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  • Survey Results.

    I just had an email from Ryan - the lad doing the survey for his university course. This was the results of his question about public nudity:

    Question 19.

    "You are walking through your local park one afternoon when you see two adults walking naked through a grassed area where people are sunbathing or playing games.

    Which of the following would best describe your reaction?
    (a) I would feel alarmed or disgusted and would look for park attendant or policeman.
    (b) I would feel embarrassed or shocked and would walk away quickly.
    (c) I would feel slightly uncomfortable but would just ignore them.
    (d) I would think that they were just harmless and would not disturb them.
    (e) I would be pleased that they felt able to enjoy a warm day in the park without having to bother with unnecessary clothing.

    Survey population: 588
    Mean age of interviewee: 31.66 years
    Answered (a) 136 = 23%
    Answered (b) 201 = 34%
    Answered (c) 114 = 19%
    Answered (d) 87 = 15%
    Answered (e) 33 = 6%
    No answer given 17 = 3%

    This information will be published on his university website in March or April next year, and I'll let you have the URL as soon as he does it. It is part of a wider study of social trends.

    Originally he had planned to interview 800 people but one of his "interviewers" had a motorcycle accident and couldn't be used. The interviews were conducted at York Racecourse on Friday, 8th October 2003 and in York city centre and also at the entrance to the National Railway Museum in York on the 17th, 18th and 19th October 2003.

    Any comments?

    Stu

  • #2
    I just had an email from Ryan - the lad doing the survey for his university course. This was the results of his question about public nudity:

    Question 19.

    "You are walking through your local park one afternoon when you see two adults walking naked through a grassed area where people are sunbathing or playing games.

    Which of the following would best describe your reaction?
    (a) I would feel alarmed or disgusted and would look for park attendant or policeman.
    (b) I would feel embarrassed or shocked and would walk away quickly.
    (c) I would feel slightly uncomfortable but would just ignore them.
    (d) I would think that they were just harmless and would not disturb them.
    (e) I would be pleased that they felt able to enjoy a warm day in the park without having to bother with unnecessary clothing.

    Survey population: 588
    Mean age of interviewee: 31.66 years
    Answered (a) 136 = 23%
    Answered (b) 201 = 34%
    Answered (c) 114 = 19%
    Answered (d) 87 = 15%
    Answered (e) 33 = 6%
    No answer given 17 = 3%

    This information will be published on his university website in March or April next year, and I'll let you have the URL as soon as he does it. It is part of a wider study of social trends.

    Originally he had planned to interview 800 people but one of his "interviewers" had a motorcycle accident and couldn't be used. The interviews were conducted at York Racecourse on Friday, 8th October 2003 and in York city centre and also at the entrance to the National Railway Museum in York on the 17th, 18th and 19th October 2003.

    Any comments?

    Stu

    Comment


    • #3
      Apparently he polled college students who are still ingrained with being uncomfortable with nudity. I could be wrong but would be willing to bet that had he polled middle aged and older, there would have been more in favor instead of against it. I believe that most older people would vote "c". I would have voted "e".

      Comment


      • #4
        Jon-Marc

        "I believe that most older people would vote "c"."

        I wasn't present when the surveys were done so I can't comment - except to say that if you look at the locations he chose - outside a racecourse on a race day and in a busy city at a weekend. I hardly think it was just college students he polled. He said the "mean age" was 31.66 years but I confess I'm not exactly sure what he means by that.

        "I would have voted "e".

        I thought you would. LOL. I suspect most would here. Needless to say I would have opted for (a). It looks like we're both out of step with majority opinion. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

        Stu

        Comment


        • #5
          This survey is interesting. What is the base population in it? (I'm not sure about the correct word here. I mean the population from which a sample was drawn by such methods that the results can be said to represent that population. You used the words "Survey population" where you mean sample size.)

          I count answers (c), (d) and (e) as neutral or positive to nudity. Their percentages count up to 40 %. Not bad! You surely say that 60 % is the majority, but this is only one question about one place where nudity can be viewed.

