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The history of nudism

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  • The history of nudism

    I look back a the history of nudism and see that when it began in the 1930's the country was a very rural place, with discreet nudity common in outlying areas. Now that nudism has been around for 70 years it seems that any mention of social nudity gets a lot of press.

    Nudism is trying to make our world a more nude-friendly place. The fact of the matter is that social nudity throughout history has been a byproduct of something that was already occurring. Back then, nudity in public (athletic games, bathing in rivers and housetops, laborers in the fields) was due to the technological and cultural circumstances of the time. There was no nudist movement because none was needed. As the 20th century became more mechanized and urban, the nudist movement began in response.

    Now nudism has evolved into naturism with its emphasis on acceptance. Gone are the emphases on health and hygiene. The British magazine H&E has evolved from a respectable model of personal living into a vehicle for bringing soft porn into the mainstream under the guise of naturism using the credo of acceptance.

    As a result, the foes of naturism, such as those who oppose the kids camp in Florida, have some ammunition to throw at naturists. Non naturists also suffer because of the bad name that social nudity gets through naturism. Nudism sufferes because of its close association with naturism.

    See my article entitled "Ordinary Nakedness" at www.reject-shame.com

  • #2
    I look back a the history of nudism and see that when it began in the 1930's the country was a very rural place, with discreet nudity common in outlying areas. Now that nudism has been around for 70 years it seems that any mention of social nudity gets a lot of press.

    Nudism is trying to make our world a more nude-friendly place. The fact of the matter is that social nudity throughout history has been a byproduct of something that was already occurring. Back then, nudity in public (athletic games, bathing in rivers and housetops, laborers in the fields) was due to the technological and cultural circumstances of the time. There was no nudist movement because none was needed. As the 20th century became more mechanized and urban, the nudist movement began in response.

    Now nudism has evolved into naturism with its emphasis on acceptance. Gone are the emphases on health and hygiene. The British magazine H&E has evolved from a respectable model of personal living into a vehicle for bringing soft porn into the mainstream under the guise of naturism using the credo of acceptance.

    As a result, the foes of naturism, such as those who oppose the kids camp in Florida, have some ammunition to throw at naturists. Non naturists also suffer because of the bad name that social nudity gets through naturism. Nudism sufferes because of its close association with naturism.

    See my article entitled "Ordinary Nakedness" at www.reject-shame.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Jeff, I am a member of the Naturist Society and I reject your characterization of naturists as degenerate nudists.

      I have heard some make the case that the nudists are the ones who have degenerated; claiming they are into swinging with other men's wives, getting besotted with beer as they chain-smoke their way through the day on a poolside lounge chair at a resort, hypocritically keeping the single guys outside the gate lest they introduce a dangerous element into the tranquility of their private club.

      Neither stereotype is true. Naturists tend to be more of the outdoor types, the skinnydippers and nature lovers, the children of the flower children. There are still many thousands of honorable gentle nudists who prefer the comforts of resort life, and even a few who are concerned enough about their bodies to get regular exercise and eat healthy foods.

      Nudism and naturism are what we make of it. They will either drift into decadence or renew themselves to the things that made us distinct and a wholesome alternative to mainstream American life.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jeff, in your quest to destroy all things pornographic, it seems you would consider shutting down all nudist resorts and organizations. This sounds to me like curing the disease by killing the patient.

        I would like to see two things happen that might help both of us achieve our goals:

        The first is lifeguard or law enforcement presence at c/o beaches with the intent to keep the gawkers and swingers away. Some beaches have this presence, but I think most are lacking.

        The second is a system to indicate which resorts belong to real nudists/naturists as opposed to some seedy group that uses the term for their own reasons. To some extent, we already have this in the form of AANR or TNS memberships. I know that is not a perfect system, and many textiles don't know what that means, but I think that can be fixed with an improved education campaign.

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:
          Originally posted by Prometheus:
          [qb]
          I would like to see two things happen that might help both of us achieve our goals:

          The first is lifeguard or law enforcement presence at c/o beaches with the intent to keep the gawkers and swingers away. Some beaches have this presence, but I think most are lacking.

          The second is a system to indicate which resorts belong to real nudists/naturists as opposed to some seedy group that uses the term for their own reasons. To some extent, we already have this in the form of AANR or TNS memberships. I know that is not a perfect system, and many textiles don't know what that means, but I think that can be fixed with an improved education campaign. [/qb]
          I like both of these ideas because if taken on a large scale they would indicate a genuine interest in fixing a problem that many seem to be oblivious to. No it is not a perfect system, and trying to get it perfect sound so utopian. But acknowledging the need for reform is a huge step in the right direction.

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:
            Originally posted by Trailscout:
            [qb] Jeff, I am a member of the Naturist Society and I reject your characterization of naturists as degenerate nudists.

            I have heard some make the case that the nudists are the ones who have degenerated; claiming they are into swinging with other men's wives, getting besotted with beer as they chain-smoke their way through the day on a poolside lounge chair at a resort, hypocritically keeping the single guys outside the gate lest they introduce a dangerous element into the tranquility of their private club.

            Neither stereotype is true. Naturists tend to be more of the outdoor types, the skinnydippers and nature lovers, the children of the flower children. There are still many thousands of honorable gentle nudists who prefer the comforts of resort life, and even a few who are concerned enough about their bodies to get regular exercise and eat healthy foods.

