The Weekly Nudesletter
Vol. 1, No. 12
May 25, 1998


Article: Ten Things You Can Do to Promote Clothes-Freedom

Nudity in the News

New and interesting Web pages

Ten Things You Can Do to Promote Clothes-Freedom

As the current news (see below) illustrates, public nudity on beaches, college campuses, ski slopes, and elsewhere has been the subject of quite a bit of activity recently, both pro and con. In some cases (e. g. Australia and Wisconsin), nudity has won explicit (or at least tacit) approval, while in others (e. g. Florida and Hawaii), some officials are still fighting against it.

Although the legitimacy of social nudity on private property was settled long ago (in most U. S. jurisdictions), opponents continue to devise new avenues of attack. And nudity in suitable public locations remains a subject of considerable controversy, as it has for over 30 years in North America.

Victories on behalf of clothes-freedom do not come about automatically. Secure, pleasant locations for the enjoyment of nudity don't just "happen". In almost all cases, the efforts of many people have been required. Though there are many different specific actions required in each case, there are also a number of general steps people who like to be naked can take to promote the way of being that they prefer. Here's a short list. I won't explain each item in detail - each could be the subject of an essay in itself. In most cases, the purpose and benefit should be obvious.

  1. Join The Naturist Society. (There's strength in numbers.)
  2. Contribute generously to the Naturist Action Committee.
  3. Tell your friends and family you're a naturist. Persuade those who have open minds to join you.
  4. Write to your local paper whenever some naturism-related issue comes up in the news.
  5. Write to government officials whenever some policy issue affecting naturists is being decided. (Such as the Honokohau Beach issue.)
  6. Put up your own Web page about naturism. Tell the world what it means to you.
  7. Get involved with local projects like a beach cleanup, efforts to discourage gawkers at the beach you like best, or activities to promote naturism in your community.
  8. Network with other naturists over the Internet, using things like mailing lists, the Web, chat rooms, IRC channels.
  9. Learn all you can about the history of nudism/naturism and the factors that affect it.
  10. Work for responsible standards of personal behavior at any naturist beach, club, or event you visit.
  11. Treat fellow naturists with the fullest respect any honest, responsible individual deserves.
OK, that's more than 10. And more could be added. But it seems about right as a place to start.

Nudity in the News

It has been a really big month for beach news - unsurprisingly, given the time of year.
Mademoiselle magazine: "Remove all your clothes"
If you've just been waiting for encouragement to get naked from a mainstream source, especially if you are female, now you have it. The May issue of Mademoiselle has an article on "nude-o-phobia" which (very briefly) analyses the common fear of being naked, and offers a 5-step program to overcome it. The "5 steps to a more naked you:"
  1. Expose yourself. (Get comfortable being nude alone.)
  2. Get to know your body. (Pay attention to your body's sensory signals, especially when unclothed.)
  3. Look at yourself. (Become familiar with - and accepting of - how you look without clothes.)
  4. Move on to semipublic nudity. (In commonly acceptable circumstances, such as a locker room.)
  5. Graduate to social nudity. (The real thing.)
The feature, of course, is about body acceptance. The message has been repeated often enough, that people (women especially) are needlessly unhappy due to fears their bodies are somehow not "right". But this time the way to overcome the problem is stated very clearly. As the magazine's editor-in-chief herself says, "Go find a nude beach. Remove all your clothes."

Toronto Star (un)covers a naturist event
Fair, balanced coverage of naturist activities in the mainstream print media seems to be on the increase. In addition to national magazines like Mademoiselle, local newspapers are joining in as well. On May 13 the Toronto Star posted on their Web site an article about entitled "The Naked Truth". It's a reporter's account of a visit to one of the regular swims held by the Ontario Roaming Bares at a local swim center.

The reporter was a little apprehensive about this assignment. But the experience proved to be very positive: "Short, tall, fat or skinny, naturists are a remarkably self-assured lot. They've come to appreciate the essential beauty and dignity of the human body, and if there was one thing I learned to shed (other than my clothing) from my naturist experience, it was the shame often associated with the nakedness of the human body."

The smiling blond woman pictured twice on the first page of the article is rumored to be the Webmistress of NetNude.

Washington Post article on Higbee Beach
South of the border (the Canadian border, that is), in the more repressed U. S. of A., journalistic reporting on naturist activities is not always unreservedly positive. On May 17 The Washington Post carried a short article on New Jersey's Higbee Beach.