          About the wording of the choices, my opinion is that they ask for two different things: the people's emotional reaction AND their action. We cannot know which thing has influenced more in the answers. For this reason the question should have been split into two separate questions.

          Is it possible to have a mild emotional reaction but to take a strong action? Yes, I think it is, if one believes the thing seen is illegal.

          Kari P

          Comment


          • #6
            Quite right Kari P. That's the problem with surveys. They usually are a bit lop-sided one way or the other. They are not able to include enough condiderations. Reversing or rewording the choices could make a big difference. Even Ryans looks or what he was wearing could have influenced the survey taker.

            Comment


            • #7
              Kari,

              Ryan used the term "population". I'm not a statistician but I take him to mean "sample size".

              I certainly don't count (c) as neutral. If someone is in a public place they should feel comfortable and at ease. No-one has the right to wilfully behave in such a way as to make a significant number of others feel 'uncomfortable' when using a public place. The fact that they would, in practice, try to ignore it doesn't mean they are content that it should continue.

              For me the important statistic is that AT LEAST 57% - a very clear majority - would experience emotions of alarm, disgust, embarrassment or shock. When you bear in mind that a further 19% experience discomfort, you are then up to 76%!!

              The scenario and the questions in the survey were designed initially by myself but I did invite others here to offer alternatives and to improve them and from their iput I did modify the questions to be entirely fair. I then passed them on to Ryan. Nevertheless, I accept your point that there are two different issues, namely the feelings on the one hand and the likely response or behaviour on the other.

              Shaybare,

              I'm not sure how many interviewers there were but I know there were a few of them, not just Ryan.

              Stu

              Comment


              • #8
                So less than a quarter of those who answered would have alerted the authorities meaning roughly 78% of the those surveyed wouldn't bother with the authorities. That is a sizable population.

                Over a third would simply walk away from the couple, reading the reaponse, akin to encountering a couple engaged in sexual relations.

                40% would either ignore them or admire them. And really, there isn't much difference between the c and d answers. They both imply leaving the couple alone, which equates to 34%.

                I am not a fan of those specific possible answers. As I mentioned before, I believe that the responses should have been either two-tiered or concentrated on how willing they were to get the authorities' or how they felt about it personally.

                But I am curious stu, how did you feel about the results compared with what you were expecting?

                Bob S.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bob

                  I confess that I thought a much greater proportion would have chosen (a) than actually did. Apart from that I didn't really have many expectations. How did the reality match upto YOUR expectations, Bob? Do you think the results would have been much different had the survey been conducted in your own town?


                  I think we have to focus a little on exactly which answer of the five options gave the greatest response, namely (b) at 34%. These are people who would feel "embarrassed or shocked" and would "walk away quickly". The fact that they didn't state they would go to the trouble of alerting the police shouldn't be taken to mean they consider the incident trivial. You have to imagine what would go through someone's mind when you describe the scene. Park attendents are very hard to find in most UK parks - and here in the provinces (including York where this survey was conducted) you probably wouldn't succeed in locating one - and everyone knows that. So that means calling the police, giving them your name and address and telephone number etc. If you do that then the police would likely ask you to stay where you are until an officer could get there - and that could take some time. Then you'd have to show the police officer where the naked people were - which means going back to them and pointing them out to the officer. Then you'd be asked to give a written statement and possibly be a witness in a court case. Here the police have real difficulty in getting witnesses to come forward in incidents of disorder in the street, fights, obscene language and even in serious crime cases such as muggings. Generally the public just don't want to get involved - it's just a hassle in their lives they can do without!

                  Which ever way you cut it, as I said to Kari a significant majority stated that they would suffer negative emotions of alarm, disgust, embarrassment or shock upon seeing the nudity, and on top of that majority a further 19% report they would experience discomfort. Now people shouldn't have to feel like that when enjoying a pleasant walk in a public park, should they?

                  Ryan had a number of other social topics that he had to include in his survey and I'm grateful to him for including the one about reaction to public nudity. It wasn't possible for him to put in two questions, which was a pity. He will have some more data for me that breaks down the respondents into age groups, sex, marital status, occupation, income etc, but he hasn't processed that yet.

