearly 10 years coaching Facebook – and Instagram and Twitter – on what kinds of news and photos I don’t want to see, and they all behaved accordingly. Each time I liked an article, or clicked on a link, or hid another, the algorithms that curate my streams took notice and showed me only what they thought I wanted to see.”
– Jenna Wortham, NYT
So when we follow, like/favorite or interact with content, we tell those platforms how to behave with us and those with whom we are connected. We teach Twitter what naturism/nudism means. What we do matters.
The question is: do people care enough to change their ways?
You could actually train Twitter to recommend nonsexual clothes free living. Even before I stopped following naturist/nudist accounts, I never got sexual recommendations from Twitter; just accounts of other individuals who, at the time, seemed similar and trustworthy.
By now my likes and follows make Twitter recommend cool social, political and comedy podcast shows, because I have focused on following things like Hidden Brain, See Something Say Something, NPR Code Switch, Black Girl in Om, etc.
You could choose to not care and continue following sexual material for your individual pleasure under the guise of naturism/nudism. You could be that person. But you will further pigeon-hole yourself and everyone else until there is nothing positive left to promote. You will have been the one to destroy a good thing.