The article is about how Higbee has become known for two different pursuits: bird-watching and nude sunbathing. And although the reporter allows as how she has been on nude beaches in the South of France, the Greek islands, and Martha's Vineyard, her conclusion in this case is that she would prefer to take up bird-watching. No real explanation is offered, though one may infer the preponderance of males encountered by the reporter had something to do with it.

What she doesn't explain is that, while nude use of the beach is tolerated, the authorities have made access pretty inconvenient - feathered bipeds are more welcome than the featherless (and naked) kind.

Officially designated nude beach in Australia
Even though it's autumn in Australia, there is good news for nude beach users down under. In late April the Byron Shire Council designated almost nine kilometers of beach near Byron Bay as clothing-optional. The beach, known as Belongil, has been the subject of large activist-led "Nude Ain't Rude" rallies for the last couple of years. (See the article in our Vol. 1, No. 9 issue.) Although some local opposition to nude beach use remains, activists hope that peaceful clothing-optional use will lead to the designation of even more beach area for nude swimming and sunbathing.

Follow-up on Mazo Beach
In our last issue, Vol. 1, No. 11, we reported on concerns about misbehavior at Wisconsin's Mazo Beach - almost entirely by non-naturists. A meeting was held on April 30 to discuss problems, sponsored by the state Department of Natural Resources. About 40 to 50 naturists attended, and only a small handful of opponents. Naturists present considered it a successful meeting that worked on realistic solutions to existing problems like littering and underage drinking. It's another example of successful cooperation between government and naturist users of public recreational facilities.

Harassment and arrests at Florida's Playalinda Beach
Unfortunately, in an effort to demonstrate how much money can be wasted and hard feelings created when government attempts to work against naturists, instead of with them, at established clothing-optional beaches, the Sheriff's Department in Brevard County on May 3 stepped up patrols of the traditional nude area of the National Seashore's Playalinda Beach. Brevard County Commissioners in 1995 passed an anti-nudity ordinance, not because of any genuine problems caused by clothing-optional use of the beach, but because of religiously-motivated opposition to nudity itself. In spite of the questionable legality of County enforcement of the ordinance on Federal land, the Sheriff's Department has been escalating harassment of beach users ever since. Many more details of the history of this problem can be found at the Web site of the Central Florida Naturists.

CFN has taken the lead in defending naturist use of this large and beautiful stretch of beach. They have recommended that all naturists boycott tourist facilities in Brevard County until this problem is resolved. A protest sit-in was scheduled for Sunday, May 24. Look for a report in our next issue.

Honokohau Beach nudity ban
In our last issue, we reported on steps that the National Park Service is taking to ban the traditional nude use at this beach on the Big Island of Hawaii (Vol. 1, No. 11). The Naturist Action Committee has just issued another alert (May 21) calling on naturists worldwide to write to the Park Service in support of the continuation of the ancient tradition of nude use of Honokohau. Worldwide attention is deemed appropriate, since the islands of Hawaii are truly an international tourist destination. Suggestions for points to make in writing are given in the alert. But perhaps the most noteworthy point is the irony that the NPS is justifying a ban on nudity due to the supposed incompatibility of nudity with native Hawaiian tradition (which Honohokau is designated to honor and celebrate). In fact, exactly the opposite is true, and the only real incompatibility is with the alien anti-nudity prejudice introduced by Christian missionaries little more than a hundred years ago.

Nude skiing in Colorado
At this time of year, skiing is not a sport on the minds of many in North America. The end of April saw the last day of the season at many resorts, such as Colorado's Crested Butte Mountain. A day of naked skiing has been a tradition there for some time as a season finale. In the past, only a few dozen hardy souls have taken advantage of this unusual opportunity to enjoy skiing without clothes. (Something which is less unusual in Europe - see the article in our Vol. 1, No. 11 issue.)

This year, however, hundreds of people opted to hit the slopes naked. Unfortunately, this being the U. S. of A., thousands of skiiers turned out clothed mainly to watch the skinny-skiers, and the crowds, swelled by many additional non-skiers, led to rowdiness, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. Even though almost all the misbehavior was on the part of (some of) the clothed crowds, the naked people, rather perversely, seemed to garner the blame. So the resort operator is considering a ban on nudity for next year, unless some way can be found to eliminate misbehavior of people wearing clothes.