                  Stu

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Already there are many interpretations of the survey. The survey actually proves nothing and is IMHO meaningless. Attempting to assume what the people taking the survey meant is futile. The survey can prove pretty much either side. Is this something really worth debating?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shaybare

                      I agree upto a point. The one thing that really is inescapable - at least as far as the relatively small sample is concerned - is that most people react with negative emotions when encountering unexpected nudity in a public place. I would argue, therefore, that the behaviour described is, by definition, antisocial. I which case it is not unreasonable to make it illegal.

                      Stu

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Stu, u think just because something is antisocial, it should be illegal?
                        Wow, I'd better start going to every party I'm invited to, or else I'll be illegal.

                        Seriously though, I think things should only be illegal when they are liable to cause serious harm to someone (physical, financial, mental, etc.) when whoever is harmed hasn't agreed to it.

                        I think it's safe to say that most people in the united states don't like.....hmm....communism (just to put it in the american context) They don't think it's morally correct, and therefore, don't want to see anyone walking around visually expressing their preference for communism (maybe walking around with a poster, giving out pamphlets or something). Does that make communism illegal? Does it mean that if you want to walk around with a poster that say's "things would be great with communism", are you going to be arrested? The answer is no, by being arrested your fundamental political freedom would be under attack. Your fundamental right to live the way you want to (without harming anyone) would be under attack.

                        Namedun [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          stu, I was already unhappy with the wording of the questions. You cannot truly have two possibilities within one response. And realize that the final response only has a mental reaction and not a physical reaction.

                          And we also must notice that 40% of the respondents are at worst (according to the naturist side) neutral about seeing nudity in a park. Slightly uncomfortable but ignoring them is neutral in my eyes. And the ones who would walk away quickly, does that mean that they are walking away angrily? in a daze having seen a naked person? frightened? Giggling all the way home?

                          "a significant majority stated that they would suffer negative emotions of alarm, disgust, embarrassment or shock upon seeing the nudity"

                          Are they negative emotions? As I showed above, the embarassment and shock could lead to any one of the possibilities when they are walking away. The only satisfactorily negative answer was the one where they would actually seek the police (the behaviour). What the people thought can be interpreted in many ways.

                          "The one thing that really is inescapable - at least as far as the relatively small sample is concerned - is that most people react with negative emotions when encountering unexpected nudity in a public place."

                          How is this poll so special that you accept the results so handily, but disregard other polls that show better results for naturism?

                          "I would argue, therefore, that the behaviour described is, by definition, antisocial. I which case it is not unreasonable to make it illegal."

                          And I argue that only 23% of the respondents of this poll saw it so bad that they would definitely alert the authorities. Everyone else either doesn't care or doesn't want to bother themselves enough to make a big deal out of it.

                          Bob S.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            quote:
                            Originally posted by stu2630:
                            [qb] Shaybare

                            most people react with negative emotions when encountering unexpected nudity in a public place. I which case it is not unreasonable to make it illegal.

                            Stu [/qb]
                            Yet if nudity were made legal in those same places, it would no longer be "unexpected" , thus the majority of the people feeling "Shock" from seeing "unexpected" nudity would no longer be "shocked" .

                            And since the question suggests that only 1 couple ,in an area filled with Clothed people, was walking nude. You would expect more people to feel discomfort.
                            Perhaps the question should have asked , If you walked into an area of a park where a large group of people were enjoying themselves, doing all the usual "normal" things people do in a park on a nice afternoon, but many of them were nude. How would you feel?

                            The " Shock " of seeing 1 or 2 people nude may come from many thoughts. Are they Crazy people? Are they up to some mischeif? Are they perverts?
                            If thoughts like this are the first to come to mind , it's no wonder that people would fear nudity and be alarmed.

