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
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
- 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:"
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."
- Expose yourself. (Get comfortable being nude alone.)
- Get to know your body. (Pay attention to your body's sensory
signals, especially when unclothed.)
- Look at yourself. (Become familiar with - and accepting of - how
you look without clothes.)
- Move on to semipublic nudity. (In commonly acceptable circumstances,
such as a locker room.)
- Graduate to social nudity. (The real thing.)
- 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
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
The smiling blond woman pictured twice on the first page of the
article is rumored to be the Webmistress of
- 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
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
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
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".
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
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).
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
"It was fun," she said. "It lets you free yourself, have a little
fun. I always wanted to do it."