            Nudism and naturism are what we make of it. They will either drift into decadence or renew themselves to the things that made us distinct and a wholesome alternative to mainstream American life. [/qb]
            My characterization of naturism as you say is not based at all on "swinging with other men's wives, getting besotted with beer as they chain-smoke their way through the day on a poolside lounge chair at a resort..." but rather as prometheus recognizes as a general need to police up the movement. If the things you mention were common, naturism would be far worse. My example of H&E is what I mean: sure it is a well produced magazine, and it does not actively promote what you used in your example, but it is indicative of something that most Americans can easily point to as something less than honorable in their quest to villify highly visible things like the nudist kids camp. They don't see any difference between the two. Maybe most naturists do not either, but it would be because unlike non-naturists, the naturists fail to recognize the H&E mindset for what it is. Naturists have got to admit on a national scale that there are some really visible problems within the movement, and then take a stand against them, at the risk of being labled as narrow-minded. Otherwise they are going to go down with them. First though, naturist organizations must recognize that hedonistic nudity is bad, and that associating with it is even worse. It doesn't matter to non-naturists who like social nudity because they keep a safe distance from the movement anyway.

            Comment


            • #7
              Jeff,

              I have seen H&E and it is clearly no longer demonstrates a naturist respect for women. It tends to treat them as eye candy instead of wives, friends, mothers, sisters and daughters.
              They do not objectify women to the extent that Maxim or Playboy do, but we hold them to a higher standard because they should know better.

              I have corresponded with one of the editors of the Naturist Society magazine and they assured me that they do not want to take their publication in that direction. If they ever do, I hope there are enough of us to protest loudly against that and remind them of their duty.

              I am concerned that AANR is not getting tough with member resorts that have "bare-as-you-dare" contests, wet tee shirt contests, lingerie dances, and that look the other way at obvious open swinging. These compromises with the bawdy outside world remove us from the moral high ground and justify the reactionaries who would outlaw all social nudist gatherings.

              I enjoy the company of true nudists. It would be premature to predict the demise of our society. Jeff, if you are a Christian, there are also opportunities to fellowship with naturist Christians throughout the United States. Their numbers are increasing as more Christians discover that nudity can be a way to honor the Creator and is the way HE designed us to live.

              I am a naturist in the sense that I prefer to be nude in the natural world that God made in all its beauty and diversity. I have been a discreet skinnydipper for many years.

              I am a member of the Naturist Society not because I approve of every position they have taken, but because I believe that there is hope for being salt and light there. I am glad that there is a Naturist Action Committee to represent us in court. Hedonistic nudity is the greatest enemy that non-sexual nudity has. If you can think of constructive ways to help us dissociate from it, I would listen gratefully.

              I am not sure what you meant by non-naturists who like social nudity. I am not ready to make a perjoritive out of the word "naturist". I like the fact that the very sound of the word seems to speak the virtue of being nude in nature.

              Before their fall from grace, Adam and Eve were briefly described as "naked but not ashamed" for the benefit of the readers, but to their sinless way of reckoning, this first couple was neither nude, naked, nudist nor naturist. They were simply human beings, the only earthly beings endued with the divine spark, yet also part of the material world and happened to be furless like the dolphin, rhinocerous, and hippopotamus. (Perhaps like other furless creatures we are meant to be semi-aquatic or at least live near lakes and rivers).

              Comment


              • #8
                It took me a while to come up with a good, considered reponse to this one.

                The opening message displayed a distinction between nudist and naturist that I have not encountered before and I do not share those definitions of those terms.

                It states that nudism/naturism is in danger because it has strayed a significant distance from it's traditional values. I rank that statement up with those who say that America is in danger because of similar reasons. To those who hold that opinion, your knowledge of the dark side of that tradition needs to enlarged. Unreasonable levels of discrimination were present in large volumes in both cases.

                That said, should official naturism dissociate itself from those resorts that used clothing-optional as a cover for being a gathering place for those seeking sexual adventures. YES! Should official naturism dissociate itself from those places offering a spring break style hedonistic atmosphere? YES! These places are the largest source of bad press that true social nudism has, and we don't need it!

                But, does that mean that because someone pops open a beer, that they should be removed? NO! Does that mean that because someone lights up a cigarette, that they should be removed? NO! Does that mean that because someone tells a few risque' jokes, that they should be removed? NO! Does that mean that because someone uses the occasional four-letter word, that they should be removed? NO!

                I know my fair share of folks who can have a beer or two and not lose their equilibrium (physical or mental). Someone smoking a cigarette within 10' of you out-of-doors won't give you cancer. I may not have sex on the brain, but I'm not dead either. I've also used the odd bad word now and then. Are there times and places when such things are inappropriate? YES! But that doesn't mean they're all bad, all the time.

                The pressure of too many rules can be as much of a detriment as the bad press from resorts with too few. Naturist resorts are meant to be places to chill out. Those caught up with "tradition" need to remember that.

                Doug H.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm with you, Doug H. Excessive rules are a sign that common sense and courtesy have failed, and are contrary to my perception of the spirit of nudism and/or naturism. If there are rules, let them be of the "reasonable person" variety. (Would a reasonable person be offended?)

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