                            But if everyone already knew that it was legal ( assuming a law was passed or the public was informed that they may incounter nudity in public places.) And if it happened on a regular basis. People would no longer be shocked. The shock and "Kneejerk" reaction that many people have comes from it being a Rare or Unexpected incedent. That along with the belief that nudity is sexual, dirty, or perverted makes many non nudists automatically think the worst.
                            If people saw simple nudity every day they would become accustomed to it and have very little reaction at all. Once the public learns that nudity is NOT sexual, dirty, or perverted their reaction will change dramatically.
                            Once the fear of what the nude man's intentions are is calmed, then they will relax and go about their day the same as if the man were clothed.

                            It's not the nudity that shocks people so much as it's not knowing why he's nude.

                            "The only thing holding Progress back, is the Fear of Change."

                            Steve

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Namedun

                              "Stu, u think just because something is antisocial, it should be illegal?."

                              If it's in a public place, and it interferes with most people's enjoyment of that place, YES.

                              I think we have to draw a huge distinction between the right to free speech on the one hand and the right to behave as one likes on the other. Free speech is essential in a democracy whereas control of behaviour in public is also esential where that behaviour affects others. But even free speech has its limits. I wonder what would happen if I stood in Ground Zero in New York wearing a t-shirt bearing a picture of Osama bin Laden whilst burning the American flag and shoutin "Death to America"! Do you think the authorities wold protect my "free speech"? What you do on your own property is mainly your own business but what you do in public affects other people who have a right to be there.

                              Namedun

                              Bob

                              I know the survey has its limitations but it also has some validity and we can at least get a flavour of the opinion of the people in one British city based on this 'snapshot'.

                              "And we also must notice that 40% of the respondents are at worst (according to the naturist side) neutral about seeing nudity in a park..."

                              To me, Bob, the 19% that said they were "uncomfortable" were expressing a negative reaction. Who would choose to experience discomfort when enjoying a day at the park? And you STILL can't avoid the fact that 57% of the people expressed even stronger negative reactions! As I said, you shouldn't read too much into the fact that many of those wouldn't call the police for the reasons I gave you. Here in the UK the police report that people often see actual crimes being committed but don't call the plice because they don't want to get involved. One of my neighbours had some garden furniture stolen a couple of months ago. Another neighbour saw the thieves loading it onto the back of a truck at 3am but never bothered to call the cops! That hardly means that the neighbour is indifferent to crime in his own country - he was just being selfish, afraid to step forward and sign a statement and possibly appear in court. If an individual behaves in such a way in a public park, a place for enjoyment and relaxation, as to cause embarrassment and shock that causes another, ordinary person to hurry away from the scene then their behaviour is wholly negative and unacceptable. I really can't see why you are arguing the opposite case.

                              "How is this poll so special that you accept the results so handily, but disregard other polls that show better results for naturism?"

                              Firstly, it was conducted by a young man who holds no pre-existing views on the subject so far as I know. Secondly, he isn't being commissioned for doing it by an interested party - no money is involved. Thirdly, I discussed it here in advance and compromised on the original questions I was going to suggest in order to make them more neutral. So you had a say in what the questions were even though I realise you actually wantedtwo questions.

                              Nude in the North

                              "Yet if nudity were made legal in those same places, it would no longer be "unexpected" , thus the majority of the people feeling "Shock" from seeing "unexpected" nudity would no longer be "shocked" .

                              Very true. But do people actually WANT to have their sensibility-thresholds altered in tha way? I don't!

                              To get a fairer picture the survey ought to have been better designed - i.e. by a professional researcher rather than a 19 year-old first year undergraduate. Several questions ought to have been asked on the topic rather than just the one. But we can't just dismiss the findings as totally meaningless - they do tell us something.

                              "Once the fear of what the nude man's intentions are is calmed, then they will relax and go about their day the same as if the man were clothed."

                              I don't think they will. If a large family (adults of varying ages, both sexes and childen) went onto a popular beach or into a park in the UK and started, say, playing volleyball nude, there almost certainly WOULD be complaints. Yet nobody would suggest that their intentions were sexual.

                              With regard to change we have to remember that change isn't always for the better. And everybody has a right to have a say before changes are put into place that affect their lives.

                              Stu

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