women and nature-ism

Recently on Twitter, the question of how to get more women into naturism resurfaced. Clothesfreelife.com shared that same question for Talk Up Tuesday this week:

My short answer to that specific question: Yes, maybe and no.

For some women who are part of a “couple” (what is a “couple” anyway? heterosexual? and married?) it works. Several men shared that couples-only made their wives feel more comfortable. Then, there are those of us who are not coupled. So, couples-only wouldn’t help us. There’s also the fact that, whatever our relationship status, we love to do things together in groups of women. How often have you heard “girls night out” or “girl time?” We love, crave and need it. Sisterhood and all that. Some places have had success with “women’s night” or weekend at their clubs. And on still another hand, some of us don’t want any special circumstances or events at all. We just want to dive into the mix with everyone else: men, kids, puppies (not frogs).

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There are so many ways to go with this question, so many intersections. For today, I highlight this:

NATURE

Last night, I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by @BlackGirlInOm. The topic was energy work. Many women contributed to the chat. Most, if not all, were women of color. During the chat, the one thing women kept coming back to is the healing, restoring and empowering effects of nature. And as I watched all the responses, I remembered that these women have said this in previous Twitter chats. Month after month, no matter the topic, they keep coming back to the healing power of nature. This gave me a thought.

Recall the International Naturist Federation‘s definition of naturism:

“Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment”.

Usually online naturist/nudist conversations focus almost exclusively on the nudity part. The efforts rarely go on to embody and promote the rest of the INF’s statement. We don’t talk much about respect for others outside of our bubble or the environment. But really, these are the key things that could invite more people to try out naturism and clothes free living.

There I was on Twitter, watching these women who may have never heard of naturism, nudism or clothes free living go on and on about the importance of nature. Most of us made a commitment to spend more time in nature.

What if, rather than obsess over the nudity aspect, we shape the invitation to naturism around, well, nature? Many of us women yearn to spend more time in nature. We want to feel that healing connection back to earth and all things organic. Nature allows us to be ourselves. We get to step away from all the frustrations of the day, the catcalls, the pressures and just be. Fresh air, plants, water, animals. All of these things are very healing to us. We remember who we are.

Of course I can’t speak for all women. We are a very diverse population. But,  if naturists are trying to figure out more ways to get women involved, include nature in your approaches!

Nature-ism!

I must say, this, however: when offering such invitations, make it about the person. Don’t make it about converting more women to naturism. Or about you. Forcing us to adopt a system is just another frustration on top of everything else in life. Instead of making it about mandatory nudity (because remember we also want choice), rules and ideology, make it about her. Invite women to an experience. Speak to the healing, the space, the freedom. Promote the trees, how it feels to breathe fresh air, the melting away of stress. Meditation in nature. Journaling outdoors. Walking about in direct connection to the environment. These are the things we need in order to heal, reconnect, balance and empower ourselves.

And we love to hear testimonies rather than being told by a guy that we “should” do it to “boost our confidence and self-acceptance.” Living, embodied testimony touches deeply. Take advantage of those of us who are active in clothes free living. We love to share and, many of us, have been advocating and sharing for years now. We keep writing, tweeting, posting, and talking. Use our voices. Read and share our stories. (Be honest, how many of you have read and shared Liz’s stories? They are awesome.) Don’t just look for us to post naked pictures and only reblog those, because that behavior comes off as highly suspect to women.

Nature gives us a wonderful opportunity to reach out, invite and connect with others. Let’s use it! Naturally!

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