College takes action against coed naked soccer
Apparently, coed naked soccer has been a real tradition, not just a T-shirt fantasy, at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Not surprising - if other sports like skiing and running are more fun without clothes. But officials of the small sectarian school evidently felt it was necessary to eliminate an end-of-finals tradition that was probably the school's only noteworthy feature. The college is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (what else) - and fun must be against the creed. To guard against the horror of anyone seeing a naked student body, security has been increased, town police are on call, and the school has scheduled alternative events. How about a coed naked hymn sing?

South Carolina House rejects an extremist anti-nudity bill
There were widespread fears in nudist/naturist circles that the South Carolina House of Representatives was poised to pass one of the most extreme and ridiculous anti-nudity bills recently seen in the U. S. But fortunately, and surprisingly, that did not happen.

The proposed legislation (HB 3569), sponsored by Rep. Bradley Jordan, would have criminalized mere nudity not only on public land, but even in private facilities like nudist camps. Consequently, several nudist/naturist groups, including the Naturist Action committee and the American Association for Nude Recreation, made an all-out effort at the end of April to have the bill killed.

Their voices were heard, and the effort was succesful, though the vote was close (43 to 38). In fact, the proposal was openly laughed at by many in the chamber when the sponsor had to admit it would criminalize gym showers and mothers changing their babies. Further laughs were evoked when members sarcastically questioned the sponsor about explicit anatomical language used in the bill (common in this kind of anti-nudity proposal). For instance, one member asked "What is a gluteus maximus?". Laughter ensued when Jordan replied "Buttocks".

New and Interesting Web pages

Dr. Ruth on Kids & Nudity
This isn't a new item - it appeared last November. But it's a refreshing change from the poorly informed advice offered by professional columnists like Ann Landers and Joyce Brothers regarding the effects of parental nudity on children.

Ruth Westheimer has a different take. These pages present a situation involving a mother who likes to be naked, and a father who is afraid what effect this will have on their pre-teen children. The mother is determined to be more open with her children about nudity out of dissatisfaction with her own parents' prudishness. There is no evidence that the kids have been upset in spite of frequently seeing their mother naked. But the father is worried.

Dr. Ruth sums things up by leaving the issue up to the specifics of each case. In any particular situation, parental nudity may be entirely OK, or it could be a problem. However, there's nothing inherent in parental nudity that hurts kids:

Family nudity is not a cut-and-dry issue. To me it's a little like whether the window should be left open or closed. Usually it's the person who's cold who gets to close the window to avoid any chance of illness. With issues of nudity, it's often the person who is embarrassed who forces the other person to put on clothes. It's the safer solution, but it's not necessarily the right one.
The Effects of Nudism on Children
This page (also not new) belongs to a Christian minister, Bill Peckenpaugh, who happens to be a nudist and has also studied the subject extensively. (The relevant references are at the end of the links section.)

One of the things you'll find here is a survey of four scientific studies of the effects of nudity on children. The general conclusion is that "The results of the research presented would seem to speak clearly and with force: children's exposure to nudity is not only not harmful, it appears to be beneficial." In fact, one study found that "Nudist children consistently scored higher than non-nudist children in all areas of body acceptance, self-concept, and self-image."

If you're interested in finding out more about this topic, there is also an excellent bibliography of nudist/naturist resources for families, parents, and educators.

Women's Nudism Ring
This site is new. It's a Web ring just for pages and sites about women and nudism. More precisely, "Any website focused on women as Nudists and Naturists may be admitted to the ring." But we may suppose that sites and pages created by women are especially welcome. (So if you are thinking about doing a new page or site and this theme fits, now may be just the right to time to go ahead and do it.)

Dror's Amazing Gallery
Need a little humor to brighten your day? Dror Dromi lives in a small town in Israel. He says that there is not much to do in this small town, so he draws. His gallery of completely nude cartoons demonstrates that nudism can be great fun.

The Naked Mile: An Ann Arbor Tradition
These are the "official" Naked Mile pages of Michigan Live, Web site of the local newspaper, The Ann Arbor News. You'll find more information and photos there about the Naked Mile, as reported in our last issue (Vol. 1, No. 11).

The associated news story has some interesting details. For instance, the local police estimated the number of naked runners at 1500, as opposed to the 500 estimated by the University's Department of Public Safety. That is, 3% of the student body instead of only 1%. The article's conclusion sums it up well:

Senior Anita Wilhelm was still excited and nearly out of breath as she and two friends concluded the run and got dressed on the sidewalk.

"It was fun," she said. "It lets you free yourself, have a little fun. I always wanted to do it."

Back to The Weekly Nudesletter Front Page

Copyright © 1998, All Rights Reserved